When Dante Sands decided to become an entrepreneur and start his delivery service, he did it with the intention to give literally a helping hand to those who may not have the means to get things they would need on a daily basis. His service is a blessing in disguise and while it can be a challenge owning and operating your own business, the smiles of gratitude and huge thank yous from customers is what makes it all rewarding.
Who is Dante Sands? The businessman/entrepreneur, student, and content creator?
Born and raised in a small town called Plainfield, New Jersey. "The Queen City," known for its incredible history and beautiful historic homes. I've lived in Plainfield all my life, a town full of minorities that share a common goal, to be successful. Sometimes, I ask myself, what kind of person would I be if I wasn't born in Plainfield? How would I think? Who would I know? Living in Plainfield has taught me a lot about what it is to be a minority but, most of all, to be an African American man living in America. As a 28-year-old African American man living here, I think now is just a big part of what I want to accomplish in the future. At first glance looking at Plainfield, you will see people fighting to survive, but then at second glance, you will see the beauty in the people who live here as well as their fight to overcome the many battles the world has. Plainfield is my happy place.
Sometimes in life you have to make hard decisions. Ones that may change the course of your life and path. For Dante, leaving Pfizer to start his entrepreneurial journey was a tough decision, but in the end, it was one that was not only rewarding but life-fulfilling, giving Sands the opportunity to make change in a unique way.
How did you become an entrepreneur? How did you know starting your own business was meant for you?
When I turned 25 years old in 2017, I started working for Pfizer as an escalations specialist; Pfizer was my first pharmaceutical job, so I was excited to work there because I knew that Pfizer helped people stay healthy and live up to their full potential, so for me that was their way of creating change. One day one of the executives told me I was a very compassionate gifted person and that I could have a future at Pfizer. For me, a future at Pfizer meant working hard and breaking my back so that we could help others live. That's not what I wanted. I didn't want to break my back working under someone else; I wanted to break my back working for myself, creating change for minorities, homosexuals and for those in poverty.
What did you do to really get your dream rolling? How did the people around you react to you leaving Pfizer? How did you feel about it?
I decided to leave Pfizer, and I called my siblings and told them I wanted to go into business for myself. I pitched to them that I wanted to create a safer way to second-hand shop because I knew so many people were being harmed from meeting up with strangers through online marketplaces like Craigslist. A year earlier, my cousin was killed meeting up with someone in a second-hand shop, and I wanted to stop that violence. I wanted to make sure that people were safe meeting up with strangers. So I came out with Lean On Me Deliveries, a same-day delivery service for second-hand items. I patented my name and service that same year in 2018, and I quit my job at Pfizer. I went back to school full-time, and I used all my savings to fund my business. I had been saving up since I was sixteen.
Entering entrepreneurship is a risky toss up especially when doing it alone. It takes dedication, time and a lot of patience. Dante, who has thus far done it alone, knows the struggles of building a business and brand from the ground up.
What are some of the challenges to running your own business?
Starting, I had no idea what doors I could go through and get the guidance, so I went through any doorway, many of which were shut in my face. I thought I would have so much help because I was young. I thought people were going to help me. It didn't work out that way at all. We live in a world designed to go against you.
How has the marketing part of growing the business been like for you?
So, you have to know that you're going to be alone most of the ride. I started marketing and advertising LOMD over multiple social media platforms. For some reason, I just knew customers were going to come running through, but it didn't go like that at all most of the time; people just viewed my website and left. Did I wonder why? But you don't get an answer when things happen; you have to make your assumptions and fix them. I changed my website layout at least ten times since I've been in business, and that's to catch potential customers.
Explain to readers your more in-depth delivery service!
I would charge them a $0 service fee and give them an advertisement; you could imagine the reactions I got! But wait, that's not it… Every delivery would be $7 for each customer, no matter the number of items they ordered or the location they were in, and it worked. Local businesses grabbed my delivery service and went along with it. Today, we have several local businesses that we deliver for around New Jersey; people are amazed that the delivery fee is only $7. I created change within local companies by providing service-free deliveries to their customers while still focusing on second-hand deliveries through online marketplaces. The change that I brought was bringing expanding local products by providing fast, efficient, affordable, trustworthy, and dependable same day delivery services to consumers—creating more jobs, improving infrastructure, and improving local communities' futures both socially and economically with a vision to see deliveries change the world.
Lean On Me Deliveries isn't just a delivery service, it's a unique and resourceful helping hand to those that are afraid to leave their homes due to senseless violence or old age. Dante Sands, when starting this company wanted his customers to feel safe, and he makes sure they are at every opportunity.
Lean On Me Deliveries has been running for four plus years now, how did it become what it is now?
Lean On Me Deliveries started with a mission to stop the violence. Nobody should have to die just because they want to earn extra money or because they want to get rid of a piece of furniture. So, LORD put a stop to that. Our first year, even though I came across so many challenges, my business was a success.
What about your company makes your customers feel safe when using your service?
People wanted to feel protected. People wanted to feel like they could trust and rely on something, and that was LOMD; it gave protection, trust, and reliability to everyone. I didn't focus on anything but customer service, safety, trust, and dependability for a whole year. Those were important to me because LOMD was based on providing deliveries that were safe, convenient, reliable, trustworthy, but at the same time fast.
How quick and efficient is Lean On Me Deliveries? Especially in areas that aren't exactly "safe".
People don't have the need to leave their homes in fear or have 911 on speed dial; instead, all they had to do was book a delivery that only took five minutes to complete. I didn't care about money; I just wanted to create better and safer online marketplaces and local communities in New Jersey.
Businesses flourish when you work hard, communicate and take in all feedback-good and bad! Dante is always improving when he receives feedback from his valued customers because with their help, Lean On Me Deliveries continues to blossom in an instant!
How do you think you can personally improve your business to reach more of a wider audience?
I'm always thinking of new ways to gain more customers every day. My mind is a thinking machine; it never stops thinking of ways to expand and become better for our consumers. So we now have a delivery service called Instant Delivery. It's a delivery service that gets products, food, and beverages to you instantly. We just started this service in August 2021, and it has attracted a younger crowd of customers, which we wanted to reach to build a service that wasn't targeted for a specific group of people but everyone.
What is instant delivery? How has this feature helped Lean On Me Deliveries service customers?
So, instant delivery is the twin brother of the business to the consumer part of our business. Consumers can request delivery for only $7 on any product or food that has an order number, no matter the location or the number of items. We want our customers to not only lean on us for our services, but also lean on us for our speed. Since August, instant delivery has become one of our best delivery features for the young crowd because they can get one flat rate on their deliveries rather than a distance and a delivery fee.
High Performance for Customer Approval!
Dante Sands explains how customer feedback is essential to his business's growth!
How do you insure that customers give feedback everytime you finish a service?
Anytime that we deliver, we always ask for feedback on our services. It's one way we're able to connect with our customers and build trust and loyalty with them as well. We listen to our customers and their feedback. Over the four years that we have been in business, feedback is one of the many reasons we are so successful. It provides word of mouth, and people like to see the experiences that other people have had with a service or a product. We want all of our customers to know that they mean a great deal to us. After all, without our customers, we wouldn't be able to create change in the world that we live in.
By gaining a new perspective on what customers need every time they leave feedback, how do you think you can use their feedback to grow and develop as a business owner?
I never sleep on development; change is a part of any entrepreneur we need to boost to accomplish our goals. Growth gives us the confidence to say that we can do anything we put our minds to, and when you have that feeling, that's when you know there are endless possibilities to your success. We see this when we look at companies like Amazon who started so little, but they grew into the company they are today as time went by. Every day we continue to see their growth expand into more extraordinary things.
Life is about balance, and for Dante, being a full-time student and owning your own business can cause that balance to clash unless you know how to manage it!
Since you are a full-time student, how have you handled an intense class schedule on top of running your business full-time as well? What are some techniques that you do to stay calm and balanced day to day?
When I decided to take school full-time, I knew it would be a lot of work, but I also knew it could be done if I just used time management and was organized. Time management is a big part of my being an entrepreneur, you are always on the run, and that run could take you in all kinds of directions. From staying up late into the morning and possibly messing up on an order or delivery. Going to school and being an entrepreneur is a big challenge, but it's also worth it because you get to learn how to manage your time, your day, and multitask, most importantly. I do a lot of multitasking.
What are some techniques that you do to stay calm and balanced day to day?
Often, I find myself doing my homework or projects two weeks in advance so that it's already completed by the time the due date comes, giving me the free time to work on my business. I will admit most days are rough; we are open Mon-Fri from 9:00 am-10:00 pm, and Saturday - Sunday 8:00 am - 9:00 pm. I have to make sure I go to bed early, in order to get up at 6:00 am and do my morning work out so that my body is relaxed and prepared for the day. I'll cook an excellent breakfast when I get done, to start me on the right foot. Working out and eating breakfast helps me out a lot because now my mind is clear, and I can stay focused on providing excellent service to my customers.
You've been on your entrepreneurship journey for a long time, what advice would you give to others that may want to become an entrepreneur, but are not sure where to start?
As an entrepreneur you have to be strong and have a lot of patience. For me, those were the most important traits to have. If you aren’t strong, then you're going to give up easy and you're not going to accomplish your goals. Being an entrepreneur and not having patience is bad. You can’t come into the business world and expect that everything's going to come in the blink of an eye, it just doesn’t work like that; you have to be patient with growth. There’s always going to be times when you are going to try and enter a door and it will be shut in your face, but that isn’t a sign to give up. It's a sign to try the back door or the windows; you have to keep yourself motivated to never give up no matter what you go through you can never give up.
Who has inspired you throughout your journey? Is there anyone that has been by your side as you grow as a businessman and brand?
My parents and my siblings are my motivation. Going to school, I learned quickly that I was the only person in my grade whose parents were still married and had a good size family. My parents worked hard all their lives with no breaks. They supported my two siblings and me. They struggled, but they made the most out of their struggles; they always put their family first no matter their differences. They always made sure that we had the best life. I think that's every parent's dream to give their kids a life they never had. Looking at my parents hard work ethic drives me to want to be a hard worker, stay focused on my goals, become a better person, and keep good energy even when things are rough.
Owning a brand means endless potential and opportunity-big and small. For Lean On Me Deliveries, Dante Sands sees an endless road to success and growth. With the support of family and friends, and the support of loyal customers, his business will only achieve to the highest degree.
Where do you see LeanOnMeDeliveries in a few years? Do you plan on expanding your brand into other areas?
I've always had grand plans for my Lean On Me Deliveries before it was even patented, which is the funny part. We are currently only servicing New Jersey, but I want to expand to New York. New York is so big and filled with so many people; it's a place where a business can become the future. It can advance into something more than what it was. I have been looking for more small companies to provide delivery services for that want to expand. We want to help local and small businesses develop their products to reach more consumers, that's important to us.
Do you plan to extend beyond just you and a few others within the company?
We want to create more jobs for minorities and boost brand awareness for local and small businesses and ourselves. When you look at delivery services like Doordash and Ubereats, you see that these two competitors are fighting against each other every day to gain something more, but is that more for the businesses or is it for them? When we move in directions that we weren't meant to go in, that tells a lot about a company. We have to keep in mind that everything's not about money; sometimes life is about giving and helping a hand, and most of the time, those are the most successful businesses. The exciting part about having a business is watching it expand and having the ability to help other companies do something great; we are all in this together.
Follow Dante Sands via: