Rewriting the Future: Caleb Lawson on Sales, Marketing, and AI Magic

Tune in to this week's episode of our podcast, where against all odds, we welcome Caleb Lawson of Lawson Design from Canton, NC. Men bury the hatchet, little boys keep grudges—so we're leaving the past behind and looking forward to what the future holds. This episode is packed with insightful discussions on sales, marketing, and the latest AI-assisted apps that are empowering small artisans to create professional-level photography. Don't miss out on this engaging and unexpected conversation. Join us for a ride, and let's make this journey unforgettable.


#SalesStrategies #MarketingTips #AIPhotography #SmallBusinessGrowth #ArtisanInnovation #CalebLawsonInterview #CreativeEntrepreneurs #BusinessSuccess #TechInArt #InspiringConversations




Let it be a little more fun, I get it.

Yeah, now you sound weird.


Oh, do I now you sound fine.

You're like doing something I.

Guess I get my fingers out of my throat.


Jon, you don't have to practice that anymore, OK?


All right, you ready to do?

This Let's do it.

Hello Jon Schuler.

Hello, Brandon Gore.

Well, a lot to go over today on the Concrete podcast.

First and foremost, our guest today is going to be Caleb Lawson of Lawson Design.

Who would have thought we'd have Caleb on the podcast?


Caleb Lawson.


I don't know.

I we know him right?


What's going on?

Who, huh?



Has there been some drama that I'm aware that I'm unaware of?


Has something been going on?

I don't know.

Anyways, it's gonna be great to have Caleb on.

So we're gonna have him on a little bit.

Last week, I had to go to Arkansas for a meeting with an architect for a project I'm starting.

I had scheduled it for weeks in advance, so I was already heading out there in the day before I left.


Tornadoes hit northwest Arkansas.

They actually came through Wichita.

They hit Wichita, but there was no tornadoes.

It was just like 80 mile per hour winds and hail and rain and all kind of stuff.

But that same storm hit Arkansas.

So that that night I was getting ready.


You know, the next day is gonna be a pretty lackadaisical day.

I'm gonna like sleep in.

I'm gonna have a nice four and a half hour drive out to Arkansas, listen to a podcast, get there, get dinner, whatever.

But I see a post on Instagram that one of my good friends, his name is Jesse Weegens.


He's in Northwest Arkansas.

American Estates was his company.

He shut it down.

But he does woodwork and he also does concrete.

I, I met him when he came to a workshop years ago and he's been making concrete pieces for some of his furniture.

But anyways, I saw that his neighborhood got wrecked with trees.


I mean, they were just, they're on top of his house.

These are massive trees, like 36 inch diameter trees that are, you know, 100 feet tall.

They were on his house, but also just all the roads leading into the neighborhood were just, I mean, it was crazy.

It's like you just took these massive trees and tangled them together with power lines and just set them down in the roads.


And so I saw this post and I reached out to him and I said, bro, like what's going on?

You know, and, and he said, well, the city, they were supposed to come out and start clearing the roads that night, but they hadn't been there yet.

And I said, well, take a look, you know, go check it and see if they're there.

And if not, I have a skid steer and I have a chainsaw, and I'm coming out there tomorrow anyways, so I'm more than happy to go to my shop and load this stuff up.


And he texted me back later that night and said, yeah, the city never came.

And, you know, the whole city just got wrecked.

I mean, it wasn't just his neighborhood, but literally thousands, if not 10s of thousands of trees came down throughout, throughout Northwest Arkansas.

A lot of areas, they said, were going to be without power for up to three weeks.


That's how bad it was because the power elements were just everywhere.

So anyways, he texted me.

I said, dude, I will be there.

I will be there.

So I got up early, went to my shop like at 5:30 in the morning, loaded up the skid steer, loaded up the chainsaw and headed to to Bentonville.


And on the way I got a hold of Aaron Menken, another concrete artisan who's been to several workshops and got a hold of Menken and said, dude, what are you doing?

He's like, he's like, I'm, you know, I'm thinking about going out and helping people because he lives in Northwest Arkansas.

And I said, I'm going to Jesse's place.

I'll be there at noon.


You know, if you want to come help, he's like, I'll be there.

So we roll in a Northwest Arkansas, unload the skid steer.

I couldn't even drive my truck into the neighborhood.

Then I had to park at a church, you know, way down the way because there was so many trees and nobody, everybody was just like pulling wagons and walking.


And every single house, there's trees on top of the houses and there's power lines.

Literally every power line was down.

All the, the poles are snapped and so me and man can get there and we just start cutting trees and clearing with the skid steer and we cleared the roads into the neighborhood and through the neighborhood in a day.


We got it cleared and so people could get in.

So that's, you know, we, we talk about our whole craft concrete cares initiative that we talked about before and wanting to help people in need.

And this was really the first instance we've been able to facilitate that.

But that's what I did.

I bet people were still in shock though.

Oh my God, dude.


It was crazy.

Like people, it was just incredible to see how much in shock people were.

Like literally they're just walking around in a daze, like completely in disbelief.

And it was weird.

Like I've had a couple instances in my life where I've seen similar things happen and both of them were were automotive accidents and both of them were in Phoenix where vehicles flipped and like rolled down the Interstate.


It happened to me twice where I was behind two vehicles that have done this.

And both times I was the first person up to the vehicle.

And both times the people in the vehicles were concerned about their vehicle, not about the people in their car that were bleeding, not about anything else.


They were concerned about their vehicle.

So this guy, you know, he's in a Jeep and it like flipped and rolled down Interstate had a U-Haul trailer behind it, a Jeep Wrangler, which is so stupid to pull a U-Haul behind it, but he was, he's going like 75 down Interstate, started wobbling, went sideways, flipped and rolled like, I don't know, 10-15 times.


And I get up to him and the Jeep's on its side.

He's bleeding his wife, her face is just covered in blood.

And then they have a German shepherd in the back.

And I reached the Jeep's on the side.

The glass is all busted out and I reached to grab the German shepherd to pull it out.

He's like, don't touch my dog.

And I was like, bro.

And I go to get his wife and he's like, don't touch my wife.


He's like my Jeep.

My Jeep's destroyed and I'm like, dude, screw the Jeep man.

He's like my Jeep.

But it's people like their, their brain just, yeah, it can't even comprehend.

Yeah, it can't even comprehend.

And so that happened with this.

So, you know, I show up and I'm in the skid steer and I have my chainsaw and Menken has his chainsaw.


And we just start cutting trees.

And people are worried about their grass getting messed up.

Like, literally there's trees in her yard that have fallen over and the whole root system's pulled out of the ground.

They have like, like a crater in her yard.

And there's a tree on their house.

And they're yelling at Menken because when he pulled his truck up, he parked a foot onto the grass.


Don't bark on my grass.

I'm like, bro, do you see the devastation?

I just.

Seeded it.

Yeah, and you're like worried about your grass.

But it's not that, you know, it's not that they're they're ungrateful.

It's just that they were completely in shock of like what has transpired and they don't know how to comprehend it.


Another one that was funny was this limb got caught on a power line.

The power lines are all dead.

There's no power, so it's safe to like, get up and mess with them.

But there's a limb caught on a power line.

It's hanging over an intersection and nobody could go to the intersection 'cause it was a big limb.

It's like a 3040 foot limb.

And it's like a pendulum just hanging over the intersection.


And a tree company had come out and they said it was too sketchy to remove.

And me and Menken are like Sketchy's my middle names.

Like, we'll take care of this.

So I, you know, Menken gets in the bucket.

I lift him up and he starts chopping away at this tree or this limb and chopping sections off.

Every time we chop a section off, it like swings wildly and you know it's and then we have to let it stabilize and we chop another section and it swings and finally we get it to where he can push it off.


But the whole time there was a guy blowing leaves with a leaf blower in the middle of the road.

There's thousands of trees down around us, literally around us, and he's blowing leaves off the street as if it makes any difference.


He doesn't know what he's doing.


Yeah, I'm just like, what is?

It was like out of a movie.

It was so crazy.

But anyway, so that was last week, but cool.

Anything with you?

Any news?

No man, same on my end.

I mean I could talk about personal stuff, you know, but that's it.

Like I told you, I started a a 30 day challenge, but that's more that you know, that's just me doing my thing.


Yeah, well, the health stuff's important.

You know, we, we've had a lot of people reach out to us that say that when we talk about the health things that gets them motivated.

But I think that's an important part of being a business owner is focusing on health.

For me and what I keep sending you and my wife are just all these different things.


I keep seeing about consistency.

Consistency is everything.

And so for me, every day I'm just doing a 15 minute workout in the morning.

It's not crazy.

It's not like I'm going to the gym and I'm, you know, going going crazy.

But if I, if I did go to the gym, I probably wouldn't go every day.


I'd probably go three times a week, maybe three times a week.

But at home, I can do a 15 minute workout every day.

And what I told you is, you know, I'm not, I'm not like I'm not getting like jacked, but I am definitely seeing incremental improvements, small improvements.



And so I just feel that, you know, like for instance, my bathtub at my house, my house is over 100 years old.

It's probably the original bathtub.

It's an enameled cast iron bathtub in the bathroom and the faucet leaks it.

It's such an old faucet.

There's no like the valve replacements, you know, the cartridge that goes inside of it, there's no replacements form.


So I gotta take it apart and put a new washer on it occasionally and it'll stop the leak for a while, but it comes back.

But it's been leaking forever and it's, it's created a groove through the enamel on this bathtub.

Now one drop and the enamel's super thick, 'cause this back then they used to do the enamel like, Oh my God, it's like 1/4 inch thick.


You know, a drop of water has has no abrasive quality to it.

But over time it's created a groove through the tub, you know, over 100 years.

And that's kind of the thing with consistency is, you know, you can do these small things and if you just do them every single day, it's it's like that drop of water, it's going to eventually do something, you know.


So consistency, whether it's consistency of diet, like you make it a choice of like today, you know, I'm not going to worry about tomorrow, but today I'm going to try to eat no sugar, no candy, no ice cream.

Like even though I love candy and ice cream today, I'm going to try not to do that.

And then tomorrow you can worry about tomorrow, you know, but consistency, trying to do that every single day of doing things that are a little bit better for you.


And as you know, see, I'm a big not waiting till tomorrow.

And here I'll throw this story.

It's not related to the challenge we're doing, but as you well, people don't know the state championship for trap is coming up literally this weekend.


It is this weekend and mid season, as it turns out.

I won't go into a long story, but my son, who basically taught himself, he's been shooting trap with one eye and and he's been having his own challenges being consistent.


So we went to a workshop and they're like, oh man, you know, you should be using two eyes.

So it really beat on him and his confidence because as he was trying to switch over mid season, by the way, you know, he he was really struggling.


And where I'm going with that is this from a dad point of view, he would be like dad, you know, and this I'm like, man, you got to stick with it.

This is what you got to do.

If you want to get better and you want to, you know, you want your numbers to improve and you want to improve overall, then you need to be consistent with the improvement that you're doing.


And we met with the coach one day.

She's she's awesome too, by the way.

And she sat down.

She's like Jon, hey, you know, I was telling Jayden, you know, it's OK.

You know, we go back to one eye, there's people shooting with one eye.

And she's told me, you know, she spilled her old thing.


And I'm like, well, let me tell you a point.

You know, again, the Jon Schuler dad parent point of view because her whole thing is you don't switch mid season.

And I'm like, yeah, see, that's not about it to me because we don't know what's happening tomorrow.


We don't know when the end of season is.

So your time for improvement, if that's what you're trying to do, is now.

And so here he is, head of struggle this season.

And now he is consistent, almost breaking everything.


You know he's in, if people don't know it's 25 shots and he's in 20 fours and 20 fives consistently now where you know, a minute ago he might hit a 24, he might hit a 16.

You know what I mean?

He might.

He just couldn't find consistency.


Excuse me, consistency.

He was consistently inconsistent.

Consistently inconsistent, yeah.

And part of that was, yeah, the way he was aiming, the way he was, you know, let's say, taught both himself and no real coaches said, well, hey, no, you know, focus on this and that.


And so after I think, you know, he's done this, this is third season.

This is third season doing it and so doing well up till now doing a certain way which I'm not going to say is wrong.

It just left him no room to improve.

Yeah, he maxed out the way he was doing it.



That was it.

And fortunately, you know, I took him someplace I had no idea, had no idea what was going to be taught.

And like, that was one of the first things that came out with these people.

Wow, really?

And then as I started talking to other people like Gerry Mauer, you're familiar with Gerry in Pennsylvania, Other.


Guys are shooting.

I love.

Trap and play I do too.

He's awesome.

That's when it came out even more.

And I'm like, then Jay, this is what we got to do.

Come on, man.

And yeah.

And and he's better for it.

He struggled through.


He stayed consistent.

He he's bearing down.

And now I, you know, not trying to be that dab did did like, you know, set an expectation for him.

But if he keeps his head on, man, he, I say undeniably, will be in top five this coming weekend.


Yeah, I I wish him.

I wish him great success.


Anything concrete related?

We want to hit Jon before we get Caleb on this podcast.

Boy, I can't think of anything.

It's the same old, same old.

I mean, we just had a blender break.


Yeah, you know, So we got a message out to everybody, blending's down for a minute.

Like that was.

I actually called Caleb today.

He's on today, but I had to call him today to let him know that yeah, an order is going to be a little slower than we anticipated because the blender broke.



So anybody listening?

Yeah, our our blender had a piece of equipment go down.

So we're running about 10 days right now until they're back operational.

Well, actually, no, I just got an update this morning and they got the parts sent overnight and they're going to be working on it through the weekend and we should be back in production, they're hoping, by Tuesday.


OK, so a week.

So that's not too bad.



So anyways, the point is if you have an order in which we have a lot of orders come in in the last week or so, if you have an order in, it might take a minute, a little bit longer than normal.

We're usually right on it.

So, but you know, things happen.


Yeah, this was unfortunate.

It was actually in product you being used.

We were in production at the time when it broke.

So of course I don't know what why it would break when it's not in production, but it you know anyway.


So I had a phone call today with a potential customer, and this is concrete related in the sense of this customer is doing a lot of big, big projects, huge projects, and they're doing projects around the world for a client.


And they've used all the brands of mix for this industry.

You know, you name them, they've used it.

And what they've run into is that every one of these mixes, they're having these consistently inconsistent issues where occasionally they curl, occasionally they crack, occasionally they turn white or whatever.


And really the source of all these problems when I talk to the customer comes down to kind of the very makeup of all these products.

And we kind of talked about how all those products, they're marketed differently.

They have different names, but they're all cousins.

You know, they're all like first cousins.


They're essentially the same product.

They're just slightly different.

That one has red hair, that one has blonde hair, but they're they're cousins, right?

Genetically, they're the same.


In the tree, Yeah.

And that tree is polymer is one of the the major ingredients in all these products.

And that ingredient has created a litany of issues.


And those issues are manifesting for this customer no matter which product they've used.

And so they contacted us because they've talked to some other artisans that have made the switch and are are seeing good results.

And so he wanted to talk about the product, what makes it different, number one.

But he also wants to get something to test and, and they have a big project where they have to make all these really large, essentially pavers, but huge pavers.


And before the previous products, they were used and they were told that inch, minimum inch and a half is optimal for the size.

And I was telling them, man, half inch, you're going to be fine, you know, and, and that blew their mind.

But anyways, so you know, I know when we talked to Caleb, one of the things that, that he used to be big advocate for was polymer.


Polymer was needed because that's been the mantra, that's been the, the narrative of this industry for 20 years.

You know, polymer, when I taught the first class in 2005 on GFRC and we introduced Forton VF774, you know, I was a believer in polymer.


I believed in it.

I, I preached the gospel.

I was #1 fan because up until then we were using Quikrete, you know, we were using just traditional OPC concrete.

So here comes this product that is a 5050 sand and cement with a polymer and plasticizer.


And it was a game changer compared to what we used.

But 20 years goes by and there's, there's now a better option.

And so anyways, that's why I said to this customer, as I said, listen, I can tell you all the stuff and you know, you might believe me, you might just think it's, it's shit sales shtick that I'm just saying that it's a better product.


I said, you know, just do me a favor, order 1/2 pallet.

If you want to order a half powder, call Joe Bates and get 5 bags.

But just cast it side by side with what you're currently using.

And then you make the determination of is this better and is this different?

And that's up to you.


I I can tell you all the things, but really those things are meaningless until you actually see it with your own eyes what the difference is.

And that there is a difference that we're not just putting lipstick on a pig and calling it a new name.

You know that this is a different product.

And he's like, done.

He's like, I will, I'll order half pallet today and and we'll test it.




So anyways, that's my concrete related story of the day.



Yeah, yeah.

All right.

Well, it's definitely through this whole time, this whole, let's say, you know, it's been a touchy subject, that particularly raw ingredient has been the touchy subject when to me the beauty of it is now we can start looking at different raw materials for different reasons, different aesthetics, different uses, rather than a necessity.


I mean, you know, cement would be a necessity.

Sand's a.

Well, as far as polymer goes, we have some customers that are blending our mix with mixes that have polymer only for the look they get.

They don't do it for strength.


They don't do it for surface density or surface quality or any of those things.

They get it because the best way to describe it is they get a crackling, like a crazing of the surface and that's what they want.

And so you and I, we've talked about this on past podcast, but you've been testing it is listen, if, if that's what, if you're doing it for aesthetic reasons, by all means you should do that.


Like if you're doing it for a look that your clients like keep doing it, you know, don't, don't not do it.

But we're testing the polymer right now and I think you've sent some out to some individuals to do their own tests that they can add to make her mix and get that crackling effect that the polymer creates.



I get it.

I mean, there's, there's definitely reasons to use a polymer, but for our use, for our use and I, I think that's the, the caveat here is, you know, we're not saying that a, that polymer is a bad product.

If you're doing cladding, cladding on a skyscraper for 100, you know, definitely use polymer.


But if you're trying to make the best countertop, the best sink, the best tile, the best furniture, it's going to create a litany of issues, this whole host of problems that you're going to be trying to overcome.

Stuff you don't?


If you don't have to work around it, then don't.



And we have a different set of expectations.

You know, a customer that's that's putting cladding on a skyscraper that's 102 hundred 300 feet in the air.

Their, their expectation of quality is much different than a customer's going to look at it from six inches away.

You know, if you're doing a countertop, the customer's right up on it.


They're not looking at it from 300 feet.

And so there is a level of expectation that is is not typical of the products we're where polymer is a good product to use.

And so we're just we're very, very we're very specific use and in that specific use, we've developed a line of products with Kodiak that take out the issues.


And you know, we we try to get rid of all the problems and focus on putting materials in that only benefit the end use to.

The best of the ability.

Yeah, through density and strength and color fastness and acid resistance and all these different things.


So anyways, that being sad Jon, do we want to?

Let's get yeah, let's get Caleb on.

I look forward to talking to Caleb.

I look forward to a relationship with Caleb, actually, You know what?


Are we going to talk about looking forward to talking to Caleb or are we going to talk?

To Caleb, I'm going to look forward to look forward to looking forward.


All right, let's get him on the phone.

You got it.

Hello, Caleb Lawson.

Hello everyone and Gaur.


Hello, Jon.

Hello, Brandon.

Hello, Caleb.

Hey, buddy.

Hey, Jon, how are you?

Thank you.

Appreciate it.

Good man.

So Caleb didn't think we'd ever going to get here, but here we are, and I'm glad you're here.

Here we are.

Here we are.

Appreciate that.


Glad, glad we're here you.

Know yeah, yeah, yeah you know, people can have differences and they cannot see eye to eye on things for a while, but that's OK and it's OK to disagree and.

And, you know, I think that's just part of being an adult.


And I'm glad that we were able to to bury the hatchet, so to speak.

And and, you know, have you on the podcast.

So thank you for being here.

I appreciated that.

Agreed 100%.

And I had to like that whiskey.

If you tried it, yeah.

I haven't tried it yet so.

I'll come on.


Yeah, I'm gonna make you try it on the podcast.

Long story short, Long story short, 'cause I'm an old man now, I got a it's called a hiatal hernia, which is like a weird thing.

But anyways, I had to go do a scope a while back.

And so essentially, it's like a congenital defect.

You're born with it.


It's not something that I developed from like lifting heavy stuff.

But it's essentially it's just like this like weird, weird hernia like on on your stomach.

But I kept having like really bad acid reflux.

And so anyways, when I got the scope and they're like, yeah, this is what's going on.

And you know, you need to like comment on like drinking whiskey and tomato salt, like anything that's gonna like, aggravate it, right?


I was like, OK, that's cool.

That's cool.

And then I went to Arkansas last week and I drank a ton of whiskey and I remembered why they said do not do that because I was dying.

Dying like the worst acid reflux.

It's like I drank just straight muriatic acid.

It was the worst.


So I'm taking a little bit of a break and but I definitely tried.

It's here in my shop on the shelf, and I look forward to it.

And, and thank you for sending that.

Yeah, man.

Well, I didn't.

Even see what the brand was, what what kind of whiskey is.

It's called Frank August and I'll do a, a slight plug because the buddy of mine owns the brand, but they're made in, made in Bardstown.


And really I, I'm, I'm a big, I'm a big fan of branding.

As you know, I think Brandon, you can appreciate that.

And so the, the branding, I mean, when you take the lid off the bottom, the, the cap weighs like 7 oz or something.


It's very heavy, which I appreciate.

And so not only is the juice fantastic, it's also just really pretty.

They made the bottle so that you can take the take the label off easily and use this decanter after you finish it.

So it's, it's, it's well thought out and and it's, it's damn good juice.


So, and you sent, you sent an engraved glass with it, which is really nice.

So yeah, it's here in my shop.

And I, I put your sticker on my toolbox.

So I got a collection of stickers in my toolbox.

So Lawson designed stickers now in the toolbox here in the shop.

Mine might go on the forklift so I'm I'm probably going to have a stay lazy my friends.


The the irony of that which I love.

I love irony and so yes, very good.

Nobody's thank you.


More than me.


Well, Jon?

I'm feeling out of it because since I was the biggest hater of Caleb Lawson, like, I'm ready to like sometimes like say.


That's why I haven't say you anything yet, Jon.

Like, right, like, like at least send me pictures or something, you know, and you know, and the kind I can actually look at.

No, I honestly, honestly you, you know, you do more, you do more weightlifting than I do.


And I didn't have any in your size.

So I got.

I got.

I'm not going to send you.

I'm not.

Going to send you a medium, you'd you'd get, you know it.

It'd be unfortunate for all parties.

No, actually you should.

I think that'd be very awesome.

If Jon puts on a little medium shirt, put it on.


He will put it on.

My hairy belly hanging out in the whole 9 yards?

Heck yeah dude, that's sweet all.

Right, well, you got a medium coming your way.

As soon as I get back from vacation then.

I don't know if you heard, but we did go a while back and you know, get some of the, if you don't mind a couple of elephants out of the room that most people don't like.


But hey, congratulations on going your own direction.

We mentioned that some time ago.

It looks like you, you know, moved on and found a different direction from what you were doing with other people.

So congratulations to you, man.

I think that's super cool.



You know, I think, I think a lot of it is there's nothing wrong with, you know, I think everybody needs to choose their own path and nothing wrong with any of it.

And I think for me personally, it was just, it was a thing that needed to happen in my business to, to take it, you know, to to a level that I've been aiming at for quite some time.


And so I think there's just some, you know, some adjustments I got to make from, you know, whether that price per square foot or, you know, a lot of the things y'all talk about on the podcast, you know, valuing yourself and things like that, that really, you know, are going to make a difference ultimately.

So sure.

Yeah, what other elephants are in the room, Jon?


What do?

What do we need to clear out before we get started?

And how big?

Are they?

What else now?

I mean, you know, someday we'll talk about materials.

I know you started, right.

You've been, you've been testing some of the Kodiak, which sure, let's say was counter to a lot of information that you've been presented along the line and it's.


Counter to a lot of information that I've, I've said in public along the line too.

So I mean, if that's an elephant.

Yeah, Well, not necessarily, ma'am, because I mean, you and I have talked quite a bit.

So to me, it's not necessarily an elephant in the room.

I mean, I think with a lot of people, it's easy to just basically say a lot of, especially my thinking when it comes to chemistry and concrete is, you know, Schuler's full of shit, right?


I get it.

A lot of the information that's put out for what's that?

Oh, you think you might have heard that.

I probably said.

It right, I get it man.

I get it.

And so a lot of the information, you know, as it's presented and Brandon might correct me if on this, but you know, I feel like especially when we came out with Kodiak that we came at things from an angle that people first of all hadn't heard of.


And secondly, just weren't used to and specifically related to certain materials or raw materials that were absolute necessities or we had been taught were absolute necessities and that because they're about polymer.


I don't know if we are, you know, if that's a big enough elephant.

Yeah, right.


But such as polymer, yeah.

And and that became a really heavy sticking point I think for a lot of people that it is, I mean, it just, it is what?


Are you making a plum there?

Is that like a a sticky point?

Yeah, right, a sticky point.

Dad jokes here.

Yeah, I got three kids.


Can't help it, yeah.

You and I continue to talk, you know, even through some of the turbulence.


I get it, man.

I totally get it.

But on the other side of it, what I think's pretty cool is when people to the best of their ability, regardless of where they come through, you know, maintain an open mind, maintain willingness to try, which is something that you've been, you know, fairly staunch on, right?


Hey, man, I'm going to give this a try.

Let's see what it's doing.

You're hearing from other people.

And you know, I'm hoping anyway at the moment, you know, that you're seeing some success that maybe you didn't necessarily think you were going to see.


Yeah, I think that's fair.

And I'll say something slightly controversial here on.

I think he'll be amused.

He'll let me finish the the whole thought.

But I still hear polymers are necessary, sort of think it's necessary in so much as I think the effects of polymer are necessary.


And you know, the thing that kind of convinced me to give it a shot was again, conversation with you put with others as well.

As you may know, I'm I'm very close with Mark, with Gabriel Duckett.

They call him Gabe and and, you know, he's an artisan.


I respect a lot and and, and a person that I trust a lot.

And so, you know, to see somebody who respects his own time and his own work as much as I think he should, you know, go in that direction and have success with it, you know, really was a huge contributing factor for me.


But then, you know, talking to you, I think that there's, you know, some of the messaging has been, you know, polymer is evil or whatever in this context, right?

I mean, I know you've said, oh, it's, it's, it's, it's necessary in other places, but in this context, it doesn't work.

And now I think that some of the messaging from that point turned me off simply because the effects of polymer are necessary.


I think you've got to retain moisture.

And so when you were kind of explaining to me some of the effects of, you know, we are retaining moisture, we're just not going about it the same way.

I think that's what kind of won me over to at least give it a shot.

And you're absolutely right.

I'm I'm pretty darn happy with what I'm seeing that I I frankly did not expect it all so.


For sure.

I think I've I've sent you the well done text a couple of times.

Yeah, I had a conversation with a guy today that is working on some really, really big projects internationally and for some big clients.

And they've been using GFRC from different material manufacturers.


And, and the reason I reached out to us is because of the issues they're having.

And those issues directly tied back to polymer.

And so the polymer, it's not an evil thing.

Like like we said this before, polymer didn't sleep with my wife, it didn't kick my dog.

It didn't do any of those things.


Like I don't have a vendetta polymer.

Yeah, it's just in this use and it's very niche, like very small use.

It's detrimental for what we're trying to do there.

It it introduces too many, too many problems over benefits.

There's more problems than our benefits.


And so, yeah, so you're right.

What Jon has done is he's approached it from a different viewpoint and we're accomplishing the things that Palmer was used for in a different way.

So we're, we're circumventing all the issues that were being pumped into the concrete with that ingredient.

We we take those out.

And I think that messaging really, I mean, you know, you're, you're big on marketing, Brandon, and I appreciate that as, as somebody who's also big on marketing, you know, And so seeing, seeing, going back to, you know, to talking to, to Jon about that really gave me the confidence to test it out.


And, you know, a couple of artisans that I'm close with, you know, certainly Gabe Gabriel, but Harvest Leisure is a really good friend of mine.

He's actually about 45 minutes from me.

And so we chat, we have lunch, probably, I don't know, once a quarter or so.

And you know, he's an artisan that I respect and he's very talented and he's had great success as well.


So I think, you know, really just the diving into the community of people that you all built.

And that's one thing I also very much respect because I'm a community person.

I'm I'm a people person.

And so, you know, seeing people that I care about things, that's really kind of drove me to say, well, you know, maybe, maybe I could learn some things.


For sure.

Can't we all?

You know, I saw we all.

I saw a quote on Instagram earlier today, Jack Welch said when you were made a leader, you weren't given a crown.

You're given the responsibility to bring, let me see, bring the best in others, bring out the best in others.


So, you know, I was thinking about that because like, nobody made us leaders or anything like that.

But I do feel that at this point we are in some ways looked to for guidance or advice in the industry.

In really our place with Kodiak, what we're trying to do is help people be successful and bring out the best in what they're doing.


And that's really what we're striving for and that's coming more into focus as time goes on.

That's really, you know, when Jon and I talk, that's what we're trying to do when we are working with artisans is, is help them be successful as they can and put them in the best possible position to be successful, be profitable, but also, you know, have a good work life balance, which we can talk about that later as well as far as just time and the value of time.


And you know, you have three kids.

I have three kids.

And that, to me is the most important thing anymore.

Oh my gosh, yeah.

Well on how funny it is to looking back at you know, thinking about well why would y'all make this product if it weren't for that reason.



Well, it's there's so many factors that led to the creation of this product.


We were probably the most unwilling product developers and manufacturers that exist.

Jon and I never had any intention of doing this.

It was never like, you know, what I want to do is I want to start a company and I want to deal with all the headaches that go without.


Like nobody's nobody set out to do these things.

It was forced upon us through a series of events that transpired and that's how we got here.

But I'm so glad we got here.

The universe has a funny way of things working out the way they should.

And through all these things and you know, we've, it hasn't been smooth sailing the entire time.


We've definitely had our ups and downs, but through all the things we've gone through, we've landed at such a great product line and it is truly, in my opinion, truly a revolutionary product and truly different.

You know when people, when we say it's a better product, like, oh, how dare you say it's better?


I'm like, I'm saying this from a place of using all these other products for all these years and thinking this is as good as it is.

And it was at the time.

But once you have a frame of reference, you see like, no, there is something better.

And it's OK to say that it's better.

It's not to say that what you're using is bad.

It's to say like this solves so many of the problems that I struggled with.


And but again, this all came through, you know, there's this series of of events that that transpired.

But before we move on, I just want to hit one thing real quick.

I don't want to dwell on on the past because the past is the past and we've moved forward.

But what I do want to say, Caleb, is I do appreciate that you did keep an open mind and that you were willing to try something new.


I think in this day and age, people are so polarized and are so tribal and they dig their heels in and they refuse to listen to another side of the argument.

Who are you whispering to over there?

I literally have my cat screaming at me for attention at the moment.


I love that you're whispering to your cat.


Yeah, you like that just.

Smack that cat in the face that'll that'll stop it.

You know, she smacked me back.

I don't know if you guys are familiar with cats, but she's.

Jon, I was in a moment.

I was having a moment, right?


He was saying something, really.


Profile and Jon's over here, my wife.


Wakes up with my wife, wakes up with like scratches on her arm because the cat literally has to touch her all night, you know?


So anyways, I'm sorry I'm.

Sorry, where I was going at this before Jon was whispering to his cat over there.

Where I was going at this is I really appreciate that because that is very rare in this day and age.


And it's something that I think we can all, you know, look up to and learn from.

I personally, I try to do that.

I try to listen to the opposing view.

I, you know, when I watch news, I watch as many different news sources as possible, Ones that drive me nuts, people that drive me nuts.

A good example of this is Tucker, Tucker Carlson.


I used to think Tucker Carlson was like the biggest idiot in the world back in the day.

I couldn't stand him.

But I've listened to some, I've listened to a Joe Rogan interview with Tucker Carlson and, and it changed my viewpoint.

And it was only through keeping an open mind and listen to, you know, somebody actually share their viewpoint on something that you're like, huh, maybe I was wrong the whole time about this.


Maybe I was just digging my heels in and and looking at through a prism that wasn't the true reality of the situation.

So anyways, my point with this is I appreciate that about you.

And and so anyways, thank you.

Well, I, I thank you, thank you.

You know, I, it's hard to do and, and you know this, but what good am I?


What good are we if we can't, you know, look at something in a new way and say, you know what, maybe I was wrong because I did dig my heels in.

I'm 100% guilty of that.

And I, I mean, as I said, I think in a, a Facebook post or a voicemail or whatever, you know, I rushed to judgement based on something that I really didn't have full information on.


And that's on me.

And I think as a person, as, as somebody who wants to be, you know, I, I think we all fall short in a lot of ways, right?

And I'm, I'm certainly chief among those.

But, you know, if, if I want to be the type of person I'd say I want to be, but I've got to be willing to, you know, suck it up when something sucks and admit when I'm wrong.


And, and so, you know, it, it was, it would be silly of me not to give y'all's people a chance to, not to give your product a chance If, if I come to the assumption that maybe I was wrong about something.

And and so, you know, that's kind of where I'm coming from is, you know, we're all humans.


And I think on on most levels, we all want to be in a good place with everybody that we're, you know, around.

And so I certainly am very invested in the growth of our little niche.

I don't even know that I want to call it an industry, but you know, little niche thing that we do.


And so you know, where there is the cultivation of community, I want to be involved.


That's awesome, man.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

And see, I'm one of those that see I'm, I'm just from a different angle, maybe because my view doesn't get, you know, tunnel visioned as much, mainly just because of what I, what I deal with.


I don't think anybody's been wrong.

I, I personally believe it's just it's a different viewpoint and quite frankly, it's different and what I was.

Saying I was wrong in was my assumptions I made about you as people.

You could be right, though.

The the jury's still out.


I would say whole.


Yeah, it could be.

A total asshole.

I don't know.

A lot of people would agree with that statement, the assumption that whether or not I'm proven.

Right, is totally a separate matter.

I'd say give it time, give it, give it time.

Yeah, yeah, let's get beyond the honeymoon period and you might see.


No, no, no, no.

Well, I'm, I'm I rushed to judgement.

There's nothing saying I can't come to the same conclusion later.


I remember I was buying a car from this car guy that was just I couldn't stand him and I had to go back in and and he's like, well, so far so good.

You haven't killed me yet.


And I was like, the day is young.

Give it time, Give it time.

I still might kill you.

So I would I would give you the same advice.

Give it a moment.

You might be right.

We'll see, but Jon, finish your Finish your thing and let's get this podcast going already.

That was it.


No, that's all I was going to say.

I, I don't think anybody's wrong.

I just think, especially when we came out, it came out with a very different viewpoint, which I'm willing to shoulder the blame 100% because coming from other materials that I've designed along the years and even forced myself sometimes into my own pigeonhole, you know, this was a way to really break out-of-the-box.


And that's what we did and that's what Kodiak did.

And, and so I would just say it's different, which ended up a bit vitriol for a lot of people.

But as more people come along and see that these kind of options can be beneficial, I, I, just, to me, it's pretty cool.


It's, it's, I like it.

I like that someone who like this is no way freaking ridiculous.

And then does something to go, huh.

Well, there you go.

Yeah, that's.

That's pretty cool.




All right.

All right, Jon, So what do we want to talk about today?


What do you got on your agenda?


Don't leave it to Caleb.

Caleb, what's on the table, partner?

Throw it at us.

I don't know man, I mean, OK, I've I've mentioned branding and marketing, which is something I'm super pressing about.

I know branding is as well.

It's y'all kind of great guy there, but I mean I'm open so whatever y'all are interested in I'm I'm going to.


Well, here it is.

If I was a new business or, you know, up and coming business, I was a guy just getting into things, you know what?

And from your point of view, what would be some marketing strategies, ideas, whatever we want to say that gets you from doing, you know, coffee cups to getting in with somebody like Disney?


Sure, sure.

I see.

Well, I'll tell you what I did when I moved up to the Asheville area.

So I was in Orlando and, and like you mentioned, you know, some of my clients include Disney, Universal, Ritz Carlton and, and others, which I'm very grateful for.

I mean, I, I don't really hard, but you know, at the end of the day, you know, there's, there's just some luck involved too.


And so essentially what I did and what I would teach somebody is, you know, you've got to find, you know, the people that you're after in the industry, you've got to kind of set yourself up, you got to come out swinging as far as what type of market you want to be in.

And so I go after the top 10 designers in any area I'm in.


So you know, I, I, you know, I'm sit down and I'm going to make a list of like, I'm going to find 15 or 20 websites that give you top 10 designers in the area.

And I'm going to inaugamate those and say, OK, who are the top ten of those top ten?

You know, those top ten websites, You know who's who's on all of those websites?


OK, well, there's number one or whatever.

And, and, you know, speaking wheels get greased.

So I spend a fair amount of time, you know, cold calling, cold emailing, getting on the phone with people, getting past gatekeepers.

And you know, the other thing that I would say is you have to have a really solid portfolio.


Brandon, I know that you're really good about this is, is photography.

If you don't have solid photography, all they're going to get is unfinished, you know, phone, iPhone pictures from 2014.

And that's not going to persuade anybody.

So you've got to get it.

You got to have the willingness to put yourself out there and get in with the right people.


Because Jonny Homeowner who wants to spend $42.00 a square foot ain't it.

And so you've got to have the willingness and the confidence to get with the right people, but then you've also got to have be able to back it up and show them something they can be impressed by.

And, and photography is key.

So, you know, when I moved to Asheville, I mean, I'm a little West of Asheville in a small town called Canton.


And I, I literally, I spent a couple of months, I sent like 400 emails.

I called 200 people, you know, I mean, I sent a lot of text messages, Instagram.

It was really huge for me.

And you know, I was just really, I followed up and by, I think I started that we had a big flood in August of 2021, which is right after I kind of got fully set up and I didn't have any work from August until January, which was rough.


But but I from, I guess it was late November.

So Thanksgiving is I started reaching out to people and by January my calendar is full until the next August.

That's awesome.

And now did you take, do you do your own photography or did you bring somebody in?


I've, I've had a bunch of stuff over the years.

So I used to do my own photography.

If you look at my phone, I literally, I think I have 30,000 pictures and both of them are all job site stuff.

But I have hired photographers over the years and I think that's really valuable.

And then this January, I actually brought a full time, I've brought a videographer and photographer by trade onto my team to learn the trade.


And so he's, he's going to my finished job sites and getting my, my photography, you know, doing my social media, that kind of thing, and also working in the shop.

So I'm, I'm kind of, I think for me, it was really important to, you know, say, look, I, I want your eye on, on on job sites.


But in order for me to really capture what I want to capture, I feel like you need to know the trade and you need to be involved.

And so he's full time working for Lawson Design and does all of my photography.

That's really cool.

I've never had a photographer on staff.

I've always wanted to and never have, but that's awesome.


You know, technology has come a long way and it's made with AI.

It's made it so much easier for a small business to get really good photography.

When we went to Napa, Jon and I went out there and there was a guy, yeah, there was a guy there that has a furniture line he's been working on and he has it stored at a warehouse next to Joe's shop.


And it's, you know, surrounded by boxes and all this kind of stuff.

And it's in this like, really kind of packed warehouse.

And he's been waiting for a photographer to come shoot the pieces.

And while we were there, I said, let me just show you something that I play with sometimes.

It's called Photo Room is the name of the app.


And so I took a picture of the chair and Photo Room is able to pull out all the background and is able to generate AI shadows based on the lighting on the P.

So it it, it understands where the light source is coming from and it creates A3 dimensional shadow off of it.


And you can do it on against a white backdrop, whatever color you want.

And within 30 seconds, he had a photo that was 95% that of what a professional would take.

I mean, it was, it was a really, really good photo.

And he's like, Oh my God, I'm like, dude, yes.


And this app's like 20 bucks a month.

It's a paid app, but it's like 20 bucks a month and for most of us that'll get you where you need to go.

If you're a small business, if you can't bring a photographer in that's 500 box a photo shoot or $700.00 a photo shoot, but you do need to get decent photos.


That's a way to do it.

So photo room, I would definitely recommend people look into it because it it's, it takes a lot of the other thing I would say is practice photography on your phone and practice using natural light and not not artificial light.


So natural light's going to give you the shadows you need.

It's going to help people register the three-dimensional shape.

If you do it in your shop and you have all your shop lights on and lights coming from all different directions, you don't end up with a three-dimensional perspective of the piece.

There's no shadow, there's no light and it's very hard to discern the shape of the piece.


And that's a lot of mistakes that I see in photography from concrete artisans.

They're taking pictures in their shops with twenty LED lights on overhead and it washes out the piece.

So if you shut off all the lights in your shop, you open the garage door, you let that light come in from 1 angle and you shoot it, and then you put it into an app like Photo Room and it pulls out the background and generate shadows around it.


You can get a very, very professional end result very easily.

So anyways, that's my advice.

I like that.

Yeah, I'll look into that.

Well, see, the perfect to start pushing me this direction is Brandon took some photos for one of our workshops.


I think it was a pinnacle or maybe it was for Hero's quest.

I don't know.

He's like Jon, send me some pictures.

So I was sitting here at my dining table.

I even put a a halfway decent shirt on that, you know, probably still said Kodiak of some sort.

But I had the all my lights recessed lighting.


So she takes these picture, sends them to him and Joe too.

Both of us look like freaking Fester.

Yeah, because the shadows are just raking down their face because it's overhead light, Yeah.

So here's Brandon looking all like AI, you know, super cool.


And he's right next to, you know, Uncle Uncle Fester one and Uncle Fester 2.

Like sweet dude, nice.

And I try to tell him, dude, do a three quarter shot, turn your face a little bit from the light so you get shadows on your face.

But natural shadows, they don't.


They don't.

Do not everybody's been on TV, Brandon.

I don't know.

Yeah, right.

These are just basic photography principles, you know, But yeah, so but anyways, that's, that's a great, it's a great app that's fairly new and it's gotten better.

I've been playing with it for about a year now.


And in the last year I've just watched like how much it's improved at being able to recognize what an object is and be able to, to generate 3 dimensional shadows.

Like if I take a picture of a chair, it'll generate shadows from the legs as well as the chair.

It, it understands the shape, understands the shape of the object, it understands the source of the light based on the shadows on the piece that currently exist.


So it's pretty crazy, like how intelligent the AI is that's that's doing these photo adjustments.

Are you at all concerned about, you know, Terminator or anything like that?

1000% dude no joke.

No joke.

I have oscillated between.


I have a project I just started on in Arkansas.

I had an architect I met with him last week, but I oscillate between doing that we're building a house out here that's more or less a bunker like off the grid steel sliding shutters, rammed earth walls, you know, a well solar panels.


I want to be ready for the end times.

But that being said, I I don't have enough money to do both, so I can either do one or the other.

I decided to do the project in Arkansas.

So you know the.

I hear you.

I well and and because I pay attention.

So this is the same architect that did the.


Yeah, Matty Matheson, Prime Seafood.


So his name is Omar Gandhi.

And in my very impressive architect.

Yeah, he's one of the best architects.

I I follow a lot of, you know, kind of what they call starchitects.


These are, you know, kind of young and upcoming architects that are Catching Fire and and doing cool things.

And he's in that list of quote, UN quote starchitects, but he's a very innovative thinker.

And I interviewed a bunch of different architects for this project.

And all of the architects I talked to were very, very talented.


Like their portfolios are really good, but I feel that a lot of them played it safe with what they do.

And so I was talking to one of them that knows Omar.

And I said, you know, I'm talking to you.

I'm also talking to Omar.

And, you know, what do you think Omar is, is doing the projects he's doing?


And he started telling me his answer, but I cut him off.

I'm like, I'll tell you why.

I know why he's like, why?

And I'm like, because he focuses on design, He does not.

He 100% puts design 1st and that's the most important thing.

And you know, you're kind of saying as far as sales and marketing, luck is a part of it.


And luck is a part of it with architects as well.

They have to get a client that's going to trust them and go all in.

And if architect says this is my vision, they're going to they're going to see it through.

And I think a lot of times architects unfortunately get pigeonholed by a customer that comes and says, I want to do something cool.

Architect does something cool.


And I'm like, let's just let's tone it down.

Let's make it more vanilla.

Let's, you know, whatever.

And I think with Omar, that's.

Something I like about commercial work too, that that a lot of times designers are allowed to play a little bit more because they're not beholden to somebody who's married to this thing.



Yeah, but I think Omar has definitely held fast to design first always.

So the design is the most important thing in the lesson for me to what we do is to put design 1st.

And unfortunately again, when we talk about clients is clients a lot of times will reign back a really good idea.


You know, they hire you because they like what you do, then you want to do what you do and they don't want you to do what you do.

They want you to do what they want you to do, which is Chip and Joanna Gaines or whatever, you know, like they have in their mind what they want, which isn't it's not innovative, it's not pushing forward.

So really the only way, in my opinion that anybody doing what we do is ever going to push the limits is to do it for yourself, to come out with a line of whatever that is, a planter, furniture, sinks.


But it's for nobody but you.

And if you do that, then you can really push the limits and and get some traction because the client was always going to, you know, reel it back to some extent and bring you back from where you want to go.

I I will agree with you with one notable exception.


And that notable exception is Dylan Myers.

I don't know if you follow him.

Yeah, no, I do.

He's a good friend of mine for sure.

But I've known him for 12 years and we've been, we've been pretty close that that whole time.

And Dylan has this pretty unique way of literally, he'll get a job and the client will ask him to do something and then halfway through he just decides to do something else, never tells him until it's installed.


And they always for some reason end up loving it.

And I can't, I can't do it.

I would love to do it.

I don't know how see, I don't know how he gets away with it, but he does.

So there's, there's your notable exception to that rule.

He literally just does what he wants.

You know, I heard a story that Fu Tung Cheng tried that one time that halfway through a project, he decided to change the design because he he saw a better solution to whatever they were doing.


And he did it.

And the client was incredibly upset when they took it to install.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

So it's, it's a gamble.

But if you focus on doing an original line of whatever for your for yourself, then you can really push the boundaries.


And that'd be my advice to anybody as far as building the businesses, you know, it doesn't have to be anything big, but just have the little side pet project, something that you can be really passionate about, that you can put, you know, some, some love and energy into and maybe push the boundaries of what's been done if you want to.



If you want to catch fire, if you want to catch fire as far as like sales and marketing, if you want to get publicity and, and blogs writing about you, if you do the same old, same old, nobody's going to write about that.

You have to do something that hasn't been done for people to get excited and start to share it, you know, on social media.


Yeah, I agree with that 100%.

Yeah, that's definitely something we've talked about.

I'm, I do it with chemistry all the time.

I you and I just had a conversation here the other day where I was telling Brandon, I'm like, yeah, man, I had this idea and I, I forget what brought it up, but per what we're saying, you know, sometimes, man, just just go do it.


Whatever it is, take the time, use the material, eat your time, keep that creative spark alive.

And that's what I did.

And it didn't work.

It didn't.

But it it it that's.

What keeps you honest?


Yeah, no, like legit, it did not work well, I'd say and.

I've been following Jon's experiments for a long time, but even before him and I were doing Kodiak together, Jon and I've been in contact for close to 20 years now.

And I'd say the vast majority of Jon's ideas don't pan out the way he thinks they will.


So he'll have an idea and he'll he'll test it and it won't pan out.

But every one of those quote, UN quote failures, he learned something from it.

And a lot of those failures ultimately play into what is the success, you know, 2, three, 5-10 years down the road, that thing that he did 10 years ago that didn't work out, there was a a result of that that now plays into this.


So everything, you know, it's all intertwined.

Every failure is just kind of the stepping stone to a success down the line.

If you don't just filed away as a failure, if you'll see it as a learning experience and there's something gained from that.

And that's what Jon's really good at, is going through all these different experiments and trying new materials and trying new combinations, materials in different ways and mixing materials and seeing what results from it.



Right, Sean, It isn't interesting.

Keeps me going, Caleb.

Fantastic, man.

I'm very, very thankful to get more and more to know you, regardless of how it came to be.


And so I'm excited about future relationships, even future podcasts, man, we'll get more into maybe more into your marketing perspective, designing or or anything else that you're willing to be, you know, part of this community grow and etcetera, etcetera.


So it's it's great.

I think it's cool.


Appreciate that one and you know, 100% absolutely.

I, like I said earlier, I am very, you know, I'm very passionate about this industry growing and being successful and the next generations, you know, of artisans being successful.


And you know, I've, I've don't have as much, you know, time in the game as you all do, But I'm, you know, almost 12 years in and you know, I, I, I hope, I hope you know, that that I've got something to offer and you know, would love to.

I forgot it is desired.


Caleb, I would say that yes, we would love to have you on future podcast.

You know, we have some recurring guests.

We have Gabriel as Jon says, Gabby, we have Gabby on from time to time, Joe Bates, we have Joe Bates as a recurring guest.


So we would love to have you on.

You definitely have a different section of the market that people look up to you as a leader and you definitely, you know, you, you carry a lot of weight with them.

And so we would love to have you part of this community and, and help to grow it and make it better and just elevate every, you know, all the whole thing.


I used to have my website, a rising tide lifts all ships, everybody.

We can come up together with this.

So there's enough business for everybody.

There's enough for everybody to be successful.

And we would love to work with you to continue that mission with Kodiak.

So awesome.


All right, guys.

Well, let's wrap this up.


Thank you for being here, Jon.


Thank you.

Thank you.

Thanks for having me, appreciate it.

All right, guys.

Adios, adios.