Search Interviews:

Jeremy Weisz 12:30

I want to talk about doing things differently. And I feel like one of the things you help people do, you level the playing field a little bit and how absolutely entrepreneurs compete with major players. So talk about how that works, how you help them?

Paul Jarrett 12:45

Yeah, you know it’s so easy, especially at, you know, I’ll just say blue collar, right? Blue Collar industry, like logistics and fulfillment. To just kind of take what people say is as truth or as almost like Biblical, right? Like, oh, you’re not EDI compliant, like da-da-da-da, like sorry, you can’t ship on this or like, what does that really mean? Like, if you really break down what so many industry terms mean, and so many things in this industry? Like, what, what people I should start with, what people are actually saying is, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And I have zero patience for that. Because that, to me is like, you’re just waiting for the competition to get you right. So that’s, I think the number one thing and understandably, because most people, if you mess up in logistics, you just get fired, right? Whether that’s on the floor, or that’s having a client, right. So that is kind of the I tell people, if you you know, having been born in a trailer park, and having had a lot of these jobs, and then living in New York and working in advertising, San Francisco, in tech, and everything in between, most people, I think forget or don’t have an appreciation for, you know, at this level, which people say bottom of the totem pole, I say the foundational level, people are working not to get fired. Like everybody wonders, like how I can communicate with the white collar and the blue collar and like ebb and flow in between. I’m like, oh, it’s to me, it’s simple. You need to understand, like the mentality of people that are like, they’re just trying not to get fired. And then other people usually behind the desk are trying to figure out ways to grow, right. And when you can kind of sort that out. It makes it very easy. And when I say that we do is when we look at all of this intimidating attitude. By the way, EDI compliance is nothing more than a set of rules provided by a retail company. And I get to argue with anybody on that right like, when you go to fill out and sell on Shopify or Amazon, you click OK and the little red star pops up. That’s basically you’re not EDI compliant, right? And when it doesn’t, then you know, it’s really not that difficult. But for years, it was even a mystery to me. But sort of leveling the playing field to us is like, we are looking at what the biggest brands in the world are doing and what the most novel brands in the world are doing. And we say, like, why can’t we do that? Right? And we pick up the phone, and we call UPS, FedEx, DHL, you know, you name it, and we say, no, we want to do it like this. Because of this. You can’t do it. That’s not good enough. Who’s your boss? Who do we talk to, right? And we’re just relentless in that fact. Because we view it as we are fighting for the entrepreneurs and the growth minded people that put their blood sweat and tears into a product. And like, I’ll be damned if we don’t go to war, to let them have the same opportunity as everybody else. And that’s just like, our attitude from top down, right? We’re getting certified to be a webinar in business. So I’m just that there’s probably a big chip on my shoulder growing up in a trailer park and kind of having the, you know, there’s you know, I shouldn’t complain like white dude in Nebraska tall, I hit the genetic lottery. Let’s get to that state. However, what I will say is seeing the advantages that other people get, you know, whether it’s work life or whatever, like I’m just not okay with that. And like, how do you make it even, you have to fight like how, and we enjoy doing that for our partners. I’m getting fired up about that, man, the D lineman in me’s coming out. We’re not afraid to rip off a quarterback don’t get in my way. 

Jeremy Weisz 16:36

Exactly. Um, we’ll talk through an example. And I know, Long Table Pancakes, talk about them.

Paul Jarrett 16:46

Yeah, I think that’s a great example. So Long Table Pancakes. phenomenal company, Sam and his team. They’re on Shark Tank. I think they have one. I think actually, they’re going to be airing like tomorrow or very soon. And so re-airing on Shark Tank, I think it’s a catch up. So I saw our team scrambling to get ready for that. Yeah, yeah. It’s always fun. We actually stopped at the manufacturer today. Well, let me tell kind of the story really quick. So somebody, a friend of a friend, connected Long Table with us and we always kind of get a lot of hot leads, because something is broken into inventory or some problem and people are like, I don’t know what you do, friend, but go talk to Bulu. Like if you know if they can’t fix it, like they’re gonna point you in the right direction, which is pretty much our sales strategy, right? 

They came to us and we looked at everything and long story short, we said, hey, there’s actually a co-packer, manufacturer company right next door to us that does flour based mixes, right? They can make the pancakes. So let’s talk to them on your behalf. If you guys are cool with it, see what they can do it for. And boom, I mean, it’s like literally 50 feet away. I was over there this morning, making sure they were okay with production, right? I couldn’t help myself, it seems like don’t go over there. I’m like I have to, I gotta get eyes on it. And so we sent them over there. And Susan and Mark Zink. Also married couple in Nebraska got weird. They said yeah, like we can do it this much this much. And you know, the margin is really hard. Actually, if you’ll notice on the website, they sell it in packs of two. So that’s another thing that we said, Okay, we were saving you some money on manufacturing. Let’s look at your product. And having the e-commerce background, we said, hey, we are just in this weird category right now where you’re gonna be able to hit a lot, you know, reasonable margin and create a better product. If you just sell two of these out at a time. You know, you can thank UPS and FedEx for that, right? 

Jeremy Weisz 18:53

But that’s like, here’s like, three different three different flavors, you could get three, or four or two. All looks delicious. I’m getting hungry. 

Paul Jarrett 19:05

They’re incredible. I mean, they’re if people really understood what Sam is doing with, you know, the sustainable farming and their ingredients. I mean, everything is done as correctly as you could ever want it. And so, you know, just that little recommendation of hey, why not try selling two I mean, if you were to saw this, we were like we just doubled your revenue your. Well, yeah, I mean, like, if you would have thought before, it was like one pancake, whatever. But for us to be like, No, let’s do mixes different versions. And I was like, Oh, that’s too expensive or like, it doesn’t matter. We have to do that. Like we have to be able to get customers. So you got the manufacturing, you have kind of the E commerce helping support the logistics. And so net net ended up turning their profit margins to a number where now it’s just going to be easier for them to get into retail. Right? And so it’s like learning all of those things over the past decade and seeing a passionate Sam and their team are about the product, it really makes it easy to go to bat and go, You know what, I’m just gonna go walk over next door pound on the door and beg fight bargain, whatever I got to do with Susan, to get this out of price that makes sense. And that this is like, the most fun thing in the world is to not just save somebody a couple bucks on shipping, but to actually get down in the weeds. And now they can, they can ship to anybody, right, they can sell those variety packs in a local corner store if they wanted to. And that’s like, that’s just unheard of. So yeah, it’s all about leveling the playing field. Right?

Jeremy Weisz 20:41

Paul, a couple takeaways for me on that one, relationships, right? Because not only do you bring your expertise help them for logistic purposes, but like they bring in your decades of experience with other partners and people that can actually help the business. From that standpoint, also, from the strategic standpoint of making recommendations. And on the Bulu front, I can see how you have leveled the playing field there, because you will help remove limitations for them, maybe limitations from other people that only have to ship a pallet of this one. Or they can only ship one at a time where you can help basically mix and match and do other things that would help them you know, improve their average order volume or in other things. 

Paul Jarrett 21:31

Yeah, I always feel like, you know, some of the main advice I give people is like, Don’t worry, everybody is just figuring it out. And I’ve I’ve been in a room with Disney and and saw 100 data scientists do their homework, but you know, 18 months to launch a product, and you know what happened with them? They weren’t even close to the target customer that purchased the product. And it was like, I was like, you know, anybody else I would have been like, man, that’s what are we gonna do now. But I was like, Oh, cool. Like even Disney like fights with it. And the product was really interesting. Because it was a, there was a printer every month to get a new princess dress, right? And it was like mothers do they did all the persona, all that stuff. They blast it out. You want to guess who was the main purchaser of it?

Jeremy Weisz 22:23

I mean, by the way, you’re saying it, I want to say dads, but I’m probably.

Paul Jarrett 22:28

Close, close. Grandpa. And grandpa can buy one for his niece or nephew or whatever he had to buy a year. And then grandpa would feel bad for this sister, maybe brother who knows. And he would buy another one. And then grandpa would feel bad about all the other kids in the family. And so you know, the first thing we see is these, like tickets coming through, like 2500 bucks. And we’re like, what is happening? Even Disney, like we thought it was broke. But my point of that is like, you can have all of the information at your fingertips for the biggest company in the world. But when the rubber hits the road, and that gets in people’s hands, things are gonna change. And that’s cool to be able to just bring a little bit of that to like, you know, founders, and I’d see so many founders that have consumer packaged goods or are shipping anything, they actually, it’s almost like hardwired where they have this like, well, someday when I ship more, and they don’t realize that that someday already arrived. You know, you give these people ship and 50,000 a month and you’re like, that’s, that’s phenomenal. And they’re like, Well, when we get to 100 and I’m like, no, no, no, no, when you got to 5000 when he got to the 10,000 when he got to the 25 an outfit, like all of those times, somebody should have been fighting to get you better discounts. And just like, you know, just we were very careful about the brands and what we share amongst each other. But there is nothing better than connecting a former retail buyer with a new up and coming brand and just like you know, because it kind of happened under the Bulu umbrella, everybody is like cool with it. You know?

Jeremy Weisz 24:08

I want to talk about the real brains behind the operation. Stephanie. And talking about running a business with your wife. 

Paul Jarrett 24:23

Yeah, um, so neither one of us would have it any other way and that’s no bullshit. I would say, I get a little emotional thinking about it. You know, we this is gonna be cheesy. I remember the moment that I saw Stephanie Turman, right. And I remember just I can remember what she was wearing. You always hear the stories of like love at first sight. I was like stalker at first sight.

Jeremy Weisz 24:51

And you’re only a stalker if the other person doesn’t want you. If she didn’t want you that’d be stalking. 

Paul Jarrett 24:58

She did n’t, for two years. Well, she, you know, she came from a football family, National Championship brother, quarterback all, you know, just amazing accolades. And, you know, here I am this football player just doing a class for check a box on something, you know, our advertising club because it didn’t have math and it checked a box, right? And when I joined that project, and you know, I tried to get in their group and really, we’ve been working ever since that time. So we’re probably 21, it’s probably been 20 years, we’ve always been doing stuff together. And the reason is, we’ve never found anybody else that can kind of like keep that speed or that strategic mind and think, Well, what if and then I say to people, I’m the person that throws all of the puzzle pieces out. And I’m like, here’s where we’re at, I know how we can get there. But like, I’m gonna break my brain trying to figure out how we actually get there the path. And she’s just phenomenal at organizing that right? 

And what it’s, you know, when we decided to start working together, we had already worked together at ad agencies, multiple ones. She had been the client, I was the service company, vice versa. And then we just kind of said, like, man, we average 60-80 hours a week, everywhere from New York to San Francisco. Like, why don’t we stop making everybody else, you know, we’re giving our souls to everything we work on. So why don’t we just do something? And, you know, I started and, you know, she kind of saw me struggling, I think, and I was like, walks in one day and she was like, Guess what, like, what? I quit my job. And I was like, what? And she’s, like, I think I go, that’s great. I had no idea she’s gonna do and she’s like, Yep, she’s like, so I got my two weeks. They’re good with it. We’ve got enough money for three months, give this thing a shot, like, let’s go. 

And I’ll tell you what, we weren’t like mad people like crazy. And it was 67 days later. And we had 1.5 million in funding. And everybody’s like, how did you do it? And like we didn’t, there was 34 of those days, we did not sleep, it was just, you know, sticky notes, snap on the floor, sticky notes, snap on the floor. And everything was probably too good when we started the company, because we definitely really broke apart, right? Like, I tended to go the sales marketing relationships route. And she went, like, I clean up Paul’s mess route. But what did happen is we actually learned how to not work together, right, which sounds silly, but like, we didn’t have each other as a crutch. And she had to figure out, you know, a lot of stuff and prefix finances and everything else that I had done. And I would say that we after the first three years of Bulu, I mean, we went from, I could kind of point in Grand Data screen, and she’d be like, Oh, I get what you’re saying. to, like, you know, like, just wait, what are you doing? Like, why did you say that? Like, you know, and then the pandemic hit. And, you know, I think everybody, you know, people coming going remote, like, it’s just pure chaos. 

And so I think those years of kind of drifting apart a little bit like, it really got dicey. You know, like, and I’ll just say, on all fronts, and we’re open about it, because we think people need to know that. I will say that one thing that we do have is, even if it lasts like a year or six months, we’re like, I love you, I love you. Let’s wake up, try again tomorrow, you know, and those times, how many times are we going to do this, you know, but the reality is, we knew that this was good for us, we knew that. If you can experience any level of pain, no matter how hard it is, as an individual, or together, there’s usually a bounce back the other way, that’s twice as good, right? And it’s so hard you get everybody can talk about that as much as they want. But when you’re in it, and it’s bad, it is terrible, you know, and so it didn’t get that bad. And it did you know, you talk money, investor, everything. So it’s almost like, we had a really good run, and then all the karma was saved up and hit us. And through the pandemic, we pushed and pushed and punished. And we got the opportunity to buy our company 100%. It was Stephanie Jarrett, that got the ball over the finish line. Like I might have drilled him at 99 yards. But I have no problem telling anybody the biggest deal in my life. I couldn’t close it. You know what I mean? And that’s like humbling because like I’m not that dude. Like this situation got me, you know what I mean? 

I mean, even I think what I was doing your podcasts like but underneath the surface like I was in a bad place. I was Yeah, I think that’s around that time. spray just disassociated with what we’re doing all the time, right? And that’s okay. Right? Because that’s true. That’s reality. That’s what it’s like to be an entrepreneur. But I will tell you, man, what she learned and what I learned through the last, you know, during the pandemic, I’ll say, right, it has made that first couple of years that we thought was like, kind of rocket fuel, like now, it’s like, absolute, just electric rocket, you name it. And we’ve never had more fun, you know, and we’re just so aligned on everything, because we’ve, we’ve seen every version of the world and, you know, it was even to decide to buy the company like, we’re like, man, we don’t, we don’t know. And so we actually kind of, I would say, got the company and we’re still like, oof is this going to be alright, and once that monkey was off our backs, and we could honestly, like, look at clients and go, we’re gonna be here we got your back, like, it just everything changed. So it’s, it’s the highest of the highs and the lows of the lows. And I think the main important thing is you got to be really aware of what your kids are watching. And that’s one thing I’m really grateful for is like, you know, they pick up on those times they pick up on that stuff, but what I have seen with like, our little four and seven year old boys is their ability to like, talk through difficult things is a direct outcome of our challenges, right? So it’s not for everybody. But if you are both tough as nails and have thick skin, and just like this is really cheesy, but like really believe in love. Like, it’ll be a good thing. You know, I’m saying though, like, woof, it can get tough, it can get tough.

Jeremy Weisz 31:47

And when we say the tough, I’m just going to clarify. No, yeah, we’re talking about transition. One of the big things was the transition from VC to independent. What was the learning from that that looking back, because that seemed to have lifted a lot of weight off of your shoulders, you can kind of afford in the direction you wanted to move in? 

Paul Jarrett 32:15

Yeah, I would say that, we were kind of looking at a decade of putting our souls into something, and we just didn’t know what the outcome was. And we just wanted the outcome to be correct for all parties involved. And I think sometimes people have different ideas of what that looks like, you know, and I would say the thing that I learned, which, for somebody like me, yeah, it’s really hard, but like to actually not do anything about it, and to sit back and trust other people. And, you know, that’s hard. And I think that’s probably hard for a lot of entrepreneurs have, like, sometimes the best plan is no plan. Or sometimes, you just need to, like, be quiet and like, step back and let things evolve. I would say that the other thing, and this includes myself, because I’m not super proud of my attitude through the whole thing, you know, I don’t think anybody involved would be super proud, you know, because it was a challenge, it was a hard thing to figure out. 

But man, that ego, you know, on all sides, including myself like that, that ego, I think, in the business world drives so much more than anybody talks about or gives it credit for, and nobody wants to be embarrassed and nobody wants to, you know, look like a fool or whatever. And, you know, I would say that was probably a big reason why I’m like, I gotta step out of this conversation. Like I’m not positively contributing, I can see my own face and how I am and I’m so frustrated that Stephanie, here’s the ball like you, you are, you know, grace under fire, and it was hard for her but she’s, she’s pretty magical and you know, working with people and I think that’s what our clients will look at me. I always say like, I’m the flamingo, but she’s a zookeeper. And so like, they’ll listen to me, you know, I’m good for a podcast or whatever, but like, I understand that what she brings to the table and you know, I can get in front of Disney or whatever it is or a brand. But to lay it out and to truly have that trust and because we are babysitting people’s babies in a way with the package consumer packaged goods. She is the reason that people stay around so boy, I hope she listens to this because I don’t think I’ve ever rambled granted this much about her so she was gonna join. I really tried to get her to join but she’s actually working on the crazy big deal. All right now, so.

Jeremy Weisz 35:00

We won’t take her away from that. vWhat you’re saying it kind of reminds me of, you know, football in a sense, even, you know, sometimes it’s hard probably for entrepreneurs, just you just want to move forward, right. And then I was watching one of the football playoff games the other day. And I noticed I forgot who it was. But they didn’t go forward, they kind of just were pausing and letting all the blockers go in front of them. And they knew something would open up if they just waited. But inexperienced like myself, if I was in the situation, I was just gone. You could see they waited and then waited for the opening. So it’s very similar.

Paul Jarrett 35:42

I’m having flashbacks of trying to tackle Eric Crouch. And, um, you know, the play would develop so much, you swear he was gone, and you’re kind of like, looking around, and he just pops out and runs 75 yards, right? How did he do what? And it was timing. Timing and angle, like football timing and angles. That’s what it is.

Jeremy Weisz 36:02

I want to talk about BIOptimizers. A bit and what happened with that? 

Paul Jarrett 36:09

Yeah, that was a, that was, we have onboarded quite a few clients and kind of, you know, said, you know, like, yeah, we used to do subscription box. And we still do a ton of subscription boxes. But you know, the reality is that subscription boxes and all that taught us logistics at a level that most people don’t have. And we get a phone call, you know, another friend of a friend, and they, I’m not sure if Matt and those guys what had happened, but a few things that just picked up for Wade and Matt and we got a call from a gal or person named Tammy. And she has a they all just have incredible backgrounds, incredible company, incredible product. And they’ve been around for a long time. But it was almost like the Google Gods maybe or you know, something clicked and their sales have just gone through the roof. And then went through a few different fulfillment companies, aka three PLS, third party logistics companies. And, you know, you can kind of pick up on the phone when people are scrambling, because you can get in a position where you’re selling, but you’re not actually delivering. And that is a scary place to be right, because people don’t know where the inventory is, or whatever. So they contacted us. And, you know, we went through our process, which is very quick and direct, and we try to make it as painless as possible. And then they leave to the airport and we get a call and they go, Hey, we’re choosing you. We’re not even going to go see the other places. Here’s what’s really going on. We’re selling a ton right now. And yes, we’re delivering some but we’re a little concerned. We’re gonna come back right now and sign the contract. And how do you guys feel about us in the next three days, getting all of our millions of inventory and putting it in your warehouse and you know, yada yada yada? And because we had just clicked so well with them and because of our experience, and we really know that like the vitamin supplement healthy snack space for you worked with GNC, Vitamin Shoppe? I mean, the list goes on, right, like, my previous background was in industry. So you know, there’s really deep long contacts, right. 

So yeah, they came back, and people just kept flying in. And, you know, before I know it, I’m looking at the warehouse floor, and we got our team. And we got literally VPS from like, from BIOptimizers, people are just moving stuff, you know, and it was like, anybody with a set of hands, you know, we got all their stuff and all their stuff on board and to do it in a couple of days. Like, it’s not believable, if you’re a fulfillment company or a brand, like if you hear this story or like BS, but like, that is what exactly happened. And the cool thing is, you know, unrequested or whatever, like, their team has been posting awesome things about us on LinkedIn, and social media. And they’re using this kind of Tricky Ship model to capitalize on everything that’s picked up for him. And now they can go, you know, if you look at their LinkedIn posts, it’s like, got into Apple nutrition, which nobody’s heard of, but like, every hour on the hour, they’re just adding all these small, independent retailers, and we’re able to deliver, you know, one Madison’s I’m one probiotic, you know, to all these small retailers, because they’ve, they’re already have a plan to dominate, on, you know, big retailers and whatever. But it’s super wise of them to kind of run the Tricky Ship if you will, right. And to go attack and get all the other companies. I think it’s just like it’s such a good plan and I just love it. because it happened so fast, it was so crazy. And you know, for anybody in logistics ago, that all happened and we’re at eight months, nine months, and we’ve had two errors like that, that’s just not even believable. So it’s a really cool story. And the team’s amazing. And we’ve just kept him on track. And now they’re in like, hyper hyper growth. So because they share a lot on social media, where we’re pretty open about it, but yeah, couldn’t be happier. I mean, it’s like a big client. We’re telling the world, yeah, there are. So I’m sure they have a million sales reps calling them. Um, but that’s all good. Like, keep us honest, you know?

Jeremy Weisz 40:37

Well, first of all, um, I just want to thank you. Thanks for sharing the journey. This story. I have one last question before I ask it. I just want to point people to check out Bulu and you can go to to learn more about what they’re working on. Um, my last question is just on resources. Some of your favorite resources. It could be some of your favorite books. It could be mentors. It could be colleagues in the industry, some of your favorite resources we should mention.

Paul Jarrett 41:07

Man. I think, number one, utilize your network. I just can’t really tell relationships network, especially as time I was. Mark Zuckerberg’s biggest regret was not developing relationships early on in Facebook. You know, um, that’s pretty wild. Sobering to hear. Um, I will say that, you know, I’ve been really deep into ChatGPT and that’s just kind of like and I’m not, like doing deep, deep code, etc. like I’m watching 100 YouTube videos tinkering and blown away. And I just think if, if, uh, you everybody should put a ChatGPT icon next to Google and just try to force himself to use it and then actually, like pretty obscure. But I always find myself using it. Um, I don’t know if you’re familiar with, it’s like a comparison software website. I have no affiliation with them whatsoever. But, you know, you’re always trying to find the best software at the right price. And like, man, they have a little grid like x, y axis where they show competitors and whatever. And man, I, I haven’t had bad luck utilizing G2 to figure out what we should and shouldn’t use. So those are just off the top of my head. Probably what I’ve been using the most recently.

Jeremy Weisz 42:24

Amazing, Paul, thank you check out And we’ll see everyone next time. Thanks, Paul. 

Paul Jarrett 42:31

Later, man, thank you.