Subscription Box Basics with Julie Ball

Fireside Chat with Julie and Renae

December 21, 2020 Julie Ball Episode 53
Subscription Box Basics with Julie Ball
Fireside Chat with Julie and Renae
Chapters
Subscription Box Basics with Julie Ball
Fireside Chat with Julie and Renae
Dec 21, 2020 Episode 53
Julie Ball

#053 - In this episode, Julie and Renae are going to make you laugh and cry a little bit. They are going to get a little deep and personal and share what really happens behind the scenes. Let's round up the year with this fireside chat and talk about wins and losses and some of the funny stuff that happened within Sparkle Hustle Grow.

 Summary:

  • Favorite Sparkle Hustle Grow featured book for 2020 (00:03:07)
  • Top wins for 2020 (00:06:29)
  • Some losses (with lesson learned) from 2020 (00:18:17)
  • Funny stories behind the scenes in Sparkle Hustle Grow (00:30:40)

Links:

https://www.sparklehustlegrow.com
https://www.subscriptionboxbootcamp.com
https://clickup.com
https://basecamp.com
https://www.shipmonk.com

Show Notes Transcript

#053 - In this episode, Julie and Renae are going to make you laugh and cry a little bit. They are going to get a little deep and personal and share what really happens behind the scenes. Let's round up the year with this fireside chat and talk about wins and losses and some of the funny stuff that happened within Sparkle Hustle Grow.

 Summary:

  • Favorite Sparkle Hustle Grow featured book for 2020 (00:03:07)
  • Top wins for 2020 (00:06:29)
  • Some losses (with lesson learned) from 2020 (00:18:17)
  • Funny stories behind the scenes in Sparkle Hustle Grow (00:30:40)

Links:

https://www.sparklehustlegrow.com
https://www.subscriptionboxbootcamp.com
https://clickup.com
https://basecamp.com
https://www.shipmonk.com

Julie (00:01):

So you want to launch a subscription box and don't know where to start? Girl, you are in the right place. I'm Julie Ball, a subscription box coach and your host here at Subscription Box Basics, a podcast for new and aspiring subscription box entrepreneurs that want to avoid overwhelm. So grab a coffee, some pen and paper and let's have some fun!

 Hey everybody and welcome back to Subscription Box Basics, the podcast. We are recording live today on video. So finally you can watch some of this. I've got Renae Gonzalez with me. Hi Renae.

Renae (00:37):

Hi. I am so excited to be back.

Julie (00:40):

Yay! So Renae is our director of customer experience here at Sparkle Hustle Grow. So we thought that we would get on and do a fireside chat to kind of round up the year and talk about wins and losses and some of the funny things that happened along the way. So I hope you guys are here to laugh and to cry with us because we're going to get a little deep, a little personal and tell you what really happens behind the scenes right, Renae.

Renae (01:10):

Yes, let's do it.

Julie (01:10):

Okay. So we're going to start off with a couple of questions. These are just something to, you know, get to know us a little better. So, Renae, first question, when you go to work, when you sit down to work, what is your drink of choice?

Renae (01:31):

Ooh, good question. I am lately have been coffee or I should say creamer with coffee because I have never been a coffee drinker. I'm a recovering Starbucks addict and I've now been making coffee at home. So it's a lot of creamer with some coffee, but I switched it up with tea sometimes too 'cause my real heart is tea.

Julie (01:57):

Yes. Okay. So the reason why I asked this is because our friend, Maryland, Maryland asked, "Do you have multiple cups on your desk?" And I was like, "Oh my gosh, that's so funny because Kenny, my husband is always making fun of me." I literally have three right now, so here's my water. And then I have some coffee, which is in my Harry Potter mug. And I have a local cold brew with almond milk and a little squeeze of chocolate syrup. So it's like an iced mocha. And then I also have my sparkling water. So those are my three that I always have on my desk at any given moment. So...

Renae (02:36):

Oh, that's hilarious. I'm the opposite too 'cause I only have one cup. I'll like refill my coffee cup with tea and then I'll like drink water out of it. I use one cup.

Julie (02:46):

That's funny. Awesome. Okay. Question number two. As part of Sparkle Hustle Grow every single month we read a book. So in the last year we have read 12 books, 12 personal development books. So of all of 2020 books so far, I know there's one more to go. We still have December. What has been your favorite one?

Renae (03:07):

Oh, I think I have an answer for this one. Stop Checking Your Likes by Susie Moore I think has been a book I guess I repeatedly pick it up over and over again. If I need a little pep talk, I think it is a book all business owners should read, but it has helped me so much with doing all social media, our business social media and our business customer service. And my biggest takeaway she said was people aren't as obsessed with you as you are with yourself. And I think when I read that and heard her say that because I have the audio when she was a guest expert in Sparkle Hustle Grow. So listening to her say that was a light bulb moment for me. 'Cause I'm like, "Yeah, like just do it. Get out there, get in front of people." It's not the whole world watching you do a live. Even if there was a whole world watching you, like who cares? Just do it. They're not as obsessed with you or as you are with yourself. How about your book?

Julie (04:09):

I love it. You know, it's funny that you ask because it's the same one. This honestly was my favorite book all year. Susie Moore, thank you so much for putting this out into the world. You guys, if you haven't read this book, we highly recommend it. It's called Stop Checking Your Likes: Shake Off the Need for Approval and Live an Incredible Life.

Julie (04:29):

Susie Moore is a very well-known life coach and she's very likable. She's very fun down to earth. And she had so much fun in our Sparkler group. Just doing some of these little chats like we're doing right now.

 My biggest takeaway from this was chapter four. Chapter four was called "So what?" And it reminds you that when something happens to you or when someone lashes out at you or maybe you get a bad review or maybe if someone is just rude to you, like really sit back and think like, so what? Like really, how is this going to impact me? Is this just a reflection of them?

 Obviously, you want to look and if there's a bad review, you wanna learn from it. If there's constructive criticism, you want to pivot or, you know, go above and beyond to make that customer happy. But at the end of the day, you can look back and say, so what?

 I was looking back at this chapter and there were three things at the end of the chapter I wanted to share. It says the next time something or someone offends you play around with a "So what?" response instead, see how good it feels. She said make a list of five to ten things that went wrong in your life. Write down the good things that still happened anyway. So like just because a bad thing happens. So what? That doesn't mean good things aren't going to happen too. And then the last one she wrote was plan ahead, list a few worries you have about the future. Approach one kind of like proactively with a so what attitude see what happens? Are you still okay? I bet you are. Remember this is about caring less without being careless.

Renae (06:07):

Good. So good.

Julie (06:10):

Okay. So our top personal development book, we both agree was Stop Checking Your Likes by Susie Moore. Okay. Should we talk about wins and losses? Or do you want to talk about some funny stories behind the curtain?

Renae (06:25):

Let's go wins and losses first and then we'll round it up with...

Julie (06:29):

So before we got on the podcast, I challenged with Renae and myself to make a list of some of our wins and some of our losses. We believe that it is so important to share failures as well as the wins because we're not perfect. We don't expect you to be perfect. It's okay to have a failure and it's okay for something not to pan out the way you want it to. We learned from that we pivoted from many of those. So let's start on a high note. What are some of your favorite wins from this year?

Renae (06:59):

All right. I have a whole list. There was a lot. Yeah. So I think one of the biggest ones and one that recently just happened is Sparkle Hustle Grow was nominated for best customer experience at the Cube Awards. So that was a high for our whole team. And since I have the director of customer experience title for Sparkle Hustle Grow, it felt really good to be in that category too personally. So that was a big one.

Julie (07:29):

You deserve that. That was, I was so excited to see that come through. And if you haven't heard of the Cube Awards through SUBTA, which is the Subscription Trade Association. And every year they do these awards to all kinds of different categories, but we were nominated for best customer experience. So yeah. Congrats to you on that one, Renae.

Renae (07:48):

Congrats to us all. Yes. So do you want me to keep going on my list or do you want an alternate? So another one and you actually had a podcast episode about this. A couple of back is that we planned out all of 2021. And that was I think, a big one for our whole team and something that we've learned and grown from. And hopefully we'll continue to do it because it takes up off so much stress from just you. And it was so good for our whole team to have a vision of 2021 moving forward. And already my mind has been working on what I can do cause I already know what's coming in future boxes. So that was a big one for me too.

Julie (08:28):

I think that is a good point. That was on my list as well. If you haven't listened to that episode, go back and listen to it. It's called How We Planned 2021, I think, is that what we call it? And so we identified all 12 themes for the year.

We identified our categories that we'll fulfill with products. And then I actually showed up at our team retreat with a 50 pound. It was actually 49 pounds. They didn't get charged the extra fee but 49 pounds of office supplies and books and we just spread them all out over the floor and started assigning them to the different months. And it was great. And I'm so grateful we did that because it does give me a clearer vision too. And I can batch that type of work now when I'm sourcing products. All right, next. What else was on your list?

Renae (09:14):

I also had, we had a couple Subscription Box Bootcamp launches throughout the year and every time we hit a launch goal, we surpassed it. So that was on my list of wins. That was a really cool thing.

Julie (09:28):

That was on my list as well. That especially that we revamped the entire Subscription Box Bootcamp coaching program. We're now in the 2.0 version and it is such an improvement and we've added so many new features and tools and resources and experts. And it's just so fun. It's a relief to have that done because it was a lot of work on me. I'm rerecording every single video. And it was a lot of work on you guys promoting it and, you know, making sure all the pieces were in place for our launch. So definitely the relaunch of Subscription Box Bootcamp and hitting our launch goals.

Renae (10:09):

Yeah. And then, and then I have two more, one more or one with me and you, which was we headed to Florida to check out our new warehouse in January of 2020 and had so much fun. And it was so successful, but I think it is what kept me going for the early quarters of 2020 after the world sort of shut down. So that was a big win. Just having that trip in our back pocket was fun to keep us going.

Julie (10:39):

Yes, girl! And I love Fort Lauderdale. I fell in love with that city. When we went there, we were on the water taxi and we were at the beach and I think I was able to pull from that energy for months after that.

Renae (10:55):

Same, so same and the petty cab.

Julie (11:01):

Oh my gosh! Okay, I'm going to add to your list. There were a few things that were really big wins from my desk, from my point of view. One, we changed our inserts, our box postcards into a booklet. So we used to have what like four to five inserts in every single box. One that meant that we had to design each one of those inserts print each one, and then our warehouse would have to pick each one of those individually. And the more things, the more inserts you have, the more likely that there could be human error where one's missing. Well, we changed that into a booklet and not only is it more efficient for printing or designing, printing and packing it, but I think it's really been better for our subscribers as well to have all of their content, the training information notes, packing everything in one little beautiful booklet.

Renae (11:57):

Totally! I completely forgot that was this year. And I think from a customer experience standpoint too, having to just keep track of one thing to send people when they lose is been such a huge time-saver for me as on the customer experience point too. So it's awesome!

Julie (12:14):

So can you tell our listeners how, if someone either lost theirs or they're missing it from their box? You email it, right? Do you send the PDF or how do you do that?

Renae (12:25):

It depends on what they're asking for, but yeah, we always refer them to our support email, and then depending on if they just need something from it, like our training, all copy and paste it from the workbook with that. But I always check to make sure they're active subscriber first and that they actually received that box because that's a perk of being an active subscriber. And then I'll them, even if they're asking for multiple things or say in that email, they misplaced the whole workbook, I'll send it as a PDF. But otherwise I'll copy and paste the information for them.

Julie (12:57):

Awesome. So I actually designed those with Carmen, our designer in Canva. And then I share that document with Renee so that she has full access to either download it or share it or whatever she needs to do with it.

Julie (13:09):

Okay, another big win was we finally added an internal box design. So for four years we printed a custom box, but it was only printed on the outside and the inside was plain white. And so finally four years in, we were able to make the budget work where we could add that. And I think it brings it up another level. If you're listening and you want that for your box, be patient because it does cost more to print it 'cause you're printing more, you know, cardboard on the inside. There's more colors, more area that you're printing. But man, I really like it. It's so pretty.

Julie (13:49):

And we use it strategically. We have steps to make the most of your subscription. So when someone opens it up, especially if it's their first box, they can look at that and be like, "Oh, there's a Facebook group. Oh, I should share this on social media." We'd give them the steps to follow. And I learned that through the tribe program from Stu McLaren, he calls it the success path. And so you want to think about what your customer's success path is, whether that is, you know, starting them before the actual sale, like where they start to, where they become a subscriber or once they're a subscriber, what is the path you want them to walk through for success, with your product? Because your box should be more like an experience, not just the box of stuff.

Renae (14:33):

Absolutely. And adding to that, I add to that just a little bit, the more places you have those steps for your subscribers to see, the more they're likely to take those steps. So even if you didn't have a Facebook group, whichd you should to build a community, but even if your box didn't, I think directing them somewhere on your box to your social media or encouraging them to share, rate on the box is so huge because you can tell them as so many times, but if they actually see it and they're like, "Oh, I should share this". Because it's a message right, when they get it and when they're hyped up about it.

Julie (15:07):

No, that's a really good point. Okay. Just a couple more. And then we'll talk about the losses. The Subscription Box Basics podcast is now a year old, so that's a big win. And we just came out with the book Subscription Box Basics, the book. So that was a huge win as that was a longterm project. And the reason that we did that was because we know some people like to listen to the podcast, but we know some people are more of a pen and paper kind of person. And so you go through this book, it's 30 days by the time you're done, you are going to have a lot more clarity on your box idea and really whether or not you want to pursue it. So that was a big win. And the podcast too.

 

I just got to give a shout out to Krista from My Christmas Snowflake. She sent me a box and she sent me a little note that said she listened to the podcast on repeat and was able to use this information to launch her own box. And she successfully did so. And when I got her box and I got her note, I was literally, I had happy tears. I didn't even know how to process it because she said that the podcast alone is what she used the podcast. Well, let me take a step back the podcast. And she said in a little research find me, which is good because that means she's very proactive and she's a go getter. She launched her box. And that makes me so happy to hear that someone listened to the podcast and followed their dream. And so I'm going to have her on the podcast in 2021. So she can tell the whole story about I'm going to give her a quick shout out right now

Renae (16:48):

And such a kind gesture. So nice too.

Julie (16:51):

Made me so happy. Okay, the last one I want to talk about is we found a project management software that we liked. So this is a good segue into two losses or failures too.

 We tried to use the project management software ClickUp and while it has so many features in it, it sounds so awesome when you're on the website and you're doing your free trial. For whatever reason, Renae, you and I have very similar brains, how they work and our brains just could not grasp the way that ClickUp work.

 So we were playing around with a couple of different other project management softwares. We essentially needed a place where we could manage all of our projects and delegate, and everybody knew what everyone else was doing. Everyone knew their deadlines, what was expected. And so we landed on Basecamp and Basecamp has been really, really great for us.

 We put all of our big projects in there. We can invite guests in there if we're collaborating on something. And so I consider that a big win because I can go into Basecamp at any given moment and see all of the activity that's happening. I can check in on things. I don't always have to tap on someone's shoulder and say, "Hey, where are we at with this?" I can just go in Basecamp and look. So that was a big win from my perspective. I'm sitting here in the CEO seat. Yeah. So Basecamp highly recommend that we will make sure to put links to Basecamp and anything else we've mentioned, we'll put those in the show notes so that you can check them all out.

Renae (18:17):

That's perfect. And should we move on to losses?

Julie (18:23):

Yeah. You want to start?

Renae (18:28):

I will. I actually only have a few. And I'm a glass as you are as well. We're glass half full people. So all of these we all learn lessons from all of these, but I think my biggest headache and something I would still kind of consider a loss was we put out as a lead generator, we made the boy band quiz. Yeah.

Julie (18:50):

Okay. Theory like which boy band is your business? And it's talked about, you know, where you, the chart topper? Where you, you know, the collaborator? 'Cause like Boyz II Men always did all kinds of great collaborations like with Mariah Carey and stuff. Plus I'm a little boy band obsessed as we sit here. Um, I've got my signed picture of Joey MacIntyre. I am NKOTB for life. Renee. How about you?

Renae (19:26):

N'Sync

Julie (19:27):

You guys have to DM us and let us know who your favorite boy band is.

Renae (19:30):

Yes. Yeah. So that was such a good concept and so fun and so fun to put together. But after we created the actual quiz, just headache after headache trying to implement it. And then when we finally got it out in the world, it was kind of a flop and they didn't generate that many leads. So...

Julie (19:49):

But what happened too, was the tech of it was so challenging. There's people that can probably knock out a quiz very easily, but we were trying to do it where if you got this boy band as your business, you got this email. If you got this, then you got a different email and then put them through like a nurture sequence to warm them up to Sparkle Hustle Grow and tell them our story. Oh my gosh, we spent so much time trying to make the tech work that I think by the time we launched, we were like, just be done. Like we didn't even want to launch it at this point because, but then there's those moments where you're like, "Well, we've worked so hard on this." And it was so fun at the beginning. Like we don't want to give up.

Renae (20:33):

And we even had like a boy band playlist to go along in our nurture sequence. We had all the steps.

Julie (20:39):

We'll list that in the show notes for you boy band junkies like us. So that was definitely on my list as well as one of our failures, but it was fun.

Renae (20:51):

Yeah. And taught us that your lead generator can be simple. So always the lesson.

Julie (20:57):

Okay. What else you got?

Renae (21:00):

And then another one I had, which we talked about, the part of the reason we went to Florida was to check out our new warehouse. When we actually switched, uh, it was another, I think it was shortly after our boy band. So it was like another like, "Oh no, what are we doing?" It turned into a win. I am so happy now. And it is starting to simplify our lives. But at first there was a lot of mishaps with that and a lot of shifting. So that was almost lost for me. I was like, "Oh no."

Julie (21:34):

Yeah. I agree. To give a little bit of the backstory, we had been using a mom and pop warehouse here in the Asheville, North Carolina area for years. Loved them really old school. We didn't have any fancy warehouse management software. We had Google spreadsheets that we shared. I had a sheet, like a Google sheet for that I shared with the warehouse and each tab was a different month. So they knew what to pack into each month. And then we had an inventory tab. It was fine. It worked. But at the end of every month, I had to physically drive to the warehouse, which was only like 25, 30 minutes, but take all the excess inventory back to my home office.

 And then I would manage the shop orders from there. And it became so time consuming that it was taking me away from actually working on the business, doing the things that really filled my bucket, like sending like fulfilling an order and, you know, running posts that just not what I feel like I should be doing at this point.

 So that's when we started seeking out a new warehouse that had those warehouse management systems that integrated with Cratejoy, but you're right, Renae, it was hard because we had to learn a new software system. It's not like an email marketing software and it's not like e-commerce, it's very different obviously it's logistics.

 And so there was a big learning curve there. And then of course, tech fails from time to time or like we maybe missed something. And so I think it was the first month that we shipped with Shipmonk, no tracking emails went out. I'm like, "Oh my gosh, are you serious?" And when that happens, you know, you're going to get an influx of customer service saying, "Hey did my box go out? I don't have my tracking number." And so I know that was a headache I'm sure especially in your life.

Renae (23:32):

A little bit.

Julie (23:33):

But we've slowly work things through. We have a great happiness engineer. They call them who is our point person there we've been working closely with, to work on our processed, and so here we are, how many months later? Six months. Maybe six months. Yeah. And I'm really happy with the way things are going, but we also have simplified some things.

Renae (23:56):

Absolutely! And it opened up avenues for things we would never like we did during Black Friday, our tiered sale. And it was so hands-off for us because our warehouse was shipping. It like usually any of those small little things would be something you would be packing up if it wasn't box related. So that was huge.

Julie (24:13):

When we would do our secret subscriber sales, which are pretty much like excess inventory sales, where we allow our subscribers to buy at deep discounts, I was packing all of those up like hundreds of orders. And it was a lot of legwork. And you were creating social media posts for each one of those bundles. So yeah, it is definitely it's been a process, but I like Shipmonk. It's definitely better to have someone fulfilling those shop orders then for me to be doing that. So I'd say that's it's a win, but it was at the time. Very scary. Like,

Renae (24:53):

Yeah. It definitely took time and made us think a little bit, but I, one more low, I didn't call it a loss. A low was our Sparkle Hustle Grow retreat. We've had to now reschedule multiple times and hence the times, and not to be totally cliche, but I feel like our attendees and us continue to pivot and everyone's been so awesome. But obviously it's something we cannot wait for when it happens in person.

Julie (25:21):

I know I thought about that too. In 2019 we had our first retreat and it was awesome. It filled so many buckets. And then we decided to run a second one in 2020 while we had to push that one a couple of times now. And so it is scheduled for April of next year, but I haven't felt like I could promote it because like travel isn't really, we're not being encouraged to travel right now. And with elections, there was a lot going on in social media. I didn't want things to be either lost in the mix or I didn't want to come off as insensitive that we weren't paying attention to other issues going on in the world. So we kind of just tabled it for the time being, and we'll see, we'll find the right time to share it some more. But yeah, that was a huge disappointment because man, I'm excited to go to Puntacana.

Renae (26:17):

Can't wait. It's gonna happen.

Julie (26:21):

Yeah. Okay. So on my list, I had the retreat also, the lead magnet quiz. I already touched on our project management software. One thing from my seat that is a loss is that I overbought. I typically buy three to four months out at this point, but with the pandemic hitting there, no way that you could really project accurately, we had months that were way higher than normal. And we had months that went way lower than normal as far as acquisition and retention. And I know that has to do with money like discretionary income. It has to do with people's small businesses being impacted because our audiences, our audience for Sparkle Hustle Grow is all small business. So, we do have some excess inventory at the moment. And so we're trying to get creative on, on how we can use that, how we can offload it, how we can potentially sell it to other subscription box business owners.

So we're still working through that. And then the last thing that I have on my list for kind of one of the failures is I feel like a lot of times I, so if you guys haven't figured this out by now, I'm super type A. Renae is my hype girl, and she's like fast moving as well. And when we get an idea, we're like, "Let's execute it in 48 hours!" And while that's fun and good and can be really, really impactful for the business. And it's nice that it's not corporate where it takes like two months to get something done. I think sometimes we get ahead of ourselves and we put too much on our own plate. And the word of this year before the pandemic hit, like, remember we picked our word of the year in December 2019. It was simplify. 2020's word was simplify.

 And we did a lot of things with simplify. Now. I didn't know how hard it was going to be to simplify. We changed a lot of our software systems, a lot of our processes, our warehouse. So that simplify word wasn't as simple as it sounds like it was a process. But now for 2021 as a business, we chose the word ease. We are going to ask ourselves before we launch any major project or even mini project that, thow easy is this going to be? Is there going to be a lot of manual work? What can we automate? How can we run this project with ease? And if the answer is no, we're going to reconsider, and we're going to talk about it as a team and think like, do we really want to do this? Because ideally, you know, we as entrepreneurs, we want a flexible schedule.

 I know Renee, you and your family are living the camping trailer life right now. And that is so fun. And you know, we want to we're homeschooling and we want to do some travel and we want to, we just want to be able to have a little bit more ease in our life where I'm not consistently being pulled back to the business because of a, you know, a fire drill or like a project that has to get done. We have to remember that we're in control. This is our business. And so I want to make sure that I don't put too much on my own plate, but also I don't want too much on my team's plate either. So I think that's one of the losses.

Renae (29:46):

And, but I think it's like a lesson for us. And for anyone listening to know, it's not an instant process either. This is two years ago. Like we wanted to simplify and it took this whole year to simplify it. And it was a lot of work. Life happened. 2020 happened, but we worked harder than we've ever worked before this year. And it was all to make it simple and move into this state of ease. So it's definitely good to know that you can say that and you can make the steps to make it happen, but it's not going to instantly happen. It takes time to get like that.

Julie (30:19):

I, a hundred percent, agree. And I bet you that the majority of our sparklers, our subscribers don't even know all those changes we were making in the backend that we were working our tails off to simplify things for us because you know, the backend operations, they don't see that stuff. So yeah. Oh, it was a lot of work.

 Okay, let's move into our next segment and this is going to be our last segment. In this fireside chat with Renae, we are going to talk about a couple of funny customer service stories, a couple of funny things that happened along the way because we just want to end the year on a light note. We want to make you laugh. And I have on my shirt today, it says #boxlife. And as subscription box business owners, the sub box life is very unique in some of the things that we're going to deal with. So which ones should we start with? Should we start with the Hustler magazine?

Renae (31:17):

We can start with that one.

Julie (31:17):

Okay. So Renae, we manage a lot of our communications via Voxer, which is a walkie-talkie type app. And I get this Voxer message from Renae and she's like, "Oh my goodness!" And I think it might've been just like a screenshot. I'm going to let you tell the story. And I was crying, laughing. So you tell the story.

Renae (31:44):

All right. So started just like another normal customer service day. I get an email and our support email from someone who would like to cancel and they wanted to cancel their subscription. They give me an order number. We go back and forth a couple of times. I can't find it. I'm very confused. I let them know, can't find their name. I'm like, "Oh well, maybe it didn't go through." And they're like, "No, it went through." And this time they send me a screenshot of their order complete with magazine covers of their Hustler magazine order. And I was like, "Oh, okay", still being professional. I emailed back. And I'm like, and I did my research. I looked up Hustler magazine customer support number. And I was like, this is Sparkle Hustle Grow. I think you're looking for Hustler magazine. You can call this number.

 So I gave them the number and I got back at, "Oh, sorry. Thanks so much". So yeah, instantly took it screenshot included to Voxer to show our team.

Julie (32:54):

I can't imagine how embarrassed he must have been to get that. Anyhow, I guess that is the risk of having the word hustle in our name.

Renae (33:07):

Has not happened since luckily.

Julie (33:08):

Oh my gosh. That is so funny.

Renae (33:12):

I have the customer support number for Hustler magazine. If I ever need it.

Julie (33:15):

Should we put that in the show notes? Kidding!

 Okay. Another funny story I remember with customer service is when we get a cancellation it's, Cratejoy automatically sends a notification to us as the business admin, right? So a lot of times people will just cancel and they'll choose one of the reasons which is like not worth the price or didn't like the product or shipping issues or other. And if you choose others, you can write in why you were canceling. And a lot of times it's like, I love the box or I love the membership. I just need to catch up or maybe it's money issues or whatever. So we always are looking at those because we want to keep our finger on the pulse. Like, why is someone canceling? Well, we got a cancellation one time that said, "My girlfriend broke up with me. So I'm cancelling her membership"

 Apparently, it was a gift subscription for his girlfriend and they broke up. So he cut her off. No more Sparkle Hustle Grow for her.

Renae (34:26):

And we didn't argue with them. We're like, yeah, good point.

Julie (34:28):

What are you going to do? I'm so sorry. So yeah, that cancellation was because of, he broke up with his girlfriend. Another funny customer service actually, it's this isn't customer service. This is more like customer experience. So when we were at our retreat in 2019, we had, Kristin Goss from GossBoss. She is a video story teller. And so she was doing explainer videos basically allowing each of our retreat attendees to record a little snippet. Like this is who I am. This is what I do. This is why we wanna work together.

 What we decided to do a welcome new subscriber video. And so I was standing in the front and Amy, our operations director, and then Renae was standing behind me and they had confetti tubes. You know, those ones where you like, you like throw it, you don't throw it in the air, but you like whip it. And then the confetti goes everywhere. So I had my script and it's like, "Yay, you did it. You just treated yourself to the best business expense ever." And then Renae and Amy were behind me. And they, at that time, that was like their cue to whip the, it would be good air though. But instead when they whipped it directly at my back and it's like right in the back of my head, this big pile of confetti and it goes everywhere and I could not keep a straight face. I couldn't say the rest of my script. I'm saying it I'm laughing. And the two of you are in the background, just like, like whooping it up laughing and just like, pretending like nothing happened. And so that was one of those crying, laughing moments. There was confetti all over the floor. We had to recut the whole thing because it just wasn't going to work, but we did keep it and put it at the end of the welcome video as our bloopers reel. So this is a great way.

 One to tell you what we do to welcome people. We put this video on the thank you page. So when someone joins, they get their thank you page and that video is there. So it's for the first 45 seconds or so it's "Hey, you did it. Welcome to Sparkle Hustle Grow. Don't forget to join our online community, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And then it cuts to the bloopers ad. Every single time I watch it, I am not, not kidding. I cry, laugh. And so I will put, I'll make sure to put a link to the show notes or in the show notes to that video. So you guys can see it one for inspiration about doing a welcome video, but two to see what happens like really behind the scenes. We are not perfect. It did not take us one take to do that. And yeah, she busted me in the back with the confetti.

Renae (37:13):

I love it too, because you're like, did you bless me in the back? And I'm like, no. And then you watched the video and I totally did not on purpose though.

Julie (37:25):

So funny. I was just one of my favorite, like crying, laughing moments of the year. So I don't know if you, did you have any more other stories, funny stories that you wanted to share?

Renae (37:34):

I didn't have funny ones, but when you were talking about how we watch the notifications come through, when we get cancellations that we did the same thing for gift messages, or I do the same thing for gift messages and you telling that story made me think of this time of year.

And without sounding like a total creeper I've told you before. One of my favorite things to do is just lightly skim over gift messages because the things people say to each other are just like, I've literally cried before reading gift messages. So if you have gifts in your subscription box, don't be totally creepy and read all their messages, but just know you are making a difference because you provide something that people get to send along with words of encouragement.

And I just, everything I've seen people send messages to themselves. It's amazing. It's one of my favorite things to do is go through and read people's gift messages.

Julie (38:30):

So cool. Like I remember when I first started, the first year I hand wrote all of the gift messages because that's what worked for me at the time. At this point, we have a gift message insert that is at our warehouse, and then they print them for us. So yeah, if we want to read them, they come through on the notifications. But I remember very specifically feeling so inspired and like my heart, just wanting to burst, writing down those things that people said to each other and, you know, words of encouragement to themselves, to their partners, to their team members or their downline.

Renae (39:08):

I get chills. I love it.

Julie (39:12):

Okay. So thank you Renae for sharing those stories. You guys, I hope you enjoyed this little fireside chat. If you have any sub box life stories that you want to share with us, either put them on Instagram stories and tag us, or DM your stories to us. We really, really, really want to hear them. It just, it brings us all together. We have this shared common ground of running a subscription box business, and it has its quirks.

 If you have any questions about any of our wins or losses or failures, we're more than happy to share that with you. So, like I said, DM us on Instagram, we are @subscriptionboxbootcamp. Renae, as always, it's been so much fun hanging out with you. Thanks for being on. I appreciate you more than you know, and I love you like a sister. And we had talked beforehand about doing a series of podcasts with you, talking about social media in email marketing and customer service. So we will make sure we get that on the schedule for 2021.

Renae (40:14):

Perfect. Thank you so much for having me. Thank you everyone for listening and yes, I will be back.

Julie (40:19):

All right. All right, everybody. I hope you have a fabulous holiday season. We wish you nothing but gratitude for listening and abundance in your business. And we'll see you in the next episode.