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From 50k of savings to 7-figure tech founder with Small Packages’ Julie Schechter

I’m excited to be talking with Julie Schechter the founder of Small Packages today. Small Packages helps you stay close to the people you care about, with curated gifts for every occasion. Their boxes are created with values-based sourcing, highlighting women- and BIPOC-owned small businesses, and come with a handwritten note.



We talk about her transition from attorney to entrepreneur, her pivots along the way and how she was able to acquire customers 2 at a time. The real gem in this episode is where Julie talks about her decision to bring on a co-founder and how that works!


And while I’ve got you here -we have got something cooking and the time is fast approaching for us to release it!!! and I’m just so excited because it’s relevant to every single person listening to the show. Whether you own a business or not! If you head over to femalestartupclub.com/waitlist and pop your name there - you’ll be the first to know about it when we make the announcement.


Lets get into this episode, this is Julie for Female Startup Club.


Please note, this transcript has been copy pasted without the lovely touch of a human editor. Please expect some typos!


So small packages is a relationship building company. And what I mean by that is we have a curated care packages that people can send for any life occasion, whether it's really happy one, like a birthday or a new baby or something not so great, like a breakup or, you know, a death in the family. And we designed them to be sort of touching all five senses and really giving people the ability to show up for the folks that they love when they can't be there in person or they don't know what to say. So it's an easy way to keep building a relationship and show up for somebody when you can't be there yourself. So that's that's what we do. So powerful. I love what you say, they're about touching all five senses, it's something I hadn't really thought about before. What's an example of one of your favorite packages that touches on all five? Yeah, so that's sort of like the secret sauce of kind of how we curate things, is we make sure that in the care packages that we send, there's something that really touches every sense so that the recipient feels really enveloped and seen and loved, so what that usually looks like is um you know, something to eat, everybody needs snacks obviously, um something to smell, uh something tactile, so something to do with your hands or maybe some cozy warm socks for, you know, sympathy package, just kind of going around and making sure that every piece of showing up for somebody is manifested in the box by the sensory experience of opening it. So I want to go back to the beginning of your story and where you like to start this kind of entrepreneurial journey that's leading you towards small packages and why you wanted to start this business. Yeah, absolutely, So I kind of have a weird background when it comes to entrepreneurship, so I actually started as an attorney, so I went to Harvard law school and then graduated and practiced at a big corporate firm. Um, and definitely was like, living the dream on paper money and you know, the private office with the mahogany desk and the nameplate and all the things and I like never saw anyone I cared about, I couldn't be there for big events like, you know, weddings and baby showers and I also was like missing all of the interim pieces of building friendships. Like, you know, somebody breaks up with their boyfriend, they want you to be there on a thursday night to like drink wine with them and hang out. I was missing all of that stuff because I was just working so much and um, I was kind of looking around at ways to sort of use technology or a company to have in my back pocket to be able to send something that couldn't be there for those moments and I couldn't really come up with anything that didn't feel really cheesy. Honestly just didn't feel like this is an Etsy box, no shade on Etsy love, etc. But just, you know, something that felt very like commercialized and put together, there was nothing that was sort of supplying the service that I was looking for while sort of living up to the, you know, values and just sort of aesthetic values that, you know, I would want would want it to. So that's why honestly, first came came to the concept was like, I needed it in my life and of course the rest is history, It goes from there. I love that, I love that, that's so cool. I'm curious to understand like, especially in the beginning, the logistics of this, because, you know, every box has every different brand, there's a lot going on. How does it actually start? And do you, are you quitting your job to start or are you just doing this as a side hustle? What are those early days in the lead up to you launching this as a concept? Yeah, so it very much was like the stereotypical startup where I'm like in my apartment, packing every box and writing every handwritten note myself. Um so those were some, some very interesting starting. Um but I would say one of the things I learned that if I had to go back and do it over again is from a logistical standpoint, it's really great to sort of start small and build right to build a couple of really strong relationships with vendors and say have like a good occasion box and a bad occasion box and sort of build from there and see what people want and test. I decided to just like go balls to the wall from the very beginning and we had like every possible occasion and all of these different brand vendors, which ended up working out okay in the end because we actually kept most of those relationships for the lifetime of the business. And so it was more capital intensive and a little bit more space, um, and money intensive than it needed to be at the very beginning. But we grew into it pretty quickly, so it ended up being okay. So does that mean like does that look like you buying you having a number of vendors, you buying into inventory, putting it in your house and then, and you're buying it at wholesale and then you packing the boxes based on the good occasion or the bad occasion. Exactly. Yeah. So we buy the inventory, hold it and then whenever we would get in order we would get out the box according to the order and then send it out to the customer. Got it, got it, got it. Okay. Cool. Amazing. I love to start by like kind of understanding that money piece of the puzzle to kind of get yourself set up where you have your website, you have that, you know, starting inventory from a number of vendors and your first kind of marketing budget. What was your startup capital that you needed? Yeah. So I raised about $50,000 from friends and family. I don't come from a particularly moneyed background. So that was the one of the many occasions in which it was really lucky that I had gone to law school because most of my friends who had stayed in a firm because we were a couple of years out of school by then Were accredited investors at that point. And so I could go to them and say, you know, would you take in, you know, $2500 into this? I raised on a safe note. So that was a really kind of lucky break that I did have some folks in my network who had enough disposable income to qualify to be investors. So that was my startup capital and I used that almost exclusively for buying inventory to start up with website development and sort of getting set up from a technological standpoint was really only about $3000 I think and the rest went to inventory, just getting us ready, ready to go, wow, okay. And did you say before you did quit your job or you didn't quit your job? I did not quit my job. So I previously had been at a law firm, I quit that job and then I took another one. I had another startup before that I was working on for a while and then I took a job doing um consulting actually for attorneys in some other professional folks who were sort of in that same space, which was sort of interesting because I actually was seeing exact same thing happening to them that sort of like real success on paper and then the degradation of their personal relationships because they had no time and no resources to spend on them. So I was doing that consulting job during the day and then building small packages at night and on the weekends. Oh my gosh, you must have been so busy as a lot of entrepreneurs are in those days of managing full time work and also a side hustle. I want to dig into the launch of coffee, lots of coffee. Of course, I want to dig into the launch and what you were doing in the lead up to actually get the word out there and start to build that early traction and early customer base. So one thing that I think is incredibly helpful if you have a product based business is doing a crowdfunding campaign as a launch campaign because if you have a product based situation, the rewards that you're giving people for pledging effectively, it functions as a preorder, right? So you're also getting to test and seeing what people are interested in and you're also getting to do a little like pricing testing. Um so that's what we did. We launched with an I Fund Women campaign, which I don't know if you're familiar with them. Um I am, but please break it down. Yeah, absolutely. So it's basically Kickstarter for women. It functions in exactly the same way where you, you know, sort of drum up people coming to this landing page that has a video and people can pledge a certain amount of money towards the business or whatever it is that you're raising for it and then they get a particular product or prize depending on what level at which they pledge. Um so that was actually an incredibly helpful strategy for us because it meant, you know, we got a little bit more capital to kind of come onto the scene with, but we also had, you know, we were then moving inventory out the door at a pretty fast clip as soon as we were live with this, can we just like stay here for a hot second does when it comes to like the marketing of the campaign, I find women are pushing it to their audience or you're also promoting it to your audience or it's kind of a blend of both. It's both. But I would say the vast majority of the traffic is coming from you and your network. That's the only not as great thing about going with a less well known platform one woman now is quite large and so this really doesn't, you know, have the same weight, but at the time like Kickstarter was really, you know, the elephant in the room and I find women was this little upstart and on Kickstarter you would get all of this sort of not sure exactly what to call it, just sort of lateral traffic of people being on the side and checking out campaigns. Oh, this one looks cool. Whereas when we were doing it, it was really like, I'm calling people, I haven't talked to since high school and like sending facebook messages to every single person I know like really just trying to mobilize my network, but you would be pleasantly surprised at how many people will come and kick in, you know 10 or $15 because they just dig the idea and they're very impressed that you're, you know, trying to get something off the ground. So um it mostly is you mobilizing your own. But the great thing about iphone women is they do um pledge back in, I want to say like 20% of their profits and they pick certain campaigns to like finish the funding for them. Oh wow, I didn't know that. Yeah, we were a beneficiary of that also, which was no, you're right. And so for that particular campaign, how much did you raise? And how long was the duration of that campaign? It ran for 30 days, which is sort of what I find most people recommend is like the ideal amount of time. You can't hold people's attention for much longer than that or make them feel really galvanized. Um and we raised, I know the goal was $10,000. We oversubscribed it by a few 1000 I think it was a little while ago at this point, I can't remember exactly, but not a ton. That's so cool but enough to, you know, buy some more inventory and get us more set up. Amazing. Okay, so you run the crowdfunding campaign, this is your launch event, you've been shouting about it. It's all hyped up, you've started to build a community, how do you keep that momentum going? And what's that kind of pathway to your, you know, 1st 100 customers, 1st 1000 customers from there on. Yeah, so thankfully the way the business is set up is it's 99% gifts and so when we get one sale, most of the time, I'm gonna say 20 to 30% of the time we get to customers because the recipient probably hasn't heard about us, but we invested pretty significantly in great little like marketing inserts that would go in the boxes and kind of tell the story of what the company is and you know, draw people back so that then recipients become customers themselves. That's so clever, I love that. Yeah, so that was a big part of it. We also kind of really doubled down on influencers at the beginning because I know people have very feelings about, you know, the efficacy of influencers as a marketing channel, but for us, they were really great because we were an innovative solution to a problem. You know, I think there may be a little bit less helpful when you're marketing a clothing brand or something that's just another choice. But I think influencers are really happy to find products that are sort of an unusual innovative solution to a problem where they can come to their audience and say, hey, you might not have known about or thought about like this way to solve this problem in your life. So that those tended to be really good channels for us from the beginning and then email marketing. We didn't do like facebook or instagram ads for several years into it, mostly just because we didn't have the marketing budget. Um, so we kind of stuck with word of mouth and influencers and email marketing for the first two years. Okay, right. And so during that time, I feel like it sounds like that time in the business where you're just kind of like pushing consistently, like pushing the thing up the hill, Slogging it out, Slugging it out. Do you reach some kind of pivotal moment when you feel like the business turns a corner and things become, you know, going down the hill and snowballing? Yes. Unfortunately it was Covid. So we, right, exactly. Um, we were in the right place at the right time, obviously during covid, people couldn't get together and they were like extremely hungry for a solution where they could show up for folks that they cared about and we were sort of right there to help them with that. So for us, it really was just reaching sort of a critical mass of eyeballs. Like our conversion rate has always been pretty good. That's been a strength for us. But in the first couple of years it was really just like okay with no marketing budget, like how do we get in, you know, in front of people? And so pr during the early months of Covid was incredibly helpful. So I had been in an accelerator a couple of months before Covid started in one of the other accelerator members actually decided to shutter her business and start doing pr instead. And so I was her very first customer as she sort of navigated the landscape and and figured it out and she um she blew it out of the water for us. She got us on Good Morning America and CNN and that's when things like really, really turned the corner, what's the impact like after you go on something like that, You know, it's really funny, Good Morning America for um for example, not a huge bump in sales but a huge bump in um social proof. And then being able to, you know, go out to other outlets and say, well we've been on G. F. A. You know, so it ended up being a huge bump in being able to secure additional spots on other outlets and, you know, being able to have influencers want to work with us at an even higher clip. Um So it's sort of interesting, it's like the big name ones don't always necessarily translate immediately into sales, but they give you a wider network that then does, which was interesting when you say influencers that wanted to work with you on a bigger clip, does that mean? What does that mean? Do you mean like you were incentivizing them through, you know, a commission on every order that they drove or something like that more just that they wanted to work with us in the first place. So um, when you're a really small brand, sometimes it's just hard to get people to return your calls or emails for the most part, right? But we were able to just have a little bit more social proof after that and say like, you know, these are our, this is our resume, right? We've been on all these different channels and then people were more interested in working with us. We did do a pilot of um, working with influencers to curate their own boxes interestingly that did not work as well as just pure, this is our story. We'll send you product and um, just please talk about, you know, the company in general and how we're values driven, etcetera, which I found really interesting. That is so interesting. Wow, I'm surprised at that if you're an e commerce brand owner, you've probably thought about whether your product suits being subscription based, maybe you've got a beverage brand or a beauty product that has a high repeat purchase rate, join, fast growing Shopify brands like athletic greens and rise coffee that are growing their commerce subscription and retention businesses on up scribe scribe gives you the out of the box tools that you need to build, grow or scale your Shopify subscription and retention business deploy a beautiful customer experience in minutes that treats subscribers like royalty and drives brand loyalty. Additionally, scribes knew reorder product makes it frictionless to capture reorders in a single click to help you increase your business's profitability and customer lifetime value, give your e commerce business the charge that it needs today by visiting up scribe dot iO slash female startup club to learn more and you'll also receive your first month free that's up Scribd dot IO forward slash female startup club. I was reading that around that same time that you were in the accelerator, which I think was the, gets it done accelerator with Alex backdoor fright, Love her, she's amazing! Everyone should go check her out, shout out to her. I was reading that around that time you and I think I read this on her website, you had set a goal that you wanted to get to $1 million dollars in a, our, our annual recurring revenue and you wanted to bring on a co founder and I want to talk about both of these separately. First we'll talk about the monetary goal with the rev goal. What was your strategy to get from wherever you were to, I'm assuming multiple, six figures to seven figures, It really was about honing all of our different sales channels and just being sort of merciless about cutting out the ones that really weren't working and doubling down on the ones that were so email marketing for example, has always worked incredibly well for us. And so once we realized that it became just an incredible goal to build our email list as fast as we possibly could. So one of the things that we did, there was just really double down on brand partnerships and giveaways, so finding other brands and they didn't necessarily have to be other brands in the sense of like being another product based business, like one of the most successful ones that we did was actually with this woman, her name is jenny Rosen stretch and she is a cookbook author and her audience is just very, um just very similar to ours in demographics, but also in orientation, I guess you would say like they're very kind, they're very socially oriented and so we ran a give away with her and that was one of the most successful email building exercises that we, that we did. So like sign up for our email for the chance to win a prize, That's what you mean. Exactly, Exactly. Um and with an extremely low attrition rate afterwards on, on the email list, because we would find sometimes like, we would think like, oh, this product business is going to be a really good fit for us and we would do something similar and people would sign up because they wanted the swag and then afterwards you would see the list, you know, have like a pretty high attrition rate, but we focused in on other brands or people or public figures that had very similar audiences to ours. Again, I'm sort of searching for how to describe that similarity piece, but it really is just a personality I guess is the best way of describing it. Like people who were very sort of heart forward and very socially oriented and then ended up being really successful and what were the channels that you had to cut that were, you were like, okay, this isn't and and how did you even define what was technically a good channel and a bad channel? Cause it might seem obvious, but I feel like there would still have to be a lot of consideration into actually cutting something even if it is still making some sales, you know? Yeah, absolutely. Um, we, we have cut and brought back facebook ads so many times and mostly because I, I mean facebook ads kind of have had like a general decline over the past couple of years in terms of rose and how helpful they are. Um, but mostly it's just looking at the road as like what are we spending on this, what are we getting back from it? And if we deploy that capital elsewhere would we get a better return. And so the thing that we have cut a couple of times really has been that facebook instagram as a channel. Usually we deploy it back to google ads, which tends to be a better one for us. But it can be kind of hard because for example, like email marketing, which works really well for us, You can't really look at the realm as in the same way because you're spending, you know, $200 a month or whatever it happens to be on your clay vo membership, your subscription. So it's not, it's not a spend in the same way. But anyway, it's interesting and so kind of taking that approach of cutting the things that didn't work and tripling down on email marketing that got you to your goal or were there other things that play that helped you kind of get to that goal. I would say it was kind of everything, everything at once. Right. So the influencer channel, we also have always had kind of running on on full speed, I would say influencers, email marketing and then we actually do quite a lot of corporate gifting as well. So it all was inbound at the beginning of the corporate gifting that we did, you know, folks would come to us from a DTC perspective say, oh, I really love this, my company is doing a retreat. Do you ever do bulk things and us just saying like we could probably figure that out. Sure, yes, of course we do it. Um, and then seeing all of that inbound and assuming there has to be quite a lot more of that out there, we actually brought somebody new on at the beginning of the year to focus on that sales channel exclusively. Um, and starting to do out bounding and to build that up. So I would say, you know, just having a really sort of mercenary approach to R. D. To C channels, what's working, what's not. And then recognizing this other like pretty large opportunity and dedicating personnel to that and going after it. Gotcha, That is so cool. And the other piece of that original question that I was, you know, back at a few questions ago was the co founder piece, you wanted to get to seven figures and you wanted to bring on a co founder. First question, why did you decide that you wanted a co founder and why were you going to take that pathway? Yeah, I think a large part of success, at least in what I've seen so far is you have to have no ego about your own abilities and what you bring to the table. And I know that what I bring is creativity and just sort of horsepower and you know, a very open and excited approach to what we're doing. I was looking for somebody who could bring the quantitative side of things right? I was a lawyer before that, I was a ballet dancer. I did not know how to build a financial model to save my life. I didn't know how to build an inventory model and the more that I got into the business that I had sort of built from the perspective of being very hard forward and being, you know, people are going to take care of each other and so beautiful all of which was true. It became more and more obviously what I was building was actually a very logistics heavy business and so I needed somebody with a much more process oriented, finance oriented mindset to come in and sort of be that other side of the coin. So, so that's why I was looking for a co founder and was so happy when I found Monica. And how did you find her? Like how do you go about finding a co founder? I think it's a difficult thing to like put on a to do list. I think it's something more that you um, not to be like to woo about it, but you kind of have to manifest a little bit and again, not in the sense that you like speaking into the universe, but you kind of just have to let everybody, you know know that that's who you're looking for because she came to me through my network. So that same accelerator that I was in to get it done when there was another woman in the accelerator who worked with Monica at like a, we work in Chicago Monica was at another startup and they just had literally been like sitting next to each other pre covid and working on their individual things. Um and so when I sort of put it out to my group that I was looking for some operations help, she suggested her and we got on and started chatting and it kind of went from there, but I think it's not a thing that you can write a job description for sort of, you know, put a post up on linkedin about. Like it really has to be something that comes through your network and people know you and know who you're gonna vibe with and they can make those intros. It's almost like there just needs to be some kind of magic that happens that allows you to come together and it just makes sense versus you actively job searching for someone. I mean Yeah, absolutely. I think, I mean everybody always says that, you know the cliches about how it's kind of like getting married and that's honestly really true. I mean we've been in this together for multiple years at this point and you go through a lot of stress and a lot of, you know, really exciting up times also, but it has to be somebody that you have an enormous amount of trust in. Um and so I really just love the idea that that person comes to you through, you know, the network of folks that already knows you and knows what's gonna work for you as you gear up for fall, you need to find the right people on your team to help your small business fire on all cylinders linkedin jobs is here to make it easier to find the right people you want to talk to faster and for free. If you follow me on linkedin or you're a subscriber to our newsletter, you already know how often we're sharing jobs that are coming directly through linkedin. It is so powerful, you can create a free job post in minutes on linkedin jobs to tap into the world's largest professional network with over 30 million people in the UK alone. It's why small businesses rate linkedin jobs number one for delivering quality hires verse their leading competitors. Then add your job and the purple hiring frame to your linkedin profile. So your network can help you find the right people to hire simple tools like screening questions, make it easy to focus on candidates with just the right skills and experience. So you can quickly prioritize who you'd like to interview and hire linkedin jobs helps you find the candidates you want to talk to faster and you can post a job for free. Just visit linkedin dot com slash f S C. Again, that's linkedin dot com slash f S C to post your job for free today and see supply. Are you able to share and you might not be. So I'm just going to try my luck. Are you able to share? Like what does it look like bringing on a co founder when you've already built essentially an established business that's, you know, driving a lot of revenue. What does it look like in terms of equity split? What does it look like in terms of, does she need to inject cash into the business or what's that kind of, that side of it? Yeah, it definitely was a hard conversation to have, not in the sense of being awkward, but just in the sense of how do we do this? Because it's such an unusual way of doing it when Monica came on. One of the reasons that we did the co founder title was when she started working with me, it was first in sort of a consultant capacity and then we really sort of, you know, liked each other and wanted to build something bigger. But one of the things that we were talking about was this much larger business conception that we are now building um which is present, which we can talk about if we want to, but um we knew that we were getting into business together to build something that was larger than what small packages was at that time, so that's why I felt comfortable with bringing on somebody as a co founder, even though I had already put in so much more work um and then in terms of equity split and cash, um she did put in some money and I mean at that stage, you know, like a share prices, I honestly can't remember exactly what it was at that point, because we've kind of moved on from it now, but it's honestly more a show of faith and investment than it is money that moves the business one way or the other just because, um, the share price is so low, but it definitely was something that we took some time thinking through and there are a lot of equity calculators that you can find on the internet that are really helpful that break down who brings what expertise to the table and how to wait those different pieces and then distribute equity accordingly, which we found really helpful in looking at, not only how we were going to do the split, but it was also sort of a, a template for us having the conversation about once she came on, like what was it going to look like? Who? Who owned what piece? Totally, I've got it. And so I think she joined you last year, right? 2021, 20, 20, Yeah. So since then you've spoken what we haven't spoken about a little, but you mentioned present, what is this kind of journey slash set up now is small packages merging into present or just let's talk about what this is. Yeah, absolutely. So what we're building now is present is an ai based platform that helps people take care of their relationships, much in the same way that small packages does, but it's a tech based solution instead, so you manage, you know, friends, family colleagues on the platform and it reminds you when important milestones are coming up in their lives, you tell the platform about the person and so when it is that time in the person's life were able to recommend and fulfill the exact perfect gift for that occasion and that person. So it's very hyper personalized, just sort of taking the mental load of like being really thoughtful friend or family member colleague off your plate and giving it to technology where it belongs. Um so we're building that company now and that's going to be sort of the overall structure of our company, we've rebranded to present and small packages is now a subsidiary at present, so it's an e commerce gifting arm, the way it has always been, um but it sort of operates under the larger structure of the present brand. Oh my gosh, that's so exciting when you think about, you know, today, 2022, what are the things that are kind of shifting the needle for you? Either with small packages or present overall when it comes to marketing and growth focused initiatives? So it's sort of interesting because at present we realized we were have been in beta for about a month and when we started, we actually were leaning in a little bit more of a consumer direction, so we have a mobile app um, and we were leaning more in that direction, but we realized once we started the beta that the use case for enterprise was actually much stronger. And so we are going to market with present as more of a B two B sas platform, which is very exciting, but also an enormous pivot in terms of, you know, everything we learned on the small packages side about how to talk to a consumer. We now have to re learn about how to talk to a customer who is an enterprise instead. Does that mean like you're going to, you know Netflix and Netflix is giving you staff profiles of 10,000 people and you're fulfilling 10,000 different gifts. Is that what it means? Yes, up until the very, very last part. That sounds crazy. So I mean that's why we're so excited about this opportunity, right? Because once you, that was one of the things that we learned on the small packages side is what we were missing was the part where we didn't know when something was coming up for you, right? Like we could sort of just do general marketing and say, hey, if you have a birthday this month, let us help you. But depending and when we sent the email, we might have missed the important birthday that you were going or you don't have me this week and this week you need to talk about new babies or whatever it is, right? So if we have all of that information at the beginning, then the marketing to the consumer and honestly, I think about is marketing, how can we help them? What do they need at that moment we're able to anticipate it and just make executing on that task that they were already going to do just incredibly easy. So we realized that during the small package of journey, that, that was the piece we were missing. So that was really the spark for why we built present to begin with. So now we'll be selling it into companies um, in terms of fulfilling the 10,000 gifts, we actually have partnerships with this wide array of other brands. So when somebody wants to send a gift to, you know, somebody on their team, it can be a small package. Absolutely, but we're not always the right choice, right. You know, it might not be perfect for that occasion or that person. So now they're also able to send A bright land olive oil or a pizza from the place around the corner or a charitable donation from a place that makes sense to them. So we are facilitating the purchase. All the person has to do is click send but we are not back at the warehouse packing out, you know, 10,000 boxes got it, got it, got it. So you kind of connect into all of the partner brands that you have into like their Shopify or something like that and it just goes through as a regular order and they fulfill that is, wow, I'm so excited for you huge thank you. Yeah, we're really excited about it because we got such incredibly wonderful feedback for people who used small packages as power users like making my life so much easier because I am able to show up for people in this way. But we knew that people weren't able to to use us to shop for toddler birthday parties or gifts for their husband whatever. Right? And now with present were able to open that aperture all the way up and help people with everything that they need to send. So we're super excited about that. That is super cool. Super cool. Thank you. What advice can you give to founders who are in the early days of building their business, whether it's in the, you know, D. D. C. Side or the tech side. Just general advice. Yeah. I think the main, main thing that I wish somebody had sort of sat me down and told me at the very beginning was whether you have a product or a service based business to be obsessive about unit economics from the absolute beginning because I think a lot of us get into building a business because we're passionate about whatever the topic is and we sort of do a loose kind of assessment of pricing which is always an art and a science and we kind of like we'll figure it out like kind of as we go along service base. That's not as bad because you can turn on a dime inventory product based business, forget about it. Like you need to know the absolute like how much does this sheet of tissue paper cost me and what do I need to build in from a margin perspective because if you don't have that at the very beginning you can always tweak it later. But it's it's tough. So that would be like my main somewhat boring but I think helpful piece of advice get to know your numbers very important, very keen. Seriously.


So question number one is what's your, why why are you doing what you're doing every single day connection. We have the you know the loneliness epidemic like raging in the U. S. Is a real real thing and um like I experienced it in my earlier life, I know what it feels like to not have personal relationships that are strong and what it feels like once you build them back up um I want to make it incredibly easy for people to feel surrounded and connected to people that love them so powerful. I love that Question #2 is what's been your favorite marketing moment so far in building the business being a good morning. America was pretty fun. I'm not gonna lie. That was during the height of Covid and our tv actually broke that day which was a very inopportune moment. So we had to like tune in on like my laptop and like watch it go live which was somewhat hilarious. But definitely that That's so cool. Question # three is what's your go to business resource. If you have to think about like a book or a newsletter or a podcast. Um nick Sharma sends out a newsletter every sunday that I have found to be incredibly helpful and also incredibly granular like your show. So I think folks that love this would would love that one as well. I love his newsletter. He does such a good job. Question number four is how do you win the day? What are your am and PM rituals or habits that keep you feeling happy and successful and motivated? Oh man. Um, I'm gonna be really probably boring ones that everybody else also says. But um, I have to work out like every single day I do it absolutely. First thing in the morning I schedule workout classes that I get penalized for, if I, if I don't go to, so I have that extra pressure. But I do that, you know at like 6 30 every day and then come back and have coffee and just have that sort of like, you know, a little bit of zen time before you dive back into, can't go directly from sleep to opening the laptop. That is like the, that's the killer. Mental health wise for me. Yeah, that is the killer. I'm so guilty of going straight to my phone. It's, it's really, I've gotten to a really bad habit at the moment. I need to get out of it. We can always switch, we can always go back, We can always switch. True question #5 is what's been your worst money mistakes in business and how much did it cost you? Oh my gosh, let me think. Um okay, so very, very early on, I want to say like a couple of months after we launched the Business Glamour magazine, came to me, I have no idea how they found us but they said we are throwing this big, I forget what it's called, but it was something like big gala event that they throw every year and they said you know do you want to be in the gift bags because we think this would be like a really fun thing to give to people, you know, we can't do the actual physical boxes because they'll be too big but can you do gift cards? And I said oh my gosh, yes, glamour of course, absolutely love too. And so I like spent just an absolutely insane amount of time and money like printing out these beautiful little gift cards and whatever. I don't think they even made it in the boxes or into the bags because maybe three or four of them got used, it was just this whole like dumb administrative thing and so the actual mistake was not getting some sort of you know statement of work or some sort of agreement set up with them ahead of time and just doing this massive outlay of you know, all of this product to go in um that was not great, didn't work out too well. Yeah, I hate that for you damn damn lesson lunch for next time and question number six, last question, what is just a crazy story that you can share good or bad from building the business? Well, so we had our own warehouse for a while and um we were managing it, we had employees on the ground that we're packing all of the boxes and we decided that we wanted to um move over to a three pl just to have everything be much more streamlined and accounted for. And so we were also in Techstars at the time while we were trying to manage this move and Monica was getting married also that weekend, whatever when this was happening, and so we're trying to manage a whole bunch of different things. She's mostly out of pocket because she's getting married and I get a call from the warehouse manager man who sort of just ran the whole thing, not the three pl the one that we're already in and he left me a voicemail that said we've had a fire and um you know, I'm trying to figure out exactly what the damage is and whatever, but you know, I'll call you back, I'm sure it's not that bad. So I'm picturing like all of our inventory up in smoke as we're like thousands of miles away across the country, she's getting married, I'm not going to tell her anything that's happening and stress her out, right. Um And he was like, it's pretty, it's probably pretty bad. I think most of the inventory is going to be gone, oh my God, how are we gonna come back from this all day? Techstars meetings all day, can't get in touch with him to be back at five p.m. That day. He's like oh yeah it was just in the basement, It wasn't anywhere like near your stuff, you're totally fine. You can move tomorrow as scheduled just like manufactured heart attack that we did not need turned out okay it's no big deal. Oh my goodness I'm sure I can come up with more. But that's that's the first most powerful heart attack that comes to mind when you say crazy story. 100% the rollercoaster of entrepreneurship. It is, it is wild. Absolutely but it's worth it. It is indeed julie. Thank you so much for taking the time to come on the show today and share your journey with small packages and present. This has been so fun. Thank you so much. Oh my gosh thank you so much for having me.


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