In 2013, Bruno Aschidamini, Steven Ford and Brandon Leibel were selling life insurance from a call center in San Diego.
"It was pretty bad. Half the calls were like, 'Take me off the call list,'" says Aschidamini.
The friends had a dream to quit their corporate jobs and build lives where they were in charge. So they did. Today, they are running a beach-towel business, Sand Cloud, that is projecting $7 million in annual revenue in 2017.
From the life insurance call-center to Cloud Nine
Ford and Leibel, both 26, met as college roommates at San Diego State University. After graduation, they took the first jobs they could find that would allow them to stay in the area. That's where they met Aschidamini, 31 — at the life insurance call center.
Living in California had given Ford and Leibel an idea for a business: a towel that would help people take better naps on the beach. So the friends ordered a few dozen beach towels and travel pillows from a discount website and had a local seamstress sew the pillows to the towels. They called their product Cloud Nine. Aschidamini bought the first one for $20.