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Ep. 69 - Authenticity: Being True To Yourself As An Entrepreneur Brings Success with Marnie Consky

Marnie Consky is the founder, CEO and Chief Anti-Chafing Champion of Thigh Society, a specialty underwear brand offering moisture-wicking, breathable, and discreet slip shorts for women to prevent inner thigh rash and provide modesty coverage. 

Thigh Society undergarments are globally recognized for their high-quality fabric, fit, and inclusive size range. 

The brand is changing lives beyond reducing discomfort by advocating in support of body positivity and eliminating the stigma around inner thigh chafing. 

In This Conversation We Discuss:

  • [0:41] Marnie’s transition to Ecommerce
  • [3:04] Did Marnie’s experience in helping with personal branding translate over to Thigh Society?
  • [4:33] Can an entrepreneur be successful without an educational background?
  • [6:18] Thigh Society’s products and the reason they exist
  • [9:25] How long did Thigh Society take from conception to prototyping?
  • [12:53] Don’t be afraid to talk about your ideas
  • [14:21] Case in point: Marnie talking about her ideas at the gym led her to a great contact
  • [16:58] Sponsor: Gorgias gorgias.link/honest
  • [17:46] Chase breaking down how Marnie did everything right
  • [19:02] The launch of Thigh Society
  • [22:36] Marnie sharing about the success of Thigh Society
  • [25:49] What were Thigh Society’s learning experiences?
  • [29:39] Focusing on a smaller catalog vs having 100s and 1000s of products
  • [31:48] Entrepreneurs should really focus on their customers

Resources:

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Transcript:

 

Marnie Consky  

Have a conversation with [the customer] and get a response that's personalized and not robotic. In that, we're going to go above and beyond to make sure that all of our customers are satisfied.

 

Chase Clymer  

Welcome to Honest Ecommerce, where we're dedicated to cutting through the BS and finding actionable advice for online store owners. 

 

I'm your host Chase Clymer, and I believe running an online business does not have to be complicated or a guessing game. 

 

If you're struggling with scaling your sales, Electric Eye is here to help. To apply to work with us visit electriceye.io/connect to learn more. Now let's get on with the show.

 

Chase Clymer  

Hey, everybody. Welcome back to Honest Ecommerce. I am your host, Chase Clymer. And today, we welcome to the show a very amazing woman. 

 

Marnie Consky is the CEO and --I love this-- the Chief Anti-Chafing Champion at Thigh Society, a brand that makes high saving underwear for women. 

 

So she's gonna tell us all about that here in a minute. But first, before you were a chief Anti-Chafing champion, Marnie, what were you up to? What was the transition into getting into Ecommerce like?

 

Marnie Consky  

Sure, Chase. And also we make thigh saving underwear. I think you've said "high saving". So just so everyone is clear, we help to save thighs from inner thigh rub.

 

Chase Clymer  

You know what, I think I did say "high". 

 

Marnie Consky  

(laughs)

 

Chase Clymer  

I was speeding through that. And that's my apologies.

 

Marnie Consky  

All good. I could just picture people listening wondering "What are high saving underwear?" So, I wanted to clarify. 

 

So yeah, before Thigh Society, I had a career that had nothing to do with retail, intimate, Ecommerce. Maybe technology but it's a bit of a stretch. 

 

But I started my career off working at a consulting company --a large multinational tech consulting company-- focusing in areas of human resource strategy, so helping to train employees on new systems, working to help the organization improve its customer service, helping the organization to ensure its employees were feeling engaged and fulfilled in their work, looking at things like performance management, all this typical HR strategy type of roles. 

 

I had done that in the private sector and then went on to pursue some other roles in the government or public sector here in Toronto. 

 

And then, I had the idea for Thigh Society but decided to keep working in the corporate world. And that was in the capacity of a career center director for MBA students. So I was working to help MBA students' careers change. 

 

So, helping them with writing their resume, refining their personal brand pitch, teaching them how to network, how to write a compelling LinkedIn profile and essentially helping them with their job search. And so the idea for Thigh Society actually came about while I was still working. And I did start the business while working full-time.

 

Chase Clymer  

Awesome. So you were doing a lot of storytelling, essentially. 

 

Marnie Consky  

Yeah.

 

Chase Clymer  

Back then, helping people craft their brand. So did any of that translate over to the beginnings of Thigh Society?

 

Marnie Consky  

Yeah, I think it did. And I always had an entrepreneurial itch. Growing up, I always had thought that I might run my own company, but I'd never really came up with a really compelling idea that passed all of my devil's advocate tests until Thigh Society. 

 

So I think I did... I had a business background with an undergraduate degree in commerce. And then I think that combined with some of my corporate work experience, in terms of communications, working with senior people, trying to figure things out as a junior, I think. 

 

It was a sink or swim environment when I first started, and as an entrepreneur, (laughs) it's kind of similar. 

 

You have to be very resourceful and you have to go out and be willing to find the information that you need because, at some point, you're a solopreneur at the beginning anyway. 

 

You are on your own, in the sense of all that responsibility falls on you to figure things out. So I definitely think that the early foundations of my career and then throughout some of those themes around storytelling, etc, definitely set me up for success as an entrepreneur.

 

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely. So there's a very specific question I want to ask of you there. So you have a more educated background, than some entrepreneurs that I know. And now I want to ask the direct question here.

 

Marnie Consky  

Mm-hmm.

 

Chase Clymer  

Do you think that you could have done this without that background through trial and error and just having that heart to be like "I want to win in this" or do you think that you couldn't have done it without your education?

 

Marnie Consky  

I think I definitely could have done it without my education. I think what college and high school etc prepares you to do is maybe more about being disciplined and teaching a little bit of self-discipline to complete tasks. 

 

But I don't know [if], necessarily, the content of what I did in school necessarily helped me. I've mentored many people over the years who asked if they think that going back to school to do an MBA is necessarily essential? 

 

Or if doing a Bachelor of Commerce is critical to being an entrepreneur. And I don't think so. I think you can learn a lot by doing. And I think if you're curious enough, you can basically find what you need, without necessarily having that formal education. 

 

What I will say is, I think, my corporate experience and the fact that I had so many years under my belt as a professional, probably accelerated some things for me. Like my ability to communicate in writing, my ability to negotiate and have conversations with people where I wasn't really 100% sure of what I was doing... 

 

Don't get me wrong, I have Impostor Syndrome. I had it then and I still have it now. But I think it gave me a little bit of a more sure-footing, as opposed to, let's say, somebody just starting out right out of college and wanting to start their own business. 

 

So I think it's just a function of whatever experience you get in life, you tend to pick up things along the way. And you may not necessarily realize that you're picking those things up, then suddenly, they come in handy when you least expect them.

 

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely. I fully agree. You're talking to a college dropout on the other end of this line. 

 

Marnie Consky  

Mm-hmm.

 

Chase Clymer  

So wait. Before we get more and more into this, let's talk specifically about the product, so people can think about this within the context of what you're currently up to and what you're selling these days. 

 

So tell us a bit more about the product.

 

Marnie Consky  

Sure. So, my products or Thigh Society Slip Shorts are essentially --in the most basic and simple of terms-- they are a long leg boxer brief for women, that's the most simple way I can put it. And the reason that they exist is because women and men --but women in particular, for my product (laughs)-- experienced thigh chafing

 

Thigh chafing is something that happens when your legs rub together, often bare-legged, you might be sweating and through repeated friction, a rash might come about which is extremely painful. I know a lot of people who run will say that they're very familiar with thigh chafing. 

 

So I had a problem, as a woman whose thighs touched and rubbed together in the summer heat. And that I could never go bare-legged wearing just a dress or a skirt. 

 

I always had to have some sort of undergarments underneath what I was wearing. And the challenge --10 years ago-- was finding an undergarment that was essentially basic boxer briefs for women. It did not exist. 

 

My only options were boyshorts, which is how the Victoria’s Secrets of the world will sell or will market underwear with a slightly, slightly bit of a leg, which doesn't actually cover with fabric most people's size. (laughs) 

 

So that wasn't a good solution for me. Or shapewear, which many people are familiar with SPANX. They're long-legged undergarments but they're quite compressing. So they're super tight and they're really not breathable, which makes them extremely uncomfortable and very hot, especially if you can imagine temperatures rising in the summer. 

 

And then the other option was shopping for men's long leg underwear, which is not a great option, because men's underwear has an extra fabric around male parts, etc. And so they weren't necessarily built for or made for a woman's body. 

 

And finally, at the time, the only options too were cutting pantyhose or wearing old bicycle shorts. Biking shorts. Which was my solution at the time. And those are usually made in black, usually pretty thick and heavy. 

 

Usually, they'll show panty lines underneath dresses and whatnot. And so I really was just looking for a pretty simple solution. 

 

I really just wanted... "If men could have their long leg boxer briefs, why couldn't women? Why couldn't we have something that was lightweight, breathable, moisture-wicking to  get rid of all that sweat that was accumulating and causing the rash in the first place and be a one-stop underwear solution?" 

 

So you didn't have to double up on layers like I was doing with my bike shorts. And so essentially that that was the genesis of the idea for the shorts that we make today. 

 

We've gone through a couple of different styles, introduced new fabrics over the years, but fundamentally, the concept was a non-shapewear long leg boxer brief that could prevent thigh chafing for women.

 

Chase Clymer  

Awesome. So you got this idea in your head and you're like, "Alright, this isn't out there." How long were you sitting on it before you were just like, "I'm gonna try this. I'm gonna do this. Let's get some prototypes."

 

Marnie Consky  

Yeah. Great question. So, I, at the time, was doing a short stint in our provincial government and it was the beginning of the summer. And I really distinctly remember this because it was around the time of my birthday, which is in early June. 

 

And it was one of the first warm days of summer, --or technically spring, I guess, by that point-- and I was going for my lunch break, walking downtown and suddenly felt my legs rubbing together and was suddenly reminded of the rash that I had gotten in previous years. 

 

I'd forgotten to put my shorts on because it was one of the first warm days and I hadn't really gotten in the habit yet of wearing them for that summer. And so much of our seasonality here is cold in Toronto, that it was really one of the first warm days. 

 

So literally, as soon as I got back to my desk from that lunch break, I went on online... And this was 2008 at the time, so the internet wasn't... Online shopping capabilities that we have today weren't necessarily there back in the day. 

 

But I did spend some of that, part of that day and then the next few weeks, essentially searching the internet for a long leg short that wasn't shapewear for women. 

 

And I also spend some time going to some of the local boutiques in Toronto, as well as some of our bigger department stores and looking to see if I could find this product that I was looking for. 

 

And online, I was able to find one or two examples of something close to what I was looking for. 

 

But they were only made by companies who were tailoring to specifically a plus-size clientele. So really sizes... I think, if I recall correctly, it's a size 18 plus. 

 

So at the time, I was a size 8 or 10, so that wasn't going to work for me. So I spent the better part of the summer, literally asking every woman I came into contact with whether or not they experienced thigh chafing and what their solutions were. 

 

Because I was really just looking to find out "Maybe someone else knows about a solution that I don't. Maybe some women out here have another idea that already exists, and I just can go and buy that." 

 

So I did spend the remainder... I spent from June through August, essentially continuing my internet searches and speaking to people and ultimately decided at the end of the summer after failing to come up with anything and find anything... 

 

And I'm a pretty good researcher, I have to say. I can go pretty deep (laughs) and do some searches online. And I knew there was really nothing. And so I made the decision in August together with my husband, of course, because we have a mortgage and needed to make sure that this was a realistic possibility. 

 

I actually made the decision to take some time off to fully explore the idea. I wound up going back to full-time work 6 months later, but it was during those 6 months that I spent, again, speaking to everybody I could come into contact with and ask women if they had thigh chafing issues, and then started trying to find out who I knew who had experience in manufacturing, specifically either in garments or in intimates, women's intimates. 

 

And I tend to be a pretty chatty person. So I was telling people at the gym what I was working on. At the time I remember being... 

 

By the way, I know some people are probably wondering, should you share an idea that you have? Or are you worried that someone else is going to copy you? At the time, I remember being cautious that I didn't want to be too vocal about it. 



I didn't want someone to come and run in and "steal my idea". But the reality is, most people don't have time (laughs) if they wanted to copy you. 

 

Chase Clymer  

Oh yeah, absolutely. 

 

Marnie Consky  

Right? You'll have other commitments and no one's running out and like launching your new product the next day. 

 

Chase Clymer  

I want to interrupt you there just to give you some more information on that. So when you're talking [to] a consultant like me on the other end of that... 

 

When it's a startup and they ask for non-disclosure when they reach out to you about their idea, it tells the consultant that they're very new to the game because they don't understand that nobody has time to steal that idea. Nobody's as passionate as you are. 



So that's a word of advice out there. Do you think you have a brilliant idea? No one's gonna work as hard as you are on that idea. And NDAs are pretty hilarious once you look into the legal ramifications of them.

 

I'm not a lawyer. This isn't [legal] advice. Definitely talk to a lawyer. But yeah, NDAs are pretty dumb in this line of work especially for me. I work with Ecommerce brands every day. I can't sign the NDA.

 

Marnie Consky  

Right? Exactly. (laugh) Yeah, totally. So, I think you can be cautious about it. You don't have to spill all of your secret sauce. But giving somebody the basic outline of what you want to do isn't going to be a recipe for a copycat. 

 

Chase Clymer  

Exactly. 

 

Marnie Consky  

Right. So I was fortunate that I was a chatty person. And I happened to work out with a guy who I never knew what he ended up doing. 

 

But when I actually revealed what I was looking to do, which was to build this, make these anti-chafing shorts for women, I found out that he was actually the production manager for Nike --Nike Canada-- for all of their domestic production. So what a great contact to have.

 

So, he had introduced me to a few of his contacts here in Toronto who were amenable to smaller minimum order quantities, which was certainly a concern. 

 

And essentially introduced me to that factory which is where I met a pattern maker and at the time, a really great team who was willing to help me prototype and build what it was that I was looking to do, as I explained it. 

 

Also by that point, I should mention, so I had done a few online surveys and posted in some forums --I guess... I'm not on Reddit now, but they probably would be like the precursors to Reddit-- where I essentially asked in some groups where I thought I would have an audience for this product "If you could wave your magic wand, what are some of the key features of this anti-chafing short would you want? 

 

And so I was able to get [and] collect a lot of feedback from real women, from those informal surveys that I could then take that would help inform my decisions on fabric selection, size range, styles, waist height, leg length and that sort of thing. 

 

And so it was during those 6 months that I was working on the prototype, essentially, I found at the same time for my network, a couple of places here again in Toronto, who would source fabric. 

 

At the time we were... The first product that I launched with was very different from what we make now. It was a cotton sew short made from fabric that we had purchased that had been already produced overseas, and then we brought it to our factory here and would sew it together. 

 

But essentially, working through to get to that first prototype, I had gathered together a group of friends who were my testers, my wear testers, and we would give each of them a few pairs. At the time. It was also l still winter. 

 

Well, it was winter (laughs) if you're in Canada, so I asked some friends if they had friends in hotter US states like in Vegas at the time, in Florida, and shipped off some samples to women over there, so they could actually test the shorts in warm weather and essentially went through a few rounds of prototyping before we landed on the final sizes. 

 

And then that's when we were ready to go into production.

 

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Chase Clymer  

Oh my gosh. So I can just tell from that story that... I understand how you found this success because you inadvertently did everything right. 



First and foremost, you're getting feedback and asking questions from your actual potential customers about the potential product before you made it. That is crucial. 

 

You're out there finding product-market fit, you're out there trying to find the features that are gonna help solve these problems before you even put $1 really down on producing this. That's amazing. Take that away if you're working on a new product. 

 

Ask questions before you make something that's perfect. 

 

And then you're talking to everybody, you're networking, you're trying... Inadvertently, working your way to finding a manufacturer or finding people to help you along your journey to make this product a reality. 

 

You can't usually do this stuff just from your bedroom at your house. You gotta get out there. You got to talk to people. That's where stuff actually happens. 

 

So yeah, that's an amazing journey. Now you did all these prototypes. Now you're sending these prototypes to people for real feedback before you go into a bigger mass order. Again, that's the way that you want to do these things: In small iterations. Don't just go all-in on the first one. 

 

Marnie Consky  

(laughs) Yeah.

 

Chase Clymer  

Because there's probably something wrong with it. (laughs) Yeah, no. That's fantastic. So let's speed up the journey a little bit. 

 

Marnie Consky  

Yeah.

 

Chase Clymer  

So you've got your prototype and you launched. I'm assuming the launch was a fun little part of the story, so let's give that one a few minutes.

 

Marnie Consky  

Okay.  so just to give a sense for timelines, I had the first idea for the product in June of 2008. And we launched with our store online on July, July 15, 2009. So that was the time horizon. 

 

I wish I could say it was this whole "Pop the champagne cork. It's time to launch!" But I was actually in my office (laughs), in my corporate job, coaching MBA students. I hope I don't get in trouble to [tell] this retroactively. And they're like, "Oh, that's what you were doing". But I remember flipping the switch. 

 

So, being at the office with my officemate and her knowing a little bit about what I was doing, but not really because I was focused on my day job when I was there. But I remember thinking I have to launch this during the day, this can't be an evening thing. And then clicking go. 

 

At the time, just to throw something in here, 9 years ago [to] 10 years ago, Shopify was still around. I like to joke that Thigh Society was probably one of the first 100 to 500 stores, actually using the platform. 

 

But back in the day, they hadn't yet expanded into website templates. So, I had been working closely with a developer and a designer to help actually come up with the original website. 

 

Shopify, at the time, was merely the Ecommerce [platform] transacting the purchases, right?

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. 

 

Marnie Consky  

And so, I remember being really excited to have this product launch and obviously holding my breath as everyone does. And wondering "Who's going to buy this? Where are my sales going to come from?" 

 

And in that first couple of weeks, I had already sent some samples out to some bloggers. Because back then, this was pre-Instagram, pre... Facebook, I think, was around. [I don't know if] I'm wrong, but pre the term influencer anyway. Because I knew anyway, at the time, that I needed other people to help spread my message. 

 

That as a solopreneur, I was not going to be able to single-handedly market this product. And also, I don't think Facebook ads at the time were even remotely as big as they have been in the last few years. 

 

And so, I had seen some orders coming in. Also, I remember being really excited about getting one of my first orders from Australia, probably in that first month or so. Which was hugely exciting and very cool because for anyone that has an idea or concept. 

 

When you actually realize that there are strangers out there that aren't your immediate family or friends and friends of friends who are willing to put their hard-earned dollars to purchase something that you created and that you have put out in the market, and then to have them come far-flung places from across the world, That's a really, really cool feeling and that's never gone away for me. 

 

I still get jazzed when I see where our orders are coming from. And the same thing when we get customer feedback about how our product has changed someone's life. Not to sound all dramatic, but it's true. 

 

Our product really gives women the freedom to wear what they want with confidence, whereas before they were forced to either abandon all hopes of wearing a dress in the summer, or they had to squeeze into shapewear or wear a less than perfect solution. 

 

It still gives me... I'd still say I'm as excited as I was during those first few weeks of launching Thigh Society back in July 2009, as I am now. (laughs)

 

Chase Clymer  

Aww. And now let's do a big jump forward. Let's talk about today. Can you share whatever you're comfortable with sharing about.. Just to speak to the success of the brand and how you guys have grown from that initial launch in a boardroom where you probably should have been working?

 

Marnie Consky  

Yeah. I think fundamentally, we, Thigh Society grew in 2 ways. We grew through the help of what is now known as influencers. Although again, back in the day, like I said, I would literally send the product to bloggers, ask them --if they liked it-- to write about it, and then they would write about it and that traffic would be sent to our site and we would get sales. Life was very simple for the first few years. 



Same thing with editors of major media publications, etc. So I think the world has changed a lot in terms of marketing and advertising. And being an influencer, now, is a career path for some people. 

 

We've obviously changed our approach, as time goes on, in terms of investing more in paid advertising, whether that's through collaborations with some influencers, but mainly working on Facebook and Instagram ads, focusing now a little bit more on our email list and building our community

 

But I do think fundamentally, one of the... Maybe it's our secret sauce, I don't know. We presented our customers with a solution to a problem that they had from day 1 and a solution to a problem that many women were shy or embarrassed to talk about because they felt like they were the only ones with this problem or they felt ashamed of their body because their thighs chafed. 

 

So we were talking about body positivity, literally since day one. Because this product, I think it's... I used to say it was a really niche product. 

 

But now as time has evolved and some other companies have started doing some similar versions, people are coming out of the woodwork and saying... 

 

People of all sizes, women, and men saying, "Hey, this is a real problem. And this has nothing to do with what you weigh or what your size is. This is an unfortunate problem of the human body." 

 

So I think, I've always tried to take the approach of being very real with our marketing and very matter of fact. Taking the stigma out of size choosing and being a little bit light-hearted with our messages and our marketing.

 

I think a lot of that's maybe in line with my personality. I happen to love a good pun. (laughs) I love laughing.  I like to have a good time and have fun. 

 

And I wanted to bring some of that light-heartedness to the brand, for a problem that can be quite serious, and it's very painful. 

 

But [it] give[s] women the freedom to be able to say, "You know what, there's no shame in this. This is a totally normal problem. And here's a product that's going to solve my problem." 

 

So I think that has carried over in all of our marketing efforts over the years and that has been what sustained us as a brand. Not to mention, obviously, the quality of our products and how they perform and do the job we say they're going to do. So...

 

Chase Clymer  

So, I normally ask people that are on [the podcast], coming with a founder's approach what the[ir] biggest win is. But obviously yours is just having an amazing product idea. I think that might be the biggest win. So let's do the flip side of that. 

 

Marnie Consky  

Mm-hmm.

 

Chase Clymer  

What was the biggest stumbling point in building the brand over those 10 years? What would you want to help avoid other entrepreneurs from doing when building their business?

 

Marnie Consky  

Oh. They're probably so many. I'm trying to think of one that would be the most value add. Um... So I think... Okay, a couple of things. I think anyone can learn anything, I will say that. 

 

So what I mean by that is if I didn't believe that I could learn about Ecommerce and learn about how to manufacture a product, I would have just thrown in the towel before this became anything. 

 

So believe that you can access the information that you need in order to get better. But you also have to be interested in what you're doing in order to keep going. 

 

Because, like I said at the beginning, --especially at the beginning when you're a solopreneur-- you can't really lean on other people to do the work for you. And again, we didn't talk about this, but Thigh Society has been self-funded since day one. 

 

And I was just very passionate, for me, about not wanting to owe money, not wanting to go out and raise millions of dollars in capital because it just wasn't helping me how I wanted to run my business. But I was very clear on that from the beginning. 

 

And I knew, for me, what that would mean. And that would mean slower growth, that would mean taking on more of the responsibilities at first by myself rather than being able to hire out and grow a big team. 

 

And being more cautious with the growth in terms of inventory that I could purchase. So I would say, being very clear about some of those things when you're first starting out is important. Because you're not going to go from zero sales to $100,000 in sales, or whatever your goals are for your first few years, it's not going to happen overnight. 

 

And then secondly, I would say I guess maybe related to that is I was often given advice... Everyone likes to give advice, especially to new entrepreneurs. (laughs) I'm giving it right now. But I think you have to start... 

 

Again, stay true to what you believe will work best for you. And so to give an example, in my case, many people when I first started were suggesting that I could not achieve success with just one product. And we, right now, have on the site, we sell 2 products with 2 different rises. And we have several more in the pipeline that we're launching this spring. 

 

But for the better half of the first 6 years, I had one product. I had one slip short that I offered at the time in 4 sizes. And people would look at me like I was crazy. "You have to expand!" and "Why don't you make tank tops?" And "Why don't you do different leggings?" 

 

And people were telling me that I wouldn't achieve any sort of success especially with wholesale, which I actually didn't end up pursuing. They said, "You're never going to be able to get people to continue to buy if you only have one product." 

 

And I said, "What I'd like to do is become really, really, really, really good at one thing, build an audience from that and then start expanding my product line." 

 

So I'd like to do something really well, make a product that is really competitive in the market, that really does what it says it does, and then as I learn through hearing from customers about what they want, that's when I'll start to introduce new products. 

 

Rather than just throw[ing] all caution to the wind and just go out with a full product line which some people do and are very successful at, but I wasn't willing to take on that risk. 

 

So I would say I kept... I stayed true to myself and how I felt which was, for me, the right thing to do in terms of how I wanted to grow and run the business was really sticking to that 1 product or 2 products to start and to grow very slowly, in spite of what people were saying.

 

So I don't know if that answers the question.

 

Chase Clymer  

Oh. No, it does.

 

Marnie Consky

(laughs)

 

Chase Clymer  

That's a great answer. I respect the one product, just a small product catalog from a marketing perspective. 

 

It's easier to write one story and have that be put across all of your channels versus imagine having a product catalog in the hundreds or thousands. How are you going to? 

 

There's no time in the day to write 100 different stories or 1000 different stories and build a funnel that makes sense for that. 

 

But when it's small, you can really hone in on it and press the right buttons and really tell the right story that's really gonna help with your sales.

 

Marnie Consky  

(laughs)

 

Marnie Consky  

For sure. And also learning. The more SKUs you have, the more of a world of hurt that you're in, especially when you're dealing with different sizes. 

 

For me, I have to really be very deliberate in my forecasting and try to guesstimate based on what sold last year, what sizes and what colors and what styles... 

 

And if you were to jump in right away and try to do all of that at once, I chose to take a slower direction to learn as I went. I don't know, maybe I would speed things up if I was starting the business again now, but I don't know that it would look drastically different.

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah.  I think one thing I see all the time with young entrepreneurs just the way that they present their product line on --say Shopify or whatever your store is. It doesn't really matter-- they maybe don't buy into, per se, the expanded product line. 

 

But there's oftentimes I see a bunch of... I see this so much. They'll have their core product, and then they'll have all the ancillary stuff that goes along with it, like value adds or "You're going to need to replace this and that over time." Whatever. 

 

But when I get to the website, I'm confused. What should I buy first? What is your product? What is the MVP? That should be front and center. Everything else should be tucked back...

 

Marnie Consky  

Mm-hmm.

 

Chase Clymer  

..so I'm not confused. Because (laughs) once you confused me, you've lost that sale. 

 

Marnie Consky  

Totally. Yeah, keeping it simple. We often forget, as entrepreneurs, what it's like to be on the other side. Whenever I'm not sure how to approach a problem, I always think about it from the perspective of my consumer. 

 

What is she thinking? What is she looking [for]? How is she looking at this site? How could she be interpreting this story? And that sort of thing.

 

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely. Now, is there anything that I haven't asked you today that you think would be worthwhile sharing with the audience?

 

Marnie Consky  

I would say maybe, I wanted to touch upon another guiding principle that I've had since day one. And that's to focus on our customers. And I think that is something that every entrepreneur should have, top of mind. 

 

I remember years and years ago reading Tony Hsieh’s book, who is the CEO of Zappos, and he had a book all about how Zappos approached customer service. And this was back when what they were doing was pretty revolutionary. 

 

And I remember some chapters that stood out to me where employees were given --at Zappos-- were given the discretion to go above and beyond for their customers, to surprise and delight. And one example is, I think someone wrote in that they had a problem with their shoes, but they were... 

 

They couldn't return them because they had a funeral to go to. And the customer service rep essentially, sent them a sympathy card or something. Another one was where they delivered a pizza to someone's house. The memories are…

 

Sorry, I'm a little fuzzy on the details, but I remember reading that book and thinking "Holy crap!" 

 

Sorry. I don't know if I can say that on your podcast. 

 

(laughs) Thinking "Wow! That is amazing! What kind of customer experience is that?" If I were that customer at Zappos, I would just be blown away by the fact that a corporate, that a big company would treat me that way. And it really impacted me. 

 

And I also am very passionate about customer service in my day-to-day. I'm very conscious when I'm at a restaurant or at a store, what kind of service I'm receiving. I like to pay attention to those details. 

 

And so, for me, I carry that forward into the business and my customer service team knows that. And then we all... 

We play by those rules, which is, we want to make our customer happy. And I should point out we have a product that is women's underwear. So for hygiene reasons, we can't really take returns on this product. 

 

But that shouldn't preclude us from being able to have satisfied customers who want to keep shopping with us and coming back for more. 

 

And so, fundamentally with everything that we do in terms of how we communicate, whether it's through, customer service tickets or through social media or email, we always try to make the customer feel like we are there to help her solve her problem. 

 

And I don't see how you can go wrong with that. I know, some people will say, "Yeah. But there are sometimes some bad eggs out there and they may try to take advantage of you, and get free stuff or get discounts." And to that, I would say, "Yeah, there probably are some people out there that try that, but they're not in the majority." 

 

And especially with our customers, we have the most incredible customers, who share their feedback, who write reviews for our products, who comment on our posts. 

 

And we want to continue to help foster that community and make them feel like we're... Yes. we're a brand. But we're also a brand that you can be yourself with, and that you can have a conversation with, and get a response that's personalized and not robotic. 

 

In that, we're going to go above and beyond to make sure that all of our customers are satisfied. And I think that's something that every entrepreneur could do well, to keep in mind. 

 

As well as, tacked on to that, is recognizing that in all of our marketing efforts, we want to make sure our customers are represented. 

 

So, back to my earlier point about body positivity, we are conscious that all of our creative when we are posting --whether we're doing photo shoots and posting shots from that or lifestyle shoots-- that we make sure that we have different body types represented, different ages, different abilities, different ethnicities because our customers represent that array. 

 

And so we want to make sure that we're obviously continuing to represent them in our marketing, too.

 

Chase Clymer  

That's some sage advice right there. 

 

Marnie Consky  

(laughs)

 

Chase Clymer  

There's a whole lot of gold there. Honestly, I love talking to the app community. I love talking to other experts. But anytime I'm talking to founders on this show, it's just so much gold.

 

Marnie Consky  

I'm glad. (laughs)

 

Chase Clymer  

Awesome. Marnie, thank you so much for coming on the show.

 

Marnie Consky  

Thank you for having me. I've enjoyed it.

 

Chase Clymer  

I cannot thank our guests enough for coming on the show and sharing their journey and knowledge with us today. We've got a lot to think about and potentially add to our businesses. Links and more information will be available in the show notes as well. 

 

If anything in this podcast resonated with you and your business, feel free to reach out and learn more at electriceye.io/connect. Also, make sure you subscribe and leave an amazing review. Thank you!