I’ve interviewed multiple entrepreneurs for this podcast whose businesses rely on video marketing. Examples include Ridge Wallet, PetPlate, Stryx, and even Beardbrand, my firm. But none of us match Mini Katana, Isaac Medeiros’s company. It produces six videos per day.
Medeiros launched the brand, a direct-to-consumer seller of Japanese-style swords and accessories, just two years ago. It has posted 3,000 videos to date from a formidable team of creators, writers, and editors. Sales have soared.
He and I recently discussed the company, the video production process, and more. The entire audio of our conversation is embedded below. The transcript is edited for clarity and length.
Eric Bandholz: What do you do?
Isaac Medeiros: I started a business in 2021 called Mini Katana, “katana” being Japanese for a curved sword. We sell Samurai-themed letter openers, swords, and related accessories online.
We’ve grown dramatically. We now sell swords of all shapes and sizes. We primarily market through organic videos and have big followings on YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram.
The videos focus on our products and follow a template. They’re all similar — fast-paced with the same look and feel. We use the same narrators across all videos.
As a sword brand, we should not be as big as we are. We bring massive awareness to the niche. Our manufacturers cannot keep up, which means frequent supply shortages. We’re migrating to other categories, such as pens and apparel, where there are no manufacturing hurdles.
Bandholz: Talk about your video production process.
Medeiros: We typically post six videos daily across the three channels.
We shoot two types of videos. The first is generic B-rolls, which we mass-produce and attach to scripts. Most B-roll versions are 15 to 30 seconds.
Then we have what we call creator-led content, which is specialized and high-end. It’s what goes viral. For example, we did a creator-led video that sliced a bullet in midair.
Our company focuses on supporting the creators. They generate the ideas with scripts and submit them to our internal approval process. If approved, we assign a budget to it. It then gets passed on to editors trained in our style. We are a viral brand with video content relevant to our branded swords. The key elements are the vibe, feeling, pacing, and editing.
Long-form video is 10 times harder than short-form. It’s easier to tell a story in 15 to 30 seconds. My brand exists because short-form video has opened up a tidal wave of potential reach. Before, you had to be a creator, and that’s all you could focus on.
We have 16 contract script writers for the B-rolls, four full-time in-house creators, and two in-house editors.
We also have a head of content. She meets weekly with the creator team to keep everyone on track. It’s also a coaching session because the creators sometimes miss out on analytics — what’s working. Then we have monthly meetings for the entire content team.
Our top-performing content on YouTube is usually educational, such as “How to use your katana.” That’s typically high-converting stuff.
But a lot of the videos don’t convert. More views do not necessarily drive conversions. But we know that broad brand awareness always reduces acquisition costs on the advertising side.
We’re believers in advertising. I hope to generate $1 million or more in ad-generated revenue this year. We’re seeing remarkable returns on ad spend on Meta.
Folks ask, “How do you acquire customers?” I tell them to get good at ads. Meta’s the number one way to scale a brand reliably and predictably. We created our katana pens and started running ads two weeks ago. We’re maintaining a 5 to 8 ROAS.
Bandholz: Do you get a lot of repeat customers?
Medeiros: About 35% of sales are from repeat buyers. I don’t believe in one-off products. We have 10 new variants in the pipeline with our katana pen. Each becomes a collectible. Folks love collecting.
Bandholz: Where can people find and support you?