Ask Us Anything: Round 2

After a short break we’re back for more episodes! We asked our audience on Twitter and Facebook for any questions you’d like us to answer on a podcast. This week, we’re bringing you answers to four questions focusing on growing your small business.




Octane AI
Octane AI enables fast-growing D2C brands to increase revenue and collect data from the marketing channels your customers use.

Clocked In


Clocked in a time clock for Shopify.

With Clockedin your team members can easily clock in and out of their shifts from anywhere. You can manage your team's hours as they work remotely with an intuitive interface that can be used from desktop, tablet, or mobile. 


show notes.

  • [06:01] When should you think of hiring your first employee (freelance to "business")?
  • [15:26] What are some things when you started your business you wish you had done differently?
  • [20:38] How did your early network influence your success when you started your business?
  • [30:57] What are the best books you read last year?
  • [35:15] What’s the last item you purchased online?
  • [39:09] Store shoutouts




    Kelly (00:00):
    After a short break, we're back with more episodes. We asked our audience on Twitter and Facebook for any questions you'd like us to answer on a podcast. This week, we're bringing you answers to four questions, focusing on growing your small business. Let's dig in.

    Rhian (00:18):
    Welcome to Commerce Tea, a podcast to help you succeed on Shopify I'm Rhian.

    Kelly (00:23):
    And I'm Kelly. Grab a mug and join us as we talk about all things commerce.

    Rhian (00:28):
    Hey Kelly, how can merchants leverage customer data to drive more revenue and increase retention? How could they create personalized experiences, customers love.

    Kelly (00:44):
    I recommend Octane AI, the leading buyer profile platform for Shopify and Shopify Plus merchants.

    Rhian (00:50):
    How does it work?

    Kelly (00:51):
    Octane AI features a shop quiz, Facebook messenger, and SMS and opt-in tools. Using the shop quiz. Merchants can get to know customers with interactive questions. From product recommends, to give finders, you can learn about a customer's needs preferences, pain points, and more. This information gets saved in the buyer profiles. And you can think your buyer profile data with your Facebook messenger, SMS, email, and ad campaigns for personalized customer journeys.

    Rhian (01:16):
    What kinds of returns can brands expect?

    Kelly (01:19):
    Brands in the shop quiz have increased email signups by 16 times and driven a 28% increase. In average order value, Facebook messenger and SMS, see 80 to 95% average open rates and drive up to a 20% increase in revenue. Better yet, Octane AI has plans for any size business and offers a 14 day free trial. Every plan gives you access to the shop quiz, Facebook messenger, SMS, and often tools. There are also plans available, we're acting AI experts will help you set up and optimize your tools for success.

    Rhian (01:51):
    It sounds great. Where can merchants go to learn more?

    Kelly (01:53):
    You can learn more book a demo or try it Again, that's Good morning Rhian.

    Rhian (02:06):
    Good morning Kelly. How are you this morning?

    Kelly (02:11):
    I'm tired.

    Rhian (02:13):

    Kelly (02:14):
    This has been a very long month.

    Rhian (02:17):
    Yeah, it's been so brutally ... For those of you who are like, where did you go for a couple of weeks? I mean, as you know some stuff has happened-

    Kelly (02:26):
    Yeah, some stuff.

    Rhian (02:29):
    Some stuff. And so yeah, I feel tired as well. I get that. I changed my glasses though.

    Kelly (02:38):
    You did. They look great.

    Rhian (02:40):
    Thank you. I decided I wanted to spice up my life.

    Kelly (02:44):
    Oh, good.

    Rhian (02:45):

    Kelly (02:45):
    I built a new office.

    Rhian (02:49):
    That's a big deal.

    Kelly (02:50):
    Like a week ago. Yeah, so my husband and I have been sharing an office since the beginning of the pandemic, and it's really fun when both of us have like a million calls every single day. And we're just playing chicken to see who eventually walks out of the room first to take their phone call. I schedule all of my podcast recordings on his calendar and send him a calendar invite, so he knows not to speak when I'm recording something. And it's fun when he accidentally forgets, then he just curses really loud. Because he's frustrated with something I'm like, "Okay, gotta rerecord that part."

    Rhian (03:30):
    Just hold on a second.

    Kelly (03:32):
    So I decided to build a new office. I just use the room across the hall and got a second ... Well, I got another monitor. I got a desk, it's a standing desk, so I'm not always sitting all the time. I'm sitting right now for the recording, because I've been standing all morning. And next I'm going to buy a chair because the one that I'm sitting on, it's actually like one of those stools that maybe like tattoo artists use.

    Rhian (03:53):
    Oh, okay.

    Kelly (03:53):
    Yeah. Not really a computer chair, so.

    Rhian (03:57):
    Per se.

    Kelly (03:58):
    I am going to be buying one of those very soon. As soon as I figured out which one I want to buy.

    Rhian (04:04):
    Oh, fair.

    Kelly (04:06):
    Yeah. I'm a big Herman Miller fan.

    Rhian (04:08):
    So am I.

    Kelly (04:09):
    And have a Herman Miller Aeron. I'm considering switching things up.

    Rhian (04:14):
    Don't get the one I have.

    Kelly (04:16):
    What do you have?

    Rhian (04:17):
    Oh God, I always forget it. They just did a collaboration with a gaming company. Herman Miller chairs. Hey everybody. I'm an SEO professional. This is how I find things. It's called-

    Kelly (04:33):
    You mean you use Google like everybody else?

    Rhian (04:35):
    I do and I command things to it. Okay, I have Embody.

    Kelly (04:40):
    Embody. Okay. And you're not a fan of it.

    Rhian (04:43):
    Maybe I'm just in it too much.

    Kelly (04:46):
    I mean the chair should be comfortable. So Daniel's has a Amish too, so that's an option. And then I'm looking at some other companies as well to see if they're of interest. But yeah, so I will be buying a chair. That is my story.

    Rhian (05:00):
    That's nice.

    Kelly (05:01):
    The end.

    Rhian (05:02):
    A nicest, sexy purchase.

    Kelly (05:04):
    Yeah. I like buying interesting things. Oh, okay. Well I'm not going to spoil anything, but we have four questions that we received from Twitter.

    Rhian (05:16):

    Kelly (05:16):
    I said Facebook at the intro, but they all came from Twitter. I'm a liar. All around like building and growing your small business. So that's why I decided we got more questions, but there was a nice little topic here. So we decided to stick with it. And then we're going to finish with one question for each of us that is going to be talking about what we ... Nevermind, we'll get to it. No spoilers.

    Rhian (05:40):
    Kelly's like kind of roadmap this, what else is new?

    Kelly (05:45):
    All right. So let's just jump right into this first question. I did not write down who wrote these questions, so I apologize. Usually I'd tell you what your name is, but Mysterious Twitter.

    Rhian (05:59):
    Person from the internet.

    Kelly (06:01):
    A human from the internet. Assuming they're human said, "When should you think of hiring your first employee or in other words, going from freelance to business.

    Rhian (06:12):
    Okay. Who wants to take that first?

    Kelly (06:14):
    Well, I feel like I literally did that.

    Rhian (06:18):

    Kelly (06:19):
    So I'm probably more equipped to answer this one. So for me it hit a point when I just couldn't do everything by myself anymore. And I was well past that point. It was to the point where I was working too many hours. I was letting things slip through the cracks and I wanted to be able to actually run a business a bit more smoothly. So I hired my first employee as a part-time employee. And that was a project manager. And that was by far, especially running an agency, one of the best hires I've ever made. And that was two and a half years ago. And now she's our director of operations.

    Rhian (06:59):

    Kelly (07:00):
    I was supposed to, it was a good purchase, but she is not a purchase.

    Rhian (07:05):

    Kelly (07:06):
    She was a hire was a good hire.

    Rhian (07:08):
    It was a great unexceptional hire.

    Kelly (07:11):
    Yeah. I know Rhian loves to say she would poach her.

    Rhian (07:22):
    I would totally poach her, I think she is incredible. But I'm not gonna poach people from Kelly's team, or in general I try not to poach people.

    Kelly (07:28):
    I appreciate that.

    Rhian (07:29):
    Generally, when I was a banker, people would try to poach people for my team because I would ... I'm a really picky hirer.

    Kelly (07:39):
    You are.

    Rhian (07:40):
    Hirer is that the right word? Employer-

    Kelly (07:42):
    Employer.[crosstalk 00:07:43]

    Rhian (07:43):
    I'm very picky in the interview process.

    Kelly (07:45):
    You are.

    Rhian (07:47):
    And so people would be like, "Oh, Rhian seems good because she's absolutely neurotic about this." And it's like, "Well, yeah, I am."

    Kelly (07:55):
    You see the important thing ... I mean, it's not something you should ever rush.

    Rhian (07:58):

    Kelly (07:58):
    Because hiring people's expensive. Not only do you have to spend time and resources actually going through the interviewing process, you also have to go through the training. And if they end up not working out, you have to hire somebody else and start that all over again. Not to mention the salary and benefits you're you better be giving your employees.

    Rhian (08:18):
    Yeah, it's a lot of paperwork even when you use something ... I mean, I use Gusto. I know you use Gusto.

    Kelly (08:28):
    We are team Gusto.

    Rhian (08:29):
    Yeah. We are very, very team Gusto and it's still a lot of work. But I will say for my answer for this, it was a few years ago and the first team member that we hired ... Okay, actually, I'm a liar. First of all, we used to do agency work, which is how we got away with not raising any venture capital. For an app company, not raising venture capital ... You're an outlier if you're not raising VC, especially in 2021. And we were like, Well, we want to do this ourselves." My business partner is really DIY type people and come from punk. So we have that idea in the back of our head all the time.

    Rhian (09:13):
    And so the very first person when we were on the agency side ... But we still had apps ... I hired a copywriter because I was doing SEO consulting. I needed what's the thing I always say, you need more of content. We needed someone to make content. That being said, once we pivoted away from that and everything kind of happened really organically and went just into apps. The first hire we made was support.

    Kelly (09:40):
    That makes sense.

    Rhian (09:40):
    And I will never be strong on support. A lot of apps try to scale the volume of users that they have, without scaling their support team to match. To me, I'd rather have a way bigger support team then ... Well, I have no sales team. I would rather have a way bigger support team, because I think that you should be providing your customers a really high level of support. And I think that whether you're selling apps or whether you're selling hoodies. You need to provide great support, because it's what gets people to keep coming back.

    Kelly (10:17):
    As a small business owner running an e-commerce store, since this is Commerce Tea, we're not just talking about our own businesses here. Hiring support is absolutely one of the first hires you consider making. And second one I would also consider making is along the lines of an administrative assistant, to start taking some of those tasks off of your own plate, so.

    Rhian (10:39):
    I need one.

    Kelly (10:41):
    I desired one.

    Rhian (10:42):
    I'm so jealous, I'm so jealous. I need one. But I feel like in my head, I know this isn't real because so many people have administrative assistants who are virtual. And I think because I came from such a strong culture before, when I was in banking, of your assistant would like basically follow behind you and help you with stuff, that I can't quite square it in my head and I just need to get my head right around it. Because I need one. I know I'm not answering all my emails.

    Kelly (11:16):
    Oh, I am an inbox. Zero person. I currently have 105 emails in my inbox and my eyes are like constantly twitching, so.

    Rhian (11:24):
    Yeah. Hey, I'm an inbox zero for one of my inboxes.

    Kelly (11:28):
    Yeah. I have inbox zero for three out of six of them.

    Rhian (11:34):
    Oh yeah. I felt like hundreds of thousands of emails that are unanswered or half read.

    Kelly (11:40):
    This is not including my personal Gmail account.

    Rhian (11:44):
    Let's not even talk about that. Okay, so I think that answers the first, the first one, I guess, but it doesn't address the when should you. When should you?

    Kelly (11:57):
    I would still argue that my win is when you are unable to actually get your work done and also you can afford it.

    Rhian (12:07):
    Yes, you have to be able to afford it. To me, I like to always have six months of the person's salary in the bank. Because I don't want to have to lay people off ever. So that was a big indicator was can we afford this person? Let's look at the budget because ... I can answer support emails I can do it. It's not out of my skillset, but it was okay, you're stretched so thin what's going to give. Cool, we can hire this out. I can't hire out someone to sit here and obsess over SEO updates all day. That's my job.

    Kelly (12:45):
    Again hires laws, I recommend the book Who. I will tel you who it is by.

    Rhian (12:49):
    I don't know why I think its just a funny title, Who.

    Kelly (12:55):
    Oh, that's right. It's by two guys named Geoff Smart and Randy Street. And I don't know why they put it in that order because I switched them, the side of the book, it was say street smart.

    Rhian (13:07):
    Missed opportunity, truly.

    Kelly (13:09):
    Missed opportunity. So we will link to this book in the show notes purchase from a local bookstore, not Amazon.

    Rhian (13:15):
    Yeah. Support local. So Kelly, next question. What are some things when you started your business, you wish you had done differently.

    Kelly (13:25):
    Actually, I'm going to let you answer this one first. Since I answered the first one first.

    Rhian (13:29):
    I'm going to have maybe a really contrarian.

    Kelly (13:32):
    Oh, spicy takes lets do it.

    Rhian (13:35):

    Kelly (13:37):
    Oh, you wouldn't change a thing.

    Rhian (13:39):
    I wouldn't change a thing. And here's why, because everything we did I learned from, and I just really couldn't get a good job I don't know ... Okay, I've changed my mind. There's one thing I wish I could have done differently. It would be to have a internal knowledge management system when we hired our first employee. Instead of it just being like a word of mouth, like this is just how things are done. Now we have all of that stuff, but we didn't set those processes in place. I suppose, I wish I had done that differently, but it's since been rectified. And it didn't really cause much of a disruption, but I feel like everything you do in business you can really learn from. And I've been pretty happy.

    Kelly (14:34):
    I agree with that. Yeah. I definitely agree with having some internal knowledge base though, because worst-case scenario, something happens to you or one of your employees and you're unable to work for any given period of time. You should never have anything undocumented, so people had no idea how to do something. The other thing that I think is most important is, never be the bottleneck for your own business. So I get into this a lot.

    Rhian (15:02):
    Mm-hmm (affirmative).

    Kelly (15:03):
    And it's something I'm rectifying actively is basically there are certain things only I can do. And so things like I am the only one with access to running payroll. And so my administrative assistant now has access to that. So they can run payroll for me since again, it's a task that I don't necessarily need to be doing myself, so.

    Rhian (15:25):

    Kelly (15:26):
    Things like that. One of the things that I would have done differently as well is, and I'm going to speak from the store owners side now. I run multiple businesses. So for my-

    Rhian (15:40):
    Kelly's like "Sleep. Never met her."

    Kelly (15:45):
    True. For my print on demand store, I think I jumped right into selling internationally because I had a large audience and everyone was spread all over the world. So I'm like more people to sell to more money, that's great. Printful allows you to really easily sell internationally because they handle it for you. And so, they don't handle the taxes for you. And so that's a really difficult thing to manage.

    Rhian (16:12):

    Kelly (16:12):
    So my CPA doesn't do international taxes.

    Rhian (16:18):
    Typically a US one doesn't.

    Kelly (16:21):
    Exactly, so that was not my best move. Get yourself a tax attorney if you're planning on doing that. Don't jump right into selling internationally, figure things out first, wherever you're based and then expand from there. I jumped right into trying to run ads on Facebook. And I recently looked at the valuation of my company because I'm actually, I listed on the exchange to sell, moving on to new things. And I dropped my profit margin from, I think it was at like 17% down to 6%. Because I spent so much money on ads that did nothing.

    Rhian (17:10):
    Oh man.

    Kelly (17:11):
    God, it sucks.

    Rhian (17:14):
    Yeah. And running Facebook Ads is not for the weak of heart. It's more complicated. I feel there's a pipe dream sold with ... Not saying you bought into the pipe dream, but you're like, "Oh, well I can do all this other stuff so I can do Facebook Ads." But it doesn't actually correlate. For instance, I can do Google Ads, but that doesn't necessarily mean ... And in fact it does not mean I can do Facebook Ads, because I have no training in it.

    Kelly (17:43):

    Rhian (17:43):
    I mean at this point by my own choice, but it's something I think if you were a merchant on Shopify and you've maybe done one of those classes, courses that was like lean super far into Facebook Ads and maybe don't.

    Kelly (18:05):
    Honestly that's one of the things that is also worth noting as a small business, it can be very tempting to try to do everything yourself because it'll save you money. That's where freelancers, come in.

    Rhian (18:16):

    Kelly (18:16):
    Hire a freelance marketer to help you run ads who has that experience. Yeah, it's going to cut into your profits a little bit, actually, no.

    Rhian (18:25):

    Kelly (18:25):
    It's going to make you more money. So it's an investment, but it's going to make you more money. So stop trying to do everything yourself, you don't need to know. That's. One of the things that I had to learn quickly is I don't need to learn how to do everything for my business.

    Rhian (18:42):
    In fact don't because your bread is spread too thin ... Your brain is spread too thin.

    Kelly (18:50):
    Speaking of bread. It's actually one of the things that I stress to my clients as well, because they're like, so can you explain to me, you know how this Middleware app works, that you built or sure talk to me about how webhooks work and I'm like, "You have only so many compartments in your brain and knowing how webhooks work is not going to help you make more money for your store.

    Rhian (19:18):

    Kelly (19:19):
    So let the team that you're hiring be an extension of your business to provide the knowledge and the skills that needed to cover certain aspects of your business. You don't need to know how to do everything. It's the easiest way to fall back into this path where you're like, well, I can do it faster, so I'm going to do it. And then you end up not delegating. And then you ended up overwhelmed with too many tasks to do. I'm totally not speaking from experience here.

    Rhian (19:44):
    She's like, and then he puking in the trash can right next to you. It's just ... What's happening?

    Kelly (19:49):
    And then we're back to talking about how I haven't slept.

    Rhian (19:53):
    But it's a real, it's a real, real issue. I fall into that trap too. Where I love learning things. So I start digging too deep into something. And then I'm like, why do I care? Like why do I actually ... Let's use webhooks as an example. I'm not a developer, I loosely understand what webhooks do. I'll give myself a C on a webhook and that's enough. I don't actually need any more than that, I know what a webhook is, I usually know how it functions. Cool. Next.

    Kelly (20:25):
    All you got to know all you have to know.

    Rhian (20:28):
    Yeah. It's okay. So Kelly, this is  requested more for you than for me.

    Kelly (20:38):

    Rhian (20:38):
    How did your early network influence your success when you started your business?

    Kelly (20:44):
    I guess we could take this from the merchant side of things again. I had an audience yeah, I had an audience before I opened the store. So I did things in the reverse and that I didn't really need to do the trust building side of things. But there was an interesting twist to it. So I jumped in immediately and was getting sales and it was awesome. However, that's where my audience was. That's who knew it and that's it. So unless I was promoting the products myself on Twitter, people, weren't finding my products.

    Rhian (21:15):

    Kelly (21:15):
    So that's why I tried to do Facebook as in it crashed and burned and I waste a lot of money, but no, that's beside the fact in terms of my other businesses-

    Rhian (21:28):
    Its going to be the main take away, people are going to be like, "Well, I'm never doing Facebook Ads. No, just don't hire me to do your Facebook Ads. That's the takeaway or not the Facebook Ads Queens at all. Exactly. Okay. Sorry, Kelly.

    Kelly (21:44):
    So in terms of growing my agency, I think, I feel like this is still a fun topic to discuss. I got my first Shopify project thanks to a tweet. I was in grad school at the time, I believe maybe ... Nope, I was still in grad school. Okay, we're we're all caught up now. I was in grad school and I saw a tweet from somebody saying that they needed an extra hand for some projects because they had too much work to do. Oh, that sounds familiar. And I was like, hey, I can code things, let me do it." And I ended up getting some projects from him and it started like WordPress and things like that.

    Kelly (22:26):
    And then he was like, "Hey, so I have this, this website that's on Shopify. Just needs to make some theme edits." And this was in 2015 and ... I think it was 2015. And that was my first kind of taste of Shopify. And as you can see, I now run a Shopify Plus agency. So clearly I liked it and I have my entire agency, my entire business to think because of tweet. So your network is extremely important. Even now, our largest project we signed onto date was my neighbor. It's who you know, It's who you know is through social media is through who you know through business contacts, who your friends know, who your family knows. Make those connections it's really important for business.

    Rhian (23:16):

    Kelly (23:17):
    From operation side, I do want to touch on one more thing. And when you don't start with his large audience on Twitter to immediately buy your products, you're like, okay, well, where am I going to find my product? Or where am I going to find my customers?I'm torn on giving this advice. Here's why ... First the advice it is free for your friends and family members to promote your business, and just post link to it on Facebook or wherever, tell their friends about it. If you are running Facebook Ads, going right back to it is going to skew your pixel data because they're not your actual audience that you're aiming for. Unless they are then by all means, promote the hell out of your store, that's great. But just be mindful that if you are just trying to build up an initial following and initial audience, you need to get in front of the right people or else, you're collecting data on people who have no intention of buying.

    Rhian (24:17):
    Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah.

    Kelly (24:18):
    It's a tough one. Getting your first few customers is really difficult. And I mean, this is not news to anybody, but still worth saying. Because I feel like a lot of people ... There's a screenshot of that somebody has screenshot an image that somebody made like an infographic of all the ways that you can help support your friend's businesses for $0. And one of the things was like posts about it on social media. And I just wanted to note that it does skew your data, so.

    Rhian (24:47):
    Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, that makes sense.

    Kelly (24:52):
    Do you have any thoughts for that question?

    Rhian (24:55):
    Yeah. It's more from an agency perspective when we were first doing this work. Like I mentioned earlier, I come from a punk background and by that I don't just mean the mindset, I have toured with bands and stuff. And so I know a lot of people who are in the music industry still. Which, Oh my gosh, the music industry has changed so much in the past year. Holy moly. But that's another conversation for another time. And maybe we can get an expert in to talk to us about that. But because I had connections in the music industry, almost all of our agency builds were related to musicians, which is cool. [inaudible 00:25:37] But I had so much fun with those builds because they were a type of music that I wasn't that familiar with.I was basically handed those builds on a platter. It was like, "Rhian, do you want to do this?" I was like, "Sure." And especially when you're brand new, you're just like "Yeah, sure. I'll do it. That sounds great." You don't say no very often,

    Kelly (26:16):

    Rhian (26:17):
    You just say yes a lot. They're like, "Hey Rhian, do you want to come speak at this thing? Sure. But the thing is the more you did that or the more I did that ... So I was doing that and then I was also starting to speak at events and I was growing my network, from speaking at events. And that network I felt grew very quickly.

    Kelly (26:36):

    Rhian (26:37):
    And so I became kind of the go-to person for a while in a certain music vertical. And then also in the cannabis vertical, it was like, "Who should we call Rhian?" And that was cool. But luckily I had these connections and I had the introductions, and so I was able to use my existing network to get me there. I will say something I learned a really long time ago that stuck with me. This is what I learnt When I was banker was you should do ... Oh God. Now I'm like it stuck with me, I can't remember it. It's basically like you should do these four things every day. And it was make five calls-

    Kelly (27:24):
    That's Cheating. You should do these four things. Number one is five things.

    Rhian (27:31):
    Yeah. Make five cold calls everyday, make five warm calls every day, make five calls to your existing network. So warm is more of someone that's been introed and then the other one is ... And then it will come. Okay. This was a four. Yeah and then it will come. But the thing is if you don't do one, two and three consistently, the fourth never happens. So, that works I think in an agency type environment. But also if you are selling something online and you were a merchant, selling something online, maybe those five reach outs are the influencers.

    Kelly (28:13):

    Rhian (28:14):
    Think about it. Just frame that mentality, but frame it as influencers and other people to start building your network. If you don't already have a network in the vertical that you're selling.

    Kelly (28:25):
    You know who you should talk to?

    Rhian (28:26):

    Kelly (28:27):
    Your customers.

    Rhian (28:28):
    Definitely. Always.

    Kelly (28:31):
    But who like entered their email address to sign up for your newsletter and they haven't purchased yet, send them an email and be like, "Hey, appreciate you visiting the website and signing up for the newsletter. I'd love to learn more about you and what you're interested in and where you shop and what would entice you to buy, also, here's a discount code."

    Rhian (28:51):
    Yeah, absolutely do it. I feel like people don't talk to their customers.

    Kelly (28:57):
    No, they don't.

    Rhian (28:57):
    I was once on a panel, I was on a panel and I was asked like, Rhian, how do you guys define your product roadmap? And I'm on this panel and the people before me who spoke were like, "Oh, so we define our product, I mean, we already have a product format built for the next two years." And I was like, "Okay. So it gets to me. And I was like, "We talked to our customers and we take their feedback and then we incorporate it into our product." And I was the only person on this panel that was like, "I just listened to all my customers. And then we built the thing that they ask us to build." And I thought it was such a logical answer. And I was so surprised that wasn't everybody else's answer. And then I felt really naive. Am I the one wrong in this situation what my missing out? Because they were the other companies on stage where we were all venture backed, and I'm not venture backed. So I was like, "Am I missing something?" But I think it's the right idea all the time.

    Kelly (29:52):
    I think so too. I mean, you don't know your customers until you talk to them. And you could be entirely off base about how your customers talk about your business with other people. And I think that's, what's most important. You think you define your business, you do not define your business. Your customers define your business. You can write whatever you want on the page. But you can be like, "Oh, we provide really nice, every day clothing for people on the go or whatever." And your customers can be like "Yeah, I like them because they're super cheap." It's not the best quality, but it's super cheap and it gets the job done. And I'm not really, I'm shopping for budget instead of shopping for longevity. And if you're aiming for really nice clothing that you're going to really enjoy wearing to the office and at home ... The office I what is that? I don't know, it's just really important for you to talk to your customers and actually find out how they see your store, how they define your business.

    Rhian (30:57):
    I could not agree more. Okay. Next question. This is a favorite question. What are the best books you read last year?

    Kelly (31:08):
    And why is it Atomic Habits?

    Rhian (31:12):
    I still haven't read Atomic Habits?

    Kelly (31:13):
    We're going to read it this year for book club.

    Rhian (31:15):
    I guess that's fine.

    Kelly (31:17):
    Okay. That's fine. It's a good book.

    Rhian (31:19):
    I'm sure it is. I don't love business books.

    Kelly (31:22):
    It is not a business book. It's like a self-improvement.

    Rhian (31:27):
    That falls under-

    Kelly (31:29):
    That's not business. I mean, you can apply the habits to business, but-

    Rhian (31:35):
    Yeah, exactly. Where do you apply those habits? To business, I rest my case. Thank you judge. Oh my God. I read so many it's actually a hard question. I know for a fact one of the best books I read that last year was Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead. It was a phenomenal book, won a Pulitzer I believe. I don't have enough good things to say about it. It's phenomenal, everybody should read it, it is fiction, but it's ... Yeah I'm clearly doing a great job of explaining it. Everybody should read it. I liked it. It was a relatively quick read. It's the story of a 15 year old slave who escapes the plantation. And from there, I will not say anything else because it won't give up the rest of the story and I want you to be able to really enjoy it. What about you, am looking behind me [crosstalk 00:32:35]

    Kelly (32:35):
    Yeah. How about It's About Damn Time by Arlan Hamilton.

    Rhian (32:40):
    Ooh, that's a good one. That was a great one.

    Kelly (32:42):
    Speaking of business books you don't like to read.

    Rhian (32:44):
    Yeah, I liked that one. It didn't feel like a business book.

    Kelly (32:46):
    I liked Beach Read by Emily Henry.

    Rhian (32:51):
    That was fun. That was a fun read.

    Kelly (32:52):
    I also liked An Absolutely Remarkable Thing and A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor by Hank Green. Those are fun books to read. I read Outliers last year. I'm a fan of Malcolm Gladwell, so that's always good. What else did I read last year? Oh, I read Bad Blood. That was a good book.

    Rhian (33:10):

    Kelly (33:14):
    John Carreyrou was the author. It was about ... Oh my God, what is it? What is it called? The fairness.

    Rhian (33:20):
    Okay. Oh, yes.

    Kelly (33:22):
    It is a really good read. Very engaging. So I definitely enjoyed that one. What else did I read-

    Rhian (33:31):
    I also read On the Come Up by Angie Thomas . She's a YA author, but she's fricking phenomenal. She just released another book called Concrete Rose before that it was The Hate U Give all of her work is beautiful, poetic. It's gorgeous, I had concrete Rose on pre-order and my daughter, and I both read those books, but there it's a YA book for everyone, you know what I mean? It's not, purely YA.

    Kelly (34:04):
    We're all YA at heart anyway-

    Rhian (34:06):
    That is so true.

    Kelly (34:06):
    It counts. Range by David Epstein. That was a really good one. Talking about being a generalist in a world of specialists.

    Rhian (34:14):
    Mm-hmm (affirmative).

    Kelly (34:14):
    Highly, highly recommend. Well, those are some books that we read last year, you can go on.

    Rhian (34:21):
    Here's some more that I read that I thought were interesting. I read The Buried, which is an archeology of the Egyptian revolution by Peter Hessler. I read No Rules Rules which is about Netflix. And that's a business book that I really enjoyed. And then there was another one I wanted to point out, Oh, The Culture Map.

    Kelly (34:46):
    Oh, that one's on my desk. I'm waiting to read that one.

    Rhian (34:48):
    So I wanted to name some business books here and not just be like, "Here's all the fiction books I read last year." And there's like a hundred of them, but the business books that I really enjoyed were The Culture Map and No Rules Rules.

    Kelly (35:03):
    Okay. Well, The Culture Map I will read. Also, we're going to somehow try to remember what we just said and included in the show notes. So you have a long list of books that you get to read as well.

    Rhian (35:14):

    Kelly (35:15):
    So, cool. Last question. What's the last item you purchased online?

    Rhian (35:21):
    Okay. So I actually remembered.

    Kelly (35:25):

    Rhian (35:26):
    I couldn't remember before we were talking about this before, I was like, Oh, I don't know the answer. So I bought some things from Rowing Blazers. And the favorite thing I bought from Rowing Blazers is a belt. And it is embroidered with Latin words that I cannot pronounce, but it translates to, I shall either find a way or I shall make one.

    Kelly (35:51):
    I like it.

    Rhian (35:52):
    So that's what I bought. I bought too many things from Rowing Blazers. What about you?

    Kelly (35:56):
    So I was going to say the last thing I bought online was a Peloton, but it was not. The last thing I bought online was Monday Gin, which is Zero Alcohol Gin. It's really good, this is my second bottle that I'm picking up and I am impatiently waiting for it to arrive. Highly recommend just keeping it if you like gin and tonics or just gin cocktails in general, but don't always want to drink. I highly recommend getting this. This is a really good one.

    Rhian (36:25):
    Awesome. I want to try it out. I've been learning more and more about the sober-curious movement, Andrea from Snaxshot. She talks about it a lot and I've been seeing it come up more and more on my Instagram feeds from friends I know in real life, not just ... Now I'm not saying Andrea's is not my friend, but people I've known for decades are talking about it and it's like, "Oh, this is it." The mainstream Andrea's been talking about it for months. And I know you started kind of drinking some of those, not spirits a while back. And I just think it's really interesting and really neat. And-

    Kelly (37:07):
    I think it's necessary because we have such a culture around drinking. And especially when it comes to networking events the expectation is that you're going to be drinking. And so it's nice to see the culture start to shift away from drinking and to just enjoying each other's company. But also still enjoying good drinks that don't have alcohol.

    Rhian (37:32):
    That's the thing, you can have it all.

    Kelly (37:35):

    Rhian (37:35):
    When it comes to that, you don't have to get tipsy to have a good drink. Two things can be true.

    Kelly (37:42):
    And there's not going to be like the whole, Oh, you don't drink why? Kind of conversation.

    Rhian (37:47):
    I think that's going away, I really hope.

    Kelly (37:50):
    Yeah. I hope so.

    Rhian (37:51):
    Although the older you get I feel like that conversation starts going.

    Kelly (37:56):
    Yeah. It's like, especially when you're like you're of drinking age, of course you're going to be doing more drinking, most likely. I'd be interested in seeing how Gen Z adapts it, if they adapt.

    Rhian (38:09):
    We should get a zoomer on, because Gen Z is so fascinating to me and like millennials, the generation is huge. Right?

    Kelly (38:19):

    Rhian (38:19):
    So it's like the older Gen Z is right on our heels. We say younger Gen Z is like my daughter's age gap. And I'd be interested in speaking to some Gen Z.

    Kelly (38:30):
    So currently Gen Z is between the ages of six and 24 years old.

    Rhian (38:36):

    Kelly (38:37):
    So actually that was what ... I forget where I read it, that somebody was buying alcohol and they like flashed their ID or whatever. And the guy only looked at it for like a minute or like a second. And he was like, "Do you not want to really look at my ID." He was like, "No, it starts with a one. So you can drink."

    Rhian (38:57):
    It starts with a one.

    Kelly (38:59):
    How terrible is that?

    Rhian (39:01):
    Oh, God.

    Kelly (39:01):
    But no, so Gen Z starts in 97.

    Rhian (39:04):

    Kelly (39:04):
    So yeah. I think we should get somebody on.

    Rhian (39:09):
    Yeah, definitely. Okay. So we ask this every week. Kelly, what is your store shout out of the week?

    Kelly (39:20):
    I was originally going to talk about a different store, but since I'm already on the topic of it They're on Shopify, their site looks great especially this is a really good example of a site that really has one core product and really marketing that one specific product. But they also have like this limited holiday gift pack collab. For example, where it combines a bottle of Monday Gin with Fever-Tree Tonic, which is a really good tonic as well. I think it's a really well done site. They also have a subscription on here in case you want to subscribe to this Gin as well, maybe one day.

    Rhian (40:02):
    So I'm going to do exactly what you just did and Rowing Blazers is going to be my store of the week. And I'm going to tell you why, because I like it.

    Kelly (40:12):
    That's a good reason.

    Rhian (40:14):
    They also do their product photography is ace. It's super good. And they've done some really cool collaborations and I enjoy their vibe. And I want their blazers, but they're like $600. So I have yet to buy one Rowing Blazers. If you're listening, I would take one, and I would wear it. But it was a little bit out of budget, but they did some cute, like a shoe collaboration and they brought back some old sweaters that princess Diana one's for. And like one says, "I'm a luxury." And on the back it says a "Few can afford." I think it's funny. So I bought it.

    Kelly (41:02):
    Its so you.

    Rhian (41:05):
    It's, so me and then I also bought ... And nobody judged me because now everyone's looking at this and they're like, these sweaters are expensive. And I'm like, I know I have had a tough couple of months. I got it's got little sheep all over it, mostly sheep, it's got sheep all over it. They're all white. And then there's one black sheep, like one sheep that's out of step with the sheep. And I really like it because that's my thing. I'm always out of with what people expect an entrepreneur to be or their expectations.

    Kelly (41:39):
    Spot on.

    Rhian (41:39):
    Yeah. It's really spot on. So I bought that too, as well as the pool. So that's the thing.

    Kelly (41:45):

    Rhian (41:46):

    Kelly (41:47):
    We will link to these stores in the show notes as well. I just listed all my books in the show notes, and I'm proud of myself for remembering.

    Rhian (41:55):
    Good for you.

    Kelly (41:57):
    Brag. So next week we'll be back at it with another topic in potentially a guest, depending on which episode we decided to release and love deciding these things at the very last minute. So thank you so much for tuning in and thanks again to our sponsors for supporting this episode, we have a YouTube channel that we will eventually get back to making the friendly Shopify store tear down videos. Again, it's been a month. You can visit us on YouTube at if you like our podcast. And I really hope you do. Please leave us a review on Apple podcasts reviews make us really happy, and it doesn't cost you anything to pull back that infographic that I hate. You can subscribe to Commerce Tea on your favorite podcasting service. We post new episodes every Tuesday. So grab your mug and join us. Then we'll see you next week.

    Rhian (42:46):
    ClockedIn as a time clock for Shopify with ClockedIn your team, members can easily clock in and out of their shifts from anywhere. You can manage your team's hours as they work remotely with an intuitive interface that can be used from desktop tablet or mobile. Check it or in the Shopify app store.

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