This episode features Jordan West, an entrepreneur and owner of Canada-based ecommerce agency Upgrowth Commerce. Richard, Taylor, and Jordan discuss his transition from paramedic to full-time business builder, as well as Jordan’s ideal business model, doing business in Canada v. the States, and where they think ecommerce is headed in 2023.
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[00:00:00] Richard: Hey everyone. Welcome to the E-Commerce Playbook podcast. I'm your host, Richard Gaffin. I'm joined as always by Taylor Holliday, CEO of Common Thread Collective, and we're really excited to have a guest joining us today.
His name's Jordan West. He's a podcaster. He's a CEO. He's a CMO. He's a brand owner. He's the owner of an agency. He's a former paramedic amongst many other things. And so we're gonna get into that a little bit later. But first off, just wanna say, Jordan super stoked to have you on the show. Welcome.
[00:00:27] Jordan: Hey really appreciate you having me on here. And honestly, that intro actually stresses me out. I'm like, oh, yeah, that's a lot of stuff that I'm doing right now. I think I need to cut a little bit of that out of my life. So...
[00:00:39] Richard: Totally. Yeah. I was going through your LinkedIn bio and I was noticing a lot of overlap between a lot of the different things. But I think I would be awesome to start just by talking about your background a little bit ,just because it's so interesting. So your LinkedIn bio anyway, kicks off talking about purchasing and owning and running a Taco del Mar which, so you're from Canada, right? BC
[00:00:57] Jordan: I am, yeah. Just outside of Vancouver.
[00:00:59] Richard: Okay, cool. Yeah. So tell us a little bit about that. You were 23 when you did this. Sounds like it was a difficult time for a while, but yeah, just talk about that and how it kicked off the rest of your journey.
[00:01:09] Jordan: Yeah. So at the time I'd been married for about a year. I always wanted to get into business. So I was a paramedic at the time and I was like, oh, I wanna get into business. I, what exactly am I gonna do? And, I didn't know anything at the time, right?
All that I knew is I had a $30,000 line of credit and I was like, okay, I'm gonna use that. I'm gonna max it out and I'm gonna just, buy something. And so I went on Craigslist and at the time Taco Del Mar was in their corporate, was in a bankruptcy but the stores were still running and there was a store for sale for 35,000.
And I was like, oh man, the equipment is probably worth more than $35,000. Like I know it cost about like 300 to get these stores up and running. I'm like, what's the worst case scenario? I'm gonna lose 35 grand. I think I can recover from that. That's okay.
Well, the worst case scenario for me at 23 was a lot worse than that. It was, 80 hour weeks. I was painting houses. I was...
[00:01:58] Richard: Oh my God.
[00:01:58] Jordan: Paramedic, I was working insane amounts of overtime. And then on top of that, I was going into the store, to try to grow these sales and make money. And we did grow the sales, we grew the sales. We almost tripled sales, over the five years that we had it.
But we just never made money because our margins, we're so bad. And especially being in Canada, we were importing a lot of things from the states. And there's just a lot of costs that go into that, that Americans probably don't realize, especially for us importing and working on the currency the opposite way of what we do now, where it's just incredibly difficult.
So many incredible lessons, out of that. And I do not regret that one for a second. We probably ended up losing about 150 grand throughout our entire time there, which now is funny in retrospect with the amount of the size of businesses that we have, where it's like you can make $150,000 mistake pretty easily these days in e-com.
[00:02:50] Richard: Yeah. Yeah, totally. Just out totally out of curiosity, what's an unexpected import for a Canadian that our US listeners would be surprised about?
[00:02:57] Jordan: Oh so for instance, when we would import our chicken, right? Which we had to, because it was like the Taco Del Mar style chicken, we couldn't just, go buy chicken up here. They put $50 a box in tariffs, coming over the border.
[00:03:11] Richard: Oh, wow.
[00:03:11] Jordan: Because we protect our chicken up here. And so we had to pay that extra $50. So you can imagine what that does to, every single scoop of meat you put on a burrito, it just adds cost after cost after cost and it just becomes so prohibitive. Interesting, for Americans that they may not realize, when a package gets sent up to Canada, if it's over $20, we have to pay duty on it. But we can send down to the states, I believe it's about 800 right? Without any duty and without incurring any of going through the border services or anything like that.
So it's very difficult for us to get things into Canada. We really protect our economy. Probably too much.
[00:03:52] Richard: Yeah, totally. It was fascinating cause Taylor and I were having a conversation a couple days ago about where Taylor was salivating over the Canadian cost of labor. I guess it's a little bit of a win some lose some, working north of the border there.
[00:04:04] Taylor: Can I interject on the Canadian labor thing? Cause I wanna frame... so if you think about the opposite of what Jordan's describing, right? So he's buying meat priced in US dollars with Canadian dollars, and then paying a tariff, right? That's the...
[00:04:17] Jordan: Like a 30 % problem right away.
[00:04:20] Taylor: Right. I know I have a couple of friends that run Canadian agencies and the opposite is if you pay your employees in Canadian dollars and your customers pay you in US dollars,
[00:04:29] Jordan: Yes.
[00:04:29] Taylor: You're getting the opposite benefit. One of the things that I've been, interested in is we're always thinking about cost of labor, right? This is a constant conversation and I have a few friends that run agencies in Canada.
There is a real advantage in this moment to having, canadian labor and what you can pay them and the actual quality of life that they can sustain at a certain salary comparable to here in the US that, like you said the difference in the value of the currencies actually makes a difference. And so it's a really interesting thing to think about. So I'm curious do you guys Jordan, price everything in US dollars primarily then, or do you...
[00:05:01] Jordan: We do. Yeah.
[00:05:01] Taylor: Okay. Yeah, so exactly what I thought.
[00:05:03] Jordan: Everything except for one of our e-comm companies, it's a very Canadian company. It's our baby clothing brand. It is a made in Canada clothing brand. So we do price in Canadian dollars, for the most part. But anytime we're selling into the states, it's always in US dollars. We love US dollars in Canada.
[00:05:19] Taylor: Yeah.
[00:05:19] Jordan: It's funny cause like growing up, this is just like what you're used to, you're used to always playing these currency games with the states.
[00:05:25] Taylor: Yeah, it's so interesting. Like it's just not a thing that we ever think about. And I was like, as I was talking to my buddy, I was like, oh, wow, you're right. And so I'm always looking at these like edges, for agency.
Like what is the unique value proposition or reason that your thing, can win over others. I was talking to another friend who runs an agency in Missouri, and we were comparing like the standard media buyer price of a media buyer in Southern California versus in Missouri. The reality that it's like being able to have a manufacturer who makes your product at, 20% less cost.
You have more margin. And so it's interesting to think about competing on price. So do you think about that as a lever? Do you as an agency think okay, we have pricing opportunity to undercut the market, or do you try and just create excess margin? Like how do you think about that as a tool when building your business strategy as an agency?
[00:06:10] Jordan: On the agency side, it's definitely just a tool for us to be able to provide more value, right? I don't like playing the pricing game. I think you guys are in this exact same boat where, you price lower, you're going to get lower quality clients, right?
The worst clients that we ever had were when they were paying $500 a month when I was a consultant and I was just trying to figure all this kind of stuff out, those were the worst clients, right? They wanted everything, all the time. Nothing was ever good enough.
And the clients, that are paying, 10 to $15,000 a month are the ones that are incredibly happy. They're the ones that were actually able to provide a ton of value for and so we can actually provide a lot more value because of the cost of labor here, right? Like a $70,000 employee in The States, or $80,000 employee in The States, that's a hundred thousand dollars employee here. And that's a great wage in where we are. Wages are pretty similar. They're not 30% higher up here.
[00:07:03] Taylor: No, exactly. Yeah. It's just so fascinating to think. Yeah, that's a great way to frame it. It's like you can deliver more service for the same price than we could, or as an example. So that's cool. So that was my question that's was like....
[00:07:13] Jordan: A PC way of saying it though, guys.
[00:07:15] Taylor: Oh, no I get it. And it's not about an exploitation of labor, it's just this question of the cost to deliver a quality of service. And so I think about this a lot where, a customer comes and says oh, I want, a discount, or I want whatever. And I just think to myself like what you really want is value. Nobody ever wants a cheap thing. What they want is value. And so I think sometimes there's a conflict between the desire to pay less and also the desire for the output, right? And so it's totally, how do we actually deliver value?
And so I just think a lot about that sort of cost benefit question.
[00:07:47] Jordan: Yeah.
[00:07:47] Taylor: Especially in this market.
[00:07:48] Jordan: It's funny I was incredibly sick last week, but the one good thing that I did is I read Alex Hormozi's book, $100M Offers twice.
[00:07:55] Taylor: Yeah.
[00:07:55] Jordan: And it really got me realizing like oh, people are buying that value gap. That's probably the biggest takeaway, right? People are buying that gap in between what they're paying and what they're getting.
[00:08:05] Taylor: That's right.
[00:08:06] Jordan: Everybody wants to get more, than what they're paying for.
[00:08:09] Taylor: That's right.
[00:08:09] Jordan: And so that's right. If you can provide that as a service provider or as an e-com brand. If you could do something to make that gap even bigger, people will buy from you all day.
[00:08:18] Taylor: That's right. And what happens is when they feel like they can't control the value increase, cause that's out of their hands, the only way to get that is to try and lower the price. So anytime a customer comes to me and wants a lower price, what I hear is actually I've got a value problem.
There's a problem with the output of the value and so I'm always so much more interested in trying to solve that problem than just giving them the lower price, because ultimately they're dissatisfied with the output.
And what I've come to know is that lowering the price doesn't actually solve that problem.
[00:08:46] Jordan: No.
[00:08:46] Taylor: They will still feel like the value is bad. If my phone's broken, it doesn't matter how cheap you try and sell it to me for, I'm gonna be dissatisfied with the service.
[00:08:56] Jordan: Yeah. That's a great example.
[00:08:58] Taylor: It's like, avoid the temptation to cave on the price and go after like, where's the value break and how do we solve for that?
[00:09:05] Jordan: Yeah. Absolutely.
[00:09:06] Richard: That's funny, I literally just read a $100M Offers last week again, and...
[00:09:10] Jordan: oh, you did?
[00:09:11] Richard: Yeah.
[00:09:11] Jordan: We were reading it at the same time.
[00:09:12] Richard: We literally were, yeah, no, total coincidence. I thought his observation about above the line and below the line as far as thinking about your offer, he framed it in that equation. The above the line is essentially price, right? Am I pricing it or whatever.
And then the below the line is like, how good can the product possibly be? And so often you focus on the top line levers, right? Just raising, lowering the price or whatever, without focusing on if you create the best possible product, people will pay whatever amount of money for. It just doesn't matter.
[00:09:43] Taylor: And it's funny because, in this moment I actually think that there's a real tension in the market around this idea right now. Or maybe lemme just narrow it. I feel a real tension around this exact idea, which is that I feel an obligation to efficiency to protect cash and simultaneously feel like a desperate desire to improve the quality of the product or service. And so you're like how do I do both, all the time?
[00:10:06] Richard: Yeah.
[00:10:06] Taylor: And that's I think in this moment in particular, a real tension for every business owner, brand or service side.
[00:10:11] Jordan: The way that I think about this guys is creating and again, it's probably because of, reading Alex Hormozi book where you create these things that may take you a hundred hours to create. And you guys do this I know you guys do this, we're just preaching to the choir.
This is for everyone who's listening, but create these things that may take you a hundred hours to create, but you don't have to do it again. That add incredible value and separate you from the rest of everybody else. That's the kind of stuff that I'm really interested in building.
I'm a really big 7 Habits of Highly Effective People fan. I read that book every single year. Based my life on those principles, some of those principles. And, one of those big principles is this idea of the quadrants of kind of effectiveness, right? And where you live.
And so most of us, live in quadrant one, which is everything's on fire all the time, right? Everything's in this quadrant of oh my gosh, everything's important. Everything's urgent all the time. But stepping back into quadrant two, which is really where I try and live, is that not urgent, but incredibly important. And so building up those kinds of things for your business is living in quadrant two land. It's very difficult though when you have fires coming in all the time.
[00:11:22] Taylor: Yeah. So how do you as a CEO, this is a thing I wrestle with is, I have two problems that inhibit me as a leader, I believe. One is that I feel really competent at the work. So doing the work makes us feel...
[00:11:36] Jordan: And everyone else is super incompetent.
[00:11:39] Taylor: No, I feel really good when I do Facebook advertising. Like it gives me really positive feedback. I don't really always feel good doing CEO stuff. It's hard, it's confusing. I'm newer at it, right? So I get drawn into the work because it makes me feel good. So that's one problem I have.
The other is when there's distrust, I have a tendency to, rather than addressing the distrust with the person, to just circumnavigate them, to just skip them out of my process. Because the trust acknowledgement to say to somebody, I don't know that I trust you right now, and to work to resolve it, it's hard. Like it feels messy.
And I worry that what happens if we don't get there? And so I just bury it. So those are my two problems with executing against the thing you're doing that sucks me back into all the fires. Do you have a similar experience as Jordan, and how do you deal with doing your job as a CEO and not stepping in and doing other people's job?
[00:12:30] Jordan: Yeah. So I'm at the place right now and we talked about this a little bit before, with the amount of things that are on my plate where I just don't have the time. There's just not physically the time for me to be able to go in there and execute on anything right now, I cannot live in execution land.
And so I've had to, it's really been forced on me to be able to try to be some kind of leader. I used to say years ago, I'm like, I am a horrible manager, but I had to figure that out. And so I think the sort of long-winded answer to that question is that I believe in strengths. So I really truly believe in strengths.
We use CliftonStrengths in all of our companies. And I rely on CliftonStrengths incredibly heavily to be able to get people to do the things that they are naturally good at. So we hire using CliftonStrengths because generally for a we call our media buyers and account managers growth strategists because we're really all about strategy first, up and up growth commerce.
And, we know what kind of strengths make an incredibly good growth strategist. I know the kind of strengths that I need in some of our e-com companies in different roles, so we have that strength profile built out for them. Guys, besides an attitude issue, it is never steered me wrong with hires.
[00:13:44] Taylor: That's really fascinating. Yeah, so we use 5 Voices in a similar premise, but we have not done the work to go back and analyze, okay, for successful people in specific job types, what's the profile and how does that all work? So I think it's super interesting. I've always been fascinated by the Ray Dalio principles. Like they have like the baseball card of every employee that they bring to meetings.
[00:14:02] Jordan: Yes. We did that recently too.
[00:14:03] Taylor: Yeah. Yeah. I think there's so much to be learned there about, how to help people be successful in the premise and to identify the attributes of humans. So I love that.
[00:14:12] Jordan: I wanna give you just a quick story for people to hang onto with the CliftonStrengths side. One of my really close to dear friends here in the city that I live in Abbotsford he runs a pretty substantially sized music online lesson company that I'm sure a lot of people have heard of out.
There mostly in drums. They had gotten their marketing team up to about 28 people just on the marketing side, and he was saying, he's I've added 10 people and there's no more effectiveness.
They we're just not able to be more effective. And so I introduced CliftonStrengths. To them, they actually ended up going down and getting two of their people trained in CliftonStrengths. And since then, they've been able to pull back the marketing team substantially and the whole team while being incredibly more effective. So just a bit of an encouragement for people out there that this stuff really does work.
[00:14:57] Taylor: I think what you're saying, and this is a big experience I've had over the last year and a half, is that the emotional time. Okay. I'm gonna, those are two weird words, okay. The amount of time spent on resolving emotional deficits between teammates because they don't understand how to communicate well with each other is actually so much higher than I ever could have imagined.
Like when two people can't communicate disappointment or frustration or a lack of trust or they step on each other's toes constantly, the inefficiency that get surrounds that is wild. And so I think it's such a great point, if you can figure out a way for building people, systems that acknowledge the realities of our differences and how we communicate well and equip people to do that, you just become a better organization. You just become more effective. So that makes total sense.
[00:15:43] Jordan: Totally. Yeah. And it's a virtuous cycle too, right? Because then ,you attract those people that want to be in that kind of environment and generally are high performers.
[00:15:53] Richard: I was gonna ask a couple things. One, I'd be interested to hear from you, just given that you have such experience with CliftonStrengths, like what's the strength profile of your ideal growth strategist? I imagine that's pretty consistent. Which specific strengths are there tops, but can you speak to that at all?
[00:16:08] Jordan: Yeah, totally. In CliftonStrengths, there's the four areas of strength. So strategic is one big bucket. Then we have influencing, we have relationship and we have executing. So the most ideal top five strengths of a growth strategist are strategy, right? So there is an actual strategic strength within the strategic bucket.
Every single one of our growth strategists, has strategic. When we've hired somebody who doesn't have strategic, they don't last. They're fine media but that's all that you could get them doing is just buying media. You cannot get them to have the kinds of conversations with, high level clients and be able to actually strategize on what's going to work. They can take orders and that's totally fine. And there's nothing against those kind of people. We have to have those kind of people in this world.
Next best strength after that maybe a little bit more in the strategic bucket. And then it's executing. It's interesting cause I have no executional strengths in my makeup whatsoever, but every single person around me, every business partner, is an achiever and has responsibility.
Those are two of the big executing strengths. And so seeing people with those and finding these partnerships, these strengths partner is incredibly important, and it's just the framework that I use. I'm sure you guys are using things similar to that. We have common language around it in our organization to be able to find those strength partnerships.
[00:17:28] Richard: Makes sense. Okay, so let's segue then from strength and growth strategists specifically to, let's phrase this. What made or what's the best client have you ever, that you've ever had on the agency side? And maybe think about it in terms of, what's the best relationship you've had? What are the characteristics of the type of client you look for where you say, this is gonna be a good relationship. Cause obviously we have our own opinions about that, but it'd be fascinated to hear what your experience with that's been.
[00:17:51] Jordan: Totally. I can think of the client immediately. So client we've worked with for years, eight figure plus snowboard brand. Really cool company. So first of all, a company that we really love, we love the product, we love the cool factor of it. They've done tons of licensing deals, which is really fun. Our growth strategists just love working on that.
They really allow us a lot of latitude when it comes to creative, when it comes to copy, when it comes to all of those things and setting the strategy, with them. And they really allow us to take the lead when it comes to budget pacing and continuing to scale.
So we scaled them from, mid seven figures into the eight figures. And yeah, just a really great company, to work with. Unfortunately, they're facility burned down this year midway through the winter, which was really sad for them. But they'll be up and running for for next winter.
[00:18:42] Richard: Nice. Yeah, I feel like that kind of coincides with our experience too. I don't know, Taylor, if you wanna speak to a little bit of like on our side of things, it's, yeah people who treat us as the expert is certainly, I think something that's been helpful.
[00:18:53] Taylor: Yeah.
[00:18:53] Richard: Giving us leeway to be good at what we're good at. I think that's a part of it for sure.
[00:18:57] Taylor: I think there's this very human thing too, and I think about this a lot as our responsibility too. So this is not one directional, cause I think we're at our best when we exhibit this attribute too. But when I've had partners that cared about my business, like they didn't care about what they could get from me, they cared that this business was mutually beneficial and they wanted to see me win.
[00:19:18] Richard: Yeah.
[00:19:19] Taylor: And I can count on it probably one hand, the number of times I've felt that, where it's like, hey, I'm giving you this feedback, cause I really care about CTC. I really care about this relationship working. I've done the time to know that there are lots of agency options and I could choose any of them, but I know in any case, I gotta make it work. So I'm gonna invest in the relationship and I wanna see you win.
And they've even celebrated with us, they've allowed us to be part of their story. They've acknowledged our contributions, like little things of just thanking the team, working on the client, like how rare it is to receive after a great win or a lot of effort. Hey, I just wanna say thank you all for the hard work. Like it goes miles with people.
In the agency world, and Richard, you say this a lot, like you don't need to make millennials care. If anything, they have a problem of caring too much. If you just give them a little bit of love, a little bit of appreciation, they will literally die for you. You will never have to worry about.
And so I think so often I think there's a missed opportunity, because there's this general idea that this relationship should be conflicted in some way.
[00:20:22] Jordan: Totally.
[00:20:22] Taylor: And I just bring that into it. I just assert this idea that you're attempting to exploit me or screw me in some way.
[00:20:29] Richard: Yeah.
[00:20:29] Taylor: Maybe from past trauma, that's fair and real. But the people that are just like, hey, thank you. Hey I want CTC to thrive. Are you guys doing well. That's amazing. It brings out of us this mutual exchange that I've seen be incredibly productive.
[00:20:41] Jordan: Totally. And when we think about that from a principal standpoint, right? In 7 habits, that's win-win. That's true win-win is like hey, I care just as much about you winning on your side CTC as I do. And if we can't get to that level, it's no deal. We can't work together. We have to have this win-win.
And I've acquired a lot of companies over the years which, I'm regretting some of them right now but in those acquisition talks, that's the very first thing I say. I said, we have to be completely transparent with each other. I'm gonna let you know my ultimate win right now. You gotta let me know yours and if they work together, awesome.
I wanted to give a quick hack as well as a CEO or even a manager. Something that I love to do all the time, that I think really works for millennials, is I try and send an encouraging message on Slack, like a voice memo, every single week to every single one of my employees. So it takes me about an hour to go through all of our companies and I just send a nice message to people and it goes a really long way, guys.
[00:21:39] Richard: Let's talk maybe about sorry. You mentioned a bunch of businesses that you're currently invested in that you're regretting right now, and I think part of that probably has to do with the current climate. So I think what would be interesting is to go over from your perspective where you see e-com heading in 2023, and then maybe the number one tactical tip or strategic tip maybe that you have right now for D2C brands in this new enviroment.
[00:22:01] Jordan: Yeah, totally. Where I see things going from a revenue perspective is I think things for brands are gonna be winning if they're flat or up a little bit this year. And being able to maintain costs being down. And it's interesting, Taylor and I were just talking about this on my podcast as well.
Those brands that are able to keep their fixed expenses low so that their contribution margin is high, those are the brands that are going to win. And so we've unfortunately had to make some incredibly difficult decisions as some of our brands.
In the last two months, I've unfortunately had to let 10 people go from the different companies in anticipation of this happening. Brands that are well capitalized will do incredibly well coming up. Every single one of the brands that we own we're doing races at, and surprisingly they've gone very well.
I generally when we're doing raises, I generally actually pose it more as a partnership. People coming in rather than just taking on just cash investors and that has worked incredibly well. The companies that we have, one we're still waiting on a bit of capital for, but all of those now are very well capitalized. And I don't actually regret any of those besides one company that I actually ended up having to bankrupt one acquisition that we did.
And that was a really difficult decision, but it was bringing one of our companies down to the tune of about 200 grand a year. So we decided just to let that one go. And I haven't even talked about that on social or anything yet. But I think I should because people need to understand that even people like us that look successful make big mistakes.
[00:23:26] Taylor: Totally. Yeah. Look, we're sitting here at the beginning of 2022, having done layoffs at the agency, having sold off three of our e-commerce brands at prices that weren't because they were the best price that we dreamed of getting right and focusing all of our resources down into our best available assest.
And so our experience of the hardship of this moment is shared. We're empathetic cause we're living it.
[00:23:49] Jordan: Totally.
[00:23:49] Taylor: And so we are certainly not immune to the realities of what it means. And I think it's an important call out, Jordan is that I'll tweet sometimes and I'll almost want to follow it up with being like, I say this because I've screwed it up. Sometimes, it's easy to speak this wisdom as if like you ascended to this mountain and received it.
I just put out this tweet that was like there's a competitive advantage for every agency owner who can fall in love with a client service business, most despise it and wants to start other things, brands, saas, et cetera. You can out focus all of them if you want.
And that is like literally something I should put on a post-it to myself, right? Not...
[00:24:24] Jordan: Yes, totally.
[00:24:26] Taylor: Like I am not writing it cause I've conquered the idea and it is now an intrinsic reality for me. But it is I really believe that and I am in the process of going, can I fall in love? Can I be present? Can I focus? Cause I believe it's a really an advantage cause I've met people who love service businesses and they're just like, not worried about doing all these other things. They're just present and engaged in a way that I envy.
[00:24:51] Richard: Yeah. So actually maybe that's a good segue then, cause we have about five minutes here into talking about, speaking of that question we were talking about before around the best business model. Maybe that's like a general way to phrase it, but Jordan, you've had a lot of experience with a lot of different kinds of brands and now you are also the owner of an agency, which is of course a very different type of business and one that requires you to be in love with it, let's say.
So maybe speak to that, like out of your experience. What's maybe been the best experience? And then also just from maybe more objective perspective, what do you think is the best business model that you've been involved in?
[00:25:21] Jordan: Yeah, as far as business model, I still love our brands. I absolutely love the brand work. Probably the biggest lessons that I've learned as far as business models are concerned. So the one company that we unfortunately had to bankrupt the average order value was don't ask me why I did this, why I acquired this company, but the average origin value at the time was $25.
And I thought, oh, I can get that up . That's something that I can do. And also they were also in the baby space in The States. And so I was like, oh, what a great opportunity for us to sell our Made in Canada baby clothing to their customers for people who spend only $25 don't want our premium baby clothes. That is not what they want. And it was a subscription bo company and it just didn't work .
I don't think I'm gonna go back into the subscriptions. I've got some great friends who are doing awesome in the subscription world. I love that high average order value type of business. That business model to me works really well. On the agency side, guys, I love it because I love seeing our clients be successful. That's really what it comes down to. I was e-comm owner first, and then agency owner after that. And the reason that I started doing that was because I loved seeing other people win.
It's incredible to see. Like recently two of my best friends have bought Airbnbs and I've been in the Airbnb world for a while, and I think I'm more excited for them than I am for me, because seeing other people win is incredible.
I don't even count my wins, when we buy another Airbnb or do something like that I'm like okay, onto the next thing. Like rather than actually being able to wait and I need to work on that, I need to work on actually celebrating those things. But yeah, that's a roundabout way to answer that question for you, Richard.
[00:27:07] Richard: Yeah.
[00:27:08] Taylor: No. I think it's funny what's in it, man, is like, again, it's this very human thing of it's an expression of you as a person. We don't behave in this like outcome optimized method as people, right? It's like we just behave in the things that interest us. And I think at some point, we're all taking a stock of okay, does that take me to the path that I want?
And what I've found a lot for agency owners, and I think why I care about this topic is because I think that there's a, I don't know if it's a trope or sort of a cultural narrative around like service business being this like low brow. It's never as cool as this Saas business.
[00:27:44] Jordan: Totally.
[00:27:45] Taylor: Or it's never as cool as the brand. Like the agency owners don't get the magazine covers very often, right? So I've never seen an agency owner on the cover of Fast Company, like whatever. And so I think that somehow, we've been led to believe that like the barrier entry is really low. So part of it's like everybody says they're an agency owner, and so that sort of makes the crowd feel a little what are you really doing, but what I've come to appreciate having done brand and done service, and even dabbled in Saas is that, a human service business has two really beautiful things.
One, it's flexible and the likelihood of death is really low because you can flex your costs up and down. Now there's a human component to that I don't underestimate the cost of, but dying is hard. Dying and e-commerce is one bad inventory purchase, right? It's very easy.
You can't turn it back into cash, it just won't happen. There's that, and then there's this like very human feedback piece where markets sometimes are like when I think about the market, like we have customer right now that worked in standup paddle boards and in 2020 and 2021, their business exploded and there was an externality that drove it.
And when that externality went away, you cannot forcefully change the market to need more standup paddle boards.
[00:29:00] Jordan: No.
[00:29:00] Taylor: You can't affect it in that way, but a service business can always have the opportunity to meet the market in a way that I think also provides this opportunity for sustained thriving in almost any arena. And so I think that's another thing is that the malleability of what it is also, physically more malleable than a standup paddle board. Like you just can't make it something else, suddenly.
[00:29:26] Jordan: Yeah.
[00:29:26] Taylor: You have to grind into that market relentlessly, whereas we can be like maybe Facebook's not a thing anymore, let's figure out how to do Amazon.
[00:29:34] Jordan: Totally.
[00:29:34] Taylor: Like you could evolve...
[00:29:35] Jordan: You flex.
[00:29:35] Taylor: In that way. So I think that just if you wanna be in business for 30 years and you wanna make a great living and you wanna build something of real value, like a human service business is an incredible way to do it, in my opinion.
[00:29:46] Jordan: Thanks for that, Taylor. Cool.
[00:29:47] Richard: Jordan really appreciate you joining us for the podcast. Jordan's podcast is called Secrets to Scaling Your E-Commerce brand. So we'll drop a link in our show notes. Everybody go check it out. It's great. He's great. Jordan, thanks so much for joining us
[00:30:03] Jordan: Guys, really appreciate your time today and this is been a great connection and I'll be seeing you guys all over Twitter. I'm sure.
[00:30:11] Taylor: Hey, also, if you're a listener and you listen already to both mine and Jordan's podcast, would you tell us, I'm just fascinated to understand how small our worlds are and how much overlap there is.
[00:30:22] Jordan: Yeah.
[00:30:22] Taylor: It'd be awesome to hear from you. If you DM us on Twitter, shoot us an email, let us know like hey, I've been listening to you both. It was really cool. Or if it's the first time that you've heard from either of us, that'd be great to know too. We're trying this cross pollination, literally cross border pollination here to try and get to know each other and our communities a little more.
So it'd be great to understand who of you are either hearing us for the first time or listen to us both. It'd be cool to know.
[00:30:43] Jordan: Cool. Awesome.
[00:30:43] Richard: All right. Take care everyone.