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How This Duo Turned Their Amazon Side Hustle into a $20 Million Venture

In the world of entrepreneurship, many success stories begin as side hustles nurtured during late nights and weekends. Such is the tale of Achal Patel and Russ Gong, the co-founders of Cabinet Health, a pioneering sustainable healthcare company. Their journey from demanding day jobs to creating a revolutionary business is a testament to vision, resilience, and an unwavering commitment to their mission.

The Genesis of a Vision

Achal Patel and Russ Gong first crossed paths at a large consulting firm, bonding over a shared vision to integrate their backgrounds in healthcare and sustainability into a mission-driven company. Patel continued his consulting career, while Gong was in infantry officer school learning combat tactics. Despite their hectic schedules, they dedicated their nights and weekends to building Cabinet Health, a company aimed at creating the world’s first sustainable healthcare solutions.

 

Inspiration and Beginnings

The idea for Cabinet Health took root from a blend of personal experiences and market insights. Achal, inspired by his childhood summers spent in his grandfather’s medicine factory, saw a white space opportunity to innovate in the healthcare market. This vision materialized into a small Amazon business, which rapidly scaled thanks to its unique approach to quality medicine manufacturing and sustainable practices. Even while serving in the Army, Gong contributed to shaping the business, focusing on how they could revolutionize healthcare packaging and supply chains to be more sustainable.

First Step

Starting small but with a grand vision, Cabinet Health was initially bootstrapped. Patel and Gong brought a few high-quality products to market, bypassing middlemen to sell directly to consumers online. This initial phase was crucial for validating their proof of concept and understanding customer needs. The insights gained during this period helped shape their company values, and product roadmap and laid the foundation for future growth. Early successes in online sales allowed them to reinvest every penny into research and development, particularly in creating sustainable healthcare packaging.

Challenges

Building a side hustle into a full-time venture comes with its share of challenges, especially the uncertainty of leaving a stable career path. Gong recalls the fears and doubts of stepping into uncharted territory. However, adopting a “portfolio of life” mindset rather than a linear career path helped him navigate this period. This perspective allowed him to see building a startup as an addition to his professional experience rather than a departure from it.

Early Milestones

Remarkably, within the first year, Cabinet Health grew to over $1.5 million in online sales, driven by a heightened consumer focus on health and wellness during the COVID-19 pandemic. This initial success set the stage for substantial growth, with projected annual sales between $20-$30 million in 2024.

Transitioning to Full-Time Business

The transition from a side hustle to a full-time business began with a solid partnership grounded in shared values. Patel and Gong invested time in understanding the complexities of the medical supply chain, traveling the world to gain insights. They committed to eliminating single-use plastics in medicine, developing innovative, sustainable packaging, and sourcing high-quality, FDA-approved medicines.

Success and Future Aspirations

Since its inception in 2018, Cabinet Health has grown impressively, both in product development and market reach. Their sustainable, refillable glass bottles and compostable pouches have replaced traditional plastic packaging, offering over 500 prescription medications through their online pharmacy, Cabinet Rx. Their products are now available in more than 500 Target stores nationwide, marking a significant milestone for the brand.

Advice

Patel and Gong offer valuable advice for those looking to start their own side hustles or businesses. Patel emphasizes resilience and commitment, urging entrepreneurs to stay dedicated despite challenges. Gong highlights the importance of starting small and taking actionable steps toward goals, guided by passion and a customer-centric approach.

 

The story of Cabinet Health is not just about building a successful business; it’s about the power of vision, partnership, and unwavering dedication. Patel and Gong’s journey from day jobs to creating a company that champions sustainable healthcare solutions inspires us all to dream big, start small, and stay committed to making a meaningful impact.

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