Ashley - Name Bubbles

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This is a podcast episode titled, Ashley - Name Bubbles. The summary for this episode is: <p>Today's episode is another installment of meeting the Name Bubbles team! Listen in for some fun questions, hard questions, and advice about small business ownership from our very own, Ashley Murdza!</p>

Speaker 1: Hi, everyone. Thanks for joining us again on From The Basement Up. Today is a fun episode. I'm going to be speaking to an employee, Ashley. Ashley is going to be answering some questions. This really shows the culture of the company, the culture of Name Bubbles. Ashley has been with me a long time. She really knows the heart of the company. I'm really excited for you all to meet her since she's been with me for close to 10 years now. I'm looking forward to hearing what she has to share with you all on From The Basement Up. Great. Thank you for joining us on From The Basement Up. I have a Name Bubbles employee here. I'm going to have her introduce herself.

Ashley: Hi. My name is Ashley and I'm the director of business administration here at Name Bubbles.

Speaker 1: Ashley, what does that mean exactly? Name Bubbles is a small business. You came in wearing mini hats?

Ashley: Yes. I handle human resources, licensing, insurance, facilities management, onboarding, payroll, things like that.

Speaker 1: Okay. Poor Ashley, I threw her a curve ball. We hired someone to help Ashley, but then I like this person so much, I took her into another position.

Ashley: Sometimes that happens here when someone's really good at something.

Speaker 1: Yeah. I think that within a month she was already promoted.

Ashley: Yes. I think I had like maybe a week of time with her, maybe two.

Speaker 1: Yeah. Ashley's workload probably increased it. It didn't decrease at all.

Ashley: Just a little bit. That's fine.

Speaker 1: Yeah. We're doing the regular questions again, but Ashley and I work really closely together. I might throw you a couple zingers and we can also talk about what's going on. Since you've been here at Name Bubbles, what have you seen happen?

Ashley: I started here in 2017 and it's gotten substantially busier since then. Your sales have increased, your brands are branching out. I feel like your workforce has gotten a lot stronger as well.

Speaker 1: I do agree with that 100%. What do you think was the cause of the workforce becoming stronger and in which way do you mean?

Ashley: I think we found employees and people here that were a good fit and worked together really well as a team and promoted positive energy and were really mindful about expanding and growing the business and being really cooperative with the health of the business and wanting to see it succeed.

Speaker 1: Okay. I definitely agree with that. It's been really interesting to watch the evolution of the company. We have core values and we do our best to bring in people that we feel would fit well. I think having you come from your background, can you tell everybody what your background was before you arrived?

Ashley: Sure. I actually went to school for education and I have my teaching degree, but throughout my student teaching and my college experience, I started working in restaurants and then that lent itself to working in catering and restaurant management. I worked in hospitality and beverages for a while. I basically worked for a couple different startups and found that I was really good in that kind of environment because I learned things really quickly. I didn't necessarily have an administrative background for school, but I do a lot of learning by attaining skills. When I came here, I wasn't super experienced, but I feel like I've absorbed a lot and grown.

Speaker 1: Okay. I have some background myself in the restaurant business and it's hard. It is a hard business. It is stressful. Looking at your resume, I was blown away. I was like," Wow, she did all of this." And I knew if you could handle all of that, you could handle me. And that's what I needed. I needed someone who could handle me because I can be chaotic and be able to take the chaos and organize it. In some ways tether me and help me move forward in an organized fashion. Working with Ashley, that's been tremendous. I needed that. When I saw your resume, I was like," Okay." Actually I had another interview slated for that day and I canceled it. I don't know if you knew that.

Ashley: I didn't. We did a phone interview and then I came in person and then there was another phone call and they were really interesting phone calls because you were so honest and you were like," I'm really disorganized, but I want to get better." I feel like your resume is great and you'll be really good at it. And that is something I'm good at, collectively picking pieces up and organizing them. I feel like it was a natural fit.

Speaker 1: It was true. After I met you in person, I was like," Okay, I'm done. She can handle me." And that's good because I can burn people out and I know I can burn people out. I have to find someone that's going to be a good fit with me. It was great. I'm going to ask you some fun questions now.

Ashley: Sure.

Speaker 1: I don't have my glasses on today, but we'll see how it goes. Okay. If Name Bubbles was an ice cream flavor, what would it be?

Ashley: That's a good one. I wanted to say bubblegum or cotton candy, something sweet and fun.

Speaker 1: Okay. I like that. That's funny because Amy also said cotton candy.

Ashley: Oh, really? Okay.

Speaker 1: Oh yeah. That's cool. All right. I'm going to ask one that I think has been really fun to ask so far. If Name Bubbles was an animal, what would it be and what characteristics do you see between the animal and the company?

Ashley: I thought about this a little bit. I feel like I have to say chameleon because we're like really good at adjusting to things and overcoming elements and obstacles. I think especially in the last pandemic year, we've really overcome a lot as a company. I definitely feel like if we had a mascot, it should be a chameleon. Yes.

Speaker 1: I chalk that up to survival skills.

Ashley: Yes.

Speaker 1: Being able to blend in and look around, take your time, look around and see what you need to do to get through. I really like that one. I think that's great. I am also curious. What do you think the biggest life lesson, what's the biggest life lesson you've learned here at Name Bubbles?

Ashley: That's a good one. I feel like, again, back to the last year which feels like three years, if you can accomplish or survive a really stressful day or situation, you can pretty much accomplish anything. I feel like that's a fair statement.

Speaker 1: Yes. Just so everyone knows, Ashley was in the trenches with me and helping the company get through COVID. We had a day come up and suddenly we sent everybody home and then sure enough, we were closed for six weeks. The governor said," No business is going to be open. You have to go home, you shut the doors." Immediately as a company, you're in the burn, you are spending money. You're not making money. And that was a month and a half and we didn't know what was going to happen. It was really scary. We've got a team of people who we love. We were talking things through quite a bit, what to do to get through things. Then the PPP came along and Ashley was the one that did all the paperwork and it was fantastic, but it was funny because we didn't get the first round of funding.

Ashley: No.

Speaker 1: I didn't know if we would. The big companies, a lot of them would, Shake Shack and whomever, a bunch of them got...

Ashley: Yeah. The big corporate companies took all the first round of funds and then it took the banks a little while to realize that the smaller businesses like us got missed on the first round. We got pretty lucky with the second round.

Speaker 1: Yes we did. I remember you sent me the meme of the dog sitting there.

Ashley: Yes. The dog and the fire. Yes. If there was a meme, we would definitely be the dog and the fire. This is fine with the coffee, that a 100% was us.

Speaker 1: She sent this to me because she had done everything and sent in the paperwork and it's this animated dog just sitting there blinking and the fires around it and it's like," I'm fine. I'm fine. Everything's fine."

Ashley: Everything's fine. Yeah.

Speaker 1: I remember sitting at home in my office and I was literally looking out the window feeling like this dog. That was a tough time. I think that we were on the phone quite a bit at that time.

Ashley: Yeah.

Speaker 1: During that, moving through it, I don't know how you felt health wise.

Ashley: It wasn't great. I feel a lot healthier now than I did during the experience. I think I ate a lot of chocolate. There was a lot of chocolate, there was a lot of wine. There was a lot of comfort television and things like that. And putting a lot of good energy out so that we could take care of everybody the best that we could.

Speaker 1: Yes, definitely. It's funny you said chocolate because I went shopping for my son's Easter basket and all of this was going on. I ate everything. Everything before Easter, I had to go shopping again. And then I told my husband, I'm like" Hide this. This cannot be around me at all." I was such a nervous mess.

Ashley: I can tell the economy stabilizes no more chocolate.

Speaker 1: It was crazy. I wanted to ask you because you help out with customer service quite a bit. This last summer was busy, busy, busy, and you walk in both worlds, but I wanted to ask you, what is your favorite customer service story?

Ashley: I have a couple, I got a bunch of really good ones this summer. Over the summer when we experienced crazy sales volumes and we all had to step into customer service because of COVID delays and things like that. Basically, any experience where a customer is unhappy and you can make them happy and form a personal connection with them, those are my favorite stories. We had a several customers this summer who had ordered with us since their child was practically born and now it's time to send your kid to kindergarten and we are in a pandemic. Shipping was behind. Materials were delayed. I know there was a couple customers that I spoke to that were beyond relieved that their labels came in time for kindergarten so that they could feel safe sending their kids to school. Those are my favorite stories.

Speaker 1: That was a huge thing for us this year. Moms sending their kids to daycare and school for the first time in COVID. We definitely felt for the parents. It was a tremendous amount of orders that we had not experienced before. That was a struggle. Thank you for stepping in and helping.

Ashley: No problem.

Speaker 1: Yes. If you could change one thing in the company, what would it be?

Ashley: I don't know if this is a company thing. I wish days were longer sometimes just that I had a little extra time in the day to get everything done. I think we all feel that way. Just a little bit of extra time would be great. You have a lot of really great people here that are super helpful and are willing to assist each other. Even when we're short staffed or behind on time, you have great people that work together.

Speaker 1: That's true. I think the other thing what COVID taught me was that we can be flexible. I was never as flexible as I am now. I think that has really been very helpful. People really followed through, I think in a rockstar way. In fact, I call Ashley my rockstar. She came here and shined and people who are moms, they get to go home and take care of their kids and get their kids off the bus. And then I know people are getting back online later. I can see emails. I can see what's going on. I think that has been really wonderful. I hope in that way, time has been a little bit easier in some ways it's bad because you bring work home with you, which can be frustrating. At the same time, I also really want to help people with the schedules because life is still in flux. We're still needing to adjust with COVID schedules and there's not a lot of afterschool care options at this time. We do have to be careful. One other thing. What was I looking here? Okay. This is actually relevant to you. This is a question, you walk in and find 2, 500 unread emails in your inbox. What do you do?

Ashley: You have to answer them one at a time. On a Monday, there's usually a lot of emails, not 2500, but sometimes several hundred. The best thing you can do is take one bite at a time. One email at a time. Try to prioritize what's the most important. Sometimes not everything gets done in one day. Being organized to know where you left off.

Speaker 1: Yes. The reason why I put in that giant number, that's not normal. We walked in, I think it was on a Monday and we truly had a couple thousand emails that we needed to answer. That's how busy we were. We had to send out an email to our customers, letting them know what was going on. I think at that point there were four or five people getting into customer service and answering every single one as quickly as we could. It really was because our orders truly did triple. We had turned off advertising and we just couldn't keep up. It was because of moms being concerned about sending their kids to daycare and to school without labels. That was a big issue. Ashley is amazing and Joanna jumped in and everybody did everything they could to answer those emails as quickly as possible. Thank you very much.

Ashley: Sure.

Speaker 1: All right. In one word, describe Name Bubbles and explain why.

Ashley: That's a good question too. I am going to have to go with flexible. Again. I've worked in a lot of different places, different industries, some startups, some already established. I feel like there's been a significant amount of change that could really rock a business. I feel like your staff is super flexible and they bounce back really well. They're hearty, resilient people.

Speaker 1: I agree.

Ashley: Yes.

Speaker 1: I agree. I feel tough and, I call it grit, where they can just dig in.

Ashley: Yes.

Speaker 1: Make things happen. If the path changes they're okay. I think that flexibility is definitely a key component to the company. What advice would you give other business owners about their employees?

Ashley: Care. Not overly, but care. I know a lot of business owners get caught up in the higher end of things and get removed from the day to day sometimes. I know it can be difficult to establish that level of care for your employees. That's so important because that translates into your retention and your workforce. When people are happy and satisfied and taken care of, they stay with you.

Speaker 1: Yeah. I agree. Ashley is a great resource for the team here. I have to say, very approachable. Everybody feels very comfortable coming and speaking with you. That has been very helpful. Okay. I'm going to give you one more.

Ashley: Okay.

Speaker 1: And this one's fun. We're going to land on a fun one. And then I'm going to ask you about me. Okay. If Name Bubbles was a superhero, what would it be? What superpower would it have?

Ashley: That's a good one too. I feel like I have to go with a super speed or something because the amount of different items and activities that we're able to get done in a day is incredible for the number of people. We're just over a dozen actual bodies and we're able to get so much done. Definitely super speed. I want to say.

Speaker 1: Oh, I like that.

Ashley: Yeah.

Speaker 1: What was the little boy called in The Incredibles?

Ashley: Dash.

Speaker 1: Dash?

Ashley: Yes.

Speaker 1: All right. We're Dash.

Ashley: That's the one.

Speaker 1: That's a good one. Okay. Now I'm just curious. Do you have any questions for me? I'm putting you on this spot.

Ashley: You are. I feel like we have an adjoining office and I pepper you with questions all day for you to be like," Do you have one?"

Speaker 1: Okay. I have one more then.

Ashley: Okay.

Speaker 1: What's the most important thing you've learned at Name Bubbles?

Ashley: That's a really good one too. I want to say to breathe honestly. I know that sounds really basic. Stress used to rattle me a lot and I would look like the duck that was floating and just be panicking underneath the water. There's a lot of things that we didn't know about in the last year and that unknown, just remembering to breathe and knowing that anything that's overwhelming in the moment will pass.

Speaker 1: It's interesting because hearing you, I feel like the pandemic changed you.

Ashley: It did because before that I think I was a lot more, I don't want to say on edge, but I wanted things to get done quickly and I needed an answer and there was just so much unknown. I think I've become a lot more flexible and hopefully a little bit calmer as a result of that.

Speaker 1: The pandemic is terrible, but at least you have that silver lining that you're coming out of it with.

Ashley: Yes.

Speaker 1: That's nice. That's great. I don't think that was something you learned here at Name Bubbles, but I think that it's interesting watching that evolution.

Ashley: Definitely.

Speaker 1: It's nice because then we all can learn from you and pick that up.

Ashley: Thank you.

Speaker 1: Yes, it's great. I love having you here.

Ashley: Thanks Michelle. I love being here.

Speaker 1: Thank you for interviewing. I know some employees I'm like," Okay, come in." I'm wondering if people are rolling their eyes as I walk away.

Ashley: Possibly.

Speaker 1: Thanks for joining us.

Ashley: No problem.

Speaker 1: Thank you so much for joining us today on From The Basement Up. Please be sure to check NameBubbles. com or our blog on the podcast and all of the show notes, resources and links for our guests every Thursday. And please be sure to leave us a five star review wherever you get your podcast, see you next week and thank you.


Today's episode is another installment of meeting the Name Bubbles team! Michelle talks to Ashley, who has been with Name Bubbles for half a decade. Listen in for some fun questions, hard questions, and advice about small business ownership from our very own, Ashley Murdza!

Today's Host

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Michelle Brandriss

|Founder of Name Bubbles
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Emily Flanagan


Today's Guests

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Ashley Murdza

|Director of Business Administration