JoAnna - Name Bubbles
Michelle: Hi, everyone. Thanks for joining us again on From The Basement Up. And today is actually a fun episode. I'm going to be speaking to an employee, Joanna, and Joanna's going to be answering some questions. And this really kind of shows the culture of the company, the culture of Name Bubbles. And Joanna's been with me a long, long time. So she did customer service for many, many years, and she really knows the heart of the company. As the company's grown and evolved, Joanna's actually moving into more of a project manager role, a leadership role, and I'm really just excited for you all to meet her since she's been with me for gosh, close to 10 years now. And I'm just really thrilled that Joanna's still with me today, and she's just really part of the heartbeat of the company. And I'm looking forward to hearing what she has to share with you all on From The Basement Up. Hey.
Joanna Schwartz: Am I the first person that had to do this so far?
Michelle: You are.
Joanna Schwartz: I'm the guinea pig, I love it.
Michelle: You are the guinea pig. So Emily has done it with me, but I'm just excited.
Joanna Schwartz: This is fun.
Michelle: This is so fun.
Joanna Schwartz: Do you want me to look that way or at you?
Michelle: No, probably the more that we're looking at each other, it just feels more natural. So I'm going to be looking at my list. So are we recording?
Speaker 3: We are recording.
Michelle: Okay. This is usually what I do and Emily laughs, so usually when I make a mistake, I do that and it's like the fairy from Mary Poppins clears it all away.
Joanna Schwartz: Perfect.
Michelle: Okay. So welcome to From The Basement Up, I have various employees coming in to interview. So really the point of this is so everybody can kind of see the culture of the company and meeting everybody and hearing from them. So I have a few fun questions and a few questions that are a little bit more serious, but please I'd love you to meet Joanna. So Joanna, if you could introduce yourself.
Joanna Schwartz: Yes. Hi, I'm Joanna Schwartz. I am the Business Development Manager at Name Bubbles. Did you want me to describe that as well?
Michelle: No, actually that's okay. But Joanna has been with the company for how many years?
Joanna Schwartz: I will be 10 years this December.
Michelle: Yay. And Joanna spent how many years in customer service?
Joanna Schwartz: About eight.
Michelle: Okay. And I have to tell everybody that customer service is very important at Name Bubbles. And it's also, I think the hardest job. So Joanna did it for eight years and she did a stellar, stellar job, so happy. And I just, I guess my first question is with, this would make sense since you were in customer service, what was the biggest changes you've experienced at Name Bubbles while you've been here?
Joanna Schwartz: Oh yeah, that's a fun one. So actually, if I think about the changes that I've seen, it's just going from the different departments. And I started in production when I came in my first year. So it was actually working on the printers and then moving into customer service. And then now helping more on the business side and marketing and just seeing all the different facets of the company has been really exciting.
Michelle: That's great. And so everybody knows production is actually where you make the labels. So Joanna came into the company, actually making the labels, and now she is on the marketing side and doing a lot of design work as well. So a lot of the designs you see in the labels, those are Joanna's. So by the way, what is your favorite design?
Joanna Schwartz: I have to say it's a toss up between the penguins and the llamas. I think the llamas win.
Michelle: The llamas win and both are very, very popular. And Joanna did both of those designs, so thank you so much, Joanna. I have a quick question. What was your first day on the job like? The first day at Name Bubbles?
Joanna Schwartz: So I remember thinking this company was fake because I didn't think Name Bubbles was real. It sounded so different than where I'd come from before, I came from a different company. Yeah, I don't think I can say what company it was.
Michelle: Yeah don't, let's avoid that.
Joanna Schwartz: Yeah, but it was very manual labor, I'll just say that. So coming in, I thought I was coming, I actually didn't know what I was walking into. And my first day, everyone was so welcoming, so inviting and I was also slightly scared of the printers just because they're such delicate machines. So it was really a lot of learning and I had no idea I was in for, but walking out on my first day, I just felt like I had a whole new group of friends that were going to teach me all these cool, new things about a portion of life that I didn't even know existed.
Michelle: I love that. And just so everyone knows, Joanna's background at the time, getting out of college, you did have some managing experience at that other business, I do remember that.
Joanna Schwartz: Yeah. So I managed a local store here in Saratoga. It was, I guess I can say gift basket delivery.
Michelle: Yes. And I thought that was great. So I was thrilled with that. And then the other thing is when I'm seeing people come in to work at Name Bubbles, seeing their background, knowing that they can be flexible and knowing that it is kind of hands on in learning and this was a perfect fit for you.
Joanna Schwartz: Oh, absolutely. My background, I graduated with an art degree and so it was always something I wanted to do. And here it was just, like I said, you're learning new things and everyone was such a cool group too. So you just wanted to be a part of everything and soak up everything like a sponge.
Michelle: Thank you, that's awesome. That's great to hear, but we do have amazing, nice people here. So I love it. I want to ask a difficult question, a hard question. What advice would you give other business owners about their employees?
Joanna Schwartz: I think the biggest advice I would give, would be to talk to them in a non business like... So almost when you're brainstorming ideas, not necessarily to come from a business approach, but just kind of really just getting to know what's going on in their lives and maybe getting almost ways to approach things from a different angle, from a different point of view. And just, I think we do that well here where it's, we all sit around the table and we just kind of shoot ideas out and not necessarily with a plan in place sometimes. But I think it's just really, you can come up with some really good ideas just from really tangent brainstorming, I guess. I don't know if that makes sense.
Michelle: Okay. No, that makes sense. It's funny, because actually we are doing something called traction and Joanna is our integrator now. So we have actually a system in place now that for many years, there was a lot of brainstorming and I did take us off on wild tangents quite a bit.
Joanna Schwartz: Yeah, you definitely did. But I think now we know how to harness those ideas a little bit.
Michelle: Yes. Well the team is now kind of grabbing the strings and grounding the ones that make sense. So it is quite fun. If Name Bubbles was an animal, what would it be and what characteristics do you see between the animal and the company?
Joanna Schwartz: Okay, so this might come a little morbid. But I was thinking of those geckos that lose their tails because I think that whenever we hit a roadblock where a lot of people would of like," Oh my God, my tail got chopped off. I have to stop." But I think we're just so good at evolving and finding a different channel or really just continuing on and persevering.
Michelle: I like that. I can read that into survival instincts.
Joanna Schwartz: Yeah. So I know it sounds really dark, but it's really something I think we've done here or you hit these really big blocks sometimes and we just keep going and we regrow our tail.
Michelle: I love that. Actually, that's really kind of cool. Well, it's not even instinct. It's a survival mechanism, that's pretty cool. I like that. I was not expecting that, but that's pretty cool. What is the biggest life lesson you've learned from your time at Name Bubbles?
Joanna Schwartz: My biggest life lesson I think is to be patient and to go with the flow. I might not always see things the way you do, but I got to go with that flow so I can see the end of it.
Michelle: I like that. That's actually good.
Joanna Schwartz: Yeah. I think sometimes we get so narrow minded with," This is my job, this is my project." And sometimes we just have to look at it differently and say," I just got to go and trust the process," and we've had some really great results out of that.
Michelle: Yeah. Well it's interesting because I do think the team has a great amount of focus, which is good. So once we get going, there is a lot of focus. So it sounds like some flexibility in there is a good thing, so I love that. In one word, describe Name Bubbles and why?
Joanna Schwartz: I guess I could say evolving, because we've changed so much from when I started in that print room so many years ago and just the huge changes that we've made over the years and the growth that we've had is I would say evolving, really to describes us.
Michelle: Do you think that, that also now describes you as well?
Joanna Schwartz: Yes. I think I've really changed a lot since. I was thinking about it, I was 23 when I started and I'm 33 now.
Michelle: Yeah. Well and your life, as it changed and evolved and you're a mom now and we get to hear... I love Joanna's son. I'm not going to say his name, but he's amazing, and he's kind of our mascot here, so he's fantastic. And he allows us to take pictures of him and have him on the website and he's kind of our little model.
Joanna Schwartz: Oh yeah. He talks about everyone here like you're all part of our family.
Michelle: Sweet, love it and I love hearing how he's putting Name Bubbles all around the house too.
Joanna Schwartz: Oh yeah. Labeling everything.
Michelle: So if you could change one thing in the company, what would it be?
Joanna Schwartz: If I could change one thing, well, I don't know if it would be realistic, but it would be to give us all more time. I would love to make it a 48 hour day.
Michelle: I know. But time is the most, I think valuable asset we all have or the most valuable item. So yeah, that would be nice. So if there was one thing you could change?
Joanna Schwartz: So if one thing I could change, I think it would be actually being able to, like I mentioned, those brainstorming ideas. If we could all really bring some of them to life. I know some people in operations and production and customer service, we all have such really grand ideas and projects and things like that. It'd be really great if we could actually incorporate those a little bit more.
Michelle: Okay. I like that. So I'm learning here. This is good. I am jotting this down, so I love this. Let's see here. What do you feel is the most important thing to remember at work?
Joanna Schwartz: I think it's to breathe. And to breathe and really again, go with the flow and just really make sure that what you're focusing on is accomplishing things and not distracting and really just going with that flow and getting things crossed off that to- do list.
Michelle: I Agree. I definitely agree. So because you've been in customer service and Joanna has talked to more of our customers than anybody. And so you've heard the awesome stories, the great stories, but I guess my first question is, what's the most creative way you've seen Name Bubbles used?
Joanna Schwartz: So the most creative, I was so impressed with these moms that would take our write on labels and actually label every portion of their kids' lunch to help them remember everything, from the morning snack to the lunch boxes, incorporating cute little thank you notes or not thank you notes, I love you notes on their kids' lunches. I just always thought it was so sweet how they have that touch point in their kids' day.
Michelle: I love that. Would you consider that your most favorite customer service story or do you have other customer service stories?
Joanna Schwartz: I have quite a few. It was hard to pick one.
Michelle: Oh, I want to hear one.
Joanna Schwartz: My favorite one was we had, it's a little long, so I'll try to go quickly with it. There was this sweet lady who called and she just wanted to tell us a story that had happened at home. And I guess she was labeling her son's college gear and she had left some labels out on the counter for him to label his iPad, his tech gear and things like that. And she came home and she couldn't find the labels. And she was so impressed that all his stuff was labeled. And then she's talking to her son and nothing's labeled and she can't find her dog at the same time. And her dog had taken the labels and as dogs are curious, he had kind of chewed them and gotten them kind of stuck to his paws.
Michelle: Oh my gosh.
Joanna Schwartz: So she really wanted to call and just share this funny dog shaming post that she had made on Facebook.
Michelle: So just so everyone knows, I remember seeing this. You had printed it out and put it up on our fridge.
Joanna Schwartz: Yes. She asked if she could send us a photo and I said," Please send me that photo." I couldn't care what I was working on that day, I wanted to see a cute dog.
Michelle: I think it's hilarious. And just so everybody knows, Joanna is awesome. And she would always ask for photos. So we've gotten some cute photos over the years. So the dog did make it up to our fridge and we had the dog up on our fridge for a while. And I remember, I think my favorite one that you shared with me was the little boy who wanted to be the superhero.
Joanna Schwartz: Yes. We every so often, we get people who are shopping for designs and they can't quite find what they're looking for. And there was this little boy who I think it was Lightning Bolt Hero or some sort of playtime activity that he had had. And the mom really wanted to get these lightning bolt labels to match this personality that he had at home. So our whole team rallied together and actually created a lightning bolt icon in I would say under a day, it was the fastest time we've ever gotten something up on the website. And she was thrilled that she could tell her son the good news of there was a lightning bolt just for him.
Michelle: I loved it. It was so cute. So the icon made it in the lightning bolt icon-
Joanna Schwartz: And we still have it too. I think we actually made it a shape label too. So it'll always live on.
Michelle: I know. I love that. I thought that was great. So what advice would you give your boss?
Joanna Schwartz: Well, you're sitting right here.
Michelle: Don't worry. I don't get mad.
Joanna Schwartz: No, you're totally fine. I think it would be, and I mean this with the best of heart, but just, I love all the ideas. It's just maybe we stick to 10 a week. Maybe we put a cap on them sometimes.
Michelle: Yeah. I actually think they probably have a tally somewhere, a little notepad of Michelle's wacky ideas. So, I really do and so can you imagine being married to me and coming home to something like this every day? It's pretty exhausting, I do know that. But yeah, no, it's true. And it's funny because I have creative people around me and you're one of them. So people come up with ideas or concepts and I'm like," Oh my God, that's a great idea. We could do this with it." And then it's this great little idea blows up to this giant project. And I can tell people are like," Oh, what was I thinking? Why did I tell Michelle?"
Joanna Schwartz: There was a couple times where in a meeting I'm like," Oh no, I said something out loud."
Joanna Schwartz: Or you can see the looks of someone across the table, like," Why did you that?"
Michelle: Exactly. So advice for a boss is maybe to write things down, take note, see what can be done and then stick things in priority bins. Would that it?
Joanna Schwartz: Maybe. I think we need to just get you a vision board of some sort.
Michelle: Yeah. That's a good idea. I like that. Oh, wow. I've got Emily over there clapping. Vision board, I love that. I'm writing that down. So I am going to ask, if Name Bubbles was a superhero, what would its power be?
Joanna Schwartz: It would be the never give up person. The person that will never give up, or I should say the superhero that never gives up, that just keeps going, no matter what. Yeah, no matter what roadblock we hit, like I said before, and we're always evolving. It's just, we keep going.
Michelle: I love it. So I always tell people in I say like," Get your grit on, just grit, just dig in and make it happen." And I really do believe that's something that we just have to do, especially at this last couple years, with COVID. So just get your grit on and make it happen. And the team here is really good with that. I do. I think everybody does do that. So I like that. I'm actually writing that down and just dig in, but I'm sitting here going, I feel like we've kind of gone through this pretty fast and what's the most important thing you've learned here at Name Bubbles?
Joanna Schwartz: Important thing I've learned. It would kind of circle back to being that patient and going with the flow. Again, it would really just trust the process and just trusting the process and you might not know what the end result is going to be, but we have a really strong team and with strong people, we can make amazing things happen. Yeah, I think we really have a good group here that will always try to work to make that vision come true.
Michelle: It really is a great group and people have been here, gosh, you're 10 years. There's a lot of people approaching 10 years actually. So it's quite remarkable. And you guys, you act like a family, so it's great. So is there any questions you wanted to ask me? And I didn't want to put you on the spot or anything you wanted to say.
Joanna Schwartz: No, I don't have anything specific. What's your favorite Name Bubbles memory?
Michelle: Oh gosh. I've got a lot. I feel like we're making memories all the time. This is funny, but it's actually now it's the Christmas parade that we just did. I came in from that Christmas parade, so Ballston Spa where we're at, has this great Santa parade. And I am embarrassed to say, I have never taken part in this. I've never had the company take part in this. And it was the cutest thing, all these little floats that were lit up and it's thousands of kids all around. And that was such a cool memory. So we had our little car and we decorated it and we were handing up candy canes and we were blowing bubbles and blowing bubbles out of the car. And it was so cute and I can't wait until next year to make it even better. So I feel like there's really great memories being done a lot. And I'm really trying to celebrate the wins and celebrate those accomplishments. Especially now, after the last couple years, I kind of felt like for a while it was so into getting things done and working and making things happen and just pushing and pushing forward, rather than taking the time to make those memories and make those fun things happen. So I really do feel like now that we're back together again, there's this renewed thing of really enjoying our time together. And I always did enjoy the time together, but now I really want to celebrate and really celebrate and make sure that we are really appreciative of what we have here, because I feel like we have an amazing community and I'm really happy. But thank you so much for crosstalk for coming in.
Joanna Schwartz: Absolutely. Thanks for having me. I love being the guinea pig.
Michelle: Yes. I guess. She is the first person to come in. But really what I'm trying to do is inspire people to start their own business, small business owners and really what you're creating, you get to build what you want to live in and you get to build what you want to be in. So you get to have awesome people like Joanna, come be part of that culture. So if you were to say anything to a new business owner out there, or even become one yourself, because I know you guys are starting to kind of dabble in that, is there any kind of words of wisdom you would have for anybody?
Joanna Schwartz: Just don't give up, keep going. And I think you actually said it perfectly with celebrating the wins. They could be super small, but you set a goal for yourself and if you can get to that goal, even if it's something of I just want to be featured locally or something like that. How do you get there and then celebrate that win. So I think it's really good.
Michelle: I love that. Thank you, Joanna.
Joanna Schwartz: Absolutely. Thanks for having me.
Michelle: Yes. Thanks for coming to From The Basement Up. Thanks so much for listening and don't forget to leave a review and hit five stars and the subscribe button for weekly Thursday episodes on From The Basement Up.
We learn about JoAnna's excitement to learn, grow, and grit, and how she brought that with her to Name Bubbles.
- Though we can’t change how much time we have in a day, we can change how we spend our time.
- Incorporate brainstorm sessions to your daily work life, that way you can figure out in a fun way what might be the best thing to focus on bringing to life
- Find your to-do list and routine and go with the flow through it!