Amy - Name Bubbles
Michelle: Isn't that the best?
Amy: That's awesome.
Michelle: It's so great. So welcome to From The Basement Up and we are doing our employee series. So I am interviewing everybody or a few employees from Name Bubbles, and we're doing some fun questions. There are some more serious questions, but mostly fun. And really just to kind of show the culture of our company. So I have Amy with me and Amy, why don't you introduce yourself?
Amy: Hi everyone. My name is Amy and I am a production supervisor here at Name Bubbles, and I am six years... Going on six years here.
Michelle: Yep. And can you tell everybody what a production supervisor does?
Amy: Yes. So there's many responsibilities, including just making sure that all the orders are being pushed out on a daily basis, that inventory is done weekly, making sure we have all the supplies we have on hand and what we need to reorder or restock, in charge of making the schedules and making sure that everyone knows what time their shifts are every week, and in which station they're assigned to every week, just keeping things organized, detailed, communicating with the staff and also with customer service.
Michelle: Perfect. And Amy is very organized. So she's fabulous.
Amy: Thank you.
Michelle: And how has it been during COVID and all the materials and supplies? Have you guys... I just want to hear it from you.
Amy: It's been stressful at times, very overwhelming. Just not knowing exactly when it's going to arrive, because things have been pushed back continuously. And then when we're getting close to our small amount of roles that we have, material and laminate, we're being more lenient on what to reprint or what to send out, but we got through it, we got through it, thankfully to everyone who's been communicative here from customer service, from with you and emailing companies back and forth, and just keeping a positive attitude. I think that's the most important thing, because nobody wants to come into work and just miserable and then spreading that, it becomes infectious. So as long as you keep them around there and you remind everyone that everything's going to be okay, to stay cool, everything's going to work out and it always does in the end. So yeah, it's the most important.
Michelle: No, I love that. And it's good. And it keeps people wanting to come to work too. So I just want to go back a little bit in time. And what was your first day on the job like here?
Amy: Okay. So my first day, it's funny, so I found a temp position on Craigslist. This is how I found Name Bubbles. And when I came in, supposedly I was the last hire for the temp. This was beginning of August so that... Yeah, I remember. And so I was interviewed and then as soon as everything went okay, she said," Okay, you can work right now if you want." I'm like," Oh, I could?" So this was almost afternoon, and I remember I was wearing flats and a skirt. I was like business attire. And, I think, a blazer at the time. And she's like," Yeah," and I'm like," Okay." And then I remember just working for the rest of the day. So it was a four- hour shift. So I would just, right in there. I remember that. Yeah.
Michelle: Okay. So this was obviously during our high season. And so you got to experience what that was like.
Michelle: And just so everyone knows, Name Bubbles is seasonal. We are a seasonal business and the majority of our orders come in for camp season, and then back to school. When kids are going to daycare, that is year round. But we have a majority of our orders between that, I guess, four months, there is a huge bulk of our orders. So, I also wanted to ask you, what was it like this year?
Amy: This year just... Oh, which was the most challenging, because we never experienced like this ever.
Amy: Yeah. I'm just speechless. I don't even know how we got through it, to be honest with you. It was just, it was intense. The only thing I could think of was just intensity and just keeping my cool and just reminding myself and my colleagues," It's okay. Breathe, it's all right," even though every day is just more and more and more. But we got through it, I still don't know how.
Michelle: I know. So everybody knows what happened. It was amazing. It truly was amazing. So we had triple the amount of orders this summer in August. It truly was triple the amount of normal. We had to turn off our advertising. We had to... And really, it was like SEO and word of mouth. And SEO is people finding us on the search engine and those were not our ads. So these orders were just flooding in and really, the team, at first, it was all hands on deck, and then we couldn't hire extra people. There was COVID going around, obviously it's in the time of COVID. So we were concerned about having people come in and we just didn't know, and we didn't want to have people really close side by side. And people, everybody here is vaccinated and at the time, we were wearing masks. So we were just really trying to be careful, making sure no one would get sick, but the team, you guys are amazing. And it was so very stressful. So the team got through it, but I'll tell you, I feel like things changed. I feel like it was all hands on deck to the point of we were going to go under. People, it was like survival mode. And I don't mean to be so intense about this, but truly, I was really worried about burnout. And that was something, I was worried about losing some of the team, just because of how many orders we had and that stress of getting the orders out. So did you feel like that was possibly happening?
Amy: Oh, it happened, yes. I remember this because I did burn out. I hit a wall, I want to say July. And at that time, I think I was on average 60 hours a week, and I just remembered where I was like," I can't do this anymore." When we come in, we sacrifice a lot, especially during the summer season, so we know what we're getting into. But this summer was completely different. We never experienced this before. And I just remember saying," Okay, I have to find a balance." Yes, I need to put in as much as I can and we need to still survive as a company. But at the same time, I want to make sure that I'm okay, that my mental health is okay. That I'm getting enough sleep, I'm getting enough rest. And also, my colleagues too. I want to make sure that everyone is good as well. And so after I hit that wall, it took a couple weeks until I finally found the balance and the healthy balance was 50, 55 hours a week and that's including the weekend. So, I think it was like every Saturday and then every other started just dwindling down a little bit. And then once I got the rhythm of that, I was much better.
Michelle: Yeah. And that is great for me to hear too. I mean, it was really scary because we had customers who were not happy with us. We went from a three to five- day turnaround to a 21- day turnaround. And truly our customer service, they were walking into 2000 emails asking where their orders were. So it was really hard to address a lot of concerns. And that was a really scary, scary, scary experience. It was a great problem to have, but it truly was a problem, because customer service is so important. And then also balancing making sure the team is going to be okay at the end of the day. So, just thank you so much for all of your hard work. You guys are amazing. You're amazing. And I'm glad we got through that, I really am. So we are getting prepared for next year, that's not going to happen again. So I just have some... I have one hard question I wanted to ask you before we get to a fun question.
Michelle: What advice would you give other business owners about their employees?
Amy: I would say, because I feel this way with you, I feel like business owners should be more personable. Like you should really get to know your employees, because it matters. Before working with you, because I've worked so many odds and ends jobs and I never felt valued. I always felt like I'm either a number or just a person just making money for them, and then that was it. And I feel like with you, and because we're a small company that we're growing, we're growing at a great pace too, I feel like you care and that's important. Wants to feel appreciated and valued in life in general, and being that work is a big chunk of your life and who you work with is pretty much your family now. That's where you spend most of your time. And just knowing that you care and that you actually take time to just talk to us just to even be like," Hey, how was your weekend?" Or just getting to know us and your generosity is super important and that makes us happy. And then it makes us want to come to work, and want to do our job and do it at the best that we can. And I think that more business owners should really start doing that if they haven't yet, like care and get to know your employees.
Michelle: Yeah. Well it's a huge... The employees make Name Bubbles. I mean, I couldn't do any of this without this amazing team of people. And I love that so many people have been here for a number of years and you all support each other and you guys do things even on the weekends together in a social aspect. I also like that everybody seems to have, maybe not in the summertime, but more of that work- life balance. And actually, congratulations on buying a house this year.
Amy: Thank you.
Michelle: That's amazing. So, good for you.
Amy: Thank you.
Michelle: So, but I like that advice truly, because the community that has been created here is because of the employees and I feel like everybody lives the values that we try to embrace and look out for one another. And as you said, first off, just being positive. And I really do enjoy coming into the office and that's a really amazing thing, and I'm always hoping other people feel the same way. So okay, now a fun question. If Name Bubbles was an ice cream flavor, what would it be?
Amy: I would have to say cotton candy, only because it's so colorful and it's tasty. Yeah, that's that's my first thought.
Michelle: Okay. I like that. That's fun. Okay. Now what do you feel is the most important thing to remember at work?
Amy: That, and I have to remind myself this, especially during busy season, work is not my life. Okay. I have a life outside of work. Work should stay at work. There is more to life than just making money and yes, you spend the pretty much the vast majority of your day at work, but it's important that you still have a social life, that you take care of yourself, that you go on vacation, that you connect with your friends, you talk to your family, because as everybody knows, life isn't guaranteed. One day, God is going to need you. So when you're on your death bed, you're not going to look back and say," Oh man, I wish I worked 40 more hours." No, you're not. You're going to say," I should have been there for my son's baseball game."" I should have gotten married."" I should have had kids."" I should have gone to Aruba." Those are the moments that you will regret. So work is not your entire life.
Michelle: I like that. So you're making that work- life balance, just making sure it is part of who you are and that's huge. You have to do that. You have to recharge your batteries, so I definitely agree with that a hundred percent. So I have one interesting question. What is the most challenging thing your boss ever had you do? I think I know the answer to this, but I'm just curious what you'll say.
Amy: Well, see, the only thing I can think of was a couple years ago, it was just doing those calls for-
Michelle: Reaching out?
Amy: Yes, yes, yes. Because I don't like to really talk on the phone. I'm a people's person, but on the phone I get very nervous, and it never goes away.
Amy: But that's the only thing I can think of. What were you thinking of?
Michelle: I had a feeling, it was just going to be during the high season, grinding through the long hours of August. That's what I had a feeling, because you are so personable and I always... I'm not good on the phone either. I'm not good at that. I love talking to people, but I'm not good on the phone. So that's interesting that you told me that. And some people love it and they're good at it and they're comfortable with it. So I completely understand what you're saying. But that's good. Next time, if I ever have you do something, you have to tell me like," I don't like this. I'm not going to do this."
Michelle: So you have to tell me.
Amy: And I love the busy season. Like Michelle, August is my favorite time because I like to constantly move. That's why I'm always on Kirk usually, where we're doing multiple things at the time same time, customer service, iron- ons, labels, reprints, I love it. And I feel like I thrive in that and everyone back there knows that too. And so again, it's just finding that balance of how many hours a week before I burn out. And then it's like," I have to take vacation. Let me go away for five days and I come back." But I love busy season.
Michelle: You are great at multitasking. And by the way, so everybody knows, when she says," When I'm on Kirk," that is the printer, and it is Spock and Kirk, and that is the reprint area and specialty area. When things need to be redone, it is that person that's going to jump on it and multitask and get things out the door for customer service or whomever might need something. But yes, we do name all of our printers. So I love that that's your favorite station too. Okay, so if Name Bubbles was an animal, what would it be and what characteristics do you see between the animal and the company?
Amy: So I thought of two things, but only one animal is weird. So I thought of a peacock only, again, because it's colorful. It's nothing else besides that. It's colorful and it's beautiful. And then I can't really think of another animal, but something where it continuously grows, from how you started from the basement of your home.
Amy: Until from when I joined was Clifton Park location, to now Ballston Spa, to now... You're just expanding even more and hopefully international. So I can't really pinpoint a certain animal that just keeps and evolving and evolving. It doesn't stop.
Michelle: Okay. I like that. Well maybe we can come up with something, but I'm not thinking of anything off the top of my head, but yeah.
Amy: I couldn't either.
Michelle: Maybe a tad pole? From a tad pole to a big frog, who knows?
Amy: Oh. Maybe. Yeah.
Michelle: But I like the way you're going, Emily is laughing at us over there. Okay. In one word, describe Name Bubbles and explain why.
Amy: I would have to just say, I guess, adventure. I love Name Bubbles and I love working here, and I'm beyond grateful. And I know I've told you that so many times throughout the year. I just feel like it's a constant learning curve for me. So from moving from one location to the next, learning about the in and outs of our printers, our cutters, our equipments from the materials and our labels and then stickers and then how customer service functions and marketing. So it's a constant learning curve and it's fun. Okay. So that's why I would say adventure.
Michelle: Oh, I like that. And I realize I push and I continue to push, like I push people. Trying to make the push fun at times, even though it is a learning curve. And I do love that about the team. I feel like they do embrace change, mostly everybody embraces change, and challenges themselves in some way. And not just here at Name Bubbles. I hear about what people are doing outside of Name Bubbles and the things that they're doing in their lives. And I think for the most part, just an awesome team that... Everybody is living their life and it works, part of that. And I love that it's an adventure because I don't want people to be bored coming into work, so that's really cool to hear. So I'm excited to hear that. What is the most important thing you've learned here at Name Bubbles?
Amy: The most important thing. It would have to be balance, just seeking balance, because you need that in all areas of your life. So with work, with family, friends, health, and that's every day. That is something that you have to intentionally seek every day to make sure that you're not too stressed, that you're not bored, that you continuously feed your soul and that you're at peace. And that's every day you have to find that.
Michelle: Yes, I agree. A hundred percent. So when you started here all those years ago, have you seen yourself evolve and be able to find that balance more and more through the years?
Amy: Oh yes, absolutely. Yeah. Well, I mean, even just with the help of everyone, getting to know everyone here and then you forming those relationships with people, and also just getting that feedback, positive feedback as well. And it can still be criticism, but it's good for you. So I remember, I used to take things personally a lot. And once that was brought to my attention, I had to really stop to think about it and they were right. And so I've noticed that in other areas of my life as well, that I've done take things personally, what has nothing to do with me. And so throughout those years, I've learned to work on that. And now I'm much better. I wouldn't say it's completely gone. I'm much better. So, that's one of that. And just so many life lessons here at Name Bubbles.
Michelle: Yeah. It's interesting that you said that just because you are here with a bunch of different people and everyone has a different way of communicating, and everyone else has a different way of how to approach a problem or problem solving. You're always in motion and you're always evolving and everybody here is evolving. And I think part of the reason why is because everybody cares about one another and I can see that here. And there have been times when we'll have difficult employees or a difficult person, and that has resolved itself over time or changes needed to be made and they were made, but it has been interesting to watch people... I don't want to say grow up, but I feel like I've changed a lot in the last, it's been over a decade since I've started this company and how much I've grown, being able to communicate with people and really work with people and make sure that we're, I guess, reinforcing positive behavior. And part of this podcast getting out there is, I always say like kindness is contagious. I've got a sticker on my drink that says that, but just really what you're putting out there, you really want to build what you want to be part of. You want to build a company that you're comfortable being in. And I love that everybody really put in a lot of effort to be kind to one another here. And I do appreciate that and I see that. So thank you. And Amy truly is the most positive person here. So that's why I wanted her on the podcast, because she's just so positive. It's awesome.
Amy: Aw, thank you.
Michelle: Absolutely. So everybody loves and you always say hi to everybody, you always want to hear how people are doing. And I don't think people realize how important that is. It's so important. It makes people, not just feel good, but just want to be around you. And it's a gift. So it's a lovely gift to also bring to the company. So thank you so much.
Amy: Aw, thank you, Michelle.
Michelle: Absolutely. I would do when I finish on a funny question and I think I'm going to say, I'm going to ask, if Name Bubbles was a superhero, what would its power be?
Amy: Spreading joy. I mean, you spread joy with your labels. Kids love it. Parents love it. So just spreading joy.
Michelle: I love that. That is so cool. That's very cool. Thank you so much.
Amy: Yes. Thank you.
Michelle: That's a good question. Do you have, I guess, any question for me, or anything that you wanted to add?
Amy: Thank you for, again, just being extremely generous and kind and providing a safe space for all of us, especially me, I would say. I think throughout the years, I became more comfortable, especially around you because you provided that space. And again, that's why it's important that bosses should be personable, because I will always respect you. But Just to even feel comfortable just talking to you as just a human being, not intimidated, because I think we always start off with intimidation because you're the boss, and that took some time for me to be like," Okay, she's still a human being and she's a woman and she's so kind, and she takes her time out to get to know my name and just my life outside of work. And then I feel like I can be... I'm not always just in a professional mode all the time, I can still be personable with you as well. So yes. So thank you so much for that. And again, like I love Name Bubbles, and I'm very grateful and appreciative and I'm just excited about where this company is going.
Michelle: I'm so glad you're here.
Amy: And to be a part of it. Yeah, absolutely.
Michelle: Absolutely. Well it's going in that direction, part of it because you're here in part of that. So I really do feel like the company has an energy of its own and a life of its own and the people who are here, part of it, they're building that. So, a lot of this is outside of my control. So you're just trying to kind of steer that boat in that direction and we all have an oar in this boat and we're all going in the same way. So the fact that you feel happy coming here and safe, that's a big thing. And being a woman, I haven't always felt safe in the jobs I've had or in the environments I worked. So hearing that from another woman makes me really happy because that's one thing I definitely want to provide for, obviously everybody, but especially for women, because it can be tough out there and I understand.
Amy: Absolutely, yeah.
Michelle: Thank you. But thank you for joining me. This was great. I really appreciate it. And I'm glad everybody's coming here and listening to us and we'll have a couple more employees come in and hopefully people can get to know our culture, and we're kind of kicking off From The Basement Up. Thank you.
Amy: Thank you.
In this episode, one of our very own team members joins Michelle to discuss some of the fun behind-the-scenes topics at Name Bubbles. Amy is another NB veteran that has been with the company for about a decade. If you want to know the ins and outs of what it’s like to come up with a small business from the ground up, Amy will tell you everything you need to know!
Amy tells our listeners about what she does on the Name Bubbles operations floor, how she found her work-life balance during the busiest season Name Bubbles had ever seen, and what advice she would give about business owners connecting with their employees. The tight-knit community that has been created over the years is something that Amy tells us is one of her favorite parts of Name Bubbles.
Amy is a Production Supervisor at Name Bubbles! She was born and raised in Albany, NY and now resides in Saratoga. In her free time, she loves to do yoga, read books, search for new places to eat, watch real estate and home improvement shows for inspiration, explore content on YouTube, and shop at HomeGoods.
She enjoys spending time in nature as much as she can when the weather is nice. Amy loves being surrounded by water, trees, birds, and flowers. It brings our sweet Amy so much peace, calmness, and joy. Amy believes in the power of Oneself, where everything beautiful starts with you along with the law of attraction, positive thinking, and good energy. She also has a HUGE sweet tooth for baked goods such as chocolate chip cookies, strawberry shortcake sundaes, and vanilla bean cheesecakes, to name a few.....YUM!
We can’t wait for you to tune in and listen to more about the lovely Amy! Let us know if you enjoyed the episode by sharing this podcast. See you next time.