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205: Becoming A Brand: Instagram Moms and Peruvian Product Misadventures

Posted by Austin Brawner on June 25, 2019

 

It’s not always easy to maintain high-quality standards, especially when you want to sell organic, sustainable, and made-in-the-USA products.

Costs get high and sometimes that means concessions have to be made.

But sticking to your guns can lead to major payoff, especially when your customers have your back.

Today we chat with Jen and Kevin Long of Noble Carriage, who share the amazing story of how they built their dream company selling organic and sustainable baby clothes.

They share how they built and nurtured a supportive community, how this community helped them in the creation and launch of their own products, their challenging product sourcing journey, and how they’ve stood by their strict sustainability standards along the way.

Enjoy!

Episode Highlights

  • 3:23 A game changer quick win tip on A/B testing.
  • 8:35 How the search for safe and sustainable baby clothes led to the creation of Noble Carriage.
  • 10:26 How Noble Carriage engages with its online community of moms in a way that provides support and establishes trust.
  • 15:05 The importance of slowing down and examining your profit margins when evaluating your business and your ability to scale.
  • 18:39 What Jen and Kevin would have done differently in the growth of their business and why it’s so important not to get stuck living in the grind.
  • 21:26 One of Kevin’s big lessons: If you’re going to fail, fail fast.
  • 23:04 The value of understanding their audience before creating and launching their own products.
  • 26:59 The challenging journey of sourcing organic and sustainable baby clothes.
  • 31:09 The role of Noble Carriage’s community in their successful product development and launch.
  • 33:08 How Noble Carriage marketed their new product across multiple channels.
  • 35:03 What’s working with email for Noble Carriage.
  • 37:17 Jen’s plans for expanding their ambassador program.
  • 40:51 Some exciting new Noble Carriage products coming later this year to Noble Carriage that people must watch out for and when these will be released.

Links And Resources

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Transcript

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Austin Brawner: What's up, everybody? Welcome to another episode of the Ecommerce Influence podcast. My name's Austin Brawner.

Andrew Foxwell: And I'm Andrew Foxwell.

Austin Brawner: Ooh, excited to be here today. Excited for this episode because we are, or I am reuniting virtually on a podcast with some clients that I have worked with two years ago, and you've also worked with them more recently that than that.

Andrew Foxwell: Yes. This is the type of episode that I'm very excited about, because I know them really well. I know the things that they've gone through that we'll talk about on this podcast. And it's a very interesting story. And not only the way that they've launched the company and how they built the community, but also the product sourcing and the journey they've taken to that, to getting their own products launched.

Andrew Foxwell: So, I'm really in love with Jen and Kevin, and I think you guys will really like this episode.

Austin Brawner: That's a little teaser before we share a quick win tip that I want to share with you guys, because the episodes really good. But I want to share something that I learnt that has been ... It kind of changes the game around AB testing.

If you are using Klaviyo and you have a flow running and you're split testing the flow, meaning sending people down one path versus the other, and you may be at 50% going to one, and 50% the other, one thing you can do to better assess how that split test is working, is you can actually add a tag of a property to the people going down each side of the flow, and then create a segment of the people that have that tag.

So, if 50% went down one side of an abandoned cart and 50% went down the other side of the abandoned cart, that little tag will allow you to make a segment of each of those, and then figure out by exporting them which one actually has more lifetime value. So, you can actually determine which one of your flows creates more lifetime value or average order value, which is something that was a little bit more difficult to do previously.

That's my sweet tip of the day.

Andrew Foxwell: Love that tip. Love that tip. You want to tell the audience about the email we received too? Do we want to talk about that?

Austin Brawner: Oh, wild email today. A wild email today from a listener. I'm actually not even sure they're a listener. They're on the email list. They might be a listener, which ... We've gotten a lot of really good feedback from an episode to ... A couple of weeks ago, led by Andrew. He talks about how he scaled from $500 a day to $1,500 a day in ad spend over 30 days.

And it's just a case study, and if you haven't listened to it, it's a great episode. Really good because he gets ... You get tactical. And you get real deep and share what works for you. And in that email, they replying back from somebody, he was like, "I don't care if you spent 20k to bring in 50k a day. I know Facebook in and out. I've worked with pros. If you don't guarantee me right now results, remove me from your email list."

Andrew Foxwell: Clearly, this person's not a listener, because one of the biggest things we never do is make promises, or really false promises. 

Austin Brawner: No. I actually gave him a guarantee. I gave him a guarantee. I said it would not work for him. I was like, "I guarantee it's not going to work for you the way it's worked for this other business. Results will vary, and they're going to vary wildly for you with that mindset because it doesn't work like that." 

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah. It's so good. I love that stuff.

Austin Brawner: But I will say, we do love hearing from people. And on Twitter, through emails, regardless of how it comes in, we just love hearing from you guys. We were both at conferences over the past month and had people coming up and saying, "Hello." And it makes my day when someone comes up and says, "Hey, we listen to the podcast." So, if I ever see you at an event, please come up and say hi.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah. It's mind-blowing to me that people ... I mean, we've seen the numbers growing, but that people recognize your face and come up and say, "What's up?" And it's really, really cool, and it shows the real tangible impact. Because a lot of this, what we do and we put it out there, and we're like, "Oh," you know. We don't see you in person, unless you email us or send us a Tweet.

Austin Brawner: But actually, somebody actually didn't even recognize my face. They recognized my voice, which was, I was like, "I need to do a better job getting on video or something," which was kind of funny. Like, "Oh, wait. I do listen to you," which was kind of funny. But we'll get into the episode here.

This episode is going to be an episode with Jen and Kevin Long. They're the founders of Noble Carriage, and they make incredible, sustainable, organic baby clothing, and of the utmost highest quality. And they've got a very interesting story. Like I said, I worked with them two years ago at my first Brand Growth Intensive, and they at that time were getting started, getting going with email.

They've since grown the business a lot. Andrew's worked with them on paid social, and the interview was really interesting.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah, it really was. I think you will get a lot of value out of it. So, without further ado, let's go ahead and welcome them to the show.

Kevin Long: How's it going?

Jen Long: Happy to be here.

Andrew Foxwell: It's going great. It's always going great in the land of Ecommerce Influence. So, hey, we're feeling good. We're glad that you're here, and we're very glad that we're able to make this work and get you guys on the podcast.

Kevin Long: Thanks for having us.

Andrew Foxwell: That's the part where you say, "Long time listener." Yeah.

Austin Brawner: I was thinking, I haven't seen you guys since San Diego, which has been now almost over two years, I realized, since the Intensive. And got to know you guys down there, and it's happened really, really quickly. So, I'm excited to catch up and talk a little bit about what you guys are doing. But Andrew, I'll let you take over and kick things off here.

Andrew Foxwell: That sounds awesome. Well, I think for those of you that don't know about Noble Carriage, that are listening to this, Jen and Kevin, why don't you take a couple of minutes and tell us about the history of Noble Carriage and really who you are and what you do?

Jen Long: Yeah. So, this is Jen talking. I am a mom to Sophia who is 18 months old now. And I started Noble Carriage, which is an online shop for organic and sustainably made baby clothing. So, right now we curate a marketplace of all the best, most sustainable products in the world really. And we built our company with very strict sustainability standards.

So, everything, it has to meet three out of our five sustainability standards, which are organic, fair trade, made in USA, locally made and hand made. And the reason why I started the company is because I couldn't find the products that were safe to put on my baby, but also cute, and made really well, and had a great design sense.

So, I wanted to ... And I felt really overwhelmed when I was pregnant, I think thrown all of ... I needed all of these products, but in reality I wanted to only have the products that I actually needed. And so, I wanted to create a marketplace that curated the products that were not only safe for my baby, but good for the planet, and also products that served a function. So, that's why I started the shop.

Austin Brawner: And you guys have done a great job. One of the things that you're known for is the community that you guys have built. And on Instagram you guys have a very large following and you've got people that listen to you, take your advice.

How do you approach the responsibility of leading a community, and how are you thinking about your interactions with your followers and the people that are, my guess is, mostly other moms who are looking for advice for the same type of issues you were facing?

Jen Long: Yeah. So, you just said it. I'm lucky enough to be my target audience. And I think I also touched on the fact that I felt really overwhelmed by all of the products that were out in the world when I became pregnant. So, the goal with Noble Carriage is to simplify everything, to make it so that moms aren't overwhelmed.

And the moms who are over-thinkers like me can trust that Noble Carriage has done all of the behind-the-scenes research and work to make sure that when they come to our shop, they don't even have to worry if it's safe for their baby in the planet. It just comes with shopping with us.

And the way that I've built the community is by showcasing other moms actually putting this into practice, putting sustainability and healthy living into practice and making it approachable to them.

So, we do Noble Babe features where we do a whole photo shoot of moms in our clothing, and do an interview. And they share how they're doing it and how they're doing the best that they can. We can't do everything, and that's really important, to keep reminding our audience. So, I always try to simplify.

And we do a whole email series that is sustainability tips. So, I'm showing people how they don't need to buy a bazillion items of clothing for their baby. Buy a size up. Roll the cuffs. Buy knee socks a size up, wear them above the knee, and then they just get a little bit smaller as the baby grows. So, yeah. So, harnessing that community.

I believe that my community is overwhelmed most of the ... There are moms who are overwhelmed most of the time, like me, and I want to help simplify their life and I want to only bring products that bring them joy into their home.

And I take that responsibility really seriously. And I try to have that come through on all of our channels. On through our email series that goes out, as well as on Instagram. I'll share also how I'm putting this into practice in my own life with my daughter, Sophia. So, again, that goal of, "How do I bring joy and help moms out there to simplify their lives, and not overwhelm them with, 'Hey, you need to do everything perfect.'"

Austin Brawner: Sure. And especially in an environment where especially as moms, you've got a lot of, like an echo chamber of people telling you you're ... There's companies that are telling people that what they're doing is not correct in order to sell them stuff, which is not ... Yeah. Which is another thing in itself. So, kudos to you for creating a community where you actually simply things.

Jen Long: Yeah. It's an ongoing journey, but I do strongly believe that we don't need more products. We need less. And we just need to teach people how to do that.

Andrew Foxwell: I think the interesting thing ... I mean, the community that you have is, to me, one of the most interesting things about your brand. I think that you take that responsibility like I ... That's why we asked that way, "How do you handle that responsibility?" Because it's something that you take very seriously.

I told you guys the story about being at the Craft Fair that I was at in Madison not that long ago. And a woman said, "Oh, Noble Carriage. Oh." I was like, "Do you know Noble Carriage?" and she was selling baby clothing. And she was like, "Oh, my God. They're the best. Jen's my idle. And Jen is who I aspire to be." That literally was the words from her mouth.

And I think that speaks directly to this, because it's so ... I mean, we hear about being authentic and we hear about being true to yourself, but you've definitely taken that to heart, and that's very true to who you are. So, I think it's a big deal.

Transitioning into thinking about the mental challenges of just being a D2C business right now, I know that you're going through some transitions in your business, which we can get into as time goes on, but how do you generally, as a person that owns this business, as people who own this business together, navigate that, "You can only crush it if everybody else is crushing it," mentality that's very popular, right? They're making a ton of money, and it's everybody's growing, and there's a million things you want to do. How do you propose and how have you gone through that process of slowing down to truly look at your business?

Kevin Long: It's really funny that you ask that, mostly because in the last few months that's exactly what we've been doing. It's been a very introspective few weeks here, where we've taken a step back and looked at what's working and what's not working, and come to realize that we really do need to think about the finances, think about the marketing and the other expenses that we have to understand what is actually making our business work.

And for us, I think that slowing down was realizing basically, we don't need to do a lot of the things that we're currently doing. Spending money on a lot of the things that we're spending money on. And we've kind of shifted gears to making our own products, because not everything that we currently sell is healthy for our overall profit margins in the way that operate our business.

And so, I think if I'm proposing to anyone else to look at their business, I think that they need to be really thinking about profit first, profit before they get to the end of the month and are reconciling all their numbers, and crossing their fingers, and holding your breath to see if they have profit at the end of the rainbow.

I think that that's a very shortsighted way of looking at your business. And if that is how you're doing it, it'll catch up to you. And it's certainly caught up to us. So, we slowed down and realized that we really do need to look at margin a little closer and fast track the things that we want to do in our business, like making our own products that are going to give us the margin that makes it possible for us to continue to grow and scale.

Because revenue, at the end of the day, doesn't really mean anything. You can be selling a lot and still go out of business.

Austin Brawner: No question. It's very much a vanity metric. And it's actually ... I sometimes look at it in this space very similar to what you were talking about earlier, being a new mom and being bombarded by all these different things that you should be buying or doing.

There's lots of people within our industry that are telling you, "You should be doing more, or should be doing more of this, buying this sort of thing," when often it comes down to simplification and choosing the thing that you should double down on to move forward and grow. And it's really interesting hearing your journey, because when we met about two, two and a half years ago, it was still early on in the Noble Carriage journey.

And I'd be interested to hear from you guys how you've obviously made ... You've moved in the direction of focusing on more of your own products. Where you were at two years ago to now, what are some of the biggest things that you wish you could look back and tell yourself two years ago that you should focus on, that you learned over those last two years?

Jen Long: I mean, Kevin ... I know what Kevin's already thinking. We should have launched our own product sooner. I'm just the type of person where I wanted everything to be absolutely perfect before it launched, and he would tell me every day I just needed to do it.

So, I would say taking a step back sooner and writing out what your dream is for your business, what you want it to look like, and how it could be profitable for you, and putting a plan into place for that goal or for that dream would be what I wish I would have taken a step back to do, instead of just living in the grind.

Because there's only so many hours in the day, right, that you can focus your attention on things? And I focused my attention on keeping the business running and keeping our sales growing and growing and growing, and I didn't take the time to be like, "But wait. My dream was to launch our own product."

Just do it. That's what I'm saying.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah.

Jen Long: Did I steal that from somebody or something?

Andrew Foxwell: You could break down that in a lot of different ways. One is in terms of visioning, right? I think that if you asked anybody in their business, any entrepreneur, ecommerce or not ... Really ecommerce too is a huge part of it, because it's like the true vision of what you intended to set out to do and what you're currently doing is one thing.

Jen Long: Yeah.

Andrew Foxwell: You understand what I'm saying? And then, the other one makes me just ... You saying that makes me think of how so many of us are bogged down in what Greg McKeown who we've talked about a lot on this podcast, is we're stuck in the trivial many instead of the essentially few, right, where ... Because I'm with you.

I'll find myself in 40 minutes sitting down and answering somebody's direct message Tweet to me, and I'm like, "Why? Why am I doing this right now? I want to be helpful, yes, but I don't need to be doing this now." And so, there's all these little things. For you, I'm sure it's getting back ... Like I say, getting back to customers, and trying to find different people to partner with.

And just, those things that you did become a pattern, and then all of a sudden you're like, "Wait, I need to get back to exactly what we want to do." And that's really the beauty too though of being an entrepreneur. You can do that, right. You can pull back and say, "Hey, this is why we really started this." So, anyway, it's just interesting to hear you say that.

Kevin Long: For sure. And I think really to answer the question, what have we learned or what failures have we learned from, and ironically I think the short answer is, fail fast. And the reason is because I think it's so easy to get bogged down in the minutia.

To your point, we lose track of the most important things, and those important things have taken us way to long, to the point where the length of time is quite literally our biggest failure, and if we were able to really just focus on getting stuff out, rapid execution and testing, we probably could have avoided so many of the unnecessary mistakes that we've dealt with over the last few years. 

Austin Brawner: One thing that I think is a bit unique about your guys' business is, you talk about living in the grind, which I think is a really good explanation for what that is. When you're in that moment, continuing to do the same thing over and over again. But at the same time, while you were doing that, you were building an audience, especially on Instagram, right, and through email.

And so, even within ... One thing that I've seen, difference between businesses is sometimes there's businesses that don't move forward, but also don't build an audience, and they're way worse off than other companies that like.

At this point, you guys are in the product creation, product launch stage, and you've got the audience you've been building over the last couple of years, which will then translate right into that product launch, which is what I want to kind of transition to.

You said you knew you wanted to do this. And I think even two years ago you were talking about it. How did you get started? How did you go from, "Okay, we know we need to do it," to, "Let's do it?" Where do you even start on that?

Kevin Long: That's a great question. Like I said, failing fast is an important thing here. Two years ago, we were talking about it. And frankly, when we started the business, we were talking about it. We wanted to create Noble Carriage originally with our own products, and we ultimately decided that it was most important for us to first understand what the audience wanted before we went and created factory minimums of X, Y and Z products.

And so, which is why we started the Noble Carriage as people know it today, as a traditional online retail marketplace selling a curated collection of the world's best organic and sustainably made baby clothing. However, the process from beginning to now has given us a whole lot more insight into what people actually want, what colors are important, what sizes are important, what styles.

Where there's a gap in the marketplace, if you will. And that identified a few really key places like sleepwear that ... Unfortunately, this whole sleepwear category for babies is met with a ton of red tape, from federal regulations and whatnot. We have to cut it a certain way, and we have to have all kinds of warning labels, and there's a lot of sleepwear that is treated with-

Jen Long: Flame retardants.

Kevin Long: Flame retardants and other chemicals, because that's what's required. And obviously, that was an opportunity for us to come out with something a little bit different that was great. And that's where we focused our energy first, was in sleepwear. And I think even with some of the challenges we faced initially in launching that product, it by all measures, was successful. And we're really excited to be re-upping on that in a few months as well.

Andrew Foxwell: So, you did the market research? You looked around at what was out there, and you felt like ... And some of it, I suppose, you're spending so much time in this particular niche, you're like, "Nobody really has a good sleepwear line." So, that's how you got to it. So, you decide that's what you want to do. I know that for you, the journey on sourcing was its own sort of expedition into the jungle.

Because here's what I think is very interesting about you. The way that you went about sourcing. I've worked with, and Austin's worked with, a lot of other businesses where sourcing is like, "Yeah, we'll just get that made," right. And the consideration that they'll have is like, "Yeah, it's decent and it's made in the US," or something. Right? Okay.

Jen Long: Yeah.

Andrew Foxwell: And so, that's where it stops for a lot of people. And I think, to defend them, it's easy and cheap, right.

Jen Long: Yeah.

Andrew Foxwell: So, for you, I witnessed this firsthand. It was the obsessive journey on sourcing, right. So, how did you even begin understanding the sourcing? Did you come up with core things you wanted to ensure the product had, and then you went from there? Or did you start to visit people, and ... How did you go about this? Because this process of coming up with the sleeper was a year and a half minimum, right?

Jen Long: Yeah.

Kevin Long: Yeah. A year and a half is safe to say.

Jen Long: Well, we did all of the things that you just mentioned. Yeah. I mean, this is probably ... This is me at work. This is how my brain works, is I overthink everything, and when it comes to sustainability, you ... What I realized through this process is you have to give and take on certain things, and it's a balance.

The dream would be to have our product made with organic pima cotton, made in the USA, because that's temperature regulating, it's anti-bacterial. So, it has all these properties that are really good for the baby, and then it's also great for the planet because it's made here in the USA and it's providing jobs for people in the US.

But what I found in that whole process is that this sleeper would end up costing our customers $100. So, of course, we can't sell a sleeper at $100, or at least not to our community and our audience. That's not sustainable for them. So, having to take ... I was taking in all of these different things into account and trying to figure out what would be the best places to make compromises.

And so, we ended up creating ... There's no actual organic pima cotton in the US. There's Supima cotton, but it's not certified organic and it's not as soft as the pima cotton that comes from Peru. So, we opted to have our own cotton spun for us in Peru, where the factory is 100%, got certified.

And so, we had it specially made. We had it shipped to LA and dyed with natural dyes, like sandalwood and peppermint leaves and henna leaves. And then, we had it sewn here in San Diego. And yeah, that was quite the journey, as you just mentioned. And so, I wanted to start out with the opposite of what you said all these other companies did.

I wanted to start out with like, "This is our dream. This is what our dream product is, and we believe in it. And it doesn't exist, so we're going to bring it into the world." And we learned a lot from that journey. I learned so, so much about sourcing.

Kevin Long: That's an ideal world, is getting the exact fabric you want custom made with every spec that, possible on your list checked off, and that it's the right price point for your customer. In the end, we found that it's actually not sustainable for us at all to pull that off, and the manufacturing process was a complete nightmare. To say the least, it causes all kinds of mental and financial stress.

We got it launched, luckily. But in the second iteration of this, we have really taken a look at not only our sustainability standards and what we need to uphold in the product, but also what's realistic, because our customers need to be able to actually buy what we're making. Otherwise, a really fantastic product is just going to sit in our warehouse. And nobody needs ... That doesn't do anybody any good.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah, I think just to comment on that before we get to the next question. I think that you wouldn't have been able to do what you did had you not had the community you do, of already building the community and having the products that came from other vendors and other places that were sourced the way that you want, that you curated.

And you built that community so that when you'd invested the dollars ... And I know it was still scary for you, but it did provide some cushion that, "You know what? Our community likes this." And Jen, I'm obviously, I'm a big IG follower. So is Gracie. Don't have kids, but I just think that the way that you process things is fascinating.

It's like, we saw you posting previews of the sleeper, right, of like, "What do you think of this?" And I know that the feedback was very generous. And frankly, when we launched this together and me helping you market it, it did well, I think, in large part because you had sort of known and pretested that it was going to do well.

Kevin Long: Yeah, for sure. For sure. I think it was really stressful for us to keep giving sneak peeks and asking questions, because we thought it was going to launch six months sooner than it did. But yeah, our community is the reason why we made it. We knew that they wanted it. And after sharing it with them and asking them questions and engaging with them about the product, we knew it was going to be successful.

It was just, "How the heck do we make it?" And I think that's been our biggest learning in this whole process. And actually, our biggest fail at the same time was trying to do everything to the point where it took a year and a half, and it was ... It sold well, but it was a total mess on the backend.

Andrew Foxwell: All right, well, that's very interesting. I appreciate you sharing that with us, Kevin. One thing I'm curious about now is, okay, you've got the product, although it was a very laborious process. And now, you've wanted to bring it to market. Can you talk about each part of how you brought it to market?

I know email was a big part of it. I know that there was Facebook and Instagram, organic and paid. And I can talk about the paid stuff, but I'm curious about how did you start to prepare for this, and what kind of assets did you produce, and things like that? And how did you get the word out?

Jen Long: Yeah. I think I started with ... When I started sourcing, and started to get stuff back, I started share that. So, I really brought our community along the journey with me. And then, from there I did two different photo shoots for the product. I did one that was outside, and then I did one that was indoors.

So, since they were pajamas, it makes sense to have one that was indoors where you would mostly use the pajamas, and then also one that showed them outside in a more stylized shoe. And then, we seeded the product to different influencers and people that we worked with in the past. And we partnered with a couple people to do giveaways. And then, we reached out to press.

I did an Instagram live where I talked about each of the products and the process. And yeah, and then we pre-sold the product to get an idea for how many we should make. And after we quickly sold out, we called our factory to see if we could make more. And we put them back up for pre-order for a little bit of time. Yeah, that's pretty much it.

Austin Brawner: How are you guys doing, so, talk a little bit ... I know email's a big part of what you guys do. Do you have anything that ... Any tips or any things you've learned over the last, I don't know, six months that's been working really well for you guys?

Kevin Long: Yeah. Well, first, email is probably our primary. Email and paid social are our primary marketing vehicles. So, we've always had a full setup for automated messages, and marketing enabled to us to keep our customers engaged in what we're doing. So, for the products that we made ourselves, we've always done individual emails to launch new products, but we've tried to incorporate new ways to wear them, different colors, and other ways to engage people in different times of year.

So, we launched in Q4 during the holidays, and these were all in sequences tailored to Black Friday and the Christmas stuff. But what we learned from you actually is all the sequences that we could do behind the scenes. So, win back campaigns, and when people are first signing up for our email or are coming to our site, incentives to get them into the email and engaging them in a welcome sequence.

Email is such an important way for us to stay connected with people. It's important to have something automated so that we're not just sending hundreds of emails every day.

Jen Long: A lot of our products also sell out pretty quickly, so the back in stock emails have always been really great for us. And I used to manually do that. So, I think we have an app now that automatically sends the back in stock, which is awesome.

Austin Brawner: Yeah, I imagine. Every time, if you're selling out and you're like, "Hey. Sorry about that. We'll let you know," it'd be a lot of work.

Jen Long: Yeah.

Austin Brawner: That's awesome. Do you have anything else that you guys are ... I know you guys are in a little bit of a transition point right now, and you're kind of taking a step back and just kind of looking at what to invest in.

Is there anything that has caught your eye and you're like, "You know what? That actually supports our mission, supports our business, supports where we want to go?" that you're thinking about diving into this upcoming year?

Jen Long: I think something that's always worked really well for us is partnering with influencers and people in our community. So, we completely stopped doing that while we were going through this transition of creating our own products, and I definitely want to get back into that in creating a real ambassador program for the influencers that we work with.

I want to create a plan for it, where in the past it's just been kind of wily of, "Oh, we should work with them. We should work with them." I want to have a structure to it. So, as we have our own products, that's going to be something that we want to build a strategic plan for.

Andrew Foxwell: Influencers is something that I feel like is a good topic for really anybody to be considering this year, and I know you've done it. I'm just curious on that topic, on the influencer side. These are people from your community that you found, or that you just have naturally by posting and getting to know them, is that how you found ... You're not using any services or anything, are you, at this point in time?

Jen Long: No, we're not. And again, it comes back to me being an over-thinker. I will research the people that we work with a lot and make sure they completely fall in line with our mission and our values, which is great, but it's tedious. So, I think that I might just have somebody help me out with that.

I don't think that I would ever use a service to do it, because I do feel like we get better content from these ambassadors when we're working with them to give them juicy content to share and products that they really believe in, rather than cold reaching out or just sending product. Does that make sense?

Austin Brawner: Yeah, does. It does. And it's reflected too in the imagery that you have on your website. Like, super high quality lifestyle type photos that really show off the kids and the products. That looks great. And it's amazing. You actually don't need that many people producing content if you have a couple then that can produce really good content. And then, you could leverage it everywhere.

Jen Long: Yeah. And the cool thing is that a few of the people that I've reached out to, they've already been customers. And I think that's ... I mean, that just goes to show that they're completely in line with our mission are living the lifestyle that we're promoting. The slow living, sustainable living life cycle. So, I think that's always going to be really important to us.

I just feel like I need a little bit more structure to how I can help the influencers that we work with to produce their content and bring good content to their audience too.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah. I agree with that. So, looking forward, that sounds like there's a lot of new, fun things happening this year. The one final question I have is, what's the cadence of now how many new products you're releasing that are under the Noble brand? And is it every couple of months or every quarter? And what does that look like?

Kevin Long: That's a great question. We just actually placed our first factory PO since the debacle of last year. And so, we're expecting to have a whole collection of our own stuff coming in probably August or September. So, we'll start to see some new Noble branded products in Q3, which is awesome.

And what we're starting to move towards is more of a quarterly collection so that there's always new stuff. I don't think that we'll see Noble branded stuff that frequently, but we are looking to introduce new products on a regular basis so that we're keeping our product assortment fresh, that our customers are always getting something new.

And yeah, it's hard to keep track with everybody's eagerly looking for, but ...

Jen Long: And I'm also doing a project on the site with Noble Carriage called The Noble Collective. And that's where I work with local seamstresses to put out really small batch production of products to test the market and see what people like. So, this last season we did a dress for Easter called The Easter Dress.

I know it's just a really cool way for me to get feedback from customers on products they like before us placing a big factory order. So, that's another fun thing that we're working on.

Andrew Foxwell: I like that. Love it.

Kevin Long: We found some makers all over the place, in fact. We also worked with some artist in Oaxaca to do some custom woven baskets. And it's a really cool story. There are women's collectives all over the world that are doing products that are local in nature and bring a lot of culture and heritage into what they're making.

And so, this particular product, they're a group of women in Oaxaca that are just doing their craft. And we find people that are like that and help them make some custom stuff that is relevant to our customers, whether it's woven baskets, or backpacks, or things like that that make sense. But there's more of that coming, and hopefully more frequent than we've done in the past.

Jen Long: Yeah. It's really cool for me too to see us helping them to do their work, to do their product. So, I really do feel passionate about that product as well.

Austin Brawner: Oh, I'm excited for you guys and excited for what is to come. I feel like there's going to be a lot of compounded returns on the goodwill that you've built within your community, and just on what you guys have learned too from going through a product launch for the first time with your own product, to now going through the second time, third time. It's going to continue to increase and be exciting.

Now, we want to be respectful of your guys' time and wrap it up here. But if somebody interested in following along with your journey or learning more about you guys are doing, I know there's obviously noblecarriage.com. But do you have anything that you would recommend people take a look at if they're interested in some of the stuff you're doing?

Jen Long: Yeah. Definitely follow us on Instagram at Noble Carriage. And then, also signing up for our email list. I treat anybody that's on our email list like our VIP. They get all of the information about where we're headed, and launches and everything first. So, definitely check that out.

Austin Brawner: Awesome. Thank you guys so much for coming out and sharing your story. It was exciting, it's cool, and it's fun for me just to check in and hear a little more about it.

Jen Long: Yeah, thanks. We're honored to be on the podcast with you guys too.

Austin Brawner: Hey guys. Austin again. I have a quick message for you. If you enjoy this podcast, I have something really exciting for you. For the last year, I've been coaching e-commerce business owners and markets in the Brand Growth Experts membership. You might even have heard me talking about it on this podcast. And what launched as an experiment has become a game changer for our over 120 members.

Well, on June 19th the game is changing again. We've been toiling away over here on version 2.0 and we're ready to launch it to the world. On June 19th, I'll be opening up enrollment for the coalition. If you'd like me and my team of expert marketers and e-commerce operators to coach you on your journey to scale up your e-commerce business, this is your opportunity.

Head over to jointhecoalition.com to learn more. Again, head over to jointhecoalition.com to learn more. Hope to see you inside.

Austin Brawner: What's up, everybody? Welcome to another episode of the Ecommerce Influence podcast. My name's Austin Brawner.

Andrew Foxwell: And I'm Andrew Foxwell.

Austin Brawner: Ooh, excited to be here today. Excited for this episode because we are, or I am reuniting virtual...

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