Break Through is a podcast series about making. Making discoveries, making a difference in the community and making the world a better place. It’s the stories of startups and inventors who are developing products that have social value by solving real world problems. It’s about artisans and entrepreneurs who have broken through the mold to live their best lives.
Welcome to episode number seven of Break Through, a NextFab made podcast series. I’m your host, Ron Bauman, founder of Milk Street Marketing and a member of NextFab. Our guest on this episode is Jessie Garcia, a technical entrepreneur whose bowling accident as a child led to the idea for Tozuda, a collision detection sensor that helps identify potential concussions. After experiencing high impact collisions throughout her life playing softball and rugby, Jessie has devoted her life to preventing the long-lasting effects of concussions.
Ron Bauman: Good morning Jessie, how are you today?
Jessie Garcia: I’m doing good, thank you.
Ron Bauman: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us this morning.
Jessie Garcia: Yeah, for sure, anytime.
Ron Bauman: So we’re here at NextFab South Philadelphia in your project space for Tozuda. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Jessie Garcia: Yeah, a little bit about myself? Name’s Jessie Garcia. I’m the CEO and founder of Tozuda and we manufacture head impact sensors for concussion awareness. But I guess before I got into all of this, I was an athlete my whole life, I love playing sports and realized there was a big need for people to know when they get hit to hard, especially know they have a concussion.
Ron Bauman: So you played sports? What did you play?
Jessie Garcia: Yeah, so growing up I played softball. I traveled competitively starting at the age of six and just traveled nationally for that. And then when I went to college, I was at a club there and someone’s like, “You look like a rugby player.” And I was like, “Yeah, let me try rugby,” and fell in love with that sport.
Ron Bauman: Now, did you have a concussion at some point that prompted all of this?
Jessie Garcia: Yeah, so I’ve always been hard headed.
Ron Bauman: Okay.
Jessie Garcia: Yeah, always been hard headed and I have a history of concussions actually. So my first concussion actually happened in bowling, believe it or not.
Ron Bauman: Really?
Jessie Garcia: Yeah, people are always like, “This is the safest sport ever.” And I’m like-
Ron Bauman: Tell us about that, all about that.
Jessie Garcia: Yeah, so it was my eight birthday party and I was tying my shoe and my friend went back with the bowling ball and knocked me unconscious. So that was my first concussion, but I was knocked out cold so that was always that. And then playing softball, I got hit in the head with a softball, also knocked out cold. So it was very clear instances of being hurt. But the one that was my worst one was in rugby and what was crazy about it was that I wasn’t knocked unconscious. I was going in for a try, which is a touchdown, touchdown equivalent, and got blindsided by this girl and just kept playing. And three days later, my coach emailed me and was like, “Jessie, I was looking at the footage. I’m so sorry, you were definitely concussed.” But even though I wasn’t knocked out, it was my worst one because I did everything wrong to recover.
Ron Bauman: Did you know at the time that you had taken a shot at that point?
Jessie Garcia: I knew I took a shot but I just-
Ron Bauman: You didn’t have any effects or anything like that?
Jessie Garcia: I didn’t know what the effects even were. That was back in 2009 so I remember, if I think about it, I was like, “Oh, why am I making myself go cross eyed? Why do I have such a bad headache after this game?”
Ron Bauman: You had symptoms but you didn’t really know it.
Jessie Garcia: Correct, there just wasn’t a lot of education about it. It was a club team so we didn’t a trainer on site. At least my coach notice three days later, “Hey, don’t play for the next couple of weeks.” But I really struggled in school, I had a hard time reading and writing for about six months. I had constant headaches. There was a lack of focus so I really struggled. And I think, or I know it was because those 24 hours after the injury happens are really critical with how your recovery will be later on. And like I said, I just didn’t even know to take care of myself and that’s kind of where this whole product was inspired.
Ron Bauman: So the coach of your rugby team notices that you were obviously had taken a shot, you were suffering some effects, tells you not to play for a couple weeks. At what point did you realize that these other symptoms were a result of that hit? I mean, was it a couple of months later after you started-
Jessie Garcia: Yeah, it took a couple months. It really took a couple months to realize that this was the lasting effects of an undiagnosed concussion. I did not have guidance from a doctor, my coach at least sat me out. And it was funny, I actually wanted to play.
Ron Bauman: Right, I’m sure.
Jessie Garcia: Because that’s a common symptom, like, “Oh, I’m fine.” I didn’t think anything of it. But realizing, “Wow, why am I struggling so much in school this semester, why is it taking me 20 minutes to read one page of book?” That really made me realize what was going on. And then I just started educating myself and realizing it was that.
Ron Bauman: Was there anything that could be done at that point, I mean medically?
Jessie Garcia: No.
Ron Bauman: You sort of had to wait it out?
Jessie Garcia: At that time, there was some rehab things going on. But as a college student, that wasn’t necessarily in the top of my mind that I have to go to rehab or even go to a doctor to get checked out. Hindsight’s 20/20 that I’m like, “I could’ve done a lot differently.” I’ve always was student athlete, I wasn’t trying to go pro for rugby or for softball, I always put my academics first and I wish I would’ve just known and that’s kind of where-
Ron Bauman: Do you still feel any of the effects today?
Jessie Garcia: I do feel a little different, if that makes… I don’t know how to describe it. Not that I’m cognitively different, but I used to read through… just go through crazy, reading really fast, speed reading. Lately, I just do a lot of audio books for my content. And it’s just the lack of able to focus and move as quickly. It is frustrating.
Jessie continued to tell us about her time as a student athlete at Lehigh University, how she got the idea Tozuda and where she found her entrepreneurial spirit.
Jessie Garcia: So I majored in global studies. I did minors in entrepreneurship and gender studies while I was an undergrad. So my academic career took a lot of crazy turns. I went into school thinking I was going to do bio-premed. I loved science, loved biology. Did great in labs, I loved being hands-on. In the classroom, it didn’t translate so well in the bio sense. But then, was thinking about doing global studies minor because I loved learning about problems in the world around me and fell in love with that major. And as I was graduating, I was trying to figure out what I was going to do and I heard about this masters program called technical entrepreneurship and it was basically half product design, half business. And went into that full-
Ron Bauman: At Lehigh?
Jessie Garcia: It was at Lehigh as well. And that’s basically where I started developing Tozuda because the whole idea of the program was think of an issue you’ve dealt with personally.
Ron Bauman: That was going to be my next question, where did you get the idea for Tozuda?
Jessie Garcia: Yeah, it was just start… We took creativity classes, and prototyping classes.
Ron Bauman: At some point during this masters program for technical entrepreneurship, being prompted to come up with an idea, something, a product that solves a problem or an issue, you drew from your own past experiences and came up with the idea for Tozuda.
Jessie Garcia: Correct, yeah, I was able to come up with Tozuda during the technical entrepreneurship program at Lehigh. Essentially, what it came down to was I was a broke college student and I was playing-
Ron Bauman: As most are.
Jessie Garcia: As most are. Well, I was a broke college student, I had this injury, I looked into product on the market that would’ve told me, “Jessie, stop what you’re doing,” and there this $200 mouthguard. And I’m like, “Wow, this is awesome.” I go through four mouthgards a season because I chew through them or I lose them.
Ron Bauman: Now is that preventive, or was that sort of what you have there, in a sense?
Jessie Garcia: Similar to what we have today, just that it was an alert to let you know that you have a head injury. And I was like, “Cool, I would totally buy this if I could.”
Ron Bauman: But $200 a pop, going four times or five times a year.
Jessie Garcia: Yeah, it would’ve been way too much, definitely way to cost prohibitive. I started exploring that and I realized I was not alone in that story. 60% of high schools and teams use refurbished equipment. And as I talked to coaches and players, I realized cost is factor for them as well. So I was just like, “How could I make this affordable? How can I make this accessible for people like me?” Because I wish I could still be playing sports, I loved hitting people. You know what I mean? That’s a great feeling to play contact sports and be a part of team and unfortunately I can’t do that just because of my history with head injuries.
Ron Bauman: Well you in luck. We set up a little rugby match across the street in the park for the B roll footage so we’re going to go at it.
Jessie Garcia: Yeah, no, I don’t know to describe it but it’s something that I want people to keep doing safely and at least to know when to stop. Because we know to ice our ankles, we know to tape up before a game, but since head injuries are in invisible injury, it’s a lot harder to know when to stop because your brain can play funny games with you. You’re just like, “Oh, why am doing that? Why am I making myself go cross eyed?” And it’s like, “No, you can’t control what’s happening right now.”
Ron Bauman: So you’re in the technical entrepreneurship program, you come up with the idea for Tozuda. You graduate from the program, then what? What happens next?
Jessie Garcia: I go to work for my family’s business.
Ron Bauman: Okay, which is?
Jessie Garcia: So they do Hispanic food marketing and food brokerage so their company is called HAP Hispanic Advertising Promotions and they help large CPG companies enter into the latino food market. So yeah, so I grew up around entrepreneurship, seeing with them. They stared off doing supermarket demos, street festivals, things like that. With Tozuda, Tozuda is an idea at that point. When I graduated, it was just provisional patent, I was still trying to figure out how to make the technology work. I knew I wanted to make it non-electronic but I didn’t know how. So there was a lot of testing and nights and the weekends, but I was just living at home in New Jersey, saving-
Ron Bauman: So you’re working full-time during the day for your family business.
Jessie Garcia: Working full time for them, yeah,
Ron Bauman: And putting in nights and weekend on your passion, on Tozuda.
Jessie Garcia: Yeah, putting as much time and effort, saving all of my money, living of… Thanks mom and dad. Just living as frugally as possible because I knew I wanted to do something with it eventually. But I think part of that too, I didn’t really believe in myself at that point yet. I’m like, “Who am I to be doing this type of stuff?” I was a global studies major and had this crazy career path. But I started gaining more confidence by learning more skills. So when I was home, I took a class on… I’m sorry, I’m forgetting everything, forgetting, 3D modeling and design, yeah. So I did that at community college, taught myself how to do it. Then I took an art welding class for fun to just start playing around, being more hand-on because I realized that’s what I liked from labs.
Jessie and I then talked about how she found NextFab. How’s she learned by working with it’s members and the challenges of product development.
Jessie Garcia: Yeah, my cousin Nikki, she had gone to grad school at Penn, she’s gotten a job as an architect. They had taken a tour here and she was just like, “Oh, you should work here because you’re working in food brokerage and food marketing.” She knew I was trying to break out of that but I didn’t know how yet. I get an interview here at NextFab and during the interview-
Ron Bauman: What position did you interview for?
Jessie Garcia: I interviewed for a marketing manager position. But during my interview, they asked, “What are you doing with Tozuda?” And I said, “I don’t know really. I’m working on it but I haven’t really put all of my eggs into one basked yet.” They’re like, “Oh, you should.” Whoever I was speaking to in HR was like, “You should.” They made me think about it, like, “Why aren’t I doing it-”
Ron Bauman: They gave you a little nudge, they gave you a little shove.
Jessie Garcia: Yeah, they totally gave me that little shove. I didn’t get the job but I came to visit and take a tour of NextFab and realized, “Okay, if I want to actually make this product, this is the place to do it.” So took a big leap of faith and quit my job and moved with my fiance, Chris, and moved to Bensalem or the Philly area.
Ron Bauman: Where were you at originally?
Jessie Garcia: I was in Clifton New Jersey.
Ron Bauman: Okay, so farther up north.
Jessie Garcia: Yeah, further up north. And that was the other crazy thing too-
Ron Bauman: Is that were you grew up?
Jessie Garcia: I grew up in Bloomfield New Jersey which is right outside New York. And then my parents moved to Clifton after. And they were like, “Why don’t you find something in New York, closer to home so you can still live at home.” They were really trying to push me to stay.
Ron Bauman: Sure, of course.
Jessie Garcia: And that was the crazy thing, there was nothing in those areas. You would think New York City, I think they have-
Ron Bauman: Nothing like this?
Jessie Garcia: No. And then other maker spaces are very much connected to schools. So you could find them at local universities, but if you’re not a student, you don’t have access. So it was either Philly, Pittsburgh or San Francisco. And then Philly-
Ron Bauman: Philly was closest.
Jessie Garcia: Yeah, Philly was closest. Chris got a job up in Warminster so it made sense to…
Ron Bauman: So you settle into idyllic Bensalem.
Jessie Garcia: Idyllic Bensalem.
Ron Bauman: In lower Bucks County.
Jessie Garcia: Yeah.
Ron Bauman: I know it very went very well.
Jessie Garcia: Yeah, idyllic Bensalem, it’s been great so far. And then just got a dedicated desk here.
Ron Bauman: That was my question, what was your first membership level? How did you first become a member? What was that like when you first started here?
Jessie Garcia: Oh, when I first started here-
Ron Bauman: You started as a full-time member right from the get-go?
Jessie Garcia: Yeah.
Ron Bauman: Wow.
Jessie Garcia: I started full-time member-
Ron Bauman: You were like, “I’m diving right in.”
Jessie Garcia: Yeah, and I bought crazy class package because I was like, “I’m going to learn everything. So I was like, “Metal shop, vertical mill, lathe, MIG, TIG, pulse welding, laser cutting, illustrator, 3D model.” I was like, “I want to know how to use everything here.”
Ron Bauman: Software, tools, everything.
Jessie Garcia: Software tools, everything. Because I was like, “This is what I’m going to need to build this product, so why not?” Well, especially in the beginning too, it was just myself working on it. Actually, we had met an intern, Matt, he was our first intern for Tozuda. He was from Jersey and he came and moved in with us for the first summer.
Ron Bauman: Nice.
Jessie Garcia: Crazy. Julie, was an HR here, she always laughed. She was like, “That’s crazy that you did that.” But he was awesome and we got him hooked up and basically helped me start making the product, going from 3D printing to actually fabrication in the metal shop.
Ron Bauman: So that was sort of the prototyping phase was you were making 3D models or using a 3D printer to create basic prototypes. Talk about that product development process here at NextFab and how they helped with that and helped guide you through that.
Jessie Garcia: Yeah, definitely started 3D printing, like you said, for the majority of our prototypes and then we realized that we need a little bit more repeatability and tolerancing when it came to how the device activated and worked. That’s when we started moving into the metal shop and we started using the lathe a lot to make small tubes by hand. And we would get much better quality control using the lathes. We got to the point though, where the sensor function was a little differently at the point, was a magnetic base sensor, it’s spring based now. But we got to the point where we were like, “Okay, how do we make 100 of these?” And since we had a mechanical device, we knew we had to go into injection molding. So that was when I started talking to people at NextFab, I was like, “Hey, can you connect me to some manufactures in the area?” And they did. But all the manufactures contract, quotes came back for $30, $50K a pop for a mold that we don’t even know if it would translate into how the device would work, if that makes sense?
Ron Bauman: Sure.
Jessie Garcia: So I was like, “I don’t blow through all my savings that I worked really hard for to do.” And then we bought our first tabletop injection molding machine, it used to make golf tees. So you just load the plastic. It was really hard to even get it to… It was a piece of crap. But it worked, we shot plastic, we taught ourselves how to the use the Hoss. Matt and Chris on our team taught themselves how to use the Hoss and make molds. And then we realized, we were like, “Okay, we can get better at this.” And then I bought the machine behind us off of Ebay. Once we realized the tabletop wasn’t sufficient enough, we bought that machine off Ebay, also didn’t work when we first bought it. And it took about nine moths of refurbishing it with Chris to get it up and running to make parts and learn the mold making behind.
Ron Bauman: It’s been a journey, it’s been a process.
Jessie Garcia: It’s been a crazy journey.
Ron Bauman: But look at all the cool things you know how to do now.
Jessie Garcia: Yeah, I learned by being hands-on, for sure. And this is definitely the place to play and fail and keep learning. And I’ve also have learned a lot by just bringing on really great team members who know a lot more than I do.
Ron Bauman: That’s always important.
Jessie Garcia: It’s always super important and I do look at the staff of NextFab kind of an extension of our team. So when we’re doing things in the metal shop, we always know that there’s someone who knows a little bit more than we do to refine it to that next level that we need it to be.
We went on to discuss the NextFab community, how Jessie employs various methodologies and her dedicated project space for Tozuda.
Jessie Garcia: Being up in the incubator space, it’s really motivating to be around such an energetic environment because you see other companies starting up, struggling, succeeding and it just kind of gives you that motivation every day to keep going even when you have a bad day. Because lots of highs and lows when comes to building startup and a product because some days it works great, sometimes it doesn’t and you have to figure out why not. Everyone up there is really encouraging and it’s nice that during different stages of development, you could talk to Charlie next door. Charlie’s company just raised a ton of money so I’m like, “Hey, how do I start fundraising?” And you can chat with him about it or people come to us and they’re like, “Hey, you injection mold stuff, how do we design for injection molding?” So it’s really collaborative.
Ron Bauman: A lot of shared knowledge?
Jessie Garcia: Oh yeah. And that’s the crazy thing, our team knows a lot, but when we don’t, which happens, we can go 10 feet out-
Ron Bauman: Somebody here’s going to know the answer.
Jessie Garcia: Yes, someone’s going to know the answer and if not, find the right person.
Ron Bauman: Make the right connection.
Jessie Garcia: Yeah.
Ron Bauman: That’s a great resource to have.
Jessie Garcia: Oh, it’s a huge resource. We don’t leave here a lot but you could do so much.
Ron Bauman: That’s a recurring theme that we’re hearing from people that are here when we ask them. I just conversationally asked them, “Where do you live?” The most common answer is, here.
Jessie Garcia: Yeah, no, it’s totally here. It’s so convenient to have every type of tool you would need to make something in one place. Because like I said, you could go to a library and they might have a 3D printer and a laser cutter, but they don’t have any electronic section. This is just everything under one roof. I love the metal shop, I think it’s a huge aspect with scaling, manufacturing and production.
Ron Bauman: And you’re one of the few members that actually hit almost every department in NextFab.
Jessie Garcia: Oh, yeah. For sure, yeah, we are utilizing the metal shop for all of our modeling tool making, we are using the wood shop for some of our assembly fixtures. Laser cutter for assembly fixtures, 2D printing for marketing materials, electronics.
Ron Bauman: So even beyond product development, actually helping to grow the business.
Jessie Garcia: Oh yeah, we could basically fix anything on our machine here if we need to run maintenance on it or stickers for trade shows. Just little nice touches that you would always have to outsource that somewhere else and you could just do it yourself which save a lot of money, at least in the get-go until you could outsource it eventually. But for right now, it’s perfect.
Ron Bauman: So you started out as a full-time member, you had dedicated desk, you have an office up in the incubator space and your footprint has been expanding. And now we’re here, you have your own project space. Tell us about some of the little trinkets that we… and all these things that we have around here in your project space.
Jessie Garcia: Yeah, so we mostly moved into the project space for testing capability. So we had to build a test rig to do drop testing with our sensor so that’s what back there. And we could attach helmets, drop in any orientation that we want to do the different specs and testing.
Ron Bauman: So you don’t just put the helmet on and run into a wall?
Jessie Garcia: I’ve done it. No, just kidding. Yeah, no, we have that, we have our injection molding back here. So I have a dry hopper, so we treat our plastic, could run the machine, an ultrasonic welder so we could fuse plastic together with hermetic seals. We do have a little CNC machine that we’re actually hacking. We would use it as a CNC machine to cut metal, but we use it a spring line tester. We’re using the touch probe for quality assurance because any variance of the tolerance in the spring will change how the device works. So we test all of our spring there. Assembly table, we have a helmet to helmet test rig too. Little bit of everything. Sorry.
Ron Bauman: It’s all right.
Jessie Garcia: So yeah, so it’s been a great space. I like that it’s a raw space because I built out for exactly what we needed and it’s nice that not only do we have their equipment right next door, but we have the tools that we need.
Ron Bauman: Next, we learned about how Jessie launched Tozuda, how it works and where she derives her passion for keeping people safe from the effects of concussions.
Jessie Garcia: This is an exciting year for us because we’re finally in production for selling.
Ron Bauman: Okay, great, congratulations.
Jessie Garcia: Yeah, it’s been a long process of R&D and the crazy thing that I like to think of is that we actually developed a new technology which sounds… I don’t know. I’m really proud of it. I’m really proud of it.
Ron Bauman: Yeah, you should be. Yeah, that’s amazing.
Jessie Garcia: Super, super proud of it. But it took a lot of R&D to figure out how it works, how to calibrate it. So yeah, so we’re going into the market this year, most with direct to consumer, direct to team product. And we’re scaling our production capabilities, we finally found an assembly group that’s putting together all of our products. The goal is to get these out on to as many different mediums as possible, or different application, mostly team sports, recreational sports.
Ron Bauman: So tell us a little bit about how it actually works. So it goes into any type of football helmet or any hockey helmet? I mean, is it retrofitted into any sport of sporting headgear?
Jessie Garcia: Yeah, so it’s a tiny device, it’s about the size of a AA battery. And how the tech works is that it’s a spring based mechanism that hold two balls in place horizontally. And we calibrate the spring to dislodge at certain g-force levels, either lineally where the spring will compress out of place, or rotational where the balls will rotate the spring out of place.
Ron Bauman: Interesting.
Jessie Garcia: So how we looked at it, the two masses or the two balls that are in the spring, I’m sorry, in the sensor itself, move independently like your brain does. So with a concussion, you’re brain will slosh back and forth and will hit your skull causing that TBI. And we just thought of how, basically how these balls act in the sensor is how your brain kind of mimics or the force that it feels. So you get hit in the head in any direction, you don’t even have to hit your head for the device to work or to trigger because it just works independently, feeling the force of whatever your body feels.
Ron Bauman: Interesting. Have you had any attention from NFL teams or NHL or professional sports? You would think that this is something they would jump on, or I guess the manufactures who make the helmets, right?
Jessie Garcia: Yeah, I was just going to say, no interest from the NFL just yet.
Ron Bauman: I’m sure you will.
Jessie Garcia: Yeah, you know what? One day. But my focus is more the youth and kids under the college age. Mostly because I think they are the most-
Ron Bauman: It’s a great place to start.
Jessie Garcia: Yeah, I was just going to say, that’s where the most athletes are. Guys who get into the NFL, the size of players get a lot smaller. But they’re, to me, the most important demographic of knowing that, hey, if you recover safely, I’m sorry, recover properly after an injury like this, you could keep playing until you’re in the NFL or aspirations of being there.
Ron Bauman: And you won’t have these lingering effects as you grow older like we’re seeing some of these unfortunate cases that are happening with people that suffered concussions and didn’t know it and they get latter in life and they’re having major issues, obviously.
Jessie Garcia: Yeah, absolutely. So I would say we’re more focused on youth and high school, college level players. We do have adults that use it just for their personal interest. We have some motorcycle riders, adult hockey players, and even construction workers using that too. So we do have different activation levels based on age and level of play. But I’m focused on the majority of people rather than the pros. But yeah, if they want it, I’m ready.
Ron Bauman: I think that’s a great place to apply your focus. Where are you finding passion and inspiration today and moving forward? We know your background, we know your connection to the product and how you got there, what’s really driving that passion at the end of the day?
Jessie Garcia: I was pissed off. Yeah, I don’t know if that’s a good answer but-
Ron Bauman: It’s great.
Jessie Garcia: … I was pissed off that, one, I had to struggle with this type of injury. And I didn’t like how could I not know I was hurt? That just boggled my mind. I was angry that I couldn’t’ afford the one thing that was out there. So I was like, “I have to do that.” And then I found out I wasn’t alone in that. Tons of people felt the same way, they wanted a device to let them know that they were safe or might have a head injury and they knew that they couldn’t afford a lot of the tech out there. So I was like, “That’s what motivates me.” Is that there are a lot of people that are in my exact situation that I was and loves sports want to keep playing and that’s what I could do. I’m just trying to stay really disciplined and focused and bring this product to life with the awesome team that we’ve developed.
We concluded by discussing women in the field of hardware technology, her other projects at NextFab, and, as always on Break Through, advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Jessie Garcia: Being in manufacturing, it always catches people… not catches people off guard that we actually manufacture our own product. But I wish I would’ve gotten into it sooner, at least in my academic career. I didn’t realize what I like to do is make things. And at the end of the day, that’s what I like to do, I like to make things and making this product. I think there are some people that had a lot of disbelief with this tech and how our approach is so different and, “Oh, why wouldn’t you go IoT or electronic?” Which we could have, but I’m just like, “No, I listened to our users.” So there’s some skepticism I think from our company, because I am female entrepreneur but I love it, it just kind of drives me and I want to prove them wrong. I want to prove them wrong. Yeah. No, for sure, I definitely want to prove them wrong and show them that we could create an amazing solution differently.
Ron Bauman: And if you like to make things, you’re obviously in the right place here at NextFab.
Jessie Garcia: Oh yeah, yeah. I was like, “When I have free time, I’m building other things.”
Ron Bauman: What other kind of things?
Jessie Garcia: I like welding. Weldings my favorite. Well, it’s a been a process of building my bookshelf.
Ron Bauman: Oh, nice.
Jessie Garcia: But yeah, when I have some free time, it’s really relaxing just to follow the little V and do that. I make all my presents, I don’t buy anything anymore.
Ron Bauman: That’s great. Last question for you, what advice would you give to young budding entrepreneurs out there?
Jessie Garcia: Start with whatever skill level you have. So I started with model magic clay. I would literally show up and had this little mouthguard and it was made out of model magic. And I’m like, “Hey, this could tell you you might have a concussion. Would you buy it?” Everyone was like, “Yeah, this is awesome except I hate mouth guards and I just need to be able to afford it.” And so whatever skill level you have, you just have to start. It doesn’t matter if it’s a sketch, a really crappy sketch or it’s not refined. You just have to put yourself out there and keep getting feedback and it will lead you down this crazy path. You just have to start so start with whatever level and constantly learn, develop your skillset and you’ll find the people to help you out, fill the gaps that you don’t have yourself.
Ron Bauman: How did you come up with the name Tozuda?
Jessie Garcia: Tozuda? So Tozuda actually in Spanish means hardheaded. Yeah, so my [family member], always called be Tozuda growing up and, I don’t know, I guess I’m the type of person where I’m told not to touch something for the millionth time, I always have to touch it or try. I don’t know, I always say I have big dreams for Tozuda but I thought when you hear the Superbowl, brought to you buy Toyota, I was like, “Brought to you by Tozuda.” I thought it had the same type of-
Ron Bauman: Oh, it’s got a great ring to it.
Jessie Garcia: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So I’ve embarrassed the hardheaded mentality and definitely dedicated to seeing this through and bringing it to life.
Ron Bauman: I think if you want to be a business leader and an entrepreneur, you have to be hardheaded.
Jessie Garcia: Yeah, just a little bit. You got to listen, but-
Ron Bauman: You got to kick in those doors whether you use your foot or your head.
Jessie Garcia: Yeah, but when those challenges come up and you’re like, “Is this worth continuing?” You got to keep moving forward.
Ron Bauman: Well Jessie, thank you so much for speaking with us today. We really appreciate your time. We have big hopes for Tozuda.
Jessie Garcia: Thank you .
Ron Bauman: Sounds like you’re going places and we can’t wait to watch and see where it goes.
Jessie Garcia: I appreciate you guys for interviewing me and taking the time today.
Ron Bauman: Awesome. All right, we’ll see you around the shop.
Jessie Garcia: Awesome, yes, definitely, for sure.
Thank you for listening to this episode of Break Through. I’m your host Ron Bauman, serial entrepreneur, founder of Milk Street Marketing and NextFab member. If you are enjoying our show, be sure to subscribe on your favorite podcast app and leave us a review. To learn more about how NextFab could make your ideas come to life, visit NextFab.com and follow hashtag NextFab made on social to see what our members are making.
Come back for our next episode feature Eleanor Brennan, a Philadelphia based fashion entrepreneur who left the world of adverting to follow her dreams and launch her own brand, Bus Stop X.