Hey Sendler, Ep 6: Harnessing social change through small business
Here we are with our sixth episode of Hey Sendler! This time, Jenn chats with Jenni Moon of No Rival Industries, a startup focused on impact projects that make positive social change. They embody their mission slogan, which is Impact Over Apathy.
Jenni is no stranger here on the Sendle Blog, having not one but two customer story features about her impact projects—first with face masks for frontliners and then selling apparel to get out the vote.
In this episode of Hey Sendler, Jenni talks all about her experience with these initial projects, what it is like to work with family, and what she’s got brewing for Volume 3.
Find the full episode below as well as the transcript (if you’d rather give it a read).
- Website: norivalindustries.com
- Instagram: @no.rival.industries
- Facebook: @norivalindustries
- LinkedIn: @norivalindustries
Harnessing social change through small business, a chat with Jenni Moon of No Rival Industries (full transcript)
Jenn: Hello. Welcome to another edition of Hey Sendler.
I’m Jenn, your host, and today, I’m gonna be chatting with Jenni Moon from No Rival Industries about harnessing social change through personal business, which was actually founded during COVID. I’m so excited to be here and to be chatting with all of you.
Before we begin, I’d like to acknowledge that we’re on the traditional land of the First People. Here in Seattle, we recognize the Duwamish for their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to elders past, present, and emerging.
Thank you all for being here. Very excited to see you. Going to hop in with Jenni and welcome her to the show. Hi, everyone, thanks for being here. Hi, Jenni. Welcome.
Jenni Moon: Hello.
Jenn: How are you?
JM: I think I joined from my personal account, but that’s cool.
Jenn: You’re totally fine. How’s your morning going?
JM: It’s going. I had a few early meetings already, so it’s kinda... I’m really excited to actually join on this, and just have a nice chat with you.
Jenn: Awesome. Thanks for being here. Yes, awesome.
JM: Yes, thanks for the invite.
Jenn: Yes, of course. Hi, everyone. Thanks for being here. Again, I’m Jenn. I’m gonna be your host for today. This is Hey Sendler.
We’re chatting with Jenni Moon from No Rival Industries about harnessing social change through small business.
So, Jenni, I’ll let you take a second to introduce yourself and kinda tell everyone a little about No Rival, and then we’ll go from there.
JM: Thanks, Jenn. Yeah. Hi, everyone. I’m so excited to... This is my first Instagram Live, so this is an exciting day for me, but, yes, here to chat about No Rival Industries.
So, what is this project exactly? I think, in some ways, I have always envisioned some version of a philanthropic kind of creative incubator of some sorts, and so what has manifested is No Rival Industries, in many ways, because we have this insane pandemic happen to us.
I’ve always had some amazing creative friends in that org, and we’ve always thought about, ‘hey, there’s just so many great non-profits, so many folks who are passionate about solving these bigger issues in our world, and yet, sometimes it feels that connecting the dots to people, creating resources and opportunities to really plug in, that was always missing’.
So I think, with No Rival, what I wanted to just do was make it easier. It’s like, hey, I think a lot of people do care. I think, for me, I’m just a little bit lazy, and I think that’s okay. I think it’s okay to embrace that laziness a little bit...
JM: But I think that was my whole goal around... I have all this free time during this pandemic season.
I’ve always liked to creatively link the dots for different people that I know, and so many people I know are more creative than I am, so I just felt that I needed some sort of platform to connect those dots, so whether we partner with non-profits or we actively create a project where we can just be very scrappy and send direct goods.
I think... I started with masks, but, as you know, I have a few projects in the works, and it’s definitely a different type of social enterprise, where we just decide we’re gonna give away 100% of our profits because I’m not a non-profit, technically, so I could just be really creative in the moment.
Jenn: Right. Yeah, that’s amazing. So you mentioned that No Rival kind of came about from COVID and started with masks.
And so I’d love for you to tell people a little bit about what your day job is because it’s not kind of No Rival.
And so how you’re sort of balancing a side hustle with regular life, and kind of where you’re finding and making the time to sort of be able to do both of these things while also working from home in the pandemic.
JM: Yeah, I think a lot of the Sendlers out there can totally relate. Yes, this is definitely a side hustle, passion project, however you wanna label it.
My day job, I actually do consult somewhat full-time for a stealth-mode startup. I am actually in telehealth now, but before that, I’ve worked in a lot of startup settings, whether it’s real estate, kind of PropTech, but I also have a background in consulting, previously.
So my day job right now feels a little bit... I’m a fish out of water as well, ‘cause I think, with the turn of the pandemic as well, I shifted gears into a telemedicine type of opportunity, ‘cause that’s really taken a huge... It’s just such an industry that’s ripe for change, and it’s the right time.
So I’m really excited. Yes, I do consult for Atomic during the day, and I do love it because I get to work with some former co-workers of mine as well, but it’s remote, right?
So we’re all moving all over the place now, but I do find it to be... It’s an interesting experience, I think, in this remote-first work culture, but, yes. And I don’t know if I answered the other part of that question. Sorry if I missed that.
Jenn: No, you’re totally fine. I’m just kind of wondering how you’re balancing both, and sort of find the time for both.
JM: Oh, yes, the balance [laughter] I would say... And hopefully, people can resonate with this a little bit, it is a lot sometimes.
I certainly... I do stay up quite late sometimes when it comes to No Rival-related things, and it does get intense in a startup setting at an early stage, so what I love to do is I am balancing it in the sense of is it still fun for me to work on this during my free time, right?
I really wanna gauge my mental health with it, ‘cause sometimes, of course, you’re operating a side hustle, a business on the side, it’s... You just gotta get some stuff done. Sometimes it’s a later night.
I know I would get emails from my production partner, aka my family, where they’re like, ‘Why are you up this late? Like what is wrong with her?’
But I only stay up late... I give myself the room to not do work certain nights, and if it’s the weekend stuff, I really make a fun routine of it, right? I want my cup of coffee. You probably see my setup back there.
Jenn: I love it.
JM: I need those little things, where this is a joyful, creative endeavor, and I wanna make sure that I protect that for myself.
So there are times where I’ll push things, ‘cause it’s not the end of the world. I think there’s a lot of forgiveness with small business owners, in that sense, where you’re really connected to your audience and your customers.
So I think if you apologize, if like, 'Oh, did something not go right?' They’re very understanding. I think they understand who’s on the other side of running the show.
JM: Yeah, just trying to find ways to integrate more of my, quote-unquote, ‘day job’ into whatever this is, right?
I want... Just everything that I do is just a reflection of what I enjoy. And I think a lot of people can resonate, that when you have a side project, and you’re thinking maybe this could be full-time. But for me, I... Yeah, I just wanna like...
Jenn: What a beautiful way to describe it.
JM: Yeah. I just wanna like...
Jenn: Yeah, just like a joyful, creative passion project.
JM: Exactly. I just tend to... I believe that someone can build more capacity if you want to. I do think... And trust me, I do plenty of binge-watching Netflix things, like...
JM: I definitely have my fair share of wasting really good free time, or I shouldn’t say wasting, it’s just... It’s my choice. I really wanna...
Jenn: It’s self-care. Yes.
JM: Exactly. I wanna watch 10 episodes of the show this weekend. I’m gonna do it.
Jenn: Please do.
JM: And I’m gonna do all these other things that are creatively-associated with this project. And so, yeah, just really, really trying to check in with myself.
But I do think that it’s difficult... The balance right now, I wanna make sure I address that because I don’t know when to turn off sometimes, so it is definitely something I struggle with.
I don’t think I’m the most balanced, maybe. I’m just doing things.
Jenn: That’s totally fair.
I think that’s also something other small business owners can kind of resonate with, particularly if it is a side hustle, is just sort of knowing when and where to create those boundaries, ‘cause you’re really creating them with yourself.
And so it’s really telling yourself when you have to go on and off, which is really difficult, so I think admirable that you’re talking about it and sharing that story with folks, ‘cause I think that a lot of people can really resonate with that.
I’d love for you to talk to us a little bit about No Rival starting with masks, and sort of what that process looked like for you. And what the end result of Project One or you’re calling it Volume One...
JM: Volume. Yeah, I’m trying to...
Jenn: Yeah, Volume One looked like, as far as where you’re at in the process?
JM: Absolutely. Right. So, March, I think we’re both based in Seattle, I think, right?
JM: And so I was a little bit more keen to see what was happening, just ‘cause I followed this a little bit, I did a little international travel earlier in the year to...
It was Mexico City, but anyway, it was on my radar, to be honest, I felt like, a little bit earlier than when even my company at the time was thinking of the remote work policy or not. And I obviously knew that masks, clearly could not get my hands on anything related to that.
And even my family... So my family actually lives in Miami, and that’s where I grew up, I’m based in Miami, Florida, and they happened to own this screen-printing embroidery business. They’ve been doing it for 30 years.
JM: Yeah, and I’m really so grateful to my family too, my Dad, especially, because I sent him a YouTube video. I was like, 'Hey, we have these machines, these embroidery, industrial stitch machines. I think we can hack together this face cloth mask, basically, and just... What do you think? What do you think? ‘Cause there’s these YouTubers doing this. I feel like we could do this.'
And he was just... At the time, they decided to keep things safe. They weren’t operating. I really, actually, asked them to come out of early retirement, I guess. I don’t really know.
And they were kind of bored, and so it was a really great combination of here’s this cool thing that we can creatively do from so far apart.
I live in Seattle. They’re over there. I can’t necessarily travel. I wasn’t trying to do that either, and I felt a little bit, 'Oh wow, this could be kind of cool.'
And I always had this idea of, again, connecting the dots with some friends of mine. So I work with another Jenn [laughter], funny enough.
Jenn: It’s a popular name.
JM: I know. Clearly, that’s the name. We were all from that era.
JM: And so Jenn, she also has a consultancy that she started, where it’s called Hevel Studio...
Jenn: Oh, yeah.
JM: Yeah. And so she’s been featured, I think, on the initial blog that we had about the project.
She also loved the idea of, hey, let’s just help you kind of launch this, in some ways. And then I was like, 'Oh, I already have a URL, I think.' I’m like, maybe I should just do it. Let’s just go for it.
And it was... It became Volume One, and it was this really interesting thing of, well, what does this mean? ‘Cause initially, I wanted to work with non-profits, right? But this was a particularly different volume of work because of the pressing pandemic.
And I just said,' You know what? Let me just reach out in a scrappy way.' Who knows who... I had a friend who was an ER doctor, at the time, in New Jersey... Particularly hit hard, just like NYC was, and then just wanted to get... Honestly, just wanted to get her this cloth mask.
She told me that it would actually help her save her N95 that they have to constantly reuse. So they actually like to double it up.
And so it was like we created this mask that was three layers, using plain t-shirts that we had in inventory, and then she loved that you could tie... You could tie it around your head.
It’s a little bit different. It’s industrially-stitched, so it’s not necessarily the same kind of handmade type of mask. It’s a little bit... Really, it can go through the wash. I’ve thrown it in so many... And insane like intense washes and drying, because you just gotta get rid of the virus.
JM: And yeah, it just became this really cool way of reaching out deeper into my network and say, 'Hey, do you have a homeless shelter we could potentially send this to?'
I had friends who work at Trader Joe’s, and I was like, 'You know what? Can I just send it to your team at Trader Joe’s?' And I did walk in there the other day on somebody who’s wearing it, and I was like, 'Look... '
Jenn: Oh, I love that.
JM: Yeah. And they can’t necessarily advertise it, of course...
JM: But still love Trader Joe’s either way.
Yes, it was just a very organic way of reaching out, people responding... I mean, I’m so grateful to the people who purchased the mask, ‘cause it was a one-for-one model, so we weren’t necessarily, yeah, donating the funds to a particular place, but the profits basically fuel the donation mask.
So whoever got this mask would get the same quality mask. It’s reusable, very sustainable. Yeah, and I’m just really proud of that project because it is truly the scrappiest version of what we’ll ever do, I think, at No Rival.
JM: So, I know that, okay, if we started with this project, incredible what we could...
Jenn: Anything is possible.
JM: Exactly, like if I were to actually plan and be a little more strategic, what does that look like?
And I think... Yeah, I think we’re sort of headed in that way a little bit, I hope, but, yes, it’s just I love that I could do this with my family a little bit, on the other end.
They’ve been a wonderful partner, way more than they need to be, in some ways, ‘cause that’s probably a bad business partner.
Jenn: That’s so sweet.
JM: Yeah, it’s very, very kind of them. And I think it did help them feel a little more connected to what I’m dealing with on my end.
And so, yeah, I mean, they’re a small business as well, and I just... I feel it was a really interesting partnership in many ways, and I got very, very lucky to have that inside... Like an inside kind of connection that way.
Jenn: That’s really sweet. And I love the idea of being able to give back wherever it’s needed, right?
And so I think kind of jumping in and assuming in the beginning, like, yes, we’re gonna work with non-profits only, but really, the pandemic hit everybody, right?
And it was about getting things to people who needed it quickly and who maybe didn’t have the means or the capacity to get it. And so also not being... Not putting stop-gaps or anything for where you’re going. Yes, hospitals need it. Yes, people who are experiencing homelessness also should have masks.
Everybody should have masks and access to it, which I love. And when you’re thinking about first responders, and folks who are still at work and stuff like that…
I wanna say hi to everyone who’s joined, who’s here. Thank you so much for being with us.
I’m chatting with Jenni Moon from No Rival Industries today about harnessing social change through small business. And so she’s the founder and creator of No Rival, which was kind of founded and launched during the pandemic, which is really amazing. We’re both here in the Seattle area.
I had no idea that you were working with your family on this project, or on the First Project, which I think is amazing, and so I’d love for you to chat a little bit about what that process has looked like for you, and how you’re managing kind of personal and professional relationship in both ways.
And I love how it sounds like it’s been a really endearing kind of experience, which is really special because I think a lot of times you hear people say, 'Don’t get into business with your family.' But so many small businesses are family businesses, right?
JM: Yeah, so true. Yup.
Jenn: Your kids are packaging or printing, or your partner’s dropping off at the post office, or something like that.
And so, yeah, I just love for you to tell us a little bit more about that process, and maybe shoutout to your family and tell them how much you love them.
JM: Hello, family. Yes, it’s been interesting... In a positive way, of course, the way that we set this out, ‘cause I actually had no process of... We have real-time sales, and I was really trying to experiment with this dropship model, like could that work?
And even for my family’s business, they don’t do that.
They obviously help a lot of folks build their brands up in the local South Florida markets, but it’s typically... It’s that you know what you’re doing, as your own brand, and they’re a small business, they can’t really support a dropship function, so what I actually had to do is create this unseen Google spreadsheet, and fortunately, yeah.
Mom and dad are not as involved in that part, let’s just say, but I do have an older brother, and he recently is joining that family business side of things. I’m not as involved.
I’m just a supporter or a customer, here and there, but... So he actually was the one, 'Okay, you’re in charge of this dropship spreadsheet. If I put in this order, then the next day we have to send it out from the existing inventory that I’ve already bought, pre-purchased.'
And so, through this relationship with Sendle, actually, that’s how we’ve been able to kind of have this cadence, a beacon of truth to come...
Jenn: I love it.
JM: Yeah. Typically, it’s a quick text message to my older brother.
It’s like, 'Hey, can you... Can you do that order for me? Can you drop it in the mail that I stay? ‘Cause they are holding on to that inventory for me, ‘cause it felt like that was the best way to do it and the most sustainable way, ‘cause they could have certainly shipped it to me, and then I could just ship it out.
Jenn: And then you could have shipped it.
JM: Right, which is typical, I think, of, obviously, a lot of... A business of this type, if we’re doing some type of payroll or any type of... You need inventory.
And so I’ve also been experimenting, where I do small batch orders with them to test it out, where I don’t wanna carry an insane inventory. I actually don’t really believe in that model, and I do feel...
JM: Yeah, and I do feel like the economies of scale don’t exist for a lot of small businesses, where you just don’t have that kind of partner, right?
If you go to the big box online dropship options, I’m sure there’s a lot out there these days with all the tech-enabled brands, but I’m still... I grew up, actually, still helping out in that shop.
I’m really loyal to this very scrappy way of doing things, so I figured, when you look at your vendors that you wanna work with, you have to also acknowledge that a little bit.
So I felt really... I feel really grateful that I have this insight into that part of the industry because I know what to look out for if I didn’t have, necessarily, my family to lean on, ‘cause they definitely do a little more for me than I’m sure they would otherwise.
And I ask them to share that with me, because I do wanna see is this something that No Rival could also become a valued partner in? ‘Cause I notice some people did reach out. Some business owners actually reached out to me with like, 'Hey, do you do this commercially?'
And I didn’t actually know how to necessarily pivot that, but I did create some way that they could plug into that. I don’t know if there’s some synergy there, but...
Jenn: Yeah, definitely.
JM: Yeah, the family side of things... I don’t know, it is unique. I certainly feel that, because things are a little bit of a different pace for them as well, to keep safe COVID protocols, it really did create a space for them.
Normally, they would not take me on as a client. They’re like, 'Sorry, we have other people that... your project right now.'
Jenn: Your side hustle.
JM: Yeah, they’ve been very gracious, in that sense of I actually did have the pandemic on my side, where they were willing to...
JM: Yeah. And they don’t make masks, right? We don’t manufacture in Florida or in Miami, so it was very interesting for them to also do that, but I think they had some fun with it.
We’ve obviously since wrapped up that project for the time being, but it’s cool that we know we could do it. I think that was the other side of this, like, wow, a business that hasn’t experimented in over 30 years doing this was also very cool to watch.
My dad got into it. He’s like, 'No, I can make it better like this.' And I was just sort of like, 'I think we’re okay.' I don’t wanna...
Jenn: I love that.
JM: Yeah, so it was funny that they were pushing me on product... I guess product development or quality, as you can say.
Jenn: I love... Everybody loves your Dad, that’s the best.
JM: Yeah. Shout out to my dad. Yes. I’ll definitely have to... ‘Cause they’re not on Instagram, but I’ll definitely have to forward that to them. They deserve a lot of credit.
Jenn: Please. Yes. Please share with them so that they know.
JM: I truly don’t think I can take the credit for... I did not use my hands in this process, unfortunately. I just coordinated it.
Jenn: But that’s still a big deal too. I do wanna let everybody know, if you have questions for Jenni, feel free to pop into the question function at the bottom.
That gives us the opportunity to kind of swipe it up on the screen so that everybody can see.
And so you’re working on Volume Two right now, and I’d love for you to tell us a little bit about what Volume Two looks like, sort of your inspiration, which I think is also more of 2020 being a hot mess.
But talk to us a little bit about kind of how you narrowed down your focus and landed on voter suppression and specifically voter IDs.
JM: Yeah. I always thought of No Rival being that creative incubator type of company, whatever it could be, right?
I just wanted to actually engage more with non-profits, and see what is it we can do for next-generation fundraising ideas.
So, in the midst of the pandemic still like raging on, to be honest, and this was right around the marker of end of June, early July, we know what happens in this country, where it’s still very much what is, I think, driving... This is our moment, right?
This is our moment to really culturally be not only aware... But it’s not just about Black Lives Matter being at the forefront for it.
But I also felt, as an Asian-American, you know, really try to own that part of what I consider my apathy, right? Impact over Apathy is a big missional statement, we’ll definitely get into that, I hope.
But I felt it’s really hard to ignore my lack of maybe not caring as much as I believed I... I do care. If you ask every, I think, human being, they do care, but I think sometimes it’s hard to know what to do next.
And so I felt really challenged by what I was seeing, and I always feel generational issues are what I care about, right? I do wanna care...
JM: I do wanna do something more, but I also care about other people having a struggle in that next step, right?
So I just wanted to make it easy for not only myself, but really for the people that I know, ‘cause I know how hard it is, ‘cause I’m there just like anybody who supports our products or what we’re trying to do. And I felt that my whole MO, though, is I know what the issues are, I know it’s important.
And I think there’s a lot of people who sit in that bucket, but we wanna do more, so my whole thing was, I really need to find an under-leveraged non-profit, in my mind, that low-key is really crushing it, really doing that deep-rooted work in the community to incrementally change the game, right?
I felt... I think we’re over this whole thing of knowing what the issues are and arguing those points. I think we wanna move into a realm of, let’s take some real action. And I think that...
Jenn: Tangible change.
JM: Right. And everyone... I think that’s where the conversation led to. Obviously, you gotta vote. You’ve gotta do at least that basic thing.
JM: And then I felt, okay, yeah, that makes sense, but that didn’t feel like enough for me.
I felt like... I don’t know. Yes, we’re all gonna vote. Absolutely. I’m not gonna say that that’s not an important cause to continue to fight for, but Spread the Vote.
To me, I was in a deep rabbit hole of Google searching, and I happened to find there... I think there was like a YouTube video of some sort, where they explained, after the 2016 election, the founder Kat, I love her story, she realized there was this issue of voter right laws that do...
Obviously, it is the undertone of voter suppression in many states. In some states, it’s a little bit less... In some states, you absolutely have to have a valid government ID that’s not expired, though some states, it’s a little bit loose as to what that ID looks like.
But nonetheless, she discovered 21 million people who are eligible to vote, aka US citizens, are not able to because they literally do not have the means to get an updated ID.
And you’re talking a population that is incredibly vulnerable. And socioeconomically, it’s a challenge because these are veterans, homeless folks that are really trying to get out of their situation and really get into more of a stable housing situation, or someone that just got out of jail and they’re really trying to integrate back into their new life.
And they wanna get a job, and you can’t even do the simple thing of... You can’t even get your mail or get a package delivered.
You can’t even get your rights that the government will actually help you with without the site. So Spread the Vote. I mean, they’re amazing. They’re grassroots.
They truly... Their volunteers, I think they’re just heroes. I wish I could meet one and just like figure out how do you do this? ‘Cause they walk people to the DMV. They get all the legal paperwork done, and they are literally changing these folks’ lives.
And I realize it’s more than just about the vote. It’s more than about... Anything in that like... I went into it thinking I’m gonna figure out Black Lives Matter for my own self, like how I can help. I think this is a human rights issue.
I don’t understand why this is even a thing, where 21 million people cannot get themselves represented in any way. And a lot of their clients, this will be their first time voting. And it’s in a lot of the swing states too.
Lots of Florida, lots of Georgia, they work really closely with the populations that deserve... I think deserve this basic thing of an ID so that they can get, you know, moving forward with their lives, right? It’s not even...
Yeah. So I don’t know. To me, once I connected those dots, I’m just like, wait, why don’t they have more light shone on what they’re doing? I love them. They’re incredible.
JM: And even if we can’t move the needle too much for them, I just felt like that’s what I wanted our brand to be associated with...
JM: I need the conversation to feel positive, and actually not just positive, but we’re gonna do something that is gonna help somebody directly.
I think that’s what I really want. And so here’s this very easy thing. Buy this thing, we’ll give everything to them, because they’re vetted.
I’ve spoken to their general counsel. I think they’re amazing. I want to do more for them.
Jenn: Yeah, definitely. That’s amazing, and I think you’re absolutely right.
It’s those places of intersectionality, right, that all of these things are... Social justice is human rights, Black Lives Matter is human rights, kind of.
All of these things that we’re getting to the point where you’re needing to say it over and over again, so that people believe it, but it’s absolutely true, and kind of trying to find ways to make tangible change.
So that’s something I’ve also struggled with in the last few months, is wanting to be able to amplify messages, but also trying to figure out how do I legitimately do something in this moment, right? And I think that there’s been some great stuff on social media about kind of like, we need everybody, right?
We need all the people and all the buckets and all the boxes of doing everything, and sort of trying to find my way into each bucket box sort of place, to be doing things that I feel like are gonna make a difference.
I love that you mentioned Impact Over Apathy. I love it. And so I’m wondering if you can talk to us a little bit about what that means for you, how you came to it, and how you’re sort of living those values?
JM: Yeah, I can’t recall exactly how I came to that phrase per se, but I certainly love the... I like balance. I like the reality of paradoxes.
I actually kinda love that when you’re really aware of your feelings, and you do the deep work of self-reflection... I have to own my apathy, I think, the level of indifference.
I tend to... Apathy is just... It’s like you don’t really care as much. It could be a little bit neutral of a term, but to me, I do look at it a little bit more in a negative connotation, and I think it’s important because I don’t want us to shy away from apathy, ‘cause I think that is my natural, often, default state.
And I want us to be more acknowledging of that, because I like the idea of... I’m a world-class cynic, as I like to say. I love to complain. I love to point out things that are wrong, and I’m always saying stuff that’s insane.
My friends are always just like, 'Oh gosh, Jenni is going off again. Here she goes again. [laughter]' But...
Jenn: We have people co-signing.
JM: Right. Clearly, the statement is Impact over Apathy, right? So, I think, no matter what, at the end of the day, at the end of all those feelings, and all of those distraught, kind of depressed, kind of just really frustrated thoughts, we do need something to move forward.
And it doesn’t have to be that insane. It doesn’t have to be so grand. I’m a real big scrappy operator and startup, so I’m very incremental with just being like, 'Okay, this is important. Let’s just get it done.'
Or even if it’s not perfect, we’ll get it done, and it’s still okay.
Of course, I have a perfectionist thing that I battle, ‘cause I’m clearly not perfect, but I’m also like, gosh, I hate mediocrity. So, yeah, impact, to me, is also another triggering word, where sometimes I have to be okay with that was only this much, right?
Or I didn’t accomplish as much as I thought it would be, but it was still incrementally an impact. And we have to be proud of that, we have to celebrate that, but we could do better, right?
I think there was this true balance in that statement. So, for me, it’s our North Star. It’s how I wanna live my life, to be honest.
And it’s... Of course, I’d love for every project to have that vibe attached to it, that no matter what, is this really driving something forward, rather than just like, mm, is that even worth the effort on?
So we do wanna see some numbers. I do try to operate with the air of transparency. I love to be able to say like, 'Hey, for this project, it’s this many things.'
And obviously, I’m gonna have to also own up to when projects don’t go to scale as much, right?
And I think that’s important. I want us to... In the spirit of experimentation, I do want the volumes to reflect as such.
They go, we learned this, here are some of these other intrinsic or actually external pluses that happened. Even if you didn’t feel like we made that big dent, now so many more people are aware of this issue.
JM: Yeah. So that impact.
Jenn: Turn your volume to... You’re doing T-shirts, and they’re still available on Wednesday right now, so if anybody wants to order, please go visit.
JM: They are.
Jenn: And then what are you thinking for Volume Three? Are you thinking Volume Three? What can we expect next?
JM: Yes. Great question and I hope I can low-key plug every... Like plant the seed here. So, I... You know, initially, even up until a few weeks ago, I wasn’t sure, okay, what do we do post-election?
Do I keep this going? ‘Cause this issue still matters, and I wanna be able to keep that open-ended. But we do have... In the spirit of experiments... Experimentation, we have an amazing non-profit that we worked with on mass donations, Covenant House New York.
And they actually are a... You consider it a homeless shelter for youth, homeless youth, but they do work as a youth center as well, and so they’re really focused on addressing some of the housing and security issues within the youth of New York City.
And then they wanted to come to the table really strategically, so they said, 'You know what? We’d love to see... Like we love what you did with Spread the Vote. We love this idea of social enterprise, and we, as a non-profit, wanna re-engage our donors this year, or maybe grow our audience.
And so we love this. Let’s just... You know, we’re okay to experiment, and so I felt, you know what? They’re the right partners and I really wanna work with them.
So we are low-key launching a version of Volume Three.
It’ll be a pre-sale, so this is gonna be a little bit different too. I’m experimenting with a pre-sale because we do have this holiday season ahead of us, so we’d love to kind of see like could that work?
So I’m also iterating the business model a little bit. So I think one of my close friends, Sarah, she’s on this live, but she’s our designer and she’s wonderful.
Jenn: Hi, Sarah.
JM: Hi, Sarah. She is... She’s very seasoned in the industry. She’s worked for some major design houses, still does. And I’m so grateful because we had a wonderful brainstorm session this weekend, so I’m excited.
Jenn: So exciting. Can I put in a request for sweaters? For the...
JM: Yes. Yes. No, so that is definitely on the radar, the project...
Jenn: I love it.
JM: They think it might be more winter-friendly, let’s just say.
Jenn: Yes. Okay. Perfect.
JM: And we’re... Yeah, we’re teasing... Also with this Volume Three, we’re actually gonna experiment with what I’m calling a side brand, like a stand-alone brand.
Maybe there is this arm of a brand that we can branch off into, and just people resonate with that. That could be really experimental for us.
It could just be a staple brand, where maybe if it does well, I would love to create a fund around it, where there’s a constant funnel of resources, right?’ Cause, ultimately, it’s up to us to decide what we do with our profits.
So, yeah, we’re testing a couple of things out. We’re very excited. I’m like... Yeah, I’d love to... Yeah, it’ll be a quick sort of volume, where we’re just gonna have to move swiftly, but definitely post-election, you should be able to see some stuff that’s new, coming from No Rival, so I’m super excited for that.
Jenn: That’s very exciting.
I love that, and I love just sort of connecting with your community, which I think sounds very much like what you’ve done with all of these projects, is kind of finding the people who are in your network who are gonna be able to kind of help you elevate things to the next level or even having people push you to sort of take on new projects and new things.
Can you talk to us a little bit about some of your favorite small businesses who are maybe doing things to kind of impact social change?
Are there folks that come to mind, that you’re like, I love what they’re doing, I would love to sort of... Hi, Sarah. Do little bit more, or just folks that you’re really inspired by.
JM: Yeah. So, one brand, during COVID... I do love Everbrand because they sort of scrappily, I think, did a shift to masks as well, and I know that they use really strong ethical sourcing procedures, ‘cause they do have a factory, I believe, overseas in Southeast Asia, but they really look at work ethic and just the right type of environment there, and they’re very sustainable, I think, environmentally, on top of it.
But I was able to be in touch with some folks on their wholesale business side of things. I was kind of interested in their mask. I felt like they were really... They were moving fast. They have this really great mask that’s multiple layers, with silver technology on the outside.
I think that they’re... They’re definitely a bigger brand, I would say. I don’t know if they’re considered small business anymore. I just loved what the team stood for it, ‘cause you could tell the team is...
They are truly themselves. They are authentically themselves, and they’re building this company in that way. And so I love any brand that kind of resonates that way.
I also... I have some friends who... I used to live in Orlando, Florida as well, with another startup at the time, but I have some friends that I made there, that are awesome.
And I think one of them sold... She’s on this call, but she started a macaroon business during the pandemic. And so she is a very gifted artist. Her company is called Whisk and Sugar.
And she can’t... I don’t think she delivers nationally just yet, but she’s a local, and I think she’s done a lot to bridge a lot of gaps in the community that she’s part of.
She just really reached out in this organic way to come together, I think, in the baker community of Orlando.
And I felt that... I don’t know that they’re necessarily moving in the direction of something specific, but I do feel like there’s something there where when you’re coming together as a community or a group, and you’re finding the friends that are like-minded, I think something awesome could be birthed from that as well, just people going after it.
It’s like, this is her passion. She makes beautiful macaroons. I don’t even think you should eat them because they’re so pretty.
Yeah, but I love that she has those guts to go after this type of stuff, and build something that she’s passionate about, and I think the pandemic really shifted so many people’s minds towards that, right?
Let’s just be socially-conscious of even how we live our lives, ‘cause I think if you focus inward and you really do the things that make sense to you, and you don’t feel trapped by your routine, or whatever, I actually think that can lead to a lot of other social change down the line, like who knows, right?
JM: ‘Cause I feel that I’m that person in many ways, like once I freed up some space to not feel the need to anchor to these traditional ways of securing my life, I started to be more creative, and I never thought I was a creative person.
So I think that’s what I would love to encourage too. Brands might think, that’s not our vibe, we’re not into that social stuff, but I actually feel... I don’t know. I think everybody...
Jenn: It is your vibe.
Jenn: It’s totally... Like it could be everyone’s vibe, right?
JM: It could be every... Exactly, in your own way, right? What makes you tick? If you create this space, I do feel that it naturally starts to build.
You don’t even have to be the... We’re not Mother Teresa. It’s okay. I think that’s very okay to embrace that, but we are all in this together, I think, as a human race, right? It’s humanity at its best, and what would that look like?
Yeah. So some mix of that. I love the apparel brands, but I also love friends who are willing to be brave and start their own company, right? Whatever that looks like for you.
Jenn: That’s so exciting. I love that.
I’ve seen so much resilience just with the pandemic, and with Sendle, meeting so many small businesses who are really like folks that are struggling, but also finding ways to thrive and pivot is really, really amazing.
JM: Yeah. Absolutely, I was gonna say too, with Sendle, I’m curious, ‘cause it does feel very... I thought there would be... I know there’s lots of big brands as well in Sendle, but I was actually surprised to see we’re so small.
And so I was like, Oh, we’re probably so teeny-tiny, but it feels like there’s this encouragement of such, including the type of community that you wanna foster.
So, I just wanna thank you for being able to do that, right? And I didn’t even realize that at the time, I just... Google is like, 'Oh, I need cheaper shipping rates.'
And then I was like, 'Woah, they actually offset stuff?' I love that. I’m obsessed with sustainability, but just... Yeah, you make it so easy.
I think that’s what I would love to commend the company on, because if you make it easy...
Jenn: Thank you.
JM: People will just do it. They don’t even need to care about that issue. And I think that’s the no-brainer that we need to start moving into that.
Let’s just do things. Let’s just make it pretty normal, not make a big deal about it, in some ways. Do you feel like that’s something the community resonates with as well when you talk about rights?
Jenn: I certainly hope so. I think Sendle’s core customer is really like small business owners who are doing sort of side hustle things.
It’s not like huge companies, although welcome, please join us, kind of come into the fold. But really, the folks that I talk to are very similar to you and your experience in your business.
And sort of being able to support folks regardless of where they are in their journey as a small business owner is something that I’m really excited about.
It’s also been really interesting and inspiring to see people go through the motions of sort of their business over the last year since we launched a kind of... Chatting with someone like you who’s like, oh, I’m getting ready to launch this thing.
And I’m curious, we have a customer who’s based out of Bellevue, who just launched her store today, it just started. And she’s doing pre-orders, same thing.
But it’s really that high touch, sort of reaching out to people and seeing how they’re doing, and figuring out ways to help. And I think that that’s my goal with my role.
But yeah, I don’t... There’s no customer that’s too small. There’s no story that’s too small. It’s really just going out and seeing how we can best support people, and what they’re doing, and how they’re doing it, right?
And some of that’s logistics, and sort of tangible things, with integrations, and kind of helping with X, Y, and Z, and some of it’s really just being a support system to say, 'No, we’re real people here on the other end who want you to do well and thrive. And how can we help you do that?'
So, yeah, thank you for that. That’s really sweet, and I’m glad that that’s something that kind of came across through your experience with Sendle. That’s awesome to hear.
I wanna open it up one more time if anyone has questions for Jenni about No Rival, or her projects, or kind of things that are coming up.
And then Jenni, I also wanna give you an opportunity to kinda tell everyone where they can find you, what they can find online, sort of all those things so that they can get in touch.
JM: Yes. Thanks so much, Jenni. This was...
Jenn: Jenni, we lost you. Oh.
JM: The connection got bad. To prevent...
Jenn: There you go, you’re back.
JM: Yeah, my website is norivalindustries.com, yup, and our Instagram is of the same handle, just periods in-between, so @no.rival.industries, and we’re also on Facebook in the same capacity.
But yes, our website right now, we’re with Volume Two, so we are working with Spread The Vote. All profits will go to Spread The Vote, in particular in helping folks get IDs that have expired or not in the system just yet.
And so we need to... Yeah, that project will go on ‘til about early November. We may extend it a little bit, so we’ll just have to see, but yes, you can get our inaugural ID/ENTITY shirts, a play on the word idea and identity, and we also do have a face mask option as well, of that same campaign.
And so really appreciate any follows. And everyone should also follow me on LinkedIn. I’m always available to network.
I would really love to just kind of continue building that network of other small business side hustlers out there and fellow Sendlers. I’d love that. So please do add me on LinkedIn at Jennifer Moon.
Jenn: Amazing. Thank you. I wanna say thanks to everyone who joined us today.
It was so great to see you all. We’ll be back on October 27th here, state-side, with another Hey Sendler.
We’re gonna be joined by one of the founders of the Finders Keepers markets in Australia, and chatting about their pivot in COVID, and how they’re supporting small businesses in their community. So, Jenni, thank you again for joining us today.
JM: Thank you.
Jenn: It was so great chatting with you and learning a little bit more about your business. Everyone, please follow No Rival Industries on Facebook and Instagram.
And you can find Jenni on LinkedIn at Jennifer Moon. Thank you all. I hope everyone has a good day. Jenni, thanks again.
JM: Bye, everyone. Bye.
Jenn: Bye. Have a good one.