When Jules Weldon took her father’s patented design for a beach caddy and quickly lined up a business partner, contract manufacturer, and co-owner, success seemed like it would come quickly. As happens so many times in business, however, the dream quickly turned into a nightmare. But true entrepreneurs know when to pivot, and there was a whole new journey just beginning.
Jules Weldon and Stacey Pierce are the Co-Founders & Co-CEOs at OME Gear, a female-founded and led outdoor gear company based in South Carolina. They took the best of the beach caddy and built up from there. The result was the award-winning Wanderr, a 5-in-1 convertible cart, chair, and cot.
In this episode of Supply Chain Now, Jules and Stacey sit down Scott Luton and Kevin L. Jackson talk about:
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Scott Luton (00:00:32):
Hey, good morning everybody. Scott Luton and Kevin L. Jackson here with you on supply chain. Now, welcome to today’s show. Now today’s episode, we’re gonna be diving into the story of extraordinary entrepreneurs that have been on quite a journey, bringing a very unique product to market, and the journey itself is gonna be one. You’re not gonna miss, uh, Kevin, how are you doing? And we got a great show teed up, right?
Kevin L. Jackson (00:00:53):
No, no, look, look, I, I saw everyone the, uh, on the show talk about the O me gear and it just brought all these painful memories to me of the out, walking across hot beach and sand bridge, uh, down to Virginia Beach and, uh, you know, my feet burning and I’m dropping stuff all over the place and not enough Ru in the little trailer I had, you know, and then I saw this thing, oh, I’m not, I’m not gonna give it away, but I tell you so a great show.
Scott Luton (00:01:25):
All right, so Kevin man, you just laid out something that probably all of our audience were regardless, wherever they are can relate to. And so if that you, if you’re feeling those pains, you’re in the right place. Uh, so really excited about our guest today with no further duke Kevin, I wanna welcome in our feature guest here at Jules Weldon co CEO at OMI gear and her colleague a long time childhood friend of mine, a really cool member of the akin community, Stacey Pierce, also a co-founder and CEO at OMI gear, Stacey and Jules. How we doing?
Jules Weldon (00:01:57):
Oh man, thank you so much for honored to be here. Actually, we were, we’ve been looking forward to this. This was on my bucket list. Was the be on,
Kevin L. Jackson (00:02:05):
Wow. Wow. The
Scott Luton (00:02:07):
Record list, getting thick. It’s getting thick around here. Uh, but we’ll take it anyway.
Kevin L. Jackson (00:02:12):
I’ve never been on the other side of a bucket list. This is like, this is a bucket list,
Scott Luton (00:02:17):
Man. It’s a first, it’s a first well, uh, kidding side to our listeners. We had a great time in the pre-show. Uh, we should, we should released that man as a, as a follow up show, but outstanding conversation teed up, but Kevin, where we’re gonna start with our feature guests here, let’s get to know them a little bit better. So I have a little bit of a head start with Stacy. So I’m gonna start with Jules first. So Jules tell us where you grew up and you gotta give us the goods from your upbringing.
Jules Weldon (00:02:41):
Yeah, absolutely. Thanks Scott and Kevin, we like Stacy said, we are really honored actually to be on the show. So thank you for giving us this platform. We appreciate it to tell the story. Um, so I grew up in, um, right outside of Philadelphia in Westchester, Pennsylvania grew up with six kids in my family. So four brothers and one sister. Okay. I’m in the middle. So it’s kind of like the Brady bunch. There’s eight years in between the three and the three. Um, my mom said if she had to do it all over again, she would’ve had four more in between the two sets of, of kids. Um, cause there was eight years, but, but she didn’t, uh, we have a really close fan, very close to my siblings and the majority of them still live up in the Pennsylvania area, but grew up in an entrepreneurial family. So I get the entrepreneurial spirit, very honest. Uh, my mom started a bakery 20 years or I’m sorry, 50 gosh 50, probably 52 years now. 52 or three years ago. Wow. And my brother 10 year, my yeah, youngest brother, 10 years or so, uh, took it over and like sometimes happens. He really propelled the growth of the business and got national exposure and all of that. So really cool wedding cake and party cake, business and pastries and all of that. So very proud of that upbringing for sure.
Scott Luton (00:03:56):
I gotta ask you a quick question. Have you ever read the E myth and I can’t remember the author y’all have that’s basically and it’s based on a bakery and it really, it offers universal lessons that I think anyone can relate to. Y’all read this.
Jules Weldon (00:04:10):
Oh yes. It’s one of our favorite books.
Scott Luton (00:04:12):
Jules Weldon (00:04:13):
It’s a, it’s a great book. Every entrepreneur needs to read that book. Yeah.
Scott Luton (00:04:17):
You know, that’s what my dear friend Enrique Al has told me. In fact, he said, if I didn’t read it, he was gonna break my arm. So I read that very quickly. <laugh> Kevin Anique
Kevin L. Jackson (00:04:27):
Promises. You better believe
Scott Luton (00:04:29):
<laugh> right. You don’t wanna mess with Enrique, but Hey Enrique, we love you if you’re listening to the, to, to today’s show. All right. So Jules, I love how entrepreneurialism is in your veins. It’s in your family’s, it’s kind of what y’all do. Things’ part of how, how you view the world. And it’s really cool that your mom started a bakery and then your brother took it over and they also play, I think your parents will get to this in a minute. Maybe play a role in, uh, the beginnings of, uh, what we’re gonna talk about in terms of the journey y’all are on. So we’ll get to that in a second. One quick follow up question. Before we, we, we jump over to Stacy. So it sounds like you were, uh, jewels surrounded by not only entrepreneurial thinking, but delicious food as a kid, let’s talk, you know, share something from that or, or toys. Did you grow up a Phillies fan? What else, what else was inseparable from your childhood?
Jules Weldon (00:05:17):
That’s fun. That’s fun that you asked that question, Scott. So I actually, I actually hated working in the bakery cuz the bakery was in the bottom of our house and we actually, lot of parents built a, a very large home with the entire bottom of the house being the bakery. So it always smelled like cakes, which a lot of people that’s amazing. But to me, I think now, like I’m a salty person, not a sweet person. And I think it’s, cause I grew up around on so much cake and sweetness, but I, I hated it cuz we’d have to go to school and then come home and work in the bakery downstairs and flip out cakes and wash pants <laugh> then I had to, I learned how to decorate cakes. And so I started doing that. And so that actually was it’s it’s interesting. It’s like, you don’t really appreciate something until you’re on until you mature a little bit. Right. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and so once I matured, I realized what a massive benefit that was to me and my upbringing and my growth and all of that. But, but I would say as far as fans and my dad would take us to these games all the time, we would also go to, um, I don’t know if you’ve ever been to dirt track races,
Jules Weldon (00:06:22):
Jules Weldon (00:06:23):
Tracks.car, kinda short track stuff. So I just remember always going to that stuff. My parents are awesome about giving us experiences, right. And not just, not just kind of being in the day to day of like doing act activities without it being an experience. And so I’m, I’m, I’m really grateful for that growing up. So thanks for jogging those memories.
Kevin L. Jackson (00:06:44):
Yeah. We’re gonna have show on the pros and cons of child labor later,
Jules Weldon (00:06:56):
Kevin L. Jackson (00:06:59):
But aside from that, you know, Philly is my city. I’m gonna go up there for the, the veteran stadium. I’m a Naval academy graduate. So I’m up, I was up there every year for, you know, four years straight whipped up on army. So <laugh>
Jules Weldon (00:07:15):
Jules Weldon (00:07:15):
That’s right. Well, as we say, fly Eagles fly, whether I’m a fan that’s kinda like with us and the Gamecocks.
Scott Luton (00:07:25):
Right. Well true. Now, Jules, do you wanna sing that song? I think there’s a, there’s like a theme song, uh, for the, for the Phil. I’m kidding. I’m kidding.
Scott Luton (00:07:38):
One last thing, kidding aside. I love what you finished that thought on, you know, the importance, the vital importance of parents that give their kids experiences and let them kind of, it kind of helps kids unpack their own view the world, right. And what they wanna do in life. Absolutely. You know, that’s certainly I can, that really resonates with me as, as a father of three. Cause that’s our goal. Right? Whatever, help them find their passions and then whatever it takes to help ’em, you know, chase after it. So thank you for sharing that Jules. All right, Stacy. Yes, we go away back. So our listeners just to kind of get to it quick, Stacy and I both grew up in a, in South Carolina, right. We went to same church together. Her brother, Brandon Pierce is a dear friend. Uh, I looked up to both of ’em. They were, they were the cool folks <laugh> and the city a and Kevin, the Stacy, you know, share for folks that, you know, aren’t familiar tell about your background and some of those inseparable, uh, aspects of your upbringing.
Stacey Pierce (00:08:35):
Well, as you mentioned, I’m from Aiken, South Carolina and it’s me, my mom and my dad and my brother, Brandon, who now goes by Pierce Pierce.
Scott Luton (00:08:43):
Stacey Pierce (00:08:45):
Name Brandon. And everybody knows him as that. So you call me, Brandon is a, you know, I don’t hear that very often, other than from our family, an old friend. So, uh, yeah, I grew up in akin. We went to the same church together, ran into a lot of the same kinda circles because our church was huge and you were a part of Millbrook, uh, youth group or another youth group. And, and then we always, you know, intermingled anyway, Akins, a very small town. Yes it is. And, and you’re just friends with everyone. So which was really a, it was a blessing, uh, to grow up in Aiken, South Carolina, for sure. And then my background, I mean like, but I couldn’t, it’s so funny. I, I couldn’t wait to get out of akin. Uh, when I was there now I’m like, if we ever have to go somewhere, we’ll go to Aiken.
Stacey Pierce (00:09:29):
Just because the connections in the community, the type of community it is but’s so, yeah. Um, just I’ll have to say coming into it. I’ve never seen a town like Aiken where, I mean, sta is connected to so many people from her growing up years. And then it’s like, if you haven’t stayed in touch, when you get back in touch, it’s you immediately pick right back up, which is Aiken is something special. Yeah. I mean, even between we have rival high schools, you had south bacon or Aiken high, but we were still friends with everybody. Only, only when we played against them, we weren’t like really friends. And then after that we would all go party together. <laugh> so it was, it was just, it is a special, special town that we are from, but yeah, you know, just a, a normal middle class family we were raised. I think my parents were big on experiences as well. And I think that kind of leads into where we are in our, and with our business and our product is creating experiences for families.
Scott Luton (00:10:27):
Stacey Pierce (00:10:28):
Giving families the opportunity to create experiences. Mm-hmm
Scott Luton (00:10:30):
<affirmative> well, Hey, really quick. Not only Brandon Pierce, but a big shout out to, uh, Billy and Sandra Pierce. I think Billy was, uh, a, uh, well, he was a mentor of sorts and I think he, uh, uh, he has an assistant coach for some of these, some of these teams we were on. So just a great family. So I wanna wish all hello and who, who knows maybe reconnect akin, uh, one day.
Stacey Pierce (00:10:51):
Well, I, I will say so one time. So my mom and did my mom and I played softball, my mom’s 72 and still a play softball. Right? The oldest softball player, I think that is in church league has been, I think she broke the record. She still pitches, but at one time it was my mom pitching. I was the catcher and my dad was the empire really?
Kevin L. Jackson (00:11:13):
So was the fix. The fix was in
Jules Weldon (00:11:18):
Every pitch was a strike.
Scott Luton (00:11:19):
Every pitch was a strike. I love that Jules. Well, so much to talk about, you know, Mr. Gaddy’s pizza, those secret destinations on those Sunday nights. I, if you remember that, uh, when, uh, okay. Turtle top, uh, first came around and, uh, Stacy was, as I mentioned, kind of like, but she was the mayor guys, uh, Kevin and Jules, so ready to reconnect, but kidding aside, we gotta get to Kevin what they’re up to now, because as much as we wanna ruins about our, our past and our childhood and, and some of the cool moments there, they’re on quite a journey, right?
Kevin L. Jackson (00:11:50):
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. You know, sounds like they’re really digitally transforming your time at the beach. So I wanna understand more about, uh, O E gear. So how did you guys start with this? I mean, uh, how’d you get from, you know, baking to, uh, you know, beach gear. I just doesn’t the connect kind of alludes me.
Jules Weldon (00:12:15):
Yeah, no, I, I see how that eludes you.
Kevin L. Jackson (00:12:18):
Stacey Pierce (00:12:20):
Talking about the experiences that my parents would always create for us. We would, um, vacation at Bethany beach Delaware every summer. Then we started, my dad was in the military, flew helicopters in the military. And so we started there’s actually, He was in the army national guard. Oh
Kevin L. Jackson (00:12:35):
No, <laugh> I was a, I was a carrier pilot in the Navy, but go ahead.
Stacey Pierce (00:12:39):
Right. Hey, y’all, y’all serve and all that. So we’re just appreciative for sure, for any branch of the military, but I will, there was a base down in Bethany beach, which is why we started going there, where we could stay in the barracks for like, for five bucks a night. So there’s six kids and you know, not a ton of money. And so we ended up, uh, vacationing in the barracks and we would walk across the street to the beach and go to the beach every, you know, every day. And we had to carry all of our stuff over there. Um, but once we kind of advanced and my parents started making more money and of that, we actually ended up progressing to get a condo on the boardwalk, which was nice. We thought we were like, we had arrived.
Scott Luton (00:13:22):
Stacey Pierce (00:13:23):
That’s right. But my parents were sitting on the boardwalk and they watched one day and they watched this single, she was by herself woman come off the beach with three kids and she was miserable. And my mom and dad, they do just said, gosh, going to the beach should never be a harder experience. It’s such a joy for us. It should never be a hard experience. And so they kind of the typical American story, the American dream, where they went up to the, their condo room and napkin, sketched out, which I wish we still had the napkin, but mm-hmm, <affirmative> a napkin sketched out this lounge that if you flipped it up the other way, it would become, uh, basically like a Dolly. So my dad got it patented. And that was before beach carts were all the rage. My dad got it patented and tried to take it to market and just had no idea how to do it. And
Scott Luton (00:14:08):
So, Hey, Jill’s really quick. Yeah. If I can ask you just about the patent, did he, I’ve heard, I’ve never gotten a patent again. Y’all are the, the, we got the three intelligent ones on other side of the zoom screen here, but when you file, when he filed that patent, did he go through an attorney or did he, I’ve heard, you can, you can put your idea and mail it off to the patent office and you kind of get a, an easy patent that way. How quick, how easy was it? Was it for him to get a patent?
Jules Weldon (00:14:30):
Well, this was way before Google too. Yeah. So this was back in the nineties. Yeah, really? Yeah. 1998 actually. So 23 years ago. But, um, it, I, the process was hard and it was expensive. And so after the first couple tens of thousands of dollars and getting the, you know, engineering to do drawings, and my mom was like, honey, you can’t keep dumping money down this hole. And so my dad agreed. And so he just kind of set it up on the shelf and, and just let, let that dream sit there, which I bet you, a lot of your listeners can relate to. Everybody has an idea, right? Hmm. But not everybody takes it to market or knows how to take it to market <affirmative>. And so then, so fast forward 12 years I was working for as a business management consultant for a large consulting firm and got tired of working 80 hours a week for somebody else.
Jules Weldon (00:15:21):
And so at one, you know, these moments where you just don’t forget, ’em, mm-hmm, <affirmative> at one 30 in the morning. I sat up in bed and I thought about my dad’s idea call it was called the beach caddy. And so I called him at eight 30 that morning, um, knowing that he’d be awake. And I said, Hey dad, what would you think about me trying to take your product to market? My dad is one of our now, but certainly one of my heroes in this world, he’s an amazing man. He started crying and said, honey, that would be a dream come true. Now, 12 years later from one, he set it on the shelf. And so he said, I’ll give you everything. So he assigned the patent over to me and patents only really have a life of about 17 years, um, once they’re granted. And so I had about four or five years left on that patent. Um, and so he assigned that over to me, but it was really kind of Frankenstein at that point. I mean, you know, with design changing and all of that. So,
Scott Luton (00:16:13):
But Joel, Jules, it had advanced from the napkin to probably some engineering designs by then.
Jules Weldon (00:16:20):
Yeah. Yeah. And I, I do have those, which is, which is really cool. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. And so, uh, we have a whole document. That’s like the evolution of OE gear and over 23 years. Yeah. And so, um, so he assigned up everything over to me and I ended up going into one of my colleagues. Who’s one of my mentors at PWC and just said, Hey, you know, John, what do you think about this? And he said, well, how much research have you done? And I said, as much as I know how to do, you know, and he said, I think you’re onto something. So the next day I came back in and I said, would you be, be my business partner? Um, because think about it. I I’m from a family of eight, six kids and a mom and dad I’ve never done anything alone.
Jules Weldon (00:16:58):
I mean, I am a very much a team player, a partnership player. And so he was flabbergasted and said, absolutely. So he and I, moon lit and long, long story short, one of our clients was a manufacturer. And so we took them out to dinner and showed them the product and said, Hey, would you consider being our contract manufacturer? Wow. And they said, we like your idea so much. We would like to buy 60% of your company. Wow. Well company, it was a concept. It wasn’t, it was just a concept, right. That we’d been moonlighting on. So we ended up saying yes, and we thought it was a marriage made in heaven until we realized it wasn’t and Stacy always says, give people six months to show you. They’re crazy. Right. Really? Yes. Oh yes. Six months. And if you start, actually, if you start living by that, it will blow you away.
Jules Weldon (00:17:48):
Helps true is. And not, not to show you that they are crazy, but to show you what their crazy is. Right. We all have it. Yeah. Like we all have a little bit of crazy in us and it usually doesn’t come out until six months, but you see it after six months and so long, long story short and the easy way to say it. And the kind way to say it is our values did not align. And so a long process and a really grueling process in 2014, I actually ended up walking away from that company. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and basically saying, I would rather flip burgers at McDonald’s than work with you guys and try to take this product to market.
Scott Luton (00:18:26):
So if I can ask a quick follow up there and Kevin, a I’d love to that decision with that business, that, that incredibly high level of business maturity, it’s not a decision you want to make, but it is one that, that you’ve gotta kind of pull up every fiber of your being and be willing to step out from what was yours and, and your fathers, who a lot of people aren’t, they’re not willing to take that massive step. This, this is a big, bold, difficult decision. How did you, so how did you, um, how, how did you make it, like, did you consult back with your dad and, you know, kind of lay out what was going on and then, you know, who, who was your big supporter as you were a really tough decision?
Jules Weldon (00:19:12):
Well, this woman right here was my big supporter, for sure. I mean, we had multiple conversations about it. Um, I talked to John was a dear friend and mentor of mine. Um, he had actually gotten fired and that’s a whole other story. That’s way more fun to tell over contests. Um, but not because of any of his, that is for sure. So there was just one thing after another, and it’s really interesting. I’m a very, I’m a very loyal person. I’ve always been that my family is that we’re committed. Our word is our word. And so for me to walk away from my dad’s and moms dream and my dream, thank you for noticing how hard that was. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. I mean, it was honestly, it was one of the hardest things in my life, and I’m like a dog to a bone where I don’t give up on something until I know I’ve been released.
Jules Weldon (00:20:02):
And there came a moment at the national hardware show in 2014 and Stace wasn’t there. But we talked all the time where I was at home taking care of the house and she, he was a show. Yeah. But, but we knew, you know, after multiple conversations, I said, I, I literally cannot do this anymore. So on the plane red home is where I wrote a three page resignation letter. That was really more for me than for them. They probably didn’t even read that letter. But for me, I needed to say all of the reasons why I was walking a way, it was not an easy decision. And I, as a result, I ended up working at the shrimp docks in Charleston. I came back and I just needed to heal my soul and I needed to be with salt to the earth, good people. And so I went and worked with one of the, just very famous and, and renowned shrimpers in Charleston who now unfortunately has passed, but I got the privilege to work with him for nine months and making no hardly no money, but it didn’t matter. Money is not an issue when your soul needs to be you. Right. So, yeah. So that’s, that’s what I did for nine months. And then she got tired of me coming home, smelling like shrinking.
Kevin L. Jackson (00:21:12):
Well, I tell you, yeah, one you say is that, you know, loyalty is rare in business, so I’m not surprised you didn’t find it, but there’s another Axiom I wanted to ask you about. And they say that, you know, founders make horrible CEOs. So as you are going through this process of, of making this decision to walk away from your dream and your family’s dream in, in many ways, you know, I’m sure you had to think about, is it them or is it me? How did you, how did you settle on that? It was them without, you know, really worrying about that.
Jules Weldon (00:21:56):
Yeah. I’ll say it’s always two sides to every story, right. I mean, and if you, if they were to be fair, if they were on this interview with you right now, they would have a very different sided story that honor. And I respect. And so for us, our biggest challenge was financial money and it always has been. And part of that goes into a statistic where only 2% of all funding goes to women. Right. Right. And so, so, so it’s, it’s always been taking a complex product like ours to market is, but if you only have access to 2.7% of all funding, then that’s a massive challenge. Right. I think the other thing to be, you know, to kind of be a little bit reflective, I have a strong personality. I have a strong mom, she started a business. That’s now still going right. 50, some years later, thankful I rather took it over.
Jules Weldon (00:22:50):
But oftentimes, unfortunately, if women are strong in business, we’re considered, and I apologize if we can’t say this, but we’re considered the. But if men are strong in business, they’re doing their job. Right. So for us, that has always been a challenge for me where I’ve lost my voice too many times in business and in personal life that when I give my voice always a, okay, I need to temper it or give it right. There’s always this really weird back and forth. And so I think they would have said I was too strong and I would have said I’m being a business owner.
Scott Luton (00:23:30):
So if I, I can only imagine kind of that, that constant struggle, right. That you just described there, Stacy, I wanna get your take here because you clearly had Jules back, you helped, you know, kind of as an internal consultant, you know, and, and coach and, and supporter. Describe that timeframe. Describe a, as, as we’re you, you are making those tough decisions. Describe what you saw.
Stacey Pierce (00:23:53):
I mean, I, I, I can’t even be nice about it. I mean, it’s, it was, it was horrible. I would be on the, I mean, obviously we lived in the same home and then, um, I would be there and I would hear phone calls and the way they spoke, it was, it was unbelievable for me how she stayed in as long as she did. Mm. I have no idea when they fired her, their, her business partner, who was the foyer into the manufacturing, that he, he was over the manufacturing process and the quality control when they fired him at six o’clock one night and cut his benefits off at, at midnight at a, for a 68 year old man for, in his family. That just really just, that was kind of the straw that brought the camels back. And then, and then when she was at the national hardware show, like I said, I had a corporate job back then, and then they pulled the, the brand new one, the line, the new camo version, and it didn’t work.
Stacey Pierce (00:24:48):
And the new guy who had to replace John was there and he’s like, oh, well, you know, it happens to me. It was, was just another it, that was kind of the, the other Nell on the coffin say, you need to, you need to, to leave and we’ll figure it out. You know? It, it, whatever that figuring out everything is figureoutable right. But not every relationship is fixable. Right. And so, so let’s, let’s move on from this. And so when she called and said, I’m ready, I’m done. I was like, hallelujah for six months or so, I had seen the way they just spoke to her and the demand and how they pushed, you know, they had a marketing budget of 12,000 and they knocked her down there. Like, no, now you’re only gonna have 2,500, you know? And it’s really, it was really hard. I felt like I trying to run a mirror in every steps, they were cutting off parts of her legs. And, and, and so that was, it was just hard to see, but she had to come to of that own con her own conclusion on it. I just had to be the support behind it.
Kevin L. Jackson (00:25:51):
Well, I see there were so, so many good entrepreneurial lessons in that story, but, you know, you came out of the end, which out in the end of that journey with, uh, something that really, um, append, uh, amazing. I, I, I like to say, I wanna, I wanna talk, I want you to talk about that core product, right? What, you know, the thing that came off the assembly line when, uh, it all worked
Stacey Pierce (00:26:25):
<laugh> so I kinda wanna take it back. So Jules’s dad came up with the two in one concept, so it was the Dolly that transformed into a lounge share, and then mm-hmm <affirmative> and then Jules’s product. Other product was a chair that locked into a base and came a cart. So that was a three in one. So in 2014, when she walked away, we were done. We weren’t, we weren’t gonna even look at another beach camping product or whatever, and then around. And so we actually, in 2015 started our own business coaching firm called salty rim mm-hmm <affirmative> after she healed her soul. And we, we both had a business background. I had been on the, the ground floor of nine startups. So wow. Was in the medical world and
Scott Luton (00:27:07):
Stacy, I had no idea nine that’s a ton of incredibly valuable experience. I never, never knew that about you. Yeah. Nine startups.
Stacey Pierce (00:27:15):
Mm-hmm <affirmative>. Yeah. So I, you know, I was, I mean, I either worked in ’em or did ’em for other people, anything from building an adult day center for dementia care, to a high home care company, to a restaurant, to a catering business. So, I mean all over the map. So, you know, we started our business consulting firm because we both had the, the business knowledge to help other people in about 2016, we just kinda looked at each other and it was like this nagging, like this Nat, you know, I was like, build a car and they will come.
Stacey Pierce (00:27:48):
And, and so we’re like, man, this idea just won’t go away. And so we’re like, what if we do something different? And we take all the consumer feedback from the other product, you know, it was too big. It was too bulky and blah, blah. Yeah. All these things mm-hmm <affirmative> and, and design something. And, uh, so yeah, we just started just started partnering with people and, and we were just coming out. We were like, okay, we don’t want it just to be a beach product. We want people to be, to create experiences wherever you are, anytime you need to haul something and have a seat or lay down when you get there, we want it to be an experience wherever you are, someone in Montana, they don’t have a beach. Right. Or, you know, or, and so we need to also look at colors, you know, it’s, it’s literally all encompassing thinking on a product to get it out to the masses. And so it was like, we need something that’s gonna be for the beach, camping. Uh children’s sporting events, picnic, um, wherever music, tailgating, tailgating, festivals, whatever
Scott Luton (00:28:51):
Universal. Right. You wanted
Stacey Pierce (00:28:52):
Universal, even though we lived at the beach, but we also needed it to be universal that it not only rolled on sand, but it also rolled on, on rocks. Right. And so there was a, there was a lot of that went into it. And so in 2016, like I said, the idea just never went away. Well, in 2017, mm-hmm <affirmative> we finally came up with the iteration of what you see today, which, which is the five and one,
Scott Luton (00:29:19):
Five, and one called wander wonder
Jules Weldon (00:29:23):
Since 18. So it, so it’s been, uh, um, journey because the former company in 2018, they actually dissolved our company. Then they dissolved that in 2018 and the 5,000 units that we had in the warehouse, they sold for scrap metal. And so all, it’s just, it’s a crazy story. But once they dissolve that company and we actually took the patent that I had gotten with them on the former product, cuz I had gotten a new patent. I took, we took that to the attorney and said, we need to create a patent that doesn’t infringe on this, on our new product. And so that’s kind of what we did. We used that. So we’re free and clear from those guys, which is, which is a great thing. Yeah.
Kevin L. Jackson (00:30:06):
Wow. You have, you seem to, you have learned so much about product design, about marketing, about manufacturing, contract manufacturing, what to do and what not to do. So can you maybe, you know, give us some tips there, you know, <laugh>, <laugh>, I’m writing. I mean I’m taking notes, so, uh, what have you learned over the, the last couple of years?
Stacey Pierce (00:30:32):
Oh wow. That is, that is a loaded question. Uh, we’re still learning, I’ll tell you what I’ve learned. I’ve learned that the more I learned, the less I know. Yeah. That’s honestly, and I, I don’t mean that to be anything, but honestly the more I learn every day and we just talked about this every day I go to bed so exhausted. And I’m like, why is that? Cause I’m sitting at the computer or on I’m on zoom calls or, or doing demos for people or whatever. What, why is it? Cause it’s not physically demanding, but it’s so mentally taxing to be in this role that we’re in. Right,
Kevin L. Jackson (00:31:10):
Jules Weldon (00:31:10):
Building, taking a product to market that’s never been done before and create in a space that’s male dominated. So we’re, you know, females in entrepreneurs and inventors in a male dominated space of outdoor gear plus manufacturing. And I honestly feel like every day I’m like, I don’t know what in the hell I’m doing. <laugh>
Scott Luton (00:31:31):
Kevin L. Jackson (00:31:32):
Wow. Before I throw it back to Scott, I wanna ask one more question.
Scott Luton (00:31:36):
Yeah, please, please.
Kevin L. Jackson (00:31:38):
Is, is that the Genesis of the less, more, more shut green tea? I tell you, I saw that online and I said, that’s gotta be a story behind that one. <laugh>
Stacey Pierce (00:31:54):
No, that, so that story we partnered with a really dear friend of ours, who’s an oyster farmer in South Carolina and we did a whole raise the money for the oysters. And um, so we had some T leftover. So yeah, anybody who’s an oyster And oyster eater will connect with that. T-shirt for sure.
Kevin L. Jackson (00:32:09):
Scott Luton (00:32:10):
Kevin, you are so perceptive. I’ll tell you, he took a deep dive into the gear story.
Jules Weldon (00:32:17):
That was way back too. I didn’t even, it didn’t even register until,
Scott Luton (00:32:23):
So I wanna pick back up on that last question. Cause I know y’all learned so much and you’re still learning to, to jewel what you’re saying there, but you know, whether it’s oysters in states, one thing that, that, that I can recall from back when we were kids and then some of the things you mentioned is that philanthropic, you know, passion that you have. Right. Uh, and that, that seems to kind of be something that, that you’ve always revisited and it’s a big part of your journey, regardless what you’re doing. And it, and it just dawned on me as both of y’all were speaking about, uh, some of those things you did as a kid and, and it just kind of continues to manifest itself into what you’re doing now as entrepreneurs. One quick follow up question. Is there thing, so thinking of anyone that’s listening to this podcast here, maybe they’re, they’re fighting with a patent.
Scott Luton (00:33:04):
Maybe they’re trying to, they’ve got already got a great idea. Maybe it already, maybe it’s already patented and they’re trying to find the right partner engineering, you know, manufacturing partner to bring it to life what’s is there one tip? I know there’s plenty, but you know, one of the things that would come to my mind Stacy is, is maybe you got a date for, you know, you can’t just, you know, get married, you know, after a couple of days you can need that six months to kind of really make sure the relationship and the expertise and the crazy is right. But what else maybe, what else would you add to that?
Stacey Pierce (00:33:35):
I mean that, first of all, I’d like to even go on that point. Um, and I have, we have been burned so many times because we, we go into relationships trusting, you know, it’s like a, it’s like a bank account, you know, you don’t lose, you know, it’s, it’s a full bank account. And then, and then, you know, people, they start ticking away at it and then eventually it’s empty and you can’t trust anyone. Right. But, you know, but we always go in, instead of letting them prove to us, we always go in with the full bank account and then let ’em take away. Which what we’re learning is we need to, we need to let, we need to take time and, and fill that bank account mm-hmm <affirmative> and, and, and notice those red flags. And I always say in, in our, in our personal coaching, in our business coaching in the us, and it may be different another country mm-hmm <affirmative> but have you ever seen a yellow light turn green most in the us all yellow lights turn red.
Scott Luton (00:34:30):
Stacey Pierce (00:34:30):
Right. And so if there is a yellow flag, most likely it’s gonna turn into a red one. And this is something we’ve literally had to learn on the go while we’re driving the car 90 us per hour. Because so many times we’re asking people to come in and ride with us. And before we know it, they are, they’re just not, they don’t follow. They don’t have the same values as us. Mm-hmm <affirmative> they, they want to build hurdles instead of breaking down the barriers. And that’s something that we are, we, we struggle with daily is how, how do you, how do we vet people where it, it, we don’t need to take six months. And, and that’s something that we are still learning, uh, as, as entrepreneurs and as people in the manufacturing world. Cause there’s so many manufacturers that will take advantage of you. Um, but also what we’re learning is bringing in the right people, the right mentors, the right people that can come in and say, Hey, can you look at this? Bringing in the right attorneys, not every attorney is, is, does the same thing. So you need a patent attorney, you need a business attorney. So at, and as, so you need to make sure you’re talking to the right attorney for the situation you’re in. You, you might wanna add
Scott Luton (00:35:47):
There’s so much goodness, in what you should. It’s like a, I got a little mini masterclass. Yeah. Over the last 20, 30 minutes. Yeah.
Kevin L. Jackson (00:35:54):
One thing important though, is entrepreneur leadership is a team sport.
Stacey Pierce (00:35:59):
It is a team. That’s right. Just for instance, we met with a gentleman. I met a, we met a gentleman at the national hardware show yesterday, and it’s all about building connections and relationships. And that’s what Jules and I are all, that’s another huge value of ours is we don’t always wanting, we don’t wanna always go to people wanting something. How can we give back? How can we help you in the process? But we met with a gentleman yesterday. Who’s been in the manufacturing space for probably 30 or 40 years. And now he’s a mentor. Um, this is the first time I’ve ever taken a product to market. And so I still, you know, I am learning, but now I have somebody that I can go to and show the manufacturing treatment agreements. So because I’ve because we’ve gotten burn in the past. Yeah. So now I have somebody that actually is in my court on my side that can sit with me in red line and go through the process with me. So I’m, we’re not out there doing it by ourselves.
Kevin L. Jackson (00:36:53):
Jules Weldon (00:36:54):
So I think that’s exactly it. It’s finding somebody that’s on the other side, trying to sell you something, cuz they’ll convince you of what they want you to buy all day long. Right. Right. And so yeah, if you’re trusting, you’ll go. Okay. Yeah, that sounds great. Let’s go. But if you can have somebody else that’s objective, that’s not as close to it as you are. And as married to it, as you are, look at whatever they’re selling and promise you and go, yeah, no, that’s not gonna work. <laugh> taking that advice. Right. That’s, that’s all the difference in the world. Mm-hmm <affirmative> so we’re learning that and, and for your listeners who have a product, always have somebody else look at that manufacturing agreement do not do not hold it at face value and do not sign a huge P we made that mistake. We know we’ve made that mistake. So cause you had to test it out, right? You need to test the market. And so figure out what the lowest PO is. And then, and then if it, if it’s a good marriage after that six months or that year, that you’re in the business, we are partnering with them that way. You’re not locked to a lot of, uh, a lot of money up front to a, a manufacturer,
Scott Luton (00:38:04):
Excellent points that piloting and experimenting, uh, experimentation is so critical. And, and you’re reinforcing that point to making the tough DEC, I mean, there’s so many things y’all, y’all touched on making tough decisions, yellow lights always lead to red lights here. And at least in the states it’s, I’ve never thought about
Scott Luton (00:38:21):
Yeah. Right. And vetting even in six months, as we all know, here is an eternity in startup world, but how can we vet people to the point where we, we know that they’re, they’re the experts and oftentimes hopefully the objective experts that we need based on, you know, the, the needs of the day or the needs of the week or what have you. And that’s just, uh, SCR, uh, scratching the tip at iceberg. Kevin. Yeah. Before I ask them about a Eureka moment, there’s so much more to this story. And by the way, listeners check out O me gear.com. Wanna make sure that’s that’s out there because at the very top to the website, every human is gonna be able to relate to this outdoor adventures are fun. Getting there is often not that’s, that’s where the wander comes in. But Kevin, before I would talk entrepreneurialism with STAs and jewels here, what else did you hear there that our listeners have got? You know, they, they can’t miss.
Kevin L. Jackson (00:39:14):
Well, the other thing is that this is a continual learning process as well. I mean, uh, Stacy jewel talked about how much they learned along the process and they learned from their network. So the importance of your network as for mentoring, for learning and your network is your team. Mm. And that your network can also provide that objective view of things. So I mean, a lot of people really underestimate the power and value of the, the network,
Scott Luton (00:39:55):
Right? Yeah, I can. Okay. So I wanna, you know, we’re learning a lot from Stacy jewel and this journey. Yes. We’re gonna get into some big news here in just a second, but I wanna give y’all one more chance, right. Outta the, you know, kind of, not from a OE gear journey, but kind of from a broader entrepreneurial, uh, journey, you know, I bet y’all both have had some Eureka moment. Like we all have had goodness. Sometimes they come by the hour and you’re hearing these recent years. <laugh> right. But what’s been one thing that really St uh, you know, stands out to you. That’s something you’ve learned about yourself as an entrepreneur or about the path, uh, in these last couple years and, and Stacy, uh, I’m sorry, Jules, let’s go back to you. And we’ll, we’ll come back to Stacy
Jules Weldon (00:40:36):
Yesterday. We went on a hike we’re in Tucson and Arizona right now, and it was in a canyon and there weren’t any other people around. It was just Stacy and I, and when we first walked in, there was a sign that said, mountain lions have been spotted, be aware mm-hmm <affirmative>. And then as we walk in, not, gosh, not even half a mile, quarter mile, there’s a snake. That’s about six foot long that crosses the path. And, and it was, it was, I went screaming <laugh> yeah.
Scott Luton (00:41:10):
Let’s keep it real. We gotta keep it real. Yeah, I would too,
Jules Weldon (00:41:14):
Because sta I, I have a fear of snakes. Stace has a massive fear of snakes. And so I took one for the team and I walked first and we had walking sticks, but I found myself getting incredibly fearful with every passing step, looking in every nook and every cranny for a mountain lion looking up on the, because they said they’ve been spotted. Right. Right. So here, so now then what I do is I go in my head, I’m like, okay, if a mountain lion, and then I think of that video where the guy captures it, he’s running and the mountain lion chases him. Right. <laugh>. And so I’m literally playing all these things out in my head while trying to be the strong leader that’s walking up in front. And I found myself going down a massive spiral. And I was like, it sounds silly and whatever, but it was really real.
Jules Weldon (00:42:02):
And I, so I communicated it, number one to sta I’m like, I’m really afraid. I’m actually like really afraid. And she said, is this more fearful to you than driving the RV? And I said, because that’s part of our story that I’m sure we’ll talk about. But I said, it’s as fearful, which is a very, that’s like a nine or 10 out of a one to 10 for me. And she was like, wow. And she goes, okay, let me just lead. And so she got in front and she led, and I was literally able to come out of my spiral because I was, she was leading. And for some reason I was able, able to regain my whatever. So I tell that story because that for me has been our lives for the last, since 2018. When we pick this thing back up where it literally feels fearful.
Jules Weldon (00:42:47):
I mean, the fear that I feel every day is palpable. It’s real. It’s holy. I have to lead this company, right. Obviously with, with my partner here, but every day, and if I get into a downward spiral, I am no benefit to anyone. Right. I play out all the scenarios that can happen in my head. It’s, I’m not any benefit to anyone. And so Stacy and I have this philosophy together, we have a lot of ’em that are actually really meaningful to us. One of ’em is this tattoo out love outgive we both have it. Mm-hmm, <affirmative>, that’s our philosophy for life where we just wanna outlove and outgive people, that’s the philanthropic thing that you talked about. Thankfully, we share that, but the other one is the little red wagon, and this is stay brought this in to us. When one of us is tired, we sit in the wagon and the other pools and then flip fly.
Jules Weldon (00:43:35):
Right. And sometimes we both just have to sit in the wagon and go, you know what? We’re not moving anywhere. Yeah. Or we can scooch, right. That this goes really slow. So for me, whatever the lesson is in all of that, I just experienced it again yesterday. So you said you have Eureka moments every day. Right? And mine was mine. My recent moments yesterday, where I was like, I need space so much. And, and I could, I don’t wanna keep talking about it cause I’ll start crying. And then I ugly cry and it’s never, never <laugh>, but it’s, but that is so beautiful to me, of the power of a partner or people that you trust around you to go it’s, it’s okay to be scared. And I’ve got you.
Scott Luton (00:44:20):
So let me get a chance. Let me get Kevin. Uh, before we, we, we switch over to STAs and get her response to that and her own Eureka moment, Kevin, uh, your take there.
Kevin L. Jackson (00:44:31):
So I, um, once again, you, you are always learning, but you also have to be open to, to learning. Right. And, uh, you can’t learn unless you welcome it. So, and it’s, it’s important for you to, to recognize that. And you know, clearly you see, you can see this partnership feed on each other, they feed on each other in this partnership. And that’s, that’s what a valuable network does.
Scott Luton (00:44:57):
Yeah. Agreed. And you gotta be honest with yourself, you know, and, and own up to the fear of the situation or when you’re tired to recognize it. You know, we, we make, we can make a bunch of mistakes by fooling, fooling ourselves into not acknowledging these very human, uh, feelings and, and positions that we’re in. And, and, uh, so it’s nice to sit in a little red wagon from time to time. I kind of recharge, but so Stacy so much goodness. And what Jules just shared there, it’s gonna be tough to talk
Stacey Pierce (00:45:30):
Moment is I can cook a full dinner in an RV. <laugh>
Kevin L. Jackson (00:45:34):
Jules Weldon (00:45:36):
No, not just a dinner. It’ll it’ll knock your socks off.
Scott Luton (00:45:39):
Yes. I’ve seen pictures. Yeah. You know, your massive Facebook following, count me amongst them. I’ve seen some of the culinary adventures as part of your journey as well, but Kevin, you were gonna say something before we switch over to yeah.
Kevin L. Jackson (00:45:50):
Was so also that I, I wanted, or to also pull out one of the things that’s important when you’re working that’s valuable network, uh, is emotion and empathy. And it is well known fact that women have more emotion, more empathy than men. So the question is why does only one or 2% of investments in are in, you know, women CEOs or, or women founders. So when you’re, you know, if you’re thinking about being an entrepreneur, if you are a man or a woman, you should have understand the importance of empathy and emotion in being successful as an entrepreneur.
Scott Luton (00:46:40):
That’s so well said, because I would take it a step further. You know, the empathy is so critical to understanding the pain in the market that you’re looking to address and provide a solution for and build a business on. And so it really makes those sense to your point, uh, Kevin. So we got some heavy left and do to make sure that, you know, the investment community is providing opportunities for all, for sure. Okay. Stacy officially. So Eureka moments from an entrepreneurial standpoint.
Stacey Pierce (00:47:06):
Um, my, I mean, obviously I could, I could just say a big ditto and, and kind of bow out this because that, I think that is very it’s, she’s exactly right. We do live by those, those moments. Um, and this journey, especially in the past year has been super tough, uh, on us, but also me, but not on us as a couple, um, us as a partnership and a couple, it actually has brought us together. It’s really weird where most times it would drive away through people, through people. It seems like in our hardest moments, our SOS are divided and, and then it just brings us closer together. It’s just like we don’t have this opposition against each other. I think, uh, Eureka moment is, is someone that Jules and I also talk about and that you brought it up earlier, Kevin is founders do not make good CEOs. <laugh> I think, uh, when we first started this business or this company, you know, we, we kinda, we kind of were talking about roles and, and, and what, what we needed to be called. And, and we both put CEO on it because CEO obviously gets you in the door more than, you know, whatever another title, a director or, or, you know,
Scott Luton (00:48:19):
Just head bottle washer,
Stacey Pierce (00:48:21):
Whatever it gets, you, it gets you in the door, it opens doors for you. Right. And, and it’s a very unfortunate that, that that’s the way the world works
Kevin L. Jackson (00:48:30):
Sort of assumptions that people make
Stacey Pierce (00:48:32):
Is exactly and Jules. And I both have come to the conclusion that we are not good CEOs now, Jules is, and this is something I had to kinda back down on my ego a little bit, because I’ve always been a leader. I mean, Scott, you know, that I was always a leader in Aiken, um, and anything we did in sports or, and, and
Scott Luton (00:48:51):
Projects, initiatives, uh, campaigns. Absolutely.
Stacey Pierce (00:48:55):
And, and so I have always been a leader and I’ve always thought of myself as a leader, even building, uh, other companies for other people. I took the leadership role in those. And so, but this is Jules, this is her, this is her family legacy, right. This was her parents’ original concept. And so I had to like throw my ego out the door and say, you know what? This is, you’re the face. I mean, we’re the face of the company, but she is the leader of the, our company. And, and I’m just like, I’m the, the support I get to, I get to hold her up, which is that’s where I’d prefer to be anyway. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. Um, but we, what we did, my Eureka moment is, is then I didn’t really feel like I had a purpose. If Jules was the leader in the company, where was my, where was my purpose?
Stacey Pierce (00:49:40):
I am more in this. I like to, I like to serve. Um, I just, um, and so our next project, I will get to tap into that, that part of me. But one day we were sitting and I just started creating, I, I have an in inventor’s mind, if you look at my notebook, I have, I have all kinds of inventions. I have a roadmap of, of products that we’re gonna tap into later, after the wonders and the market, and really in the market really well. Cause that’s what we need to focus on. But I started just working with the manufacturer and started working with the design process. And that’s where I lit up. And I was like, ah, this is where I need to be. Uh, I literally dream. I have dreams at night. I’m a inventor. I’m a visionary on that. Um, I’m not always the best executor things.
Stacey Pierce (00:50:29):
Mm-hmm, <affirmative>, I, I can have the vision and I know that about me. I am not a details person only when I’m catering and cooking in my details, but I do don’t I don’t measure anything. So I’m really not, Jules is the one that will read something through and through and Redlin it. I’m like, oh yeah, it looks great. I don’t know. I mean, I’m just not that person, right. Never have been, but I am a, I am a visionary, but so that was my Eureka moment, I think, is realizing my role in the company is not necessarily the leader of the company. Jules is our leader. The, you know, the supporting actor is, is my role. Um, in, in this
Kevin L. Jackson (00:51:07):
It’s no die self, right? Mm-hmm, <affirmative>, <laugh>
Scott Luton (00:51:10):
That’s right. And being perfectly content, you know, you don’t have to be this, you don’t have to be that, you know, you can do what you want, do what you’re, you know, where your crazy is, right. That applies to your skill sets and, and your passion and all that stuff. So I love that. That’s a big lesson for our listeners. Uh, what both of y’all have shared here. Cause I think once you’re at peace with who you are, you know, life gets easier, right. I mean, uh, especially as an entrepreneur, right? Cause what I’ve found is this journey that Roan has founders, uh, in startup world, you’ve got no challenge or no shortage of, of external challenges. And man, if you’re, while I subscribe to the fake it, till you make it to some degree, but still at, at the heart of it, you’ve gotta be at peace with who you are. And it’s a lot easier to lean into these challenges that we’re gonna have a as founders and, and um, business leaders. So
Kevin L. Jackson (00:52:04):
Yeah, it’s also good to, to recognize that if you’re an entrepreneur, know one has been there before, that means there isn’t a right and a wrong, right, right. <laugh> right there. Isn’t a right. And a wrong, so
Scott Luton (00:52:17):
You’re so you’re so right. There’s not a, there’s not a book on the shelf in the akin county public collaborate that says how to build, wonder into a global pro you know, global smash. You, you’re making all these big and small, it’s a, it’s a culmination. So I wanna make sure, all right, we’re gonna tackle some big news in just a second, but I wanna kind of flip these next two questions since we’re talking about the wonder the five and one solving the issues, not just at the beach, as Jules mentioned, camping events, tailgating there’s, there’s so many different uses. Where can folks find email@example.com cuz you can purchase the wander from your website, right?
Jules Weldon (00:52:57):
Mm-hmm <affirmative> yep. You sure
Scott Luton (00:52:59):
Can we got beach season coming up? I know it’s just one of many uses, but where else can folks? Cause I think part of the big news is how just how easy it is to find the wander. Right. Jules.
Jules Weldon (00:53:10):
Yeah. Yeah. So, um, we’re on a bunch of dot coms. Um, we’re on Amazon, we’re on huckberry.com doing really well on huckberry.com. We’re in all 14 distribution centers for true value, which is wow.
Kevin L. Jackson (00:53:23):
Jules Weldon (00:53:25):
Um, yeah, it, it is really huge actually. And it’s pretty unheard of that. A big retailer, like that will bring in a new product and a new company in all 14 of their DCS. Typically what happens is you’ll see us really soon on outlets like, um, camping world.com and home.com and lows.com. And all of those are in setup right now. Um, so what these large companies like to do is they like to test it first on the.com to see how it does and if it does well, they’ll bring ’em into their retail locations. True value is different. Um, they said, we love this product so much. And the, the head buyer at national hardware show came by and talked to Stace and he was with another, you know, lower or another buyer, but this was a senior buyer and he said, I want this in true values. And the guy said, okay, I’ll introduce him to the category buyer. And the senior buyer said, Nope, I want, I want to shepherd this. And so he actually shepherded it through is bringing us into all 14 DCS. They’re rolling out marketing for us. They’re really
Scott Luton (00:54:29):
Jules Weldon (00:54:30):
They believe, congratulations gonna be one of their top selling new products this year, um, which is just really thrilling. So, um, definitely they’ll be able to find us in true values. Obviously, certainly coastal, um, stores will we’ll very clearly have it. So we’ll, we’re um, we’re in a bunch of places now we’re gonna be all over really soon,
Scott Luton (00:54:51):
All over, all over, you know, <laugh>
Kevin L. Jackson (00:54:55):
Wonder is everywhere.
Scott Luton (00:54:56):
The wonder is everywhere. And, and Hey, as, um, as, as they were describing the product earlier and I was kind of watching the, the video that’s in their website, Hey, when we, when we land on them, oh, Elon Musk, we’re gonna be there sooner. We’ll have to maybe tap into Kevin’s NASA network. Cause there might be some moon exploration, uh, applications, but kidding aside, Jules and Stacy, it’s remarkable and, and kudos to true value. That’s willing to make those big commitments. But I didn’t know about the, um, although the retail that clearly folks are gonna be able to go to and find
Kevin L. Jackson (00:55:31):
And lows. Right.
Scott Luton (00:55:33):
Jules Weldon (00:55:34):
Yeah. I mean, we’re not set up on them yet, but we’re in the process of making that happen.
Scott Luton (00:55:38):
It’ll be there soon. Great. All right. So we’re talking big, big news and Kevin, you got some big news I’m gonna touch on in a second, but let’s talk reality TV for a second because, uh, America’s big deal. Stacy, tell us about America’s big deal.
Stacey Pierce (00:55:52):
Well, you know, that was so we, um, like I said, Jules and I love building relationships and, and just, just entering, entering in with people and it’s not about what they can do for us. It’s like, how can we all join the together and do things for each other and build each other up in the world that we’re living in now, uh, especially with everything, with manufacturing and supply and demand and logistics and everything. And so, um, we have become just not, not friends, but you know, very close colleagues with some people at the national hardware show and cause we’ve been there and we’ve won awards and, and you know, they like people love award winners. And so it, one of the had people reached out to us, y’all need to out this new TV show coming on next season and, and apply for it. So we did, we’ve looked at it and we’re like, oh my, we need to, we need to be on this show <laugh>. And so we filled out the application and sent it in and, and we didn’t hear anything. And about, I guess about a month or two later, we get a, we get an email and said, we love your product, but it’s too. It is gonna be, we, we are not gonna take it cuz it’s too expensive for the show.
Kevin L. Jackson (00:57:04):
Stacey Pierce (00:57:05):
Wow. Of course Jules and I are. Yeah, we don’t necessarily always take no for an answer. And so we were like, wait a second. This is, there’s gotta be more. So we wrote them and said, we understand why you’re saying no to us, but here’s why you need to say yes. And we went in and we told them our whole story. We told ’em that we sold our home. We’re living in an RV. We sold our home to save our company. We’re living in an RV, we’re traveling, branded RV. And we just told ’em the whole story. And like two weeks later on a Friday night we were mobile Alabama and they called and they said, um, can you fly out on Sunday, uh, to New Jersey and start filming the role for the show? And we’re like, did we make it? And they’re like, oh, we really can’t say yet, but <laugh>, we’re gonna go. We could not fly out then because Sunday was our anniversary. I don’t know why we wanted to celebrate in mobile, Alabama that we there <laugh>, we were there for, we were there for an event. But, and so we, we said we could be there first thing Tuesday morning. And so we flew out, uh, Monday night and, and, and started filming. And uh, yeah, so we got there and if you watched this show, you see that we are, we were the most expensive product on the show <laugh> uh, and, but we won and we, we
Kevin L. Jackson (00:58:17):
Stacey Pierce (00:58:19):
We actually sold out before we even got to pitch. Uh, so that was, that was of a tell, tell sign that people really wanted this product. And, um, and then we, uh, won and got, got the deal with QVC and this show was produced by joy. And I always say her name wrong.
Scott Luton (00:58:41):
Okay. There’s so much there. And, and I know we’re just getting like the reader digest version, but congratulations, America’s big deal. And that was, that was, uh, how, how long ago was that?
Stacey Pierce (00:58:53):
October? End of
Scott Luton (00:58:54):
October. Okay. Uh, so that was the first, it sounds like, or, or an early domino that fell that’s led to all these other dominoes as, uh, the wander takes over the world, uh, IM a bit partial, but it’s awesome. It is awesome to see. All right. So Kevin, speaking of big news, cuz by, you know, America’s big deal, we got the, the dynamic duo here that we, the big deal and then Kevin, you’ve got four days to save the world. Tell us about that
Kevin L. Jackson (00:59:22):
Four. Yeah. Four days to save the world season two premieres on earth, day tomorrow. Um, on all the streaming channels it’s on, uh, apple and Hulu and voodoo and all the <laugh> Amazon prom. Right?
Scott Luton (00:59:41):
So this, so hopefully Kevin, since we’ll publish this, you know, a few days after it goes live, we should be able to add direct, uh, add direct links to the episode or the, um, the season to the episode page.
Kevin L. Jackson (00:59:54):
Yeah. So we’ll add the, uh, link on the, uh, uh, show, um, notes and uh, keep everyone informed on, uh, when I’ll be, uh, on there. The, um, so really look looking, uh, forward to, uh, to that. So season two of four days to save the world and the whole concept is that it’s a, uh, you have a team of 10 business people and they’re given and impossible tasks, but they have to create a business model to solve that impossible task, you know, easy things like eliminate hunger or recreate education or end racism, eliminate homelessness, things like that. <laugh> wow. So, um, it’s, uh, it’s love that you only have four days to do it though. <laugh>
Scott Luton (01:00:49):
You see Kevin laughs at that challenge, Kevin says I’ll do it in two and a half. Yeah. But I look kidding aside, really looking forward to that, Kevin I’ve had the, the honor really of collaborating with you for probably a couple years now. And man, you see with Kevin, you get what you see, you see what you get and, and he’s, you know, you’re doing so much good out in the marketplace, much like, uh, sta and jewels. And those are kind of people that the crazy you can celebrate. And you wanna, you wanna do some of that crazy with him, you know, you wanna get out there
Kevin L. Jackson (01:01:21):
Part of your network, right?
Scott Luton (01:01:23):
That’s right. So looking forward to four days to save the world coming up soon and I’ll have to go back what to find the link, the replay of America’s big deal sta and jewels. We can’t do your podcast justice, but folks can find y’all tell us about, do it in nature.
Kevin L. Jackson (01:01:38):
Do it in nature.
Scott Luton (01:01:40):
I didn’t emphasize, I didn’t emphasize on the wrong sell album.
Kevin L. Jackson (01:01:44):
Jules Weldon (01:01:47):
Yeah, so it’s a, we we’ve done about oh 50 or 60 episodes and who we interview are people who are doing really cool stuff outside. So they’re either, um, they’re either running outdoor gear companies or they are running outdoor nonprofits or they’re extreme athletes. So we’ve had an Olympic medalist on, we’ve had some really cool guests on our show. So yeah. Do it in nature every week. Um, you can find it anywhere. You find podcasts, but really fun. We love doing that.
Scott Luton (01:02:15):
Outstanding. And you have a certain day of the week, you publish all
Jules Weldon (01:02:19):
Yeah. On Wednesdays.
Scott Luton (01:02:20):
Okay. So every Wednesday find it wherever you get your podcast from do it in nature. I say that Kevin nature. Okay. All right. I’ll pass the Kevin test there. Okay. <laugh> so much I, you know, uh, we didn’t even touch on the, the, our whole RV and how that came about Stacy. You just kind of alluded it to it. Man. Talk about, make big, bold bets on yourself, difficult decisions before we, before we ask everybody here, how, how folks can connect with all three. I wanna talk, I wanna touch on this because tell that story, man, what in the world to get to that point and, you know,
Kevin L. Jackson (01:02:57):
Tell, read all Youpreneur becomes very, uh, uh, you know, you, you learn that often.
Jules Weldon (01:03:06):
Yeah. Um, oh, well, I mean, just to the quick of the, of the long and, and painful journey of, of that was in 2020, um, we, um, actually our first manufacturer ended up going silent on us that we assumed they switched to the P P E stuff. And we, we just didn’t even have product. They sent over our, our first, a few products in January, right before everything got shut down and they weren’t right. And we tried to get ’em to fix it and they couldn’t. So we had to fire them. They ended up taking a lot of money from us and never, ever paid us back. And unfortunately we would, we were with someone we thought we trusted on stateside. And so we had to go and find a new manufacturer. So we started getting on every zoom manufacturing call, I mean, cuz then the world shut down at this point and we ended up getting connected to another manufacturer and just, he was, he was a good guy.
Stacey Pierce (01:04:00):
I honestly, he was, he was a, he was a good guy. And we, we did, we trusted him. He ended up getting our first 2,500 units done and went to ship them over and we didn’t have any money to pay him. And so that was completely our fault because for the whole year of 20, 20 Jules and I did over 150 pitches and could not fund any funding, which, which was sad because we knew of a, a local sunglasses company that raised 8 million during 2020. Um, and we couldn’t even get, you know, a dollar, you know, it was really, it was really tough. And, and so Jules had looked at, uh, we looked at each other in December of 2020 and said, how much should we believe in this? And we’re like, absolutely. We’re, we’re already all in. I mean, we’d already closed out 401ks and max, our credit cards, you know, the normal entrepreneur story.
Stacey Pierce (01:04:50):
It’s not anything that’s an anomaly in the entrepreneurial world. And she said, uh, how much do we believe in this? And I was like with everything in every fiber and our being, and she’s like, the only thing we have left is our home. And we knew with the housing market at the time that we had equity in our home. And so we’re like, okay, we got it ready. Didn’t even really put it on the market. Our neighbor bought it for asking price, you know? And, and so we knew that we were gonna have enough money coming in to get our product, um, out of the warehouse in Utah that was hidden. So, uh, every bit of that money went into there. Wasn’t nothing left. That was it all the money from our household went to, to getting our product, to get it out to the market.
Stacey Pierce (01:05:33):
And we were like, okay. And for that moment we were homeless. So we didn’t have anywhere to go. I mean, uh, you know, at 50 years old, didn’t really wanna move back in with mom and dad. And so ju we were so back in Aiken, a friend of ours, my friend of mine, her dad, when I, I remember going in their house when I was six years old, seven years old, and he had this plaque and the, the acronym he used to work for the railroad company is, is you can’t sell freight sitting on your. <laugh>. And I used that and I’ve heard it. I mean, since I was set six or seven years old, it has always resonated in, in me. And we were like, what do we do now? And I was like, can’t sell the freight freight sitting on your.
Stacey Pierce (01:06:14):
So we were like, let’s get an RV. She wanna show em the picture. So we went and financed an RV. It’s not, it’s not a top of the line. So don’t think that we are living high on the hog. And these, these RVs, it is one of the cheapest ones we can find and you can find an RV then. And so we had to go with what we could get and we, uh, wrapped it. So I’ll show you the, in our brand, oh, that’s what we’re living. It looks bigger than it is. It’s 32 feet. And so it is not, not, not huge. Um, so we went to this nice three bedroom house to our little nice little home now of 200 and something square feet, but it’s ours, you know, we’re, and it’s our, it’s our rolling billboard. There’s Q R codes all over it. So we’re riding down the road. We see people snapping it, we’re in RV parks, people are going down and, and, and downloading it. So we are on a big Mar it’s a big marketing road trip for 18 months. I felt like that was the best way that we could get out to the masses. Um, other than sitting in somewhere in Charleston, South Carolina. So now we’ve been on the road for almost a year, uh, in two weeks, it’ll be, or three weeks it’ll be a year. And we’re just literally, um, doing our, our a Rocha.
Kevin L. Jackson (01:07:25):
Scott Luton (01:07:27):
Yeah, it is impressive. And I think that’s the perfect, you know, when I initially asked the question like, man, we should have moved this. I should have moved this up in the interview, but it is, it is a great, it’s actually a great story to wrap on because you bet so big on yourself, you made the tough decision. And, and now going back to that big news, you know, that that lack of support from the investor community, all those challenges you ran into now, you’re starting to ride a wave, a ti of wave that’s growing bigger and bigger and bigger. And I hope y’all had a chance, you know, to kind of, of reflect and say, and, and just kind of all these hundred, how many, how many pitches, again,
Stacey Pierce (01:08:08):
Just in 20, about 150,
Scott Luton (01:08:11):
All at least 150 opportunities that folks had a chance to get involved and support and invest. They missed out. They missed out. They only
Kevin L. Jackson (01:08:20):
Made one. Yes. Right,
Scott Luton (01:08:21):
Right. Just one. Yes.
Kevin L. Jackson (01:08:23):
Scott Luton (01:08:24):
So I really, I, I love what y’all are doing. I know that we didn’t, you know, it’s tough to get everything in, in an hour and maybe a little bit over an hour, but, uh, what to have y’all back on, we’ll do an update show. Let’s maybe look at a live streams y’all interact with, um, our global ecosystem. Yeah. And we, we should say a quick shout out. The, the RV is named after I believe your grandmother, uh, olive, uh, Stacy, right?
Stacey Pierce (01:08:47):
My mom’s mom, your mom’s mom. And I just wanna say, this is not this a, we, we are so thankful that we have the opportunity to do, do this, like to be on the road, to see America. I mean, the, the people we’ve met, the people, the places we’ve seen, we would’ve never had this opportunity. So everything that seems bad has a very good silver lining. This one does because we are given this opportunity that we’ve never had before, or would’ve never had before. Mm-hmm <affirmative>
Scott Luton (01:09:16):
I, you know, I, I can appreciate that, but there’s part of me that wants to poke people in the eyes, you know, the folks that had the opportunity. So I love, but that is a very, a business savvy and mature way of putting it Stacy. And I can, I can really appreciate it, but man, I love this growth y’all on, uh, Kevin, we’re gonna make sure folks when I connect with, with all of y’all, but of you the last word on the story we heard here from Stacy and Jules and the, uh, OMI gear team.
Kevin L. Jackson (01:09:44):
Yeah. Yeah. It emphasizes just about everything we’ve said, you have to believe in yourself, right. And you, you have to leverage your, your network and, and you, you have to just keep, keep pushing, keep pushing. All right.
Scott Luton (01:10:00):
Keep, keep pushing. Okay. Because as Stacy just shared their, their silver lines and you know, their silver linings and all the, uh, the obstacles and it’s all meant to be, and it makes you stronger and, and put you in position to do big things like, uh, uh, Stacy and Jules are up to. So let’s make sure folks not at connect with both of y’all. I start with you Jules. And I really, I tell you I’ve been following y’all’s, uh, story for quite some time. It’s so cool to see, you know, I, I, I knew Stacy much like Kevin, you see, you get what you, you know, you, they are who they are. Right. And Jules, you’re the same, you’re the same person I’ve seen in all social snippets, all the updates. And that is so cool that, that, that, that authenticity is so important. So Jules, how can folks connect with you?
Jules Weldon (01:10:45):
Yeah. Best way is, um, just info O gear.com. We get all those emails. And so in it’s super easy to remember firstname.lastname@example.org and then we’re on every social handle. So, um, I TikTok Facebook where you can find us on any of those. And all of those are linked from our website, which is just, like you said before, OMI gear.com.
Scott Luton (01:11:08):
Awesome. And of course, we’re gonna make it really easy. We’re gonna include all those links in the episode. Page one folks are one click away and you know what, Kevin, uh, just like, we’ve gotta go through Kevin’s agent to book him here. It’s not gonna be long before we have to book go through their agent. Uh, Stacy and Jules. We’ll just add that one more contact, uh, to the episode page. Oh,
Jules Weldon (01:11:25):
You didn’t, you didn’t do that for this show. <laugh>
Scott Luton (01:11:28):
Maybe so, maybe. So did
Kevin L. Jackson (01:11:31):
The friends and family, route
Scott Luton (01:11:32):
Friends and family. Yes.
Kevin L. Jackson (01:11:34):
Scott Luton (01:11:35):
So speaking of friends and family, you know, it is so cool to reconnect with you here, Stacy, same. I mean, you know, nothing’s changed and except the journey you’re on, right. And, and you’re on the precipice, the precipice, right. You’re already coast to coast, you know, and thanks to, uh, our great friends, a true value, but how can folks connect with you Stacy?
Stacey Pierce (01:11:57):
Same way. I mean, right there, info gear.com. Um, actually, and I would like to invite you, your listeners to follow us. If you go to Facebook, if you’re on Facebook, go to OMI gear, insiders group, it’s a private group. That way you can kind of get the, the, before it happens. You can actually, you can go back and you can hear some very raw video. See very raw video of Jules in our down moments. Mm-hmm <affirmative> because entrepreneurship is not all rainbows and puppy tells. And so we, we wanna tell the story as we’re going through it. And so that’s where you can kind of see the behind the scenes and what’s going, what’s going on with the O gear.
Scott Luton (01:12:33):
Yep. Well said there well said every I wish every day was, uh, what did you just say there, Stacy, uh, puppet towels,
Stacey Pierce (01:12:40):
Rainbows and puppy towels,
Scott Luton (01:12:41):
Rainbows and puppy towels. Okay. I new one. I’m gonna add that still up from you.
Jules Weldon (01:12:45):
Scott Luton (01:12:46):
Big. Thanks. Stacy Pierce and Jules Weldon had a blast, but Hey, before y’all go, Kevin man talking about big, big news, digital, just one of your mini ventures is blowing up. So tell us how they connect with you.
Kevin L. Jackson (01:13:00):
So, uh, digital sun, just like the 40,000 plus people that downloaded the show this month, we just went through the group. So thank you. Thank you for the audience. And, and this week, um, we’re gonna have a special guest, uh, the CEO of experts on demand Maron. Brunski, he’s gonna be joining us from Wasaw, Poland on talking about the future of work. He just returned from Kiev and Viv in the Ukraine. And, um, he’s been doing a lot of work with the, uh, refugees. And so he has a lot to share on the future of work globally and within Eastern Europe during a time of war. Mm. So stay tuned in tune for that one, but yeah. So, uh, digital transformers on supply chain now, uh, we’re on, uh, li on Twitter, digital transac, and LinkedIn digital transformers with, uh, Kevin Jackson. And I’m also on all of the channels, Kevin, everywhere.
Scott Luton (01:14:15):
Kevin’s everywhere. Let’s just face it.
Kevin L. Jackson (01:14:17):
Scott Luton (01:14:17):
It’ll be a Mount rush.
Kevin L. Jackson (01:14:19):
Who knows? <laugh>
Scott Luton (01:14:21):
So well, it has been so cool to hang out with all three of y’all Stacy, Stacy Pierce co-founder and, uh, CEO, O O E gear, Jules Weldon co-founder and CEO at O me gear. Make sure y’all check it O me gear.com the wander. It sounds like it’s just gonna be the first hit global product first of minute to come. So thank you, Stacy.
Kevin L. Jackson (01:14:41):
You look that notebook, uh, yes. Notebook. See all those
Scott Luton (01:14:47):
It’s it’s like Willie walk, ISS secret product notebook, all kinds of idea is in there. It is, but thank you so much, Stacy and Jules.
Jules Weldon (01:14:56):
It was our pleasure. Thank you. So you guys, thanks, Kevin.
Scott Luton (01:14:58):
You bet, you bet. And thank you, Kevin L. Jackson, as always y’all check out digital transformers, uh, and of, of course you also appear with us, uh, every third, Monday on the supply chain buzz on Mondays at 12 noon. Eastern sound Eastern to
Kevin L. Jackson (01:15:12):
This past buzz was the bomb man.
Scott Luton (01:15:14):
It was, was very true. It sure was. But to our listeners, hopefully enjoyed this really Frank, uh, authentic chalk full of best practices, and been there, done that experiences, uh, conversations as much as I did be sure to, to connect with Jules and Stacy and Kevin. But most importantly, most importantly, if you up one thing from this conversation today, folks be like Jules, be like Stacy, do good, give forward, be the change that’s needed. And on that note, we’ll see next time, right back here at supply chain now. Thanks everybody.
Thanks for being a part of our supply chain. Now, community check out all of our email@example.com and make sure you subscribe to supply chain. Now anywhere you listen to podcasts and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. See you next time on supply chain. Now.
Stacey Pierce has always had an entrepreneurial mindset, which is evident by the fact that she has been on the ground floor of nine start-ups. When not starting new businesses, she has spent much of her career in the medical field doing occupational therapy and honing her expertise in technology for the aging population. With her experience, she now enjoys helping other business entrepreneurs build strategic plans for growth as the Co-Founder of A Salty Rim. Stacey is also Co-Host of Do It In Nature podcast and the Co-Founder/CEO of https://omegear.com/, where her main focus is head of manufacturing and new product development. In addition, Pierce has co-authored a children’s book called https://rescuedbyrico.com/. Stace’s biggest piece of business advice is that if you want to do something, just do it because she believes that the biggest risks in life are the ones not taken. Connect with Stacey on LinkedIn.
Jules Weldon, Growing up in an entrepreneurial family, Jules got her love for starting businesses honest, but it took her time to dive into the (often) scary waters of entrepreneurship. After college, she worked in leadership with a non-profit organization for ten years, then traveled for a year doing humanitarian work in eleven developing countries. Upon returning stateside, she became a business consultant, ultimately with PWC, prior to starting a consulting firm, A Salty Rim. Jules is the host of the Do It In Nature podcast, where she has conversations with people who are doing really inspirational things connected to the outdoors. In addition, Weldon has co-authored a children’s book called Rescued By Rico. Jules’ main focus these days is her role as the Co-Founder/CEO of an innovative outdoor gear company, OME Gear, with goals of building it into a national household brand. Her biggest piece of advice is to be committed every day to building your network because she believes genuine relationships are everything. Connect with Jules on LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Demo Perez started his career in 1997 in the industry by chance when a relative asked him for help for two just weeks putting together an operation for FedEx Express at the Colon Free Zone, an area where he was never been but accepted the challenge. Worked in all roles possible from a truck driver to currier to a sales representative, helped the brand introduction, market share growth and recognition in the Colon Free Zone, at the end of 1999 had the chance to meet and have a chat with Fred Smith ( FedEx CEO), joined another company in 2018 who took over the FedEx operations as Operations and sales manager, in 2004 accepted the challenge from his company to leave the FedEx operations and business to take over the operation and business of DHL Express, his major competitor and rival so couldn’t say no, by changing completely its operation model in the Free Zone. In 2005 started his first entrepreneurial journey by quitting his job and joining two friends to start a Freight Forwarding company. After 8 months was recruited back by his company LSP with the General Manager role with the challenge of growing the company and make it fully capable warehousing 3PL. By 2009 joined CSCMP and WERC and started his journey of learning and growing his international network and high-level learning. In 2012 for the first time joined a local association ( the Panama Maritime Chamber) and worked in the country’s first Logistics Strategy plan, joined and lead other associations ending as president of the Panama Logistics Council in 2017. By finishing his professional mission at LSP with a company that was 8 times the size it was when accepted the role as GM with so many jobs generated and several young professionals coached, having great financial results, took the decision to move forward and start his own business from scratch by the end of 2019. with a friend and colleague co-founded IPL Group a company that started as a boutique 3PL and now is gearing up for the post-Covid era by moving to the big leagues.
Sales Support Intern
Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.
Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more. In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.
Director of Communications and Executive Producer
Donna Krache is a former CNN executive producer who has won several awards in journalism and communication, including three Peabodys. She has 30 years’ experience in broadcast and digital journalism. She led the first production team at CNN to convert its show to a digital platform. She has authored many articles for CNN and other media outlets. She taught digital journalism at Georgia State University and Arizona State University. Krache holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans. She is a serious sports fan who loves the Braves. She is president of the Dave Krache Foundation. Named in honor of her late husband, this non-profit pays fees for kids who want to play sports but whose parents are facing economic challenges.
Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.
Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.
Host, The Freight Insider
Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey class 2019. Upon graduation, she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and graduated as one of the Top 3 performers of her class in 2020. She also has a multicultural background due to her international academic experiences at Singapore Management University and Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. Sofia self-identifies as a Supply Chain enthusiast & ambassador sharing her passion for the field in her daily life.
Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.
Host, Supply Chain Now
The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.
He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.
A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Adrian Purtill serves as Business Development Manager at Vector Global Logistics, where he consults with importers and exporters in various industries to match their specific shipping requirements with the most effective supply chain solutions. Vector Global Logistics is an asset-free, multi-modal logistics company that provides exceptional sea freight, air freight, truck, rail, general logistic services and consulting for our clients. Our highly trained and professional team is committed to providing creative and effective solutions, always exceeding our customer’s expectations and fostering long-term relationships. With more than 20+ years of experience in both strategy consulting and logistics, Vector Global Logistics is your best choice to proactively minimize costs while having an exceptional service level.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics. He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Nick Roemer has had a very diverse and extensive career within design and sales over the last 15 years stretching from China, Dubai, Germany, Holland, UK, and the USA. In the last 5 years, Nick has developed a hawk's eye for sustainable tech and the human-centric marketing and sales procedures that come with it. With his far-reaching and strong network within the logistics industry, Nick has been able to open new avenues and routes to market within major industries in the USA and the UAE. Nick lives by the ethos, “Give more than you take." His professional mission is to make the logistics industry leaner, cleaner and greener.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.
She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.
An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.
A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.
A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning. He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.
Lori is currently completing a degree in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing at the University of Georgia. When she’s not supporting the marketing efforts at Supply Chain Now, you can find her at music festivals – or working toward her dream goal of a fashion career. Lori is involved in many extracurricular activities and appreciates all the learning experiences UGA has brought her.
Social Media Manager
My name is Chantel King and I am the Social Media Specialist at Supply Chain Now. My job is to make sure our audience is engaged and educated on the abundant amount of information the supply chain industry has to offer.
Social Media and Communications has been my niche ever since I graduated from college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. No, I am not a West Coast girl. I was born and raised in New Jersey, but my travel experience goes way beyond the garden state. My true passion is in creating editorial and graphic content that influences others to be great in whatever industry they are in. I’ve done this by working with lifestyle, financial, and editorial companies by providing resources to enhance their businesses.
Another passion of mine is trying new things. Whether it’s food, an activity, or a sport. I would like to say that I am an adventurous Taurus that never shies away from a new quest or challenge.
Trisha is new to the supply chain industry – but not to podcasting. She’s an experienced podcast manager and virtual assistant who also happens to have 20 years of experience as an elementary school teacher. It’s safe to say, she’s passionate about helping people, and she lives out that passion every day with the Supply Chain Now team, contributing to scheduling and podcast production.
Business Development Manager
Clay is passionate about two things: supply chain and the marketing that goes into it. Recently graduated with a degree in marketing at the University of Georgia, Clay got his start as a journalism major and inaugural member of the Owl’s football team at Kennesaw State University – but quickly saw tremendous opportunity in the Terry College of Business. He’s already putting his education to great use at Supply Chain Now, assisting with everything from sales and brand strategy to media production. Clay has contributed to initiatives such as our leap into video production, the guest blog series, and boosting social media presence, and after nearly two years in Supply Chain Now’s Marketing Department, Clay now heads up partnership and sales initiatives with the help of the rest of the Supply Chain Now sales team.
Vice President, Production
Amanda is a production and marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Amanda currently manages, produces, and develops modern digital content for Supply Chain Now and their clients. Amanda has previously served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah, and founded and managed her own successful digital marketing firm, Magnolia Marketing Group. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now production team, you can find Amanda in the kitchen, reading, listening to podcasts, or enjoying time with family.
Constantine Limberakis is a thought leader in the area of procurement and supply management. He has over 20 years of international experience, playing strategic roles in a wide spectrum of organizations related to analyst advisory, consulting, product marketing, product development, and market research. Throughout his career, he's been passionate about engaging global business leaders and the broader analyst and technology community with strategic content, speaking engagements, podcasts, research, webinars, and industry articles.Constantine holds a BA in History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and an MBA in Finance & Marketing / Masters in Public & International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh.
Host, Veteran Voices
Mary Kate Soliva is a veteran of the US Army and cofounder of the Guam Human Rights Initiative. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.
Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español
Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.
He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.
Host of Digital Transformers
Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog. He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community. Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include Cisco, Microsoft, Citrix and IBM. Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane University, O’Reilly Media, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight. Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Carrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.
Director of Sales
Tyler Ward serves as Supply Chain Now's Director of Sales. Born and raised in Mid-Atlantic, Tyler is a proud graduate of Shippensburg University where he earned his degree in Communications. After college, he made his way to the beautiful state of Oregon, where he now lives with his wife and daughter.
With over a decade of experience in sales, Tyler has a proven track record of exceeding targets and leading high-performing teams. He credits his success to his ability to communicate effectively with customers and team members alike, as well as his strategic thinking and problem-solving skills.
When he's not closing deals, you can find Tyler on the links or cheering on his favorite football and basketball teams. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing pick-up basketball, and traveling back to Ocean City, Maryland, his favorite place!
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring
Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.
Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.
Principal & CMO, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise
When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.
Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.
Founder, CEO, & Host
As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.
From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.