On the first episode of The Riton Podcast, Brady and Carrie Speth talk about their background, how Riton began, the trials and tribulations of growing your small business and more.
Brady Speth 0:08
Welcome to the Riton podcast.
This is something that’s been a long time in the works. So happy to kind of be sitting here and are Riton Studios, the kind of a special one for everybody today, when we started thinking about the best way to go about doing a podcast, the whole thought process behind it was how do we introduce our team, our family, the whole Riton group, all of our friends throughout the industry, military, law enforcement kind of all of our friends and all of their knowledge, all their background, their families, kind of that whole picture, how do we bring that together?
To kind of share that story with everybody out there. All right, on fans and the Riton family. So this is the Riton Podcast.
No better way than to start it off with my wife Carrie. So Riton was kind of born with the two of us, not kind of Riton was the two of us. So um, we figured best way to start is start where we started. So I’ll kind of introduce Carrie here and kind of tell you a little bit about both of us, our backgrounds, our history, how this whole thing came about. And then we’ll kind of share some stories and go from there.
Carrie Speth 1:17
Yeah, I think it’s about like, if you really understand us, you understand Riton right.
Brady Speth 1:22
Yeah, exactly. So why don’t we start Carrie Speth.
With your background, I guess so.
Go back as far as you want.
Carrie Speth 1:30
Yeah, I mean, how far back? Just kidding. So I was actually born and raised in Tucson, Arizona, which is pretty rare actually in Arizona right to be born and raised here. My family’s in East Coast family but born and raised in in Tucson, Arizona loved it growing up. You know, backyard was the desert. So it was like, you know, you thought you were hundreds of miles away and you’re just wandering like up through the cactus and the rocks, right.
Fast forward to college. I went to the University of Arizona
Brady Speth 2:01
really went a long way from home with that one.
Carrie Speth 2:04
It’s a great school. Go Wildcats.
Brady Speth 2:07
Pause right here. Just so you understand this dynamic. I went to ASU, she went to U of A I happen to live
Carrie Speth 2:14
Brady Speth 2:15
So as that plays out, you’ll kind of see that dynamic. She’s still mad that my diploma is like a quarter inch bigger than her so
Carrie Speth 2:23
His is hanging a little bit lower than mine on the wall.
Brady Speth 2:26
Okay continue. College at University of Arizona.
Carrie Speth 2:28
So University of Arizona, I’ve always been kind of math inclined. So I went to school for engineering and I got a dual degree in systems engineering and then engineering management, which is like a combination of business and I think that’s, you know, part of you know, if we look at the Riton story, right, like that’s part of it, but I really enjoyed is the business aspect and the engineering part of it
Brady Speth 2:50
And just to clarity math and inclined means like, super math geek. Don’t let her downplay that one.
Carrie Speth 2:56
Yeah, kind of not very creative, but I can do some damn good math.
Brady Speth 3:02
Now we’re clear.
Carrie Speth 3:02
Um, yeah, you know that ASU degree that Brady got to
Brady Speth 3:05
We’ll get into that later wait your turn
Carrie Speth 3:08
He past math because of me.
Brady Speth 3:09
Wait, your turn.
Carrie Speth 3:11
Um, so anyways, so you know, got it got the degree in engineering actually went on to have a career and it worked for IBM for many, many years, great career computers, selling software, all kinds of different things. But you know, and then it kind of leads into where I met this guy. But should I let you introduce yourself first?
Brady Speth 3:32
Yeah, we’ll break for a second. So I grew up in Montana. I grew up ranching Black Angus cattle, so youngest of five kids family of seven.
I think people kind of tease me a little bit how into hunting. It’s fortuitous that actually got like a crate of trophies from a couple of trips to Africa for hunting today.
Carrie Speth 3:53
Which was like christmas for him today
Brady Speth 3:54
Christmas coming really close to it today.
So yeah, I mean, I grew up hunting actually more for substance than anything. So that’s kind of my background was living on a ranch had Black Angus cattle work worked long, long days. My first job was probably five or six scraping out cow stalls. So kind of came from that background. The one thing that we learned from a tiny age was how to work so
Carrie Speth 4:19
like you can’t skip the laying pipe stuff because that’s where all your stories are.
Brady Speth 4:23
Carrie Speth 4:24
Brady Speth 4:25
Cause that kinda gets misconstrued sometimes if we just
throw laying pipe out there? Yeah, you’re immigration, putting up hay bucking bells. There’s a whole bunch of stories that go to that. But I was fortunate enough to grow up now as an adult realizing I grew up in an outdoor Mecca, the bitterroot Valley, Montana, Missoula, Montana, all kind of the western side of the state, rocky mountains and rivers and stuff. I now pay a lot of money to go out back and visit for the summer kind of thing. At the time. I couldn’t wait to get out of there.
graduated high school, ended up in the air force did that for
Five, six years, which actually brought me in Arizona, just throwing out Arizona was not really on my list of bases that I wanted to go to
Carrie Speth 5:07
It was on your list. It just might be was on the top of my list
Brady Speth 5:11
ended up in
Carrie Speth 5:11
But how lucky
Brady Speth 5:12
It worked out. I won’t answer that. So ended up in Tucson at the base here at Davis Monthan, which is still near and dear to me. Love this base. Love the A-10. Love seein em fly every single day. so fortunate to be living back here. That’s where me and Carrie met. She was in college as an Air Force. We are not going to go into the story of how we met on this podcast.
Carrie Speth 5:35
That could be another one.
Brady Speth 5:36
Maybe one later on down the road. Less embarrassing for me more embarrassing for Carrie. So I will. I will for go that one.
Carrie Speth 5:44
Wait a second I’m pretty sure it’s the opposite.
Brady Speth 5:46
It ended up with her demanding to put her phone number in my phone.
Carrie Speth 5:49
Oh Come on.
Brady Speth 5:50
We’ll come back to that. We’ll come back to that.
So yeah, so Air Force got out. I think at the time I got out we were dating. I think date. I think we were married yet we’re still getting engaged.
ended up going to school getting a degree from ASU. Actually, at the time, it’s funny because I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to go. We kind of from the moment we had kind of started dating, we’d always talked about like, what’s your long term goals? What’s your life goals? Where do you Where do you want to go? is this? What would you like to do when you grow up? Because like, we always had kind of a
Carrie Speth 6:25
Brady Speth 6:26
that we wanted to like, I guess you have visions a good word of like, we wanted to have a business, we knew we wanted to kind of work for ourselves. Um go ahead.
Carrie Speth 6:35
I think it was really clear to us that like we wanted something but we weren’t like sure what it was.
Brady Speth 6:41
Yeah, it was hard. My degree actually ended up being in like entrepreneurial business. And like, that was always something that fascinated me was this, like, how do you come up with these ideas? How do you make them work? Everybody thinks they have a great idea. But how do you actually implement that? How do you take something from nothing and build it into something? So
Carrie Speth 7:00
And I think people too, like a lot of people say like, Oh, I want to be my own boss, but like part of what I think we really started talking about was like, what does that mean? And that means all of our incomes on us, like, you know, like, how do we define how do we create something that could be ours, and we’d be proud of and we could, you know, really get behind? And so that like then that kind of stuff just is negligible? You know what I mean?
Brady Speth 7:26
I think that now knowing what we know now, like, what, 15 years later, we clearly still didn’t have a clue. You think you know about what that what responsibility that actually means. But it’s a completely different perspective now 15 years on and
Carrie Speth 7:42
Brady Speth 7:42
you know, employees and families and all this stuff that goes into having a business but go back to where we were so
Carrie Speth 7:48
that whiteboard remember?
Brady Speth 7:49
Yeah. So right, we got out of the air force that was kind of where we’re at. We’re engaged. We kind of Carrie had a good career started with IBM, and we were, I wasn’t sure where I was gonna end up. So I finished my degree, we did have a we have had a whiteboard that was uh, we kind of kept in one of the rooms, our house and if any of us had an idea, anything like we kind of made that clear with each other like
Carrie Speth 8:08
we can I tell one of them.
Brady Speth 8:10
Yeah, go ahead.
Carrie Speth 8:10
I remember like, I mean, we had so many different ideas. We we literally had lists, but it was like, wait, I don’t really think this is what we want to do. But one of my favorites. One day was like, we literally had an hour and a half conversation like at dinner about a poop scooping business. Do you remember that?
Brady Speth 8:27
Yeah. Cuz we had a puppy at the time and I think we were tired of picking up poop.
Carrie Speth 8:30
We had to pick up poop so much.
Brady Speth 8:31
So we’re wondered, is there somebody who actually paid to come do this and then wondered if that was a service service is it sucks so bad to do. So yeah, there was literally no limit to the ideas that went on this whiteboard. So that kind of lasted we’ll kind of jump through a little bit of this, but that lasted a little bit.
And we just would throw ideas up there throw ideas up there throw ideas up there.
Carrie Speth 8:52
We always had faith though, that like, if they’re like if this was our like destiny, not to sound too cliche like that, whatever it was, it would make sense. And that’s why like, when we would do the poop scooping thing we’re like, we do the numbers or whatever we’re like, we don’t
Brady Speth 9:09
really hard to wake up in the morning and be motivated about running. Oops, could be yes. So but the point was, though is there was nothing off limits. I think that’s something that people have to understand is like, you don’t just fall into like a Riton you. Like the amount of effort that went into leading up to doing something like this is insane. And so actually sort of go back a little bit so after college,
And that’s kind of the genesis of Riton really
Carrie Speth 9:57
well and even before that, right this is the time like right. We’re building our family and like we still had all these grandiose ideas, but we had a two year old, we took that job in DC, and I was pregnant with our second child. And so it was like, it just kind of felt like at that point, like, you know, what are what, again, back to the our main question, right? Like we’re dating, like, what is our future? What do we want? Like what are we,
Brady Speth 10:22
and being the responsible people that we were, are. So I’ve taken that job that good, quote, unquote, federal job, which actually was awesome. I love working out there. I love seeing kind of the inner workings of government, everything like that.
So great opportunity, great job. Got out there. And like Carrie said, So at this point, we had, I think she was pregnant while I went through the federal Academy and all that ended up having our second child out in Virginia. And then that really started to kind of hit home when I was working, you know, 12 hours or days where I would end up sleeping at the, in the break room at the Capitol or in one of the amphitheaters because I had to work again in the morning or something stupid, so ended up kind of taking a toll on our family, not in a bad way, but just in like a, is this really what I want to be doing? I think that was the biggest question that kind of the Capitol Police produced was like, is this really something that like, we want to do for the next 20 years?
Carrie Speth 11:17
Well, and like, is this what we’re meant to do? I think we used to do that a lot. Like, I think that, you know, everybody has like a path and ours just felt like, not like we still had that yearning.
Brady Speth 11:28
Yeah, like not a satisfied feeling kind of going
Carrie Speth 11:31
like we had more to give.
Brady Speth 11:34
The whiteboard still persisted.
Carrie Speth 11:36
Brady Speth 11:36
I’m still with random ideas. I can’t even remember most of them.
Carrie Speth 11:39
most of them were surrounding baby stuff at the time.
Brady Speth 11:42
You kinda see the life that the cycle of life we were in,
Carrie Speth 11:45
That was our life, diapers and wipes and toddlers, and
Brady Speth 11:49
so actually, so I’ve hunted my entire life of shot, I grew up hunting, I grew up, not only tactical shooting, my dad was, he was in the army, and he was a law enforcement before we started ranching, so kind of had that background, but I also grew up hunting, I didn’t grow up really any tactical stuff. The military, law enforcement kinda gave you that tactical side of things. And that’s kind of how Riton came about. So I ended up while we’re at the Capitol police ended up consulting for an optics company. Not that obviously, as I stated from my Arizona state university degree was not optical engineering.
Thank you for that, so I started, I started actually consulting for an optics manufacturer, on the user side of it, everything that you touch, you feel how do you interact with the scope? How do you, you know, when it’s raining when it’s muddy, when you’re bloody when it’s kind of how do you as an end user, because I was really good as an end user, like with a lot of different background experience, and training and formal training. And so that’s kind of the genesis of Riton was during this exact same time, we were just talking about of like, Carrie working a full time career at IBM, me doing a full time career with Capitol Police, two kids under the age of three
Carrie Speth 13:04
two kids, and he wasn’t joking, like when he said he would leave and like, stay there because, um, we only live like, what, 20 minutes outside of DC and he would, you know, be there for 48 hours or more, some days. And it’s like, just the balance. And like, we just, you know, it’s a phase of life. But it really did make us realize, like, we wanted more, we had more to give, you know, like, what, what’s our path?
Brady Speth 13:30
Carrie Speth 13:30
Brady Speth 13:31
yeah, that’s it takes a toll quickly on a young young family and a wife at home with two kids makes it kind of rough.
So yeah, so
Carrie Speth 13:46
we like to make our plates very full.
Brady Speth 13:48
Yeah. Never a dull moment in the household at any given time. So yeah, so that’s kind of how Riton started. I started consulting.
And I kind of talked the manufacturer into building prototypes for us, right. So at this point in time, like I, I was so naive, like, we knew nothing, we did nothing about business, we knew nothing about how to even get a business off the ground. We knew like we were googling stuff, like, on a daily basis of like, how to form an LLC.
Carrie Speth 14:21
Well it started with how do you form a business? What do you need to have a business?
Brady Speth 14:24
Yeah. like, yeah, so it kind of started with that. It was I think, what this we knew there was actually something there, right. This was one of the first like, of our ideas where we’re like, hey, actually, like, there was not a pooper scooper franchise. There’s actually there’s something there. And I actually love doing this,
That was the first time I think like all any of our ideas that actually like collided into like, holy shit, I love this. This is what I do when I’m not working. And there’s like a path there’s actually like a way forward with this. That doesn’t
Me waking up at 4am to, you know,
Carrie Speth 15:02
well, and it was that it was. So the union night that like put us over the balance.
Brady Speth 15:07
So we we had, we’d got them to start making prototypes, and I had started sending them out to all my military, all my law enforcement, my hunting buddies growing up, like, I literally reached out to people with a past and talk to him,
Carrie Speth 15:19
just to see if we even like if our idea was crazy
Brady Speth 15:22
hey, if I send you this scope, will you try it in Alaska on your next hunt? And I dudes, like are you gonna charge my credit card later?
I just want you to try my scope. Remember, that? Sounds awesome. But all we did was I literally tried to reach out to every single person that we could and say, I have this idea. First go try it. Tell me first off, tell me what you don’t like.
Carrie Speth 15:45
Brady Speth 15:45
Don’t tell me what you like. Because honestly, at this point in time, like, we’re trying to refine our product, I want to know what doesn’t work. I want to know what you don’t like.
Carrie Speth 15:53
Well and our whole premise was like, the, you know, there’s a ton of scopes out there, right? Like, so we’re not going into something that’s like a brand new idea. It’s not like, you know, the first day an iPhone came out, right? Like we’re not reinventing the wheel.
Brady Speth 16:05
We’re our take on it though
Carrie Speth 16:06
The idea was like, we could take something that we actually love using and doing and just make it better.
Brady Speth 16:13
Carrie Speth 16:14
right. So yeah, and that’s
Brady Speth 16:16
something we talked about kind of as an industry thing. Like we don’t bad mouth, really, anybody in our industry. That’s their take on how to do it. And this is our take on how to do it.
Carrie Speth 16:23
And ours was a different perspective.
Brady Speth 16:25
Um, so yeah, so that’s literally the way we first started. I still remember to this day, like, ordering, like, what the first 10 scopes?
Carrie Speth 16:34
Brady Speth 16:34
And I was like, I wrote the email, and did like this order. And I was like, wait a min, I’m gonna have to actually pay for these out of my own checking account. And then I was like, I can’t send it, I can’t set it. And I literally let it sit. And I like,
Carrie Speth 16:46
I think my rewrite it like 10 times,
Brady Speth 16:48
It sat in our draft folder for like, two days. Because I was like, if I do this, like, we’re in,
Carrie Speth 16:54
Brady Speth 16:55
This is money spent. This is like, I can’t get this back. And I was like, Nah, screw and I hit the send button. And it’s just perspective now cuz 10 scopes is like, just nothing. Yeah, the time that was so much, you know?
Carrie Speth 17:09
Yeah. What was that? It’s like, really, ourselves out there. Like, we’re gonna do this. Yeah, that was real and was quite a bit bigger than some of the other business.
Brady Speth 17:18
Yeah, that we had never tried or amount of, like, it’s different. It’s so different when it’s like, literally your resources, when it’s your hard earned money when it’s your like, I could either do something with my kids this weekend, or I could,
Carrie Speth 17:32
Brady Speth 17:32
try to build a business. Like it’s a it’s a sacrifice. And I think that’s the one thing among many of sacrifices that people don’t quite understand with, like trying to start your own thing, like, everybody sees you 10 years down the road, 15 down arrow and like all your successful, they don’t see when you’re like, Huh, if I spend this money right now, like, I have money for food still right? Like,
Carrie Speth 17:53
just because we know it’s a good idea. Doesn’t mean that anyone else will right?
Brady Speth 17:58
So Carrie kind of touched on it earlier, the way we said kind of like the Whoo, I was still doing capitalist, she’s still doing IBM, and now sudden we have this business that we’re starting, right. So
Carrie Speth 18:09
and not sleeping cause the baby,
Brady Speth 18:10
and still two kids at home and a dog and whatever else was squirrels and whatever.
so Capitol Police does like dignitary physical security for the Capitol Complex. So that was my job at the time. And literally, I was at the Capitol for a
Carrie Speth 18:36
Brady Speth 18:37
Couple days, I literally looked at like my watch. And I’d walked like 18 miles and never left the Capitol Building inside for like three days and never left the building. And I got home and I looked at Carrie and I was like, I’m done. This is asinine. Like,
Carrie Speth 18:51
I think we just yeah, ourselves that night. Like
Brady Speth 18:54
I literally I remember sitting down and we’re like, we’re done.
Carrie Speth 18:56
And it was like a light bulb. It was like, this is what we’re supposed to do. Like, Riton is the next thing and maybe, maybe we get, you know, a few years down the road and it just doesn’t work out. But this is our path. Like we really felt like
Brady Speth 19:09
and we would beat ourselves up if we didn’t try it
Carrie Speth 19:11
right. And we were just like, this is it like this is our destiny. Like we have to go after it. And it was like remember after that, we were just like, on a mission
Brady Speth 19:20
yeah, I think the next morning I woke up like Okay,
Carrie Speth 19:22
here we go.
Brady Speth 19:22
We’re moving back to Arizona, we move back to Montana.
Carrie Speth 19:27
And that’s when the googling started, like forming a business.
Brady Speth 19:30
Carrie Speth 19:30
And how much money do we need to start? Wait, how much?
Brady Speth 19:36
So yeah, we kind of we started running with that. I literally only once we made that decision, what, four months five months later if at the most we were out in Washington DC and deciding to move back to Arizona and
Carrie Speth 19:48
we took the time there to kind of like just really define like what we thought which best laid plans always but, you know, like what we really thought we needed what we needed to do. Where we wanted to establish it, we chose ultimately Arizona and off we went, right?
Brady Speth 20:05
So yeah, so quit my cushy federal job. Believe it. Luckily, we’ve been fortunate enough to this whole time to Carrie’s credit, like she’s always had kind of that corporate IBM job for the majority of the time we’ve done Riton so it’s a lot easier starting a business when we had to have insurance and you still have to pay your mortgage. And, you know, so that was kind of nice to have that ability that Carrie’s always giving me to be able to like, I guess I’m saying thank you have this ability
Carrie Speth 20:33
Did you hear that? to like you
Brady Speth 20:34
said it really quietly.
I’m just kidding. To have this ability to go pursue I mean, Carrie loves this business. I don’t they can’t hundred percent say she loves riflescopes. You know, so that this is my thing. This is you know, so I’ve been fortunate enough to kind of pursue one of my dreams, and it’s turned into a crazy, awesome business. So
Carrie Speth 20:56
Well, what’s great for me is that, like, My dream was always just having like, something that we felt like fulfilled and like, ya know, just like so I get so much satisfaction out of it in a different way. And I do love riflescopes for the record.
I really did grow up more like just shooting at targets and things like that. I wasn’t a big Hunter, but um, you know, I’m growing like a huge affinity for all of it. And for me, it’s about the people. And it’s just like, that’s what’s so awesome about what we’ve you know, been able to do, because the team and the people and everything. So for me,
Brady Speth 21:34
Don’t get too far ahead.
Carrie Speth 21:35
I’m not I’m just saying that’s where I get the satisfaction out of it.
Brady Speth 21:37
At this point in the story we have a team of two, and we’re moving back to Tucson,
Carrie Speth 21:42
like one and a half
Brady Speth 21:43
Yeah, you know, literally remember, like, back across the country with my dog in it some sketchy ass hotel. It just tried to get home or get back here.
So we moved back to Tucson, we find a place get the kids into like preschool and all that and, and now all sudden, I don’t have for the first time in a while, like direction, I think is a good way looking back to put it now said I’m sitting in like a home office like my hands on a keyboard. Like,
Carrie Speth 22:14
where do we go from here?
Brady Speth 22:15
Okay, now I run into business. Now what do I do? So we kept kind of with the with the sampling and the testing. And literally just we did went through 10s and 15 20 30 rounds of Oh, you don’t like that? Okay, let’s change it order some new ones, get some new ones built. Change that change that change the reticle change a knob change a turret a change, zoom magnification ranges, like you name it, trying to find the right glass supplier trying to find the right you know what size tubes and what kind of aluminum and literally the entire gamut of trying to figure out like,
Carrie Speth 22:48
well, we were just so adamant that if we were going to come into a market, like I said that there’s like already a lot of products like and it had to be it had to be better had to be different. It had to be like what we would buy? Yeah, actually. Right. So
Brady Speth 23:02
and I think that’s that was always a perspective we went, we still kind of talked about that a lot today, just with our meetings and our marketing of like, it is the best glass you can get for that price point that was always something huge for us is like sure, if you have 5 10 grand, you can go buy an awesome piece of glass. But just because you only have $200, or $300, or $400, or $500 doesn’t mean you should get shit product, you should still get the best product you can possibly get for that price point. So right that was something we kind of always attacked it with was like, What would we buy? What would we spend our hard earned dollar on and our
Carrie Speth 23:35
what our friends? What would people we know,
Brady Speth 23:37
I always kind of joke around like I was an E1 at one point in time in the military, like the pay scales online. Go ahead and Google what an E1 makes. And you’ll understand kind of my thought process of like, you know, what it’s like and how that dollar matters, you know, and I think we’ve always kind of had that perspective. So we finally refined our line. I think we had two lines Originally, it was like our mod three and our mod five lines with maybe six scopes. And we’re like, Alright, well, we got this we had, I think the first
Carrie Speth 24:09
and he was joking about like the the first PO for the samples, the first PO that we had to cut for actual product
Brady Speth 24:18
like, we’re buying like, these, this product, and we’re going to put it and bring it and sell it and like that was a big thing for us. And like,
Carrie Speth 24:26
it was huge
Brady Speth 24:27
just now sudden we’re not talking 10 scopes. We’re talking hundreds of scopes. And now it’s a commitment like
Carrie Speth 24:32
Brady Speth 24:32
this is literally out of our checking account. This is something we’re reading by ourselves, not some bazillionaire behind us back, you know, like
Carrie Speth 24:40
college education like are we doing the right thing?
Brady Speth 24:42
We probably did steal some funds from piggy banks and college education, and everything else to get this lead.
Carrie Speth 24:49
Hopefully someday we can replenish it
Brady Speth 24:52
reimburse that. Um, so yeah, so we got we got our first shipment of scopes.
Carrie Speth 24:58
We live like you have to explain that for shipment because we lived on a driveway that was like
Brady Speth 25:03
yeah, so at the time, Riton, Riton optics HQ was our garage and our our office in our house,
Carrie Speth 25:10
Brady Speth 25:10
the den, which is our office that kind of took over and turned into an office. Yeah, we live kind of up on the steep hill. And I remember that we got like a knock on there. I was waiting and waiting and waiting. Because we spent all this goes we did everything want to do, we’re waiting to kind of get our first finalized shipment of scopes. And we all like get a knock on the door. It’s the UPS guy. And we knew him because we got in small shipments and stuff a lot. But he’s like, Hey, man, are you getting a pallet of stuff? And I was like, Yeah, I was so excited. And he’s like, How am I supposed to get it up here? And I was like, Ah, good point. Like he couldn’t get his truck off the driveway. So literally, I remembered it’s still to this day of super vividly of like, pushing a pallet of scopes up this stupid driveway with the UPS guy he doesn’t lay the Arizona suffer I’m pretty sure sweat our asses off
Carrie Speth 26:01
Brady Speth 26:01
get to the finally it’s it’s not even 100 yards, but it was miserable. Get it up there. Get it in the garage. I like felt bad. I give the dude like a shirt. Like, you know, a Riton shirt, a bottle of water like, thanks, dude. He’s like, you’re getting many more deliveries like that already. And I was like, hopefully that’s the goal. Right? Like, he kind of laughed. I didn’t like I feel actually like we saw that guy for years.
Carrie Speth 26:23
in fact, I’m He’s like, he still buys our stuff.
Brady Speth 26:26
Yeah, actually got a customer.
Carrie Speth 26:29
He loved it.
Brady Speth 26:31
So then this is the scary part. I think we make all these decisions. We do stuff. We get it like we’re there. Now sudden, we have product, right that we’ve designed that we’ve done all this testing on ready to sell.
Carrie Speth 26:46
We feel so confident about the product.
Brady Speth 26:48
Like, you’re so excited. And then all sudden we look at each other and we’re like, we don’t have any customers yet. If the hell do we do with this, right? And also, we’re like shit, we need to go try to sell this to somebody. And I think at this point, It was like a Thursday or Friday. So we’re like, Okay, well, we know a lot of gun stores aren’t open on Monday. They’re busy on the weekend. Next Wednesday, we’re gonna go talk to some gun stores. We got to try to get somebody to buy this stuff. Right?
Carrie Speth 27:14
Brady Speth 27:14
And keep in mind when I say we like literally, the sales forces, me and Carrie, because she takes a vacation day, the next Wednesday from IBM.
Carrie Speth 27:22
We each got a polo,
Brady Speth 27:23
like we have the two polos right now that we both put on. So next Wednesday rolls around, I researched like five or six stores here in Tucson and I was like, okay, like, let’s go plead our case. Right. And, and I was so naive, I had no appointments. I know nothing. I literally had like scopes in a range bag. Like, we bag that you take to the shooting range.
Carrie Speth 27:48
Brady Speth 27:49
And we walk into the first one. And he invites us back to his office like, Okay, that’s good, right? Like,
Carrie Speth 27:54
Brady Speth 27:55
normally they tell you to get lost. So we sit down and he kind of looks the product. We kind of explained ourselves. And he looks at us. And he’s like, you know what? The simple fact, Tim
Carrie Speth 28:04
Brady Speth 28:04
like, we don’t say what store but still friends to this day. He looks at us. And he’s like the simple fact that you guys are willing to do this, like, Alright, I’m in.
Carrie Speth 28:16
He’s like, I can just like, I feel so confident that you’re so confident in your product, because it had been like three years by this point. It’s been on that.
Brady Speth 28:26
And then like, perfect. The problem was, is that we didn’t know what that actually meant next, like, I don’t think we were ready for someone to say yes,
Carrie Speth 28:33
Brady Speth 28:34
So he’s like, yeah, we’re Yeah, I love it. I’m in. I’ll support a veteran owned, and I’ll support a local company. I love you guys. Let’s do this. And we’re like, Okay, so what? I’m pretty sure I have like these stupid bit that’ll make you laugh like these pre printed order forms. I get all my ballpoint pen. And I’m like, so how many of those Do you want, and I’m writing it all down, trying to do math on my phone. And then we walk out of there. And we’re like, we like this dude just bought and it couldn’t have been more than five or 10 scopes. I can’t remember at the time of it.
Carrie Speth 29:09
It was just awesome that someone believed in what we did.
Brady Speth 29:13
But someone likes to talk to you like it validated. Like, you know, maybe somebody who’s been doing this for a long time is last our product and like yours were worth it. And they knew like that there’s something there like that gave us a validation. So we’re like, we’ll shoot that was easy. Next. So we got to the next door. Gary, still a good friend. Still an awesome client. He’s same exact story, right?
Carrie Speth 29:36
Brady Speth 29:36
he’s an older gentleman. He’s like, the fact that you guys are willing to do this and take this risk. And yeah, I’m in and literally still buys stuff every week from us he’s an Awesome, dude, him and his wife. But so then we’re like two for two. Awesome, right? So we go to the next one. Boom says yes. Next one says yes. And then comes to us. I still remember this because I laugh about it every day. He says I’m in and I’ll buy your product, but do you have a map policy? And I was like, Yeah, yeah, we have a map policy. And I remember, he puts his order in, I get out to the car. And I was like, Carrie, what the hell is a map policy? And then I was like, Did he say MAP like ma p? And I’m googling and trying to literally on my phone like, I was like, Matt policy, Matt, and I finally found it. I was like, Oh, shit, we don’t have one of those. I remember I was like, we do now. It’s I remember, I went home and like found a map policy. And like, we do have a map policy for anybody listening. Yeah. In the very beginning. That was
Carrie Speth 30:40
The point is that like, we it’s back to the thing? Like, we were so focused on making like, such a good product.
Brady Speth 30:47
Carrie Speth 30:47
that like to your point, like, we got to the end of it, then we’re like, oh, wait, we actually have to sell it like people have to want it.
Brady Speth 30:52
You just don’t know what you don’t know. Like it that naivety of it is so real. Like You don’t? You just don’t know.
Carrie Speth 30:59
But it’s quite the adventure.
Brady Speth 31:01
So yeah, so literally the first day we went out, we had four new dealers, and we’re like, Alright,
Carrie Speth 31:06
Brady Speth 31:07
let’s take up some products. So the next day, we take a product. And literally, we just we did that for a long time.
Carrie Speth 31:13
It was a true grassroots.
Brady Speth 31:15
Yeah, we literally were, you know, our friends were buying stuff from us. And like, we try to give a discount, they wouldn’t take it, you know, like everybody was, that was the one thing that this whole process is like, people want to support people who are willing to go out on a limb want to go try something, right. So yeah, so that was kind of the genesis of like, Alright, we have a product, right?
Carrie Speth 31:37
A really awesome product.
Brady Speth 31:38
And now we have all these people that are willing to support us, like, how do we now grow this? And so not to dwell too long on the whole every inch of the story, but we finally move out of the garage, which was huge. So out of the garage into an actual office, actual warehouse. hired someone. Now we have three employee, which is huge, huge step. Thanks to the government. That is a whole other process just to hire someone and all the paperwork and everything.
Carrie Speth 31:38
Don’t even talk googling how to pay employee taxes?
Brady Speth 32:16
And then we just kind of repeated that process. And even still, to this day, what, five, six years later, like, we still send scopes out to people that test, we still want feedback, we still refine the line, we still, literally our marketing team just sent out this week, like, or last week, a survey of what you guys want to see next as a customer, you know, like, so that is who we are like, we started this whole thing by getting feedback from friends and family, and anybody that would tell us anything. And literally five, six years later, we’re still doing that, because that’s how we develop stuff. That’s really the kind of company we are right.
Carrie Speth 32:49
Like, we believed that if you make a really good product, that’s great, because we went through the struggle of trying to show people that and then you bring the right people together. And it’s like, it’s, you know, you can’t do better than, right. Like, you can only do your best and you always have to be open instead of like, Oh, I know best, right? No better. And we learned that every step of the way. Right?
Brady Speth 33:12
We learned that we didn’t know shit.
Carrie Speth 33:15
Like, you gotta bring in all the people who you know, everyone has like a piece of it. It truly is like a village. And like, you know, it creates created like a wonderful thing, right?
Brady Speth 33:26
Yeah. So yeah, so we started hiring sales reps, we started hiring people, warehouse, customer service, operations,
Carrie Speth 33:34
Just one step at a time each time.
Brady Speth 33:37
Yeah. And it was always kind of, I did everything and carried it everything. And then all of a sudden, like, we can’t fit anything more, we need help. And then we’d hire somebody to do that. And then when that became too much, then we’d like, we can’t do this anymore. We need to find somebody that’s better. And that’s kind of something we’ve always been in some advice, like, when I’ve done other podcasts or interviews. So like on business side of things, it’s always like, what’s your advice for running a company and it’s always find somebody that can do something better than the way you could do it. Like, we’re sitting here doing this podcast, I’ve no clue how any of where these wires go and what the hell they hook up to, and how to works. But I can sit here and tell my story. And I can find somebody that can sit there behind the scenes and do all this so much better than I could ever dream of doing it. And we’ve kind of done that through the whole process. And I think that’s kinda what you’re getting out with. Like, it takes a village kind of thing is like, This company has taught me more about like, letting bringing people in and letting them actually work to their strengths and just getting the hell out of their way. Like, it’s impossible to run a business and like be a micromanager. I don’t understand people that do that because you can’t let people flourish. There’s no way I can do what our sales guys do. There’s no way you can do what operations guys do. No way I can do what our marketing team does by ourselves. So you almost have to bring them in and trust them. I think that’s a big one when like, just bring in baby of a company from nothing to something and then you have to, like, almost let it fly by itself. It’s a weird feeling of like, I don’t actually know what they’re working on right now. And that’s okay. Because you trust them, you know?
Carrie Speth 35:10
Brady Speth 35:10
That’s kind of a weird thing to come from, like, screw this, I’m tired of working three days straight. Let’s do this too. Like, now we have teams of employees that we trust to kind of knock things out and, and kind of move forward with the company. So present day we’re on now from the garage, we’ve moved 1, 2, 3, 4 times. We’re in a new 10,000 square foot facility as of four months ago. What else, just got nominated as one of the top five optics companies in the country. Kind of been a whirlwind for the last forever. running joke around here is like, it’ll get better next week. Oh, they’ll be less work next month, next year, next to next decade or something like that. It’ll slow down. But that’s the way we love it. That’s why everybody’s here seems to love like, it’s fun being part of this. We work hard. We play hard.
Carrie Speth 36:06
Brady Speth 36:06
You know, and I think that’s a mantra we brought to this like we’ve, I, I will speak and I know Carrie can for yourself, like military ranching, law enforcement, like good jobs, not necessarily fun jobs, right. Like, I love my time in the military. I love my time doing law enforcement, but like, not fun, right?
Carrie Speth 36:24
Like what we learned was like, it’s like the balance, right? Like it like we are Workaholics. I’d say would you agree with that? I’m like, in that I wasn’t joking earlier, when I said our plate is always full. I mean, I think that’s just we’re inclined to that. And you know, and so for us, like, continuing to, like balance out the hard work, though, with like, the fun. Yeah, um, you know, I mean, same, like, just like you said, with the military and law enforcement, like, the corporate job has been an amazing job, right, for, you know, my life, right. It gave us a lot of opportunity, even here. But it’s still a corporate job. And, you know, I mean, I think we learned lessons from all those jobs that we wanted to ensure that like our employees, you know, got to be part of something fun and bigger and better and be vested in the growth together, that we all are in it together. And that, like, if we have to work really hard to get there, we can play really hard to so you know.
Brady Speth 36:26
The juice is worth the squeeze.
Carrie Speth 36:46
Yeah, it is. And I think that right, like, that’s always that’s always been our thing, we expect everyone to work very hard. But we also want people to have a life because you can kind of get lost and then 40 years down the road.You know.
Brady Speth 37:42
Alright, so without getting to question and answer, interviewee, I’m gonna put you on the spot.
Carrie Speth 37:47
Brady Speth 37:49
What is and you can think about these because I’m gonna ask questions you’re gonna throw right back at me. Oh, what is your favorite part about kind of having a business like this and running this?
Carrie Speth 37:59
I think my favorite part is that people.
Brady Speth 38:03
Oh, that sucker.
Carrie Speth 38:04
Well, it’s true, though. Because, I mean, I think my favorite part is to like, really believe in something. And then like, see, other people believe in it, too. Yeah, you know, because I think that like, it felt like for a long time that like, you and I were so confident in our vision, right? And there’s so many like naysayers. And you know, it’s like, like moms can relate to this when you’re pregnant. Like everyone gives you pregnancy advice and you’re like, Thank you But no, thank you. I mean, you just don’t know.
Brady Speth 38:41
You never ran a business but please just let me listen to your advice.
Carrie Speth 38:43
Yeah, and you know, not that that like cuz I there’s like good nugget, right bad nuggets, but like I’d say in the beginning right like we had a lot more people who expected us to fail.
Brady Speth 38:56
Carrie Speth 38:56
And so there were days that we even questioned everything but like coming you know, now and there we’re still always working harder to be better to grow better to everything. But for me the most reward now is to see like the team and the way they interact and like the people around us and like to truly care about them and have them hopefully care about us you know, but really be in it together. I like honestly that’s my favorite thing.
Brady Speth 39:25
Fair enough. I’ll take that as
Carrie Speth 39:26
Well, and what’s yours because
Brady Speth 39:28
the fact that I go to hunt for work
Carrie Speth 39:30
I was gonna say I knew it. If he wasn’t being honest I was gonna call him out.
Brady Speth 39:34
work somehow is or hunting is somehow work. No, obviously it’s part of I mean it’s it would be weird to not say kind of exactly what you said the to take something that is your dream and have other people actually own that.
Carrie Speth 39:49
Yeah, they’re in it with you right?
Brady Speth 39:51
That to me is like the single greatest that’s anything business anything. But the single greatest thing to see is have someone like, Hey this is my dream job or somebody come to you then like, I’ve wanted to work for you guys for three or four years. And you’re like, Oh my gosh, like, wow, like, yeah, like three or four years. I didn’t even know which way was up people, like people have been, you know, and I think for people to see that and take that and want to actually like, yeah, in the hunting, but
Carrie Speth 40:17
I think that hunting might be first on that list.
Brady Speth 40:22
And I get to play with guns at work. But yeah, I think that’s the big part for me is just to see that, like, your vision, like you said, there’s so many naysayers. There’s so many people that it’s weird people that like, and there’s everything there’s quotes every single day that people post about crap like this, right? Like, but there’s so many people that literally out there don’t want to see other people succeed. It’s a very weird feeling. But then you have that core group of people that are like, I know Brady and Carrie like, Yeah, I know that like, what they touch what they do they they set their mind to something that’s gonna happen. And so all sudden, you get these people that you’re like, holy shit, like these people truly believe in us and truly want to be a part of it. And then you see these other people who maybe thought we were friends or maybe thought they were had your back and they’re just like, they don’t want to see you succeed. It’s the weirdest thing.
Carrie Speth 41:16
it is, but I think that was a like a big lesson for us. We thought we’re close to where the like, our biggest is naysayers.
Brady Speth 41:23
Yeah. And and that’s fine. That’s great. Like, like, the more haters you have, the better you’re doing. Let’s be real, right? So you know, if you got one, get yourself 10 what’s good got 10 years 100. So I’m cool with it. It’s great. It just drives me to want to succeed more and take care of the people around us. And, you know, I think one of the greatest gifts of owning a business that’s, you know, being successful and continuing to grow is, is that like you get it’s I take this responsibility personally isn’t, in very seriously is it’s not not hiring john, or Joe or Dave or Cindy, right? you’re hiring. Like that person is giving you the chance to like, take care of them. They’re putting their faith in our mine and yours ability to like, provide for them and their families and their teachers and their you know, and that’s something that to me is like, a very serious
Carrie Speth 42:13
It goes back to the job, like so many hours, like we spend so much of our life working that like if someone’s willing to give that to us, right? Like, we have to, like we feel you just want to give something back, right. Like to make sure that we’re all in it together.
Brady Speth 42:29
Ok, worst part about a business.
Carrie Speth 42:32
Oh, boy, oh, boy.
Brady Speth 42:35
Like, like, there’s so many.
Carrie Speth 42:36
No, I’m just trying to think I mean, like, it’s funny, because I can think of like little things that are, you know, annoying or whatever. But I think honestly, on the contrary to what we were just talking about, I think it’s the, like some of the stress and weight of right now you have this wonderful team.
Brady Speth 43:00
It never goes away, the stress.
Carrie Speth 43:02
Yeah. And like wanting to ensure that like, everything continues to go well, for them like,
Brady Speth 43:09
well, it goes back to that beginning where, we’re just talking about like, you have a job. And like, when you have a job, you can leave, like you get to check out you get to go home. Yeah, it’s stressful. You work a lot. But like, at the end of the day, you clock out and you go home, like, people don’t realize, I think that’s the one thing I want to get like, any entrepreneurial
Carrie Speth 43:29
So is your answer the same?
Brady Speth 43:31
Yeah, it’s the same with like a play on it. Because I think that’s the one thing I try to get people who like, to start a business like, yeah, you really need to understand is like, you don’t get to start a business and be your own boss, quote, unquote. Yeah. Because people think being your own boss means like, oh, I’ll go to the gym at 10am and I’ll go golfing and I’ll do whatever the hell I want to do you know, what being your own boss means is like, you’d never get to shut it off.
Carrie Speth 43:54
Brady Speth 43:55
family vacations, you’re answering emails, 1am you’re communicating with a factory in Japan, because they’re eight hours, nine hours ahead of you. Like, I don’t think people truly understand that. Like, I
Carrie Speth 44:04
Even if you try to shut it off. It never shut’s off.
Brady Speth 44:06
Yeah, like I could turn my phone off. I can leave my computer at work. But at the end of the day, I’m like, Oh, I got to do this on Monday. I got to do this decision. This thing is looming. This person is looming. This person needs to be taken care of that needs to happen. And like, people think that being your own boss is great is great. If I want to sleep in one of the days, I could do that if I want to, I’m sure I can do that or cut out early to go to my kids golf match, right? That’s fine. But then guess what happens after the golf match. I now have to go home and I have to work I have to go make up the stuff that I missed. I get to go hunting awesome. And I have to work 518 hour days when I come home because decisions have to be made and it never stops and the bigger your team gets, the more that it never stops because now I’m not just keeping up with myself. I’m have to keep up with 10 1520 100 people and now all sudden it just doesn’t quit. So that’s the downside. The upside is it’s something that you are passionate about something You care about something that you want to see succeed, so it’s easier to do that much work. There’s a lot of hard work is easy.
Carrie Speth 45:06
Yeah, it’s not to say that like, that’s the worst thing. But I would say that like, toll on the, you know,
yeah soul in the body and or whatever like whatever you want to call it, it’s like that taking that weight and that responsibilities.
Brady Speth 45:21
It’s fun. It’s worth it.
Carrie Speth 45:22
It’s worth it but it’s a lot. Yeah.
Brady Speth 45:26
So I think kind of to wrap everything up, there’s the ups, the downs, the ins, the outs, the pool, the stress, the fun, I don’t even there’s not enough adjectives to describe what it’s like to be a business owner. To especially to like start this and run it every day. And yeah, kind of live it essentially.
Carrie Speth 45:44
Let’s see it come from like literally that nothing into that.
Brady Speth 45:48
This is awesome. Um, so since this is our first podcast, part of the rat on podcast, I’m kind of going to be the one hosting this most of it. I have some different experts in and stuff. Kerry’s kind of the guest today. So we are going to start something fun. And don’t worry, we’ll have her on again, we’ll do another part to this, but something that we’ve kind of wanted to kind of make it fun. I love kind of putting people on the spot. So sorry, babe.
Carrie Speth 46:14
I was wondering what that weird white paper was.
Brady Speth 46:16
I hope you want to read it. So I came up with five questions. It’s creepy. I came up with five questions. I should probably memorize these maybe later. Give me a pass on the first one here. Um, so here’s the thing you have to just first thing that comes to your mind. Just a little fun. Whatever comes your mind at the answer.
Carrie Speth 46:33
Brady Speth 46:34
and then I will do this through everyone. I’m kind of curious to see as we go through these houses some of the some of the off the wall questions or answers? I mean, sorry, so Okay. If you had a superpower, what would it be?
Carrie Speth 46:47
Brady Speth 46:49
I like that one. If you could have a beer with one person. Throughout all time, who would it be? Tonight? Anybody?
Carrie Speth 46:57
Oh my gosh.
Brady Speth 47:07
Which one? first or second?
Carrie Speth 47:08
Second. Seems like such a fun guy. Can I admit too, Like I like I have no idea why. But
Brady Speth 47:21
Like George W? Like the
Carrie Speth 47:26
I thought it was some like, I mean, I gotta throw this out there. I thought as some kind of inspirational like women for a minute, and I was like,
wait, but I kind of like think it would be fun.
Brady Speth 47:35
Mother Teresa like does she drink beer? All right. If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Carrie Speth 47:42
Brady Speth 47:46
you can say one kind. You can say Italian? I know. That’s
Carrie Speth 47:48
Yeah, I was gonna say because like, like, and I’m talking like the real stuff not like,
Brady Speth 47:53
Okay, what about one dish? Not like the genre of Italian food?
Carrie Speth 47:58
Um, eggplant? stuffed eggplant.
Brady Speth 48:05
Carrie Speth 48:05
my grandfather’s and it’s delicious.
Brady Speth 48:09
It’s good. But it’s not the rest of my life every night. I would. What would the title of your biography be?
Carrie Speth 48:17
She came, she went, she saw she conquered.
Brady Speth 48:22
She went she saw.
Carrie Speth 48:25
Does that make sense?
Brady Speth 48:26
If I handed you a million dollars right now, what was the first thing you would buy?
Carrie Speth 48:33
An island with a house on it.
Brady Speth 48:36
I like it
Carrie Speth 48:37
Can I add a boat. But maybe the island
Brady Speth 48:40
could be a little boat. It doesn’t quite go as far as it used to say, I’ll take that. I’m gonna think about those answers all night to George Bush’s.
Carrie Speth 48:54
confident about that one is a weird. You said a beer with anyone. Would it be fun?
Brady Speth 48:59
See, and here’s the point of the rapid fire questions. It stimulates it. Now she’s gonna want to change your answer for next time. We’ll see if the answers change next time we have Carrie on. But anyways, thank you for doing this. I hope you guys have fun with this. The goal is to, like I said in the beginning to kind of introduce and let you guys get to know us a little bit better. We have an amazing team here at Riton optics. And the goal is to kind of educate and have fun and just kind of let you guys get a little more in depth look as to what it is that we do and who we are as people. So I think first and foremost, that’s, that’s what Riton optics is it’s us. So we like to have fun doing it. And we’re kind of excited to see where not only the podcast, but he kind of got a glimpse of where Riton started and where we’re headed with me and Carrie, so hopefully over you know, the next few years we kind of will get carried back in here a bunch and kind of see the growth of this thing. So until next time, thanks for watching.
Riton Optics 49:59
Thank you for Listening to the Riton podcast. Please like, subscribe and review. For more information on Riton optics visit us at ritonoptics.com that’s r-i-t-o-noptics.com