Leggari Products builds DIY juggernaut fueled by the power of social media
With up to 100 orders leaving their Big Pasco warehouse daily, record revenue last year and plans to break ground on a new building later this year, Leggari Products’ owners are ready to take on the big boys in the epoxy coating industry.
The scrappy Pasco-based startup, co-founded by Tri-City natives Tim Krumland and Tylor Svangren, keeps expanding – its product line, staff, facilities, vision – with no end in sight.
They’ve got plans to engineer an automated packaging line for their proprietary products and break ground later this year on a building. They launch a merchandising line this summer. After all, you can’t be a YouTube sensation without the right gear.
Leggari manufactures epoxy coating kits that can transform any hard surface, from countertops to floors and walls, into glossy works of art. They also sell kits that can improve pool decks and driveways.
The company packages the materials needed for each job into boxes for the do-it-yourselfers ordering the kits online. They also receive access to Leggari’s step-by-step video tutorials.
These projects are no longer reserved for trained contractors, the co-founders said. Anyone can do them. Those nervous about trying one for the first time can order a sample kit to bolster their confidence.
“90% of the time, if they buy one of those, they buy a floor or countertop kit. Those have been a gold mine for us,” Svangren said. “We sell 400 to 600 sample kits a month.”
Kit sales have been booming since the pandemic kept people home and marshaled in a wave of home improvement projects.
“When people stay home and watch YouTube all day, we sell a lot of products,” Krumland said.
“Sales went up, and we were able to keep working because we were a manufacturing plant,” Svangren said.
Leggari added 11 staffers in 2020. They have 23 full-time employees and its year-over-year growth reached triple digits.
“We grow on average 350% a year. Right now, our growth from last year is about 238%, just from last year. Last year in revenue, we did about $6 million and are expecting to do $12 million in revenue this year,” Krumland said.
Krumland and Svangren have been in business for about a dozen years.
Before teaming up, Krumland was selling cars and trying to launch his own business. Svangren was doing concrete resurfacing work on pool decks and driveways.
The two met to collaborate on a coating project and decided to go into business for themselves.
“We just bootstrapped it. We ended up installing coatings to make money to pay for the venture. For the first four to five years, we didn’t end up selling products,” Krumland said.
They discovered epoxy coatings and flew to a training session to learn more.
They weren’t impressed with the coaching, but they were excited about working with resins.
“We became very good at installing. We were known as best in industry at the time,” said Krumland, who often speaks in superlatives.
One day Svangren strapped a GoPro to his head and filmed a counter coating project at his mother-in-law’s house.
“We took epoxy – everybody said it couldn’t be done – and we coated a countertop and then we launched a video on YouTube and it went viral. We had hundreds of thousands of views within a few months. I think it’s in the millions now. People kept contacting us and asking us where to get our products,” Krumland said.
They added more videos and the calls poured in, prompting them to create DIY kits.
“This was go time,” Svangren said. “We basically invented the epoxy countertop kit. It’ll to go over any hard surface: wood, laminate, tile, granite, concrete.”
Their first customer was a woman in Canada who installed it and loved it, Svangren said.
“We knew it was a big deal if we could get the kits figured out and get a good supplier and market it,” he said.
They began expanding their product offerings.
“We decided to branch out to floors because the floors are very expensive to have someone do – $8 to $20 per foot to do a seamless high-end floor. We thought: Let’s sell homeowners materials for $2 a foot and save them $6 to $16 a foot and teach them,” Krumland said.
Their website makes it easy to order materials. Homeowners choose their colors, product type, type in their square footage and then “a massive spreadsheet” on the backend determines what the customer needs.
A Facebook group shared one of their videos and interest took off.
“Our sales went from 30,000 a month, to 90,000, then 150,000 the next month. It catapulted us,” Svangren said.
Leggari had relied on other vendors to put the kits together and mail them. But they became increasingly frustrated because they couldn’t control the quality and timeline.
They moved out of their small facility on Deschutes Avenue in Kennewick about a year and a half ago and into a 43,000-square-foot warehouse and nearby 11,000-square-foot office building at the Port of Pasco’s Big Pasco Industrial Center.
“We had to take a loan when we started the manufacturing side of the company. We were turned down by three to four banks,” Svangren said. Washington Trust approved the loan that would fund their vision to pack their own products.
“It was real revolutionary because you get a box, and it would be your primer, topcoat, your epoxy, your colors – in just a small box,” Krumland said.
Eliminating outside vendors also allowed Leggari to safeguard the proprietary nature of its epoxy materials.
“We discovered we made exponentially more money if we did the fulfillment and controlled the product,” Krumland said.
“The other way we’re disrupting the industry is we’re going direct. We don’t have any distributors. We ship all over the world from here,” he said.
Educational videos are a key piece of Leggari’s business plan.
The company has uploaded about 500 videos to its YouTube channel. They film about three a week. Recent additions include a tutorial on applying epoxy on a shuffleboard and on cornhole game boards.
“The cool thing about our company is we have the world’s largest database of tutorials on decorative coatings,” Svangren said.
They take the production seriously, too. A section of the warehouse has been tricked out into studio-quality space – there’s nine different sets – with high-definition cameras, lapel mics and lighting.
They employ a full-time videographer/photographer and two full-time video editors.
About 80% of their customers are DIYers, though contractors use Leggari products too, Krumland said.
They’re developing a 50- to 100-hour course to certify contractors, which they hope to roll out later this year.
Svangren said contractors who pay for the Leggari training will have lifetime access to their video vault.
Warehouse workers use a scooter to zip across their massive World War II-era warehouse. On one side of the building is a half-court, to-scale NBA basketball court sporting the old Super Sonic logo (yes, they designed and installed the floor themselves), and a gym to rival any professional gym.
It’s not unusual for the staff to play a game of PIG or shuffleboard after lunch. The co-founders also like to treat their crew and families to movies and a big Christmas party.
Krumland points to these perks as key to creating Leggari’s culture.
“You have to really love people like family. That’s how you create a good culture. You have to treat them like your son or your daughter. You have to love on them the same. You have to forgive them the same. Give them the same grace,” he said.
Leggari also offers Bible study every Thursday. Workers begin each work day with a prayer.
“We’ve come to find out that the employees are everything, really. If you can find good employees, and take of them, they’ll stick around and they’ll work hard for you,” Svangren said.
What’s Leggari mean?
What’s the story behind the Leggari name? It’s a good one, and Krumland likes to tell it.
“We wanted something that was high-end. We thought everything we like comes from Italy so let’s make it sound like ‘Ferrari,’ ” he said.
He was flipping through a Ducati brochure, looking at their Italian motorcycles. He stopped at the word “leggaro,” to describe lightweight bikes and Leggari was born.
“It didn’t matter what we called the company, we had to turn to the name into something,” Krumland said, pointing out it’s what Häagen-Dazs did. The ice cream company’s name is a made-up word but its ice cream is to die for.
Leggari’s new merchandising line – run under the new Leggari Printing LLC arm – aims to build name recognition.
Turns out when you become a YouTube sensation, people want to dress like you.
“We have over 600,000 subscribers. We should have over a million subscribers by early next year. You can just wear a shirt and people want to know where to buy the shirt,” Krumland said.
They will sell T-shirts and sweatshirts, possibly adding hats later. It will be full-blown operation, complete with a shirt-folding machine.
“There’s a huge demand. It’s a quarter-million dollars a month, just in our market because of how big our following is,” he said.
The co-founders have several other projects on their to-do list, including engineering an automated packaging line. Svangren is excited about another new product they’re developing — a UV tolerant resin that won’t discolor in sunlight.
Krumland said they hope to start building their new world headquarters within the next year, estimated to be 80,000 to 100,000 square feet.
This new building would include a full basketball court.
“Because why not?” Krumland said.
Indeed, why not? They’ve come a long way from backbreaking installation work, to taking pay cuts to keep employees on the payroll during the lean years, to being rejected for business loans to expand.
Today, Krumland’s role is the business development side. Svangren does almost all the research and product development and gives the tutorials.
They want to stay in the Tri-Cities.
“We’re Tri-City boys, homegrown boys,” Krumland said.
And what better place to chase their dream than their hometown? They want to start competing with the coating industry’s “big boys,” Krumland said, explaining there are some million- and billion-dollar corporations in the industry.
Will the market sustain them? “Oh yeah,” Krumland said. Neither has any doubts.