EPISODE #7 - Straight Talk With Better Vision: Mary & Sam Giveen - Part 1
Dr. Sam’s Eye Care has become world-famous in certain small-business circles for the wild success of the business’s re-branding and subsequent radio advertising, which doubled their new business in 8 weeks, and has grown the business profoundly over eight years. This all happened at the behest of Dr. Sam Giveen’s wife, Mary Giveen, who brought the task rebranding and advertising to Blaine & Honey at Slow Burn Marketing. With a success story like that, you’d think all would be easy peasy, right? But, despite building successful eye care clinics together, the Giveens have experienced many challenges, both personal and professional, and they have some unusual conflicts. This is one of our most interesting and candid interviews, and you’re going to hear maybe one of the best stories about how two very different people make it work—sometimes against challenging odds.
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THE SHOW NOTES
Sam & Mary Giveen came together after being separated by an entire continent and 35 years to marry and run Sam's business--despite having dramatically different personalities, and facing all kinds of unanticipated adversity that might've broken a lesser couple.
When Honey and Blaine started Slow Burn Marketing in 2008, one of their first clients was United Eyecare Specialists. When Mary joined Sam in his business, coming from a multi-unit retail background, she decided Sam needed rebranding. So United Eyecare Specialists became Doctor Sam’s Eyecare. They’ve been working together for 7 years, now with two successful clinics in New Hampshire. Mary and Sam originally dated for 4 years when they were teenagers before going their separate ways. 35 years later they reconnected, and have been running the business together for 7 years. They talk about the challenges of working together while having very different personalities, and how Sam was initially resistant to the idea of rebranding the business.
• The importance of considering what would happen if they hated working together
• How, after seven years, they’re still working out how to deal with each other’s personalities
• The growth and branding of the business has been about joining together to create something more than just revenue and growth.
• How defining areas of responsibility within the business has helped avoid disagreements
• How Sam and Mary first met (02:52)
• How they reconnected 35 years later (04:36)
• Sam’s love of cars (07:58)
• How long from reconnecting to commitment (09:17)
• When and how they started working together (09:51)
• Mary’s multi-unit retail background with Starbucks and Pinkberry before joining Sam’s business (10:18)
• How Sam decided to become an eye doctor (10:38)
• Sam’s experience being an optometrist in rural New Hampshire after coming from the tony San Francisco Bay Area (12:13)
• How a lot of serious illnesses first get diagnosed by eye doctors (13:19)
• How Sam and Mary made the decision to run Sam’s business as a couple (13:47)
• How Sam and Mary work together despite very different personalities (18:29)
• How they’ve overcome adversity and various challenges, both with the world and with each other, to grow the business and build their brand (20:48)
• How working together has improved their lifestyle (21:40)
• How the focus of their business is about working on something together (22:19)
• Sam’s journey from being uncomfortable with the idea of branding to accepting it (23:11)
• How Mary reached out to Honey and Blaine about marketing Sam’s business (25:13)
• Deciding that the official Dr. Sam’s car would be hot yellow a Chevy SSR (28:10)
• How Sam likes to talk things out, and Mary likes to take action, and coming up with a system to solve this disparity (31:32)
• The Dr. Sam’s brand is very focused on him, which makes him an uncomfortable introvert, but it is ultimately about the patients he serves (34:27)
• Balancing the consumer brand of the business and being a part of the medical community (35:57)
• What Sam and Mary’s working relationship is like now and how things have changed (38:59)
• How work spills over into their home life (40:42)
• The pressure of the business expanding and almost going under, and how taking on large amounts of debt affected their marriage (43:35)
Doctor Sam’s Eyecare