Copywriter and Associate Creative Director Jamie Rome joins the podcast to discuss working in Advertising, next-level rejection of ideas, how Bobby Flay did not become an influencer for her side project Turkey Shoes, and what she's learned from starting and launching businesses.
Grant 00:03All right. Hey, everyone. Welcome back to the Makers Inc podcast. I'm very excited today to be talking with a very good friend of mine, Jamie Rome. She's an Associate Creative Director at Fallon. It's an advertising agency in New York City. And she's one of the most creative and sort of like classic makers that I can think of. So, I'm excited to hear about her experiences, working professionally in advertising and marketing, but also some of the side projects and side hustles. She's done. Since I've known her. So, Jamie, you want to give a little intro to yourself?
Yes. Hi, I'm Jamie Rome. Yeah, I've been working in advertising for eight or nine years now on the creative side. So, I'm a Creative Director with a background in copy in advertising your work in pairs. So, you're either copy or art direction. And yeah, I've done a lot of side projects in my life. So, we'll chat about those.
Maybe we share a little bit more for maybe someone who isn't super familiar with like the sort of collaborative construct of advertising with copywriting our direction, how that typically works.
Sure. Yeah. So, in advertising, if you're on the creative side, you tend to work in pairs. So, you have a copywriter, an art director, and you get paired up at the very beginning of your career, even if you go to AD school. And so together, you come up with ideas, and then you kind of depending on what it is, if you're making a commercial or a huge campaign, the copywriters obviously in charge of all the copy, whether it's writing scripts or something like that, and then the art director is kind of in charge of bringing the visuals to life. So, yeah, you work together, I think someone in the 50s invented it in advertising, and we've done it ever.
Does it still make sense, even though it's so old?
I think it does. I think Originally, the thought was like, writers have a more like technical way of thinking and our directors are more like free-flowing creatives. Not sure if that's necessarily the case, always. But I do think it helps to have a partner in the industry, when you're coming up with creative ideas to be able to bounce stuff off of each other before you then have to present them to either like, huge clients or your boss or whoever. And then you have this, like Yin and Yang, and you can kind of look out for each other and make sure the ideas kind of are pushed as far as they can go. And you each bring something to the table as far as ideas go. So, you kind of get more together.
So, in typical, maybe software development, the like, pod or squad for software development is typically created or made up of a designer, a product manager and an engineer is there like as the formula for copywriting evolved in any way to include someone who's like more technical as things have moved forward?
Yeah, so like your everyday is maybe like the writer, art director pair, but at depending on the project, you might bring in someone. They're called, like creative technologists, who are more experts on the technology side. So, when I would work on projects that were more tech, heavy or more digital, we would kind of brainstorm then go to a creative technologist, bring them in, and they could help kind of tell us the best way to either execute it or build on the idea and like what was actually possible? Like the amount of times I pitched a hologram anyway.
haven't gotten there yet?
Yeah, just wait, biding my time.
How do you think about the difference between advertising and marketing?
So, I guess advertising is just a piece of marketing. To me, marketing is more like, this is what I think on the client side, like, they have all the information from their customers. And there, they have that information. And we're just a piece of that. So, they come to us with certain problems that we help them figure out. But I guess so I guess advertising to me is just a piece of the bigger marketing picture. They kind of know what the customer is looking for, and what products they need to be making, and things like that. And we come in to just make sure that whatever they want to sell is being communicated in the most interesting, press worthy way.
Got it. And so, I spent a short stint in the beginning of my career working at an advertising marketing firm. And I remember feeling like relationships with the client is like the obviously, that's like the lifeblood of the agency. But it's also one of the most difficult things to balance as an either account manager or a creative person in that world. How has helped your experience with clients been over the years?
I really depends on the client, something times you have clients who really do want amazing work that pushes the envelope and like, they want those press headlines. And sometimes you have clients who maybe you have to push, or the growth is slow to get there, you kind of show them a small thing that works. And then they're like, okay, I trust you a little, and you like build the trust over time. So, it really just depends on the client. And what they're looking for. And you can kind of tell right off the bat, if they're gonna kind of trust you, or if you're going to act more as kind of a bit more of like a production agency, and you're kind of just making what they want. And once in a while trying to get something through that you find more interesting.
What are some of those signals that this might be someone who trusts you, and then you can do some interesting stuff with?
I think, usually, when you're presenting creative ideas, you're presenting multiple ideas, and you'll have, it tends to be like a bit of a safer one, something a little more crazy, and something really crazy. And if you can get them here or here, easily, I tend to be a great client, or if they at least understand that, like, That's amazing. That's kind of it's like when you show them work, if they always are picking the safe option, and then making it even safer, it tends to be harder to do more exciting creative work. So, I think that's like the best way to test it. Just show them ideas and see what they go for.
Who are you typically presenting to? And like a larger, larger company?
On the client side? Yeah. Usually, it's like, the CMO would be the top and then under the CMO, there's a whole marketing team, it just depends on the company. So, usually, you're presenting to some group of the marketing team, sometimes the CEO is involved, just depends how big or small the company is. But yeah, it's usually they have a team dedicated to kind of working with the agency and communicating their business problems with our strategists. And then we take those briefs and make the creative work. And it just kind of flows back and forth.
Got it? And are there any, I have this like idea in my head that someone who's like, much older and been around for a really long time at a very large organization is going to be like super conservative and not want to do something interesting? Is it? Is it a good assumption that like, it's someone who's younger? Who comes in who's likely to do something that's more creative? And interesting? Or is that a bad assumption?
As far as like in a CMO position or on the marketing team? Yeah, I don't think it's necessarily age, I think it's really just where the company is at the time, like, are they like a small company with a smaller budget who needs to make a big splash for less money, they're willing to do riskier things than kind of like a huge company that everyone maybe already knows, they might not want to rock the boat, or if sales are just going up. And they're like, everything's working, we don't, we're not in the need to do something groundbreaking, even though they always are, everyone should be looking for that kind of work. But I think it just more just depends on the company. And like where they are in the marketplace is who's looking for the exciting work. Not necessarily if there's like a young or older CMO, because sometimes you have really startup companies, and they've just never done it before. So, they sometimes don't even know maybe what they're supposed to be looking for in the work. So, there's like a lot more hand holding when we work with startups, kind of just explaining what's gonna happen. Um, but usually startups tend to want exciting work because they're a small company in a big marketplace.
So, interesting. There's a real parallel there for just like general innovation, where the larger a company is, the more successful they are, the more they have to protect. And therefore, the more conservative they get, the less innovative they get. And then typically, what happens is, it's a startup with less to lose, but you know, is willing to really push things forward, creates something that's like, 10 times better, and everyone moves away from the old company.
Yeah, exactly. That's exactly what happened. I feel like that was a good example with like, Old Spice or JetBlue. There's a lot of examples like that. Yeah, exactly.
What is what's, uh, so you've been, you've been working in advertising, as long as I've known you. What's, like, your favorite project that you've worked on in your career?
Let me think, um, my favorite projects, I mean, some projects or, I think, I mean, I always like to shoot commercials. I think working with directors is super fun, and they're so creative, and just the coolest. So, I also love doing activations. I'm trying to think what was the cool I mean, one time we got to shoot something for PlayStation, we got to work with the New York City Ballet, and create like victory dance videos with the best dancers in the world. The idea was called the world's best victory dance. And that was like a really cool project and work with a really cool director. It was fun. I mean, we had to shoot in New York usually get to go travel and shoot. So, we shot in like Brooklyn. It wasn't us but the actual project I thought was a really great idea. And the clients were on board to do something kind of out of the box for them. And it was really, really cool.
I think it's like they're the dancers are like decked out kind of pseudo ballet, pseudo football gear, like all black. Yeah, super. Yeah.
Yeah. And that's, I think, definitely like, I believe at the time, like, Xbox has huge marketing budgets. And so that's like, who, you know, the PlayStation, I think has to be more innovative in their marketing sometimes.
I correct me if I'm wrong, but at some point in the last like, three, four or five years, you've also started teaching advertising, right? Can you tell me a bit more about that?
So, I teach at the School of Visual Arts in New York, I'm SBA. And yeah, I started about four, I think this is your four, and you get a teaching partner in that too, because all the professors are professionals, unlike mine, where no one had ever worked in advertising anyway. Um, so they know, your schedules might be kind of aggressive, you're on a shoot for a month or whatever. So, they give you a teaching partner there. Um, but it's been really great. I think it's, it's kind of funny, you never know how much you know, until you have to teach someone else. And then you're like, Oh, I'm a genius. Like, you know, you realize how much knowledge you really do have, you kind of think everyone knows, because everyone around you is doing the same thing. But I think that's a really fun part about teaching, it's fun to see the kids like develop their ideas. And then at the end have these like, amazing projects, campaigns for their books, a lot of them in our class decide they want to do advertising over design, which is always fun to see when they realize they're like, really good at advertising, or like, you should go this way. Um, yeah, it's a, and I think it gives you a lot of a good start into, like, how to manage young people younger than you. It's a good practice of giving feedback and kind of seeing what techniques work and how to motivate people to get because it can be exhausting. The kids have a ton of homework and design. And so how do you motivate them to put the time into the projects and things like that?
What is what has been the hardest thing for you? from teaching?
Sometimes I think the hardest thing is just the time we would like to give to the class versus the time we actually have to give because it you could spend I mean, every day working on these projects, so I think it's just the balancing of like your job, your full-time job. And then teaching is probably the hardest thing. And then I would say the other hardest thing is, it's when you have a kid who's on interested or unmotivated. Figuring out how to motivate them as different can be difficult. Like they get there eventually.
What are the tricks that you've learned?
I feel like you kind of have to get to the root of it is because they're, they're an illustrator designer, and maybe they're just not that interested in advertising. That's like, Okay, I get it. This isn't your path. So, we just need to get you through this class. Or is it like, sometimes they need a little, I wouldn't say scolding, but a little like firmer hand of like, hey, Oh, actually know what the real trick is? edit that last part out. firm hand is weird. Okay. Let me start that part over. You know, it actually really works. And it's something that I think works for kindergarteners, too. When you show, you make all the kids show their work. And when you give praise to the kids who really are kicking butt and like overachieving, it motivates the ones who aren't or didn't realize that that's what everyone else is doing. I think, I think they do that, you know, when you like, praise a little kid, like, Oh, good job with your coloring in the lines, and every other kids like, oh, like that. So, I mean, these are college kids, it's like different, they might not care, and that's fine. But that's one way that works pretty well.
Is there? is teaching something inherently creative more challenging, do you think?
I don't think so. I personally think it would be our curriculum is whatever we want it to be based on, like what is happening in advertising in general. So, I know someone who teaches a class all about like pop culture thinking and advertising, because that's kind of where our industry is, like, we create projects around like Netflix or Showtime, because we know that's like a market that is big. So, are like doing activations for shows is kind of a big thing happening right now. So, I find it much easier to have like the freedom to teach creatives creatively than if I had a structure that I either, you know, sticking to a structure that like is this relevant anymore. You know,
I guess to some extent, it seems like the like student pool is fundamentally people who are at least pursuing some creative process if they're like illustrators and designers.
Yea, it's a design. Yeah, it's an art school.
any advice? So, for Makers one of the big things I'm doing is working to teach people entrepreneurship, which is fundamentally a creative endeavor as well. Any advice you have, for me and on how to communicate things more effectively?
Um, I feel like let me think, for entrepreneurs, I feel like the biggest thing for entrepreneurs that I, I just feel like that would be the most helpful to you. And again, I don't know about clearly communicating, but just the idea that like, don't be scared to just put something out there into the world and see what happens. It doesn't have you don't have to know what the end result is going to be yet. You know, like, that's the biggest thing. Don't worry if this isn't a billion-dollar app, or whatever result you think should happen. I think it's more fun to just like, make something and see what happens, which is kind of what we teach our kids in advertising. It's like, they get there like, I don't I didn't have any ideas. Okay, well, you need 45. And so, it's like, you just start throwing things out there. And like, yeah, the first 20 might be dumb, but one in there is gonna be good. And then we've got your final project, you know? So, I think, yeah, it's just like, just start. I guess that's more advice than like, how you should teach your students but there.
You know, I think that's, that's so important. It's like one of the, I think one of the hardest things to learn. And like, I'm, like, really grateful for having gone to architecture school, because it forced me to learn, there's one thing that's like, you are not your ideas, like divorcing yourself from your idea, so that when someone criticizes an idea that you had, you have to have to learn that like, that's okay, that can die or can evolve or change, you could come up with another idea. And it doesn't mean that you're bad. But I know most things, it's hard, it's hard to do.
Yea, you can, you can take it. So, personally, we say in advertising, the rejection is like next level, because think about it, you come up with your ideas, and you reject some of them, then your partner rejects them, then your bosses reject them, then your boss's boss's reject them, then your client prior reject some five more rounds, and then eventually get to something but it's not personal.
Right. But I mean, you also bring up a really good point, too, which is that we have these like filters, we have these mechanisms for our own rejection of ideas, and we get feedback from other people. But the reality is that, you know, they're, they're kind of like proxies for what we think will happen when you when people actually engage with it. And people can develop expertise to be better at guessing whether something will or won't work. That's a lot of what the expertise that you and your colleagues cultivate. But the reality is a lot of ideas, you just have no idea how people are going to respond to them until you like make the thing and put it in front of people and actually see what happens.
Yeah, it's true. I mean, we can do as much research we want in advertising, like for ad campaign, and we're like, pretty sure it's gonna work. And usually they do, but you never know which ones will become viral for whatever random reason they take off. You know, when clients ask you to make something viral, it's like, we can't guarantee this, but we know some things that will help. When it's like that, you just don't know, you'd have to put it out there and see,
What is your take on? Is that? Is that a valid thing to ask for? Like, first for someone to come to you and say, Hey, make something that will go viral? Is there even any way to predict it?
I mean, that was like, after that ice bucket challenge. That's all we got asked was like, Can you make it like the Ice Bucket Challenge? No. But there are ways to do something that is, there are certain ideas that are press worthy, that you know, the press will talk about, or that you can pitch to the press and that are more exciting than your average idea. So, it'd be more saying like, just asking yourselves, like, is this press where they can we get press on this and that kind of thing. So, more be and then there's ways to like, amp it up, if you have influencers participating if you have that money, or if you have what else? And then there's other ways to like, buy media correctly to help it along. But um, there's no way to guarantee like that kind of virality Yes, the idea is not good enough. Like if it's boring, no one cares. Right now,
how big of a role do influencers play in in advertising these days?
I mean, it's, it's something that's it just depends on the idea. If you're looking for a social campaign, or what you're selling, or how you're speaking to people, I don't think it ever hurts to have influencers who are relevant to what you're trying to sell, or if there's someone who actually uses the product. Be a part of your campaign that but i think there's a balance of like people who actually use it. product and make sense to like support your product versus using influencers and people, like the audience can see through something that's not real. You know? So, if an influencer is pitching something that they pitch 100 products, all that, you know, they're always pitching products, it becomes less effective.
Yeah. So, it's a part of it. I wouldn't say it's like the whole thing, but there's ways to do it that are super interesting. Nikes Londoner campaign did it really well. Mark, What is his name? Marshawn Lynch, loves Skittles. And he became like a Skittles influencer ambassador. So, there's smart ways to do it that are most effective.
So, you've your day job is working in advertising. But you've also been known to have a side project or two. Yes. So, I would like to hear from you. About a couple of those. Okay. Start with Turkey Feet.
I have some props? Turkey shoes.
Turkey shoes. Yeah.
Okay. Let's tell the backstory. This was the first product I ever made. And this was really an experiment for me and my old partner in advertising, to see if we could make something and people would want to buy it. All right. So, yes, we created turkey shoes. It was our first product we ever made. Me and my old advertising partner Sung. And these were Thanksgiving shoes, you put on your Thanksgiving turkey. Let me just show you. They came in three different pairs. So, a silly idea. We just kind of wanted to see if we could create a product we thought was fun. Um, then what happens? So, we end up selling them one year, we sold them at like, we did a little pop up at work. We sold them on the streets of New York. My partner chase down, Bobby Flay gave him a pair. We sold them and we sold them on Etsy. And we were like, let's just see what happens. We made a bunch. So, cut to a so we sell them for this year. It was great. It was fun. We had an Instagram cut to a year later, we're at work, and my email started blowing up. Right before Thanksgiving. I think I had 400 emails in an hour with orders for Turkey shoes. I had not turned off this shop. And I was in my partner song. And I was like, Oh my God, we have like 800 orders for Turkey shoes. Mind you had zero inventory. Our new shoes were like $2. It's not a good deal. But we had to shut it down and tell all these people that we didn't have turkey shoes, and they were devastated. One woman ordered 10 pairs and she was really distraught that we didn't have any. So, that's what I say you never know. Like, what's going to come about with your product. Like that was just an experiment turns out people have done. So, that's the story of Turkey. She was our first product which led to us creating many more products because you realize it's Oh, it's not actually that as hard as you think it is.
I want to hear more about this. You set up an Etsy shop. The first year, how many did you sell in the first year?
I don't know that we sold that. I mean, we drove like our friends and family to Etsy. So, we probably sold like a couple 100 pairs in the first year just like friends, family people we knew people buying it for Friendsgiving nothing crazy, like maybe 200 pairs. We made maybe $400
What were the like, the unit economics? Like were you using like a third-party tool to cut these shapes out and package everything?
No Grant, we weren't. We were hand cutting them because to actually buy a tool to cut them would have cost like 10 grand to buy a mold which is like bananas for this part. Because we're like testing do people want this? Are we insane? That's where we're testing. Um, so we're hand cutting them which is why we did not fulfill the orders later on because it just was so time consuming. Now looking back, we should have just made printables where people print them out themselves for like $1 and we don't have to cut them, etc, etc. Looking back that would have been a better way to go.
But can someone go to Etsy today and find turkey shoes?
I have a couple packs, please reach out to Grant if you'd like a set. No, we turned it off just purely for I actually reached out to my old partner and asked if we could put up printables because I actually do thing goes to take off, but his computer was in Korea, it was a long thing. So, we never got around to it. But that was the story of Turkey shoes. And Bobby blade never posted about them.
He could have been that like, you know influencer for Turkey shoes.
I know his loss.
So, Turkey Shoes is amazing, I think for a couple of reasons. One is, it was the first project that you did where I saw, you guys just had this idea. And then you created it, and then sent it around. And like I definitely ordered a pair. And it was just so much fun. Of course, it has some challenges as a business, rather seasonal.
So, so that was your first project, it sort of opened the door, you were like, okay, like, there were some challenges, it didn't quite work out how we wanted it to but it sort of like revealed the potential of doing your own project. What are some of the other things that you guys have worked on?
How do you think so some, then I try to think what happened next. So, I think I don't know what the order was. Another project I did was to shove all my products, I made a children's book, oops, the fish died. This was one of my more recent projects. But that again, was like, oh, if we can make tissues, I can make a book. Um,
gonna have to cut the book up yourself.
Know, that a lot of positives. Um, and that again, I reached out to some friends of mine, a writer who is super funny, and someone I work with an awesome. And he was I had the idea for this book about to about 12 or 10, fun fish funerals for when your pet fish dies for children. And I was like, you want to write this with me? And he said, Sure. And then I knew an illustrator. And I was like, let me just ask us another tip, always just ask, I asked my best friend if her husband would be interested. And she was like, Kim, do you want to do this? And he said, Yeah, I've been looking for a children's book, I want to make a children's book. But I don't want to write it. One year later, the book is made, it only took a year because one of our team had a baby. And so, it took a little while. But that's still selling on Amazon. And we sold like 400 copies.
How did you guys what's the, like process for getting a book made?
Oh, there's a couple ways we went through Ingram Spark. And they will print the book. So, all you have to do is submit your files, you write the book by an ISP, and number submit your files correctly, then they send you a copy of the book, you can triple check it and then you can buy a bunch to sell in person to people. So, we bought a couple boxes, and we'd like sold them to people. And then you can just it upload straight to Amazon walmart.com, Barnes and Noble. So, it'll basically go everywhere, and people can go there to buy it too.
So, you could walk into a Barnes and Noble and find your book?
Just Barnes and Noble.com. Yeah, actually learned a lot about how hard it is to get a book in a store, like crazy hard.
What are the what are like the filters for getting into a store?
It's like they you can get them into some stores. But if they don't sell, they either just throw them out or ship them back to you. So, like the profit is like 0%. And then your books not going to be like the one on display, it's going to be in a shelf somewhere. So, it gets a little tricky. And then I think just getting there, like Barnes and Noble one place like that are only going to sell books that are like been high sellers in other places first because they only have so much shelf space. But the margins are tight on books.
Do you have any desire to create another book? Or is this another learning opportunity?
I guess Never say never. But I'm kind of someone who like once I do it once I'm like, Okay, that was fun. But yeah, I've had a lot. I mean, every time you tell someone you've written a children's book, everyone has an idea to do it. And it's really not that difficult. You just like, it's not. Finding an illustrator might be the hardest part. If you don't know. So, one, but that's it. You can get one on Fiverr.
And maybe they just called Tim?
Tim, I don't know. No, he would. I think we all had a lot of fun doing it. And I think when you're a creative, having a project where you're the final say is like such a treat. Like where the end product is just whatever you thought was coolest. So, I had someone the other day tell me their daughter was reading the book. It was so cute. So, it's really fun. That was amazing.
That's such a that's such an interesting point. I think it's worth like touching on. I agree. I think that it's so important. Like regardless of what you do, whether you're going into a creative field professionally or not. I think there's so much value in having a project that you're the complete owner over and you get to come up with the idea, sort of see it through the different stages and like you said, Be the person who has final say I think it's, it's helpful for like learning new skills, it's helpful for just having a project that is like your creation that is like a complete expression of like your, your ideas, I think it's just incredibly helpful for, for a variety of different reasons regardless of what you do. So, that's super cool. Maybe Tell me about I'm curious about your, I think it was called Chedda. Is that right?
Yes, the app. Okay, we made something else. So, me and my same target shoes partner. This was, I helped, but this was probably more of his like, baby. But anyway, um, so had an idea for this app called Chedda, which is made, it's pretty sure it's on the App Store. And the idea was for on college campuses, to let students kind of exchange or put up items they have for sale, couches, beer pong tables, whatever it is. And then they can sell to only other students. So, it's like student exclusive, because there's like kind of certain things you need when you live in a dorm, like custom built shelves, and things like that. And then just kind of more fun, like, Game Day stuff in different kind of categories of things that students could sell to each other, like sorority is selling to other, you know, the younger people in a sorority, etc. So, we made this app. Um, the process for that was a little different, we had someone we're working with to develop the app, and then they kind of we quickly realize they didn't maybe necessarily have the skills to do it as quickly as we wanted, or they were kind of learning as we went. And so that didn't really work. So, we ended up reaching out to some freelancers in Korea, because my old partner was Korean. And they were willing to do it for like a really good price. So, um, they built the app and had a lot of like, nice insights about how the functionality should work. Um, and then we at the time, we're working through work with like, an incubator program. So, we pitched it to some people there, just to kind of get their feedback, they thought it was really cool. And they were, like, excited that the product existed, because I think a lot of people go in and pitch things that like, haven't been developed yet, in any sort of way. Um, and so yeah, we promoted at the school we teach at, we had some kids using it and things like that, though, I think like a small design school isn't necessarily the ideal place, I think this app would work much better at a large state school, where there's tons of kids, you know, moving and etc, like different houses and things. Um, then we kind of just let it ride because my partner had a baby, and we had to just take a break. But it exists. And he's actually, um, I think, really heading like, going full throttle into the world of teaching. So, I had to have a feeling this app is going to come back in some kind of way, eventually, because it exists, and people like it.
That's cool. What do you have a sense of like, was this strategy for making money? Was there a strategy for making money? Or was it more like, build it and see if people use it?
Yeah, the strategy for us was like, make it free. Let's see if people use it. How do we get people on here? And then the strategy for making money would be like, if you have this engaged college audience can you do through the app, you know, discounts on partner with Apple and do discounts like exclusive discounts on Mac books one day, or like things like that? So, kind of like, in a way advertising, but more like student discounted products and information through the app? So, that would be like eventually where it would go? In a minute, there were probably more ideas.
For you, though, is your involvement there more kind of like, wait and see how it goes? If it comes back to life, are you is that one you're sort of pushing and rooting for?
Um, I could see it coming back to life, but I don't know how much involvement I would personally have with it. I think it would be something my partner would like take on within his new life trajectory. Um, yeah, I was, I would help but you know,
What was the biggest, like, learning experience or takeaway from doing a digital product like an app?
Let's think that was, I mean, it wasn't so far away from things we have to do at work sometimes like building out like the UX for different websites or apps or things like that. And so it wasn't really that I think the biggest learning for us was working with a partner who maybe didn't work out and like how do you navigate that? How, like, how long do you let that go until it's kind of like this? isn't working? We don't have this kind of time we're going to go with someone else. And like, I don't know, I feel like that was like a learning experience in itself.
Well, like what? What advice would you give to someone? Did you wait too long? Did you like how did you handle that conversation? Like, for someone who hasn't been through that experience? Or maybe they're going through right now? What kind of advice would you give them?
Yeah, I think it's all about like, clear communication. I think just being clear on like, what you're expecting when you're expecting it. And if that person you slowly rise, maybe doesn't have the skills or isn't delivering for whatever reason? I don't know. I'm kind of like, maybe give him one more chance. And then if it's still not happening, it's all professional. Like, again, with like, it's not. At that point, it's like, we need you to do X, you're not able to do it. We're gonna have to go with someone else. You know, it's not personal, even though you know, you feel bad.
I guess my thing would just be like, make sure you're communicating super clear about what you expect. And if it's not happening, and you have a different choice that you know, can deliver, you know, just move on.
Yep. So, you mentioned you had props, plural. You've shown a couple is there. Is there more hiding down there? You want to share?
no, I'm trying to think of other things side projects.
I have to interrupt you. This is the one that I was gonna…
Of course, of course, no. Yes. Yes. Yes. The Send the Love Collection. Okay, this is my bad, like, how did I forget this most recent thing I did. So, the story. So, I created a shop called Send the Love over COVID. And I partnered again, with a designer I know. And originally, I've been trying to figure out maybe like, Is there something else I want to do outside of advertising? And I thought about developing a line of ski clothes. But I was like, that's, I want to make I was in like a three-month program. And so I wanted to do something within that timeframe. So, I was like, let's see what it's like to make a line of drop shipping clothing. And is this something I'm interested in, and then I would take the next step to like, a line of ski clothes would be a lot more intense. So, I learned a lot about drop shipping created this line of products. They were all kinds of nice messages on products you would send to friends and family who you maybe missed during COVID like grants mugs that I missed everyone. There was like, happy thoughts, things like that designed by a very cool design right now. Um, so yeah, we created the store, and kind of shared with friends and family had people sharing it out people were buying our clothes, wearing them and posting them on social media. Um, so that was the most recent project to kind of see if I, again, just like throwing it out into the world. Let's see what happens and see if I'm interested in that kind of side business. Turns out…
Yeah, I was gonna say, what did you learn, um, that it was, it was super fun. We learned how much like time in work, which is obvious, but how much like social media presence and how much content we would need to be creating to kind of back up this store, and like, set the tone for the store, which we knew, but when you're actually having to create it, it's super time consuming. So, that was good learning. Um, and then we learned that there is definitely a more profitable way than going through a drop shipper. like making process.
I'm like, roughly aware of drop shipping, but I'd love to hear more.
yeah, so there's a couple of different drop shippers who do very it's like such an interesting business. Okay, so there's different drop shippers, there's Printful, PrinterFi, there's some more, those are kind of the big ones. And basically, you can design t shirts, mugs, anything, not anything but a lot of things blankets, pillows, sweatshirts, etc. And you can put your designs on them. And then through Shopify, you can make a storefront for free, and drive people to buy on your Shopify site. And then the drop shipper basically prints your items, ships them, and you get a percentage of the profits and they do too. Um, so it saves you from having if you want to try or see if you have like, Oh, I have an idea for a clothing line. Let me see if it's gonna work before I go buy 500 shirts, and hope to sell them. This is an easy way to do it, because you don't have any inventory and you don't have to worry about all the shipping. They do everything. The profit margins are smaller, but it's a very good way to test the market if you had an idea that you could be done through drop shipping. Um, so yeah, that it was a super interesting learning experience. We got the shop up in like a month, it probably would have been faster except COVID. They wouldn't let you upload new designs at one point because they were so backed up because of COVID. Oh, wow. Yeah.
So, what did going into that project? Like? How have you thought about evaluating its success? Was it like a learning experience? Was it? Hey, we're gonna test this and see if it even is worthwhile for us to invest in buying a bunch of stuff. And in shifting away from drop shipping, like, how have you thought about evaluating it since the launch?
Yeah, so kind of evaluating a couple things. So, yeah, like profitability wise, we netted out pretty much, like, didn't lose any money didn't make a ton of money. But you, if I were to continue, we would see like what our best-selling items and try to figure out how to start screen printing them ourselves, if you really wanted to, like blow it up. Because that would just make it so much cheaper. Or so much more profitable, the amount you lose in drop shipping is wild. So, I would probably start doing ourselves if you really want to, like make good money doing it. Um, for custom pieces. Then the other thing I think we realized quickly, me and my designer friend is kind of like, this idea was like, super cute. And the products are really fun. But it's not it wasn't actually our vibe, we kind of was like, Who are we? This isn't our, this isn't really who we are. So, it's a very far leap from like a very cool line of skis. So, I think that kind of played a role into it. Like, we like these products, and they're cool, but like, if we would want to, like totally pivot this business in a different direction if we kept going. Um, I mean, I think there's a learning of like, we're both very busy, we both have full time jobs, and kind of like, a little bit of the shop depends on the designer, if you have your design your own items, and you're not the designer, you kind of the new designs can only go as fast as the designer has available time. So, it's like, when you're partnering with someone, of course, and they're How do I say this, when you have a partner, and you're waiting on them, maybe or they're super busy with work, so you're just kind of waiting to drop new designs, like it's a little bit starts to become out of your hands. And so for me, I prefer where like I could, whether my partners are taking extra time or whatever I prefer to I realize I prefer to have a business where I'm in charge of or where like you have control to keep going. And it doesn't like require I'm fully waiting on someone else.
Maybe that's I think this is an incredibly important thing to think about. And for people to be sort of selective in the type of business that they pursue, especially in the early stage. Because before you get started, you get to choose everything about it, like what market you're in, what the product or services, who you collaborate with. And you should be really thoughtful about who you should you're going to collaborate with. Not because people are bad enough always out to get you it's more like, especially in the early stages, it's hard to find people who are exactly on the same page about how much effort and energy they want to put into something. And yeah, exactly what you just said, where if two people who have a full-time job, and one of them sees this as a fun thing to do, once a week, or maybe this is something that someone else wants to do every night before and after work. And like if you're not on the same page, that's going to cause a lot of friction. And so, it's helpful if you can start at least in the beginning to be like a company of one being someone who can, at least, you know, do the core function of the business by yourself. And then as it grows, and there's need for more expertise or more skills in different areas you can bring people on.
Yeah, I think that's a great way to say it's kind of pitched as like a fun side project. And I was like, let's go. Hey, you know, it's like, Yeah, exactly. So, you have to make sure you're communicating what you really mean.
What was what was your experience with shop using Shopify? You said you mentioned it was free to set up the website. And it only took about a month to get everything together.
Got it. And you mentioned in terms of marketing, it seems like the strategy was like social media content creation. And like, coming to the realization, like, if that's your strategy, it's like you're on that train, and it's just like, never stops you. After Yeah, producing.
Yeah. And to be fair, we did run a couple of Facebook ads and things like that, that drove traffic. But that isn't my expertise. And now it's something that I'm like, oh, if I ever do something like that, again, I'm really gonna have to dive deep and learn how to test those make them effective and have like a budget to do that kind of testing that I'm willing to put in, you know?
Absolutely. So, what do you what are you working on these days? anything new that you can preview here?
Oh, my gosh, um, honestly, there's nothing that's coming to mind. I don't actually have any side projects. But I will say I've been thinking a lot. This is like, what's probably coming. I've had quite a few people reach out to me over COVID about helping them negotiate, whether it's like new jobs or current job salaries. And I've been told that I'm good at that. And so, I've been thinking a lot about setting up some kind of like, how can I help people do that? Because I think it's so fun when people get more money. especially women, I'll throw that out there just like stepping up asking for what you want and getting paid correctly. So, there might be something in that world coming what that is, I don't know yet. But side projects, you know, just let your mind wander and they come to you.
Oh, there was so there's one other thing I was gonna ask you about. Speaking of, like, letting your mind wander and letting ideas come to you, I was gonna ask you about like, there's sort of this trope of like ideas coming to people while they're in the shower. Or, you know, when you're when you're least expecting it, is there a time of day or an activity that you find is like, actually a helpful way for sort of inducing ideas to come.
I'll say, for me, I think everyone has their own way that like works for them. For me, I tend to be like, laying down or like, super comfortable, like sitting at a desk at work, I cannot sit and brainstorm to come up with ideas I have to be like, I used to lay on a couch all day at work. It's so unprofessional. Whenever I had a great idea. Um, yeah, I tend to be like, more relaxed, I like to be like, just in a relaxed space. Um, and then I think, for me, ideas tend to come for me in like, I wouldn't say the middle of the night don't like wake up from asleep. But like, if my mind is racing about something, I got good advice from a professor A long time ago, like if your mind is racing about idea ideas for advertising, or in general, I think just right to like, grab a notebook and get them all out and then go to sleep or go do whatever. But if your mind's like, starting to churn, I don't know if you can, like you have that sensation. But like, then get them all down, and then move on. Like, try not to interrupt that. That's that one time I had insomnia for some weird reason. And that's how I came with the fish book. So, I don't know. The shower, no, but just in a relaxed space. And there's a book called The Artists Way that has like, my you're supposed to journal for five minutes every morning, and I'm reading read five minutes of something interesting to you. And then I feel like maybe meditate for five minutes. And people find that really helpful, if that helps anyone listening. But yeah, I'm not sure. I feel like it's just,
I have in the past, I've never been big on like writing down ideas. And not until recently, I realized, like, when I exercise, I have a whole bunch of ideas that maybe typically I would just sort of like ignore or be like, oh, I'll think of that later. And I never think of it later, I started keeping a piece of paper. And like in the middle of like working out, I'll just start like writing down ideas, which I know sounds really crazy. But in part it helps me like flush out a bunch of bad ideas. You just once you write it down, you stop thinking about it. You know like don't feel the need to revisit it. Or if I've found if I continue to have the same idea it's like it's one of those filters of like, I can I return back to the things that are intriguing or interesting to me because there's something there rather than it just being some kind of like fleeting thought.
Mm hmm. No, yeah, I think any time when your mind like, like physically active and your mind gets a chance to relax is when it starts to like swirl and that's why people will probably the shower works or like if you take 10 minutes to go sit outside and just like, like write down anything you think of it kind of like whenever your mind has a chance to relax. I think it starts thinking of weird stuff.
That's maybe a good place to call it. Maybe one last question before we go. So, you sort of touched on this a little bit. But as I mentioned, the Makers Inc project is pretty early for me any advice you have, for me going forward?
Um, I think what you're doing is great. I think talking to people who are makers and different types of makers will lead you to, like anything else you'd want to add to your project. I think, you know, the best thing to do is talk to people about like, how they did it, what worked, what didn't, because as they say, like someone's always done it before you so go get that free advice. To an extent, you know.
Absolutely. All right. Jamie Rome. Thank you so much.
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