Sackcloth + Ashes produces 14,000 blankets a month using 75-100% recycled materials with a goal of donating 1 million blankets to homeless shelters by 2024. And to think, it all started with one inspirational coffee sleeve. In this classic Logistics with Purpose episode, produced in partnership with Vector Global Logistics, Sackcloth + Ashes Founder and CEO Bob Dalton joins Enrique and Lillian to share the moving story behind his mission-driven company, how he and his team have grown from challenges, advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, how to support nonprofits in your city and so much more.
Enrique Alvarez (00:00:19):
Good afternoon and welcome to another episode of logistics with purpose today, we have an amazing show. Our guest is a founder CEO, published writer, and an overall great person. He’s scaring and he’s inspiring. And we’re going to have, uh, a lot of fun talking to him. And before I introduce you to him, uh, let me just say hi to Mike goes for the day. Liliana Sanchez. Lily, how are you doing today?
Lillian Sanchez (00:00:47):
Thank you. Thank you for having me here. I’m so excited. It’s going to be fun. Isn’t it. I’m
Enrique Alvarez (00:00:54):
Definitely looking forward to this conversation and, uh, in the pre-show, uh, it seems like it’s going to be, it’s going to be a good one. So before I introduce you to our guests for today, let me just remind everyone that if you actually enjoy conversations like this one, if you actually want to follow logistics with purpose and make sure that you don’t miss any one of these episodes, just sign, sign up for supply chain. Now you can get this podcast wherever you get your podcasts from, and you can also go to either our firstname.lastname@example.org, which is by the way, a new website. So I would totally encourage you to do that and visit the new website, uh, or you can also go to a YouTube channel once again, this is logistics with purpose and without further ado, let me introduce you to the CEO and founder of sackcloth and ashes, Bob D’Alton Bob, how are you doing good afternoon.
Bob Dalton (00:01:52):
Doing well. How are you guys?
Enrique Alvarez (00:01:54):
We’re doing great. And we’re so excited to have you here. And, uh, and thank you very much for giving us a time to, to be here. This is again, Lily is, is a bigger fan than I am. Uh, but, uh, but we’re both super excited to, to have you here today. Yeah, thanks for having me. So, Bob, let’s, you start with the, with the beginning, like your journey when you were younger, where that you grew up, grew up, what are some of those kind of first memories that you have kind of growing up that kind of, uh, led to what, where you are now and what you, what you’re doing? Yeah,
Bob Dalton (00:02:27):
So I grew up in a little town, uh, called COOs bay on the Oregon coast and it’s a little fishermen logging town and, um, uh, grew up there. How to honestly, a great time growing up, there were like three, three hours away from any decent shopping. And so we were out in kind of the middle of nowhere, but I grew up right on the ocean. And so, um, you know, I’ve always been connected to the water and to the ocean, um, all growing up and, and still am today. I count, I always, uh, am blown away when I meet people when I’m traveling and they’re from the west coast, but they ended up moving somewhere in the middle of the United States or the east coast. And I’m like, man, I don’t know how you do it. I love, love the west coast. Um, and so grew up right on the water accuse bay and I’m in COOs bay surrounded, uh, by the bay. And it’s just, it’s so beautiful there. I, I have such a special place in my heart for it. Um,
Enrique Alvarez (00:03:28):
Lots of fishing I imagine, and everything that goes with the living next to the
Bob Dalton (00:03:33):
Ocean, a lot of commercial fishing. And so I didn’t actually grow up fishing much, but, um, I grew up maybe a couple blocks away from the ocean and it’s not the glamorous like type of ocean that you go out and swim in all the time. It’s more of a gloomy, uh, kind of rainy, uh, you know, type of ocean where it’s, it’s more majestic than it is, um, tropical, you know, and so, um, you know, my life changed, uh, when I was 17 years old, I started going to an organization called young life and I grew up without a dad. So, uh, the young life is an organization with a team of leaders that develop relationships with kids and mentor them and, um, encourage them and show up in their lives. And so as a 16, 17 year old to have a young life leader come into my life, uh, he was like 35 years old at the time.
Bob Dalton (00:04:28):
His name is Todd tardy and Todd just took me under his wing and just mentored me. And he, Todd was the first person that gave me a glimpse of who I wanted to be in the world. He loved his community. He loved God. He loved his family. He would have me over to his house for dinner. Um, and he’d work out with us after school. He’d go to our games, but he was the first person that I looked at. And I’m like, I want to be like him when I’m older. And as a young man, you know, um, growing up with that dad, that those types of moments are so, um, uh, they shape you, you know? And so that had a huge impact on me. He was the first one to tell me that I am a leader. He’s the first one to give me an opportunity to speak on a stage. And so I look back on that time in my life and I attribute a lot of my, um, fundamental, um, things that I learned as a young man, uh, to those years of being with an under Todd’s leadership. Is
Enrique Alvarez (00:05:31):
There an, other than the, of course, the amazing mentorship that you got and the support and the encouragement and just plainly the, the love that he showed for you. Is there anything in particular that he used to say to you that you remember until today, from those times back then?
Bob Dalton (00:05:48):
Yeah, I mean, um, the most fascinating thing was his life, you know, but the things that he would share, you know, he shared, he talks a lot about Jesus and, um, I grew up in a, I grew up going to a little Baptist church in my community by myself. I started running in the church bus when I was in second grade. And, um, I was always fascinated with God and, um, just kind of the mystery of life, you know, I was a kind of a kid. I remember standing on the, on the corner of my street and just looking up and feeling very connected with, um, whatever’s out there. And Todd was the first one to really talk about God and talk about Jesus in a way that, um, honestly just felt authentic. You know, I sat in a lot of sermons and just, it just felt very preachy and a little bit judgmental.
Bob Dalton (00:06:42):
And, um, but Todd was the first one to tell stories of Jesus that always stuck with me because not only was he talking about, you know, the way in which Jesus loved people or the way that Jesus served, he was living in that life. I mean, I was experiencing that, uh, through his life. And that was, that was an incredibly impactful time, um, in my, uh, development and in just my spirituality of, of really feeling a sense of connection with God in those early years. Um, and Todd helped me explore that and find that, um, and it was done in such an authentic way that you almost felt no disconnect between the spiritual and your normal day life. It was just one in the same, you know, Todd was the one who was like, if you’re walking into a building, make sure you always look back. And if there’s someone behind you, you hold the door open for them, you know, just stuff like that. Yeah. There’s this
Enrique Alvarez (00:07:37):
Little things like that that make like a huge difference. Not only in the way we relate to other human beings, but just, just becoming a better world because it’s, again, just the opening, the doors, the helping people on the streets. And this is a, so tell us, so when would this amazing example you were 17, 18 at the time? What did you want to be back then? I mean, you, you were young and didn’t know exactly, probably what you wanted to do out of, out of life, uh, or, or you had a, you’ve always had a path and a strategy and you kind of are just fulfilling the plan that you had back
Bob Dalton (00:08:10):
Then. I wasn’t, I would say, you know, when I was a child, my uncle would come home and I would build these incredible, I would, they bought me Lincoln logs and my uncle would come home and I would have built like these insane structures and buildings out of Lincoln logs that would just blow his mind. And he always told me like one day you’re going to be an architect. Right. And, um, just with the way that I, I kind of dreamed in, in the design realm to construct things and, uh, that always stuck with me. And, um, when I was in high school, what I was intrigued, not knowing where it could take me or what I could do with it, but I was fascinated with the art form of speaking and just communication in general. And I remember going to a young life banquet where they do like a fundraising banquet and Todd went up and gave a message.
Bob Dalton (00:09:12):
And I sat under a lot of Todd’s teachings every week. And he was one of the best communicators that I’ve still met as of today. And so that helped me really get a glimpse of like, I want to be a powerful communicator and somebody who can stand on a stage and deliver a message through the art form of, of, uh, whatever it might be a sermon or a speech, or, uh, in some sort of specific address, but really having the early confidence. And I started visualizing myself, uh, when I was like 17. I remember I walked everywhere growing up, cause my mom was, it was a single parent home. My mom was waitress and all the time. And so I would walk to school and I, and every time I would be on these long walks, I’d always be visualizing myself, speaking on a stage and, um, really crafting the messages that I would one day give.
Bob Dalton (00:10:07):
And so I thought I was going to be some sort of a speaker. And at the time there wasn’t a lot of options, you know, in COOs bay, I’m looking around and I’m like, if I’m going to be a speaker, uh, really the only option for me is ministry. Right? Cause that’s all that was demonstrated to me at the time. And so I thought I was either going to do young life, work the rest of my life or started church or something, but I just love the art form of speaking. So, um, at 19 years old, I, um, actually at 18 years old, I applied to be a part of a pastor school in Mexico. And last year I got accepted and last minute it fell through and I was about to spend six months in Mexico under like training under a incredible pastor.
Enrique Alvarez (00:10:52):
That would have been, that would have been exciting. Do you speak some Spanish
Bob Dalton (00:10:55):
Or no, not at all. I would have been great. Yeah, it was at an orphanage and it was just basically like, it would have changed the entire trajectory of my life. I think, you know, I would have been a pastor or something. Um, but instead I ended up moving to a small community in Oregon, central Oregon called Monmouth, and they didn’t have a young life there. And because young life had made such an impact on me, I wanted to start a young life. And so I, that’s what I did. I started, uh, forming a team of leaders and formed a committee and braised money and took those leaders into the high school to build relationships with kids. And that eventually built up to having, you know, a hundred, 200 kids every wow, come into young life club and I share messages every week to these kids. And so I got a that’s where I learned a lot of my entrepreneurial skills that are applicable today is I got to learn how to build a team and call people on a mission bigger than themselves and cast a vision for the community. And, you know, I always say young lives not only helped shape me as a young man, but it equipped me to do the work that I’m doing now. And so from 19 to 24 years old, I did that and thought I was going to do that the rest of my life.
Enrique Alvarez (00:12:11):
That’s incredibly powerful and just kind of taking a good idea and the encouragement that you had, and then you went to this new town and they didn’t have some things here, like, well, Hey, I guess I’ll just going to start it myself.
Bob Dalton (00:12:22):
Yeah. And many, many, many nights, you know, standing under the night sky, looking up at the stars and being like, I have no idea what I’m doing, but you know,
Enrique Alvarez (00:12:32):
That’s a, that’s a true calling of an entrepreneur, right. I mean, you’re basically just saying that to yourself almost every day,
Bob Dalton (00:12:39):
For sure. And, you know, I got to experience at a really young age, like saying yes to a vision and stepping out in it and not knowing exactly what it’s going to look like or how it’s going to work, but trusting the process and understanding that it will, if I continue to move forward. And that’s a really powerful thing to experience as a young person, because that cultivated a confidence in me that I felt like I could actually go out and do anything I could start and do anything because that’s what I’ve experienced. And, um, and so that was a crucial, crucial part of my journey of understanding that I can start with absolutely nothing and eventually have like this powerful experience where I look back and after five years of doing young life and Monmouth, you know, hundreds of people have been impacted and, and, uh, I got to be a part of, uh, something really great.
Enrique Alvarez (00:13:31):
That’s incredible. And so uplifting for everyone that’s listening to us. It’s just a, it’s amazing Lily. I think you had a couple of questions as well regarding that part of his life.
Lillian Sanchez (00:13:41):
Yeah. And well, first of all, let me share with you that I’m so excited because I just got my blanket from, from the United States to Mexico and I really, really love it. And well, if you don’t mind, let’s talk about your professional journey. So could you share with us what was a key moment that helped to shape your worldview and led you to create your own organization?
Bob Dalton (00:14:05):
Yeah, so basically right at the tail end of, of young life, you know, I was 24 years old and I wanted to transition out of young life and start, um, I just got tired of fundraising, to be honest with you, the nonprofit world gets pretty exhausting when you’re spending 50% of your time trying to raise funds and you do a lot of asking and I didn’t really like that part of it. Um, and so I was like, you know what, I think I’m going to jump into the business world and give it a shot. And I didn’t, like I said, you know, I had these entrepreneurial skills that I kind of cultivated through young life. I was passionate about being a speaker. Um, but I didn’t want to start a church. And so I was like, I’m just going to dive into a couple of careers and see what could come out of that.
Bob Dalton (00:14:50):
Not really being a guy, I never was really good at school and I never really was good at working for other people, you know, because I just wanted to go and I constantly wanted to innovate and do new things. Um, and if I wasn’t intrigued by something or interested in something, then I become a zombie. And so, um, I just started applying for jobs. And during that, like I applied at like red bull. I applied at Nike, you know, and I didn’t have a degree, but I’m like, these are things that I’m interested in, but not necessarily POS you know, a good qualified fit for, but I was doing it anyway. And in that same time period that transition, my mom ended up going through a series of events and ended up, um, finding herself, living on the streets. And it was through a very, a huge stream of events that I won’t go into huge depth, but she had lost a couple family members and, and, um, you know, really found herself in a really difficult spot.
Bob Dalton (00:15:44):
And so, um, she ended up moving across the United States from Oregon to Florida. She thought her aunt would take her in and didn’t take her in. So she ended up sleeping on beaches and benches, and that completely changed my paradigm of how I view and understand homelessness. Um, because I, I, as passionate as I was about helping people, loving people, you know, serving my community, homelessness was one of those issues that I would drive by people on the street and have very specific biases and judgment toward where my attitude was. You should have worked a little harder or you should have made better decisions with your life. And that was my attitude. And when my mom ended up in that situation and inspired me to actually do something about homelessness, so I started calling homeless shelters in my area to see what they needed. And they said, we need blankets and I’d called the next shelter.
Bob Dalton (00:16:35):
And they said, we need blankets. And I was familiar with the one for one business model that Tom’s pioneered, but prior to sackcloth and ashes, my company, there really wasn’t a one for one model that was helping people domestically. And I thought it would be interesting to evolve the one for one model and make it local since homelessness is such a prevalent issue right here in our own backyards. And so I came up with idea that for every blanket that I’ll sell, I’ll donate a blanket to that person’s local homeless shelter. And, you know, from there had the idea, shared it with a bunch of people. And eventually I drummed up enough confidence to buy a sewing machine and a roll of fabric from Joann’s fabric. And I tried to learn how to sew, and I realized very quickly that I’m horrible at sewing. And then, um, found a sweet little lady in my community named Tammy and Tammy started making blankets for me.
Bob Dalton (00:17:35):
And so, you know, you th I look back on this time in my life, I was transitioning out of home life. I was starting a blanket company. I couldn’t sew. And I had no idea how to run a business or start a business. But what I did have was that mentality of I have started something from absolutely nothing before, and it worked out. So I’m going to do it again. I’ll figure, I’ll figure out the way. And so Tammy starts making me blankets. Blankets are in the back of my trunk. I started hustling up and down the Oregon coast, walking into shops and just being like, Hey, here’s why you need to buy these blankets over the blankets on your shelf. Cause I’m going to drive down to your local homeless shelter and donate all the blankets in my trunk. And I got into 20 shops out of about 200.
Bob Dalton (00:18:21):
And, uh, that really set the precedent of entrepreneurship about one out of every 10 things works out. And it’s that one thing that works out that allows you to get to the next phase and continue on. And so on June 1st, 2014, sackcloth and ashes.com went live. And we had 20 shops up on the website and decent photography. And it totally looked like we knew what we were doing. And, uh, my only business strategy was to post on Instagram once a day, because in 2014, Instagram was kind of at the bottom of the wave. And I started posting on Instagram once a day, cause everybody was right here on their phones. You know, I was like, man, social media is like the new form of television. It’s um, you know, if we can show up where people are looking and where they’re at, we’ll be able to, uh, display and display our product in a creative way that will get people’s attention to want to participate in helping us with our mission. And so it was posting on Instagram once a day. And in November of 2014, five months into it, I got an email from Instagram and they were like, Bob, we love your story. We love what you’re doing. We want to feature you on Instagram’s Instagram account. And I didn’t even know Instagram had an Instagram account. I, I looked it up and they had 42 million followers. And so I was like, that’s incredible. You know, how long do I have to prepare it? How
Enrique Alvarez (00:19:43):
Many followers did you have by then before Instagram made that grand offer? Like
Bob Dalton (00:19:48):
Six to 7,000.
Enrique Alvarez (00:19:51):
That’s impressive though. Right? At the beginning of Instagram, you’re kind of like saw it coming. You started doing it. That’s, that’s an amazing story. And so before you continue with this story, which I’m super excited to hear for all the younger, uh, people out there that are listening to us and they, we have a lot of people that are just recently graduating or they’re still going through the phase of finding out what they want to do. I mean, what would be those like three main things that you would suggest them to do? I mean, what, what are those three main or three-year suggestions about kind of identify, just identifying what they’re good at going after it, things that you have explained to us throughout your life, but what do you think that they, people should do or should have to kind of do things like, like the ones that you’re doing?
Bob Dalton (00:20:33):
Um, the top three, it would be relatively obvious, but start working incredibly hard and don’t give up. Um,
Enrique Alvarez (00:20:46):
That’s it that’s, that’s it and totally. Yeah. And you say it’s obvious and it might be, but it’s just combining those three is hard.
Bob Dalton (00:20:54):
Yeah. It is, you know, um, that, I mean, that’s the entire journey and I’m still on that journey of, you know, working hard and not giving up. And so, um, you know, starting is typically for a lot of people, one of the hardest parts of the journey. Um, so starting, uh, was
Enrique Alvarez (00:21:12):
It, was it for you as well because you made it sound like so efficiently? Um, was it the starting part kind of the hardest part as well?
Bob Dalton (00:21:22):
Uh, yeah, I mean, it was, it was, uh, definitely, I dunno if it’s the hardest part, but it was definitely hard to start. And, uh, the backstory on that is I had the blanket idea for probably four months and all my friends were like telling me that I should, I should pursue it. And, um, well, I, half of them were like, you’re crazy out of your mind. And then half of them were like, you should absolutely go for it. Um, and so I found myself sitting in my car one day and my car was parked, had like a, a little Honda civic, parked it at this, in this parking lot and leaned my seat back all the way. Cause I was really depressed and it felt like the world was caving in on me. Like my mom’s going through a hard time. I have this blanket idea and I’m not doing anything about it and I’m pretty much broke and I’m applying for jobs and nobody’s getting back to me. So it’s kind of like all of those things at once. You know, the walls, the walls are just coming in
Enrique Alvarez (00:22:26):
The perfect storm, kind of closing on you.
Bob Dalton (00:22:29):
And, um, I’m sitting there and my knees are up on my steering wheel and my coffee cup is sitting on my knee and I look up and on the coffee sleeve, it says, what are you waiting for? And I thought it was so bizarre that I took a photo of it. And I was so convinced that I was actually going to start the journey and actually pursue it because I knew once I started, I, I, I’m not, I wouldn’t stop. So I was convinced in that moment that like, not only am I going to begin right now, but I’m going to take a photo of this coffee cup and then I’m going to blow it up on the screen when I get my first Ted talk and I’m going to tell the story that’s about to happen. And I drove straight down to Joann’s fabric and bought the sewing machine from there.
Bob Dalton (00:23:19):
And fast forward, I gave a Ted talk and blew that photo up on a screen. So I feel like, um, you know, starting was not as easy as it might’ve made it sound, you know, I, I, it was a really dark, depressing time in my life and I didn’t really have any other options other than to, to give up in a lot of ways, you know, and to conform to things that I would not enjoy doing. And, um, you know, looking back, I’m like, I was crazy. You know, uh, you know, I don’t know how to, I don’t think I have that kind of faith necessarily that, that I did back then. Like there was a level of digging deep that you have to have to buy a sewing machine and try to learn how to sew blankets and think you’re starting a blanket business. Um, it’s, it’s pretty insane. I’m actually shocked by my own self, looking back at the old me and being like that.
Enrique Alvarez (00:24:24):
So you have become a little bit less risk averse is what you’re saying. It’s kind of a, you have grown and I know we’ll go back to the story. I didn’t mean to interrupt you, but, but do you think that you’re now actually a bit more risk averse or less risk averse than before?
Bob Dalton (00:24:37):
Uh, I think I have to be in summary. Um, I just have, you know, back then it was, I was responsible for me and my wife. You know, now we have 22 team members and launching other projects and a lot more resources coming through the brand. And then there’s a level of, you know, I’m still risky as hell and a gambler at heart, but now we’re entering into deeper waters where we have to have, you know, an infrastructure built under us in order to sustain longterm. No,
Enrique Alvarez (00:25:13):
And your story is incredible. And so for people listening again, three simple steps, right? It’s just start the it start work
Bob Dalton (00:25:22):
Hard and don’t give up,
Enrique Alvarez (00:25:26):
Never give up. That’s incredible.
Bob Dalton (00:25:28):
I do want to say this too, about the starting aspect of it is why people struggle with starting so much is because things change very, very quickly and the things in what you have in your mind of how things are going to be. Once you start, are going to rapidly change and you have to be okay with that. And the best analogy that I give on that note is one of my favorite artists is, um, Stedman. And he throws paint on a canvas and he never knows what he’s going to create. He just throws paint on a canvas, like really aggressively. And until he sees it and he goes, you know, it takes a pencil and he’s like, oh, that’s a horse, you know, but he doesn’t, you know, he doesn’t know what the Dow outcome’s going to be. He just knows that he’s can, he is, um, committing to the process of creating something new and the outcome will come. The outcome will come. And it’s your job to steward the process of it and possibly guide the outcome and to identify what that outcome is going to be. But your job is not to control it a hundred percent all the way through, or you will get tired and you will give up makes
Enrique Alvarez (00:26:57):
Sense. And now going back to your initial story, so you got that you had at least 6,000 followers on Instagram. You get an email from Instagram out of the blue and all of a sudden they open up the door to 42 million followers is what you said they had.
Bob Dalton (00:27:13):
Yeah. I emailed them back. I was like, Hey, how long do I have to prepare for something like this? They’re like, we’re posting about you tomorrow.
Enrique Alvarez (00:27:20):
Well, what’s the ask though. I mean, they were going to feature you, which meant what an interview or
Bob Dalton (00:27:25):
They basically, they did like a, a one to two paragraph. Write-up about the founding story of starting this blanket company because my mom ended up on the streets and, um, yeah, they posted it on the day before black Friday and it got like 450,000 likes. And we grew like 20,000 followers overnight. And then from that point on, I just took a huge interest in social media and really saw like, there’s something to this on a really deep level. And we have a really unique opportunity because we just got this like global exposure. And so I started contacting and we were being contacted a lot, obviously like with that kind of exposure, we had photographers all around the world, contacting us, saying, Hey, we want to work with you. And so I picked up on that really quick, like this was before influencer marketing, you know, like there was no influencers, it was just a bunch of random photographers that got hundreds of thousands of followers.
Bob Dalton (00:28:27):
Um, and so I would be like, Hey, can we send you a blanket and pay you to take some images of our product in some of the most beautiful places in the world and then post one of those photos through your feed. And so that’s how I grew the brand for the first four years, we sold a hundred percent of our product. Uh, probably like 90 to 95% of our product was sold through Instagram alone before Instagram even had a shopping feature. People were just clicking on the link in our bio and never sold into shops. Never, never had still today. I’ve never done any SEO marketing, um, no Facebook or Instagram ads. Um, like this was a hundred percent getting other people to represent and talk about our company made us a relevant, cool company on the, on the come up. And so that’s incredible.
Bob Dalton (00:29:24):
Yeah. So then by 2018, we had about a million people following our brand from all different platforms, you know, um, cause then the, uh, exposure from Instagram, it allowed us to build a Facebook following a lot of stuff, build an email list. Um, and you have all these other platforms, you know, and, and the influencers I worked with over 200 influencers at one time, um, and was really one of the, not only the first brands to start working with them, but also just helping them walk through the process of how to negotiate, you know, their rates and you know, what they should charge. And I tried to be really fair to the market value. There was no market value. It was like, you know, they’ll, there’ll be like, Hey, I’ll charge you a thousand dollars. And I was like, actually it’s closer to 500, you know, um, based on me working with 100 w this is kind of the consistent average.
Bob Dalton (00:30:20):
And then I try to stay fair to that. If somebody said 500 and I was like, actually it’s closer to a thousand, you know, uh, try to stay narrative that market value of what was being created now it’s completely different game, completely overpriced, um, completely over-saturated. And we’re not as involved as we used to be with influencers, but I’m still valuable. You know, if I was building a brand from, from nothing right now, I pursue it, but it’s just a more expensive route. Um, and so, yeah, so 2018, we had about a million people following the brand from all of our platforms. And that’s where we decided to launch our first major campaign called blanket, the United States, where our goal is
Enrique Alvarez (00:31:04):
Before you tell you, tell us a little more about blanket the U S um, where were you manufacturing all your products? Uh, about that time, it was still everything done in the same, uh, same town, the same people that you knew once before, because I’m guessing you must have been, the denial kind of went through the roof after that. And probably there was some issues on the supply chain side of things, which is something our listeners are super interested in learning about us. Well, yeah,
Bob Dalton (00:31:31):
It’s a fascinating part of the journey. You know, uh, Tammy only could make so many blankets for us, but, um, I
Enrique Alvarez (00:31:38):
Was going to say, Tommy is probably not going to be able to keep up with the man after that, uh, Instagram posts.
Bob Dalton (00:31:44):
Yeah, it was right after we got featured from Instagram that we were forced to start looking into other options. And so I flew down to Los Angeles and went to the fashion district because of that. I thought that that sounded really nice, but the fashion district is kind of a dirty hellhole. Um, and people are like slinging fabrics off the street. And, you know, I thought I would get stabbed at like three times. And so it’s not as glamorous as glamorous as I thought it would be. You know, I was like, I’m going to go to the fashion district, find some fabric and come home with some solutions. And that’s not the case. I ended up digging in some really dirty, giant warehouses of fabric. None of them worked out and I was just really discouraged. And then I came across one of my friend’s companies that was selling, um, a certain product that had, um, on the inside of product.
Bob Dalton (00:32:39):
He had this like nice wool blend product. I was like, I was like, yo, where’d you get this fabric? You know, I was just so in tune with fabrics and he goes, I have a manufacturer in Italy. And, um, and so for the last five years I’ve been working with Italians, um, and making product in Florence, Italy, and they’ve been incredible to do business with, uh, they have an insane ability to scale with us over the next, uh, few years. And, um, they’ve been a great partner, but now we make all of our fabric influence Italy made from a hundred percent or 75% to a hundred percent recycled materials. So literally like t-shirts and sweatshirts actually get, they get put into a grinder and turned into yarn. And that’s what we actually make our blankets out of. Um, so 75% to a hundred percent recycled materials turned into fabric.
Bob Dalton (00:33:38):
And then that fabric gets sent to our production hub in Oregon. And that’s where we produce best where we cut. So, and we do all of our fulfillment in house and we fought really, really hard to keep all of the logistics, um, from the time that we receive our fabric, keep everything in house if possible. Um, it just gave us more control and it gave us a lot more agility. It was not the most affordable route, but in the long run, we are going to be a very agile brand for the size that we’re going to be. And so now we’re producing about 14,000 blankets every month. And, um, we are, uh, looking to jump to that next level of production to probably be about 21,000 blankets a month here and the next three to six months. And, uh, we’re moving into a 27,000 square foot space, um, by September, uh, that’s going to allow us to scale for the next few years until we source our second hub, which will be in Nashville.
Enrique Alvarez (00:34:48):
Well, we’re at the locations. I mean, it sounds incredible. And the growth has been exponential to say the least, and for everyone out there, that’s listening to this interesting conversation, um, with Bob, um, your, your designs are beautiful. I mean, the pattern of the blankets and all that. I mean, I it’s, uh, Lily, you can probably talk a little bit more about that. So go ahead. If you want to ask the next question as well and, and take it from here, but I know you’re a big fan, so you must be kind of wanting to comment on the colors on the patents and everything they’re doing.
Lillian Sanchez (00:35:23):
Yeah. Well, I just have another question. Uh, can you tell us about some of your milestone and what accomplishment are you most proud of today?
Bob Dalton (00:35:33):
Yeah, I’m a hands down my team. I, uh, I, I attributed the success of what we’ve been able to do to my team a hundred percent, I think, um, you know, in relation to you kind of your thought on the designs of the blankets, like my team has worked really hard. We started with, um, um, uh, like native inspired designs that, that were very, um, we just thought were just, they were really cool. Um, that was literally, uh, the most that we thought about those designs. We just thought they were cool and they, we kind of preselected them for Italy. They were pre-created designs. And we were just, we were selling blankets, you know, so fast and, and we were just picking out relevant designs that we thought would be cool to sell to our audience. And so we started selling native inspired designs for the first, like two years or two, two to three years.
Bob Dalton (00:36:30):
Um, and then through conversations with native American, um, I, we realized that we were culturally appropriating through those designs and it made me do a really huge deep dive on what our strategy is moving forward and cultural appropriation and the way that I would personally define it is not just, you know, we weren’t caught, we weren’t infringing on copyright with these designs. We weren’t stealing these designs from tribes. Um, we were simply using this, these designs that were happened to be native inspired and cultural appropriation is not necessarily stealing something from school. Um, but being possibly be taking away opportunity that someone else could have. And that’s where we arrived with discontinuing all of our native animals, our designs, um, in 2019, 2020. And it was a big decision for us because about eight out of our 10 bestselling blankets for all native inspired products.
Bob Dalton (00:37:39):
And, you know, when we had really, really deep conversations with our team about how this could potentially affect our brand from a sales standpoint, we felt like it was the right decision moving forward. And that’s really the lane that I wanted to stay in with making that decision is we didn’t discontinue our native inspired designs to, um, receive a pat on the back or receive a reward. And we didn’t discontinue those designs to avoid punishment. Uh, we made that decision because we believe that that was the right decision to make moving forward. And that was a really big, uh, part of our journey as a brand. And so on that note, my team had worked incredibly hard to, um, now not only partner with native artists, which we have partnered with thunder voice Eagle, and we have a coming out soon, um, in July with another native artist and a hundred percent of the profits from both of those collections are given to organizations that are specifically native run and helping native people. And, um, my team has worked hard not only to form relationships with native artists moving forward, but also to, to design incredible designed product that are 100% internally created now and, um, and selling really well. And we have not only not seen a dip in sales, but we’ve seen a hundred percent increase in sales by making the right decision and working incredibly hard to innovate from a, um, an internal standpoint,
Enrique Alvarez (00:39:23):
I believe, uh, very personally and passionately that at least this days like, uh, the consumers are much, much better educated when it comes to things like this. And of course, making their decision, uh, us of whom to follow whom to buy from. If you have a company that’s sustainable responsible, and you’re supporting great causes like homelessness, and, uh, then you are giving back to native, uh, the native Casas and all that. I mean, just, it’s amazing. I probably probably wasn’t like that a couple of years ago, maybe 10 years ago, but I feel like the new generations are being a bit more educated in the way they spend their money.
Bob Dalton (00:40:02):
Yeah, definitely. Um, you know, you definitely have a younger generation that’s paying way more attention and, you know, like I said, we didn’t make the decision to avoid punishment from that generation. Um, which was a really powerful discovery in my journey is, is you should never make decisions to avoid punishment or to receive a reward, but make your decisions based on doing what’s right moving forward. And that was a big part of our journey and a huge awakening for myself of, of how we should be going about business in a very ethical way, but in a very appropriate way as well. No,
Enrique Alvarez (00:40:40):
That’s remarkable. And I’m sure that that’s going to, uh, resonate a lot with, uh, with business owners and people listening to this podcast. So thank you very much for, for sharing your experience and sharing that with us and going back to the campaign that you launched blanket, uh, the U S right. How did that campaign come about and what, what is it, and what do you want the listeners to, to take out of that campaign that you launched? You said in 20, 19, 20 19?
Bob Dalton (00:41:09):
Yeah. Um, 2018, actually, it was, uh, it was June 1st, 2018 is when we launched it was our four year anniversary. And yeah, we were just in a place where sackcloth was there really like we were, you know, they say, if you make it three years as a startup, you know, as long as the miracle, it’s like 80% of startups fail before three years. So we, we through three years and I was cocky about it, you know, and then for years, Hey, and I thought we were going under it. And so I, for us, it was the fourth. What
Enrique Alvarez (00:41:44):
Were, what were the big challenges back then and why, why did you kind of, so whether you change your, I had, yeah,
Bob Dalton (00:41:52):
I had a buyout, a business partner that got involved really, really early on like month, one of the brand. And, um, and yeah, fast forward a couple of years in sackcloth starts to take off and he starts to get into a financial, you know, situation himself. Uh, it put a lot of pressure on the company, put a lot of pressure on me and, you know, for himself being a non contributor in the Virgin at, by any means other than a very small initial investment, um, it almost completely, he almost completely tanked the company. And, uh, we held on for dear life and we fought and we fought and we fought. And, um, and so we bought him out on May 1st, 2018, and that’s when we were free. That’s when we were fully set free as a company. And we retained a hundred percent of the company and since then have had no investors.
Bob Dalton (00:42:55):
Um, so we still retain a hundred percent of the company, me and, um, two other people that I gave equity to based on the longevity of them being involved in the company. And, uh, so we’re still a hundred percent free. And, um, but May 1st, 2018, we bought him out June 1st, 2018. One month later, it was our four year anniversary. We have this huge following little to no resources. And we’re like, you know what, let’s launch a campaign called blankets. The United States actually originally we were going to call it blanket America. And, um, I reached out to this guy who had blanket blanket, america.com. And he did a kind of a similar thing back like 2013. And, um, wasn’t using the website. It was a completely dead, you know, domain. And he had it trademarked as well. So I offered him, I offered to buy it from him and, and he was just showed absolutely no interest in allowing me to do that.
Bob Dalton (00:43:59):
So I called it blanket the United States and trademark that instead. And, um, that’s what we actually liked blanket the United States better now in 2021. Um, and, uh, not using the word America as much. And so, um, I just love the, the United States. I think it’s a powerful, um, the word United is what we need right now. And, um, and so blanket, the United States felt like the appropriate name at the time. And our, we originally was like, Hey, let’s donate 250,000 blankets. Cause that seemed like a lot at the time. And they were like, nah, let’s do something a little bit more, you know, 500,000, like it’s. And then we got to the point where we were like, you know what F it let’s do a million round it up. Yeah. It’s a better story. It’s nearly impossible. Um, if we do achieve it, it will go down as a, an increment. You
Enrique Alvarez (00:44:57):
Will achieve it. It’s a matter of when not.
Bob Dalton (00:45:01):
And so when we set the goal of 2014 and, um, that’s our T 2014 is our ten-year anniversary. So that’s our goal is to donate a million blankets by 2025. Where are you guys know about a quarter million?
Enrique Alvarez (00:45:14):
That’s awesome. That’s just unbelievable. It’s such a great story. And
Bob Dalton (00:45:18):
We’re hitting that tipping point. I actually, as of this last month, um, really started to see the forecast of like, we’re going to hit a million blankets for sure. Um, just based on some of our national partners now. So when we launched blanket, the United States, it opened up the door for us to partner with companies that are interested in giving blankets as gifts to their employees or their customers. And when they, you know, sell a house or sell a car or do a mortgage or whatever that is, they give a blanket as a gift. A blanket is the perfect gift. Um, and so within a week of launching the campaign, we partnered with Subaru in Oregon, they bought 2,500 blankets. And for every super that they sold, they gave a blanket as a gift, and we donated 2,500 blankets to homeless shelters in Oregon. Shortly after that, a company bought 5,000, then a cost plus world market bought 15,000 and then companies now all around the United States are opting in to help blanket the United States.
Bob Dalton (00:46:23):
And, uh, as of this last month, we went into a national partnership with, uh, KB home. They’re a national home builder. And every home that they build, they’re going to give a blanket as a gift. And we’re donating over 10,000 blankets to shelters because of them. Uh, in this last year, we went into a partnership with Churchill mortgage that bought 20,000 blankets. And for every mortgage they do, they give a blanket as a gift. And then, uh, this last month we landed a partnership, a national partnership with REI and REI is now going to be selling our blankets in all of their REI locations, starting in fall. Um,
Enrique Alvarez (00:47:03):
Oh, congratulations. That’s uh, I love that store. I don’t, I don’t like shopping, but how are you? Hi, I particularly like so congratulations
Bob Dalton (00:47:11):
For all those successes. Yeah. They’re all really exciting. And we’re excited to come out publicly with a lot of those partnerships, um, you know, closer to fall and they start launching and we have our biggest contract, um, that I’m most proud about. Um, uh, we signed on April 1st, 2021, and I can not say what that is yet.
Enrique Alvarez (00:47:37):
Um, we’ll wait, we’ll wait anxiously, but
Bob Dalton (00:47:39):
It is the best partnership that we could have formed. Um, and it’s the biggest,
Enrique Alvarez (00:47:48):
We’re again, we’re excited for you guys. It sounds like you’re doing an amazing job in what you do and you’re changing the lives of so many people. And as you said, right, just the blanket is a perfect gift. And if you can actually give something, that’s you so meaningful for so many different ways and reasons. And then at the same time, you’ll be not only saving the planet because you’re a hundred percent, 75 to a hundred percent sustainable and you’re responsible and you’re supporting the homeless. It’s just, it’s a no brainer. I mean, why wouldn’t anyone kind of give a, give a blanket? How can people that are listening to you now participate in this, uh, people that maybe having smaller businesses and things like that, that they see and hear this. And they’re like, well, maybe, maybe we should start gifting blankets or, or changing some of, uh, the, the promotional materials that most companies usually give out, uh, for something more meaningful, like, uh, like your blankets. Yeah.
Bob Dalton (00:48:43):
From the practical side. Um, you know, obviously when you buy, he donated, we’d donate a blanket here, a homeless shelter in your local community. So we’re actually providing a blanket down the street from where you live to a shelter, but the blankets themselves come in a box and, um, the box says blanket, the United States on it. And when you open it up, it shows you a map of the United States that has dots all over it. That shows you all the homeless shelters we give to. But when you pull your blanket out of the box, on the bottom of the inside of the box, it says, take it a step further placed the following items in this box and donate to your local shelter. And we have like lip balm, water bottle socks. And so you can actually use the packaging in which the blankets come in to fill it up with items for people in need, and then go and deliver it to somebody on a street corner or at a homeless shelter.
Bob Dalton (00:49:37):
And that’s something that we don’t necessarily promote through our platform, but it’s something that I like to add an element of surprise for somebody who receives a blanket, um, that they purchased, or as a gift that they’re, face-to-face with the realities of, uh, of the opportunity to be able to do something on a really personal level that really nobody’s going to see if you do fill the box stuff, nobody’s going to see it. If you don’t fill the box up, nobody’s going to see it, that’s up to you. And I, it’s almost a, um, what I would like to consider performance art, um, in that it allows people to challenge the way that they think about this particular issue based on their willingness or unwillingness to provide resources in a really practical way through a vessel of, of this box. Um, and it’s not to shame anybody or guilt anybody.
Bob Dalton (00:50:29):
Um, but it’s more of a, a opportunity if somebody wants to take it a step further. So that’s the practice practicalities. I don’t say that to so you can buy our blankets. Um, we’re actually completely sold out and, um, you can only buy blankets right now on back order anyways. So this is not a, a sales pitch, um, but that is the practical aspect of supporting the company and the mission, um, and, uh, your local homeless shelter. And then beyond that, you know, apart from sackcloth and ashes and the product itself is just, you know, look, people knives when you drive by them on the street. You know, I, I think a lot of us are what I would consider Greenlight racers, which is we’re trying to hit the green light. So we don’t have to stop and be faced with the realities that exist in our society.
Bob Dalton (00:51:21):
Um, you know, which is just people that have come to a place in their life where they’re having to stand and hold a sign and ask for help. And, uh, most, most of the time I don’t have anything to give them. Um, but to simply look them in the eyes and, you know, nod my head and acknowledge them, it goes a long way, you know? And I think that that is the start of actually making a difference is acknowledging that these people are people, they’re people with real stories, you know, that have gone through a series of events in their life to cause them to arrive in that situation. And we all go through difficult circumstances, you know, it’s, it’s not a,
Enrique Alvarez (00:52:01):
And it could be anyone, right. So it could be, it could be anyone it’s not kind of a cause. Cause what you said a couple of minutes ago about like, well, you always have this preconceived notion that well it’s because they didn’t work hard or they didn’t want things harder. It just has absolutely nothing to do with that. Like the system, sometimes it’s just not in line and doesn’t really help them much either to kind of go out, uh, come out of the situation and we have to be impact the impact for that. And know, as you said, just look people in the eye and, and try to lend when someone a hand
Bob Dalton (00:52:36):
For sure. You know, and, and, um, you know, my advice for people that want to the number one question I get asked typically at events and in different places I’m sharing that is where do I start? You know, like what do I do? Um, number one, don’t give out of guilt. Number one, when you get out of guilt, you really want to curse the gift. Um, that’s a personal opinion, but I believe you curse the gift and it’s not good for you. And it’s not really good for the person that you’re giving to, to you’re kind of giving in with a negative energy. Um, number two is if you see a need and you have the ability to meet that need, then meet the need. Number three is if you see a need and you can’t meet that need find somebody who can and build a bridge. And I would say that over 90% of my entire journey is not me meeting direct needs and carrying the weight of every need that I see, I feel obligated to meet, but it’s me stepping up and having the opportunity to be a bridge builder and actually make connections, um, to be able to meet needs that I absolutely can’t meet, but know somebody who can meet that need. And we all have an opportunity to either meet a need or be a bridge builder. And I think we need more bridge builders in society right now,
Enrique Alvarez (00:54:08):
Nicely said. And I couldn’t agree with you more, Lily, I think you were talking about goals and you wanted to talk about the future, uh, the future of, uh, sackcloth and ashes and some of their, uh, future projects that they have.
Lillian Sanchez (00:54:22):
Yeah. Well, we know that you have a goal of donating one medium blankets to homeless shelter by 2024. Uh, what are your organization’s role for these year to help you to get there?
Bob Dalton (00:54:35):
What are the organizations that are going to help us get there? Yeah, yeah. So, um, you know, our current partners, like I mentioned is, you know, Churchill, mortgage, KB, home, uh, REI cost plus world market. Like these are powerhouse national companies, very well-respected. And those are the types of national partners that we want to partner with is well respected organizations that not only care about helping people in their communities they’ll care about every aspect of business from a sustainability standpoint, from a giveback standpoint, from a, uh, a team member standpoint, um, we want to align in our values, not just our mission and, and that’s really important to us.
Enrique Alvarez (00:55:19):
Thank you. And, um, so Bob, I mean, I feel like we could probably continue talking for another four or five hours, but, uh, but I think we appreciate this. It’s been very powerful, very insightful. And, uh, before we kind of let you go, cause I know that you’re an incredibly busy man, um, on building bridges, uh, I’ll send a couple of emails out there after the conversation. Uh, I know I’ve had the opportunity to meet Terrence Leicester, uh, loft beyond walls, but, uh, there’s a couple of, uh, people that might potentially be helpful. And so I’ll do that after this, but where, how can our listeners connect with you and, and w and what would you advise those listeners to do when it comes to, uh, not only helping others, but just facing, uh, some of the challenges that we faced because of the pandemic? I mean, what was the pandemic for you and your team and the organization? Um, what can we do to kind of like, come out of that, which I’m hoping it will happen soon.
Bob Dalton (00:56:19):
Yeah, absolutely. Um, you know, through the pandemic know, I was like everybody else in the early stages freaked out and not knowing exactly what it was going to mean, not just for business, but like, are we going to, you know, are we going to survive this thing? What is going to know? What um, what it actually entailed. And so after I got kind of through the fear factor of it, um, I started asking the question, what can we do and how can we help, you know, how can we be contributors in this time? You know, sackcloth and ashes exists for times like that, you know, of being able to step up and help people that are affected by traumatic, difficult circumstances in their lives that find themselves living on the streets. And, you know, with the pandemic, it’s definitely increased in spiked homelessness overall, and in general.
Bob Dalton (00:57:05):
And so as a company, it was like, this is not a time to be fearful. This is a time to step up and lead and ask the questions. What can we do? And how can we help? How can we be a true contributor? And, um, I started emailing different leaders and people that I’m connected to and just saying, Hey, look, I know I’m a small fish. Um, and that sackcloth is a very small company in comparison to yours, but let me know if there’s anything that I could do to help, uh, serve you and, and contribute to you in this time. And I got a call from the CEO of world market, like two days later, and he’s like, Hey, Bob, uh, actually there is something you can do. I know you work with over 500 homeless shelters and programs in the United States. We’re about to shut down our world market locations for the next foreseeable future. Um, we have a ton of excess food and Easter supplies. Can you send me over your database of programs? We’re going to mobilize the food and the Easter supplies to people and programs and need. And so within about 48 hours, my team got them our entire database and list, uh, to all their store managers. And, um, that’s when I realized we can do something and we can be contributors and we can be bridge builders. You know, that
Enrique Alvarez (00:58:19):
Was, that was a huge bridge you build there and I’m sure that it changed the lives of a lot of people. Thanks to that email and your proactive approach towards say, how
Bob Dalton (00:58:29):
Can we help 100%? And that, that really sparked the vision for me, that I feel like I, um, I’m going to dedicate the rest of my life to, and it’s the foundation that we’re launching in around October of this year. And the foundation is called love your city. And it will be a website, love your city.org. And you’re going to be able to type in your address. And we’re going to show you the grassroot organizations in your community and how you can immediately take action, um, by donating money and filling out a volunteer form that gets sent directly to that organization. And so, um, it’s basically what we experienced with that world market situation, but going to be done for the everyday person that says, you know what, I want to make a difference, but I don’t know where to start love. Your city.org will be a national resource and tool for anybody that wants to participate and make a difference on a level. And, uh, maybe we’ll have a follow up podcast at that point.
Enrique Alvarez (00:59:26):
You would always be invited and yes, we should definitely have at least one more. I mean, we’d love to, we’ll love to continue this conversation and dialogue with a CEO and founder of sackcloth and ashes, Bob Dalton. It’s been, it’s been a pleasure. Uh, if you guys enjoy this conversation, as much as we did, please, don’t forget to sign up for supply chain. Now, this is your episode, your series logistics with purpose. And once again, Bob, it has been a terrific conversation with you. Thank you. Thank you so much for sharing your life story
Lillian Sanchez (01:00:00):
And thank you for sharing revelations, you guys
Bob Dalton (01:00:03):
For having me and, uh, appreciate it.
Bob Dalton is the founder and CEO of Sackcloth & Ashes, a mission-driven company that gives a blanket to a local homeless shelter for each one purchased. Dalton was inspired to start up the business when his hard-working mother was experiencing homelessness, a situation that would forever change his perceptions of people living on the streets. Dalton launched sackclothandashes.com in June 2014, building a strong social media presence and following for the next four years, ensuring that consumers were tuned in and ready to listen to the bigger message to come. In 2018, Dalton and Sackcloth & Ashes launched Blanket the United States, a campaign with the goal of donating one million blankets to homeless shelters by 2024. The initiative engages individual consumers, corporate customers, and nonprofit organizations in addressing one basic need of those without a place to call home: the warmth and comfort of a blanket. Dalton travels the United States campaigning to bring awareness and resources to organizations that are creating solutions for homelessness, speaking at events on the topics of entrepreneurship and societal solutions, and participating in Blanket Drops to distribute Sackcloth & Ashes donations personally to shelters in need. In 2020, Dalton collaborated with Scotland artist Ritchie Collins to create a vibrant, beautifully illustrated book, Everyone Is Someone. In rhyme, the book aims to teach children that we are all more similar than we are different and that everyone, everywhere, is someone. Dalton seeks to promote a world that focuses less on labels and instead highlights our common humanity. Connect with Bob on LinkedIn.
Liliana Sanchez is originally from Mexico and she studied Administration and International Business at Universidad Panamericana. She has been working in Vector since 2015 and she is confident that Vector can make a good impact in the world delivering value to their customers with Vector’s unique culture. She thinks the solid and strategic relationships will strengthen the company in two key ways: performance and dedication. Liliana loves to know different cultures and travel around the world.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Principal, 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.
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.
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!
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.
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 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, 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.
Jeff Miller is the host of Supply Chain Now’s Supply Chain is the Business. Jeff is a digital business transformation and supply chain advisor with deep expertise in Industry 4.0, ERP, PLM, SCM, IoT, AR and related technologies. Through more than 25 years of industry and consulting experience, he has worked with many of the world’s leading product and service companies to achieve their strategic business and supply chain goals, creating durable business value for organizations at the forefront of technology and business practices. Jeff is the managing director for North America at Transition Technologies PSC, a global solution integrator, and the founder and managing principal of BTV Advisors, a firm that helps companies secure business transformation value from digital supply chain technologies and their breakthrough capabilities.
Chief Marketing Officer
Amanda is a marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In 2016, Amanda founded and grew the Magnolia Marketing Group into a successful digital media firm, and now she develops modern marketing strategies, social campaigns, innovative operational processes, and implements creative content initiatives for Supply Chain Now. But that’s just the beginning of her supply chain impact. Amanda also served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah for several years, and is the face behind the scenes welcoming you to every Supply Chain Now livestream! She was also recently selected as one of the Top 100 Women in Supply Chain by Supply Chain Digest and IBM. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now marketing team, you can find Amanda with her and her husband Scott’s three kids, in the kitchen cooking, or reading.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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, 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.
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, 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.
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
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.
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.