TopCoat® – An American Success Story
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Looking for proof that the American Dream is alive and well? Look no further than TopCoat®.
In the last two years, TopCoat® has revolutionized the automotive industry with their ground-breaking sealers and coatings, but the journey hasn’t always been sunny skies. Not that long ago, TopCoat® only existed as an unnamed formula that founder Scott Smith created to use in his detailing business.
A freak accident forced him to re-evaluate everything –
“It was just another sunny day in Jacksonville, and I was tying up some loose ends at my detailing shop,” says Scott. “I hopped in my car to run a couple errands on my way home.
And that’s when my life changed forever.” Scott was stopped at a red light when he heard a woman screaming. He glanced in his rear-view mirror, and saw a truck barreling towards him at top speed. That’s all he remembers.
He woke up in the hospital a week later with his back broken in six places. Doctors told Scott he would never walk again. Scott Smith started TopCoat® from his hospital bed while recovering from an accident that almost killed him.
Working in his shop was going to be impossible –
As he laid in his hospital bed, Scott worried endlessly about how he was going to support his family. “I started thinking about everything I’d learned in all my years detailing cars,” remembers Scott. “If I could use that knowledge to perfect the formula I was already using in my shops, maybe I could take it to the world.” Scott worked tirelessly, experimenting and testing while going through painful rehabilitation, and the first of what would eventually become sixteen back surgeries.
He went back to the drawing board over and over again until he had his eureka moment, and the F11® formula was born. “It did everything. It worked on glass, plastic, paint, rubber, trim, you name it… And it worked better than anything else on the market. And it was an eco-friendly, water-based formula,” Scott remembers. “It was a long hard road, but I knew this was a winner.”
Scott started selling TopCoat® F11® with his family at bike events and NASCAR races. It didn’t take long for people to respond to their passion and fall in love with TopCoat®’s amazing results. Scott knew he was only going to get so far selling F11® locally, and he was in constant pain and facing several more surgeries. He knew they were going to have to go bigger to survive. A call out of the blue kick-started the effort to sell TopCoat® online.
They had nothing to lose and everything to gain –
Michael LaHatte was a serial entrepreneur, who had spent the past twenty years running a marketing agency and various eCommerce stores. Frustrated with delays and the poor-quality products that drop shippers were selling from other countries, he started looking for a better option. A product that worked and was made in America.
And, in the middle of the night, he was hit with an idea…
Michael was a TopCoat® fan from some of his previous work with the brand, so he hatched a plan to begin drop shipping TopCoat® because he knew that if he could produce the kind of results he was expecting, they could eventually build it into a big brand. So, in the middle of that same night, Michael called Scott and pitched the idea of drop shipping TopCoat® products.
After some time hashing out the details and getting everything he needed together, Michael launched a simple landing page for TopCoat® around February 1, …
And in about a week, it had already generated more TopCoat® sales than the previous 2 years.
In fact, there were so many orders that Scott had to call Michael to make sure that this was really happening. He said, “I don’t know what you’re doing, but keep doing it… And I’m going to send guys in black suits with guns over there to protect you!”
About a month after that, the partnership was made official, and a Shopify store was launched. And once again, the results were astounding. The first month of the Shopify store saw more sales than in the entire history of the company prior to that point, and the first 10 months saw growth of 315,000% (and that’s not a typo…)
“You know how Apple started with two guys in a garage? It was like that, only a little more redneck.” Says Michael LaHatte, co-founder of TopCoat®. ““At first we were excited that people were responding,” added Scott. “But then we quickly started getting overwhelmed.” Scott’s house became a whirlwind of packaging and distributing as the TopCoat® operation quickly spread down the hallway, then into the kitchen, then into the spare bedroom.
As demand kept growing, every room in Scott’s house ended up stacked with boxes of TopCoat® F11® waiting to go out. Delivery trucks were at Scott’s house five times a day and his floors quickly started warping and collapsing from the weight of the boxes.
At the one-year mark, the industry was almost as stunned as Scott and Michael. TopCoat® was outselling big brands with decades of experience. Scott puts their success down to two things: Outstanding customer support, and an exceptional product. “There really is nothing close to F11® on the market.” Scott says.
With F11®, you can get the same depth of color and shine at home that would normally cost hundreds of dollars in professional detailing, and one bottle of F11® replaces thousands of dollars in different cleaners, waxes, polishers, hoses, buckets, and brushes!” “It works so well that it almost sells itself,” Michael added. “Folks apply it once, and when they see how easy it is to keep their vehicles clean and protected, they become instant fans.”
TopCoat® now has dozens of employees and are hiring more every day –
They’ve recently opened a new 30,000 square foot facility in Jacksonville to support the existing 40,000 square foot facility they moved into when they outgrew Scott’s house.
Scott and Michael are grateful to all the customers who have taken this journey with them, and they’re excited for the bright, shiny future of their own version of The American Dream.
Check out the TopCoat® website for more information and never wash, scrub or wax your vehicle again.