S5 E15: Selling product and running ads on Amazon vs Shopify vs Meta with Joel Reichert (Maven Thread, Woven Nook)


Joel Reichert, four-time ecommerce owner and co-founder of Copper Pearl, Maven Thread, and Woven Nook, joins Retention Chronicles to discuss selling on Amazon vs. Shopify and running ads on Amazon vs Meta.

Joel started his career in ecommerce holding a financial role at a tech company and founded his first brand, Copper Pearl, in 2015. In 2.5 years, they grew the business to a 7 figure brand and sold the company in 2018.

In 2017, he founded his two current brands, Maven Thread and Woven Nook. He’s also grown these brands to be a 7 figure company.

Joel tells Mariah about how he started these ecommerce businesses with an investment of $10k and started selling on Amazon storefront. Joel explains that starting out on Amazon helped launch their product to help make their product make sense and then they transitioned into selling through their own website on Shopify.

There are a lot of differences between Amazon ads and Meta ads, such as the barrier to entry for ecommerce beginners and the rate of tweaking needed for each platform. From Joel’s perspective, starting on Amazon is the way to go.

Joel and Mariah also discuss how customizable DTC products can be for specific cohorts of customers. Ecommerce also allows for there to be flexibility in logistics.

Episode Timestamps

  • 6:10 Starting and growing an e-commerce business on Amazon and Shopify, with a focus on marketing strategies and scaling through wholesale

  • 12:55 Amazon advertising, starting an Amazon business, and failed ecommerce startups.

  • 18:18 Starting a business, preferences for customizable products.

  • 22:44 Product design, customization, and data-driven decision-making in e-commerce.

  • 27:50 Textile selection, manufacturing, and industry resources for eCommerce brands.

  • 32:59 Shipping rates and challenges faced by e-commerce founders.

  • 36:43 Amazon and Shopify e-commerce, brand growth, and customer support.

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


amazon, brands, shopify, love, founders, shipping, selling, product, design, years, people, facebook ads, e commerce, started, woven, learn, warehouse, simple, guess, ton


Joel Reichart, Mariah Parsons

Mariah Parsons 00:05

Greetings and welcome to retention Chronicles, the podcast with learnings from expert e commerce brands and partners. I'm your host, Ryan Parsons. If you're here, you're either on a quest for ecommerce enlightenment, or you accidentally clicked the wrong link. Either way, I am thrilled you stumbled into our corner of the internet. And I hope you'll stick around. We've got pearls of wisdom for everyone, whether you're running a multimillion dollar business, or simply just starting out on your entrepreneurial journey. Before we unleash the brilliance of today's guest, let's give a shout out to our podcast sponsor Malomo. Malomo is so much more than just another Shopify app, their post purchase wizards making beautiful and branded order tracking smoother than a jazz solo. So our amazing founders, like our guests can keep their customers happy and up to date while they track their orders. So hit that subscribe button, like it'll increase your LTV overnight, and go listen to her other episodes. Echo malomo.com That's gomalomo.com Get ready for insights chuckles and perhaps a profound realization or two with this newest episode of retention. Hello, everyone, and welcome back to retention Chronicles. Excited for our interview today. Joel, thank you so much for joining. I am so blessed to have you here today. I always say this on our episodes, but these are the highlights of my week when I get to chat with someone for you know, anywhere from an hour to more realistically 35 to 45 minutes. So thank you for making the time I know it's always always, I'm sure a busy, busy busy day and your book. So with that, I will pass it over to you to say hi to our listeners and give an introduction of yourself. Okay,

Joel Reichart 01:54

no, thank you so much for having me. Now, my background is pretty similar to most people out there. I'm guessing I'm married have four kids grew up in Houston, Texas, and I currently living in Nashville. Okay, yeah, Nashville is a great place. We can talk more about that if you want.

Mariah Parsons 02:14

Yeah, I love I would love to because it's it's obviously a little bit south from where I am in Indianapolis, which I know we were just talking about. And I've only visited once, but I have been told that I would really fit in in terms of living in Nashville. So I'd love to know like the differences or if it's super similar with Houston and Nashville. Yeah, I

Joel Reichart 02:33

would say Nashville, similar to like, Austin. It's very, like, lots of culture, lots of music, lots of foodie stuff. Green trees everywhere. It's just a great culture. It's a fun place to live. So love

Mariah Parsons 02:45

it. And then yeah, yeah. How old are your kids? We actually don't we usually get I feel like when founders Come on, and they have kids, it's like two kids is what I hear a lot so far is definitely it's a lot of fun. I'm a I had two siblings. So I'm a child of three. So

Joel Reichart 03:02

you know, it's our kids are small. They're seven years old through 12. So we're busy elementary, middle school activities. And so it's crazy balancing that with, we have two ecommerce companies, which we'll dive into later. But yeah, that's the kids situation. A little bit more of the background. I started off in finance, I did finance for my undergrad, as well as my first five years, I did finance at tech companies, mostly just corporate finance, budgeting, forecasting, stuff like that. And then I realized that wasn't for me, and I didn't want to do it anymore. So I started my first ecommerce company in 2015. Called copper pearl. It's in the baby industry. And we sold that in 2018. And then we started two more companies that we run today, called Maven thread, and woven neck. And we can dive a little more into those if you want. But yeah, so I've been doing ecommerce now for the last eight, nine years, and several different companies. You've had some failed startups and acquisition 80s and a few successes. Yep.

Mariah Parsons 04:06

Love it. Love it. There's a lot to dive into, which I was so excited to have you on because I, I think it'll be we don't have a ton of founders who have went through an acquisition like you have in selling or selling copper pearl. So I'm excited to dive in a little bit there before we dive into the brands that you're currently running. So I with transitioning from finance to wanting to be more entrepreneurial, have you always, I guess known that you've wanted to, at some point transition to that, or was it just kind of something where okay, I'm in the you said you were working for startups. So like I'm in the world of being surrounded by a lot of people who are, you know, starting their own businesses and then did that kind of like the flame or was this something earlier before you were working? Working for startups?

Joel Reichart 04:58

It was kind of a newer thing. I think growing up, I wanted to be a doctor. And then that was too much school. So I did finance and then like a great stable job. And then I just realized I didn't love like working just in spreadsheets and software planning, like all day long. And so yeah, me and a buddy, we just would like play ping pong during breaks and discuss entrepreneurial ideas. And we landed on like, we should sell stuff on Amazon. And that's kind of where the wheels got turning. And we eventually actually partnered up with our first brand, and started off exclusively on Amazon. And so I kind of like the entrepreneurial stuff developed while working for the tech companies and realizing I wanted a little more flexibility, less of like, the same day to day. Kind of going on. Friday, yeah,

Mariah Parsons 05:48

yep. Okay, so I'm gonna declare this for us. But we actually have similar backgrounds in that I studied neuroscience and was looking at way back when going to medical school, and then I decided I was like I am. So not have the lifestyle of wanting to be as regimented as that profession, rightfully so calls for it. And so I pivoted, and, um, have now just found myself in the e Commerce Industry. And now that I'm in it, I am very thankful that I've landed here and being surrounded by a ton of entrepreneurs doing a lot of cool, a lot of cool things, making a lot of cool products. And I only started because of working in the e Commerce Industry realizing like, Oh, I definitely have always been of the creator mindset of, you know, I like to have my hands on a lot of different things. I like to be artistic one day, and then the next day be super regimented, and like very much in, you know, data or something like that, and be able to pivot very quickly, which marketing fits very well for that, because especially at a small company, when you're, when you have a leaner team, you're able to wear a lot of hats, which suits my personality. Well, and I think a lot of founders is, it also suits? Well, because you are, you have to be able to pivot and do all these different things. And, you know, one day you're dealing with this fire one deal, one day, you're dealing, you know, with XYZ. So I think it's it's very interesting, having I think, most often entrepreneurs or people in E commerce, for some reason or another, it's they find themselves in the industry, and then it kind of helps them realize, like, Oh, this is probably more where I'm best suited. I don't think a ton of people aspire, like when you're young, you think you know, the jobs are, I want to be a doctor astronaut, right? Like, all these maybe more typical things that you like, see in the movies, but not necessarily seeing an entrepreneur. So or when you do it's right. It's like the Steve Jobs of the world. And it's like one in a million. And that's not realistic to what a reality is, right? So it's always fun to hear someone's background. So if we can start at, I think, let's start at Copper Pearl and talk through really high level of just growing the business to the point where then you're getting approached to sell the business because we haven't had a ton of founders, like I said, at the top of the episode who have been able to go through that experience, most are still in the thick of it with either one or multiple brands. So I think it'd be an awesome perspective. Yeah,

Joel Reichart 08:38

so it was a wild ride because it happened so fast over a few years. But copper Pearl, we kind of got into in the early early days, when Amazon was still kind of like an open marketplace, there was a competition, more opportunity. And we just started selling baby bibs. Like really cute, trendy, baby bibs that we couldn't find out there. And we were like, I think the best ones on Amazon there for a while and it just took off. Like we saw immediate success or just sales traction on Amazon, just running basic pay per click ads right through their software, and it went really well. And you know, that led to more designs, more product lines, we kind of became like all baby textiles, blankets, burp cloths, nursing covers, towels, like everything you can think of it's a textile for a baby baby shower gifts. So we grew on Amazon really fast. And that's kind of what has been my strategy with all of our brands, starting off on Amazon, building up a cash flow basis on Amazon, and then taking those funds to invest on Shopify Facebook ads, and all three of our brands. We started with a very small initial investment of usually around $10,000.10 to $15,000 to get these brands launched and up and running. And that was mostly thanks to Amazon being our kind of cash cow at the beginning of each brand because Her pearls started off on Amazon, we transitioned to Shopify took some time to get traction there, but started getting some good traction through Facebook ads. Influencer marketing was huge for us, or to Mouth Marketing with baby showers was huge. And then our third step in our growth trajectory was wholesale. So we ended up doing some trade shows some baby trade shows, kind of stumbled across a Japanese distributor, a Taiwanese distributor, a Canadian distributor, ended up in a bunch of little mom and pop baby boutiques, a couple of big box opportunities. And that'll happen in like three years. Yeah, super wild. And then we got to the point where we were there's a variety of reasons, but we were actually ready to sell the business and move on to some other opportunities. And so we actually ended up contracting with a local brokerage. And they listed our company for sale, found the perfect buyer who took it over, we trained them. And yeah, copper broke continues on an upward trajectory today, it's, you know, had some pretty significant growth even since we sold it. And so that's kind of the long story short of that journey. I

Mariah Parsons 11:10

love it. I love it. Couple of questions there. Do you happen to know, because I think starting on Amazon is, is a great technique in terms of being able to generate a little bit more cash flow before diving into Shopify. And committing to, you know, running ads on Facebook or meta. So do you know what size about you said like 10 to 15k putting in the original investment, but when did you? What were I guess any indicators you can remember of? Okay, we need to start investing into Shopify investing into ADS outside of Amazon. Yeah,

Joel Reichart 11:47

I think it was once we had enough incoming cashflow, to easily cover inventory growth, because we are growing fast. And all of our working capital came from profit from Amazon. So I think once we started having enough money to pay for inventory growth, and all of our advertising overhead, and we still had, you know, money left in the bank, at the end of the month, we were like, okay, like this seems more feasible. So I think I want to say that we were probably doing, you know, $100,000 a month, maybe on Amazon or so before we even started Shopify. And that, you know, I think it probably differed based on each business, but we had some pretty significant sales traction before even attempting Shopify, and that was just something that made us feel safer. Just we weren't super familiar with Shopify, we were very familiar with Amazon. So we took our time and, and that did allow us though, to go into Facebook and put in like real budgets upfront day one and test it and see how it's working and hire an agency to do it the right way. And it's kind of like when you're trying to be scrappy on Facebook, and you don't really know what you're doing. It's it's hard and a lot. Yeah, a lot of money really fast. So,

Mariah Parsons 12:55

yeah, and knowing, you know, the best practices of it all and like, when to kind of pull back or versus full steam ahead, right. I feel like that's a lot of the battle with ads, and it also changes and they can be so finicky, right? And so if you have, you have an experience coupled with a lower budget, it's typically harder, I think,

Joel Reichart 13:20

I was gonna say one other benefit of starting an Amazon just for anybody who likes that idea. It is a low barrier to entry, relatively speaking, like, if you have a great product, and you get it into Amazon, they take care of fulfillment and customer support. Your advertising is so simple compared to Facebook, you just go in and just basic keywords is all you bid on. So it's like, anybody can do it. I ran it myself. I still do it today. So for the last eight, nine years, I've done it myself. We've tried some agencies and they haven't worked out. So it's simple enough that anybody can do it. And it's an easy way to get into E commerce just to test a concept out.

Mariah Parsons 13:57

Yeah, I'm sure that's motivating to a lot of people, you know, if they have, say an idea, but not necessarily thought, not necessarily thought about the execution of it. Amazon is a great place to start. And it's I like that perspective, because we typically hear about brands starting on Shopify, or starting on another ecommerce platform like Magento and then transferring over and I think it has to do right of just what you have to know. So or what you know, when you're starting out with like, Oh, I'm really familiar with the Shopify space, or I've worked in the Shopify space for XYZ years, like I know, you know, I know more about the capabilities there. And you had said that you're you were more familiar with Amazon rather than Shopify when you're starting out. I'm curious what was that because of is it just because you know, as a consumer, you're, you're interfacing with Amazon or other experience.

Joel Reichart 14:50

It was actually when we very very first had the idea for ping pong to get into Amazon. We actually tried retail arbitrage. So we went to buy discount stores and we were buying stuff on sale like vacuums and out I remember all sorts of random stuff. Yeah, everything under the sun, I'm sure you ship it to Amazon and sell it for a profit. And it worked. But it was like 30 hours of work to make 800 bucks. And we were like, Okay, this isn't going to be making. We learned how Amazon works, we learned how labeling and shipping into Amazon works. And we learned how simple it was to use. And then we were like, Okay, we need to come up with our own product or on brand. We know how the the system works. So that's kind of how we started off on Amazon. We knew nothing about Shopify at the time. And like we said, we had a very small initial investment. So we just figured Amazon would go a longer way for us up front.

Mariah Parsons 15:42

Yeah. Okay. Make sense? And then, was it also something that this you were doing on the side? Or was this full, you were fully dedicated to this

Joel Reichart 15:49

was on the side for the first, maybe a year. So I was doing corporate finance at a company. And then we were doing this after hours, usually a couple hours at night, just kind of getting product up and running, running ads, designing new products, stuff like that. And then we both actually ended up quitting our job on the same day. Look, the want to say maybe nine to 12 months later, we had enough sales traction, where we felt confident that like this was going somewhere, and then yeah, best day of my life. Yeah.

Mariah Parsons 16:25

I love that. Okay, and then another question around Amazon ads, because we're talking about the differences with Shopify and or sorry, with meta. And Amazon is because you're kind of bidding for keywords, is it more of a set it and forget it, like you're not monitoring it as closely as maybe you would with? You know, if you're a be testing different things in meta,

Joel Reichart 16:48

I would say it's more set and forget it, I definitely check in still, like weekly, you tweak bids by keyword, you can like negative keyword out certain words that aren't working for you. So there is some stuff you can do day to day for sure. And there's agencies and software's that make tons of money trying to say like, they'll make it way better. We've tried a couple and honestly, I don't, I haven't seen the value as much. I'm sure they would say there's no way that they couldn't add value. But it's simple. Yeah, you just pick the keywords that are most relevant for your product, you pick how much you're willing to bid, you set a budget. And you just kind of see the data and go from there.

Mariah Parsons 17:24

And make Yeah, smart debts. Like it's a lot of

Joel Reichart 17:27

it's not it's not rocket science at all, at least compared to Matt Adams for sure. Okay,

Mariah Parsons 17:33

wonderful. So before we get into the brands that you're currently operating, I would love to touch on the failed side of startups. And if you have any insight of, you know, why they weren't on a certain trajectory? Any Yeah, any background, because I think it's great to learn about successes and challenges. At the same time, you know, what did you take away from having those types of startups?

Joel Reichart 17:58

Yeah, so we've had a couple of different kind of, I guess you could call them failures, like I would say, two were acquisitions of smaller brands that weren't on an upward trajectory. They were like struggling and I may think, am this amazing ecommerce entrepreneur, I'm like, I can take over and like content axis and sell it and make a big profit. And it sounded simple. My wife helps with a lot of design and product development. So like her doing design and me doing operational stuff, we're pretty confident. And my biggest piece of advice is, I personally would never acquire an E commerce company at this point that's not already on an upward trajectory. Unless you have some secret sauce, amazing, magical ability to turn it around, it's hard to revive a struggling brand, like once your audience on Instagram and Tiktok (which I should note selling on TikTok is difficult but many ecommerce brands on TikTok are performing well) is cooling and you're not getting engagement. And once your email list is going cold once your products aren't as exciting in the market, to reverse that trend, on all friends is very hard, like way harder than I thought it would be. So that would account for at least two of what I would call a failure to little small, smaller acquisitions that just didn't go where we thought they'd go. We just kind of got out of one we actually ended up selling to another person that thought they could try their hand at it. And learned a lot from them. And you know, we put out some cool products didn't go anywhere but cool opportunity to learn from that. And then the other one that we started was actually a really cool we found a furniture maker, we started a little miniature business awesome modern furniture. And after getting into it, we were like this is way hard to make custom furniture and ship it around the country. We realized we prefer smaller packaged goods that are you know more easily mass manufactured and simple to ship. And so I have lots of opinions on like what kinds of products I think are worth starting for a first time. Entrepreneur and custom large furniture would not be my advice.

Mariah Parsons 19:59

CES. Yeah, yeah, that, that seems like there would be just a couple more hurdles to cross. I would love because you said, you know, smaller packaged goods that you can, it's shipping and fulfillment is a little bit, you know, storage, warehouse space, all that stuff is a little bit different from custom furniture. What other because and you've, you've stayed in the apparel realm or like, you know, like, what is the textured textiles? That's the word I'm looking for. So what other realms would you say? Like in terms of consumable packaged goods? Like what would you be your opinion around? Yeah, other other kinds of products that you you say now, after having multiple brands, started multiple brands that were which which ones go in the custom furniture, probably probably a little bit of a steeper hill versus packaged goods. Yeah,

Joel Reichart 20:57

I would say anything like large and bulky, like furniture, exercise equipment, like those kinds of bigger things I stay away from, I personally don't love electronics, anything like on off switches, anything that can break electronically. I don't love customer support on that. I don't. Yeah, I would say the things I do love maybe on the other side, I like fabric because you can customize it so easily. So if you have a good eye for design or trends, or your smart ad creative, I feel like is the easiest way to come up with a differentiated product is the you know, the shape of their product, the size of the product that colors, the designs, you can follow the trends and be the first mover easily. So we've always found that to be an easy way for us to kind of stand out without inventing something new or coming out with some new patent or recipe or like harder stuff, like my wife is super creative. She's taken the lead on most designing for most of our companies. And it's always worked out really well. So you just kind of have to have that eye for design. I would say anything you can customize simple, I don't feel like you have to reinvent the wheel, I think my advice is like find things that you're passionate about, like maybe you're into, you know, camping, there's so many little small accessories and camping items that you can come up with like just a slightly better version, or a slightly better design. I think people put a lot of pressure on themselves to like, reinvent the wheel, invent something, come up with something super novel. And I think those are helpful if you can, if you have that ability, but I think there's a lot of opportunity just in smart customizing, based on your, you know, ability to good, you know, creative sense and trends and things like that. Yeah,

Mariah Parsons 22:43

very, very, very cohesive, or not cohesive, but condensed way to look at everything of like, especially with E commerce brands, some of the as a consumer, but also, working in the industry. Some of the biggest, I guess, advantages of DTC is you're talking directly to the consumer, right, and like, being able to personalize and customize is one of the biggest aspects of this kind of selling because you're able to, you know, have all these different patterns or have all these different things that you can customize with. And so I think it's a smart play of I can imagine, you know, bigger, bulkier things would be. Yeah, just a further

Joel Reichart 23:28

example to have like, over COVID We had no idea that we have these really cool exercise headbands are mostly for women. And they did really well over COVID All of a sudden, skyrocketing were like why, and apparently it was nurses like nurses love and, and just like this, we came out with a nurse pattern headband, like nurse icons and things like that. Yeah, cute, crazy over COVID And it's just that kind of stuff where it's like, you don't have to invent something. But like, you can tailor you know, once for dentists, ones for nurses, you can do you know, people that are a little more like hardcore, you can make it like more CrossFit. You can make them like light and flowers, you can do flowers for those people that like more, you know, feminine feeling things and I don't know, it's fun. I think it's it's not super hard to, you know, differentiate your product. Yeah,

Mariah Parsons 24:21

I've always been very curious around product design, and especially things like patterns, and trying to just like tweak things and be super intentional about it of, oh, you know, you're you're seeing during COVID A lot of nurses are repping your headband. So how can you make it where it's like just that little extra bit of using that data and then you know, seeing it go even, you know, have even a bigger or even have the well received in an even better way. And I think those are the brands that right there. They're able to take their customer data and do something about So with it, and you probably wouldn't get that in a bigger, you know, retail box name, because they're not going to look at every single consumer, whereas you have the advantage right now of being able to look perhaps more insular. So walk me to then why or how you decide to then focus on Maven thread and woven nuk and dedicate, you know, this is what, where we're putting our energy into now.

Joel Reichart 25:27

Yeah, so those two brands, again, started really small, small, upfront investment. They were like our two main things after copper pearl that we focused on. And the main reason we kind of stuck with them, as we read, again, had some good feedback on Amazon, specifically, like a recurring theme in my stories, like our three success stories were the three that did well in Amazon up front. Like, like Maven thread, we do all things, women's exercise, clothing and swim today. But at the time, when kind of we started, it was just women's exercise headbands. That's all we sold. Wow, we got to the point, you know, where we were selling, you know, a couple 100 headbands a day on Amazon. And we were like, Who knew that there was even this many people that wanted exercise headbands. And then we took that data, and we're like, what else would somebody who exercise one so we did bras, pants, leggings, joggers, and more recently swim. And that's actually where we're starting to shift our focus and we can ever get to it. But swim is doing really well for us. As some of I feel like the exercise craze went crazy over COVID and we saw a ton of success.

Mariah Parsons 26:35

We've seen cleaning everyone saying during that part. Yeah, you're gonna

Joel Reichart 26:39

reverse now. And we've seen swim, and travel and bags do a little bit better. I think as people are more into like leisure and travel and not isn't exercise anymore. It seems like but so anyways, that's kind of Maven thread and and woven duck, I would say we were the first cute trendy pillow covers on Amazon, you could buy four packs of pillow covers on Amazon for like 15 bucks. And they were just like the worst green leaves and purple flowers like really, really bad designs. And at the time, it was really trendy to have geometric and simple modern minimalistic designs. And so we were really the first one that Amazon and similarly got up to several 100 units a day just on Amazon, realize we had something going on with pillow covers. And both brands eventually transitioned to Shopify, and Facebook ads and tons of product expansion. And that's kind of where we are today is mostly, you know, well balanced mix of Amazon. Shopify, a little bit of wholesale, but we haven't focused as much on wholesale release for these. Yeah, yeah.

Mariah Parsons 27:48

Okay, wonderful. So with because you're dealing with so many textiles, I know, a big portion of that is like getting the right fabric and getting the right feel with the right. Design. And so what is that? And I know you mentioned your wife is more on the product design side of things. But what does that look like in terms of, I guess, quote, unquote, perfecting, you know, the different fabrics that you're using for the athletic, I guess sector versus swim sector? And then when you're looking for woven nope, looking at the, you know, the home pillowcases and stuff like that, are you dealing with the same manufacturer? Have you you know, do you have kind of your, I guess, team, you know, your team dynamics set up and that you're able to fulfill all those are has there been different? I guess different ways to execute for each of them. Yeah,

Joel Reichart 28:41

textiles is definitely tricky. You do have to get the right ones that hold up that don't pill that stretch the right amount that are breathable, and a different for home decor. But yeah, we use two different I would say two manufacturers for the home decor side one is kind of more hand woven, luxurious, kind of like Artisan feeling material. That's awesome. And that's kind of a premium price point for us. And then we have a manufacturer that focuses more on kind of like a simple, lightweight cotton, that's really easy to work with. And then on the exercise clothing side, we have one to focus on performance wear. So that's like the clothing and the swim. And then we have a separate manufacturer that does our headbands. And it's like a super buttery, soft, stretchy material that's we've been using for like six years now. And so it has been a little trial and error, like we do a lot of textile sampling. So we'll get lots of samples of different weights of fabric, higher spandex, lower spandex. You know nylon versus polyester like we're doing lots of different testing from that perspective. And same on the home decor side. It's a lot of like, you know, you talk about like GSM I grams per square meter, so different like weights But you can ask them about different fabric types different zippers, I mean, getting into zippers is a whole world in and of itself. And so yes, I would say lots of trial and error, lots of sampling with different manufacturers until you just get something that you're like this feels right, this holds up this works, right? And then once you have it, you pretty much have it for life. Like you don't have to reinvent the wheel once you nail the fabric.

Mariah Parsons 30:22

Yep. Okay, wonderful. So I want to zoom out a little bit, because obviously, we've been talking about all your expertise and founding a brand and finding the right, you know, which which dials to turn up versus turn down, and when to make different pivots when it makes sense. So when you are faced with, say, a new challenge, or something that you're even just thinking about? Where are you looking in terms of the e Commerce Industry? Where are you looking for, I guess, inspiration? Or what resources do you learn when you're trying to level up and learn about something that you don't have that you haven't already faced this hurdle? I always find it interesting to ask founders this, because I think there's a lot of places that certain people look. So it's, you know, advantageous to hear where everyone is looking? Yeah,

Joel Reichart 31:09

I would say a couple places, I look one, for sure. LinkedIn, like I've done a good job over the years of connecting with like, whether they're agency owners, or just smart ecommerce people, or other founders, I try to follow up pretty good variety of that, and just check in and see who's posting what, and there's always good little nuggets of wisdom in there. So I do a lot of LinkedIn kind of browsing and researching there. I put a lot of weight in talking to other founders. So like I love just in my personal network. I'll shoot texts to people just every now and then be like, Hey, are you struggling on Facebook ads recently? A scene? Are your costs going up? Have you seen your shipping rates going up? Like are you what are you doing to try to fix that? So I lots of like just networking with people in my personal network, just to see if they're facing similar things and what they're doing. And then the other thing I've done is to try to learn from people that are really are experts in any given field. So like right now, we've been trying to stay pretty lean and scrappy, just because the markets been really hard recently, companies are going out of business just left and right. And so we've been trying to get pretty lean and scrappy. And so I've tried to learn Facebook ads myself as an example. And I've been actually doing that for the last, you know, 678 months. And I learned from, you know, really good agency partners and individual contractors. Just over the years, I've kind of tried to glean wisdom from them, instead of just saying, Hey, this is your domain, you do it. I recommend like really know the nuts and bolts like know the details like why are you doing things the way you're doing them? Check in on your budgets, check in on your metrics, understand the metrics yourself, because I think that allows you to educate yourself. And if you ever need to take something over yourself, you have that flexibility? Yeah, that's a few of the ways I've tried to glean wisdom. Yeah,

Mariah Parsons 32:58

I love it. I think it's a very smart approach to notice where okay, I might have this, you know, I might have a less of a knowledge that I would need when operating this. So get ahead of the game and start to learn about things. Before it's a necessity, per se, in terms of, you know, giving the example of meta and Facebook ads. And it sparked you said, like, one of the things that you're asking other founders about is shipping rates or shipment rates. And I'm curious to let's double tap on that a little bit. Because we have seen and because of course that Malomo sits in the order tracking world we work a lot with carriers, right? We we hear a lot from founders about what they're experiencing. I remember I think it was 2021. But like shit mageddon of, you know, just like Right? Shipments being held up and awful, awful, just nothing that you can control. Right? It was just part of the times. But we hear a lot of feedback from founders. And so we actually recently partnered with ship sigma. And so they will I don't know if you're familiar with them, but they they do a lot of shipping savings for brands. And so it's something that we're dialed into right now because we started to hear this feedback around rate. So I would love to hear I guess, like the chatter that you're hearing if you're asking founders about, you know, what they're experiencing with their carriers and shipment. Shipment rates.

Joel Reichart 34:29

Yeah, so for shipping I see two sides like there's one the importing of goods that's like its own conversation and then shipping to and customers and so yeah, we're focusing more on the customer side of it. We've tested a bunch of different like, you know, like the lower end of the shipping spectrum like UPS mail innovations, where it's like, really slow but really cheap. We've tested out like intermediary companies like first mile and other ones that will kind of deal like part of the delivery. Given all the delivery or part of the pickup and transfer to the post office, we've tried UPS just like expensive. And I think what we found is you really get what you pay for typically speed. Like if you want to try to save money, like you can save money by trying some lower tiered shipping options. But you will get a lot more angry customers like can we just see a spike in customer satisfaction, complaints like, as soon as we switch to something that we think will save us a little bit of money. So I don't know I as far as rates goes, part of the reason we use a third party logistics center is because they have the volume that a lot of companies that they're shipping for that has helped us on our rates, I know that I've talked to some founders that have their own warehouse and some of the challenges with your own warehouses, it's harder to get good rates compared to maybe using a partner like you're talking about or third party warehouse. So definitely, if you're running your own warehouse, you got to figure out how to get those cost savings in some way. Because I think that UPS and USPS, they really kind of if you don't know how to get good rates, like you get screwed pretty bad. So yeah, kind of what I hear and then, you know, we've always been a big fan of three PL, so we're not running our own logistics and operations. And that, again, allowed us to be very flexible, like when, when sales are great. Having your own warehouse sounds like an awesome idea. As soon as sales go down, and you're struggling to cover overhead costs, having a warehouse I was like the worst thing you can imagine. So we've kind of kept the flexibility, which comes at a cost to some extent having a third party warehouse handling, it's a little more expensive. Yeah, I don't know if that answered the question. But it's kind of No,

Mariah Parsons 36:43

I think it's awesome. And I like that you called out as well of, you know, you'll you'll kind of get what you paid for. And so depending on, you know, the if you only have whatever, 10 customers a month, and then you can kind of make that gamble of like, okay, you can 10 you can deal with 10 customers a month, right of like, support tickets. Tickets, yeah. But if you get to the point where it's like, you know, 1000s and 1000s on 1000s of tickets, then it's probably not worth the stress that your ces team is going to have to endure. And the last customer potentially have, you know, if they have a bad shipping experience, 84% won't return. So it's like at that point, you don't get the extra costs upfront of getting a better. Having a better delivery and shipment experience is probably worth it. So it definitely makes sense. And I like that you called out the, I guess we'll call it did the downstream effects of those choices of customer support tickets, you have to really ask yourself, is it worth it? Because that's something we also see a ton, having, you know, having brands be very overwhelmed by an influx of where's my order, or Wisma tickets and just being like, I cannot deal with this amount. Like how can we resolve that? And it is, yeah, it is, I'm sure a major relief. You know, when using something like a better carrier, or, you know, order tracking can help can help people get along the way. Well, I will ask before we wrap up, is there anything in terms of what you're excited about either of your brands, if you want to tease anything, I'd like to leave the room open if you don't have anything to tease, then we can wrap us on up and this has been great.

Joel Reichart 38:28

Yeah, I mean, if you check out either brand woven, Nick, like I said, we have the best covers.

Mariah Parsons 38:34

Our inserts are adorable. Of course I was looking at them before so surprisingly, we came out

Joel Reichart 38:39

with inserts for the covers to go over their soft and plush, they're amazing. Surprisingly, it's become our by far best selling product that we have. And it's nice because people buy the inserts once and then they come to us for the covers because they fit exactly for our inserts. On that front. We're doing the same similar model. Hopefully later on this year for do vase. We're hoping to get some bedding options, some blankets and things like that. So that's on the horizon for us there. And then on the Maven thread front swim is our big thing right now. So every year we're coming out with a brand new fresh swim line. Super highly reviewed, like people are loving it. It's kinda it's kind of fresh My wife has her own take on design she loves color she loves patterns so if you're into that kind of stuff she does it and and not cheesy way so we actually sold out of almost all of our swim we launched in January. We already sold that and we were like shocked. I didn't realize that that

Mariah Parsons 39:40

we're recording this in early April like that is a very

Joel Reichart 39:44

few months. And so we're finally restocking this week and probably April May will be hopefully more stocked up. So check out for if you want some fun swim for you or your spouse. It's it's super fun. Okay, lovely.

Mariah Parsons 39:56

Lovely. I love it. Um, I will definitely have To check out those and that congrats again on that that is two months of selling out. That's huge. I feel like people are very much in bold colors and patterns right now seems to be the trend. So, absolutely love that. And before we wrap up, I have to ask you, it's just more of a fun question. Has anyone ever told you that you look like Doc Shepherd? Do you know who that is at all.

Joel Reichart 40:22

I get random ones. I've got like Ty Detmer. He was a football player. Once I have a random face. I've had to two or three different weird references. But I do know Dax Shepard. Okay.

Mariah Parsons 40:33

Well, I think you look like him. I also I love his podcast. And so as listening to it this morning on my walk. So I had to before before signing off, had to share that. And I hope you take it as a compliment. But this has been so great to have you here. I have absolutely really, really, really cherished. Getting to learn more about just Amazon and how you all are getting your start on Amazon and then changing into the Shopify ecosystem because I think it's a smart way to do it. And we don't get a lot of founders who are talking about that. So love to have as many you know, playable as many tactical strategy outlets that our listeners can use so very much appreciate you taking the time to be here. Super

Joel Reichart 41:14

fun. I appreciate having me on and yeah, reach out. If you guys have any questions. I'm on LinkedIn, you can find me Love

Mariah Parsons 41:20

it. Love it, love it.