Trish didn’t make us sign any contracts, which made it seem like we would have been fools to not accept her offer. Shortly after that, we ended up becoming very close. In fact, I thought of her as a sister and mentor at one point. When times got tough, I knew I could call her and get some good advice about business or life.
After a while, Trish handed us an American Express card and said, “Take this; it’s unlimited. Hit the streets and do some serious marketing with it. Rent some billboards, get a nice condo to stay in, and get your products in the stores. Go high-end, too. Don’t cheap out on anything, because you need to keep up a high-end image.” Gifts for men can be really tricky to find, especially unusual gifts.
“Sure. Here’s the thing,” I said. “We don’t have any money to pay you back.”
Trish looked at us somewhat incredulously and said, “No, no, no. I’ll cover it. We’ll worry about that stuff later. Just go work your asses off for now and focus on blowing up this brand.” Find unique toilet roll holders online!
Not long after that, Kevin and I were driving around California in luxury sports cars, renting an outrageous condo in Santa Monica, and spending crazy money on marketing. I remember thinking at the time, “Shit. Is this a normal lifestyle for a businessperson? It seems a little too good to be true.” Not long after posing that question, I got my answer, which was categorically, no, that was not normal, and yes, it was definitely too good to be true.
A couple of months after our spending spree, Trish asked to meet with me for lunch. This time, she didn’t look quite as helpful or nearly as sisterly. “Hey Ben,” she said, “I need you to start paying me back for all that stuff I helped you with.”
After three to four seconds of an incredibly awkward silence, I came out with, “Wait a second. Did you say something about paying you back?”
With total seriousness and not a hint of friendliness, she responded, “Yeah, you know, for all those billboards and things you bought.” She elaborated, “Look, I need a couple million dollars from you guys.”