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The Startup Junkies Podcast

The Startup Junkies podcast is hosted by Jeff Amerine and the team at Startup Junkie. We’ll cover topics ranging from getting started, planning, growing your business, proving your concept, leadership, marketing, exit strategies and so much more. We’ll interview business owners, entrepreneurs, experts and people we think will bring value to our audience. Subscribe, and together we'll take your business to the next level.
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Now displaying: August, 2023

This is the Startup Junkies Podcast. These are the stories of the people that are afflicted with creating the next great products and services that are going to change lives - not just in America, but worldwide. We're going to tell the stories of the next great beer producer, products and apparel makers, and the stories of people that don't accept the status quo and that want to make things better. 

Welcome to the Startup Junkies Podcast.

Aug 28, 2023

Summary

On this episode of Startup Junkies, hosts Grace Gill, Harrison Kitson, and Claudia Scott are joined by Brittnie Simon, founder and owner of Collab Design Co. Collab is a digital marking agency in Northwest Arkansas whose goal is to elevate businesses through creative initiatives that drive results through strategy, marketing, and design. In this episode, Brittnie talks about what she learned about culture in corporate America, as well as how she builds a culture in her company that encourages growth and innovation. 

 

Show Notes

(0:53) Brittnie’s Origin Story

(12:27) Introducing Collab Design Co.

(15:00) The Importance of Support Networks

(19:29) Building a Company Culture and Avoiding Burnout

(27:01) Selling Clients What They Need

(29:20) Social Media Advice for Small Businesses

(37:38) Advice to the Younger Self and Closing Thoughts

 

Links

Grace Gill

Harrison Kitson

Claudia Scott

Brittnie Simon

Collab Design Co.   

 

Quotes

“What really stood out to me on my journey was how many people that I was able to lean on, like connections that supported me…[and it was the same experience] when I launched my business. When I started networking and connecting in the community, people want to refer locally and they want to get to know who they’re referring.” - Brittnie Simon, (15:43)

“If you have your cup and it’s full of creative juices, and as you’re doing things you kind of lose it, and if you don’t have a way to refill it…then you’re kind of at the end of your cup and you’re not doing successful work. So being able to say, hey my cup’s empty and build that communication there, then we can pivot and help give you opportunities to refill.” - Brittnie Simon, (20:26)

“I think there’s a misunderstanding of what consistency means [on social media], and I think that’s the biggest challenge. Consistency isn’t posting every day. Can you post weekly, on a regular basis consistently? Even if it’s once or twice a week. You just determine your level of consistency and commit to it.” - Brittnie Simon, (29:25)

“The other thing I’ve learned is that social media is a long game. Marketing is a long game. So trying to see return on investment one week after you started posting consistently is going to dishearten you…You’re probably going to be putting effort in for about a year before you’ll see those results.” - Brittnie Simon, (33:37) 

Aug 21, 2023

Summary

On this episode of Startup Junkies, hosts Jeff Amerine, Victoria Dickerson, and Grace Gill sit down with Jonathan Sasse, chief strategy officer at Metova. Jonathan talks about the process of implementing new technologies, such as AI and machine learning, into businesses with outdated or inefficient systems. He also discusses the importance of understanding why their customers purchase from them, how to build trust with clients, and how to end up with the right product rather than the easiest solution. 

 

Show Notes

(0:36) Introducing Jonathan and His Origin Story

(3:21) What’s on the Horizon for Metova

(5:40) Jonathan’s Take on AI

(10:34) Knowing When to Implement New Technologies

(15:26) Metova’s Ideal Customer

(19:14) Helping Decisions Makers Understand the Need for New Tech

(23:13) Metova’s Development Cycle

(27:06) Building Relationships with Clients

(29:35) Advice to the Younger Self

(31:04) Closing Thoughts

 

Links

Jeff Amerine

Victoria Dickerson

Grace Gill

Jonathan Sasse 

Metova 

 

Quotes

“[We’re] really looking at things through the customer’s lens. So like, what do your customers want from you? What are they hiring you for in the first place? And what’s frustrating them? And if AI can help make that better, great. But we also have to be careful [of] technology for the sake of technology, because it will happen. They’re like, here’s all the things I need, and it’s the five buzziest technology things.” - Jonathan Sasse, (8:27) 

 

“So as a customer, I’m applying a lens of, I know it’s possible, but you didn’t do it. And so now I want this from you because it’s clearly possible. And it’s not so much that your competitors dangled some new feature to me, but I was exposed to something that’s clearly technologically possible that you could choose to implement and make my life better.” - Jonathan Sasse, (12:25)

 

“Our sweet spot is really established companies that don’t have technology as their core DNA and that are at some kind of a crossroads. They’re not exactly sure where to go, but they have the resources to invest in doing it, and they have enough upside to come out of that with the ROI that’s needed.” - Jonathan Sasse, (15:53)

 

“A dev shop will build what you tell them to build…As a product agency, it’s more about the consulting and advising—you know, we’re bringing things to the table that are maybe going to change the direction of their business, maybe change their business model. We’re going to be advisors at a very high level and certainly a strategic partner…” - Jonathan Sasse, (28:38)

 

Aug 14, 2023

Summary

On this episode of Startup Junkies, hosts Jeff Amerine and Victoria Dickerson are joined by entrepreneur Mo Elliott. Mo founded Fayettechill while he was a student at the University of Arkansas and served as the CEO for thirteen years before eventually selling the outdoor lifestyle brand in 2022. After a successful exit from Fayettechill, Mo pivoted to real estate, flipping houses and eventually purchasing and operating multiple Airbnb properties in Santa Fe, New Mexico with the Pecos Group, which he founded. Throughout the episode, Mo, Jeff, and Victoria discuss Mo’s transition from retail to real estate, why he chose Santa Fe, and what’s next for Mo and the Pecos Group.

 

Show Notes

(0:36) Introducing Mo Elliot and His Origin Story

(6:14) Leaving Retail for Real Estate

(10:27) The Magic of Santa Fe

(13:26) Establishing Fayettechill as a Northwest Arkansas Staple

(15:44) What’s Next for Mo?

(21:00) Staying Connected to Fayetteville

(22:06) Advice to the Younger Self

(24:21) Closing Thoughts

 

Links

Jeff Amerine

Victoria Dickerson

Mo Elliott

Dos Hermanas Compound

Tesuque Outpost  

The Pecos Group

Fayettechill   

 

Quotes

What I love about real estate is you make the purchase and it’s a tangible asset in front of you and you can control everything. With manufacturing, it’s rough. We’re buying 50,000 units twelve months in advance. We have data to understand what we sold last season, but it’s such a question mark with manufacturing, and it’s always changing.” - Mo Elliott, (6:42)

 

I built [Fayettechill] with all the ideals of a little Patagonia. And so having a north star of our ideals and then eventually creating products that I wanted to use outside. And then the employees that worked for us, we were our own test dummies on the products that we wanted. So it wasn’t like we were designing for another core market that we weren’t a part of.” - Mo Elliott, (14:30)

 

Aug 7, 2023

Summary

On this episode of Startup Junkies, hosts Jeff Amerine and Grace Gill sit down with Justin and Mailena Urso, founders and owners of Big Box Karaoke. Big Box Karaoke is a combination bar, restaurant, and karaoke hotspot located in the heart of downtown Fayetteville, Arkansas. Throughout the episode, Justin and Mailena discuss the importance of continuous growth, the entrepreneurial mindset, the struggles they faced through the Covid-19 pandemic, and their shared love for karaoke.

 

Show Notes

(0:52) Introducing Justin and Mailena Urso and the Big Box Karaoke Origin Story

(14:17) Finding the Right Location

(17:49) The Pandemic’s Effects on Big Box Karaoke

(25:18) Re-Opening after the Pandemic

(28:17) Balancing Feedback

(31:11) The Core Customer Base

(34:12) Longterm Projections and Hopes

(38:01) Advice to the Younger Self

(40:48) Closing Thoughts

 

Links

Jeff Amerine

Grace Gill

Justin Urso

Mailena Urso

Big Box Karaoke   

 

Quotes

March 15th I think is the date everybody remembers. I always tell this story: On the Saturday before the shutdown, in an eight-hour timeframe, we did as much revenue as [we did] in the next six months combined. In eight hours. And it was one of our busiest nights ever, but it took six months to make that same amount of revenue that [had only taken] eight hours.” - Justin Urso, (19:23) 

We averaged fifty reservations a week before the pandemic, and then you go to zero. And 80% of our business was based on reservations, so the math just doesn’t add up.” - Justin Urso, (23:05)

Our business is expensive to build out. It’s not just opening a coffee shop or an ice cream parlor or something. There’s a lot of costs that go into building out those rooms and the technology involved. And so [expansion] is a little bit more difficult.” - Justin Urso, (27:25)

We were like, if we build it, they will come. That was our mindset. But we did do a lot of testing. We personally experienced this concept a lot and had a great time and took our takeaways from that…and there were other businesses in other markets like ours that were popping up. So it wasn’t like this was a brand new thing.” - Mailena Urso, (30:12)

The advice we would give to people in that situation is just believe in what you’re doing and have some backup for it. And if you can’t find the backup, then that’s maybe where you’re like, okay maybe let’s change it a little bit.” - Mailena Urso, (33:49)

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