It would’ve been a completely missed chance to not invite these two amazing ladies as our guests during this 13th episode. One might say 13 brings bad luck, but oh, how fortunate we were to hear this awesome story!
Words cannot describe the good vibes that surrounded this session, but here I am doing my best to present the most important part of this podcast episode.
Are you comfortable in your chair? Then buckle up, this is a story you won’t be able to forget! Plus, you might want to check The Wanderr® 😉
Who are Stacey Pierce and Julie Weldon?
Stacey Pierce has always had an entrepreneurial mindset, which is evident by the fact that she has been on the ground floor of nine start-ups. When not starting new businesses, she has spent much of her career in the medical field doing occupational therapy and honing her expertise in technology for the aging population. With that experience, she now enjoys helping other business entrepreneurs build strategic plans for growth as the Co-founder of A Salty Rim. She is also the co-host of GSD Entrepreneur, Co-founder of OME Gear, and Co-Host of Do It In Nature Podcast. In addition, Pierce has co-authored a children’s book called Rescued By Rico. Stacey’s biggest piece of business advice is that if you want to do something, just do it because she believes that the biggest risks in life are the ones not taken.
Growing up in an entrepreneurial family, Julie Weldon got her love for starting businesses honest, but it took her time to dive into the (often) scary waters of entrepreneurship. After college, she worked in leadership with a non-profit organization for ten years, then traveled for a year doing humanitarian work in eleven developing countries. Upon returning stateside, she became a business consultant, ultimately with PricewaterhouseCoopers, prior to starting a consulting firm, A Salty Rim. Jules co-hosts two podcasts, GSD Entrepreneur and Do It In Nature. The first interviews entrepreneurs about their story and their businesses, and the second are conversations with people who are doing really inspirational things connected to the outdoors. In addition, Weldon has co-authored a children’s book called Rescued By Rico. Her biggest piece of advice is to be committed every day to building your network because she believes genuine relationships are everything.
A story about family, success, failure and the power to move on by taking all the chances you can get
Julie Weldon: I’ll make the story short because it’s actually a 20-year story. My parents invented a concept of our product 20 years ago. So it was just a two-in-one. They ended up getting it patented and tried to take it to market but just ran out of money. And honestly, they just didn’t know how to do it.
So they let it sit on the shelf for twelve years. Fast forward to 2010. I was working for a large business management consulting firm here in the United States and was working 80 hours a week and just wanted something that I could focus on to be mine. You know those moments where you just don’t ever forget them? It was 1:30 in the morning, I woke up, my mind was racing and I was like, “I want something that I can focus on to be mine.” And I immediately thought of my dad’s invention.
The next morning at 8:30, I called him and said, “Dad, what would you think about me trying to take your product to market?” My dad is absolutely one of my heroes and now one of Stacey’s heroes, but he’s just an awesome man. He started crying and said, “Honey, that would be a dream come true. You can have everything. I’ll sign the patent over to you.” So he did. He gave me all his drawings.
By that point, twelve years later, they were just old, they were really big in plastic. I knew I needed to change the design. So I did. I ended up partnering with a manufacturing firm in the US and it was a partnership that I didn’t want to be a part of. Our values did not align. And my values and Stacey’s values, they mean a lot to us. If we partner with people that don’t align, then typically we’ll veer away from them.
After a couple of years, we ended up taking it to market, sold about 250,000 dollars worth of product, which is not a lot. But we were getting started and I ended up walking away. I walked away from everything. It was one of the hardest moments of my life because I was walking away from my dream and my parents’ dream.
So I walked away, ended up getting a job. I don’t know if you’re familiar with this, but we have shrimp boats here in Charleston, South Carolina, for shrimp. So I ended up getting a job making ten dollars an hour on the shrimp boats. Money isn’t everything, right? When you’re not happy, money doesn’t really matter. So for me, it wasn’t about the ten dollars an hour. It was about being able to heal my soul from what I just walked through.
After nine months, Stace got tired of me coming home smelling like shrimp. So then she and I started a business management consulting firm.
Stacey Pierce: Neither one of us comes from the product space. Both of us come from service industries. My background is in occupational therapy. I’ve been on the ground floor of nine startups that are all service-based companies, not products. Actually, we kind of did end up in eCommerce by accident.
We started our business coaching firm called A Salty Rim. The reason is that we love margaritas.
In actuality, salt heals and preserves, and really the missing ingredient in every recipe, even a sweet recipe, is salt. For most of the companies we work with – we’ve had over 100 clients in the past four and a half years – the missing ingredient was them not knowing something or feeling alone. There’s always a missing ingredient in their business. So we come in and our tagline is “We’ll help you eat your elephant with a dash of salt, one bite at a time.”
We started that in 2015. Then in about 2016 – we live three miles from the beach – we realized there was no one who had taken the product No one had taken the idea. No one had taken the concept. Everything out there was still junk and we were like, “OK, we have something here.”
We knew the product that she [Julie] had taken to market before had some problems, some issues. It was bulky, it had a lot of plastic on it. So we were like, “OK, what can we do? We can take consumer feedback and we can draw on that. We can really sharpen our pencils on a product that’s going to solve problems for people getting outside.”
So we partnered with a design firm called RCO, out of Detroit, Michigan. They do all seating and positioning for Tesla and Gulfstream jets. We went to the experts on seating. That’s when we worked with them and we were able to design what you see now on our website: the five-in-one, The Wanderr®.
We were able to sell our house and put that money into our company and pay for our first shipment of Wanderrs to get here so we can start getting them out to the masses. And then we were like, “Oh no, we have nowhere to live! Then let’s get an RV.”
Her name is Olive.
We’re going to get around the United States. We’ll start in North Carolina and go down to Florida and then we’ll be gone for about a year, a year and a half. We’re organically building our company.
PS: Check out this gold nugget with a true story about a rescue pup, written by Jules and Stacey themselves.
During the next episode, we’ll be chatting with Alex McEachern, now the Brand Marketing Manager of Loop. Tune in with us!
This podcast is sponsored by VTEX.
VTEX is the first and only fully integrated commerce, marketplace and solution that offers the fastest time-to-revenue, without the need for additional updates. Ever.