S4 E24: Developing a 5-in-1 product via stellar customer relationships with Jules Weldon & Stacey Pierce (Co-Founders, OME Gear)


Jules Weldon and Stacey Pierce, Co-Founders of OME Gear, join Retention Chronicles for the final episode of Season 4 to discuss the struggles and successes of building a multi-use product.

Jules and Stace took their product vision and turned it into a 5-in-1 innovation that their customers rave about. But, it hasn’t been an easy journey to get there. They chose their dreams over their belongings and sold their house to back their business, betting on themselves and their determination to succeed.

The leap has been well worth it, as their customers love OME Gear’s The Wanderer. Whether it’s emailing Stace and Jules directly, sharing across social media, or organic word-of-mouth marketing, the quality of product really shows at OME Gear.

But, it’s not only products that glow, but also services. Jules & Stace personally email each customer after purchase to familiarize and introduce themselves. That’s relationship building at the next level, and the team of co-founders makes sure that as they grow, they don’t want to lose that level of connection with their customers. They’ve created and continue to create a loyal consumer base with their personal post-purchase experience.

Stace, Jules, & Mariah also discuss posting on social media and how difficult it really is to keep up with and create content for. They make sure to share both their success stories and struggles as female founders so that they can pave the road and fill potholes for founders who come next.

Episode Timestamps:

  • Transforming products and taking ideas to market. 1:23

  • Minimalism, sustainability, and multi-use products. 8:26

  • Using a product called "Wanderer" for convenient transportation. 11:30

  • Using customers as brand ambassadors for a new product. 17:12

  • Building a successful outdoor gear brand. 21:57

  • Branding, social media, and customer connection. 28:26

  • Podcasting, entrepreneurship, and vulnerability. 34:29

  • Social media strategy and kindness online. 40:22

  • Customer experience and marketing strategies for a product-based business. 44:27

  • Entrepreneurship, vulnerability, and problem-solving. 51:29

Did you know that 20% of your website traffic hits the order tracking experience? Turn all of that customer engagement into customer loyalty. Malomo helps you get ahead of shipping issues, brand your order tracking experience, and reconvert shoppers while they wait for their package to arrive.

To see what your custom mockup of branded order tracking and transactional email/SMS would look like, fill out this form & we’ll send your custom design right to your inbox!

Be sure to subscribe to our pod to stay up-to-date and checkout Malomo, the leading order tracking platform for Shopify brands.

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This transcript was completed by an automated system, please forgive any grammatical errors.


people, customers, love, product, feel, brand, founders, beach, put, hard, female founders, big, good, podcast, tik tok, social media, linkedin, jules, gear, videos


Jules Weldon, Mariah Parsons, Stace Pierce

Mariah Parsons 00:04

Hi there, I'm Mariah Parsons, your host of retention Chronicles, ecommerce brands are starting to shift their strategy to focus on retention in the customer experience. And so we've decided to reach out to top DC brands and dive deeper into their tactics and challenges. But here's the thing, we love going on tangents. And so with our guests, you'll often find us talking about the latest trends, as well as any and all things in the Shopify ecosystem. So go ahead and start that workout or go on that walk and tune in as we chat with the leading minds in the space retention Chronicles is sponsored by Malomo. A shipment in order tracking platform, improving the post purchase experience, be sure to subscribe and check out all of our other episodes at go. malomo.com. Hello, everyone, and welcome to retention Chronicles. Very excited to have both Jules and Stace cofounders of Omi gear here on the podcast today. It's been a pleasure to get to know you too. Even just through our brief call. I was super excited that finally today's the day that we get to record. So if you could intro both yourselves and then also your brand for audience that would be great. Jules, let's start with you.

Jules Weldon 01:22

You got it. Thanks for having us. Mariah. It's fun to be on this with you and get to know you as well. So I'm Jules, and married to this lovely human here to my right or your left and grew up in Pennsylvania and now live in South Carolina. So that's me.

Stace Pierce 01:42

Yep. And I am Stace. Now, obviously, I'm married to her. Well, and actually, this is how we are all the time. So this is not just because we're on a podcast. And I'm from Aiken, South Carolina. I'm also the co founder of boat and gear oceans plus mountains equals Earth gear. And yeah, so I've never lived out of South Carolina, this is this is him. And

Jules Weldon 02:08

her is an outdoor, outdoor company. And so we make products that help transport things. So either transport gear, or eventually we'll be making a product that will help transport people. And so transforming products are kind of what is our thing. And so our flagship product is the wanderer. And it's an invention that Stacy and I came up with, we reinvented something that my parents came up with 25 years ago, so completely redesigned the whole thing and are taking that to market.

Mariah Parsons 02:43

Love it. I also should have asked, I always normally do this, but I'm glad you called out. So it's o m e, not only. So I didn't even realize that it was an abbreviation. And that is on me because I was all through your website. And it didn't even click that it would be an abbreviation instead of just its own word. So can you because I watched your TED Talk? Obviously, I had to even though like I told you both. I try and purposely not do a ton of research so that we can have conversation on the podcast and my listeners aren't just hearing me get into the nitty gritty of things. So can you give a just a summary real quick of how you took your parents their idea and really saw their dream come to light?

Jules Weldon 03:30

Yeah, I was working for Price Waterhouse Cooper as a business management consultant. And honestly, it got to a point where I wanted to do something on my own. I didn't want to work 80 hours a week for somebody else. And so I thought of my dad's idea that had been dormant on a shelf for 12 years. And I called him up and just said, Hey, Dad, what would you think about me trying to take your product to market and through tears, he said, honey, that would be a dream come true. And he assigned the patent over to me and which if you have to, if you think about it, 12 years later, the product was a two in one transforming product, but it was all plastic and it was big and kind of clunky. And so I picked it up and redesigned it into like a two or three in one so completely redesigned. It partnered with a manufacturer out in North Carolina. And initially, like some marriages, it was a match made in heaven. And then six months in we were like, Ah, this is not a good partnership. And so I ended up walking away from that. And then Stacey and I in like 2017 2018 said, Gosh, nobody has taken this stolen this idea, which happens a lot. What if we completely redesign it a third time? And that's what we did. And so we completely redesigned it into a five and one. So it's now a cart, a cart that holds up to 150 pounds of gear, a high camping chair, a low beach chair and the lounge Share that reclines. And so we worked with a company out in Michigan spent Gosh, over what $350,000 on the design of it. Because it's a really complex idea to make five products be one, and it still have a small footprint. And so that's what we did. And we've it's been a roller coaster of ups and downs. But we believe this is exactly where we're supposed to be.

Mariah Parsons 05:31

I love it. How? So you're taking something and obviously like adding more usability into it with it going from a two in 123 and one to a five and one. With the design of it. Are you rolling out like at once you have all these ideas that you could transform it into to become the five in one? Or is it kind of like a, like a domino effect where now you start thinking about different things. And then it's like to get to the three, three and one to the five and one or you I guess, is there a foreign one in the middle where you're kind of thinking like incrementally as you're designing? What what the potential could be there? Yeah, good question.

Stace Pierce 06:14

I'll answer that. Because her the former company, I came in on the end of it. And in the that that product was, it was not a transformable unit necessarily, it was two things that you'd put together. And then you had that would make a cart. And then you had a base, and then you had the chair as the back end and make the cart and then then you would unhook everything. And then you had two different height chairs that you could choose from individually, like one chair didn't become two heights it was. And my parents ordered one and my dad likes the higher chair, my mom likes the lower chairs. So they had two chairs, but they listed them together and still still work together. It was a great design. But we needed something that was not going to be as bulky. And so that's when we wanted it to do everything we wanted to do the highchair we wanted to do the low chair, we wanted to be a comfortable lounge, or we wanted to be a camping cut. And then as is actually evolved even further, what we have found in cartload, if you put up all the legs, you can see the wheels on the ground where only the wheels are on, we have straps that we created that it carries paddleboards surfboards, kayaks, even to kayaks. So, you know to just as ever evolving, and then a lot of people use it in cartload with all the lights down. They use it for like a bench when they're sitting on the beach, and they have their children, they have four children, and they're all sitting there eating their lunch, they can all sit on the bench instead of sitting on the ground. And so it's just ever evolving product that our customers are coming up with new ways to use it. And it is fun. But, but we're always forward thinking like the next product, we have a litany of products coming. In all of them, our whole point of the company is being a multi use product. We're not we're getting rid of things out of your garage and taking taking up less space. And you can use it for multiple activities or multiple things that you need. Tools.

Mariah Parsons 08:26

Okay, love it. So I've so many questions. So but first I'm going to tackle, I love the point that you make that you're the last point you just make. So I'm going to walk backwards of trying to take things like out of your garage and make them multi use. I feel like right now. And I'm curious to see if you both agree, there's a lot around just sustainability in products of like how many times you can use something for different methods or different different to solve different issues that you're coming around, or that you're better surfacing in your life. And then I also feel like the Nomad mice lifestyle of moving around, and maybe living in an RV for a bit or having less, maybe like bigger furniture or bigger, bigger pieces that you would have to move around with you is kind of a trend as well at least that's what I'm seeing social media friends, whatnot, and I know you to live that life for a while. So is that something you're seeing as well just generally with society of like trying to own less stuff, but also when you do own something, having it be a more equitable or more. What's the word I'm looking for? A you a better a more efficient product, I guess.

Stace Pierce 09:47

I mean, you can kind of follow the trends on Netflix, right? There's a whole there's a whole series of like, you know, downsides in your life and yeah, we never expected that we were going to have to do that and The backstory of that if you've heard our Tech Talk Tech Talk is we, because we did like our stuff, you know, we had a nice home, and we liked our space, and we liked our things. And, and but we had to sell our home. And so everything, probably 95% of our stuff to save our company. And so, and the only option was because our house sold in four days, it was like, Oh, what are we going to do now? What's your RV, but when you're living in an RV, and you're there living for two and a half years, in an RV, you have to every little bit of space is precious, not dimension, you can only carry so much you can't pack, you know, 3000 pounds of stuff, and an RV and travel safe safe down the road. So you have to be very aware. And so we made sure that anything we had it had multi uses, and which was good because we had a multi, we have a multi use product. And that's what a lot of people have gotten rid of their wagons and their other things out their garage and just hung up one thing, you know, one of the one wonder to wonders, it's been an honor how many are in the family and how many want one. So I mean, that was that has been and that's that is our sustainability platform is that we can get rid of the junk and add a quality product that's going to last you more than a season. And

Mariah Parsons 11:30

hopefully, too, if you don't already have some of the things that the Wanderer is solving for, then you don't even have to get it in the first place. Right? Like i I can only imagine what my parents I think I told you about that I grew up in New Jersey, very close to the beach. So my parents, always when we would go to the beach had to lug around like the quintessential, right, like three young kids. And they were just packed with stuff like coolers, you know, everything that you could possibly need for a day at the beach. And so when I saw your product, I sent it immediately to my mom, like, look at this, let me just like, um, because she knows I'm in the space, obviously. But she was like, Yeah, people are just so smart these days thinking of stuff that, like I wish I had, but it's nice that we have it now. She's like 2030 years ago, when you were younger would have been, she's like, I can't even explain to you how many like corals it probably could have solve, which is families of trying to get everyone on the beach out of the car, you know, into everything or even like concerts or tailgating you know, all those things. Where you typically have to load up, load up a lot of stuff. I mean by

Stace Pierce 12:43

my mom, she's 73 and she and my aunt loved to go to the beach, my dad not so much. But my mom and my aunt and they take their wonders every time. And they they in the you know, they're not carrying their bulky lounge chairs anymore. They put their bag on it, they just roll it right onto the beach and use it from their timeshare is probably a good half a mile walk to the beach. I mean, they're fine. They're not having to stop and reposition anything. Like yeah, switch

Mariah Parsons 13:15

hands, you

Stace Pierce 13:16

know? Or my dad, if he does go he'll, he'll throw his wonder on the air and grab my answer and put her wonder Oh, so he's carrying three, three wonders or two wonders on a wonder with all their stuff. And he just carries it for them. You know? So it's like, and then he's not so upset when he gets to the beach and he can actually enjoy the beach when he gets there. So that was the reason my dad's so bitter about the beach. He's like that's I've had to law haul all your crap.

Mariah Parsons 13:45

Yeah, exactly. You didn't basically transport Yeah. Half the house to the beach. I can't even enjoy it. Because you know, you have to bring it back. So Oh, my God, I get that. I've also seen too, like, yeah, just a lot of carts. Which marketing is probably just come in for me because living in a city. Granted, it's Indianapolis, but it's very walkable but like Chicago. Right. Also in the Midwest, just people being smarter about like groceries and not having to lug them around. It's one of those ways where technology just, you know, you can you can be in on it because you're like, oh, yeah, well, obviously, you know, why wouldn't we just want a little added convenience. There's enough things that are hard, you know, right now. So one of the other things now going back one more like a statement or bullet point is though different ways and customers finding out different ways that they can use the wanderer. So are you finding that out? Just like organically seeing stuff on social are people reaching out to you? Do you have some like program in place where, you know, you're incentivizing. You're asking your motivating customers to share all the ways that they're using your product? What What does it look like behind the scenes there?

Jules Weldon 15:03

So our customers are really important to us. Because we're, I mean, we're still a startup, you know. And so we're still real gritty and scrappy. And hopefully, this will always be the case for us. But our customers are really important. So every purchase that happened through our website, I send them a personalized email. And I just say, Hey, this is Jules, this is not a form email, this is really me writing to you. And I would love to see how one you heard about us and to how you use your wonder, right. And so people write back and they're like, oh my gosh, like, this rarely happens when I buy a product where I actually get an email from the one of the founders, and then I'll always write them back again, so that they know, it really was me. And I really did read their email. So that's one of the ways because a lot of times customers will send us pictures and say, I mean, we've gotten them, people using an equestrian field, we've gotten them, people using them hunting where they carry their deer that they you know, killed out from the field or wherever, in the woods. We've gotten them from people using them on boats, where they go and anchor out to like this island. And then they use their wonder, do you know the island, we've gotten them from a guy who was building something in his house, and he loaded up four by fours on it and carried it, we've gotten it from a woman who loaded up her big bin of leaves and carried it down to the curbside, you know, so it's really cool to be like, Oh my gosh, like, this is how people are using them. And then you know, and then we'll share it on social media to go this is not just for the beach, like or not just for camping, or, I mean, it can literally be used anytime you need to haul something somewhere. And then if seating options once you get there, you know, so So yeah, I mean, it's been really fun. And we always write back, we always try to, you know, promote it on social and yeah, our customers just really matter to us.

Stace Pierce 17:03

Yeah. My dad used to carry mulch around the yard for mom to look for her flowers.

Mariah Parsons 17:12

There you go. Yeah, I'm trying to think through like other use cases, which will take me so much longer.

Jules Weldon 17:18

Oh, but I wanted to follow up sorry, on the on the other point of that, so we're about to put together an ambassador program. We're gonna call it ambassadors. We, we want like certain customers to use it and share it. Because the best way that we can sell these things is word of mouth. And our customers tell us they're like, We love this. And we hate it. We're like, oh, no, why do you hate it? And they're like, because anytime we go anywhere, and we're using it, we get stopped five times and say, What is that thing? Where did you get it? Like, that's amazing. And so then they have to stop and do a demo. But for us, we're like, alright, we have to pay attention to that, you know, because when a customer does a demo, it's so much better than us doing a demo because people are like, Oh, this thing is awesome. You've got to see it. And so we're gonna put our customers in the driver's seat and send them swag each month, you know, of like, Oh, me cool stuff. But also give them money when they sell a wonder. So we'll give them a certain code, and let them actually go out and, you know, do do the frontline sales for us. And they're so stoked about it. So that'll roll out in 2024. And we're really excited about that. Oh, I

Mariah Parsons 18:35

love that. That reminds me of so we had Are you too familiar with the cross NET Brand at all? It's like a we love them there. Yes. Awesome. So we had him on here. And Greg, that is and he was, yes, Greg. Yep. And he was telling me just how much like you just got they were getting stopped in the street. And it was obviously it's part of your approach to wanting to play and like a game is such a good thing to do that with because you're very active. Like, you seem very approachable, because you're with their game when you're like outside, right? There's no There's a lower barrier of entry. And I, he graciously enough sent me one because I was telling him the previous week we had been playing. So they had sent me snack smash net, which is their newer, newer game, and then the cross net, my friend has and so we were playing at his lake house. And so it's just like, okay, a rhotic one of those simulation moments, right? I get to talk to the founder next week. So I was telling him and people had stopped at both for cross net and smash net to ask and just be like, what game is that? Because it intrigues because it's something new. And I was so shocked when we were playing in a lake house, like I said, and then smash that we were playing Lakeshore drive in Chicago and The amount of people that I could like see their eyes, because he was just like sitting next to us when we were playing. So they were like pointing right like the same that we all would have done pointing and looking and like, some were brave enough to come up and ask us what it was. And then, you know, I could say like, oh, blah, blah, blah, smash that new game, if you know, cross net. Yeah, all that stuff. And it is, it is correct in that the word, the strength of word of mouth marketing, and hearing from someone else who, even if you don't know them, is powerful. But if you do know them, there's an added level of trust in that you all don't have to try to convey information and educate while you're also trying to create the establish relationship. So it's way easier to use the trust that's already established in your customers to then have them portray what the strengths are with your product, and like how they love it and how they see it. Yeah,

Jules Weldon 20:59

for sure. For sure. I mean, you could do all of our marketing that way we would. Yeah,

Mariah Parsons 21:05

I hope there's not a marketer in the world who would think otherwise? Because I think it's just, it's, is there a program that you're like a software that you're using for that affiliate program? Or is it going to be like one to one or, you know, a curated list of Top X customers that you all are reaching out to that you all are taking in house? And

Jules Weldon 21:25

that way it's going to be because we have some incredible customers who have said, Hey, do you have any kind of Ambassador Program. So those are the ones that we're going to start with. And then of course, as it gets bigger, we're going to have to get a software program that we manage it with. Initially, we're going to have somebody on our team who runs that whole program, and she's perfect for it. She's really outgoing and all of that. So, yeah, we can't wait to roll it. Launch it for sure.

Mariah Parsons 21:53

I love that. Yeah. Where are you going to add something jewels? Or I feel like I heard, okay. Like to check in? Um, okay, awesome. How did you? How have you met? How did you meet Chris? And, Greg, I was just like to ask.

Stace Pierce 22:10

During COVID, I mean, in the outdoor gear space, I mean, I think that we all kind of came together because of manufacturing and all that. The, the Morse, I think we met him cuz I remember seeing across Matt and one of our neighbors, and we sent them video.

Jules Weldon 22:25

Well, and I'm, I'm super active on LinkedIn. And so I think initially, I connected with Chris, Chris, on LinkedIn, and then got him on our podcasts, do it in nature. And that's how we sort of evolved. And now we're really good buddies. We get a lot of same trade shows and share a lot of like war stories with each other and make introductions to different people. So they're good guys. Yeah, yeah, we're kind of in the trenches with those guys that are awesome.

Mariah Parsons 22:56

I love it. Yeah, from what I can tell from not being in the, you know, out of space to go into these trade shows. They're very willing to share and to get in the trenches, talk through different solutions, different problems, all that jazz. So I love that. Okay. And I was also curious if one of them had popped on your podcast, because I know, they obviously are big into the whole world of just sharing and thought leadership. But okay, so I'm gonna pivot from talking about just founding story. And I want to know, like, early early days, what was it like building out a website, like you have this awesome idea? How then, before you know your customers can market and before you can roll out an affiliate program? How are you building the website? How are you thinking about like the operations logistics funding? What is like? How do you how do you go even about that if you're trying to create a successful brand?

Jules Weldon 23:58

Well, we that's a bad question is like a hard hitter? I know. I mean, but it's a great question. And we get asked all the time, like, people come up to us all the time, I have this idea. Like, what would you recommend are the first steps, you know, and who I mean, I would say, if anybody has an idea, and they're thinking about taking the product to market, the first thing that they have to remember, is it costs more, it takes longer, and it's harder than you would ever imagine. Right? And so with that sentence in mind, it Do I have what it takes, because it requires a level of grit, that not everybody has. I mean, it is one of the hardest things, taking a product to market. That being said, thankfully, we had an amazing team right out of the gate, one of which was my brother, and he's a brand expert, and so he built out our website and so that I mean, that was an incredible gift that we had. From him like he, he came up with the logo with the colors. I mean, obviously with our input. But that was really huge for us to a lot of times, you have to look bigger than you really are. And a good website can help you do that. And so when we would go to trade shows early on, when all we had was a prototype where people were like, Man, you guys seem like you're an established company. And we weren't, you know,

Mariah Parsons 25:28

like metal Do you know?

Jules Weldon 25:32

But when you have good branding, it automatically makes people think that you're more established than maybe you are. So it's really important. As far as like, cool manufacturing and funding, you want to take a stab? Well, first

Stace Pierce 25:47

of all, it's funny, you asked that because Jules and I have written a book where it is an editing page right now. And it's literally about what do you have what it takes to take a product to market and it's the first of a three series. And so, so this is a book and we're gonna put it into very, we're gonna put, what is it? We're gonna give you a synopsis of it, I was trying to make up a word there.

Mariah Parsons 26:13

I like to do that all the time. You know?

Stace Pierce 26:16

I mean, you know, I have to, I have to go back. So I mean, back to our team is Josie and I have done a really good job about putting people in the right seat on the bus. And mostly, mostly, now we have, we have spent a ton of money that we wish we had back on marketing companies that that did not follow through or did not do what they said they were going to do. And so that's super important when you're starting out as a startup, to be careful of who you're who you're bringing in and who you're paying. So that was a lesson that was a very hard lesson for us to learn. And, you know,

Jules Weldon 26:55

nobody cares about it like you do. Yeah, they just.

Stace Pierce 27:00

But with funding, you're always going to need more money than you then you think you do. And so you need to ask for it. And then with manufacturing, it's you know, it's a it's a It depends, depends on manufacturing. But there's so many people out there, I mean, Jules and I have, we're not the smartest people in the room. And so we've surrounded ourselves with smarter people. And we're not afraid to ask, we're not afraid to ask the hard questions. We're not even afraid to ask the easy questions, you know, that we may not have the answer to, but somebody else may come up with, oh, I can help you with that. So we have built in, we're about building relationships. And so building we've built relationships that we have learned from the experts, where we have, we're quickly becoming the experts, you know, and I don't think we'll ever quit learning because I think there's always something we can learn. So with funding and manufacturing, it's, it's a, it's a, it's a full time job, a full time job, raise funds, and it's a full time job with manufacturing. And we always have to stay ahead of the curve to you just, you know, we're we say we're not a one hit wonder. It goes as the name of our product, really, you know, we have other products that are coming out behind it. And so we're staying ahead of every everything else, there'll be no, eventually we're gonna probably get knocked off. And so we just have to be ready for the next product, and then the next series and the next adventure. And so it's just staying ahead of the game. Yeah,

Mariah Parsons 28:25

yeah, I love that. And I love that you brought up like having a really strong website, the notion that that can make you appear bigger than you are or more established than you are. And I think that's one of the things that US also like being in the startup world and the Shopify ecosystem, when you're having a lot of startups and awesome brands hit the market is you can you like run the risk of oversaturation, right. But with a really established or a really well curated website that portrays the brand in a way that can put from a consumer point of view, put one one brand higher than the other. I think it's a really smart play. And I think it's something sometimes really hard to quantify. I see this a lot with social media, to where like the influence and the impact of branding obviously, we all know it's hard to qualify or quantify but with social media, what I've seen that's kind of equivalent to website. Branding is also the like website or the social presence. And I don't even think that equates to a big following but a loyal following. So I don't know how you you to feel about that. Because I think like big followings it can come with a lot and you can get there a lot of different ways. Some way easier than others. Like if you go viral, right? I think nobody would just greet with the fact that that would probably be a very efficient way to have a large following. But what I've seen with the brands that I shop with is like a lot of engagement and a lot of reviews from customers like in the comments. So I don't know if you to have thought through that all at all of like, comparing website, shopping and social media and how you all think about it. But I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Jules Weldon 30:29

Yeah, so we have, we have a great loyal following, right. And what I've been seeing is with brands, now they want to connect to the founders, they want to hear from the founders they want. I mean, and I think Tiktok has been has been a big proponent of this. And a big reason for this is because you can hold up your phone and get on and talk about your business and show the behind the scenes. And even if you have a big company, people feel like they know you, which is really cool. So tick tock has been really significant for us where we can, our product is so demonstrable that we can put on a 22nd video, and we've gone viral a bunch of times, because people love to see that they love to see the transforming and but then they also love to hear from us and they love to see oh my gosh, it's 250 year old women who are doing this, who left their jobs kind of went or not kind of went all in and are making this work, you know, and so people love to connect with that story. And they feel like they know us it which is really cool. And we've got we've been to trade shows and people were Walt will walk up and go, Oh my gosh, I follow you on LinkedIn or I follow you on Tik Tok, I follow you. And it's the coolest thing because not that we're celebrities or influencers by any stretch, but it's to feel connected because of something we put out there. It inspires us to keep doing more, you know, because it makes that long, like barrier where people felt like, gosh, I'll never know the people who've invented this, to walk up to us and go, Oh, my gosh, hi. Like, I'm Jules, this is Stace. It's so nice to meet you. And so social media is really, really significant. For us. We have a private Facebook group called LMA gear insiders, where we share kind of the behind the scenes stuff and, and so that's even on another level of, you know, people who were really connected with and want to be more connected with. So social is really important to us. When we're waiting, we told you behind like before we went live, we're waiting on a large investment. And once that comes through, we're going to be very, very purposeful, to not lose the personal touch of our company, we want to stay right on the frontlines and connected to our customers.

Mariah Parsons 32:58

I love that the the notion of like wanting to wanting to continue to be the face of the brand. I think it's something that I was not aware of before entering this industry. And not aware of how much how, as a consumer, the difference that it makes when you do recognize a face with the brand. And now that I'm in this space, of course I'd never I tell all my friends about it. And I'm like, okay, but like, do you recognize like barstool, right? They're not in the Shopify ecosystem. But they have. And I know this because one of my friends is working on a project with them. But so it's very tough mine. But like the reason that they have such a big following is because Dave Portnoy is the face of the brand, and he's out there. He's in front of people, whether you like him or not, you know who he is. And he is truthful to himself, which I think is that is portrayed through the screen, and so many other brands. The same, I would say like the same thing, but that's one that comes to mind where I'm like that and I tell my friends, I'm like, that's exactly what, at Malomo Like, the importance of the brand is what we're seeing, right. And so I love that you all are aware of it and know the importance of once you do get that investment. You don't want to lose that because you've seen the influence that it has. I also wanted to say that. So, in regards to people coming up to you and say, you know, I've seen you on Tik Tok or I follow you on LinkedIn or maybe listen to your podcast. One of my podcasts that it's called armchair expert, it's with Doc Shepherd and Monica Patman. Love it. And they they talk about like the parasocial relationship that forms because of podcasts and like because of communities that you're in online. And ever since I heard that it was one of those moments where it's like, oh my god, now I have like a name to what I've been feeling. So I feel like that's exactly what's happening to everyone, whether it's through podcasts through LinkedIn through communities like Um, Facebook groups and all that jazz. And it's something that now I preach about nonstop because I like having a name for it. But even though it's parasocial, if that's what, like a parasocial relationship, I don't think it's inauthentic. If that makes sense, right? Like you still very much know the person, because you're hearing what they're saying, or seeing what they're saying. But it just isn't the maybe type of relationship we're used to, because technology and be able to chat online is still so new, and in the timeframe of our, you know, of humans being alive. So it's all it's all so interesting, and I love it is it?

Jules Weldon 35:41

Now I love it too. And what, what Stacey and I have often found is that, at least in the past, you wouldn't hear about any of the struggles of growing a business, you just see the success, right? Like all of a sudden, all of a sudden, this founder has this incredibly successful business. And what what I love and what I'm drawn to in the founders are the ones who share the hardships along the way, because that feels more relatable to me, right? And so I can connect with that. And I can go, gosh, if they can do it, I can do it right and be like they're way up here. And I could never reach the success that they have. And so that's one of the things that Stacy and I are really committed to is. I mean, maybe especially with female entrepreneurs, because I think even statistics say our road is harder, right? And it's not like woe is us. But our road is harder. Only 1.6% of funding goes to women. Manufacturing relationships are harder with women because people think they can take advantage and we don't know as much. And sitting in boardrooms is harder for us, women, I mean, just everything. Now I think the tides are changing. And we anticipate and, and are fully committed to being a part of those frontlines of change, which we're really, you know, so stoked about. But it's there, we have to have people rise up and say, this is hard, you know, and so our whole mantra is we want to fill in the potholes with rocks, so that people behind us have an easier road. And so if we need to get on social media, and we need to say today sucked, I mean, it sucked, like it was so hard. But tomorrow is going to be better, you know, or maybe it won't. But the seasons this season, you know, just to make it like make us approachable and make the journey more approachable. That's what we're committed to Jules

Stace Pierce 37:51

and I have a coaching and consulting, business coaching and consulting firm, and we have a client that's going through a tough time, a personal a personal tough time. And she's also a business owner. And, and yesterday, I had to take off the coaching hat and put on personal hat and say, Listen, we understand where you are. And I think that and then when I wrote this long synopsis that we're literally we've been training in God's gym for the past three years. I mean, it is the hardest workout we've ever done in our life. And she's now part of that gym, she's she's getting a taste of that training. And, and all that to say is, you know, it's okay to be vulnerable to people who look to you for advice, or think that you have it all together. And it's okay to drop that curtain and say, I don't have it all together every day. And yes, it may be getting easier and things, I'm learning new tools how to use new discovering new tools and learning how to use new tools. But um, just because I'm a business coach doesn't mean I have all the answers for myself, you know, and so it's it's really in that makes us more relatable that makes us more approachable to people. And this funny you we get that we will go to a trade show and they're like you're the chair girls. That's what the oh, she's 52 and I'm 51 and we're still the chair girl here

Mariah Parsons 39:18

a little these little stick forever. Yeah, forever

Stace Pierce 39:21

and I'm like, Okay, you man. I'm 12 But But when people recognize this and people recognize her because she just because she's so active on LinkedIn, and gives so much good stuff good nuggets on LinkedIn that is and you know, I love it. I love what she's doing on LinkedIn. I love the connections and I get to be a part of those connections via her, you know her LinkedIn presence in it's just we just built some really great relationships. And I think it does make us more approachable with with her presence on LinkedIn and I'm not as I'm not a big fan of Tiktok Jules does all the tech talk and she has the bag and plead and and for me to get on Tik Tok and every now and then I'll show up, but she just does a phenomenal job on social media. And then we have now we have our interns that we have that do we have a team? That does a phenomenal job as well. So you can't wait to

Mariah Parsons 40:22

go stalk your LinkedIn or not? Well, yes, LinkedIn, but tick tock is, after this. Yeah, after I chat with someone is when I let myself you know, just like absolutely go wild on so.

Jules Weldon 40:34

But the thing is, is like, life has been happening for us outside of me gear. And so I've been slack actually on posting videos. So it's like, it's easy to get out of the routine. And really, truly, if you're, if you're active on Tik Tok, it's at least three to four videos a day, which is hard to keep up with, especially as a founder to you know, try to do that. So this is a great reminder to me to get get my butt back in gear and like

Mariah Parsons 41:02

prom is I am not judging, I can't even imagine footballs under

Stace Pierce 41:07

she's gone viral three times on technically, more than anyway, it's been

Mariah Parsons 41:12

great. Or more than, like I said, at the top of this call when we hopped on, even before we started recording, we're manifesting all the good, although another another viral videos right on the horizon. I do want to talk. So yeah, one of the things I was just chatting about with one of our partners earlier in the week, was how difficult social is. And I feel like, a lot of the times and I don't know if it's just because I am Gen Z. But a lot of the times, it's it's I think social gets the perception that it's like really easy. We're just like, anyone can do it or like go viral. Because a lot of people we've seen like celebrities nowadays, nowadays, a lot of them are from these platforms. And so I think it gets the notion or the bat, not maybe bad, but the reputation sometimes that it can be really easy. And you just like have to post or like once you have the algorithm, you'll get it, which maybe there's an ounce of truth in some of those things. But the routine of it is really difficult, especially on tick tock where everyone's still figuring it out. But having to upload so much content. I think it's a really good point that I think our listeners will appreciate, because a lot of the times when he talked about social strategy, not so much. The I guess, not durability, but the willingness to like fully buy into social media to kind of get it to pay off and to get it to a point that you want it to be at. And it's not an easy task. So I admire you for doing it because I know it is yeah, it can be it can be messy, and it can be

Stace Pierce 42:52

it's a full time job just for her to do the video, then edit it, then add it add music, if she needs to add music, then post it and then the comment and she replies to every single one of the client comments. Have you lost incredible? Yeah. And so it's I mean, she's so personal with it. I can't I don't have a thick enough skin. People are mean I can't do it. But she does. She does. She takes it and she's so even to the the mean people, the people that just have nothing better to do than break people down your typical internet troll, you know, guys is so kind with her with her reply where other customers read her reply, and they will private message her and say, I don't know how you do it, I would have done this. But you I mean, then we get all of a sudden we have a customer for life, just because the way she replies.

Mariah Parsons 43:48

Yeah, it does show even if it is it immediately the impact of like people, people can read into different things. And I think it's a really it's a really understandable notion to want to reply with. Maybe not the same kindness that you're getting. And I think as humans we can all relate of, if you see someone else doing it, you're like wow, power to them because they're able to take the high road or to continue to practice kindness even in the moments when they're not being shown it. I also wanted to say that I recently have been having a lot of I want to go back to the conversation around female founders because I've had I've been having a lot of conversation with some incredible female founders. So I'll have to connect you both with the founders at NARA. IMANI collective and little mouth bar because I just had conversations I don't know if you know any of any of their founders or their brands, but it's been incredible and they also from what I gather from our conversations how have similar experiences and also love to be connected to other founders, and especially those who are paving the way, in a, you know, in a seemingly maybe different or you know, different industry or whatnot. So it's a reminder to me to do so.

Jules Weldon 45:20

Well, as a side note to that, and I don't want to miss it, because this will benefit female founders, we're hosting an event out in California in the Coronado San Diego area in April, the end of April. And it's specifically for female founders with products. So their product entrepreneurs or inventors, or whatever, we'll give you all the information, but there's going to be a pitch element of it. And then we're going to have incredible speakers and panelists, and it's going to be very hands on for female founders in the product space. And so it's and the pitch money prize money will be significant. And anybody that you know, we'll get some more information about that as Yeah,

Mariah Parsons 46:05

we'd love it, we can throw the link in the bio, obviously, if you have one, ready.

Stace Pierce 46:10

And we're taking, we're taking, if you want to if people want to pitch your product, we're actually taking applications now for that, because we got to get it down to the top six. And I want to pitch a product that we're best we need him. We want we want hundreds to look at keep us busy. Yeah,

Mariah Parsons 46:28

for sure. Yeah, exactly. Make it hard, right. That's what that we always said we ran. Now, I love this tangent. But we ran a competition like a tracking page design competition, when we launched like a new product. And it was so much fun, right? Like, so fun to market it and get to see submissions and everything. But I'm so difficult to judge because we were like, oh my god, like it's a great problem to have. But it's a difficult one to have to narrow down and then ultimately choose one winner. Yeah, so that's awesome. I love that you got that in as well. Yeah, I think it's I think there's no, I think there's no lack of connections that anyone in this space would love to have. I found it's yeah, it's very, very welcoming, in that sense. So we'll be sure to share out and support. Hopefully, some listeners will, you know, put their pitches in to

Stace Pierce 47:26

really absolutely love it. Yeah,

Mariah Parsons 47:29

that. Okay, so we have a couple minutes left until an hour, which it doesn't really seem like it. But these conversations always fly by. So I did want to talk about the customer experience, because we've been chatting a lot about marketing and founding the company and just operations all of that. So once a customer orders with you. I know that. Stacy, you had said you email them you ask them that, like how did you? Oh, sorry, Jules. I know you reach out to them, you email them. Ask them about where you know where they heard about you. What else are you all doing in terms of once say a new customer like a first time customer is coming to your website? Can you detail the customer experience a little bit more?

Jules Weldon 48:17

Yeah, yeah. So I mean, obviously, they have to come seven times. Right? That's the kind of the number

Mariah Parsons 48:25

seven. Yep.

Jules Weldon 48:26

So I mean, we just to be really transparent, we've got some work to do on this. And so, you know, a lot of people will say they've got it all figured out. We don't. So our ao V is a higher price point, right? So it's 399. So people are like, lad, 399, you gotta be kidding me. But for us, we have to have emails that go out to them, we have to prove right one that customers love it. So I mean, we've got a bunch. I mean, all of our reviews on our website are five stars, which is amazing. So we use those reviews and kind of keep those in front of them. We use videos from customers or from us doing demos, where it sort of shows the need and the and the value that this product can bring to them. Right? Then we also for holiday seasons for that customer or for that person in your life who's like the hard person to buy for and you're always like, Okay, what's the creative gift? And we always say, our gift buying somebody a wanderer for Christmas present makes you the coolest person when gifts are being open because it's a it's probably one of the biggest gifts, right? We were always like, Oh, what's that huge gift. And then be it's so unique that people are like, man, like that becomes the gift that they want to play with for the rest of the, you know, the rest of the day. And so, for us, we we've been so piecemeal with our marketing that we've done campaigns that have worked which evolved have been awesome. We've done campaigns that haven't worked. And we're like, ah, like that was a waste of money. But through all of it, we're learning what our customer responds to. And so it's what it is. It's very personal. It's very hands on. It's very customer opinion forward. Right? So those reviews. And so all of those things come into our marketing. And for our any of our ads that we do, obviously, what always works better is where they can see the product inaction, and often not by us, and it's not professional videos, those don't work for us, because people feel like they're being sold to. It's always the ones that perform better are the ones that are customers doing the demos, you know where it's like, and what blows my mind are the videos that have gone viral on Tiktok are the ones that are like, through a window of an RV, and it's almost feels creeper ish. And I'm like, Oh, this is never gonna work. Those are always the ones that go viral. That's so interesting. Yeah, yeah. And it's like, it's kind of dark. I shoot it at night, Stacy has given the demo to a random person who walks up. And that's the one that I'm like, Oh, this is I shouldn't even put this out there. And then all of a sudden, I'm like, notification notification notification, I'm like, oh, gosh, here

Stace Pierce 51:23

we prefer that she was recording. I

Mariah Parsons 51:29

wasn't worth it, if it went viral.

Jules Weldon 51:32

Those are the ones that work. So I think because our product is so demonstrable, those kinds of things are the ones that we need to really focus on and double down on. And so we will and we do?

Mariah Parsons 51:45

Yeah, I think that's a lot of the times on this podcast, I can see to especially with someone who might not be as prevalent or as predictable predispositioned to engage in like thought leadership. A lot of the times when I ask questions, sometimes we'll be like, Well, I don't I don't have the right answer. And I'm like, that is, uh, that's not what we're looking for. It's just whatever answer is right for you. Right. And so you saying, you know, this is something that we know we can improve on? And that we're learning through this right now. I always love those and appreciate those types of answers. Because, like you said, it helps a lot of people who are listening to this podcast going, where the hell do I you know, plant my fat flag first? And how do I try and even just solve this when I have XYZ goal in mind. So I very much appreciate the vulnerability and honesty and willing to share. And I think the I hope listeners are also equally enticed by this creepy video and try and find it. Find you all. It'll be like a fun little scavenger hunt. So the last Oh, yeah, go ahead.

Jules Weldon 52:52

What you just said. Everybody's just doing the best they can. Right. So even the brands that seem like they've got it all together. 100% I guarantee you behind the scenes,

Mariah Parsons 53:06

it's chaos. They're putting up little fires everywhere. It's

Jules Weldon 53:09

because as founders, what we've learned is our key role is to be chief solution. Officer, right, chief problem solver. And so anybody who appears as though they have it all together, it's just like anything on social media. That's the highlight reel. So just for your listeners to know, if they feel like they're chaotic, so is everybody else that they're watching who they feel like has it together?

Mariah Parsons 53:36

Yeah, sometimes that chaos is fun. Sometimes it's not, you know? Yeah, for

Stace Pierce 53:42

sure. I mean, I feel like with our business coaching firm, we just call it a salty rim. It's, it's, we like margaritas, but no salt and love that name is the missing ingredient in a company and or in things, even in recipes, even in dessert, but we found that a lot of our clients feel like they're alone and and are very, very fortunate to have each other in this process. But so we come in with our clients and make sure that they don't feel like they're learning and I think that that becomes a struggle where people just feel like they're sitting at the top of the bottom of the mountain just looking up and they're like how can I get there? And they have no idea their path and so you know, so we are very fortunate that we have this relationship that we can bounce ideas off each other and and navigate this mountain together. For

Mariah Parsons 54:40

sure. I love that and that following the mountain analogy of like you know, you don't you never look back and see how far you've come I don't think I'm actually saying it right but you know what I'm believing is said way more eloquently by someone else but gets the point across. So I love that and I know I want to become bunches of time we've already hit the hour mark. Thank you so much, both of you for taking the time it has been an absolute pleasure and joy. I love these conversations and I have adored getting to look into your brand. Getting to learn more and think through all the questions that I wanted to ask you. So thank you for being willing to join.

Jules Weldon 55:18

Thank you. I love what you're doing and are honored to be a part of just a small part of it for sure.

Mariah Parsons 55:23

Oh, thank you. I appreciate that.