Gearing up for greatness in 2023? Tune in to hear some expert tips of the trade from OME Gear Founders Stacey Pierce and Jules Weldon. In this episode, they team up with Scott to share their reflections on developing, launching and scaling a successful product (The Wanderr®). Find out their top advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, from going all in to learning to out-give, along with predictions and plans for the year ahead. There may even be bonus advice…
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Scott Luton (00:32):
Hey, good morning everybody. Scott Luton here with you on Supply Chain. Now welcome to today’s episode. On today’s episode, welcoming a couple of dear friends, fellow founders, repeat guests to the show with the explosion of supply chain startups, including some folks may be listening to us right now, we’re gonna be gleaning critical insights from our guest entrepreneurial journey. So, with that said, I wanna welcome in Stacey Pierce and Jules Weldon with OMI gear, creators of the evermore popular the Wanderer. Stacey, how you doing?
Stacey Pierce (01:01):
Yeah, I’m doing great. Thanks Scott
Scott Luton (01:04):
And Jules, how are you doing?
Jules Weldon (01:05):
Doing good. I’m fighting a little bit of the crud that’s going around <laugh>, but other than that, I’m doing great. And I appreciate that introduction that ever popular or ever, ever <laugh> ever
Scott Luton (01:18):
More ever more popular, I think. But hey, I, I’m not, uh, I’ve been, of course, I was, I was, uh, delighted to check back in kind of directly when y’all appeared with us last time in that episode we published, uh, last April. But I’m a fan. I’ve got a, a wander tattoo on my right shoulder, believe it or not. And it’s true. Y’all been taking over, uh, the markets by storm. So, um, but with all that said, I should, Jules, may you fight the good fight in your battle against, I think everybody, all kinds of stuff is going around, so, uh, may, you, may, may continue to feel better and better.
Jules Weldon (01:51):
Thank you so much. Nothing, nothing. Little drugs scandal. Yeah, I’m keeping our drugs up. Spencer’s, right? <laugh>.
Scott Luton (01:57):
That is great. Uh, that’s the only way to be, uh, as you fight, uh, all these stuff out here. So, let’s talk about, I wanna start with a fun warmup question. So, uh, you know, we’re recording this episode in the weeks or so before, uh, Christmas and all the other holiday holidays, and we’ll be publishing it probably the first of the year, but it’s holiday movie season right now, as I share with y’all, pre-show our fan, our family’s number one, probably far and away is Christmas vacation. And it’s not a close second, but Home alone or Home alone, two is probably, um, uh, number two. So I wanna ask you both, what is your all-time favorite holiday movie? And Jules will start with you.
Jules Weldon (02:37):
Um, I’m gonna say Elf. I’m gonna say it’s kind of a tradition for Stacy and I to watch it every year. It’s become a tradition and it just always makes me laugh. So I’m gonna go with hell.
Scott Luton (02:49):
It is such a good movie that, that is Will Ferrell at. Like that’s a perfect role. I’m a big fan too.
Jules Weldon (02:55):
It really is. Yeah. Yeah.
Scott Luton (02:58):
All right. Stace.
Stacey Pierce (02:59):
I mean, elf is hands down, but I mean, with the close second of Christmas vacation, you love
Jules Weldon (03:05):
<laugh> movies, so
Stacey Pierce (03:06):
I love Christmas mu movies. Yeah, but
Jules Weldon (03:07):
You love cheesy Christmas
Stacey Pierce (03:09):
Movies. I do. I like cheesy ones.
Jules Weldon (03:11):
Wait, no, you don’t. We’re trying to set you up. You hate, like, we’ve been, we’ve been trying to watch Christmas movies and she,
Stacey Pierce (03:18):
Oh, no, no. I don’t like romantic Christmas movies.
Scott Luton (03:21):
Stacey Pierce (03:21):
Like, I like, um, yeah, I like, um, what do you call it? Comedy Christmas movies. Yeah. Like anything with Tim Allen or, you know, anything like that. But these Hallmark <laugh>, first of all, it doesn’t snow in the south people, and so it’s like m a southern town Hallmark movie. It’s dumb to me. <laugh> like romantic Christmas movies,
Scott Luton (03:44):
<laugh>. Well, you know what? We get plenty of drama in our, in, in our homes during the holidays. Let’s, let’s stick with Comedy VO with our movies. Right,
Stacey Pierce (03:52):
Scott Luton (03:54):
<laugh>. So, all right. Well, I appreciate y’all indulging us, uh, big fans of, of, uh, elf as well. Um, let’s talk about, let’s level set a bit. Uh, you know, I mentioned the wander on the front end, uh, of course your company, o e Gear. Let’s level set. And I think we’re gonna be showing, um, in the, the, the published video version of this podcast. We’ll be showing some images, so you’ll, so our listeners, our viewers will see exactly what we’re talking about with this product that’s really been, uh, popular in the last few years. So tell us, what is the wanderer?
Stacey Pierce (04:23):
So the wanderer is a transformer unit that for the outdoors. And so it starts as a cart. It also, it can haul your kayaks, paddle boards and surfboards, but it can h hold that heavy cooler and all your gear up to 150 pounds. And then once you get to where you’re going, uh, it transforms into a high camping chair, a lower to the ground beach type chair, a lounge chair, and then a camping cot. And so it’s a multiple use product. Um, so it’s just not one thing. So you can kind of get rid of a bunch of things and have one thing, and it’ll carry everything else you need and you’re good to go.
Scott Luton (04:59):
I love it. And listeners, you can, uh, kind of hear the backstory of how it was developed and, and some, uh, family ties there in episode 8 85, no, 8 85. Yeah, it doesn’t sound right. 8 85 was of supply chain now, which we published in April, 2022 of a Lincoln episode notes. So, uh, Jules, what would you add? That was a very well crafted, uh, uh, explainer there. Stace, Jules, what would you add about the wander?
Jules Weldon (05:23):
They say when you do something 10,000 times, you become an expert of it. Um, and so she’s probably done that introduction of the wander 10,000 times. But the only other thing I would add is that, a, it’s really high quality. Um, and then b um, the wheels, so the wheels are, we’ve done 12 years of research on wheels that are out there, um, which not many people can say. Um, but we’ve done 12 years of research trying to find a wheel that actually rolls on any terrain, including soft sand. So if you look at the wagons and the carts and all of them will say, these roll on soft sand, and they really don’t. I mean, you watch people on the beach trying to pull, you know, the wagons and that sort of thing, and they really don’t. But this really does because it’s a outer layer of santare rubber on an inner plastic shell.
Jules Weldon (06:10):
And so the santare squishes down giving you a bigger surface area to go over the sand. And so it, the wheels really are game changers for us. Um, so that would be the only thing I’d add. Yeah. But it’s, and a lot of people think, well, it’s, I don’t live near beach, so it’s not good for me. Well, it’s actually great for any time you have to haul stuff. So think like kids sporting events outside or tailgating or camping or, um, gosh, even equestrian, we’ve had a lot of equestrian folks say, Hey, this would be perfect. Um, a guy bought it for his job site for construction, because you can put it in haul mode and haul, you know, a bunch of big heavy stuff. And so it’s really good for anytime you have to haul stuff and then have seating options once you get there.
Stacey Pierce (06:55):
I’ll say this one, one guy, we were at a festival and we sold out. And so we had all just our demo units and we actually, we sold all of our demo units and the skywalks up, and he goes, do you have any at your rv? And, uh, we’re like, we have an old one. It has, we have beat it up. And he goes, I wanna buy it. I’ll, I’ll give you a hundred dollars for it. Now, this thing was, it was still, I think a prototype and he goes, I’ll give you a hundred dollars for it. And um, so we brought it and he gave us a hundred dollars for it. He was going to mine gold with it. So he took all of his mining stuff down to the gold mine, wherever he would go, mine. And, um, and he came back the year later, he goes, I still use <laugh>. That mine go, uh,
Scott Luton (07:39):
I mean that hundred thousand miles on it later, right? Yeah,
Stacey Pierce (07:42):
That’s right. Exactly. <laugh>. So I, anyway,
Scott Luton (07:46):
It really can do, it’s like a Swiss Army knife, it sounds like. I love all the different examples. And, um, going back to how, uh, Jules, how you were talking about the, um, kind of development of the wheels that, that is, I think for a lot of our maybe, uh, listers that are in product development, right? And, and even in continuous improvement. And, and for that matter, you know, procurement and sourcing, I bet a lot of the folks can relate to that. Um, and it really, as you described that, um, and you know, my mind races, I’ve got a seven, seven second attention span, I think like a goldfish. But, uh, me and my family watched a documentary on Amazon about the Opportunity Rover, right? And a lot of what you described as y as you and your team has really, uh, doubled down in, in really making the best wander ever. And all the different components go into that. It really reminded me of this great documentary focused on opportunity because that rover all the different, you know, once that thing was launched, there was no tweaking it, there was no one going back. And if I’m not mistaken, that Rover was supposed to last like 90 days and it went 15 years. So talk about the value of really investing in that product development phase, which clearly y’all value and have, have, uh, made it ready for the best. You say hall mode. Hall mode, haul mode,
Stacey Pierce (09:03):
Scott Luton (09:04):
Hauler mode with two Rs with two <laugh>, two Rs like wander. Yeah. Which has two Rs. So it sounds like, uh, uh, maybe I could stick my three kids back there and, um, take him to the beach and back maybe, huh?
Jules Weldon (09:16):
I think so. Well, we don’t re we can’t recommend that. Ok. You could, but we can’t recommend
Scott Luton (09:22):
<laugh>. Okay. It’s like riding in pickup trucks back in the eighties, uh, in Aon County. Stacy, no one can recommend that, but we did it all the time. Right, exactly.
Scott Luton (09:29):
<laugh>. Um, alright. Right. So let’s, let’s do this. So now everyone has a, a good fundamental understanding of, um, of the product and what it is. And hopefully for anyone that’s been viewing this conversation, you, you’ve, I’ve seen it. Let’s talk about since your last appearance, and that was April, man, where has time gone? Y’all have been busy. Um, you’ve had a lot of hits, a lot of wins, lost successes. Uh, I think y’all gotten to wander in a variety of, uh, retail, uh, retailers, which is outstanding. More access for folks that, that need a solution like the wander. So tell us, give us some highlights and if you’re open, I think one of the things I love about y’all’s approach to, um, your community you’ve been building is, man, how transparent and, um, um, just open you are with the entrepreneurial journey, the good days and the bad days. So give us a few highlights, uh, of what has transpired since last time you were with us.
Stacey Pierce (10:26):
I think we were still in California. Um, for the listeners that don’t know, we, uh, sold everything we owned for our company, uh, in December of 2020. 2020. Um, and so on 2021, we hit the road, uh, May 1st, uh, we hit the road in an rv. Cause they say you can’t sell freight sitting on your rear end. So we were like, let’s get on the road. And, uh, so we wrapped our RV in our branding. We put QR codes, which is was a game changer for us. Cuz anytime we would, uh, travel down the road all the way to California and all the way back, our website would shoot up 200, 300% from the QR codes, uh, that were on the rv. So, you know, we, we were in, I think we were in California when we did the original podcast. So we’ve made it back to the East coast, uh, which is, you know, safely, which is a big deal. Yeah, that’s a, that’s
Scott Luton (11:21):
A huge, let, lemme ask y’all, cause who does most of the driving? Who’s the better driver?
Stacey Pierce (11:25):
Who does all the driving? <laugh>, Jules.
Scott Luton (11:28):
Jules Weldon (11:29):
I do. I do all of it.
Scott Luton (11:31):
So is that by design? Is Jules just a safer driver?
Stacey Pierce (11:34):
I wouldn’t say she’s safer. She’s now, she’s more aggressive. She’s a, she’s from Philadelphia area, so I am not, I, I don’t care about driving, period. Not even a car. <laugh>. Um, you know, I might, I might enjoy an e-bike, but as far as a even a car, I just don’t really, I’ve never been that person to care about driving. So, um, I did take driving lessons, um, in hopes that I would drive, but I just haven’t, I have not mustered up the courage. She’s, she’s more of a risk taker than I am.
Jules Weldon (12:04):
So we made a, we made a deal in the beginning that if I drove, cuz she, it, she had great aspirations, but then was like, yeah, no, this is not what I wanna do. I, it’s scary. I mean, it’s, it’s really scary. I believe it. Um, but sh she said, if I take care of the outside, the poop shoot, will you drive? And I was like, fair done. That is fair deal. Yeah. So
Scott Luton (12:28):
Jules Weldon (12:28):
Messed up one time with a poop shoot. And that’s all you have to do is mess up once. You never mess
Scott Luton (12:33):
<laugh> folks. I told y’all it’s gonna be open and transparent with these two. It’s one of the best things about these conversations. All right. So Stacy, you were describing the drive back to the East coast and Jewel the, uh, with the Philly, uh, grittiness and, and, um, uh, uh, driving approach. She’s the designated driver. So talk, talk us about your migration back to the East Coast.
Stacey Pierce (12:55):
I mean, it, I mean, it was uneventful. I mean, if, but I have to say, if people have not taken time, I know people like wanna go to Europe or wanna go, you know, wherever, you know, to Bahamas or what if you have not taken time to drive the, the United States? It is a must in your lifetime. It, we, I mean, we’ve only done the southern part in our, um, in the rv. Our, our hopes are to do the, the northern part at some point. Um, and now we’ve driven it in our car. But if you haven’t had an opportunity, you have to go and see the United States. It is unreal. What the topography and the changes and, um, just the different cultures that we have right here in our own home land that is absolutely beautiful, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, but yeah, we made it back to the, to the East Coast and it’s, we’re, uh, olive is her name and she’s safe and sound. And,
Scott Luton (13:51):
Um, and that’s the rv, that’s the name of the rv, that’s
Stacey Pierce (13:53):
The name of the rv. And, um, we are setting sound. But you know, we as two 50 year old women, that was never our dreams. And this can go into one is, you know, as entrepreneurs, we have to, we give up a lot. We give up a, and one thing is sleep. Um, but you know, in this situation, we’ve given up our home, um, and, and we’re traveling to, to start our company, to, to get our company noticed, to build our brand, right? Um, and so as two 50 year old women in a 250 square foot home traveling, I mean, uh, we, you know, we’ve done it. I mean, uh, luckily we like each other. Uh, and, and it has been one of the most amazing journeys that we never scripted. This was never scripted for us. This is not what we were like, oh, this is on our bucket list to go and live in an rv. It
Jules Weldon (14:48):
Was probably scripted. We just didn’t know the script.
Stacey Pierce (14:50):
Right. We didn’t know. Right.
Scott Luton (14:51):
Stacey Pierce (14:52):
And, and so we’re like, okay, let’s do this. But, uh, so to me, as entrepreneurs, we, I mean, Jules, look, I’ll, I’ll never forget the day, but she looked at me and she said, how much do you believe in this? And I said, 100%. And she said, all we have left is our home. And I was like, all right, it’s going on the market. So we did through some pain, pain on it and, and sold it. And so as entrepreneurs, that’s what you have to do. You have to, yeah. You have to get down, you have to get dirty. And it’s, it’s not, it’s not easy. Um, right. And it well has not been easy for us. Um, but, so
Scott Luton (15:27):
That’s the true definition. I know all ends become a cliche right out there, but man, when you’re, you’re talking about that situation, that level of commitment and putting everything in because you’ll believe the journey that you’re on and what you’re going, what you’re building, that truly is all in. Um, so, so to our listeners, what Stacy was alluding to and what we’re, we’re gonna be, um, learning from both Sta, uh, and Jules is five things that potential founders, entrepreneurs, uh, startups have gotta know. And, and so sta if you had to kind of put that first one in a sentence or a, a phrase that you just described, what would that be?
Stacey Pierce (16:08):
Jules, you might, how they jump in and help me. Um,
Jules Weldon (16:14):
Scott Luton (16:14):
You better be all in. Yeah. Or, or just stop there, <laugh>.
Jules Weldon (16:19):
Well, the, the ones who are all in are the ones who realize their dreams. Mm. Right? And so, in one sense, I’m actually thankful that the majority of people don’t go all in because it makes us, cuz we are committed to that, it makes us, um, be able to rise to the top and get where we wanna go, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, because a lot of our competitors, they just won’t do that. You know, they just, they’re just not that committed and that’s okay. Like, but for us, um, we’re all in. So that’s right. Those who are all in, we’ll realize their dreams. Yeah. There’s nothing that will stop you if you’re all in. You don’t realize your dreams. It’s just a matter of, um, how bad do you want it?
Scott Luton (16:57):
So listeners take heart, listen to that, right? If you’re gonna really go after it and be all in, you can achieve just like Jules and STA is doing. And, you know, I would just add to that, um, on those really tough days and on the great days, you know, we as founders made the decision to take this journey mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so when I, when I have that, that maybe that quick thought of, man, why does this have to happen? No, Scott, we opted, we signed up for this, this goes with the territory and we kind of, we got power through it. Me, Amanda, my wife, and my partner here, we talk about that all the time. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So, um, so, so what a great starting point. So, uh, so moving from number one to number two on our list, uh, what would that be?
Jules Weldon (17:45):
Um, I think the second, um, I mean, maybe these aren’t gonna be in order of priority and we could prioritize those later. But, um, a second thing is, um, the relationships that you build along the way are everything. Um, for us, a product will come and go. A company will come and go. Um, and it’s, if it’s the trendy thing, then you’ll sell a bunch of ’em. You know? Um, but the relationships that you genuinely build will last your entire lifetime, right? Mm-hmm. And so, for Sta and I, we have committed, and thankfully we’re both, we both value this, uh, like highly. We have committed to making OMI gear be about relationships. And I know that also is trite kind of along with the all in thing. Um, but when you live it out, the the reality of that is something that’s more dynamic than you can ever imagine.
Jules Weldon (18:42):
And so, for us, investing in relationships early and often and genuinely, I mean, our, our motto is, I don’t know if you can see this, we have a tattoo, but it’s out love outgive. Yeah. Um, and when we first got together, it was, it was, that was became our motto of out love outgive. And it’s not that it’s a competition, it’s a, I want somebody who’s in my presence to feel so loved and so given to, and we both do. Um, that it just kind of became the motto of our company as well. And so that would be a second thing is genuinely give of your time, your resources, your energy, your money to other people without expecting a return. And that’s the most important thing. Cause a lot of people will give and then expect something back, but when you don’t expect something back, it comes back tenfold. So it’s, it’s actually way better when you don’t have expectations. So that would be the second thing.
Stacey Pierce (19:42):
Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And I, I’d like to add, I mean, Jules has done such a great job on LinkedIn. If y’all, if y’all have, if you’re on LinkedIn and follow Jules’s, um, I let her be the voice on LinkedIn. She does so much better than me. And she’s very diligent about posting every day and posting with value. But the relationships that we have built out of her on, um, being on LinkedIn are invaluable to us. Yeah. I mean, they have opened us up where if we need anything, and, and I, I, somebody said to me one time, they’re like, you have a lot of friends. And I said, I do because you have to be a friend to have a friend. Mm. And, and if we need anything, the smallest thing or the biggest thing, we can put it out on LinkedIn or Facebook or wherever. And we have built the relationships that somebody can help us.
Stacey Pierce (20:32):
Or if they can’t, they know somebody that can mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so, and we, you know, we’re like, we need help. But it’s about building relationships. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, and, and we would do the same thing for other people. If somebody says, somebody came up to Jules and said, Hey, can you, you post something on LinkedIn, I need your help with something jules’s. Like Absolutely. And I mean, it’s not, it, it’s not something that we need help with, but we know that somebody’s gonna be able to help cause the person needs it. And so it is about the building relationships and building those, those, your network of people, um, is just so invaluable to life in general.
Scott Luton (21:11):
So, uh, we could, we could, we could talk for probably 10 hours on this one, on this number two topic on the list here. Um, but killing with kindness is, is one of the themes I’m picking up here. Um, but second one, I wanna, I wanna ask y’all a question. I can’t remember if this came up in our last conversation or not, but one of the great things about being an entrepreneur and owning your own business is you get to pick and choose who you do business with, right? And as I don’t know about y’all, but as I’ve learned, there’s all sorts of folks out there that do business all sorts of different ways. And I think it was Oprah, I think it was Oprah that said, uh, when folks show you who they are, believe ’em, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. That’s right. And, and run away in, in some cases run away.
Scott Luton (21:57):
And of course, there’s plenty of folks, as y’all are alluding to in this, in this journey, that man, they make the journey that much better, right? That do things the right way with values and ethics. And, and they’re, they’re pouring, uh, themselves into the relationship much like, uh, we are. Uh, but man, uh, you gotta, someone also said, I think it was, well I stole this from Ray Tia and I’m not sure if Ray Tia, uh, stole it from someone else, but you can have a bad deal with good people, but you can never have a good deal with bad people, I think.
Stacey Pierce (22:32):
Scott Luton (22:33):
Yeah. Yeah. So, quick, quick comment, and we’re gonna move number three in in just a second. But one of y’all, any comments on choosing those relationships, whether they’re business or, or personal or, you know, um, and avoiding the negative juju out there, maybe?
Jules Weldon (22:51):
Oh man, Scott, we have been, I mean, talk about we could spend hours talking about this. Um, we have been burnt so bad by people that we trusted. Um, and it’s cost us a lot of money. I mean a lot of money. Cuz I think that with that whole relationship thing, Stacy and I give people the benefit of the doubt and probably too long. And we trust people too hard, too quickly. Right. Um, and I mean, we’ve just gotten burnt. I mean this, we’re in the middle of, you know, legal stuff right now with somebody. And I mean, we’re, it’s hard. It is hard cuz when you do trust people, and this was gonna be one of my things with entrepreneurs, so it’s kind of leading into,
Scott Luton (23:37):
Jules Weldon (23:38):
Scott Luton (23:38):
Number three, right? Okay.
Jules Weldon (23:39):
Yeah. Um, when you, and I’ve, I’ve done recent posts about this on LinkedIn, but when you do find good people, um, keep them really close because they’re hard to find, unfortunately. And when you start to see, uh, I go by that thing that you said all the time and someone shows you who they are, believe them. Right? Um, because people, salespeople can tell you all day long who they are and whatever. Um, and then the real, the reality is when you get access to their email inbox and you see what they haven’t been doing, you know? Um, and so for us it’s, it’s really real, it’s really recent, um, that we do trust people to be a part of our team or our partners or our vendors or whatever. And then we get burnt really bad. But on the flip side, we have a team and
Scott Luton (24:35):
Thank the good lord for the flip side, right? <laugh>,
Jules Weldon (24:38):
We don’t, I mean, there’s zero, there’s zero benefit in spending good energy after bad. There’s zero. And so for us, our team that we have assembled would literally be in the fox trenches with us, the foxhole with us. I mean, they would, they have gone to bat, they have not taken a salary. Um, they have, you know, worked till, you know, the, the cows come home for us. I mean, it’s been, and with us, um, and good people you keep really closely mm-hmm. <affirmative> and then they’re the ones that will benefit with us on the back end. Yeah. I promise you that. And you can put my, you can put this in, in writing, but those are the ones who will benefit with us cuz we couldn’t do it without ’em.
Stacey Pierce (25:21):
Yeah. I mean, and, and I think that, I think what she’s alluding to is we try to, we try to surround our people, I mean ourselves with people that have the same values as we do. And, and you have to pay attention to this. And I, if you need, you go back to April’s episode, we talked about giving someone six months to show they’re crazy or, and or you have to hire, hire slow fire fast. I mean, we’ve all heard it as entrepreneurs, but we as entrepreneurs are trusting that these people are real and they’re telling us what they, what they’re gonna do. And then, and of course as entrepreneurs, we’re disappointed when it doesn’t happen. But if you go back and look back, there’s those yellow flags, there’s those red flags and we choose to ignore them. And I think what a muscle that Jules and I are learning to flex is, and, and build is don’t ignore those yellow flags.
Stacey Pierce (26:16):
Don’t ignore those red flags. You see them. And, and we saw them all along. And like Jules said, when you get into somebody’s inbox, then you see, okay, that yellow flag was actually a red flag. But, so it’s really paying attention to your own values as an entrepreneur and surrounding your p yourself with the people that, that have those same values, um, I think is hugely important, um, as you’re building the company because, you know, we haven’t had the funding to pay full salaries. That’s, you know, and so we need people that are gonna get in the trenches with us and realize that they are gonna benefit on the, as we grow the company. And so if, and that’s, that’s a red flag in itself. If somebody doesn’t wanna get in the trenches with you, they don’t need to be a part of your team right now. And then once that door closes, it’s amazing what happens on the other side of that door once you close that door. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I mean, our world has opened up in the past three weeks to amazing people that we want to surround ourself with.
Jules Weldon (27:15):
Scott Luton (27:17):
So, uh, before move to number four, one of the things we think we talked about last episode, and we’ve talked certainly on a lot of, uh, shows in the last couple years. You you mentioned funding and we’ve got a ways to go to really create opportunities for all when it comes to startup funding. Uh, Jules, Stacy, y’all wanna mention, cause there’s some statistics out there I think we talked about last time. Um, anything y’all wanna mention in that regard?
Jules Weldon (27:41):
I mean yeah, that leads me into my number four mm-hmm. <affirmative>, honestly. Um, okay.
Scott Luton (27:46):
Is this was unplanned folks. This was unplanned. This is, they’re they’re, we are vibing folks. Yeah.
Jules Weldon (27:52):
Um, cash in our case is queen, right? I mean, cash is king. You’ve heard that before. But having access to capital has, um, propelled us forward and it has shut us down in all regards in a lot of regards where we have been on pause at different points when we have a dollar 60 in our bank account. And that’s not a joke. I have a screenshot of that. Um, and the, the absence of cash will create more stress in your life than almost anything else in business. Um, sta and I have been on our knees begging God to show up and he always has, but it’s always been in the last 30 seconds of the fourth quarter of the game where we feel like we are losing. Right? But then we throw or hail Mary gets thrown and it gets caught and we have life to keep going.
Jules Weldon (28:50):
Right? And so cash is, cash is everything. Funding is everything. Like you’ve, like you kind of alluded to, there are statistics out there that 2.7 of all funding, 2.7% goes to women. 1.7 of that goes to women in tech, which leaves 1% of all funding to go to people like us. And that includes women who are founders of food products or apparel or whatever. We’re, we’re in a huge minority that are wo women founders of a complex outdoor gear product. But we love that, that’s our superpower, right? We kind of take people off guard. Um, but when we’ve told people that and we’ve changed our men, our mentality on that, I think since you, you and we have talked is we’ve said that to people and they said, mm-hmm <affirmative>, you need to change your, you need to change your kind of your conversation. There is money to be had when you talk to the right people.
Jules Weldon (29:47):
Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, wow. You’ve just talked the wrong people. And so we now are talking to the right person and are at any moment, um, literally any moment gonna close a big round of funding that will be a game changer for us mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And this person is the right person. He believes in us. Um, and it’s, um, it will literally be a game changer. And so cash is, is queen, right? Um, and it’s, it’s everything. When you don’t have it, it, it paralyzes you, um, and it freezes you. But when you do have it, the world opens up.
Scott Luton (30:26):
Mm-hmm. So, um, Stacey, what, what would you add before I ask a question? Follow up question to, I
Stacey Pierce (30:32):
Mean, no, I mean, I’m, I’m sitting here actually getting chills because Jules is right. Someone did say it was actually a woman who told us that we needed to change our perspective on that. And, and you can change your, you know, are you eating surf and turf? Are you eating, uh, Vienna sausages and sardine? I mean, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s how all, how you, it’s in your perspective. And so it was a woman who told us that. And it, and, and, and we have taken that to heart. Um, and I think that’s when our world opened up where we were started having the right conversations with the right person. And we’re just super excited about, you know, the opportunities that are, that’s gonna open up to us here in the next, hopefully in the next day or so.
Scott Luton (31:15):
Man, we are, I got fingers and toes crossed. That is so exciting. Uh, and can’t wait to celebrate that news. And, and, and what it means for the business and, and the, the journey y’all have been on and have poured everything into. Um, lemme ask a, a, a question. Um, would you say, and, and you know, I love how we, we learn, we all have eureka moments, right? The longest held beliefs, the longest held assumptions that you would hang your hat on, and then, and then you have the right conversation at the right time. Man, I’ve been thinking about that the wrong way. Um, would you, ar would, would, would y’all argue that while we, um, there needs to be more funding for, for everyone out there, all the entrepreneurs, regardless, kinda like what walk of life you come from, but also there needs to be a greater emphasis on, uh, bridging access to the right conversations. It’s kind of both. It’s, it’s more money, right? To put, be frank about it, but also it’s, it’s more connectors and more enablers that allow the right conversations to be had. Does that make sense? Mm-hmm.
Jules Weldon (32:20):
<affirmative>. It does. Um, one of the things in a post that I did recently on LinkedIn is when you make a promise to make an introduction to an entrepreneur, when you promise an entrepreneur that you’re gonna make an introduction, follow through with that. Yeah. Um, because entrepreneurs are so hungry for, and, and needing those connections, right? To expand their, their, their sphere of influence. Um, and we’ve had, we’ve had so many promises that haven’t been followed through. However, again, flip side, we have had so many that have been followed through. Like, we just got introduced to a massive player in Texas and we have a call today with this person. And it’s like when you, when you, if you have connections and networks that can help somebody in the entrepreneurial space, make them follow through with them, um, because you’re exactly right. Those, those connections can be literal game changers for people like us. And, and on the, on the, on that same, in that same vein, people that we know, like we’ve made so many introductions to people into retail, um, buyers because we know that we have those connections. So let’s give those away, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, like let’s freely give those away to help another person get into a retail channel that we’re in
Scott Luton (33:36):
Love. That, um, you know, give ’em forward really comes to mind there when you’re making those con those, those incredible, those very valuable, uh, extraordinary connections and introductions for others. Uh, cuz the buyers, they have a lot of power buyers out there across the industry. So any of our buyers listening, uh, appreciate what you do and opportunities that you create in, in your, your big decisions. Okay. So I think we’ve covered four. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, things you gotta know if you want to be a founder or you wanna, uh, uh, create a startup, I’ll be an entrepreneur. So that leads us to five, number five, the end of the list. And these are ranked in no particular order, as Jules pointed out. Who wants to lead on number five?
Stacey Pierce (34:18):
I have one.
Jules Weldon (34:18):
Okay, go ahead. I have another one, but go ahead. You go.
Scott Luton (34:21):
We’re gonna get a bonus one, maybe bonus time
Jules Weldon (34:24):
Stacey Pierce (34:24):
Say yours. Mine is, um, it is, this is, this is going for the entrepreneur that has a product, vet your manufacturer. That is so important. We have now we’re working on our fourth manufacturer. Um, and, and u i I, and I’m gonna say this and I’m probably gonna get some backlash US made does not mean it’s the best. Um, we’re, you know, we, we tried to bring it to the us. We are now having to take it some somewhere else. Um, um, it’s just, it just didn’t work out. Our hopes are to bring it back. Um, but for right now we have to take it back overseas. Um, that was never our hopes, but I mean, never our dreams, but that’s what it is. Um, so vet your manufacturer, make sure that they’re create they have created a product in, in your same vein. Uh, so we’re an outdoor gear product.
Stacey Pierce (35:20):
Make sure they’ve done something and they know the product, they know what you’re, what you want. Um, and, and, and ask for, ask for re um, um, recommend. I mean, not, um, referrals. Referrals. Ask for referrals. And don’t just do it from, oh, somebody knows this manufacturer. Like, get referrals from the manufacturer. So that, I think that is, um, something that we have, uh, lost and, and yeah, learned a ton. Learned a ton, but lost a lot of money on, um, it’s cause we have trusted these manufacturers to do what they, they say and that’s not the case. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um,
Scott Luton (35:58):
Quick, quick clarifying question, Stacey, when you talk about referrals, you’re talking about doing your homework and do, doing your due diligence on the manufacturers getting other opinions to kind of vet
Stacey Pierce (36:08):
Scott Luton (36:09):
Vet what they do and how they do it, right?
Stacey Pierce (36:10):
Scott Luton (36:13):
Uh, and you know, uh, um, I don’t think, you know, uh, global supply chains exist for a reason, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Cause we can’t find anything here, uh, domestic, everything we need domestically. So, you know, um, we see a lot of reshoring going on for a lot of different reasons. Uh, it’s like a second. It seems like a second wave of reshoring here in the last year and some change. But hey, wherever, you know, there’s a, there’s a variety of boxes y’all, y’all have to check as you’re building this product, right? Um, cost, quality, speed, you name it. And that’s just the, you know, some of the things at the top of the list. So, uh, we look forward to keeping our finger on the pulse as you continue this journey of, uh, of making a product that, uh, re has been resonating and, and selling, uh, more and more to, uh, uh, folks that need, um, need what it does. So, so Jules, what would you add? I think I saw y’all chatting for a second there cause we may get a bonus one. So we’ve been touting the top five list, but I think you’re gonna add, you’re gonna sneak in number six, is that right? Yeah.
Jules Weldon (37:13):
And it has to do with sta what Stace just said, but it’s kind of the bigger picture. And Stacy okay, earlier, if you don’t do anything else, do this one. Okay? So this actually is really important. Sit down and write down your values. Um, your values literally determine everything. So, um, so you can see our values on our website. Um, but every single decision that you make need to be run through your values. And if you don’t know what you value, you, you will have a chaotic road. But if you know what you value, then you’ll hire quick. You’ll hire, hire slowly and you will fire, fire quickly. Um, we have, we’ve not done that. And when we’re not being true to our values, it has cost us so much money and so much time and so much everything. And so when you run every decision, who are your vendors, who are your manufacturers?
Jules Weldon (38:10):
Who are your, and if these people adhere to the same values as you do, it will be a much, much smoother road. If they don’t, the potholes and the dead ends and all of that that you’ll experience will be significant. And so states and I often will step a step back, go to the 30,000 foot view, look at our values and go, where are we not adhering to our values in our company right now? And then we’ll change things and, you know, retwe and all that. So if you do, don’t do anything else. If you don’t listen to anything else, sit down and physically write out the things that you value. And the way that you can tell is find out the things that really bother you. And that’s usually connected to something that you value. Mm-hmm.
Scott Luton (38:56):
<affirmative>. That might be a long list for some of our listeners. <laugh>. It
Stacey Pierce (38:59):
May be, it may be, but, but it can do with business and relationships and so, and, and business relationships. But the, where we have, where we have struggled, where our downfall is, is we do things out of desperation. And that’s when we let our values go by the wayside because we need to hire somebody really quickly. We need money really quickly. We need a manufacturer really quickly. And those three things, because we hired fast, we trusted that they were telling us the truth. We, we took money because we needed it. And then we, you know, hired a manufacturer. Cause we needed product, we needed start production. And every one of ’em, we did it so quickly that we let our values just, you know, go by the wayside. And we didn’t check, they didn’t necessarily, we didn’t check off the boxes one by one.
Scott Luton (39:47):
Right? Um, that’s a powerful, uh, si. I don’t know if that’s five a, five B or number six, but that is really, I like how you saved the, the one of the most important ones for last because, you know, we, we make the, I think, I think one of the toughest things about this entrepreneurial journey is all of the decisions you’ve gotta make, small ones and big ones. It’s just a, it’s a constant exercise on making these decisions. And to your point, sometimes you compromise out of necessity, uh, because you need something right there in the moment. And, and y’all’s advice is, Hey, call time out. Don’t do that. Stick to your values. It may, it may create, uh, a longer weight, it may, uh, be a little bit more painful in the short term, but in the long run, in the bigger, in the big picture, it’s gonna pay off, uh, very handsomely, right?
Jules Weldon (40:41):
Yeah. Yeah. 100% Scott. And I would say get really comfortable in the role of problem solver. Like, I mean, and that’s not, it’s kind of in, in what you were saying, but I I, we resisted for a long time being the chief problem solver. Cause I was like, ah, it’s annoying. Like why do I always have to solve all the problems, right? But I think once you embrace that and go, you know what, today’s another day to solve problems and it’s our job as the co-founders and co-CEOs of this company to solve it, nobody else is gonna do it. So get really comfortable and build that muscle so strong that you go, okay, what’s, what’s the problem I get to solve today? Right?
Scott Luton (41:22):
That’s what we signed up for.
Jules Weldon (41:23):
Yeah. That’s what we signed up for. And so you look forward to that rather than resisting it. And we’ll go, it will go a lot smoother for
Stacey Pierce (41:29):
You. And luckily we, we run in two different lanes. And so our problem solving skills are, are, I mean, they, they mesh together, but they’re completely different. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, I mean mine is manufacturing a new product and that’s where I get to solve problems and get to see what’s going on with new products. And then Jules is the internal. And so we do run into separate lanes. We don’t, we don’t, and we come together very nicely. But we, um, it that, that’s our strength. That is another superpower behind us is that we have that ability to do that.
Jules Weldon (42:02):
Scott, we love that top 20 things. So for any of your listeners, <laugh>, any of your listeners, no, this is really a true offer. Any of your listeners who just wanna have a 30 minute conversation with us where we share sort of the behind the scenes stuff that we may not as much share on the mic, um, we are more than willing to jump on a call absolutely anybody and help. And if we can, if we can help sort of put rocks in a pothole to help somebody not go in that divot so hard, um, we make ourselves available to any of your listeners.
Scott Luton (42:32):
Love that. And we’re gonna, uh, folks, and, and to all, all of our listeners and viewers, you’re gonna find out how to connect with Jules and Stace. Uh, just a minute. And you can also find it in episode notes. Um, there’s a reason, as y’all are describing your lanes, you know, there’s a reason they put those floats in those Olympic swimming pools when they have those swimming competitions. So all those swimmers that are moving a hundred miles per hour can stay in their lane. There’s a lot of value there. And, and, but stay to your point, of course you’ve got those na natural connection points cause you’ve got very complimentary skillsets and you’ve gotta make joint in aligned decisions. But man, there’s a ton of value in st sometimes oftentimes when we stay in your lane and do what you do. Um, okay, so what a great list and, and great offer listeners take, take Jules and stay up on their offer, uh, to connect kind of offline. So as we start to wrap, I’ve got a fun final question for you both, uh, in addition to how folks can connect with you, but hard to believe we’re about to flip the calendar and be in 2023. Goodness gracious. I cannot, it, it blows my mind. It really does. So what is one fearless prediction that both of y’all have? And, and Stacy, I’m gonna start with you. I’m gonna put you on the spot. First one, bold, fearless prediction for next year.
Stacey Pierce (43:52):
Um, this is kind of a, this is kind of a secret, um, but oh geez. But we’re, we’re a
Scott Luton (43:59):
Don’t, don’t say it here. Don’t say it <laugh>.
Jules Weldon (44:01):
I know. What are you gonna share?
Stacey Pierce (44:03):
<laugh>, do you wanna go first? No. Is we’re gonna start working on, um, building a nonprofit organization. Um, and that we won’t, I won’t say you the name of it any anyway, it’s to help other entrepreneurs, um, not necessarily all female, but a lot of female entrepreneurs. Um, avoid the things that we’ve had to, I mean, that we have come up against our hurdles. And so that’s gonna be a big focus in 2023, is to get that up and going, that we can give back. Cuz that’s part of our, our values is to give back. And if we can give back to a lot of, like I said, it’s, it’s gonna be focused around female entrepreneurs. If we can give back to them through coaching or our, uh, money and investing in them, however that looks. Uh, we want to be the yes people and instead of, you know, oh, that’s a great idea and then never hear from us again. And so we wanna start this foundation that’s gonna help, uh, other fellow female entrepreneurs, you know, avoid the things we that we’ve come up against, but also help them propel them forward. Hmm.
Scott Luton (45:06):
Love that, man. You’re talking my language there. Uh, I can’t wait for that launch and, uh, I hope to maybe, uh, be able to support that. Cause it, it, there’s such a great need out there, right? For, uh, that next generation of, of entrepreneurs that, that creates so much value, not just here in the States, but around the globe. Uh, and, and, and all that we can teach them from, um, our wins, but especially our losses, right? So that’s good. So Jules, I’ll tell you what, that’s gonna be tough to beat. It’s gonna be tough to beat.
Jules Weldon (45:37):
Yeah, I can’t, I can’t beat it. This is more surfacey I think than that one <laugh>. Um, but the, the first thing that came to my mind is as an, as entrepreneurs with an outdoor gear product, um, a high-end outdoor gear product. The one place that you wanna show up is in r e i stores. Um, I mean that’s, there’s a ton of retailers out there and all of that, but the one place you wanna show up is in r e i, cuz that’s kind of the mecca of outdoor gear, right? Sure. Um, you’ll see us in r e I this year. I mean, that’s a prediction for 2023 is that we’ll be in r e i And, um, I mean, you know, we did a popup in a Greenville one and it went great. Um, and we don’t, at this point, we don’t have any connections with r e I buyers. Um, so it’s not, you know, we’re not working on it. Um, but the prediction is that we’ll be in r e i by the end of 2023.
Scott Luton (46:29):
Y’all set your mind to it
Jules Weldon (46:30):
Scott Luton (46:31):
What’s that, Jules?
Jules Weldon (46:32):
I’m just putting that bold prediction in you
Scott Luton (46:34):
<laugh>. Well, you know, you gotta speak thing as, as I’ve learned from my, uh, uh, my dear colleague Clay Phillips, you gotta speak things in the universe, right? You gotta speak it in the universe and that helps bring it to fruition. So clay, your ears may be burning right now, but we’re speaking that in the universe. Um, well it has been a delight and a pleasure and honored to reconnect with you both, uh, a big, big fan of what y’all doing. Om e gear. How can folks, let’s make sure folks know how to two things. How can they connect with y’all and also how can they go out and purchase a, a wander and, uh, sta
Stacey Pierce (47:07):
Yep. So you can find firstname.lastname@example.org and or you can follow us on any of the social media handles, uh, TikTok, uh, Facebook, Instagram. But we also have a Facebook private group called Om e Gear Insiders. And that is a group you have to ask to join. Uh, you have to be kind in the group. Um, but that will, you can go in, you’ll be a part of the group and you can kind of see the behind the scenes. This is just Jules and I, it’s just our channel, uh, that we go and, and get on video or we share like, upcoming news before anybody else hears it. Uh, so that’s, that’s kind of in the no group. Um, but you can also go back and see our struggles cuz we’re very open and honest about things that have gone on. So you can find email@example.com, any of the Facebook channels, I mean Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok or OMI Gear Insiders on Facebook.
Jules Weldon (48:02):
And the email that you can share is info at OMI gear. That’s easier to remember than our names would be Happy to give you our names. Email our per direct one. Um, but we check that info at Omic gear every day, like we’re the ones who check it. And so if somebody sent us a message there, we’d get right back to ’em. So that’s the easiest email to share.
Scott Luton (48:20):
Outstanding. So whether you’re inquiring about the product, about the company, or if you’re looking for maybe that behind the scenes frank conversation, whereas Jules put it gonna help put the rocks in the what, what, how’d you say it? Rocks in the, um, pothole. So you don’t hit that <laugh> that pothole so bad. That’s like, great, that’s such a great way of putting it. But use that info omi gear.com to reach out. Um, have, again, I really appreciate y’alls perspective, your journey, how open and honest and transparent you are about the goods, the, the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows that all make up everyone’s entrepreneurial journey. So big pleasure, uh, to talk with Stacy Pierce and Jules Weldon with OMI Gear. Again, creators of the wander. Thank you Stacy.
Stacey Pierce (49:04):
Yep. Thank you Scott, Brad,
Scott Luton (49:06):
And lots of love to the whole Pierce family and Aiken, South Carolina. We talked about that in the last episode. Uh, and Jules, thank you so much.
Jules Weldon (49:13):
It’s such a pleasure to always be with you Scott. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, thank you for your support of us. It really truly means the world. Thank you.
Scott Luton (49:20):
You bet. We’re gonna keep our fingers crossed and we’ll have you back on as we all celebrate some, let sounds like some really big news in the weeks ahead. Okay folks. Um, man, what a great episode. Hope you enjoyed as much as I have. Uh, be sure to find supply chain now. Wherever you get your podcast from, including YouTube and more and more content. YouTube makes it so easy, right? Uh, you can check out our webinars, our live streams, our great episodes like this one, and add your comments there. Uh, give us your take on what you hear. Hey, on behalf of whole team here at Supply Chain now, Scott Luden wishing all of our listeners nothing but the best. Hey, do good, give forward, be the change. Be like Stacy and Jules and we’ll see you next time. Right back here. I supply chain now. Thanks everybody.
Thanks for being a part of our supply chain now, community. Check out all of our firstname.lastname@example.org and make sure you subscribe to Supply Chain now, anywhere you listen to podcasts. And follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. See you next time on Supply Chain. Now.
Stacey Pierce has always had an entrepreneurial mindset, which is evident by the fact that she has been on the ground floor of nine start-ups. When not starting new businesses, she has spent much of her career in the medical field doing occupational therapy and honing her expertise in technology for the aging population. With her experience, she now enjoys helping other business entrepreneurs build strategic plans for growth as the Co-Founder of A Salty Rim. Stacey is also Co-Host of Do It In Nature podcast and the Co-Founder/CEO of https://omegear.com/, where her main focus is head of manufacturing and new product development. In addition, Pierce has co-authored a children’s book called https://rescuedbyrico.com/. Stace’s biggest piece of business advice is that if you want to do something, just do it because she believes that the biggest risks in life are the ones not taken. Connect with Stacey on LinkedIn.
Jules Weldon, Growing up in an entrepreneurial family, Jules got her love for starting businesses honest, but it took her time to dive into the (often) scary waters of entrepreneurship. After college, she worked in leadership with a non-profit organization for ten years, then traveled for a year doing humanitarian work in eleven developing countries. Upon returning stateside, she became a business consultant, ultimately with PWC, prior to starting a consulting firm, A Salty Rim. Jules is the host of the Do It In Nature podcast, where she has conversations with people who are doing really inspirational things connected to the outdoors. In addition, Weldon has co-authored a children’s book called Rescued By Rico. Jules’ main focus these days is her role as the Co-Founder/CEO of an innovative outdoor gear company, OME Gear, with goals of building it into a national household brand. Her biggest piece of advice is to be committed every day to building your network because she believes genuine relationships are everything. Connect with Jules on LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Demo Perez started his career in 1997 in the industry by chance when a relative asked him for help for two just weeks putting together an operation for FedEx Express at the Colon Free Zone, an area where he was never been but accepted the challenge. Worked in all roles possible from a truck driver to currier to a sales representative, helped the brand introduction, market share growth and recognition in the Colon Free Zone, at the end of 1999 had the chance to meet and have a chat with Fred Smith ( FedEx CEO), joined another company in 2018 who took over the FedEx operations as Operations and sales manager, in 2004 accepted the challenge from his company to leave the FedEx operations and business to take over the operation and business of DHL Express, his major competitor and rival so couldn’t say no, by changing completely its operation model in the Free Zone. In 2005 started his first entrepreneurial journey by quitting his job and joining two friends to start a Freight Forwarding company. After 8 months was recruited back by his company LSP with the General Manager role with the challenge of growing the company and make it fully capable warehousing 3PL. By 2009 joined CSCMP and WERC and started his journey of learning and growing his international network and high-level learning. In 2012 for the first time joined a local association ( the Panama Maritime Chamber) and worked in the country’s first Logistics Strategy plan, joined and lead other associations ending as president of the Panama Logistics Council in 2017. By finishing his professional mission at LSP with a company that was 8 times the size it was when accepted the role as GM with so many jobs generated and several young professionals coached, having great financial results, took the decision to move forward and start his own business from scratch by the end of 2019. with a friend and colleague co-founded IPL Group a company that started as a boutique 3PL and now is gearing up for the post-Covid era by moving to the big leagues.
Sales Support Intern
Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.
Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more. In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.
Director of Communications and Executive Producer
Donna Krache is a former CNN executive producer who has won several awards in journalism and communication, including three Peabodys. She has 30 years’ experience in broadcast and digital journalism. She led the first production team at CNN to convert its show to a digital platform. She has authored many articles for CNN and other media outlets. She taught digital journalism at Georgia State University and Arizona State University. Krache holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans. She is a serious sports fan who loves the Braves. She is president of the Dave Krache Foundation. Named in honor of her late husband, this non-profit pays fees for kids who want to play sports but whose parents are facing economic challenges.
Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.
Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.
Host, The Freight Insider
Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey class 2019. Upon graduation, she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and graduated as one of the Top 3 performers of her class in 2020. She also has a multicultural background due to her international academic experiences at Singapore Management University and Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. Sofia self-identifies as a Supply Chain enthusiast & ambassador sharing her passion for the field in her daily life.
Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.
Host, Supply Chain Now
The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.
He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.
A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Adrian Purtill serves as Business Development Manager at Vector Global Logistics, where he consults with importers and exporters in various industries to match their specific shipping requirements with the most effective supply chain solutions. Vector Global Logistics is an asset-free, multi-modal logistics company that provides exceptional sea freight, air freight, truck, rail, general logistic services and consulting for our clients. Our highly trained and professional team is committed to providing creative and effective solutions, always exceeding our customer’s expectations and fostering long-term relationships. With more than 20+ years of experience in both strategy consulting and logistics, Vector Global Logistics is your best choice to proactively minimize costs while having an exceptional service level.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics. He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Nick Roemer has had a very diverse and extensive career within design and sales over the last 15 years stretching from China, Dubai, Germany, Holland, UK, and the USA. In the last 5 years, Nick has developed a hawk's eye for sustainable tech and the human-centric marketing and sales procedures that come with it. With his far-reaching and strong network within the logistics industry, Nick has been able to open new avenues and routes to market within major industries in the USA and the UAE. Nick lives by the ethos, “Give more than you take." His professional mission is to make the logistics industry leaner, cleaner and greener.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.
She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.
An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.
A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.
A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning. He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.
Lori is currently completing a degree in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing at the University of Georgia. When she’s not supporting the marketing efforts at Supply Chain Now, you can find her at music festivals – or working toward her dream goal of a fashion career. Lori is involved in many extracurricular activities and appreciates all the learning experiences UGA has brought her.
Social Media Manager
My name is Chantel King and I am the Social Media Specialist at Supply Chain Now. My job is to make sure our audience is engaged and educated on the abundant amount of information the supply chain industry has to offer.
Social Media and Communications has been my niche ever since I graduated from college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. No, I am not a West Coast girl. I was born and raised in New Jersey, but my travel experience goes way beyond the garden state. My true passion is in creating editorial and graphic content that influences others to be great in whatever industry they are in. I’ve done this by working with lifestyle, financial, and editorial companies by providing resources to enhance their businesses.
Another passion of mine is trying new things. Whether it’s food, an activity, or a sport. I would like to say that I am an adventurous Taurus that never shies away from a new quest or challenge.
Trisha is new to the supply chain industry – but not to podcasting. She’s an experienced podcast manager and virtual assistant who also happens to have 20 years of experience as an elementary school teacher. It’s safe to say, she’s passionate about helping people, and she lives out that passion every day with the Supply Chain Now team, contributing to scheduling and podcast production.
Business Development Manager
Clay is passionate about two things: supply chain and the marketing that goes into it. Recently graduated with a degree in marketing at the University of Georgia, Clay got his start as a journalism major and inaugural member of the Owl’s football team at Kennesaw State University – but quickly saw tremendous opportunity in the Terry College of Business. He’s already putting his education to great use at Supply Chain Now, assisting with everything from sales and brand strategy to media production. Clay has contributed to initiatives such as our leap into video production, the guest blog series, and boosting social media presence, and after nearly two years in Supply Chain Now’s Marketing Department, Clay now heads up partnership and sales initiatives with the help of the rest of the Supply Chain Now sales team.
Vice President, Production
Amanda is a production and marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Amanda currently manages, produces, and develops modern digital content for Supply Chain Now and their clients. Amanda has previously served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah, and founded and managed her own successful digital marketing firm, Magnolia Marketing Group. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now production team, you can find Amanda in the kitchen, reading, listening to podcasts, or enjoying time with family.
Constantine Limberakis is a thought leader in the area of procurement and supply management. He has over 20 years of international experience, playing strategic roles in a wide spectrum of organizations related to analyst advisory, consulting, product marketing, product development, and market research. Throughout his career, he's been passionate about engaging global business leaders and the broader analyst and technology community with strategic content, speaking engagements, podcasts, research, webinars, and industry articles.Constantine holds a BA in History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and an MBA in Finance & Marketing / Masters in Public & International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh.
Host, Veteran Voices
Mary Kate Soliva is a veteran of the US Army and cofounder of the Guam Human Rights Initiative. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.
Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español
Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.
He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.
Host of Digital Transformers
Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog. He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community. Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include Cisco, Microsoft, Citrix and IBM. Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane University, O’Reilly Media, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight. Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Carrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.
Director of Sales
Tyler Ward serves as Supply Chain Now's Director of Sales. Born and raised in Mid-Atlantic, Tyler is a proud graduate of Shippensburg University where he earned his degree in Communications. After college, he made his way to the beautiful state of Oregon, where he now lives with his wife and daughter.
With over a decade of experience in sales, Tyler has a proven track record of exceeding targets and leading high-performing teams. He credits his success to his ability to communicate effectively with customers and team members alike, as well as his strategic thinking and problem-solving skills.
When he's not closing deals, you can find Tyler on the links or cheering on his favorite football and basketball teams. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing pick-up basketball, and traveling back to Ocean City, Maryland, his favorite place!
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring
Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.
Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.
Principal & CMO, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise
When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.
Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.
Founder, CEO, & Host
As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.
From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.