Family Entrepreneurship

Family Entrepreneurship—A Road Less Traveled

Hey there, hustlers! Have you heard the news? It’s Startup Hustle host, Andrew Morgans’ 100th episode of Startup Hustle! 

We’ve prepared a special episode for you to celebrate this milestone. Our host, Andrew Morgans, invites not one, not two, but three guests to join him in today’s episode of Startup Hustle. The women behind Marknology, Veronika Morgans, RhoDana Snider, and Brooklyn Morgans are in the house.

Covered In This Episode

The Amazon space can be a suffocating labyrinth of listings, branding, and inventories for most anyone not in the eCommerce space. But no need to fret! Andrew Morgans’ company, Marknology, an Amazon Brand Accelerator, helps entrepreneurs succeed in the online competitive marketplace.

Get Started with Full Scale

Together with Andrew, the company founder, Marknology has Veronika Morgans as the chief marketing officer. RhoDana Snider is the creative director and Brooklyn Morgans is the director of client services.

The family of creatives and eCommerce strategists are here to talk about family entrepreneurship and all things Amazon. Are you ready for warm family anecdotes, interesting backstories, and some savvy e-coms tips?

Startup Podcast for Entrepreneurs

Highlights

Reminiscing the Early Days With Veronika

  • Veronika’s early days at Marknology and e-commerce projects (02:06)
  • The family’s “why” kept them and the business going (08:24)
  • The meaning behind Marknology and the company’s purpose (13:30)
  • Things that didn’t work at first at Marknology and the learnings (15:48)
  • Projects that excite Veronika (23:52)
  • A piece of advice for businesses starting their branding journey (24:56)

Bonding With RhoDana Over Stories

  • The story of how RhoDana started at Marknology and her professional evolution (27:36)
  • Why Marknology is the best at what they do at Marknology and how they evolved throughout the years (38:44)
  • On RhoDana’s creative outlet, branding points, and content strategy (42:12)
  • RhoDana’s exciting new role at Marknology (50:08)
  • What is the one thing that RhoDana is looking forward to working on (57:56)

Looking Ahead With Brooklyn

  • The backstory of how Brooklyn joined Marknology (01:01:19)
  • Organizing the creative team in Marknology in Brooklyn’s style (01:07:48)
  • Using tools and tech to solve efficiency problems (01:11:20)
  • Adjusting strategies to address current e-commerce challenges (01:23:02)
  • Common struggles of e-commerce sellers (01:25:24)
  • Brookly’s advice for teams wanting to be more organized with their processes (01:30:38)

Key Quotes

Understanding that, okay, we can fail now, and we fix it. We fail and fix it. We fail and fix it. Now, we’ve had so many failures and fixes…my pool of knowledge to pull from now is so extensive.

– Veronika Morgans

I want the world to see that we’re doing super innovative things…and it’s something you should be watching.

– RhoDana Snider

Find a way to systemize your time and stop wasting time on all the little stuff.

– Brooklyn Morgans
Business Podcast for Entrepreneurs

Rough Transcript

The following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode.

00:00:00

Andrew Morgans

What’s up, Hustlers? Welcome back. This is Andrew Morgans, founder of Marknology, today’s host of Startup Hustle. Covering all things e-commerce, Amazon startups, founder stuff, you name it. Before we get started, a shoutout to our sponsor, FullScale.io, helping you build software teams quickly and affordably. Today’s a special day. It’s our 100th episode, and I really wanted to do something special for the moment, you know, the milestone. And today’s guests are actually the women of Marknology. Veronika, Brooklyn, and Rho will be coming to the show. I just wanted to talk to them about joining me with Marknology. The early days, kind of their intros to e-commerce, and what they’re doing now. And ultimately, just give you a chance to meet the women behind Marknology and the ones that have helped me build everything we have. So we’re going to start with Veronika. Veronika, welcome to the show. 

00:01:03

Veronika Morgans

Thank you for having me. I’m excited. 

00:01:07

Andrew Morgans

So we usually start the episodes; I want everyone to get to know the guests a little bit. And I know, I talk about them a lot here on the show, but you guys really get to meet V. I’m gonna call her V for the rest of the show just because it’s a lot easier. But V, let’s talk about the early days of working with me in Tampa.

00:01:26

Veronika Morgans

Oh, man, in Tampa. Yeah, where to start? 

00:01:29

Andrew Morgans

What do you remember? What was the first project? Maybe that, as you know, I was like, hey, this is Amazon. Can you help me? 

00:01:36

Veronika Morgans

I can’t really remember the first project, but I kind of remember the feeling of being in the first project. I basically, you know, I was in grad school for my master’s in environmental engineering. I think he moved like a year earlier, so that’s kind of like the distance of time. And he was just kind of like, hey, I need help. I have some projects I’m working on. So I started the side hustle thing, and it’s kind of growing. I just need some help with some Excel docs. So I feel like the first projects were me just copying and pasting stuff. Like I didn’t know what I was doing or why I was doing it. It was just like, here, do this one thing. That was kind of like the first project. 

00:02:21

Andrew Morgans

Yeah, I feel like I had no idea how to communicate instructions virtually. You know, like from not right there with me.

00:02:30

Veronika Morgans

That was but eight years ago.

00:02:34

Andrew Morgans

That’s no, I thought nine years ago. So I was wondering what year that was? I think we were in, you know, 2014-2015. 

00:02:43

Veronika Morgans

Definitely, jumping on Zoom and Facetime wasn’t a thing.

00:02:48

Andrew Morgans

No, and during that time when we were putting products up, it was really like, people with tons of products just wanting to get products up. Different colors, different variations. They didn’t have the copy. They didn’t have the colors. How many products do you think we were putting up first? 

00:03:04

Veronika Morgans

Thousands and thousands.

00:03:05

Andrew Morgans

Yeah, what was he selling? 

00:03:09

Veronika Morgans

He was selling blankets, I think. I might know a little bit more about that when she comes on cause I think that was one of her first projects to kind of that client.

00:03:15

Andrew Morgans

I remember when we were billing for that, we felt so guilty or so just stressed about we were putting in hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours of work, but we felt so bad being like we need five hundred bucks or we need a thousand bucks for all this work. 

00:03:30

Veronika Morgans

Oh yeah, the amount that we charged then, yeah, and we still felt like it was extravagant. 

00:03:35

Andrew Morgans

Okay, so early days of obviously being like an agency or consultant, but you were helping me. You were also working in a restaurant. I think you’re finishing up school, even going through a breakup. We had a lot going on. Um, you know when was the decision to leave Tampa and like kind of the engineering degree you’re pursuing and figure out what this e-commerce thing was.

00:04:04

Veronika Morgans

Well, I had been divorced for about a year, and I was probably like in my last year of grad school. I’ve been working with Andrew for probably a year, kind of on the Amazon stuff. I was helping with two refugee groups at the time and working at a beach bar in Tampa, and I remember trying to figure out. Okay, what were the next steps? You know the cause. Environmental engineering for your master’s. You’re going to be like that’s your life. You know I’m starting from the ground and don’t have any connections, and you know the goal was always to go overseas. Um, so I was doing all these things on the side and kind of like helping Drew start something. And you know, I got the advice I was stressed out was doing so much stuff, and Andrew actually called him, and I just crying, which is rare and I remember just being like I can’t keep up with these refugee groups, and you know everything all at the same time like I don’t know what to do and Drew kind of gave me a vice that was like well you can’t help others until you help yourself first and of course, you know good advice. Never just sit with you in that 1 minute, and you’re like, haha. That’s good advice. You know, you kind of mule on it. I feel like good advice is kind of that stuff ease you sit with it and you try to think through like what is that was that actually mean and um and that was just kind of like how I made my discussion which was my decision to come to Kansas City was like well let’s just give this a try. Um, and so that’s what we did, and here we are, I think eight years nine years later, yeah.

00:05:23

Andrew Morgans

August is eight years.

00:05:26

Veronika Morgans

So that was kind of like the exciting factor is like the best decision of my life being here with my family um and having been able to do the things that we’ve done so far. It’s. I couldn’t have chosen it better, and there was not one minute of regret.

00:05:40

Andrew Morgans

Have we been overseas a few times since then?

00:05:41

Veronika Morgans

I mean, we’ve gotten to travel just a little, yeah, a few times here and there.

00:05:49

Andrew Morgans

It was a crazy time because we were getting there. We were getting busy working like you know we had some big clients off of Upwork or not big at they seemed big at the time but like. Big workload. No one really knew what to charge, so we were just winging it. Um, you know, just like working on random projects. Not really even knowing exactly what we were doing, but it was growing, and ah, you know, we just found ourselves kind of like. We left our jobs, and we’re getting paid to help people on Amazon. I remember it was like. You remember the first year. I think before we had the office, just like randomly choosing a coffee shop. Did we have the office already when you came?

00:06:28

Veronika Morgans

so when I came to Kansas City, we already had the office. Um. So it was actually like we didn’t have any. I think we were moving on the day that I got here. We were moving in, so we kind of had that space which is really cool to be going from Tampa, where I was like in my very, very small place. My desk in you know, very small room with that and so to be able to come here and do that but it was still like very much you know. Ragtag days.

00:06:53

Andrew Morgans

Yes. 

00:06:54

Veronika Morgans

I was still. We actually started our Airbnb business because of the ragtag days because we didn’t have enough money to pay me full time, so we Airbnb my loft here in Kansas City for the very first one, and we made $10000 that year to help to supplement that first year of income that we couldn’t necessarily bring me on what we needed to.

00:07:10

Andrew Morgans

It’s easy to forget some of those things that we were doing.

00:07:14

Nine years later, we own an Airbnb business with our besties, so we’ll circle there.

00:07:21

Andrew Morgans

We need to go back through and maybe look at even calendars before they wipe them away or something and just see the dates and some of the stuff we were putting in there. Um, you know to remember the early stuff, but it’s like, okay, so origin day is just like saying, hey Eff it like I’m going to try something new I’m going to go. We’re going to like I think people look at us as a family business even in some ways and. I think the reason why we’ve been able to be so successful is because our why was pretty straightforward, which was just like each one of us was like I’m trying to get my life together and, you know, live life intentionally and improve quality of life and at the same time like take care of my people. Why I’m doing it. And I think, at least for me, and I think it resonates across the rest of us, is like we had a low somewhere around in there like in our own personal lives whether it was a divorce or a breakup or a sickness or different things and it was like first like get that in order and then um. You know, I saw that we were onto something. I think that’s what it was like; we were like we’re onto something and don’t know exactly how to scale a business or grow it. But we’re onto something that’s working, and I think if we just like to stay with it. Um, you know we can do some really cool things and create some cool things.

00:08:38

Veronika Morgans

Yeah, I see. Like you know, they always have those. You know, Instagram saying but like this one is so true. The consistency over time and like when you look back at the beginning to where we are now, it wasn’t some big monumental something that went viral. No one’s paying attention. People still aren’t paying attention to us. You know, but like it’s not as consistent over time that’s brought us a hundred percent belief that’s where we are now you know we start off by sitting next to you. And being like I don’t know one single thing about what we’re doing, and you’re like me either basically like it’s just like figure it out kind of you know we sat there together kind of pushing each other to figure it out and here we are nine-plus years later, and I’m like aha like I actually now feel like I know what I’m doing. It’s like it’s taken so long that many years of sixty-plus hours actually finally feel like, oh, now I actually do know what I’m saying. I’m making it up.

00:09:24

Andrew Morgans

Yeah, honestly, like ten Thousand Fifteen Thousand Twenty Thousand hours each on this platform. I think something that we brought up the other day was just reminiscing and um to our listeners like me and my sisters grew up in Africa and. V, who’s on the show with me right now. Um, we used to have this little computer bunker that our dad let us have. It was like in the basement we set up like all our computers and late at night like when no one was on the satellites in Africa we’d be like you know Torrent-ing ah software or. Or videos or TV shows or games, and it was hard. It was complicated back then. We were talking like year two thousand and Ninety Nine two thousand 2001 Torrent-ing stuff, and it was just me and you just geeking out about you know tech stuff, and then it was like you know then we came back to the US, and it was years later. I mean, before, we kind of got back into computer stuff as we left it behind because we had all this American culture and society and rules to learn. Um, but you know it’s so cool to be back. Like start that way and then be back doing the same stuff. 

00:10:31

Veronica Morgans

Yeah, it’s nerd stuff. You know, like, I feel like I kind of like hit me again this year. I’m talking with other people, but it’s like the things that we do or that we figured out that are not cool and fluffy is the nerd stuff. It’s like sitting and figuring and tinkering things, and you know. Getting online and figuring out most of the things that people don’t talk about?

00:10:51

Andrew Morgans

Yeah, you’re right? Um, I just like I think I’ve been tinkering a little bit myself with, you know, some of the selling strategies and marketing strategies lately and. I was reminded a little bit when I set up the warehouse, but I just really enjoy some of that, like the gamification of it, then figuring out the algorithms like how to optimize this and how to get better. Um, and we’re in that phase in our business right now where we’re doing those things internally like on our business. Not just for others and um. It’s bringing some of that nostalgia back a little. 

00:11:22

Veronika Morgans

We talk with our clients all the time. You know, I’m like this is a game, you know, like we’re trying to win the game for you guys. You know, like that’s how that is how we see it is like business is a game. Can you stay in the game? Um, you know that’s the hardest part.

00:11:35

Andrew Morgans

Staying in the game of business, like can you be in the game to play the game.

00:11:39

Veronika Morgans

Exactly yeah, and like everything that you do is part of like winning the game ultimately, and so that makes it, I think, really relates back to what you’re saying about when we were younger but like that’s the fun of it is like if you can gamify aspects of it. It makes it more fun than just feeling like a job. 

00:11:52

Andrew Morgans

No totally. I want to switch gears just a little bit, and talk kind of about we talked about you know you are joining early, and I mean we’ve gone through countless I mean it’s eight years right so went from you and me to me you and Rho to me you and Rho and Brooke too. Um, I think our team is at 36 right now. So um, and honestly, that’s you’re a big part of that. Not just obviously across everything, but our creative department has really just grown a lot I’d like to talk about. Because I feel like what we do at Marknology in regards to bringing in a full-service Amazon account management like strat business strategy ads and blending that with creative storytelling and branding is something that we’re unique for and um. You’ve been a big part of creating that department really from scratch to where we are today. Um, can we talk about that a little bit? 

00:12:50

Veronika Morgans

Yeah, I mean the name of Marknology is a blending of marketing and technology together, right? and so it plays just directly into like, you know how we set up the company as people who are artists in different ways. Um, but then also we talked about that e-comm like nerd side, and it’s like how do you blend both, and you know I think that’s one thing that people get frustrated about like tech companies who don’t focus on with the creative agency is like they don’t understand the creative and the creatives don’t understand the nerds but like Marknology we have both on our team, and we’re trying to figure out a way you know to blend and make that, so that’s really been fun. Naturally, we didn’t study anything you know, creative or the arts. But it’s definitely part of who we are as individuals. A lot of people say things like about the way we dress or how we present ourselves. Um, so trying to figure out how to blend those two together in a. And an Amazon agency where no one’s talking about branding, you know, for they are now they’re kind of starting to, but even some of the cool features that Amazon’s bringing out, they’re still not talking about them at conferences, right? You know, because you know the eq, I feel like a lot of the Amazon agencies up until this point where money has started kind of coming in and covid. You know they were for the nerds. You know they weren’t for these. They were for these people who could figure out how to make lots of money on the platform, and they didn’t need that creative side. They had figured out the algorithm, the tech part they figured out that and now that you know the world in general is and Amazon is focusing towards that creative. We’re kind of like how you have to figure out how the None blend together. Um, yeah, so it means it’s changed over the years. I think like how we started our creatives, especially with how Amazon is changing it. It’s forced us to kind of level up. Um, but it’s really fun to be able to take because Amazon and branding and stuff are so new. It’s like you kind of have. It’s like the wild wild west. And so you can try a whole bunch of yeah, you can make your own way. There aren’t, you know, all these other successful ways that have already worked like you’re forging areas that no one’s talking about and branding even when people who are going to school are not talking about it, and so that is kind of a perfect environment for me as we’re people, ragtag people, like we do.

00:14:50

Andrew Morgans

There’s no way. There’s no one saying this is the best way to do it. This is the only way to do it because no one’s done it before, so because of that, it’s almost like this level of confidence of just like there’s no way of questioning am I doing this right because there is no necessarily right way.

00:15:04

Veronika Morgans

Right way? Yeah, exactly.

00:15:08

Andrew Morgans

What are some things like one that didn’t work like when we were trying to create the creative team and just like you know like work with brands to get their story out of them? What have been some things that we’ve tried that didn’t work?

00:15:22

Veronika Morgans

Well, having designers that can’t execute, I guess at your vision level, I think that’s important to have people who can understand what you’re trying to say as a leader. That doesn’t mean someone else couldn’t get you to know what out of them that they needed. But um, you know, for me, I think that was one important thing. I think it was also kind of contradicting a little bit of what you’re saying about like there’s no way. So no one can judge. That is true. But I think at some point, we were trying to kind of do what we thought like other creative agencies did and realize like that didn’t work for us.

00:15:58

Andrew Morgans

Yeah.

00:15:59

Veronika Morgans

This is a fast-paced environment, meaning like this long thought out design work. It can’t happen on the Amazon platform. No one’s gonna hire you, and it’s not needed like that level of like you know logo design where every single aspect is taken up and put into account that it is needed in some aspects, right? We unlocked the logo. It’s awesome. But on the Amazon platform, in general, 90% of what we’re branding needs to be done quickly, and it needs to be telling a story. You need to be answering the questions through the imagery. So trying to use an old-school model of doing this in a long and very intentional way was costing us. 

00:16:35

Andrew Morgans

Yeah. 

00:16:36

Veronika Morgans

Kind of get it out quick enough. People probably are like, you know, so we came up to a lot of issues there, and once we find our own way, which is like okay, this works for us. Let’s lean into that. So I think a little bit of. Backpacking a little bit on trying to do things how other people did it but realizing that Amazon’s not the same as those websites were static, you know things have to be changing. It has to be done quickly and still look professional and be up to like branding standards, so trying to mix both.

00:17:03

Andrew Morgans

No, I think you’re right, um. One thing that I was thinking of was, um, you know, like whenever you move into a new area that you don’t know, you know you’re taking in information, so you listen to podcasts, you’re reading story band books, you’re reading like branding books, you’re reading all this kind of stuff to try to get better, and it’s one of those situations that’s like. Take the good and then put it through like what you’re doing and leave the rest, you know, and so it was we were trying to do it like okay, let’s read about it. How should we do it? Then it was a combination of that, so we need to repurpose it. What’s best for a full-service agency? Um and Amazon, and then also it was like the brands that we were working with. Right? The difference in what they call Amazon sellers or FBA sellers and then a brand or then a manufacturer or um brands that have invested first into branding has no real difficulty understanding what kind of what we’re trying to communicate versus a seller that. Has never really put aside, you know, thousands of dollars a year just for marketing or branding or image enhancements, or they come, and they say they have a thousand skews. What can you do? Um, you know for all thousand, and it’s just like ah that doesn’t work like that, you know, and so having to like almost like failing with them. Then know what to tell you about brands and manufacturers that were listening, right? Like you know we had done. We tried this shortcut. We tried this shortcut. We tried doing it like template work, or we tried outsourcing to get it cheaper and saw that we weren’t getting the best results. Um, those are all things that come to mind.

00:18:38

Veronika Morgans

So like the failure part, I think it is a great way to say it is like as someone who now is like CMO of Marknology like if you would ask me like I failed so many times in the last nine years because, you know, but what the quickest thing I think that we are really good at doing is pivoting as leaders. Like understanding that okay, as we can fail and now we fix it. We fail, we fix it, we fail and fix it now often. We’ve had so many failures and fixes that my pool of knowledge to pull from now is so extensive, we’ve worked with over 300-plus brands that know how much experience that is, and if you’re using those failures, you’re not scared of them. Yeah, you quoted now you have to make the project up until you all record it, and now you’re trying to deliver like good quality those failures as a leader make it now that have a wide breadth of knowledge to pull from and no, it’s still not perfect, but there’s a lot more there, and I can quickly pivot and so taking so long to pivot.

00:19:28

Andrew Morgans

Yeah, and I think one thing is just to try. Come back to it in a year, come back to it in six months, and be like, wow, we learned a lot in the last six months last year. Let’s go back. But like you know, you still have to get those repetitions out to be learning anything whenever I’m talking to people like in the sales conversation or just here on the podcast I reference like the sponge listing. Right? That brand we worked with out of New York with the sponge and um, I think we had like I mean I can be corrected, but it was between a 45 and like a 48% conversion rate for like several years running and um. There wasn’t a lot of PPC. It wasn’t like, you know, we obviously got the keywords right? and they had a good story that we brought to life on the plus page, and then the listing had the story in the photos. So the photos and the video were educational about the product, and then the plus was like a story about the ladies that created the brand. And I feel like we just got it right? and it was something that like whenever I saw the data from the creative basically like a lot of people say like well it’s this unknown, it’s kind of like we don’t know if it’s going to work if it’s not going to work. Well. Ah, conversion rate like that tells me it’s working, right? and I just remember like it wasn’t that I loved everything we did with that page, or I loved the branding, or I loved the creative, personally. But customers on Amazon definitely loved it and seeing that just made me like even more to dive in and focus and be like, okay. This creative stuff, this storytelling stuff on Amazon, is like the way to go if we can recreate this like over and over and over. Um, you know we’re gonna be extremely successful like that was one that I definitely hung my hat on as being like that was like a light bulb moment for me. 

00:21:10

Veronika Morgans

It’s also super fun to be able to take that kind of thing. Making it go a different direction of this conversation. But it’s also really cool to be able to work with really small brands and give them big brand vibes. Yeah, I think that is really cool too because that wasn’t really there. It wasn’t available before for them, but because we’ve kind of made our own model, we can make it because we’ve made it so that they can have, you know, kind of that big brand vibe too and that’s really fun to do.

00:21:35

Andrew Morgans

Something else I’m gonna share. Um, I think, and I don’t want to give away all of our secrets, right? Okay, I’m gonna leave some for us. You got to come, and you gotta hire us. But, um, I think a turning point for us too was when we got. Designers are in-house at Marknology that spent their 40 hours a week plus just designing for Amazon instead of like freelancing or hiring out a great designer from somewhere else that like might come in and do a plus page or do a brand guide for us or a label for us or like specifically what we taught them. But. Think about the difference in like getting to do that every so often, and then that’s like what you do every day and getting better at it. So everything I think that was absolutely the, I mean as far as quality in the next level for us was getting designers in-house that actually are being paid to focus on Amazon. Instead of it just being like a project for them, I think that was a big game-changer. 

00:22:28

Veronika Morgans

Yeah, that was everything, especially as a leader who was still learning with her staff. I think like we’re kind of in an industry that is also learning at all times, like there are new things coming out all the time that everyone’s learning together. So having designers in-house that you could. Putting work with those ideas back and forth really changed the game for us as we were able to like, well, what about this, you know, can you try this really quick.

00:22:53

Andrew Morgans

Without it costing us a ton. You know, because they were. They’re on the payroll, but the difference in our work pays a freelancer versus someone in-house.

00:23:00

Veronika Morgans

Yeah, that yeah, that was crucial to our success.

00:23:03

Andrew Morgans

Being able to try. Um, okay, so like, let’s start. Let’s wrap up the last few minutes together like, um, what? What are some projects you’re working on right now that have you excited?

00:23:16

Veronika Morgans

Projects that I’m working on right now that have me excited, um, just really digging into. You know it’s exciting and hard. I will say that I don’t want to say it’s just as exciting as a meeting like, oh yeah, but I mean, it’s really difficult to grow a team in the creative space. Um, understanding how much time it is given to designers and staff and branding strategists to focus on the brand and give them that space. And then no one to bring the next person in like when are they overwhelmed with work and when should you bring the next person in and then what should that next person be should and so I think that is part of growing a creative team right? Now is exciting but also challenging because you know you’re trying to get the most from your people, but you’re also at the same time understanding that the creative isn’t just like another job where you can just. You know you have to have that space and that downtime to be creative and to think of those ideas. So how do you plan that into someone’s schedule and then know when to bring that neck. Okay, well, now is the time to bring the next designer in or the next branding strategist, so I think that’s something that’s exciting. 

00:24:15

Andrew Morgans

Okay, and then on the counter side of that like. What’s something that you would say out there to potential clients like be honest, like as honest as you want potential clients partners people working with us people thinking about working with designers. What’s something that’s making, as you know, creative and branding of sorts doing your job hard. As an agency owner as of the founder, you know working with brands to bring their stories to life. What’s something that’s been a real challenge?

00:24:40

Veronika Morgans

Yeah, so I think in the e-comm agency, especially if you know brands aren’t always like content None or brand voice first they’re kind of like so a lot of people are bringing a company like ah a product to market. And then we’re kind of telling them like hey, you guys need branding like no one understands what you’re saying from this listing, and so I think budget reasons because if someone has you know the first listings now. All of those hundreds have no branding, and we come in saying, hey guys, you need to do all of this like they don’t have the money set aside, and then and then, so I think that’s what it is like. How much it costs to actually make branding, even with us trying to make it as affordable as we can, is like it’s hard. It’s hard to be creative and ah in, and you know in a limited sphere in one instance, it’s made us be made as great at what we do, but in the other, I think that’s yeah, it’s super challenging. 

00:25:27

Andrew Morgans

So so to that brand continuing on that. To those brands that maybe have a small budget but want to get started. Do you know what’s a tip or a piece of advice like you know where they should start? 

00:25:38

Veronika Morgans

Yeah, So one thing we do for our clients who maybe can’t afford their whole catalog is we do a one set price where we kind of make the template. For you, we do all the hard lifting with this one listing we think about. We talk about your branding. We talk about your storytelling, so we’re really getting the template. I’d say like 75% maybe of what you need across a hundred listings, and then we even say like hey, you can take this and go find someone cheaper who can execute this same template model because most designers can take it. You know something that’s already built out and kind of modify it across the product line, and so you know, I mean yeah, that’s not our money in our pocket, but it is a way for us to help you as a brand kind of take that idea and find so if you can find someone cheaper than us then you know great. So that’s a tip that I would take is to have someone do a template of one about someone that you like on all your lists. So five product detail page listings in a plus and have them quote you for that, and then you can take that and send it to a designer that you think might be able to execute it at a lower price.

00:26:36

Andrew Morgans

Cool. I love it. Thanks, V. Love you. Thanks for being on the show and helping me celebrate episode 100.

00:26:42 

Andrew Morgans

Next up, we have Rho, I believe like employee number three, technically. Although you were volunteering hours much before you got hired, Rho, welcome to the show. Um, Rho, also been with me since the absolute beginning. I think we first got you involved with social media. Is that kind of how you started helping with photography at the beginning?

00:27:08

RhoDana Snider

Yeah, we had, well, we have a brand called analogs, which I’m sure if he was talking about, um, and he had an old partner who was running the account, and I was like, It doesn’t really feel like our vibe. And so I was like, Drew, let me do socials, let him use socials. And he’s like, I don’t know.

00:27:25 

Andrew Morgans

It’s like, oh, this is a battle either way.

00:27:28 

RhoDana Snider

I was like, no, just like, I’ll do it for free. Let me do it. I like it; we’ll make it better. Um, and so he finally said yes, and so I just started running with it. And then, um, I had been doing photography forever since I was in high school. And then I went to college for something else and then moved to Florida, and VNI started shooting when I moved there, and I was doing like portrait stuff.

00:27:55

RhoDana Snider

And then they got into the business. Okay. So we’re running into this problem with the company. Um, everyone needs photos. She’s like, I know you don’t know how to do it, but can you do it? Um, I’ll try. And so I remember the first product and if anyone does photography out here with a white shampoo bottle and shooting white on white is hell.

00:28:27

RhoDana Snider

And so I think I spent like, oh, so like multiple days of hours and hours of time, um, trying to get this white shampoo bottle on white background. And I know I taught myself everything, and I look back now, and I’ve learned all the tricks. Um, and the way I was doing it was like, so no wrong way. It was like a long, long way. Um, so, yeah.

00:28:55 

Andrew Morgans

Not the wrong way. Just the self-teaching way. 

00:28:58

RhoDana Snider

Yes. It’s like my own method. Um, but I learned, so then I came to the company doing projects for photography as needed. So we were getting more and more clients. And we started doing all these white backgrounds and then went into a lifestyle. And then, one day, I was working at an investment banking company downtown, which is like, I am creative in my soul. And so, it was like the opposite of who I was. And, but, you know, you have to work. Um, and she just was one day, she’s like, Hey, I have a job for you. It’s not exactly the creative job that you want. Um, but it will bring you in. And I was like, I’m also nervous.

00:29:46

Andrew Morgans

Yeah. Yeah. I know. I know. You’re the first to like to leave a job.

00:29:50

RhoDana Snider

I feel like. But yeah, so like she brought me on as a project manager, and I’m so thankful for that because I wasn’t in that role for super long, but I got to learn everything about Amazon and how everything works. And so when I transitioned into that, like primarily, um, creative, like storytelling role, I was able to be like, I understand why it has to be like this in order to be successful and not just in a creative way, but like what’s the reason behind it. And I wouldn’t have been able to do that if I didn’t have that, um, beginning like project management, um, learning. 

00:30:30 

Andrew Morgans

I almost forget about some of our evolution in regards to how it came to be, but, you know, we weren’t really. We weren’t getting paid. Well, one, we didn’t have, like, we need our own media company to produce content from our technology.

00:30:43

RhoDana Snider

Um, but we weren’t really getting paid for creativity. So it was like for every creative person we were trying to get in the business, it was like, we needed them to do something else because that’s what clients are paying us for, even though we wanted to explore. And these other areas and Brooke needed so much help. I don’t know if I was that much help with copyright editing, um, that that’s not my jam. You know, some of us have strengths and weaknesses. Um, and it would take me forever. I’m like, this is not, so she laughs. I’m like, I just get that other thing.

00:31:13

Andrew Morgans

We had, yeah, we had everyone doing end-of-month reports, like at one, I mean, we’re skipping along a little bit, but I think at one point we have five or six people in the same room. Yeah. In the first office, every wall had a desk, and we were growing, and we just had everyone doing everything that was fun. Well, if anyone knows why we look good on social media or branding looks good, or our photos look good. Why my Instagram looks so good, it’s all row. So she had it; she got a baby that’s way cuter than the rest of us. And so we’re all struggling now to get great photos. Um, but we don’t mind because it’s Baby Jet.

00:31:51

RhoDana Snider

But yeah. So after I did project management, I did that for a while. And then we just kept running into this like content and storytelling thing over and over again. And so my attention just kept getting pulled and pooled to that, like, okay, how do we create a listing. Like how do we tell that? And it became my main focus. And I built the creative department from that, where this needs its own category. Like it can’t, the project manager can’t necessarily do this. It means it takes a lot of time and brain space, and focus. Um, so I did that for years.

00:32:29

Andrew Morgans

I think your first teammates were from Northland cops, right? Like our design interns, I’m thinking of the young guy is like, um, in the old office, like we had a picture of them, and I’m just like, I think they were kind of doing like social media.

00:32:47

RhoDana Snider

A lot of the people that work with us. Now we have brought in interns from different either college interns or even some high school interns. Um, because no one really knows what we’re doing anyways. Like. Say that like the, you know, in Andrea, like they don’t teach us in college and if they do, if they’re five years behind, um, so we brought in a lot of interns just throughout the years, and they were great, and we brought them on. So it was like doing, helping. So with social media and the creative department, and it was like those people, and now they’re like staples in our company.

00:33:22

Andrew Morgans

Did you, I mean, like when you’re going to school, you went to school for, I think psychology and then you’re in banking. Just like make, we’re figuring it out. Right. You like, you weren’t planning on being in banking. You were in Florida. Um, and then it was like, Hey, Vern’s moving. Like in, you’re like, okay, I’m not being left behind. I’m coming with you.

00:33:41

RhoDana Snider

Well, yeah, so I studied photography in high school, and this goes to like mentors and teachers. I had a teacher, like, I was obsessed with photography, and she, I was like, I want to be a target teacher. Like, I thought she was so cool. And she’s like, you’re not good enough. And so I w it changed. It changed the direction of my life because I went to school. I’ve always loved it like I’m a sensitive person. I’ve always loved helping people. So I was like, I’m going to do psychology. I did that. And I graduated, and I was like, I don’t want it. Like the only way to succeed in this is going, like getting your masters, your doctorate. And I just didn’t feel right for me. And I lived in Kansas City my whole life. And so I was like, my family is in Florida. Like I’m going to move and just figure it out, um, to try and live somewhere else. 

00:34:31

Andrew Morgans

Yeah, it was basically me, guys.

00:34:33

RhoDana Snider

I’ll just put it out that way. You know, I had, uh, divorce as well and just kind of life came crashing down and um, you know, so I moved back to Kansas City, and then you and Vee were in Tampa, and then you guys were like, well, Judy’s are held, we’re moving back. And then, oh yeah. He’s like, hey, we’re visiting Kansas City. And we had chosen to graduate. We’ve been talking like, where are we going to, are we going to go to Washington DC? Like. Yeah, best friends. And we’re like, Hey, we’re going to do this adventure together. And then, you know me, like I’m young in my twenties. I’m never going back to Kansas City, and where I can sit here visiting Christmas or something, she’s like growing, moving back.

00:35:11

Andrew Morgans

I think I had made my pitch. I made my official pitch. I was just like, I need you, girls, back. As I needed, I needed you back. And something I learned, like, I think I live seven, not seven years away from you, but seven years from burn away from Vernon Brook. Um, just through the years through his college and band-aids and, um, going through a divorce and like coming out on the other side, I was just like, I don’t want to spend any more time without my people, you know? And so I know we’ve been to Thailand together. Like, you know, we haven’t had as many trips as we should have, but, um, Italy. Yeah, we’ve done some stuff. You know that for our family, legacy and stuff are pretty unique and rare. But okay. Bringing us back, just thinking about just how that exactly unfolded, was kind of just crazy. Cause we really were just like, there was no one out there doing this Amazon thing. So we were kind of having to validate ourselves like that. This is a thing. Okay, you’re leaving your job to do this. Okay. You’re leaving your career to do this. Okay. Okay. Now you’re doing something you’ve never done before, and we didn’t have the studio. Like we have it now. We didn’t have the cameras and the lights and the white rooms and, and the different color backgrounds and like, you know, thousands of hours of experience, we were doing it with like, I don’t know, homemade white boxes, you know?

00:36:31

RhoDana Snider

And I know, like I just had FOMO, and I was like, I want in with my best friends, whatever it is, like, I’ll figure it out. And so when I was like, let’s do this, I was like, okay. Like, I don’t know what it is. I was like, but all. 

00:36:45

Andrew Morgans

Yeah. And there’s a, I know there’s a part of us that was like, oh my God, do you think we can all work together? Because we had never done that before to the listeners. Like we didn’t hadn’t done that, but we were just like, why not try? And I remember, uh, speaking of just like figuring stuff out the hard way, uh, editing white backgrounds. Remember when we found the service, I was like 50 cents or something. It was a dollar to clear up white backgrounds, and our lives changed. Like just like, it was like thousands of hours saved.

00:37:15

RhoDana Snider

I know this is embarrassing to anyone using creative work. But, um, we were doing like pack sizes for this company that had like hundreds of products. And I was like, okay, in order to pack sizes, I have to shoot every pack size. And really, you can just Photoshop the being in LA minutes. So I did so much extra work. And then when I figured it out, I was like, I have like 20,000 cases for no reason.

00:37:47

Andrew Morgans

Yeah, it’s fine. Am I paying you for it? So it is what it is. Um, but no, I think we’re from, we’re from dairy farmers. Like, you know, we’re from like work horses were blue-collar. We’re a blue-collar family in some ways, at least in our origins. And, um, yeah, that’s how we figure stuff out. I do feel like that’s why we’re the best at what we do is because we’ve done all the hard stuff when it comes to Amazon, not just Photoshop. I just mean like the spreadsheets and the photos. And it’s like, we know two plus two equals four, and now we can use the calculators and just like, you know, really understand. I remember even just like, we were like, we, everything out there, it looks like China and fake. And so we need real photos. It was like, you know, and for a while, it was like we were taking real photos, real lifestyles. Um, and then like, you know, doing graphics to them now, it’s almost evolved a little bit more to be more graphic design and you know, that kind of base, but even learning through that just taught us so much as a team.

00:38:43

RhoDana Snider

But it is cool. It’s like, I really, um, figure it out beyond photography and the love of storytelling. And that’s like, like the heart of our company. I think a lot of people, you know, they’re like, Hey, we want to make money. We want, you know, to do all these things when we are successful. It’s like, but without the storytelling piece, it’s like a failure. Like you’re, we always say like, the ads won’t work if you don’t have the content and the storytelling. Um, and I fell in love with that. It’s like the pro just with feeling like, okay, how can we bring this product to life and tell the customer exactly what we want them to know and how, um, and it was a process, but it’s very fulfilling. And then really being like branding and so important, um, consistency. And like when you’re looking at products from a company, and you go from product to product to have that familiar feel, um, and the quality, and it really takes it to the next. 

00:39:40

Andrew Morgans

I think something else I was thinking about was just kind of how backward our family upbringing was. Like just, you know, we were raised opera solid. We like, you know, the long dresses, the uncut hair, no tattoos, no piercings, anyone that knows like, you know, episodic, Pentecostal, um, when we were kids. And so, in a way, it’s like, we’ve evolved to be even more outspoken. Like, you know, like the piercings of the tattoos of the haircuts of the purple hair or the braids, like, you know, whatever we’re trying. Um, and like that expression part matters, like just a lot to us as individuals on this team. Right? Like just being able to express and then being able to find work. I think of myself as a traveling musician. Like I thought I was going to be in a band. I gave it 150%. I had a line in the sand, but it was like, I was all in, and I was learning like, Um, album art and how to create with others and t-shirts and how to book a tour and how to sell once you’re there and how to perform and create this performance that’s packaged. And that’s like telling a story of who we are as band members and like, you know, I was really learning that stuff. And when I let that go, I felt like, well, that’s my creativity. Like, I think most of us like that first thing, that’s like a creative outlet for us is the one that we’re just like, that’s our thing. And for me, it was music for you, like photos. I mean, I know you love singing and all those things to like me, but, but like, you know, like the, um, cause we grew up in church, like, you know, we might as well be Katy Perry, but we’re not. Um, no, but like, you know, for me it was music for you is photography. And now we’re doing so many different things. You’re like helping me create PR packages and websites and packaging, product packaging, and product development, all these other ways that we are creative. And like for me, commerce is like, oh my God, I didn’t really realize that I actually just like being creative and that there’s a whole bunch of things I can do to fill that void.

00:41:29

RhoDana Snider

Full circle, and yeah, I started with photography, and then I realized there’s like so much more. It’s like beyond Amazon and creating on the platform. How do we tie in social media? How we tie in websites, email marketing, and all of it goes together to make a package is a lot of work, but it’s cool to see it like, oh, I’m sending out a Marknology email. And if you see that email, you go to our website, you have the same feeling, the same credibility. It seems professional. We are professional, but it just brings us to that next level. And that builds. Brand trust, like all kinds of things that go beyond just like a pretty graphic or, um, a pretty photo. 

00:42:13

Andrew Morgans

No, I think I was bought early even. Um, I’ll tell the story, but Vern and I went to a real estate conference. We were just trying to learn how to invest in real estate. We took like, it was like a two-day weekend, uh, crash course, you know? And I remember the speaker was so impactful. Like almost had us in tears. He was talking about his brother and his why and all this stuff, you know, we’re emotional is doing a good job. Isn’t it? He, he was, we were looped in like, we were like, it’s a boring real estate conversation really, but like we’re hooked. And I was like, obsessed. I started looking at it. On social media, he had no social presence or anything. And I remember coming back and being like, making just like this little promise. That’s like, I’m not going to be successful and like to have no personal branding, no branding. And that’s when we went all in.

00:42:58

RhoDana Snider

Yeah. And that’s how I feel even now, like we’re starting to dive in a little bit into TikTok and like looking at ads, a TikTok, and then you go to the page, and there’s no content. It takes away from the trust. You think it’s a scam, you think, um, you know, it’s a foreign seller. Like isn’t it, the shipping is gonna be three months. Like if all those questions go into the consumer’s brain. So when you even just do like the base level of content, It gives you all those questions are gone. They’re like, oh, this is a legitimate brand. Um, this is what they’re about is what they’re doing, and you bring it in. And so that goes like it’s been from the beginning, like Instagram and Facebook, and now to take talks, like you have to do it. Um, even if it’s the bare minimum, it’s like, what? Like I always say, no branding is bad branding. It’s like, if you have nothing, even if it’s like, you know, sometimes like get the job done. It’s not perfect. But if you have nothing, then you’re, you have bad branding. It’s bad for your brand. 

00:43:57

Andrew Morgans

I was remembering, um, like when we were just trying to figure out this authenticity piece, right? So it’s like, you know, Amazon sellers. Uh, I’m afraid of China’s pricing. Like, oh my God, China sellers are just like knocking off my products. Like we can’t compete. And these different challenges we had where we were like, we just have a quality product, like, like X torch, for example, is a higher price product. But it was like one that gave back like it had a mission focus behind it. And we had a higher price point. We were just like, okay, let’s do amazing branding. Um, not just like in that simple context of branding, but it was like, okay, if we’re going to sell this higher price item like we have to really like to level up. And, um, from like the personal brand looks to like, um, the results, like I was talking about with the sponge listing and seeing the results there, or like simply like, okay, when we take a photo, if I post on social media like it was, it started with social media. Right. And it was like, I post on social media, and if it’s just me, I get a lot of likes. Or if it’s just a picture of my house, I don’t get as many likes, or if there’s a picture of my mom and me or baby J, I get a lot of likes and like the analytics behind it. Seeing people engage with it. I think first with us, it started on social media, and then we took that to Amazon. Like, cause there wasn’t that direct, like, okay, see all of your data and your results, Amazon wasn’t telling us that. But it was like, if this works for social media, how can it not work on it on Amazon?

00:45:18

RhoDana Snider

I kind of applied this like brand stories and strategy to our Amazon sellers. It’s like we have these brands, and some of them have really amazing stories, and people buy into stories, and they’ll pay a higher price for a story. So like, you know, you have like the Instagram people, and they have all these followers. Cause they like to have this like a family story or a pet story or something that, um, brings in if people are like, okay, I’m going to integrate because I care about their story. And so they’ll even pay a higher price because they’re like, oh, this is a small business. It’s a woman-owned business. And so, putting that in the strategy of the graphics, we created this thing called a brand story graphic. And you just give them a little bit of information. So when they are going to your listing, um, they can tell the difference between a China seller, um, or foreign seller and be like, okay, I, yeah, this is priced a little bit more, but I know why, and I’m going to give that to them. Um, so that is something that I’ve seen is like improvements to where people are worried about that as like, okay, well, why would they pay $2 more? It’s like, let’s tell them why.

00:46:23

Andrew Morgans

Yeah. And it started like with social, it was about likes, or it’s about like, just look and appearance and branding. And like, it wasn’t really tied to monetization, but when we took those kinds of learnings that we spent thousands of hours with on social media, and then we took that to Amazon, um, it was like, oh, wow. You know, like things like, uh, Things like pic Fu came out and, you know, then AB testing on Amazon and different stuff like that, where we could actually test some of the things we were trying or where we would, we would, you know, make changes to a brand and see just like conversion rates rise and be like, oh my gosh, this is really cool. And when you start getting success with that, I know for me, and I think you can, you’ll resonate to this too, is, um, we started wanting to only work with brands or sellers that had something that we could bring to life. Like, you know, you can’t just bring a story out of nothing. And so it was like, okay, now we’ve seen what happens when you have a good story.

00:47:21

RhoDana Snider

And it cares about telling their story too. So you have to have those people where like, um, the branding and the creatives and the content are important, just like looking at the amount of money you can make with one image versus six. It’s like the data is here, even if it’s not perfect. If we put this here, you’ll have more success. Having people who care about that. Cause not everyone, some people are just like, that’s not important to me. I don’t want to spend money, or they don’t understand that the upfront cost of creators isn’t an investment, and it always pays you back. 

00:47:58

Andrew Morgans

Right. It always pays you back. Like that’s like, we should make that clip because you know, it is an investment that’s like, yeah, once you’ve invested in it, it’s not to say that you’ve done, but it is something that’s like a fixed cost in some ways. And it’s like, once it’s done, you’re good. Like you’ve got your rent, you’ve got your black suit or your gray suit. And you’re able to wear that like for formal occasions, for a long time, you’ve invested in a nice suit, you know? Um, and I think that that’s kind of how I feel about photography and branding and now like to even take it to the next level where like the aggregators and the roll-ups and everyone’s trying to buy companies. Specifically on Amazon, and then you look, and you’re like, what are the requirements that they’re looking for? They’re like, well, we’re looking for a package brand, right? Like, and it’s like, duh, well, that’s all we’ve been working on because we see that those results matter.

00:48:44

RhoDana Snider

They’re like if this brand has no images, we’re going to have to do all of that. And they’re not; it’s not going to be.

00:48:49

Andrew Morgans

So it’s exactly, it’s a big, big reason. Okay. So from, you know, when you joined the team to create the creative department, you had Baby Jet, right. And now you’re back working in a new role with me more closely and something that we’ve needed. Um, Let’s talk about that a little bit. And why, like, you know, I mean, I can show, I can say, well, I’m excited about it. And like, you know what, we’re what we’re trying to do. But this is a show by founders for founders. So I think that there are other teams out there that listen and tune in, and it’s not just like customers, right. As people trying to run their own teams, why have we made our special forces team? 

00:49:28

RhoDana Snider

Well, I think that you know, you always talk about working on your brand and your brand or your company, it’s like you output all the time, but if you’re not doing like, Brooke will talk about how she’s working on systems, right. If you don’t work on your brand and like developing that, you get behind, and you lose. Um, and so we’re working on taking our branding and how we present ourselves to the next level. Um, you know, it’s like when you’re working on everyone else’s brand, your brand kind of gets lost. You’re busy. There are only so many hours in a day. And you want your clients to be successful. Um, so. I transitioned to focusing just on how we can make our brand and how we present the best possible.

00:50:15

Andrew Morgans

Yeah. So to our listeners out there, like it’s a special role. We’re definitely trying to innovate ourselves. And, you know, we do a lot of branding and marketing consulting and strategy for other brands. Um, but like every team, you’re like, okay, well, so-and-so’s busy on this and so-and-so’s busy on this and okay, but where are we going to put that in the queue? And how do we execute well in order to stay fast and, I think, relevant and do a much more focused job? Um, we’ve got a row heading up like spatially special projects along with a designer and a writer to kind of create this three-women team. Um, yeah, like three women-team that can just move quickly. So whether it’s like slides for a presentation, whether it’s our email marketing, whether it’s like new, cause we’re, we’re working on a lot of brands and products, ourselves building our own brands. So, you know, the product development piece of, of the aesthetics and how does this look? And, um, it’s something that we’re in year eight is something that I wish I’ve wished I’ve had for nine years. Uh, and we’re only in business eight, but it’s just like, it’s something that we never seem to be able to, um, allocate for. And I think it’s going to make a huge difference.

00:51:19

RhoDana Snider

I think it’s awesome too because we’re diving back into, um, social it’s like, I kind of feel like I started there, and now I’m back there with a lot of other things, but we are so busy, you know, we’re not creating content. We have so much, so many things to say. Um, we have, you know, tips and, um, you know, we’ve done so much. And we have no space to tell because we are just too busy. It’s like you can’t, if you’re working a million hours on your clients, you don’t have time to, um, create the content that’s needed to express that. Um, so focusing on like making platform-specific content and videos and, uh, you know, our PR stuff and all of that, it’s, it’s been super fun because it’s been down the pipeline for so long. It’s like, we’re finally here. We can finally say, like, we’ve been just hoarding all of this information for so long. Um, and then to be able to like put it out there.

00:52:18

Andrew Morgans

Yeah. For me, it’s like, it’s exciting because we’re getting to practice what we preach. Right. And we get, we get to do it for others. But now we’re able to do the same things that were challenged brands I need to be doing, which is like, you know, we’re creating content on the podcast. We’re creating content and speaking events. Like we’re creating content for all these brands, but a lot of it’s proprietary, and it’s not the stuff we get to share with everyone. So it’s a specifically different task to create it, to show the world. And I know like when we were smaller, we got opportunities to do that, like on YouTube and different things we were doing, um, you know, before we scaled and tripled in size, I think in the last couple of years. So, um, it’s, it’s fun to be doing that. And I know that it’s something that I, um, I’m specifically excited about to have like a dedicated thought, a dedicated thought to our story. And it’s something that’s unique too, to the Marknology family is like, we just have a unique story as people, as siblings, as family, as like a company out of Kansas City as storytellers, um, that we’re unique in that way. And so we started in a small way, being able to tell that story, but being able to dig in, uh, is going to be really fun. And, and some of the products we’re getting to work on seem like, you know, really top tier, um, projects. I don’t want to share it with everyone, you know, but it’s like, I think they’re going to be really cool. Yeah. I’m like, I’m always one of the ones that oversharers, so I’m like, okay, I’m going to like, keep some of this for ourselves. Um, so that we can release it.

00:53:44

RhoDana Snider

It’s going to be fun. I know we tell our clients all the time just about that full circle marketing and having that same experience from place to place. And to actually be able to do that. Um, whenever, because we get so many compliments on our website when clients like to go and look at our team and, um, I am excited to take that to the next level, even to really showcase our work because we do amazing work. Um, and we’re just a little, sometimes a little bit too busy to share it. And now that’s the goal it’s like. You know, I want the world to see like we’re doing things that are super innovative. Um, and it’s something that you usually want. 

00:54:23

Andrew Morgans

Yeah, no, watch me watch us work. Right. Watch us work. That’s our slogan. Um, okay. So one thing I think that was really cool, just thinking about this, is like one thing I’m proud of us for as a team is flexibility or the open-mindedness of switching roles. And like, you know, we’ve had Austin that started in social media and now he’s like running the, uh, account he’s ready to count manager and like, um, even Brooklyn and Veronika switching roles, even me, um, we’ve just had like, you, you switched roles multiple times. Um, you know, we just have this kind of like, where I need mindset and mentality, but also. What do I like to do? And what do I enjoy doing? And I think that that’s something I’m giving to anyone listening is like, it’s okay to be like, I started here. I invested time. I invested years here, but like, whenever you step out of it a little bit, you’re like, oh, being an account manager at the beginning taught me this. Oh, being in social media taught me this. Okay. Creating a story and brand created me. That’s okay. I’m back to social media. How do I bring those things altogether? And it’s hard. Like, it’s almost that, like what got me here, won’t get me there when you’re switching. But really, it comes full circle. Yeah. The most versatile in VP 100%. And I was thinking of this funny story, just to tell one row a little bit, like she loves animals. And, um, we have a brand that we have, uh, equity in the wagon is one of our brands has been with us. I think we’ve been building it for over six years and working with Ben balancing, um, a favorite client friend of ours, um, But we had, we went from, we did a rebrand. We used to be the Institute of pet nutrition, and then we rebranded the wagon to be younger and more fun and more engaging. And I think we also made a move to go from like, um, stock photos to like real animals. We were trying to be more authentic and more engaging, and really all it was was like a chance, a reason for Rho to just hang out with animals all the time.

00:56:22

RhoDana Snider

Probably shot photographs. Um, a hundred dogs.

00:56:27

Andrew Morgans

Yes. And so, like just in the office, we’re always like, oh, a puppy. Oh, a golden doodle. Oh, a Doberman. Oh, a pit bull, like a retriever, as we’ve just, we’ve turned into a, not an animal shelter, but we definitely, I was like, I think Rho played me on that one. I’m not really sure.

00:56:44

RhoDana Snider

We’ve moved on from that dude. I do say like if you want to have an ever-changing, uh, photography career, get into product photography. One day, you’ll be shooting a shampoo the next day, you’ll be shooting a dog. Like your life is an oyster.

00:57:01

Andrew Morgans

Adult toys. Like, you know, faith-based products. Like we keep it interesting over here.

00:57:08

RhoDana Snider

And you have to make it work.

00:57:09

Andrew Morgans

Awesome. Well, coming up on our time, um, I want to do the same thing kind of in like, you know, what’s one thing that, um, you know, you’re working on outside of like maybe a specific project of one of our products or something that you’re working on that you’re excited about. 

00:57:25

RhoDana Snider

Uh, there are so many things that I’m excited about. Um, I will say just like CRI, as we talked about this a little bit before, but creating the content that’s very platform-specific and learning from that and being able to bring our story to life. I’m just so passionate about our story. Um, I think it’s an amazing story, and it needs to be shared, and we haven’t had that chance. So to be able to dig in when it’s fun for me because it’s, you know, doing things that you love for other clients is another thing, but then you’re like doing it with every, all the passionate love that you have for the company. Um, being able to share that it’s just, it’s amazing. I’m basically diving into everything like our baby, um, and then being able to like look at it.

00:58:18

Andrew Morgans

So, okay. And, um, just for fun, like, you know what, what’s been one thing, um, you know, being with us, like, I don’t know, it’s been forever six, seven years. I don’t know. How long have you been with us? Even part-time. Okay. So six years, um, You know, people trying to evolve and work in their business and things like that. Um, what’s one thing you would share with maybe someone that’s not? They’re not where we’re at, where we’re able to have a small team working on this. What’s one thing you would share with them, um, to get started telling their own, their own story.

00:58:59

RhoDana Snider

Um, I think just, even though sometimes it’s hectic and busy is to take the time and I know that, uh, VNI would like to do something like a weekend Tang or something, and we’d be like, okay, let’s talk about content for us. And like really putting that time, like definitely is not to the level now. And it wasn’t perfect. Um, but it was getting done, and we would strategize, and it was like to use, it was like basically a hang, but just to like, take that a little extra time, even though it feels very overwhelming, um, because it has such a great reward. Um, I also would just say is like, even when things seem tough, or you don’t understand like the full picture, um, just to keep going and that I, my life motto, my life motto is everything always works out, and that’s because you put in the hard work, um, and it takes time. But just keep going, and it will be okay. 

01:00:00

Andrew Morgans

Thanks, Rho. Love you. A shoutout, again, to our sponsor for today’s episode, making 100 possible FullScale.io, helping you build software teams quickly and affordably. Last but not least, we have Brooklyn joining. We’re going to get into her story, like her joining the team and what she’s working on. Um, and what she’s got for you guys is going to be great. Last but not least, my youngest sister, Brooklyn. Welcome to the show.

01:00:32

Brooklyn Morgans

Hi guys. Happy to be here. 

01:00:33

Andrew Morgans

So I’m always talking. Um, anyone listening just hears me talking about my sisters. I rarely clarify which one I’m talking about or, you know, we just talk, I just tell stories. Um, but Brooklyn is, uh, absolutely. Pivotal at our team, um, has helped us scale really the account team, um, virtually and here in Kansas City, um, and is working hand-in-hand with me right now on some of the things that have been put to the side that, that in the business stuff like, um, scaling and processing. So we’re going to get into her story first and then jump into kind of what’s new and fun and exciting as an agency, not just as Amazon consultants, but as an agency, what we’re working on Brooklyn, um, haven’t had you, you don’t do a lot of content, so I’m excited to have you on here and just get people to know you. Um, what year did you come and join technology? Do you remember?

01:01:15

Brooklyn Morgans

Um, it would have been about six years ago. So 2016, 2016 as a copywriter.

01:01:23

Andrew Morgans

Um, you were, you were working with horses. Uh, you were working in a stable at the time you were serving, um, you were working on a video game project, I think at the time, several years of freelance SEO writing. Okay. Yeah. So I remember we had that combo because that was how I got my start on the technology. And I was like, Hey, this is a great way to have some side work. Um, I think you’re working on a couple of questions. Magazines, it was not about paying. Well, it was like using, like, finding something that you liked and, you know, trying to find a side hustle. Um, did you start with us specifically writing? Was it SEO?

01:02:01

Brooklyn Morgans

Yeah, I started with that same giant client that Veronika did, um, Kelly doing stickers and decals and mugs for firefighters Marines. 

01:02:12

Andrew Morgans

Right. Okay. It’s coming back to me. 

01:02:14

Brooklyn Morgans

Yeah. And so we had those giant spreadsheets, and we wanted specific SEO for every single listing. So every listing got modified to have a couple of keywords.

01:02:25

Andrew Morgans

Yeah. So do people that don’t remember, like these days are just like, it was a different time on Amazon. It was about getting massive amounts of product up. Um, but we were not just doing the giveaways and things like that that were kind of popular at the time. We were really trying to push keywords and do it in mass. So, you know, we would research firefighter mugs or gifts for firefighters or things like that. Pick those keywords up. And we’re writing listings by the thousands.

01:02:51

Brooklyn Morgans

Cross-referencing and copy-pasting depending on if it was a mug or a firefighter, and we got it done somehow.

01:02:57

Andrew Morgans

Okay. So did you like, just be the, be as honest as you want to be, like, was it really about just like, you know, getting a chance to work with me in V, or was it like you kind of were like getting into e-commerce at that time? I’m not sure we’ve ever even had this conversation.

01:03:14

Brooklyn Morgans

Why did I do it? Well, basically, I really needed the money, and I didn’t want to tell you. So I, you know, of course, it was just wanting to work with you guys and see what you were doing, but anything I could do to get my foot in the door of writing, which is what I thought my career path was going to be.

01:03:27

Andrew Morgans

A lot different than that now. 

01:03:29

Brooklyn Morgans

Yeah. Well, it turns out we can hire other people to write. We can hire other people to do what I do. 

01:03:33

Andrew Morgans

Correct. So, um, let’s talk about some of that because you know, really you’ve become, um, like ours, one of our lead strategists here in regards to brand strategy and what brands are doing on Amazon and what they need to be thinking about and bringing all the data together. And, um, you know, it’s changed a lot from when there were four of us to a team of 36 and, you know, running that at scale to something that always comes to mind with me was XR. Right? 

01:04:05

Brooklyn Morgans

When you finally hit it over the rain to that account. And, um, they got to see me as a professional and not just like, as one of your sisters.

01:04:12

Andrew Morgans

Yeah. And it was, you were never one of my assistants, but you know, I think whenever you’re like trying to start something, a lot of people would just see the founder, and they’re like, okay, I want Andrew on it or Andrew’s gotta be involved. Or, um, and when I’m doing, when I was doing the most, what I knew is that I wasn’t the best person for the job. Like I was, you know, they’re going to be better off with someone that was dedicated to it. But to me, when I think about us scaling and kind of what your focus has been on for years is like helping us scale the team, um, as we had like 200 listings a spring, I think like with A-plus pages that we were launching on a schedule, and we had never done anything of that size, like intentionally, right.

01:04:54

Brooklyn Morgans

We wanted them to be launched quickly and correctly and to really be able to take off from an ads perspective as soon as they got into. Um, which required a lot of coordination.

01:05:05

Andrew Morgans

And a lot of, yeah, so we went from the photography part to the, which we were doing. Because we were doing their social media and everything, so we were doing their photography for the new listings, to the SEO, for the listings to the A-plus pages, for the listings, um, creating variations. And then, eventually, the Salsify integration. That was a big, big play. We, when, when we brought us all this fly board, uh, but then also then, then being ready with PPC. And then also the trickiness of this one was that it was an outdoor brand. And so, um, the seasonality was short. So like, while you have a quick ramp up, you also have a quick ramp down. And it really brought every single department of our business into one brand all at the same time. And it had to be coordinated well to execute. And I feel like that was really the starting point of us having a scaled oiled machine.

01:05:58

Brooklyn Morgans

Yeah, the team knew what they were doing, but they definitely needed someone who could communicate with all sides. And after being kind of a fly on the wall, watching you and Veronika do that, I just was able to communicate with the team extremely effectively, um, and keeping the ship moving on all different parts, not only with XR, but with the other 40 brands that we were managing at the time.

01:06:19

Andrew Morgans

So you, you started with like writing, but like, what I know of you is like, you built your own gaming computer, like, you know, you’re involved in code, like, um, all that kind of stuff in your personal time, like had cared about like tech and computers and gaming and stuff like that. And then, like with work, was writing, but there’s a big part to Amazon and selling on Amazon. And I feel like it is gamification, right? And the way that the algorithm works and that kind of stuff, at what point did you start seeing it more like that than just. I mean a side hustle or like individual parts.

01:06:52

Brooklyn Morgans

One, to be honest. Cause I would get those projects from you guys. And I would just turn on the timer and see how many listings I could get done. And every day, I would keep track and try and get more and more done to become more efficient.

01:07:06

Andrew Morgans

What I can say, speaking for Veronika, um, in a row probably is like the three of us. I feel like we tend to be more on the creative side. Like just like we’re creative. Like we are more like not more imaginative or whatever, but just like our little sister was the one always organizing her room. Like always creating colored templates and like the tabs on the folders, and making everything organized. Um, and for us, adding you to the team was just like that secret sauce that we really needed to bring where we can still be creative and do our thing. But then we had someone thinking about system and process and like, how can we scale this thing? And I think a lot of companies might start with that, and that might be their thing. And they struggled to get creative or creative teams that struggled to get organized, to be able to scale. Um, and for us, it just so happens that we’re siblings. Um, but definitely getting you, um, on the team transferred quickly from just writing and being like a second to me on template files. Cause I think the template files became, um, a really, really big part of everything, we did from the SEO to organizing it, to working with remote teams so you can solve a lot of problems with flat files, um, if you know how to use them. Right. And, um, I think that was really the first thing that we got good at, um, was the flat. Yeah.

01:08:31

Brooklyn Morgans

Um, they don’t work as well. They work a lot better now than they used to. I’ll say four or five years ago. I used to have to do a ton of troubleshooting. Um, and I and Rho and Veronika would just sit next to each other, and I would read her off errors, and we would just keep resubmitting until we got it figured out because, you know, we couldn’t have our clients having errors. Like it was our professionalism on the table, and we were experts, and we had to figure it out. 

01:08:56

Andrew Morgans

Right. Like how many times, guys, like how many times did we like, oh, we uploaded the wrong file. Or we crossed as something happened in our CSVs like mixed in the data’s off, or the UPC is like switched up. Like, I mean, whether that’s our fault or a mistake, or it just happens. I remember hours and hours and hours being spent fixing stuff.

01:09:16

Brooklyn Morgans

Not knowing that if you upload a UPC with a template file, Amazon can kick you out. Or knowing that you need to submit the UPC in certain circumstances instead of the ACM because the Amazon system would just not work correctly, causing massive issues. Now that we learned how to fix those, it makes everything else now seem easy.

01:09:37

Andrew Morgans

I remember one time in the early days where I, I think it was a CSV, like tab-delimited, and all my UPC is like concatenated. So it was like, you know, the original numbers. And at the end, it just all went to like zeros because it wiped them out. And so I went from having like this massive upload file. Like, all of my UPC is being just washed and ruined. And if you know anything about Amazon, you know, that once you’ve listed a product with a UPC like you can’t switch it and just absolute catastrophe, um, if you’re not organized and like, okay, so then you have somebody else uploading a file and someone makes a change, and someone’s uploading a file, and it might seem silly. But if you’re trying to run a team where you’re working on, you know, 40 or 50 projects at the same time, all with different files, um, it becomes a huge undertaking for us. We had to have systems. Okay. So that’s, I really was setting us up to talk about what we’re doing today. Um, I think we’ve been involved with a scaler for six months. I’ll give them a plug on the show. Um, Yoni and their team are just absolutely amazing outside of Israel. Um, I think they’re Israel-based Tel Aviv, but I know they’re back and forth all the time. So, um, the scaler is a team that essentially comes in and helps you like to sit down with your team business consultants and help you. Great systems and processes. Um, and it’s not something that’s just a hands-off easy button. It’s definitely something that’s been a ton of heavy lifting on our side as well. Um, but something that I feel like we’ve all believed has been super important. Um, I feel like we’re getting close to the finish line. Um, what do you feel like it’s gonna do for us? Let’s just talk about that process in general. Like, what do you feel like it’s going to do for us as we go forward?

01:11:13

Brooklyn Morgans

So scale it is to us. I think what Marinella G is to a lot of clients is, is a guiding hand and, um, just an extra pair of ears. I can’t sit down with every one of our 30 members of staff and isolate what they do for 40 hours a week and write that down and make it look, um, the scaler is built on understanding people’s processes and finding ways to improve that over time. So they’ve been interviewing our staff for, you know, hours and hours and hours, one by one, every single thing that they do, which isn’t the same thing every week, documenting it. And, um, basically isolating our proprietary.

01:11:50

Andrew Morgans

Okay. So we were making a couple outside of a scaler, and some of these recommendations came from that, but we’re doing a ton of overhauling from trying to find, you know, SAS companies trying to find, you know, software that essentially fills our need as an agency that’s growing, um, in what comes to mind as again, that cliche saying of like, what got us here, won’t get us there. And we have to upgrade our project management software. We have to upgrade our account management software, our reporting software, um, all the way down to our SOP is, you know, from warehousing in our fulfillment center to our ads team, to international expansion, you name it, um, a lot of heavy lift, but it feels like one of those things that’s like a slow, slow, slow, slow, slow rocket ship.

01:12:34

Brooklyn Morgans

Right. Well, a lot of it, I don’t really want to wear at least to the team until it’s absolutely ready to go. Um, I spent a lot of time vetting software, trying to break them, and just making sure that they’re rock solid before I present them to the team or her. Yeah. Since technology is such an important part of Marknology.

01:12:52

Andrew Morgans

Needs to be the best of the best. Yeah. And I think that what people don’t understand is like, whenever you’re learning new software, like if every one of our clients had a different software, two or three or four that we have to touch, that’s like a big learning curve for us to have, to be able to learn and onboard a new software and know everything about it, to the point of being able to solve problems with it. Um, and so just making sure that if we’re there solving problems, we have the best tools. Um, and I think we spend a lot of money and even more so in the time between if you and I vet it and then, you know, think about even if just 30 team members spend two to three hours learning software, like, you know, we, we’ve spent almost a hundred hours on new software. And so, how important it is to vet it and make sure it works before we’re handing it over.

01:13:38

Brooklyn Morgans 

Marknology beta tests a lot of software, not because we like finding stuff that’s new, but just because Amazon is still such a new space, new software is getting released. Right. We always want to try and find the best of the best.

01:13:51

Andrew Morgans

Or we are innovating so much that we break it in some ways.

01:13:57

Brooklyn Morgans

So, yeah.

01:13:59

Andrew Morgans

And then we find its limitations, and, you know, we move on. I’m excited, honestly, about so much of the innovation in software because there hasn’t been a lot of software made for agencies managing multiple brands. It’s been more so for that Amazon seller that’s managing one account and what they’re doing. And so whether it’s dropdown features, the ability to switch between them, the ability to connect multiple accounts, like all those things that come into play with an agency play versus that Amazon seller, um, I find finding those efficiencies and those optimizations to be a lot of fun. Um, but it’s not really what I saw when I thought about scaling my company. It wasn’t where I thought I would spend my time. 

01:14:37

Brooklyn Morgans

Yeah. Well, I think I get that from our dad because I am just constantly looking for efficiencies and ways to save. You know, if you’ve got 30 people and I can say each of them a day or an hour a week, like adds up. Yeah.

01:14:52

Andrew Morgans

Oh, it’s like an investment, right? Like we were talking about with creativity, you’re investing like it’s a one-time investment that can pay off forever.

01:14:57

Brooklyn Morgans

Yeah. When you think about it, sometimes I walk into a grocery store, and I’ll see those little signs, that’s like, make sure you put four items in a bag to save 2 cents. You know, it’s like those, those big chains are doing all of these little things to save pennies, and we’ve got to apply the same principles to our team and bulk.

01:15:14

Andrew Morgans

Yeah, no, like I was just I’m demoing smart scouts just to like bring an example to the listeners. Like I was demoing a smart scout. It’s Scott Needham’s, uh, software in his podcast. Smartest seller. If you guys tune in to him, you should check them out. And the software has a feature where if you put your product packaging in and you can connect your API and everything, but if you’re kind of like a good to the tool that helps you with refunds, but this one is instead to say, Hey, if you shave off a fourth of an inch here, and a quarter of an inch here on your packaging, you can save a dollar 25, and it tells you to like what to change to get to the next tier of price savings. And when you’ve been doing this, just as long as we have, like, you know, for me, 11 plus years, you start to realize that a couple of cents here, a couple of cents here, 5% here, 2% here, you add all of that up. And it’s like a ton of savings, not just across an Amazon brand, but then add that to an agency. Um, and it’s stuff you’re doing, you know, I think that there’s, there is a sin here. If I can say that, for lack of a better word, that is trying to over-optimize and over-systemize, anything to where you lose the ability to be creative and innovative because you’re just so stuck in your systems. But I think. You still have to be fast. And I think we are light years away from being that optimist that we are stuck in our ways. Um, but it is something where I see agencies or teams get super-efficient, let’s say outsourcing, and they just have SLPs in place and templates in place and team members in place that do that. And they’re just kicking out work. That feels very templatized instead of having that kind of human approach. So for us, it’s, it’s trying to find that perfect blend kind.

01:16:48

Brooklyn Morgans

All is so great is they’re coming in with a completely different perspective than what we do and are able to, you know, show us things we might be missing that I had never even considered what you don’t know, little things like, you know, making sure you have team values written down, and there’s just so much to cover so quickly when you’re growing a business like this, um, that is, you know, I think outside audits are hugely important to growth when you get to.

01:17:14

Andrew Morgans

Right. And I think even more so when we are even more buttoned-up, getting that outside audit or that outside, um, a consultant will be even more valuable because it will be a lot more buttoned-up for them to then see those differences. And I mean, I know we have so far to go because there are so many different departments you can get better in, but just, just the, um, for us like the momentum, I think we feel like a team by intentionally in all of these areas, working, um, you know, intentionally working on optimization of our systems and process or our teams, our branding, or our marketing, um, is everything you need as a founder to feel like we’re moving the right direction.

01:17:55

Brooklyn Morgans

Our team really supports it too. They’re always excited and on board with me, with all of my new, uh, ventures that I take them on. 

01:18:02

Andrew Morgans

Okay. Let’s talk. Um, let’s talk about maybe a tool that we’re using outside of a scaler, like something you found that like software or systems or processes that we’ve put in place or that we’ve discovered. That’s like just a fun one.

01:18:16

Brooklyn Morgans 

Okay. I don’t really want to give anything away, but we have found a new software, um, that we’re currently beta testing right now they’ve reached, um, an internal limitation. So that’s one of the reasons why we have the beta test is you don’t know they’re going to have trouble until you get into the thick of it. Um, but so far, it’s already saved the team probably 30, 30 hours or so in the last week. 

01:18:39

Andrew Morgans

Wow. That’s incredible. I didn’t know that. It’s unbelievable. Okay. Well, someone’s getting a raise, you know, just kidding. Um, no, like these are the things that like I’ve been obsessing about in regards to like, what are our KPIs as teams, like at our mid-management level, you know, from ads to account team, to creative team, to SEO team, to, you know, the brand protection team or the case management team, the case log seems like, what are our KPIs? How do we manage the brands internally that we’re managing? And then how do we manage our own teams? And there hasn’t really been software that existed for them. So it was something we had to build ourselves, right? Whether it was like reporting tools for clients or, um, you know, different things like that, where we’re combining spreadsheets and making our own end-of-month reports and our own trackers. Um, and now being able to find really, because of, in my opinion, the, um, the appearance of aggregators in our space that have brought a bunch of money to these software companies and made it like a blue ocean for them to like create the product and sell it, um, is now than bringing those tools to us. Um, but ones that we like, so we can spend some time, we can spend more time on the things that we’re truly passionate about as a team and less time just gathering data.

01:19:51

Brooklyn Morgans

Yeah. Um, I will plug in and click up, which is software that we’re working towards later this year. I’m into integrating, and its automated dashboard systems really give you incredible visibility, not only into your specific team but into your client’s goals. Um, we are manually keeping track of all of our client’s goals now and their individual KPIs and not really driving the teams on KPIs because if they’re meeting my client’s goals, I don’t really care if they’re spending 45 minutes on a project.

01:20:23

Andrew Morgans

Yeah, no, no, no, that’s so good. And something I’ve been thinking about, I went to a, um, a leadership thing this week, just they had a speaker, he was a decorated, um, air force pilot that, you know, fit in multiple wars and has written the book. He was a Colonel, uh, survived cancer. And he was just talking about KPIs, like people chasing KPIs. I know we get frustrated with clients that are focused on the wrong KPIs all the time. Um, but just having a KPI just because you’re hitting a KPI doesn’t really mean. In, in the wrong perspective. Right? And so, how do we determine what the right KPIs are? What is our perspective? What are we going after? Why, what’s the reason behind the KPIs? I think some people can get so tied up in just like, this is the KPI we have to focus on. As a KPI, we have to focus on instead of getting the big picture of what’s the immediate strategy that we’re going for.

01:21:19

Brooklyn Morgans

It really does vary from client to client. And that’s part of what makes cardiology so special is I allow every single client to come to me with their own goals. And a lot of times, after talking to Veronika and me for a couple of months, you decide to change those KPIs and focus on what really matters to them and to their team. So it’s different if you’re talking to the CEO or if you’re talking to an account manager of a brand, so you gotta be flexible. And at the end of the day, we’re here to serve. So those are the KPIs you want to focus on. That’s what we’ll focus on, but we will also advise. In other areas as well, to make sure that you have a healthy rail grounded business.

01:21:56

Andrew Morgans

Okay. Let’s switch gears just a little bit. Want to give you a chance to talk about some outside of our systems and processes, our obsession? Um, you know, like, uh, the, the e-commerce Amazon landscape is changing a ton, right? We’re in an economic depression, and for the most part, the supply chain is tough. Inflation’s rising interest rates are rising. Um, businesses are selling left and right, rolling up. Um, you know, as it gets harder, I know that you and I are of the mindset. Like we like a good challenge, you know? And so you’re working with clients, and the day to day, we’re launching new brands, um, and we’re getting, we’re still winning. We’re still getting success. Um, despite the difficulty, what’s something you would say just to people listening and wondering, like kind of almost a state of the union about just what you’re seeing as challenges out there right now, what brands are going through? Like, just on the general, like as an Amazon seller, Give I, I share my lay of the land all the time, but I’d love to just hear some of your thoughts about what’s going on right now, what you’re seeing.

01:22:58

Brooklyn Morgans

Brands need to stay flexible and mobile. Um, as the economy changes, you need to be prepared to adjust your pricing, um, to raise it even, to be, to send in shipments quicker, um, or maybe pivot and change the way that you’re packaging things. Um, we work with a client I’ll plug in the west drive, who recently innovated the way that they send an inventory by, um, shrink, wrapping everything to save on Amazon’s poly wrapping fees that they had acquired due to previous sellers that they’re working with. This is going to save them a ton. It’s going to help them win the buy box, but they have to buy a huge machine implemented into their warehouse and teach their staff how to use it. And they’ve got it up and running in about 60 days. And that’s going to be a pivotal point.

01:23:41

Andrew Morgans

Yeah. Being able to pivot, being able to switch up what you’re doing, but like not everybody can do that. Right. So in some ways is why Marknology has focused on larger brands and manufacturers, even though that’s not necessarily what we just love. Like, I still love working with the smaller brands and bringing those stories to life. Okay. She’s ready. She’s ready. So, a manufacturer can make that change, and you have to have an owner that’s willing to make it work. Um, but there’s, there’s honestly ways all across the board that you can be like changing or researching or pivoting into to be more successful. What’s something else you got? 

01:24:12

Brooklyn Morgans

So, um, I’ve got to just adjust a second. So one is, I’d like to talk about waste. So she sells a fantastic product. It’s a variety pack of seven silicone lids that fit. She’s been selling it successfully for years and runs a very well-run business, but he doesn’t necessarily have the funds in this economic climate to go additional purchase inventory. So instead, she’s taking that seven-pack and breaking it down and putting all the different sizes together to make additional pack sizes with the inventory that she already has on hand. I love it. This allowed her to expand her catalog seven X to offer seven additional products without having to purchase any additional inventory, which she can then wait six months or so and repurchase again, impulse smart. Um, I’d say like for now, for instance, a brand that we work with has been changing their strategy, kind of back and forth, trying to figure out what works best for them at the moment. Um, we’re expanding internationally, you know, we’ve, we’ve dropped vendor central and some other partners to focus solely on growing the brand. They’ve read about photography. They’ve basically taken their brand and completely flipped it and are exceeding their goals. Almost too rapidly, uh, which is, can also be a common issue. 

01:25:24

Andrew Morgans

Yeah. And let’s talk about the details of that. So like, you know, basically they were selling through resellers, right? Um, through vendor central or one P retail, Amazon retail, um, we were brought on to help them bring their brand to life, their story to life, as well as go direct in three P um, which is a completely different business model. You know, what you don’t realize is like, if a brand is getting paid upfront for POS pallet in pallet out, and then they switched to doing several hundred thousand in sales, like direct sales through like a seller central or a third party, um, they’re now fronting all that inventory instead of getting paid upfront. So lots of challenges, but more margin as they’re selling directly at retail, we’re able to control map prices. Um, able to see what the customers are actually searching to make purchases. And is it brand searches and the top of the funnel, or is it keyword-driven searches? And, um, you know, one thing about unwasted that came to mind, you, you mentioned international expansion with Darnell and, and we’re, we’re doing well there as well. Um, but like, if you have limited inventory, you can’t go out and buy more. You have overstock. What’s another play you can make, um, you know, to increase revenues with the same product you’ve already bought. Well, international expansion in Canada. Everyone needs to sell in Canada as an easy lift. Um, but honestly, Amazon Australia, Amazon Europe, all great plays, just plays that take six to nine months to 12 months to develop, you know, um, you can get launched quicker than that. But I mean, like before, it starts becoming a real revenue stream. 

01:26:54

Brooklyn Morgans

It’s a year or two, really a long time to wait for an entirely new international business. 

01:26:58

Andrew Morgans

No. Um, we just are used to moving really fast, but you know, if you start planning that out like a country a year, even as a, as a brand, that’s like, I don’t know what’s going to be our next greatest product. Okay. Well, if you have a great product now, where else can we be selling that? Um, you know, I think about some of the other things like, uh, chewy.com, Walmart, not that all of these are like major lists for everyone, but for the right products can be ways to, to pivot in this time as well.

01:27:28

Brooklyn Morgans

Defensively as well. You may not know that you need to be there until you’ve checked out the market. Um, and you can protect yourself from damage down the line by just taking those really early, easy steps. 

01:27:38

Andrew Morgans

Now, what is one thing? And I have something that I’m thinking of, but like with all the brands we’re working with right now, um, and the things holding us back or like, or growing the accounts, um, there’s rising prices, there’s competition. There’s, you know, CPC costs rising by 50%. Um, Supply chain of those things. What do you think would be the most impactful, um, that sellers are on your side of the account calls? What are sellers struggling with? 

01:28:07

Brooklyn Morgans

Well, inventory is two commandments of the ten commandments for a reason. So I know that a lot of that is outside of their control, whether it’s manufacturing, costs, or not being able to get the right lids for your product. But I would say order now as much as you can.

01:28:24

Andrew Morgans

Yeah. I think the winners, if they’re not the manufacturers themselves, are figuring out ways to double down on inventory, finding ways to store it, and finding ways to have it on hand. So when the supply chain starts hurting the smaller players along the way, they are secured. And so that might be, you know, tough on cash flow. A lot of money is out of pocket, but it also just means that you’re in it for the long run. And you’re going to be able to stay there.

01:28:50

Brooklyn Morgans

Especially if you’ve got a shelf-stable product that isn’t facing expiring. Like, put it in your back bedroom. You don’t need a guest room. Fill it with inventory instead.

01:28:59

Andrew Morgans

I love it. We could go for days. I know she just deals with problems all day long with the accounts and solves them. So I just want to pick her brain a little bit and talk about what sellers are doing out there to stay creative, innovative, stay fast, and stay ahead. We talked about big brands and small brands and all of those examples. There are things you can do. I think one thing that I love about our team is our ability to think guerrilla warfare when it comes to strategy and just thinking outside the box. Taking a seven-pack and breaking it down into multiple offers. Or thinking about expanding internationally to find extra sales. Or, you know, launching in Australia to be with a seasonal product to combat seasonality. Um, you know, if you’re a seller, if you’re a brand, as the economy and everything gets tougher, you just have to be willing to do more and think more creatively. Okay. So as we wrapped up, we talked about what you’ve been doing. We talked about supply chains. We talked about all of those things. But let’s go back to the process combo. I just want to end with that one. What’s one thing you would say to a team? It could be a team of two, a team of three, or a team of four, doesn’t matter the size, but a team that’s looking to start getting more processed and more organized with their systems and processes?

01:30:21

Brooklyn Morgans

I’m obsessed with ClickUp. I know that we haven’t fully integrated there yet, but the more I look at it, the more that I realize that it’s a dynamic system that is constantly being updated and is built for the solo entrepreneur. Or, if you have a team of hundreds, you can run multiple businesses out of it. It starts off free. And there’s a YouTube video for pretty much everything. I was just talking with Veronika a couple of days ago. They have a whole business plan for how to run graphic design out of ClickUp. You could do construction projects. If you just find a way to systemize your time and stop wasting time on all the little stuff.

01:31:00

Andrew Morgans

I love it. And we’re not sponsored by ClickUp, but you guys know where to find me if ClickUp does find this podcast because I was pretty good. You know, shout out again, as we wrap up, to our sponsor, FullScale.io. Helping you build software teams quickly and affordably. It’s been amazing being with you guys today with my hundredth episode. Being able to bring on the girls of Marknology and introduce them to you a little bit. I work with them every day and have for most of my life. So it’s super exciting to bring them to you guys and get to talk about some of the stuff we’re working on internally. Some of the stuff we’re excited about and just trying to give you some behind-the-scenes of what an Amazon agency is working on, what we think, what we’re focused on, what we’re trying to help brands with, and how we’re pivoting. So I hope you guys found some of this value, and I’ll see you next time, Hustlers. Thanks again for your attention and tuning in.

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