Season 1 Episode 10
January 13, 2022

Trust is a Must

Today, Ingrid is joined by Issac Newton, Co-Founder/CEO of Pattern. Tune in to hear their conversation about what it takes to have trust in our partners. From hiring, to becoming servant leaders, and creating a safe environment. Listen now!

<iframe height="52px" width="100%" frameborder="no" scrolling="no" seamless src=""></iframe>

This Episode Sponsored by:

Infinite Shelf - Chatdesk
Infinite Shelf- YOTPO

Today, Ingrid is joined by Issac Newton, Co-Founder/CEO of Pattern. Tune in to hear their conversation about what it takes to have trust in our partners. From hiring, to becoming servant leaders, and creating a safe environment. Listen now!

What’s Bigger Than Trust? 

  • {00:11:31} "Hey, maybe we should do something together. We still have great chemistry. We love working together, we respect one another..." - Isaac
  • {00:20:58} “Because the match means everything and they're not going to be happy and you're not going to be happy. And then on the other side, when there is a match, then that's really where the magic happens. I think that's really important.” - Ingrid
  • {00:21:09} “And a lot of it just takes trust, right? And which is a whole other conversation that we'll dig into, hopefully when we talk about, like the founders and the brands that we work with.” - Isaac
  • {00:27:10} “When starting a brand, you have to be passionate. It has to be a reflection of who you are as an individual. And so with that comes great responsibility of all the partners to make sure that they're seeing the vision through.” - Ingrid
  • {00:32:49} “I'd say the last thing, and I tell this to everybody and I even tell this to prospects where I'm like, I'm 90 percent sure we are not going to work together. Speak with recent references. It is so critical.” - Isaac
  • {00:35:53} “Yes, totally. Yeah, with teams and things like that, you're not doing anyone any favors by keeping someone on who isn't performing and the same thing with agencies as well.” -  Ingrid
  • {00:39:35} “Yeah, I mean, it's all about, in our opinion, differentiation and storytelling. Really. And also being authentic. So if you can find the right balance of those things, that's where the future is.” - Isaac

Associated Links: 

Have any questions or comments about the show? Let us know on, or reach out to us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn. We love hearing from our listeners!

Ingrid: [00:00:06] Hello and welcome to Infinite Shelf, the human centric retail podcast. I'm your host, Ingrid Milman Cordy. We've met a lot of thought leaders and founders on the show, most of which are exclusively working with senior leadership at retail organizations that are looking to learn and grow and evolve their businesses in some way. The hope is that partnering with these thought leaders will unlock new technology or ways of thinking to open new doors for their businesses. That's the simple part. The hard part is actually getting there. Most of the hard part is the ability for us as senior leaders to let go of the reins a bit and actually allow for these partners to come in and do what they're meant to do for our business. Otherwise, what's the point of hiring them in the first place? Over the years, I've had my fair share of really rough experiences with partners, partners I have inherited coming into an organization and partners I'd hired myself. Through the years of reflection and reconsideration I've come up with a few lessons that I have thought through in conversation with a dear friend, Isaac Newton. Yes, that is his real name. I imagine his parents had a really fun sense of humor and love for science. In the conversation that I'll share with you in a bit, we hit on some themes that felt so incredibly true and obvious, yet I was so grateful to be reminded of them heading into the new year. The first lesson is just the classic, you know, hire amazingly talented people and get the heck out of their way. I've since updated this a little bit to sound more like hire amazingly talented people and understand that your role is to become a servant-leader to them. This is all about getting the best, doing our best to listen to their views and needs and removing boundaries and obstacles in their way. I even ask them to share their weekly obstacles and barriers list with me, and they have actually shared back that this has unlocked so much productivity for them because they were actually shying away from these things subconsciously. So when talented people feel stuck, it is our job to unstuck them and let them run. Second lesson is don't surround yourself with only agreeable people who are unwilling to challenge your thinking. This is a huge one, and it requires a lot of skill and practice on both sides. It requires the leaders to create an emotionally safe environment where our teams feel like they can openly and candidly disagree with us without repercussion. And it also requires team members to be able to respectfully, yet directly, share what is on their minds, even if it feels like it might be unpopular or an undesirable option. The need for this type of decision making environment is incredibly crucial for building effective businesses, but it's also really hard and takes constant work and reinforcement of these skills, again, for both sides, leaders and their teams. The amount of boardrooms I've been in, where 85 to 90 percent of the room strongly disagrees with the leader direction or the way that they're looking at solving a problem but are unwilling to share out of fear of the consequence is actually staggering. I'm sure you've all been there. I look at this as a failure for the leader and by not creating an environment that can be that they can be debated with in a productive and open minded and safe manner. And I've seen otherwise brilliant leaders and companies that they lead go down as a result. I'm currently reading Adam Grant's Think Again, where he makes a really strong argument for changing the way that we look at intelligence. We typically look at intelligence and describe intelligent people as people that have the ability to learn and know information. But what if it would be more powerful as our ability to reconsider and relearn when information changes? When was the last time you actually changed your mind about something, a big something? He notes that research reveals that the higher you score on IQ test, the more likely you are to fall for stereotypes because you're faster at recognizing patterns. And recent experiments suggest the smarter you are the more you struggle to update your beliefs. This really struck a chord with me, and I've actively been trying to prove to myself that I'm wrong about something far more frequently than I did before and I really needed this reframing. It has been incredibly uncomfortable, but I've already made measurable improvements from this approach in my personal and professional life. I couldn't recommend the book more. It's actually a game changer. Anyway, all this to say... This leads me back to our conversation with Isaac, where he leads an incredibly innovative and future thinking agency Pattern, who's Co-Founder and Executive Creative Director you met. Mike in Episode 8. It was all about Web3. If you haven't listened yet, I really encourage you to. The conversation is super enlightening and fun. Isaac's biggest challenge is not delivering excellent work from his team, it's convincing his potential clients to trust and let go in order to run farther and faster together. It's the number one most important thing you can do when selecting partners, vet them meticulously and be a major pain in the butt before signing on, but once you sign on, trust is your most important vehicle to achieve results.

Ingrid: [00:06:43] Welcome Isaac. I'm so happy to have you on Infinite Shelf. How are you?

Isaac: [00:06:48] Hi, Ingrid, I am great. Thanks for having me.

Ingrid: [00:06:51] Of course. Well, you are definitely just one of the people who I have kept in close touch with throughout my career. And just I've always been really inspired by everything that you have been going on. And just like the circles that you are around in and getting a chance to hear what is new with you is always a treat. And so I figured, why not have that conversation for our audience here and just talk about all the exciting things that you're up to?

Isaac: [00:07:19] Well, thanks. Thanks. I'm excited to catch up.

Ingrid: [00:07:23] All right. Well, so tell me everything about what you've been up to at Pattern.

Isaac: [00:07:28] Oh gosh, I don't even know where to begin. Well, I'd say first and foremost, this has been a stellar year for the team, and we've experienced the most growth... We have had much more growth than we had anticipated, and we're working with brands that we a year ago would have never imagined working with. So thankfully, it's been great, and we're very thankful to be just quite busy. And it's a journey for sure.

Ingrid: [00:08:07] It's so fun to watch what you guys are up to. Well, just super, super quick. How would you describe what you do at Pattern?

Isaac: [00:08:15] What I do? So Pattern is a digital agency that focuses on three things. We focus on strategy, on brand development and UX/UI design, and the great majority of the work that we do is really centered around eCommerce. I'd say 90 percent of our projects are in eCommerce, so we work with consumer-led brands for the most part.

Ingrid: [00:08:47] And you guys came from the really, really big global consumer products agencies, right?

Isaac: [00:08:54] Yeah. So my partner, Michael and I both used to work together at an agency called Fluid, which we were both at for, gosh, close to eight years. We overlapped with one another for around five years. He was their Head of Creative, the creative side, and led both teams in New York and in San Francisco, and I led business development. So whether it was doing pitches and that kind of work for both the New York and San Francisco offices, the combination of that and also working in business development and partnerships. And then we since then, or before and after, we've been at a number of other agencies. I think that this is a good thing for me. I worked at quite a number of agencies. And so where I was able to really see a lot and experience a lot in terms of how different agencies do things and whether it was working for a small, high growth agency that was based out of Brooklyn that focused in mobile strategy and mobile development and design, and who had an incredible, incredible culture to working with or working for an agency that was fifteen hundred employees plus global offices working with global consumer brands... Just being able to experience a myriad of things within those types of organizations.

Ingrid: [00:10:39] Yeah, yeah. And I think that when we talk about all of the reasons why you started Pattern, one of the things that sticks out in my mind is just the intentionality behind creating an agency that is set up for the modern world in terms of eCommerce and brand development. And I think that one of the things you have been very, very thoughtful about is the culture and the size of the organization and then also just the clients that you're selecting, right? So like, give me a little bit about what that process looks like for you. What are you inspired by? What have you learned in all of those years on the agency side that you're bringing to Pattern?

Isaac: [00:11:18] Yeah, so it's so interesting. Mike and I, when we reconnected after not working together for a couple of years, we were presented with some interesting opportunities and we were like, "Hey, maybe we should do something together. We still have great chemistry. We love working together, we respect one another..." And one of the things that we spent a lot of time on was really talking about what we learned from our prior experiences. So whether... We learned a lot of great things and a lot of bad things. We were exposed to both what it's like to work for an agency that's taken an investment and you're having to just log hours and sell time and just having that pressure. And so that's just one example. But what we did is... And also actually another thing to call out on some of these other agencies that we worked at were "full service," right? So they were doing not only design, but they're also doing digital marketing and development. And with those things in mind, what we thought and we're really interested in is creating an agency that leads with design. So that was like our big differentiator and that's what we really felt and feel that there is just a huge opportunity for, especially as it relates to the ecosystem that we're working with. And we do a lot of work with the enterprise Shopify segment. So we just felt that there was a huge opportunity there. And to that point, we wanted to be mindful and methodical and thoughtful around what we're going to create. And we had some really core ideas that have evolved over time. But just having a firm that or an agency that was really purpose driven. So we were really every week we try to just be whatever we do we want to make sure that there's a why that we really are excited about the projects that we're working on, that the team is really excited about the projects that we're working on. We want to just make sure that there is truly an opportunity for us to help a brand evolve and do something different and stand out and elevate themselves within the verticals that they're navigating and swimming within. So to that point, we were very fortunate in being able to attract incredible talent, like the best designers, some of the best designers, some of the best UX and visual designers and strategists that we had worked with in the past that were seeing the work that we were doing and helped... We refer to them as like our core team. And it's like the first ten employees and they've really helped us stand this agency up based on on this foundation that we're working on.

Ingrid: [00:14:28] Yeah, I think that's great because everyone's sort of been really vested in the culture and being able to grow, but in a way that really feels natural and organic and not forced by externalities like investment and things like that. Would you say that?

Isaac: [00:14:42] Yeah.

Ingrid: [00:14:44] Would you say that the full service agency model is dead or how do you how do you feel about full service agencies? {laughter} That's a leading question.

Isaac: [00:14:55] That's kind of a loaded question. I'm teasing. It's definitely not dead. And I say that because I'd say half of the prospects that we speak with are leaving those types of agencies. And again, it just kind of serves to reinforce what we're doing and why we feel our approach is really working for us, which is while you can be "full service," Mike and I have a really strong point of view that, yes, you can do that, but the reality of it is you're really going to be good at one or two of those like four or five things that you say you do. And so for us, we're like, well, screw it. We don't want to do that. A) we want to like do what we're passionate about, what we love doing, which is design strategy and brand development. And then for those other areas we will partner, we have incredible partners that we've built with other agencies that focus on those other areas. So whether it's development teams that help really help realize the vision of what we're designing for with our clients. You know, we have it's kind of like a best of breed model, right? So that's just what we're doing and it's working really well for us. And I see that there... I think there is really, actually I don't spend a lot of time looking at what's going on in the market right now, just because we're so I'm trying to stay hyper focused on what we're doing and having us do the best that we can do. But I do think that the agency model is evolving quite a bit, and I think the one thing that we have seen is over the last three years is there have been a number of specialized agencies like us that have morphed, where teams and partners have come from much larger shops and are doing their own thing, and they are more focused. So I think that that is a trend. I just haven't been following it that closely.

Ingrid: [00:17:58] I'm in a position where I'm lucky in that I get to work with a lot of people who I get referred to to just have a conversation around when they're thinking about starting their brands, when they're maybe founder-led companies, and they're just trying to figure out where they should put their investment and how they should build out their teams for the size that they are right now, versus the size that they will be in three years from now. So actually, the advice that I give almost every single time is find the one thing that you need right now the most, the most, the most. Identify that. Invest heavily in that. And then evolve from there. So for example, like a good place to start for a brand that is within like consumer products is, yeah, invest in your brand. First of all, I'm not even getting into the part of invest in your product. That's first and foremost and sort of goes without saying.

Isaac: [00:18:54] Totally. Totally.

Ingrid: [00:18:54] But then once you have a great product, the next step, in my view, in many cases, not in all cases, but in many cases, is invest in your brand, get something that is beautiful, that people are going to feel emotionally connected with. And I think that the design part is really important. And there are a lot of agencies that I've come across who are fantastic at that part. But then because of the nature of the agency model, they also have development services and then they also have media buying services. And I've always been kind of let down by the other side of that part of the agency model. So I actually really love and respect the fact that you're like, "Hey, we're really like a design strategy branding agency, and we have some fantastic partners that we work with that specialize in the development and media buying and all the rest of the things that you're of course going to need. But here's the thing that we're really excellent at, and I think that that level of focus is critical and also really only possible when you are self-funded the way that you guys are in bootstrapping your way and having this core team that's just along for the journey from day one.

Isaac: [00:20:04] Totally. And to that point, we use that as like a qualifier, right? So when we run into scenarios which happens frequently enough to talk about it, where our clients or prospects are just really concerned or want that, the term that's oftentimes used is like "one throat to choke" and they want one partner to do everything. And for us, we're like, "You know what? Understand what you want. Unfortunately, we don't do that. And if it doesn't work, it doesn't work." And thankfully, thankfully, knock on wood, we just stay true to what we're doing and we are keeping extremely busy with this approach.

Ingrid: [00:20:52] Yeah. And I think that it's smart for you guys to identify that in choosing your clients too.

Isaac: [00:20:57] Exactly.

Ingrid: [00:20:58] Because the match means everything and they're not going to be happy and you're not going to be happy. And then on the other side, when there is a match, then that's really where the magic happens. I think that's really important.

Isaac: [00:21:09] And a lot of it just takes trust, right? And which is a whole other conversation that we'll dig into, hopefully when we talk about, like the founders and the brands that we work with.

Ingrid: [00:21:18] Yeah. Well, so I mean, let's do it. One of the things that I know that Pattern is really passionate about and has done really fantastically on is working with founder-led brands, which are a horse of a different color. I've worked with some founders. It's a unique world, and I think sometimes there's this preconceived notion that a founder-led brand is smaller and that is true in many cases, but also not in all cases. There are founder-led brands that are three million dollars a year, and then there's founder-led brands that are 500 million dollars a year. But they are they are a unique beast, and there's some beautiful elements to it and there are some more frustrating elements to it. So talk to us about a little bit about how you work with founder brands.

Isaac: [00:22:07] Yeah, sure. And that was actually one of the things that has evolved early on for Pattern. Just knowing that we were going to be servicing the Shopify and/or Shopify Plus ecosystem, working with entrepreneurs, and for the most part, at that time that those were a lot of the brands that were and still to this day are. But obviously that's shifted quite a bit as they've gained more momentum and are getting just winning brands that are that are much larger now. But going back to that, back at Fluid and when I was at some of these other agencies, we worked with global consumer brands. So whether it was designing experiences for the North Face or Puma and brands like that where you're dealing with committees and dealing with large teams, and while we feel fortunate to have been able to have been a part of those projects back then, we did see an opportunity as we shifted as we launch Pattern to work with founders and work with entrepreneurs that are just building their their businesses and that are doing things on their own. And thankfully, we have been so fortunate in that we're working with... It's been an array. Like you just mentioned, like some brands that are doing five million, but yet we've got a handful of founder-led brands that are doing 100, 200, 300 million online, and we are working directly with the founders. And what I love about that is that it's just like, I draw a lot of inspiration from... There's this guy named Guy Raz, who I'm not sure if you've heard of him.

Ingrid: [00:23:56] Oh yeah.

Isaac: [00:23:56] So I'm a huge fan. I hope to meet him at some point. He lives up the hill from us. And so I draw a lot of inspiration from him when when he interviews founders, we've actually had like three or four clients that have been interviewed by him. But just like really digging in and taking that approach around, really learning about what led to them launching that brand, getting digging into the DNA, digging into what are the challenges, digging into where the opportunities are and what the roadmap looks like and what the future looks like and ultimately taking these learnings and helping and using that to apply to their re-envisioned experience. So I just love love that. And/or helping them evolve and just having these direct conversations around, "Hey, let's look at your logo. Let's talk about this," and/or whatever it is and just really digging into the brand DNA and where it can go. So it is really exciting. I think where it can be challenging, and it's just one of these things that you just need to address, and you just need to have is trust. And I think one of the things that I've noticed is over time the projects that don't turn out to be as successful are projects where our clients, being founder of being founders, just don't trust the process. And that is where I think we've run into challenges, but I think thankfully it's rare, but it does happen and that's just the way it goes. But thankfully it is rare.

Ingrid: [00:26:57] With founder-led companies. There's just, there's a lot of personal investment and passion that the founders bring. Obviously, that's just a complete necessary.

Isaac: [00:27:09] Absolutely.

Ingrid: [00:27:10] When starting a brand, you have to be passionate. It has to be a reflection of who you are as an individual. And so with that comes great responsibility of all the partners to make sure that they're seeing the vision through. But then also, there is in a moment where there's like the emperor doesn't have any clothes on and no one's willing to say that. And so there's going to be founder-led brands that you will gain trust with when you point out in a very respectful and kind way when those situations arise, and then there's going to be times where it's physically impossible to say that, and that's where I think the trust comes in and also probably leaves.

Isaac: [00:27:57] Yeah, absolutely. And we talk about these things like when we when we are before we start working with a client. We talk about how important transparency is and how we're adults, our feelings will not be hurt if they disagree with what we're thinking. We are looking to be challenged, and we think it's very healthy to have that type of dialog. And we also know and we let prospective clients know that our job is to make, to A) deliver an amazing product at the end of the day, but to also challenge them and make sure that they're really pushing the boundaries and/or to help them find the right balance.

Ingrid: [00:28:36] Right. Yeah. And I think that's important and probably more possible when you're dealing with founders that have a shared vision to some extent. Are you able to identify that in like the first conversation? At what point are you like, "Man, this is going to be amazing," or at what point are you like, "I don't know if this is going to be a fit?"

Isaac: [00:28:57] You know, it's all over the board. I think it's very funny that you ask this. I think it's all over the board, and the reality of it is like things can seem like it's a fit because everybody is drinking one another's Kool-Aid, and you're feeling really good about it. But then you're in the weeds and you're doing the project like, "Oh my gosh, wait, I had no idea," like, "Oh, I should have seen this," and/or there are situations where things are just going thankfully well. Thankfully for us, the great majority of the work that we do and we've done, they've gone extremely well. I was just talking to somebody about this earlier in the week. I've never been at a company where I've had so many clients proactively just tell us, like, "Hey, if you ever need a reference, we've got you," or just like sending us notes and text messages to the team like, "Oh my gosh, you guys..." Actually, this weekend I received a note from a client on a site we just launched two months ago, just thanking me again for what we were able to deliver and how the redesigned product or site played a key role in helping them land another round of funding. Like that for me is, it makes me... It just reinforces why I love what I do and to be able to just receive comments and receive messages from people like that.

Ingrid: [00:30:26] So ok, so then what's the secret to that? How do you, if you had to do some coaching to some agencies that are starting off or even founders who are listening to this and just trying to get their feet wet on the retail front? What is some advice that you would give? And let's pretend that we are a couple of martinis deep and you're feeling really warm and you're feeling really comfortable. And for whatever reason, you're like, "I'm just going to tell you how it is. And I probably wouldn't say this on a conference call, but here's the advice."

Isaac: [00:30:59] Yeah, a couple of martinis in. I mean, the first thing that, well, one of the first things that we talk about, and we might use different words, but we have a very strict no assholes policy, and that dovetails more into the notion of just leave your egos out of this. That's not going to help the cause. And that's just not a healthy way to approach things. And and that is on both sides for sure, both on the agency side and for the client side. I think the other thing is again, trusting the process, right? So our team has designed and created experiences for, again, brands that are doing hundreds of millions of dollars and whether it's, you know, building strategies around loyalty or mass customization or guided selling or mobile-led design. Like just know that our team has seen... Knowing that the team has been working in eCommerce for 10, 15 years, we've seen a lot of what's out there. And just respect and know that there's going to be a process and that there's going to be a point of view and there needs to be some trust there. And so while when we are making recommendations or when your agency, hopefully this is for brands that are out there listening to this or founders that are listening to this, just you should to the extent that you can like trust and know who you're working with and take their guidance. Like you're hiring them because they're experts in what they do and you just got to trust that process.

Ingrid: [00:32:47] Yeah. I love that.

Isaac: [00:32:49] I'd say the last thing, and I tell this to everybody and I even tell this to prospects where I'm like, I'm 90 percent sure we are not going to work together. Speak with recent references. It is so critical. And I see this happen all the time where brands have made decisions to work with an agency because A) they have like incredible case studies and have great logos on their site and they had a great sales lead and whatever for whatever the reason is. But once they're in the weeds with them and on the project things unravel. And so what I always recommend to people is that they speak with at minimum, two to three recent references. And when I say recent, I'm referring to brands that that agency has launched with within the last three to six months. It's just critical. And I feel like, you know, that is something that not enough people do out there. And a lot of it is because they just are "too busy" to deal with references. But you know what, if you're spending, if you're investing $50-$300,000 plus in a project, make the time to have those conversations, make the time to really dig into what it was like to partner and collaborate with that agency and their teams.

Ingrid: [00:34:09] Right. Because you either spend that time in the upfront and you really invest in due diligence and making sure that this is the right agency partner or you spend that time developing, you know, hopefully developing trust. Typically, if you're not doing that in the upfront and there's this level of confidence that isn't quite there, you're going to spend that time in micromanaging or in second guessing or in questioning deliverables, and no one wants to spend that time on that end.

Isaac: [00:34:38] It's just not worth it. It's really not worth it.

Ingrid: [00:34:41] I agree. Yeah. Spend the time up front, do the references. I think that makes a lot of sense. And then the same thing as I would say to people hiring people, it's like hire incredible, smart, reliable people and then get the heck out of their way.

Isaac: [00:35:00] And let them do their thing. Totally, totally totally.

Ingrid: [00:35:04] And listen, if you don't have the trust when you're hiring people, then either you need to look a little bit deeper or move on. There has to be that fundamental layer of trust before you can actually make anything happen. But I think there's a lot of value in really, truly just allowing people who are talented to do what they do, and you have to let a layer of trust in there. And I think that all of that has to be done in the upfront or else you're just going to create so much spin.

Isaac: [00:35:32] I totally agree. Totally agree. And also like when things aren't working out with that team, if things aren't working out with the team member, {clap} nip it. Life is too short. And chances are if as the employer, if it's not working for you, there's a high probability that's not working for the employee. So like, have those tough conversations early on, try to fix it. And if it doesn't work, then it doesn't work.

Ingrid: [00:35:53] Yes, totally. Yeah, with teams and things like that, you're not doing anyone any favors by keeping someone on who isn't performing and the same thing with agencies as well. But I think with people, we have a lot of emotions around firing people or putting people on improvement plans and things like that. And it's like, "Hey, you might be a great person, but in reality, if it's not a good fit it's not a good fit for either person." Let the other people sort of find their way somewhere else where they're going to be able to add value and be part of what is actually needed in another organization.

Isaac: [00:36:33] Absolutely.

Ingrid: [00:36:34] Yeah. I love that. Well, what's in store for the future? What do you think is hot and cool and what are the cool kids doing?

Isaac: [00:36:44] Oh man.

Ingrid: [00:36:44] You're very coy, but you've launched some pretty, pretty rad brands for pretty incredible high profile people. And so I think you do have a really good pulse on what's happening. Where do you see consumer brands going and the whole ecosystem of like Shopify, Shopify Plus brands?

Isaac: [00:37:02] Oh, I mean, it's just, I don't know where to begin. There's so much going on right now, right? So this year we've worked with some of the highest just really globally renowned celebrities.

Ingrid: [00:37:21] Ariana Grande. Are we allowed to say it?

Isaac: [00:37:22] Yeah. Yeah.

Ingrid: [00:37:23] Congratulations.

Isaac: [00:37:25] Thank you. And so that was like we were, we helped create the brand and it was just for the team it was probably one of the largest projects that everybody has worked on within their professional career and just having exposure to such an incredible person and a team to build this vision was really, really astonishing. And that's led to a few other projects which we can't talk about because they're still in play.

Ingrid: [00:38:06] Sure. What's the future?

Isaac: [00:38:07] Yeah. So the future, I think we're going to be seeing more of that kind of work. I think we're just starting to dig in deeper where there's a lot of interest in NFTs and wanting to see what's going to happen in that space and how brands are leveraging NFTs. And I know for us it's something that we're really interested in exploring. And I think, you know, we're also just starting to explore other... Where is the future for us? Managing our growth is really important. So that's one of the things I spend a lot of time on is trying to continue to find the right balance because we do not want to grow too quickly. And I say this all the time, we are our size by design. If we wanted to, we could easily be 2, 3 X. And we just don't want that. So that's something that we're looking at is like in terms of the future and just other verticals and things that we're really keen on and exploring are definitely in like the travel space where we're going to be looking into doing work in gaming. And there's a lot out there, thankfully.

Ingrid: [00:39:22] Yeah, I love that. And then in terms of like consumer brands, how are you thinking about developing new brands, designing new brands? What does it mean for us to be thinking about consumer brands in the future?

Isaac: [00:39:35] Yeah, I mean, it's all about, in our opinion, differentiation and storytelling. Really. And also being authentic. So if you can find the right balance of those things, that's where the future is. And I think, you know, and of course, you said this early on, having a good product or having something that does work that's good that people are buying. But being able to just, you know, articulate clearly, clearly tell your story, being able to create an experience that's going to be engaging, you know? And yeah, and just having a great digital product that's differentiated. Those are the things that we focus on, and those are the things that we try to help our clients, that's the challenge we try to help them overcome. And I think we're going to continue to see a lot more of that as we see more and more brands launch just because a lot of these verticals are becoming increasingly crowded and whatnot.

Ingrid: [00:40:38] Yeah, well, so one of the last things I want to ask you about, and this is not like the Shopify/Shopify Plus World, it is actually is for polar opposite, is the world of Amazon. And in our last episode, we talked with a good friend of mine, Garrett, who had helped us. He works on analyzing Amazon businesses and works with a lot of firms to help them identify opportunities. And one of the main things that he said is so many brands or products really that grew up on Amazon just don't have any sense of what a brand is. They have like the basic they hired like a a freelancer on Fiber, and they got a logo for like a hundred bucks on a PNG file and then they slap it on everywhere. And that's their "brand." But one of the big insights that he had was, the question I had was how do you differentiate and grow past this initial burst with having a great item and great product? And his number one, two, and three recommendation was just like start to build a brand around that. Is there a world in which pattern goes into the Amazon world and creates brands for Amazon-led products?

Isaac: [00:41:58] You know, it's funny that you say this and kind of related but not. But you know, at Fluid we designed a number of brands for a company called Quincy, so it was, I'm trying to think, like It was These were all part of Quincy, and why we were hired to do that work is to create really intuitive branded experiences for those given verticals. Quincy was acquired by Amazon just going years back and ultimately sunsetted all of these businesses.

Ingrid: [00:42:38] Wow.

Isaac: [00:42:39] But I think it was, I forgot the numbers, it was maybe five or six hundred million dollars or something like that. It was a pretty large deal. And anyways, and so it's kind of like the inverse of what you're saying. And I personally, I mean, I think what I do think is interesting is for brands that are selling through Amazon that don't have a strong DTC, I think what's cool about, what could be cool about that is like they use that platform as a launching pad. Validate that you have a good product.

Ingrid: [00:43:16] Exactly.

Isaac: [00:43:16] Great. So let's say you do. That's fantastic. Then for us, it's like, "Ok well, if you're able to have a profitable business that's steady, that's repeating, that's growing, if you have the ability to start building and launching your own experience, you definitely should do that because ultimately you're going to know once you have the keys to that car, like you're going to know your consumer better than anyone else. And why give that access to that information on your consumer to somebody else? So that's what we strive for, and that's what we advocate for. But it just depends, you know, it depends on the brand and where that business is at.

Ingrid: [00:43:59] Well, all you Amazon entrepreneurs, you better hit up Isaac for some branding development, so you can get all that first party data on your sweet suite.

Isaac: [00:44:09] Yeah, we're actually working on a potential project right now with a brand that's been around for quite a number of years in the hair care space, and they have only sold, they've got a large presence in salons and through Amazon and that looks like there's a push to go DTC, which is really cool.

Ingrid: [00:44:40] Oh, that's going to be so much fun. I love beauty and hair care DTC. That's just like the most, that's the place where you can be the most engaging, I feel. There's a lot that I'm doing now with health and wellness, and that's really fun. But I love a good haircare brand. I'm excited to hear about that. Anything else you wanted to share with us before we part ways?

Isaac: [00:45:03] No, not really. I mean, I really appreciate your time, and I'm really excited about this venture and the podcast that you guys are doing, and I think that there's just a lot of learnings for people in eCom, and we're passionate about it. I am. I love what I do, and I love to help people to the extent that we can. So thanks for letting me share our story.

Ingrid: [00:45:27] Of course, thank you for coming. And hopefully we'll have you back soon. Thank you so much, Isaac.

Isaac: [00:45:32] Great. Thanks.

Recent Episodes

A Season of Moments

Don't Ignore Your Fans

What's in Your Closet?

Recent Episodes

Latest Podcasts
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.