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3D Thinking – Interview With Tracy Hazzard From The Unshackled Owner Podcast With Aaron Scott Young

The path to creating a successful business is not a one-way street. On today’s show, Tracy Hazzard joins Aaron Young on The Unshackled Owner Podcast to discuss how she and her husband, Tom Hazzard, used 3D thinking to succeed in their entrepreneurial journey. Tracy shares the mistakes and missteps they made along the way and the lessons they gained after that ultimately helped them grow their business and taking over $2 Billion worth of products to market. Tune in to learn about her journey to success and gain valuable business and design advice along the way.

Listen to the podcast here

When we add up our life’s experience, when we think about what have we actually done in our life, you’ll be surprised. If you start to really boil it down to how many face to face sales presentations have you done? How many people have you closed to? How many dollars does that add up to? How many people does that affect? When you start to really boil down the impact of what you’ve done out there in your business, wherever you are right now, you’ll be surprised at the impact that you’ve already made. Tracy, I need to ask you a question as it relates to this whole idea of the unshackled owner. You started out with a Goliath that battled with you. You guys went on. You’ve designed a new system where you’re able to take lots of products to market, do multiple millions of dollars. I know you and Tom work together. Do you work mostly with employees, with contractors, with vendors? Because you can’t do it all by yourself. How is your team designed?

Hope is not a plan. You still have to work the system, you still have to work the plan, you still have to go through it. # The Unshackled Owner #Aaron Scott Young #podcastinterview Click To Tweet

That’s really interesting. I think that was the biggest takeaway for me from the first business, from TTools, when we had all these employees. Because we were doing light manufacturing on assembly of the products. I had a lot of employees, I had a big team. I felt very burdened. You and I have talked about this when you first started because unshackled meant something to me. It resonates when someone’s had that experience. It kept me up at night worrying, “Did I get enough orders this month?” All of those things stressed me out. When we built the business the second time around and we built it to be able to do very diverse product lines, we built it with a virtual team. I don’t mean like a VA like people do it here. I have an entire team that’s in Asia that works exclusively with me, but we don’t support them directly as employees. They are autonomous, they can take other projects, we just take up a lot of their time. We’ve been working with them for a very long time, for almost eight years now.

3D Thinking | Tracy Hazzard | The Unshackled Owner Podcast with Aaron Scott Young

3D Thinking: It’s come from having done it 250 times and making a whole lot of mistakes along the way to understand what that path is.


We’re all very comfortable with how we work. We have systems in place to communicate. Everything flows and works and is as efficient as possible. That’s what we built to be able to handle that.

In addition to that, we have designers we bring in to expand our products. Tom and I, we basically design products for mass market retail – consumer products you buy every day, things at Costco and Walmart and Target and a lot of the products lately are in Amazon. We get a lot of smaller companies coming to us that are startups and entrepreneurs doing what they call private label selling on Amazon. We can handle their business, too, but sometimes you fall into a realm of, “I’m not totally the expert in beauty tools. I might bring in somebody who’s had a little more experience in that as a designer to work with us on a project.” I can flex and do that based on products that I don’t know enough about.

3D Thinking | Tracy Hazzard | The Unshackled Owner Podcast with Aaron Scott Young

3D Thinking: It’s those flaws and mistakes, those things that we learn from, that make our future possible.


Certain things may be better, more useful coming from online versus a store. You could buy like a piece of heavy equipment, a big back loader, or a backhoe online, but odds are you’re going to go to a place, a physical facility, look at it, learn how to drive it, get some instructions, have a place to get it serviced. That’s not an ideal Amazon product. There are other things that why wouldn’t you be buying online versus in a physical location? My point is, Tracy and her company have figured out how to take your concept and using all the different channels, not being limited to one way that they’re familiar with, they’re able to go to lots of channels to get people to this multi-million-dollar result over and over and over again. It takes looking at all of your options. There is not one path to the top of the mountain; there’s a thousand paths. Just because you’re familiar with one doesn’t mean it’s the only one or even the right one.

3D Thinking | Tracy Hazzard | The Unshackled Owner Podcast with Aaron Scott Young


You’ve hit on it, Aaron. That is what we do and that’s really our secret sauce here. I share it because it’s come from having done it 250 times and made a whole lot of mistakes along the way to understand what that path is. For us, it’s not a direct route, but it has an order to things. This is what we tell people that is the unusual part. It’s not like we do anything different than another industrial design firm might, which is technically what we are, or another sourcing agent who finds manufacturers for you. The part that we do there is the same because there’s lot of great practices to model after. The order we do it is what increases our success rate. Seven out of ten consumer retail products fail in the market. Tom and I have an 86% success rate from our products that we’ve done with our clients. When I say we have 250, those are just the 86% successful ones. They were a couple of duds in there. It happens.

3D Thinking | Tracy Hazzard | The Unshackled Owner Podcast with Aaron Scott Young


We flipped that around because what happens is, we have an order we do things in. We essentially kill off ideas really quickly that won’t work, that are unlikely to be successful either in the sourcing process, the pricing process, the manufacturing process, whatever it might be. We know that because we’ve done it with so many different products and we know what works and what doesn’t and we synthesize that down to a specific order. Our key is at that very beginning not getting attached to these ideas. These ideas are not babies. We don’t work with inventors very often because inventors get too caught up into their idea. We want business builders.

You have to give your ideas a chance, but you also have to have some measurement tool. # The Unshackled Owner #Aaron Scott Young #podcastinterview Click To Tweet

Watch the episode here:

3D Thinking | Tracy Hazzard | The Unshackled Owner Podcast with Aaron Scott YoungThe Unshackled Owner

Aaron Scott Young