May 8, 2018

Cracking The Amazon e-Commerce Nut (PODCAST)

Jordyn Gatti of Better Almond Butter wasn’t 100% convinced that Amazon was the right sales channel for his business. So what made him change his tune? He explains more why – along with tips for how to get started with Amazon, in today’s podcast.

Jennifer: Jordyn, thanks so much for joining us today.

Jordyn: Of course, thank you for having me.

Jennifer: As I was saying in the introduction, we’re gonna be talking about your experiences selling through Amazon as one of your retailers, but before we get there I want to backtrack just a little bit. I’d love to know a little bit more about you, and your company, and how and why you got started. So can you tell us about that?

Jordyn: Yeah, totally. Probably like a lot of people who end up starting a company, I maybe almost backed into it almost. I started out, if you really want to go way back to the very beginning. I was a musician just out of high school, and that was pretty cool. That took me touring around a little bit. Got to see some cool places, meet some cool people. Then I actually decided that I need to make a living. Actually, at the point, I moved to New York City, maybe at the age of about twenty-two. And I started working in film. And backed into that as well. Just looking around for work, hey do you wanna come for blah blah blah, and come work on a film set. Sure, sounds like a good idea. Yeah, so I worked in film, and that was my most recent career. And I ended up doing that for probably about four or five years.

And then this past … Actually, I would say not this past. It was the winter before just this one. I was running out of a little bit of love with film and with what I was doing and was just, in general, looking for a change. And someone once referred to it as … Well, ’cause I’m 26. It was actually my boss, when I told him I was no longer going to be working in film, he was like, “Oh, it’s all good, man. This is your quarter life crisis.” Okay, cool.

My quarter life crisis for me was very much, to really sum it all up, and I certainly have felt about it lately and this definitely parlays into the mission behind the company is … I definitely had a strong, strong idealism when I was younger. I think that’s pretty common in a lot of young people, probably borderline, but definitely idealistic. I think I lost that a little bit. I think there are … you work in a professional environment and people say that that is something that you’ll grow out of, that you’ll get over that or so on and so forth, and I felt like I sort of lost the idealism and I lost that, interesting enough, in film. That’s because we were doing a lot of commercials and a lot of studio work, which is … it’s not that it’s dull, but it gets very samey after a while. The bigger the job, the further you are disconnectedness from the real creative of the meaning from it, and you’re just a crew member. You’re just there on set surrounded by 50 or 60 people, just kind of doing a task.

This coming back into food, or I should say not back into, but just coming to food for the first time, I really wanted to refine my idealism. I’ve always been an entrepreneur and I’ve always wanted to … I love building things, just in general, always been a builder, always, always, always. Even as a kid, just building forts. I just wanted to physically build things and this is like the ultimate version of building something. It’s building a company ’cause there’s … you’re building something on it, every single possible level or playing. You’re just building things.

So, yes, I really wanted to build something that was my very own and that I could really re inject idealism and come back and say to all the people who said, “Idealism is something that is for hippies or la la la.” I said, “No, we can actually … we can apply some really hard work and some creative structure to an idealistic principle and message.” That’s actually a wonderful thing and that’s a fantastic thing. So, yes, it’s that coming back and creating it and then, of course, that sort of led to almond butter in that, based on a little bit of research, looking around for what kind of food company I wanted to start. I came across this thing with almonds and I had been making almond butter for a while and I just sort of, frankly enjoyed it. It was just really good tasting. I thought, “Well look I’m already making this. Maybe there is a gap or a window in this space that I could potentially fill.”

After a few bits of research is when I really came across all the stuff about the pasteurization of almonds in the U.S. and how they’re not actually raw, a lot of stuff about why sprouting is so cool and important, but why it’s sort of not done because it’s a process that takes time and food manufacturing companies do not like time. They do not like to use time as an ingredient.

Jennifer: Yeah, that’s a great.

Jordyn: Supplement with other things and just get it out the door as quickly as possible and efficiently as possible. Yes, I sort of stumbled upon all this and really found a lot of almond butter eaters that were complaining about this. Saying, “Hey, we can’t find a sprout of almond butter and we can’t find a sprout of almond butter that is actually coming from unpasteurized almonds.” The thing with almonds is that all U.S. grown almonds are either heat or chemically treated, even the ones that say raw. They’re not raw at all, but they’re still allowed to call them raw.

What we do is import all of our almonds from Spain where they don’t do that. Probably is not a surprise to you that the U.S. is the only country in the world that does that. The most common method is actually to gas the almonds with a chemical call propylene oxide, often known as PPO, and that is actually our own … FDA considers that chemical a probably carcinogen. We use it anyway because it’s cheap and cheerful and no one asks about it and no one really knows about it. So, of course, why would anyone stop using it?

I pound my fist kind of hard at that thing with better almond butter saying, “No, we’re gonna use the best quality, most natural almonds that come from Spain.” They’re not treated whatsoever. It’s of course all organic or non-GMO. We sprout them and then we bottle it in glass jars. We use as little amount of plastic as possible. All of our shipping materials are 100% biodegradable or come from 100% recycled materials. It really was … I just wanted every aspect of this company to be idealistic and for the environment and for obviously giving people a transparency to this company and giving people the healthiest possible option that they could have. So, that’s why I started this company.

Jennifer: That’s awesome and I do have to say, I was obviously looking through your website before we talked and I had no idea about the gassing of the almonds. That just blew me away when I read it and kind of scared me a little bit, too, given how many nuts we eat in my house.

Jordyn: Completely. They don’t have to say that. They don’t have to say how it was pasteurized and they don’t even say that it is pasteurized.

Jennifer: Yeah.

Jordyn: And again, you’re buying raw almonds. These almonds are at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods at these health food stores. You think you’re getting raw almonds, but if they come from California, which 99% of the time they will unless they clearly will say otherwise, they’re not actually raw and they are pasteurized. I just wanted to tell as many people that as humanly possible, so I started a company to do that. that have to listen to me.

Jennifer: When you started, what was your sales channel plan? Did you plan to use Amazon as a sales channel? Or what and how were you thinking with regards to that? ‘Cause, as you know, making a product is one thing, but selling it and getting people to buy it is a whole other component.

Jordyn: Yeah. I mean, define plan. No, I think that … I have … I learned all this for the very first time as I was doing it, as I was making phone calls to retailers, to figuring out how to get into farmer’s markets, how to get onto online delivery services. The honest answer is there wasn’t a plan. I had no idea. I was pretty much just trusting in my self that I … I like troubleshooting things. I like problem solving. Those skills are really fun for me and I like talking to people and I just figured with a combination of those three things, I would eventually get there. I think we are getting there and certainly I’ve spent no shortage of time doing tons of research and talking to lots of folks just in the food business in general.

The hot topic definitely appears to be with regards to sales channels is, well are you gonna go retail or are you gonna go brick and mortar or are you gonna go online, direct to consumer? Because we are a shelf stable product we do have a lot of, basically options. It’s really easy for us to go to direct to consumer because we don’t have to worry about cold shipping it or cold storing it. And I think that sort of stuff we figured out as we were there having the conversation, going, “Oh wait, actually this is …” There was a lot of options for channels to market.

Actually, it’s funny at first Amazon was something that I was a little bit apprehensive towards. Mostly just because I didn’t understand it at all. Something Better Almond Butter does is we don’t go through distribution at all. It’s what, frankly, keeps the price where it is and that price point is where it is subscale. That price point will actually come down and is something that we made … I made that decision early on, that we weren’t gonna go through distribution because … to just essentially jack with the price.

Getting the almond butter out there was something that I felt confident we could do in house. In liking talking to people, I have no problem selling the almond butter. I have no problem cold calling. We are making a little bit more margin and we’re obviously charging the consumer less. Then we control all of the channels. We’re the one doing the interfacing with the grocery buyer or whoever else is at the point of contact for those channels to market. My, sort of anti-distribution … I’m a little bit naively transferred that over to Amazon. It’s like, “Well, here’s this big, giant company. I mean nothing to them. I will have no control what goes on, blah blah blah blah blah.” And actually, we did find out that that’s not the case.

Jennifer: Okay.

Jordyn: In fact, Amazon has been … Amazon has now probably growing to be our single largest channel, which I was not expecting, for no particular reason. I would say at this point I kind of wish that we would have hopped on there a little earlier, to be totally honest. Yeah.

Jennifer: When you say “hopped on” you make it sound really simple. For somebody else who’s listening right and is like, “Okay, yeah, I’ve wanted to try and maybe sell my product through Amazon.” What, at a high level, what sort of things do they need to have in place? I’ll be honest, I haven’t even looked, is there a portal where somebody like you can say, “Hey I’m interested in being sold through Amazon?” How does that all work in the first place?

Jordyn: It’s actually quite easy, and take that from me who hates paperwork and is terrible at it and is terrible at administrative stuff. It’s actually pretty, pretty user friendly and a pretty plug in place system. You basically sign up for a seller account. You then literally just create your posting. They put lots of … if you go on Amazon and you look at any posting, they all have a similar layout and a similar … there’s these bullet points where you put this thing, and then there’s the price over here in the upper right. In that way, it does make it easy that they put very stiff constraints on the options, where like you can only put five bullet points under your listing, that kind of thing. In that way it’s actually quite easy.

Yeah, so you literally just make this listing and then you can select an option. And you’re gonna have two options when you talk about Amazon. You’re gonna have what’s called third part fulfillment, which is you, meaning you as the seller are gonna handle the shipping. Usually the buyer is gonna pay a shipping cost unless you yourself offer free shipping.

Jennifer: Okay.

Jordyn: But, that item is not eligible for Prime. Amazon does not warehouse that item. You warehouse that item. Amazon is literally just almost like a transaction platform at that point. They don’t hold any product. They don’t ship any product. They don’t do any fulfillment. They will take a … and they still take a cut from that. I think it’s somewhere … it’s all the … it all depends upon the price of the item and then … Well actually, if it’s just third party fulfillment I think it’s just based on the price of the item. I think for me, so my MSRP is $19.95 and as a third party fulfiller, so meaning I would handle … I would actually ship it from my fulfillment center. Amazon was taking around $4.

Jennifer: Okay.

Jordyn: Which is very, very, very, very little compared to what a traditional retailer might take. I did that for a bout two weeks and there was … it didn’t really … nothing was really happening. I think I got like two orders. It just wasn’t … I was getting more orders coming in through the website …

Jennifer: Okay.

Jordyn: … than I was through Amazon. We posted a little something on our Instagram ’cause people kept asking us, “Are you gonna be on Amazon soon? Are you gonna be on Amazon?” So now, “Yay, you’re on Amazon. You’re on Amazon.” They go, “Oh, but you’re not on Amazon Prime.” So, we asked some of our … we reached out to some people who … some of our customers and said, “Hey, just raise your hand if you prefer to see us Amazon Prime” and everyone jumped on it and was like, “Yeah, why … buying you through Amazon NOT Prime, I would just go on your website. It’s the same thing.” People really, really wanted the Prime. They wanted that free two day shipping and I get it. That’s pretty cool.

Jennifer: Yep.

Jordyn: So, we then switched over to Fulfillment by Amazon. You also see it referred to as FBA, which stands for Fulfillment by Amazon. In that way, you are then shipping your product, typically by the case load, to an Amazon warehouse that they tell you where to ship. You ship it to them. You can’t deliver it. You have to ship it. You ship it on their incredibly, incredibly, incredibly like ridiculously low UPS rate. It’s insane. It is insane what kind of deal they have for UPS because you’re gonna pay like $2 to ship like a giant box to your Amazon warehouse ’cause you’re using their UPS account.

Jennifer: Oh, wow.

Jordyn: And then … and you’re listening to these exactly the same. You actually don’t have to do anything to the listing. You don’t have to change … you don’t have to create a whole new one. You’re literally just changing the fulfillment service from … fulfilled by a third party to FBA. Then it’s gonna appear on Amazon Prime and why this is really special.

One of the unforeseen things that I was like, “Oh wait, this actually turned out to be a wonderful thing” is … One of our biggest issues is … we’re an east coast based company. We’re small. We aren’t going through distribution so it’s pretty … it was a challenge for us to service our west coast customers, and obviously with the really high quality almond butter, there’s a huge audience and market out in L.A., San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, so on so forth. We were having a really hard time servicing them just because the distance and to get it to a store out there would just be … it would suck. You’d have to ship it out there, which would cost a huge amount of money. You’re looking at potential breakage. The jars don’t look as nice as they’ve been tossing and turning around in the … through the shipping system. They look a little funky when they come out on the other side.

This is something that we were … sort of a big challenge that we were facing is there’s this huge market out on the west coast and we’re having a really hard time getting out to them. To be honest, Amazon was a fantastic answer for that because it is that free two day shipping anywhere in the continental U.S., and actually, including Hawaii. We people in Hawaii who are buying it.

Jennifer: Oh wow.

Jordyn: There’s like a little pocket growing in Hawaii of people who are Better Almond Butter fans. It doesn’t cost us any additional money and Amazon, for their fulfillment services, they basically … they’re gonna charge you your basic listing fee, which is what they would have … the cut they would have taken if you were doing your own fulfillment.

Jennifer: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Jordyn: They’re gonna charge you a warehousing fee, so to actually store it, which is really, really, really, really small. You’re talking basically cents per square foot of storage. Then they’re gonna charge you a really, really low rate to ship it. And again, it’s shipping anywhere in the U.S. in two days. That total for us … and now that total is not only based on the final item, or sorry, the cost of the item, but that’s also based on denominational weight of the item. For us, it turns out to be $7.60 is Amazon’s cut for … to do Fulfillment by Amazon. That actually ends up being pretty damn close to what a regular retailer would take, which is about 35 to 40 percent, or 30 to 40 percent.

Jennifer: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Jordyn: In a way, Amazon … I kind of look at Amazon as a really big grocery store for us because the pricing, the structure is almost exactly the same and we get to service people all over the country, which is a really unique opportunity for us. It really did solve a huge problem. I wouldn’t know what it would look like if your items needed to be cold stored or if you didn’t have shelf stable items. I imagine that that would be a bit of a challenge, just not knowing anything about it, but I can just assume that that might be a bit of a challenge. And also, if you had a low priced, but very large item that would probably … you’d run into some issues there. It might even cost you more just to ship it than it might even be worth selling on Amazon.

The other few little bits of information that I kind of took was … I had asked you standard stuff like your EIN number, official business name, official business address. For certain types of categories within food, you need to provide them with your FDA, basically kitchen ID, which you should have if you’re in a kitchen anyway and you’re approved. But yes, you will need that. You will need to submit that.

Then the one last thing that we didn’t have that we are now going through the process of having that you should probably just have in general is either a trademark or design mark on your business. The reason why you need that is you need that in order to create a storefront through Amazon. Amazon storefronts are really cool. Any big company will have one where you can … it’s like a store … it’s basically an online store through Amazon. You get a lot more customization. You get personalization. You can add videos to it. You can add your own copy. You can add your own text. You can literally create a virtual storefront. That is where you’ll see on some listings, that if you just type in whatever, a big company’s listing, pick a food company, it doesn’t matter. You’ll see sort of in the description section it’s this really nicely curated website looking thing that sort of breaks from the traditional Amazon structure.

Jennifer: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Jordyn: That is basically … that has been created through their virtual storefront. But you will need … you need to have a design mark or a trademark in order to create one of those. So, just heads up that process takes like three months.

Jennifer: Yeah.

Jordyn: So, you should do that as soon as possible.

Jennifer: So, in the … in kind of the non-storefront side of Amazon that you’ve experienced. I’m curious about how you handle marketing to consumers. Do you … for you, is it really for repeat customers who may have found you or heard about you elsewhere or are new customers finding you? And if so, how are you able to convey your benefits in, let’s say, those five bullet points? That’s pretty succinct.

Jordyn: Right. The thing that has probably … the thing that we’ve done that I’ve seen has boosted our sales the most, is have really nice photos. That’s been the thing … that’s been such a huge difference maker from when we first launched on Amazon to where we are now with our sales. We added nicer photographs and put as much information in the photos as possible. Because you do have a pretty limited amount of space that Amazon gives you to convey information.

Jennifer: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Jordyn: Those photos … the little photo grade is in the up left corner and I think people are just used to clicking on that and used to flipping through that. I would say the thing that has been the biggest benefit to us has been really, really getting as much as we can out of that photo section and posting really good photos of the jar actually in an environment and then just really nice mock ups of the actual jar.

I see it a lot as … it’s interesting, whether they’re repeat customers or first time customers or so on and so forth. It’s hard to tell … actually, it’s not hard to tell. People typically will buy one jar at a time on Amazon Prime. The way that we’ve structured all of our sales channels is on Amazon Prime and anywhere in retail, the price is $19.95, uniform across the board. It’s always gonna be $19.95 except on our personal website, where it’s $18. We offer $18 a jar with free shipping over $50, so basically three jars.

Jennifer: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Jordyn: And the idea with that is … and we basically, most of our repeat customers will come in through the website because they already know what they’re gonna buy. They know, which flavor they like. They know that they just like it in general and they want more of it and they will buy three jars to get that discount, to get that $18 a jar. I think that basically because of that and because most people, you can see the fact that they bought one jar or two jars or [inaudible 00:25:36] on Amazon, most people are only buying one jar at a time.

I’m inclined to think that is first time customers, but obviously because our numbers are continuing to grow and we have seen some people who have reached out to us on either Instagram or just direct to our email address asking us questions, saying, “Hey, I got this on Amazon.” I don’t know why they call us that. They just call us that. It had nothing to do with the question they asked. ” Amazon, really looking forward to trying it out.” Just a little bit of anecdotal evidence to provide that I think it’s first time customers, but I think it’s anyone looking to buy just one jar at a time as well. So, that’s … but like I said, that’s what I think. Sure there’s more sophisticated data out there, but I have not found the sophistication to find it.

Jennifer: In addition to selling online, you had mentioned earlier also being the point person for buyers, say brick and mortar stores. Have you ever gotten pushed back from brick and mortar buyers regarding the fact that you’re on Amazon?

Jordyn: It’s an interesting topic. We talked to a lot of buyers who are aware, and this kind of goes back into what is the future of food buying? Is it gonna be online orders or is it gonna be brick and mortar? And, at least this week, I believe that it’s gonna be a combination of the both. It’s gonna depend upon, obviously what kind of food it is and who is doing the shopping and it’ll be interesting to see in 30 years whether people are still moving to cities or whether that reverses and people start to leave cities … or, obviously, shopping in a city is so different than shopping in a suburb and just a lot plays into that kind of future.

The buyers at brick and mortar stores are obviously aware that online exists and they’re obviously aware that Amazon exists. It’s been around for long enough that I think that people are, at the very least, these buyers are accepting that it’s not a fad. It’s not gonna go away. The internet is not gonna go away. It’s only gonna grow. I think that they’re offering a few things to sort of combat that. People are always gonna … I think for any foreseeable future, people are going to want to walk into a physical brick and mortar retail space to buy their produce. I just don’t think that’s going away honestly anytime soon. As long as people are in a brick and mortar retail space buying their produce, they’re probably gonna be inclined to just get some other shopping done while they’re there.

Jennifer: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Jordyn: In that way, a shelf stable item like mine will always have room, I think, for a shelf in brick and mortar. I am certainly looking to … there’s a much quicker expansion that can happen for us online than in retail.

Jennifer: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Jordyn: A lot of the stores that we work with and we’ve found we like the best are kind of independent, organic stores. Those are kind of stores that usually have a stake in the community. It could be that somebody in the community owns that store. It could be that they offer a rewards program or that you see just other members of your community who are like minded and who care about organic and local food in that kind of place. That retail place really offers you an experience as a consumer and I think as long as you can offer someone an experience, they will show up. I ultimately think that these grocery buyers know that look.

There are grocery stores that they’re not trying to create the next giant chain of grocery chores. They’re not trying to be the next Whole Foods. They’re not trying to be the next Trader Joe’s. What they’re trying to do is basically create a community feel and that’s why people are showing up to those places. I do think that the retail stores have defensible space in that way. We occasionally will … if there is a grocery store that we think we would be a really good fit at, but that … the buyer is, “Ah, I don’t know [inaudible 00:30:29].” Say, “Look, we can literally prove to you that there’s people in your area code buying online. There’s people in your area code buying on Amazon.”

Jennifer: Yep.

Jordyn: “Would you rather they buy in your …” That makes a difference and that has clout and it is the truth. For us, I like being a part of those independent, organic grocery stores. I like that. They’re cool places. You usually … when you call the place you usually get the owner, who is also the buyer, who also runs it with his family or her family on the phone. I’m like, that’s cool. They dig the fact that we’re local to them and that it’s a young … they love all that and I love that they love that. Then when I go there and do the demos their customers love it, too. That has so much value and whether they know that or not, that is, I do think they have some defensible space when it comes to online encroaching on food buying.

Yeah, I guess to answer the question is like … we don’t get a lot of pushback. I don’t know why they don’t bring it up. They don’t say, “Hey, well are you selling on Amazon or can you give us a better deal?” They’re usually never the ones to bring it up. Usually we only bring it up, again, if we’re trying to … if we see a store that we really wanna be in, that’s in a gray area. We only use it as kind of a, “Hey, here’s this list of people who just bought it in your zip code online in the past week. Let’s put them in your store instead.”

Jennifer: Oh, that’s awesome. Yeah, absolutely ’cause … I agree that who knows what it will look like 30 years from now, but if it’s something … if we run out of nut butter in my house … I’m in Seattle, so I know Amazon really well there, but it’s just like, “Yeah, but we can’t wait two days for nut butter to come to my house.” Yeah, I’d rather just be able to go out to the store and get it.

Jordyn: Right. I think … I don’t think that Amazon is necessarily attempting to disrupt that. I actually think quite the opposite. I talked with a lot of people about Amazon. Amazon is so fascinating to me. It’s just really interesting what they’re doing and I would say the biggest thing that anyone should take away from Amazon is that they are building warehouses. They’re not building stores. They’re building warehouses and they’re building Cloud services and they’re building checkout services and they’re building infrastructure and that they’re an infrastructure company. They’re not trying to monopolize all of … this is not trying to be like the next Wal-Mart. They’re doing something entirely different actually. I know sometimes it looks the same, but it’s actually wildly different. They’re an infrastructure company.

I think the beauty of that is that it actually allows someone like you to buy my product that is made in small batches, by me, across the country, and you have just as much access to it, basically as someone who lives down the street. That’s pretty special. I think that in terms of sort of small sustainable businesses, that’s a wonderful thing because what you can have is … As a small business owner, you can actually have a really dedicated, really, really engaged following. Ultimately, probably around the world and they will all have equal and easy access to your product just as much as someone down the street would. That, to me, is how I see Amazon in the best possible way affecting, basically eCommerce and commerce in general. It’s to see artisans and people who just care about craft and who are really good at their job, or who are really good at making things, have access to a really, really large customer basis. I think that that’s actually … that’s fantastic. That’s awesome because … that’s literally like spreading the wealth. This is like the opposite of trickle down economics. This is empowering.

Take me for instance. A year ago I was working in film. Because of things like Amazon, because of things like online, my barrier of entry to market is so small.

Jennifer: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Jordyn: That, with relatively a very small amount of startup capital, a very small amount of knowledge and know-how, I can do all this … I get all this shit myself from my home, from my apartment. It’s not cause I’m a genius. It’s because it’s all becoming increasingly, increasingly available. If that’s not a [inaudible 00:35:26] American dream, I don’t know what else to tell you. That’s what it is. I could literally just sit here and apply some hustle and watch some YouTube videos, and all of a sudden you, in Seattle, can buy my almond butter. That is so cool.

I honestly think Amazon in wonderful in that way. They’re not trying to steal my customers because if they were trying to steal my customers they would be building stores. They’re not building stores, they’re building warehouses, and will eventually probably buy UPS. If I had any spare cash right now I would just be buying UPS stock and shorting FedEx stock. They’re eventually gonna buy it. We all know this.

But yes, I honestly … to me it’s a wonderful thing. It really is … I love it. It makes me feel like … ’cause I know people get so hung up on like, “Oh, it’s a big, evil corporation.” Look, of course it’s not a big, perfect corporation and everyone needs checks and balances, but whether they intentionally did this or not, they’re certainly leaving the door open for regular everyday people to capitalize on the ease that they’ve created to get your goods to market.

Jennifer: Yeah, because even 10 years ago … the amount of capital and knowledge and contacts and network that you would need to have, so let’s say for you to be in Brooklyn and to get your product on the store in Seattle and get me to see it and notice it …

Jordyn: Forget it.

Jennifer: Is darn near impossible.

Jordyn: I would not have … I would never have … I couldn’t have started this company, probably … yeah, definitely 10 years ago, maybe even a little less than that just because yeah, I could never have done it. Frankly, I’m surrounded by … by the way, I work out of a really cool … that’s in a startup in itself, it’s call Pilot Works. They call themselves an entrepreneur kitchen.

Jennifer: Oh nice.

Jordyn: They have … they own a bunch of kitchen space and they rent it out by the hour to food startups and they provide a bunch of other really cool … they provide mentorships and all this other kind of cool stuff. Oh geez, where was I going with that?

Jennifer: Just talking about having access. That in of itself is a perfect example of access because you needed to …

Jordyn: Yeah, completely.

Jennifer: … build out your own kitchen space. You’re 250,000 easy into building out a commercial kitchen space.

Jordyn: Forget it. Alright, that’s what I was gonna say. Yep. So, just seeing all my other co-founders who are experiencing this same kind of growth and prosperity because of things like Amazon. It’s … they … and then these people are creating jobs.

Jennifer: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Jordyn: And the really cool part of all this is that these are small, independent businesses. These are not … these are people who are looking to sort of disrupt the cooperate status quo and they’re being empowered by this platform, that is like the ultimate pinnacle of corporate status quo, but still. In a way, maybe that’s just how the world works. I don’t know. That’s a give and take. That’s a push and pull.

I also happen to be a terminal optimist, so I’m of course giving you the good spin on all this. For me, I see that and I’m like, “This is wonderful.” Anyone who’s not … you should just be utilizing this platform, ’cause get everything you can out of it ’cause you will. You’ll get so much out of it.

Jennifer: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Jordyn: And Amazon is not gonna steal your customers and they’re not gonna manufacture something that’s gonna undercut you if you’re an artisan. The only thing … when you see that Amazon Basic brand, do not be afraid of that. That’s all off the shelf stuff. That’s not … no one’s gonna come in … Amazon is not gonna start making a sprouted Spanish almond butter that has really nice branding in a glass jar. That’s never happening. Don’t like, “Oh, they’re gonna steal my …”. No, no, no, just … “But that’s not …” Again, they’re not in the retail business. They’re in the infrastructure business. They don’t care about copying your product. They care about making a commission. They care about renting the infrastructure that they own to you in order to get your product to your consumer.

Jennifer: It’s funny ’cause you said in the beginning that you started out somewhat hesitant about Amazon and now, obviously, you’ve come full circle.

Jordyn: Well, listen, hey, I’d say, just side note as to an entrepreneur, just be open minded, man. Do not ever get in your own way.

Jennifer: I love that. That’s true.

Jordyn: That’s honestly what this turn around has been for me is me initially looking at this and going, “Oh no, big evil corporation. I don’t wanna give you any money.” And then me saying, “Wait a minute, actually, what you’re doing is facilitating the small guy. You’re empowering the small guy.” Again, whether you meant to do that or not, this is actually a really positive thing.

Yeah, so rule number 8,090 is just be open minded and please get out of your own fucking way. The clean version of that, please get out of your own way, as an entrepreneur, do not, oh my god do not … some just figure out how to make your product sometimes not precious to you and just change it when it needs to change.

Jennifer: Yep. That is a great point. Yep.

Jordyn: It’s easier said than done, I know, but that is like 99% of the issues that I see people running into. I do have … it’s funny, I have … it’s because I don’t come from a food background that I think that I do have the benefit of not holding my product nearly as precious as some other people who come from food do. I think that that has been such a huge benefit. It’s almost like my ignorance has helped me become a better business runner, or a better entrepreneur. Again, in the sense that I’m just like well … I don’t know what things in food look like, so I’m just gonna take … this sounds like good advice, I’m just gonna take it.

Jennifer: Nice.

Jordyn: You know, instead of feeling like I’m right or feeling like I know because I’ve worked in food for X years. So, yeah, I guess I would offer that as just try to be radically open minded and just pretend like you don’t know as much as you know. I don’t know.

Jennifer: I would actually add to that, that even if you are in food for years and years … So, I’ve been in food for like over 20 years now, but I’ll be honest, it has changed so much that you can’t pretend to … like the old rules don’t necessarily apply anymore, which is … you can either look at that as a very pessimistic view or you can look at it as very optimistic and be like, “This is so cool.” All of the stuff that you used to have to do or have to know or who you had to know, none of that applies now. That’s really cool and just opens up a lot more opportunity to a lot more folks. I would say, even if you have been in the industry in a while, or for a long time, just take those blinders off and just be open to everything that’s out there, ’cause the industry as a whole is absolutely undergoing a huge [inaudible 00:42:41] of change.

Jordyn: Yeah. That’s honestly, a really, kind of just larger societal point is you’re seeing this … things are changing in bigger ways and more rapidly and because of all … You see this is in any … in music and in film, the barrier of entry is now becoming so low that anyone can do it and people who’ve been in that industry for 10, 15, 20, 30 years … I get where it comes from. You put in a shit ton of work when you were young and things were so much harder. I’m not ever trying to take that away from anyone, but it does make it challenging to look back on all this effort that you put into a thing, and now someone who has no real background in it can just kind of come in and now all of a sudden you’re competing with that person on sort of an equal level. That’s frustrating and I see that as a challenge.

I do like … it’s funny, but it is something that I think a lot of entrepreneurs in any space need to kind of overcome, in a way, or just anyone in any kind of space that’s changing rapidly, is like, “I know you put in all that hard work” and of course, here I am the young guy telling you this, but no one deserves this more than you, the person who spent all the years doing it. Yeah, you kind of almost have to forget what you know and sort of have this fresh perspective in order to adapt to the pace that is required. Yeah, it’s an interesting … that is a topic throughout a lot of different areas right now. It’s interesting, the out with the old and in with the new, and people not liking that so much in some ways.

Jennifer: Yeah, well, some people not liking it, but then others like yourself or people who, as I’ve mentioned, have been in the industry awhile, just being like, “Okay, so let’s take these changes and let’s run with them.”

Jordyn: Yeah. And I … yeah.

Jennifer: Well, Jordyn I want to thank you so much for coming on and sharing specifically some of your experiences and knowledge around Amazon ’cause this is a question that I’ve been getting asked a lot by entrepreneurs. Just to be able to share with them a little more insight into … to be open, to take a look at it, and if they’re gonna take a look at it, at least some of the introductory steps to get started.

Jordyn: Yeah. It really is … just take … it’ll probably take you probably like a day or two to just do a little paperwork, do this and that. So worth it. I found it to be so valuable that I’m actually looking at literally launching a few other brands just to specifically sell on Amazon.

Jennifer: Interesting.

Jordyn: Because … yeah, just to [inaudible 00:45:48] for Amazon because of how easy it is.

Jennifer: Interesting.

Jordyn: So, yeah. I’ll just leave that with …

Jennifer: Very cool.

Jordyn: Yeah.

Jennifer: Well again, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

Jordyn: Thank you so much for having me. I think this, hold on [inaudible 00:46:01]. Thank you so much for having me. This is a really awesome podcast that you do and this stuff is super valuable. I have been listening to your podcast and other episodes I’ve actually heard some pretty cool, insightful stuff that I will actually probably take as good advice.

Jennifer: Good. That makes me happy.

Jordyn: So, thank you.

Jennifer: That makes me very happy to hear. Again, thank you so much.

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