Forming brand partnerships

Running an online store can feel isolating, but you don’t have to go at it alone! Brand partnerships are a great way to increase revenue by collaborating with other creators. This week on the podcast we’re talking with Keir Whitaker about brand partnerships and what makes them so successful.



Keir Whitaker

Keir Whitaker is a UK based business consultant dedicated to helping Shopify focused agencies, app companies, and technology partners attract new customers, build their reputations, and grow profitable businesses.



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show notes.

  • [01:01] Please go vote!
  • [03:45] Bippy + Bite + Tushy
  • [05:13] JUDY + PooPouri
  • [10:34] About Keir
  • [14:03] Smart Order Notifications
  • [16:43] Tell us about backpacks
  • [19:43] Why are partnerships so important for merchants?
  • [21:29] Is there a “right” way to reach out to other brands or people?
  • [27:31] What makes a partnership successful?
  • [28:28] Good examples of brand partnerships
  • [36:04] Store shoutout: Beavertown Brewery
  • [40:11] Store shoutout: Thigh Society
  • [41:26] Store shoutout: 20x200





Kelly (00:00):
Running an online store can feel isolating, but you don't have to go at it alone. Brand partnerships are a great way to increase revenue by collaborating with other creators. This week on the podcast, we're talking with Kier Whitaker about brand partnerships and what makes them so successful. Let's dig in.

Rhian (00:21):
Welcome to Commerce Tea, a podcast to help you succeed on Shopify. I'm Rhian.

Kelly (00:26):
And I'm Kelly. Grab a mug and join us as we talk about all things commerce. Good morning Rhian.

Rhian (00:39):
Good morning, Kelly. How are you?

Kelly (00:42):
I am, do I be honest? Should I be honest? I'm going to be honest. I'm not great. I am very anxious right now because today is election day.

Rhian (00:56):
Yes, I wasn't anxious until you said that now [crosstalk 00:00:59].

Kelly (00:58):
That's what I'm here for.

Rhian (01:01):
[inaudible 00:01:01] anxious. Have you voted?

Kelly (01:02):
Of course, I voted long ago. I did absentee ballot because that's the way to do it, especially during a pandemic.

Rhian (01:10):
I also have voted, I voted early and I got notification from California that my ballot was received.

Kelly (01:16):
That was the best text that I received.

Rhian (01:19):
Yes. I was like, yes, I've voted.

Kelly (01:23):
My feelings were like, "All right, I know my vote is now been counted. And now I have to sit here and just like, look at my hands until things happen."

Rhian (01:30):
It's like turning in the answers for a test, but you know you're not going to get the results for the test for like a month afterwards [inaudible 00:01:40].

Kelly (01:39):

Rhian (01:39):
Isn't great. It's not a great feeling, but-

Kelly (01:43):
It is not a great feeling.

Rhian (01:44):
... here we are. If you're listening and you haven't voted, please go exercise your constitutional right to vote.

Kelly (01:51):
I will say our podcast makes for a really great listen in the car on the way to your voting precinct.

Rhian (01:58):
Yeah. And possibly if you have to wait in line and I'm sorry if you do. But if you have to wait in line all while voting, give us a listen, we're here with you emotionally. We're sending you good vibes.

Kelly (02:14):
Okay. So we've addressed the election and now we can move on.

Rhian (02:19):
[crosstalk 00:02:19].

Kelly (02:20):
No, it is a forever thing, but I feel like people are not listening to us talk about the election for 45 minutes.

Rhian (02:27):

Kelly (02:27):
So we should probably talk about brand partnerships because that's the topic of this episode this week. So we should probably preface this by saying we've recorded this episode four months ago, a while ago.

Rhian (02:43):
Not this part though, just for clarity.

Kelly (02:47):
We're very future thinking.

Rhian (02:50):
This part we're recording a few days before the podcast, the interview at the end was recorded a couple of months ago.

Kelly (02:58):
So I think what would be cool is you'll listen to the interview and we'll be talking about some brand partnerships and some really cool partnerships that we discover during that time, but we have some more recent brand partnerships that I think would be cool to talk about.

Rhian (03:16):
What do you think? I'm a huge fan of brand partnerships. I always have been. I think it's a missed marketing opportunity for so many people. And I've seen some really after prime day or during prime day, or as I will call it now the new kickoff of black Friday cyber Monday. I know the sales haven't quite been the same, but we've seen some pretty large volume, pretty large volume, [inaudible 00:03:44] large volume and sales. And anyways, I got this email marketing that I think I sent to you, Kelly. I think I screen recorded it and sent it to you because I-

Kelly (03:55):
You did.

Rhian (03:55):
... was so pumped on it. It was from Bippy and it's a Bippy, TUSHY and Bite. And I don't know what order it was in, but Bippy is toilet paper made out of something sustainable and then Bite our sustainable toothpaste tabs and then TUSHY is a [inaudible 00:04:15], right? So these are three sustainable products that they're now they're marketing together. They sent an email. The email came from Bippy, but it had all the products in it. And I was like, this is awesome. They really did a great job with it. And I was a really big fan of that. And how cool, like, "Hey, we have these three things in common. They're all, what is that? A [inaudible 00:04:37] like they're called when you're clean.

Kelly (04:44):
We're going to go with sanitizing. I don't know what you're going for.

Rhian (04:49):

Kelly (04:51):
Grooming? All right. We're going to go with grooming. We'll just leave it at that. We're going to fight over words right now. So this is a good place to just leave it.

Rhian (04:59):
Yeah. Anyways, they're all personal care items.

Kelly (05:02):
There we go.

Rhian (05:04):
They're all personal care items. They're all sustainable. So they can all live together and they're not crossing into each other's territories so they can market next to each other. So that's something that I saw recently that I was really amped on, Kelly. What about you?

Kelly (05:17):
So one that I thought was really clever was a brand partnership between Judy and Poo-Pourri. So Judy is an emergency preparedness company. So they sell like emergency preparedness kits, like basically grab and go kind of situations. Poo-Pourri sells the toilet spray basically. So if you're [inaudible 00:05:40] bathroom.

Rhian (05:42):
We're talking about the toilet.

Kelly (05:45):
I know what's happening? I don't know maybe it's just we're spending a lot. Who knows? I am not one to like try to break this one down. Anyway, they sell a toilet spray that makes the toilet smell better. Whatever when you need to use [inaudible 00:06:02].

Rhian (06:03):
[inaudible 00:06:03].

Kelly (06:03):
Yes. So what they did was they created a product, a kit that they are calling the Judy for your booty. And it is a preparedness kit that it says. "Always be prepared for number two, with this ready kit stock, with everything you need for those unexpected bathroom emergencies." I think it's genius.

Rhian (06:27):
I love it. What can I say? That's not [crosstalk 00:06:32].

Kelly (06:32):
I also love that the URL to buy this kit is

Rhian (06:38):
No, it is not. That's [crosstalk 00:06:41].

Kelly (06:40): Too good. I feel like I just read that, like it's a promotion. I'm not promoting it.

Rhian (06:48):
Judyco, yeah, we're not promoting it. It's so funny. I just pulled it up.

Kelly (06:52):
Oh, that's too good. Yeah.

Rhian (06:54):
I didn't know Poo-Pourri hand wipes until like this [crosstalk 00:06:58].

Kelly (06:57):
I did not know that either. So we're learning all kinds of things. Now, this is a great landing page too.

Rhian (07:04):
It is a great landing. Now, Kelly and I switched to tear down mode. We're like, hold on. Let's talk about it.

Kelly (07:08):
Oh, no. Okay. We tend to do that.

Rhian (07:11):
We do tend to do that.

Kelly (07:13):
I mean if we going to do it, I might as well as break it down a little bit more. They have some social proof in there for where they've been featured, like where the companies have been featured. But I guess since this is a brand new partnership, this limited edition, they don't have any testimonials for it. I feel like they probably would have tested it out with some groups of people up beforehand. And it'd be good to get some testimonials from people being like, "Man, I had that bathroom emergency and I was so thankful that I had the Judy for my booty."

Rhian (07:44):
So there's some copy on here. Can I swear? Is swearing okay?

Kelly (07:52):
Yeah. We're on episode 24. You can swear.

Rhian (07:56):
It says be prepared for any situation [inaudible 00:08:02] it's so funny. I am the hard person to impress with copywriting and this copy is making me laugh, which is good. Also they have like a board scan this thing for Spotify. Like what happens when I scan this? How do I scan it? With my phone? [inaudible 00:08:25].

Kelly (08:27):
I'm going to find out.

Rhian (08:29):
I'm going to find out too.

Kelly (08:31):
I don't know how this works. Now, everyone's just listening us trying to figure out this thing out. I don't think it's a QR code.

Rhian (08:39):
I don't know how it works.

Kelly (08:41):

Rhian (08:44):
Welcome to our brains, everybody. This is, I have no idea. Oh, I can take a picture. Oh sir. No. Oh, you can scan. I figured it out. I figured it out. Okay. There's a playlist. I think this is a playlist for while you poop.

Kelly (09:02):
Amazing. How do you scan?

Rhian (09:05):
Okay. So you go to search and you click in the search bar up top and then-

Kelly (09:11):
The camera.

Rhian (09:12):
... a camera appears. So yeah. And so FYI, while you're pooping, imagine where you can go a song by Poo-Pourri will play and also drop it like it's hot. This is really great marketing.

Kelly (09:26):
Wipe me down, push it so fresh, so clean. Smells like teen spirit started from the bottom. This is amazing. This is the level of creativity I strive for.

Rhian (09:40):

Kelly (09:41):
This is so good. Those were the two partnerships that we wanted to talk about that I think are... You know what? I feel a little bit bad because I feel like these two partnerships are way better than what we discussed in the actual interview, mainly because we just enjoyed that amazing copy. It's going to be hard to beat, but please stick around because the interview is actually really good and here's awesome.

Rhian (10:09):

Kelly (10:10):
And let's just go ahead and get into the interview now.

Rhian (10:14):
Let's do it.

Kelly (10:20):
Joining us today is Kier Whitaker, a marketing and business consultants, helping Shopify focus companies. He's the co-founder of Default, a former Shopify employee and is a backpack obsessed traveler. Kier, thanks so much for joining us today.

Keir (10:32):
Real pleasure. Thank you for inviting me.

Kelly (10:34):
So let's kick things off by learning who you are. Tell us about yourself.

Keir (10:39):
Oh, blimey. Well, as per the introduction, yeah, a few things going on at the moment. But mostly, and this is how we met, I guess it was through my work at Shopify. I was one of the first 100 employees of Shopify back in 2012 when they were around 20,000 stores, I think, operating on the platform. So times have changed quite a lot. I was one of the first people in the UK and I was brought on board by Holly, now COO to help sort of spread the word to agencies and web designers about the possibilities of using Shopify for their clients. You may not remember this Kelly or you probably probably will, Rhian might too. But back in those days, eight, nine years ago, E-commerce was a very different beast.

Keir (11:24):
It was expensive servers. It was certificates of security. It was merchant accounts. Bank managers would look at you like you were crazy. You want to sell things online and you must have a store as well. And be like, no. And Shopify really changed the game in that regard, even before Shopify payments and it was very easy to get set up and considerably easier using Shopify, for a platform to sell online. So my role was really to try and entice web designers who are maybe doing content management sites to think about working with Shopify as a platform, because they basically had all the skills. If you can do HTML, CSS and JavaScript, you can adopt Shopify and add an extra string to your bow, which I think everyone at the time thought, E-commerce was on the rise and obviously it has gone exponential since then.

Keir (12:11):
And they're working in Shopify for sort of seven years, I think, morphing through that kind of advocacy role into some of the events that Shopify hosted, where we've both had the privilege of working together on those. And then the end of 2018, I felt there was a sort of time for change, and had that age to go back and do my own thing over the years. I worked for companies and work for myself. But so when it stands space and I thought, what do I know? What can I do? So I sort of lent some of the skills that I've learned over the years to agencies working in Shopify, sort of looking at branding, positioning, marketing strategy, and app companies in a similar way. But also worked with some founders and doing sort of coaching as well to help them work through some of the challenges of team building and that kind of thing.

Keir (12:57):
So yeah, that's been really interesting and more recently started a company with a friend of mine, confusingly called Karen. It's not confusing to us, but [inaudible 00:13:06] Karen, Karen, a long time friend who we met arguing over the one plug in Starbucks in [inaudible 00:13:12] in the city that I live in the UK. There was one plug where you could take your laptop and if you were positioned in the seat, as we know new England quotes, the seat, you would get access to the plug. That's how we met. We met over a plug socket. So there's been more romantic ways of meeting people, but that was that one and [crosstalk 00:13:30].

Rhian (13:29):
Did he work for Shopify then, or did you [inaudible 00:13:34]?

Keir (13:34):
No, he ended up at Shopify much later. We live about five miles apart now. And yeah, we worked on other projects way before Shopify came into scene, but we're working on some products for the partner ecosystem. But more recently I've also bought an app which has been an interesting journey.

Rhian (13:52):

Keir (13:52):

Rhian (13:54):
You didn't tell me this?

Keir (13:54):

Rhian (13:57):
I love buying apps. [inaudible 00:13:57].

Keir (13:57):
Well, we'll do it up and then you can buy it off us [inaudible 00:14:01] it's called smart all the notifications, there's still a lot of work to be done on it. We've put together, got it back in the app store, but fundamentally allows merchants to create rules that say if a certain product is ordered, then send a notification. Or if you only want to send the donuts, orders from today to your baker, you can do that. So it's more around helping kind of the logistics of your business and things like that. So I've done it really, no service there at all. It does say a lot what it does a lot better on the app store listing. But yeah, so fingers in a few pies, it's been interesting sort of late turning to something new and getting back to those sort of development routes, which is kind of where I came from. I was a sort of self-taught, I think we called them web designers and, or web developers back in the day, but what...

Kelly (14:54):
Do you know what this is kind of off topic, but I was talking to one of my employees yesterday. I would like to bring back the term webmaster.

Keir (15:03):
Oh, you want the little diggy man as well to say the site's not finished and...

Kelly (15:06):

Rhian (15:07):
I want to be a master of the web. All of it.

Keir (15:11):
Yeah, I think you can [crosstalk 00:15:14].

Rhian (15:14):
Bezos, move out the way

Keir (15:17):
Well, I know, webmaster. It's a brilliant term, but one not has never adorned my email footer, but maybe sure.

Rhian (15:26):
So now that we've learned that you've acquired an app, which I think is awesome. I have acquired an app in the past as well. So that's a whole other conversation that I'd love to get into with you. So we mentioned that your backpack obsessed and the way we all met, by the way, for those of you who don't know us is all through events. So I met Kier in Bristol in 2000, I don't know, '16.

Keir (15:53):
I think so.

Rhian (15:55):
Or maybe before that. And I know Kelly met him. Kelly, when did you meet Kier?

Kelly (16:00):
Would it be Pursuit? Well, I don't know if we met before pursuit, New York.

Keir (16:04):
Yeah, I think it was New York.

Kelly (16:05):
Pursuit as a Shopify partner events. That was my first time I ever spoke at an events. So that was [crosstalk 00:16:12].

Rhian (16:12):
And she crushed it. She crushed it. You would have never known it was her first time speaking.

Kelly (16:17):
Oh, trust me [crosstalk 00:16:19].

Keir (16:19):
I think it was introduced. This is Kelly's first time speaking.

Rhian (16:22):
Okay. She did call herself out.

Kelly (16:24):
Yeah, I did.

Rhian (16:25):
But as a [crosstalk 00:16:25].

Kelly (16:25):
I'm all for transparency.

Rhian (16:28):
I would say it was not obvious that it was a first time moment. Okay. So Kier outside of apps, outside of this, I know you love to travel and obviously travel's pause right now, but I also know you love backpacks. So why do you love backpacks?

Keir (16:43):
I don't know. I've always been obsessed by bags. Like traveling light and traveling efficiently and not checking a bag has become something of an obsession, especially the more you do it.

Rhian (16:55):
That is true. I love to check a bag that is a worst case scenario, 100% of the time for me.

Keir (17:02):
Having to sort of pull down the suitcase with the wheels, just sort of feels like admitting defeat, but we just traveling with a family. We do that. I picked this for family travel with me because [inaudible 00:17:13] this is how I go through an airport and you look at the other people struggling. So there's an element of snobbery, which I don't like it myself about it, but yeah, I've always liked bags. I think there's a lot about finding those brands and funnily enough, Shopify has hundreds of great bag brands on it.

Rhian (17:31):
[crosstalk 00:17:31]. Are there any that I'm missing?

Keir (17:34):
I'd have to send you a list.

Rhian (17:36):
Please do. I just put them on the spot, so that's...

Keir (17:41):
Many come from Kickstarter's a huge place for backpacks as well. And then many of them morph into selling further on Shopify. So yeah, I think, but just say Bellroy is a great one that they're not on Shopify, but they're a great brand that started off doing sort of wallets and now really kind of change the bag market. So this is probably taking deviation you didn't expect.

Rhian (18:03):
Hey, you know what? Everyone who's listening right now is a merchant or at least for the most part. And they all sell something that we want to buy. And if you want to buy a backpacks, I think it's relevant [inaudible 00:18:15].

Keir (18:16):
There's another brand called Pakt, who came out of, there's a designer called, I think it was [Malcolm Fante 00:18:26]. I stand corrected who created this bag about a decade ago. And then have you heard of the guys called the Minimalists, these two guys who sort of dropped out the rat race and wrote about that?

Rhian (18:34):

Keir (18:35):
And they did a little documentary and they had one of his original bags and it's like a duffel bag, but opens like a suitcase. They got so much interest from the documentary that they did in Indiegogo and that became super popular. I think it was the biggest bag on Indiegogo at the time. And then they've subsequently done like a travel coffee press and they've now gone into backpacks as well. So they are on Shopify Pakt, as well. So yeah, I mean, I have too many, but I have to [crosstalk 00:19:05].

Rhian (19:05):
[crosstalk 00:19:05] have a backpack episode, just where all we do is talk about backpacks. You would hate traveling with me. I travel with an away bag, but it is a carry on, but it does not go on my back. It does not pack on my back.

Kelly (19:17):
I refuse to do any rolling bags. So it is not in my, we do not own one in this house.

Keir (19:25):
I think we'd have to take that debate outside of the [inaudible 00:19:29] Commerce Tea but anyway.

Kelly (19:31):
Okay. Speaking of what the whole purpose of this conversation was, [inaudible 00:19:37] to talk about partnerships. So why are partnerships so important for merchants?

Keir (19:43):
I think partnerships in general can be utilized for a whole bunch of reasons. Certainly the experience I had and bring it back to commerce and some merchant facing stuff, but it's a marketing channel. It's a way that you can work with someone who has access to people or an audience or a market that you want to work in or become better known in. I think as long as they are symbiotic and you both go into it knowing that you're both getting something from it and you're open and honest about it, that can be very profitable. So we were talking before the show about sort of how there were some obvious examples with sports and sponsorships, which kind of partnerships, but you can see how both sides, say Serena Williams, working with Nike or Nike as you might prefer.

Keir (20:35):
They worked together very closely and so both forward each other's agenda. And obviously that does result in sales, but for Nike, but also bringing a lot of certain issues to the fore that might not happened before. And I think you can see it with smaller brands as well, where they'll have a partnership. And maybe I think I use the example of sort of a homeless brand partnering with this sort of candle brand. And they do a collaboration and they both go in each of the store and it opens up the markets to each other. So I think fundamentally, cynically, you could say that they're a great marketing tool, but done well I think they can last and prosper and allow you to meet people and customer bases that you don't previously or wouldn't naturally have access to.

Rhian (21:19):
So follow up question there. How does one go about getting a partnership? Like if I'm a merchant and I'm just starting out and I want to build this relationship, what steps do I take?

Keir (21:29):
Yeah, I think that's kind of the million dollar question, isn't it? You harass someone on LinkedIn with many messages until they respond, or you think, well, they haven't replied for three weeks, so I'll move on to the next victim. Or I think just try and be genuine. I think you guys will know this when you get a genuine inquiry and by that, I mean, someone who they've taken the time to learn a bit about you, they've taken a bit of time to learn about your business or your interests or how you operate, or maybe they've seen you speak or the read a blog post by union showing, doing that sort of due diligence, if you will, about your business, about your brand and then having an ask, right. It's like, why, it's the classic, oh, can I just, do we do coffee?

Keir (22:15):
I mean, it doesn't always work. I think sometimes you have to go in with a clear question and a clear ask and a clear next step. I think if you've done your due diligence and you've got a proposal, just be open and honest about it. And then hopefully the conversation will start that way. I don't think some of the other more forceful mass mail-outs, we've all received them, particularly that they don't jive. Right? You don't feel that someone's necessarily put the effort in. And fundamentally often partnerships when you're starting out, you don't have that financial current to offer something other than, let's work on something together with the hope that it will work out for both of us as well. So I think in the way that they say people buy from people, I think partnerships work because people fundamentally get along and understand each other and where they both want to go with it.

Rhian (23:10):
I think one of the things you just said too, is really important regarding or doing your research before reaching out, because I have had many experiences where folks have reached out via LinkedIn or email, and it's always like, "Oh, let's get on the phone to talk about your business." And I always kind of think, well, but you just emailed me. I thought you already would have known about my business and it's always this weird, like, I don't know. I don't think I want to have a business relationship with someone who didn't do the work. So I think that's really critical.

Keir (23:40):
Yeah. I would agree wholeheartedly. I think it really shows when someone, especially through email which it's very direct, but it can be quite impersonal. I'm a bit old school. I think I put like, goodbye, thanks, bye, whatever dear, what most people I guess [inaudible 00:23:57] like, one-liners. But I think, yeah, showing that you've done that research pays dividends and you can drop a little something in. I was reading your article on X, or I really like your opinion on why. Okay. Yeah. I can see what you're doing, but I like it. It's good. I'm going to read on.

Kelly (24:14):
I think that's a good point though, because we're talking partnerships and partnerships can present themselves in different ways, whether it's brand a brand or brand a person. So I think one of the things that we might want to talk about is like an affiliate or a sponsor, especially when reaching out to like influencers, because there are different ways, there are different expectations from the influencer side, like, do they want money? Do they want free products? Like what is it that is expected? We're talking briefly about the value of, there has to be value on both sides of this. So do you have any insight on presenting that kind of pitch to maybe an like a micro-influencer, when you're just getting started?

Keir (25:02):
I can't really speak directly to sort of reaching out to the brand names of influencers, but I think that the principles are the same, right? If you're looking for sponsorships in general, or working with an affiliate. And by that, I guess we mean someone who the financial arrangement is that they will get a percentage of a sale or you'll get, maybe you'll start on a lower percentage and the more that comes through the link and by through the store, you get a high percentage, all that kind of thing. I think the principles are the same in terms of just like, yeah, you really want to know what they can offer you as much as what you can offer them. So I think oftentimes with influencers or sponsorships, it's about understanding the offering from them.

Keir (25:51):
So what are they offering you? Is it a Tweet? Is it a follow-up? Is it emails, all of that kind of stuff. And then working back through your own metrics to work out, whether that's equitable for you at the time. So with sponsorships, which I've been involved in for many years, but again, slightly not merchant, I used to handle all the kind of Shopify partner sponsorships. So it'd be like a conference, there's an audience who would probably like Shopify, hopefully, how can we get in front of them? What are the costs? And some people want hundreds of thousands and they put a sticker in a bag and you think, well, that doesn't make sense to me. But others would be very ingratiate, well, if you want to do a little lunch and learn, provide lunch, we can put that in, adds value to the audience, people attending and you get to sort of natively display your product as well.

Keir (26:44):
So I think it's, and I would imagine with merchants and influencers at different stages of your growth those numbers will be less frightening than others, but yeah, I think it is really just the value was so hard though, isn't it? With sort of influences and that side of it. But I think with affiliates, it's more measured. I think they have the affiliate marketers who are very, very good at this kind of stuff, have a sort of proven systems and they have data to back it up and there'll be able to say, "Well, I want to slightly bigger percentage because based on my 10 years experience, this is how I help brands and [inaudible 00:27:18] vertical grow. And this is the kind of referrals that you will be expecting. So that's why I'm asking for this particular amount."

Rhian (27:26):
What do you think makes a partnership successful?

Keir (27:30):
It's a great question. I think fundamentally you have to like each other, right? You have to like the product. You have to like [crosstalk 00:27:38].

Rhian (27:38):
That's true.

Keir (27:40):
And especially when there's maybe not a financial input initially. So brands collaborating in that guys, do you get on? Do the products compliment each other? The services compliment each other. And then I think it's just honesty, as I said earlier, like no surprises, let's be open and honest about what we're both trying to do here. Let's document that let's agree it. And then let's do it. I think we've all been in situations where when, in any business relationship, things aren't as clear as they should be [inaudible 00:28:14]. The surprises always come back to haunt you, I think. Yeah. And just being open and honest about the quid pro quo, what is it, I'm coming to you with a proposition because it will benefit me, but in return I would like to benefit you as well, if I can.

Kelly (28:28):
So we briefly touched on when we were first starting to talk about partnerships, some good examples of brand partnerships. I think three of us have various experience with examples, but let's discuss some of those that we've come across that would be worth discussing if you have any good examples of good brand partnerships.

Keir (28:48):
But it's funny when you start thinking about it, it's like, "Whoa, what are great brand partnerships?" One that recently fell into my inbox was a one I mentioned earlier, which was, and again, I'll say the English way Adidas and Allbirds. But I think this was really interesting, because when you think about it, they're both shoe companies, right? They're both footwear. And obviously Adidas is huge known across the world. Allbirds is kind of like on trend, I guess in a certain market. I do, I do confess to having a pair and they are very, very comfortable.

Kelly (29:19):
I have [crosstalk 00:29:20].

Rhian (29:21):
Okay. All of us have Allbirds.

Keir (29:26):
Which is [inaudible 00:29:26] probably, but on first glance you thinking, what's going on there? One's a huge, I mean, Allbirds revenues on small of course, but like Adidas is huge. They extend well beyond footwear, but they've come together to sort of create sustainable eco-friendly shoe. So I think you can kind of see the partnership there. The Adidas jumping onto the kind of the market that Allbirds has penetrated and they're getting that kind of kudos of having, working with someone who's leading in a certain sort of sustainability eco way. And then Allbirds, I would imagine and hope that they're gaining a whole new audience who may never have heard of them through that collaboration with one of the biggest sports brands. So it kind of makes a lot of sense. Is it weighted equally?

Keir (30:13):
Well, I suspect not, but obviously Adidas feel that that's a market that is going to help them grow and it is probably getting bigger. They're a DTC brand, they have shops now I believe Allbirds, but they're off the moment and sort of very popular online. So I think maybe it does make sense. So be interesting to see how that one turns out.

Kelly (30:35):
I'm looking at the Auburn's website right now to see what that partnership is. It looks like they partner with Adidas to over the next year, we're committing to combining our talents and resources to create the lowest carbon footprint for a performance shoe ever. So that's really cool. Ultimate goal of a net zero product.

Keir (30:54):
Yeah. I mean that's, yeah, it really, it sort of took me by surprise when I got the email about that one, but I can see how it makes sense.

Kelly (31:01):
Yeah. It's interesting because they're talking about a product that doesn't exist yet. So they're not even promoting a collaboration where they're actively selling the product. They're just talking about, "Hey, we are now working together to create this product."

Rhian (31:15):
That's interesting. And I feel like Adidas has done this before, right? Like they have a Stella McCartney collab and other collaborations. And perhaps this is just in there, we'll have some they're experienced in doing this, but I love the fact that they're stepping out of their comfort zone and working towards the zero mission product. Like that's rev for sports. That's revolutionary. My daughter is an athlete and there's a lot of waste that comes with being an athlete. Like you go through shoes, you go through product. So to have a product that you can just go through and it not impact the environment as much as just throwing away $150 pair of running shoes every three months.

Keir (31:53):
I think, yeah, you're absolutely right. I think what's interesting about this one is you would think on the surface that these are competing businesses. Right?

Rhian (31:59):
Right. On the surface, they're totally competing but they're not.

Keir (32:02):
So I mean, I think that that's an interesting thing. Maybe merchants out there who are thinking about how do I collaborate maybe don't rule out people who are direct competitors. Maybe there there is room there for some kind of partnership and collaboration that would actually benefit you both in a way that might not be obvious. Which ones did you have? Sorry. You had some good ones.

Rhian (32:21):
Well, I really like Lingua Franca because they keep coming into my inbox and tempting me with $400 cashmere sweaters. And I haven't given in yet because that it's a little spendy.

Kelly (32:32):
That's a lot of money.

Rhian (32:34):
However, I think their brand is beautiful. It's well constructed and they have loads of collaborations and they even have on their page, it's called LF and Friends. And that showcases all of the collaborations they've done and they've done it with... I can't even go through all of them there. So there's [crosstalk 00:32:55].

Kelly (32:54):
There are a lot of them.

Rhian (32:55):
Yeah. But that's a really good example of folks that kind of actually run up against them in theory in the market, but yet they've managed a collaboration with them that is mutually beneficial.

Keir (33:06):
Yeah. It's interesting. If you reframe partnership is collaboration. I think it does lead us down different avenues. Doesn't it? And I think particularly in apparel, I think they're disparagingly known as mommy bloggers in the UK at least, but I follow a few on Instagram and you'll find that [crosstalk 00:33:24].

Rhian (33:24):
One of my friends is a mommy blogger. I don't know it's disparaging.

Keir (33:27):
Okay. I don't know. I didn't want to use the wrong word. I apologize if that's [crosstalk 00:33:29].

Rhian (33:29):
I could also, I'm sorry, Danielle, if I'm incorrect.

Keir (33:34):
But yeah, you'll often find that they'll collaborate with clothing brands or small brands and do a line of shirts or sweats and that kind of stuff as well. So I think, yeah. And then again, the quid pro quo, it's a natural relationship, collaboration audience, audience. It does make a lot of sense.

Kelly (33:52):
I also came across another brand called Paper and Clay. They're a ceramics company, but they partnered with various other companies. Like for example, they created a ceramic candle holder to promote somebody else's candles who like all that company does is create candles. So that's a really good example of a collaboration, how your products go very well together and you're both benefiting from it.

Keir (34:21):
Yeah. I think I guess, depending on the product that you're selling it, that there's bound, nine times out of 10, there will be a complimentary product that works well with it. So, yeah, it's [inaudible 00:34:34] sourcing those out and seeing if there's an opportunity there, I think.

Rhian (34:37):
Well, this has been awesome Kier. Thank you so much for joining us and we need to know something really important right now.

Keir (34:45):

Rhian (34:47):
Where can we find you on the Internet?

Keir (34:50):
You can find me [inaudible 00:34:51] Internet. Yes, I am at It's one of the blessings of having a slightly unusual name is that you can get the domains and usernames. So you must know this.

Rhian (35:05):

Keir (35:06):
Kelly wasn't as fortunate I believe.

Kelly (35:09):
I had, but unfortunately was already purchased by somebody a long time ago. Side story, I called him expressing interest in purchasing the domain from him. He called me a scammer and hung up on me.

Rhian (35:22):
We should revisit that.

Keir (35:24):
Yeah. is my consultancy site. And then is the business and yeah most social media or I don't post much. I'm certainly not in your league Kelly, but accurate if you're on Instagram and on the Twitter.

Kelly (35:46):
Wonderful. So we're closing out each of these episodes by shouting out a Shopify store that we've come across, something that maybe the products are cool or the store itself is cool. And Kier, I want to put you on the spot to call out a Shopify store.

Keir (36:05):
Okay. In lockdown once alcohol intake may have increased marginally and as a result of the wonders of home delivery, I'm going to recommend a brewery, a UK brewery called Beavertown, which is on Shopify. They do some amazing beers. Their branding is kind of crazy. They hijack the cursor and it's got a little rocket ship and it's all skulls and all sorts, but yeah, it's a lot of fun. Beavertown brewery is the is the full address.

Kelly (36:41):
Oh, this is fun.

Keir (36:42):
Yeah. They've Lupuloid, my favorite just for the record. But they do some cool branded, hoodies and beanies and gases and various other things. Yeah, it's literally, if people don't believe that email works as a marketing tool, I've literally every time they've emailed me in the last two months, I'm like, "Yeah, buying, thanks for reminding me." I've only got 28 bottle or cans left I better get another one [inaudible 00:37:11].

Kelly (37:12):
I may run out. I may run out.

Keir (37:14):
Yeah. I'm not queuing apart to go and buy beer, so that would look bad. So buy [inaudible 00:37:20] online. Yeah. That would be my pick for this one.

Kelly (37:24):
You say it looks but in the state of Georgia, we can't have alcohol delivered. So I order online, but then I have to stand in line to pay and receive my products.

Keir (37:33):
But did you just say you can't have alcohol delivered?

Kelly (37:37):

Keir (37:37):
Wow. Okay.

Rhian (37:39):
We have different state regulations over here. So like in California, not only can you have alcohol delivered, you can also have cannabis delivered. Kelly, can have nothing delivered besides food.

Kelly (37:50):
Like there are some companies, I think wine is the only thing that's allowed. Anything else can not be delivered. There is a bill in the house right now that is sitting there allowing for alcohol delivery and I'm crossing my fingers that it passes the Georgia, whatever you call it, their session starts up again in 10 days. So fingers crossed, that's one of the things that they address. It's not the most important thing on the docket, but I have a personal interest in this one.

Keir (38:21):
If you'll indulge me for one minute, I have a funny story about trying to buy alcohol in a foreign country. One of my first trip to Canada for Shopify, when I went over to meet them, they put me up in this ridiculous suite in a hotel in [inaudible 00:38:37] and have a little kitchen and so I'll go and buy some food and cook [inaudible 00:38:41] go out because it was like minus 30 or something ridiculous. So I go in the supermarket in British supermarkets, the alcohol was kind of at the end dial. It's like, well, you get to lost. Right. You've done for there's something to look forward to. I can go and go and have a few bottles, whatever, put them in as a last gesture. So I'm wondering around this, I've got my oversized butter that I'm not going to finish, slice cheese, a local bread that I'll have to slice whatever.

Keir (39:05):
And I'm wondering around, I'm like, this is weird. There's just no alcohol in here. There's no alcohol. And all right. So I went round the supermarket like three times trying to find it. I thought, I'm not going to be the Brit who asks where the booze is. So I didn't [inaudible 00:39:20]. I went to the office and I said, "How was last night?" I said, "Yeah. I went to buy some food at the local store. I said, "Really weird. It was like there was no booze [inaudible 00:39:29]." Sorry. I was like, "Yeah." [inaudible 00:39:30] Yeah, you can't buy alcohol at the supermarket. I was like, "Sorry." I was like, "You can buy alcohol in a petrol station in the UK, what's going on here?" And they said, "Did you not notice that big thing called the LCBO? The massive place opposite the supermarket? I was like, "No." I said, yeah, that's the booze store. That's where you go, Kier. That's the place you have to go. And literally just all itself. I was like, oh, well, it's the lesson I learned quickly. So next time round. It was fine. But yeah, it really threw me.

Rhian (39:59):
It is always, it is surprised my husband's Canadian. And the first time we went to an American Costco, he's like, you can buy alcohol at a Costco and I was sick, you can't? I was very confused. Okay. So my store that I want to highlight this week is Thai Society. I'm a really big fan as it gets in, it heats up, especially where I am. I love to wear dresses and I also like to be comfortable. And Thai society is not shaped wear, it's a size inclusive. They call it a second skin solution. It's like shorts that go on through your dresses. So you're comfy is the best way I know how to describe it. And I've had a pair of for several years and their store keeps getting better and better and better, and I'm super into it. And I'm into the assets they use and the size inclusion and so much about it [crosstalk 00:40:50].

Kelly (40:50):
And the really great [inaudible 00:40:51] user experience on the websites, full disclosure, Thai Society is one of our clients.

Rhian (40:55):
Yeah. So that's like a coincidence because when Kelly told me, she was like, "Thai Society is client." I'm like, "Oh, I bought Thai Society two years ago before I went on my trip to Italy, because I want it to be comfy, but also in a dress." So I'm a huge fan.

Keir (41:12):
I love the name. That's just worthy of yourself. You must have been quite envious when you heard that one.

Rhian (41:19):
Yeah. They're so comfortable. That's crucial to know. Okay. Kelly, what's your favorite story of the week?

Kelly (41:26):
So I've been really into buying art lately. We're biased some really fun, random art. Like we have animals and things like that. Just not your typical art. So I'm calling out the store, 20 by 200. It's a website that has like a bunch of different kinds of art for every style. A lot of artists are featured on there. There's a lot of really, really great stuff to check out on there. I'm a big fan. I think the user experience of the site is also a really great.

Keir (42:00):
Yeah. That's really nice.

Rhian (42:00):
It's really nice.

Keir (42:01):
Yeah. Because art is a hard one online, I think sometimes because you just no idea how big it is, right?

Kelly (42:08):

Keir (42:09):
So the more immersive you can make it, the more like in-situ shots you can, the more you can sort of Patriot on your wall and that kind of stuff.

Kelly (42:15):
In executing well on the purchasing experience for art is difficult. And you can really tell when a site does it well. For things like I want framed [inaudible 00:42:27] canvas art with a floating frame, for example. Being able to customize it and see what the additional price will be, especially if I'm buying a larger piece of art, whatever it might be, it's a tough thing to get, right. I think 20 by 200 did a good job of it.

Rhian (42:41):
Kier, we could chat all day and I would love to chat all day and get a Negroni, but we can't. Everyone's going to stop listening at some juncture. So thank you so much for joining us today. We look forward to the next time we get to see your face, speak to you and keep us apprised of everything apps related. I'm so excited for you. We're so excited for you.

Keir (43:04):
That's very kind. Thank you. It's been a real pleasure. I appreciate the opportunity.

Kelly (43:13):
Thanks for tuning in and thanks again to our sponsors for supporting this episode. We now have a YouTube channel. Visit us at We're doing friendly Shopify store tear downs, and I think you'll really enjoy them. If you liked this podcast, please leave us a review on Apple podcasts. We would love to see your feedback. You can subscribe to Commerce Tea on your favorite podcasting service. We post new episodes every Tuesday, so grab your mug and join us. See you next week.

Rhian (43:39):
ClockedIn is the time clock for Shopify. With ClockedIn, your team members can easily clock in and out of their shifts from anywhere. You can manage your teams hours as they work remotely with an intuitive interface that can be used from desktop tablet or mobile. Check it out at or in the Shopify app store.

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