PP 618: Seeing Entrepreneurial Ideas Through to Reality with Millie Blackwell
Quick Show Notes – Millie Blackwell:
“There are a lot of opportunities to build a business that lie just below the surface of what is obvious to us.” – Millie Blackwell
Millie Blackwell was born into an entrepreneurial family, and grew up on her family’s apricot orchard. As she saw the family business evolve, she learned valuable life and business skills which impact her still today.
Listen as Kim Sutton and Millie Blackwell share an interesting conversation about fruit farming naming conventions, the idiosyncrasies of retail organizations, the plusses and minuses of Chronic Idea Disorder, and more!
01:20 Phase 1: The Apricot Orchard
04:34 Farmers and Entrepreneurship
12:20 Showcase Workshop and How the Idea Came About
16:00 Grocery Display and Placements
23:00 Chronic Idea Disorder
25:00 Environmental Impact
27:08 Kim Sutton, the Hermit
About Millie Blackwell:
Millie Blackwell has experienced three phases of entrepreneurship, the first of which started on her parents’ apricot farm.
Listen as Millie and Kim chat about the other two phases, including how a seed of an idea turned into reality and is now saving the planet for businesses and retail organizations on a global scale.
Kim Sutton: Welcome back to another episode of Positive Productivity. This is your host, Kim Sutton and I’m thrilled to have you here today. I am also thrilled to introduce today’s guest, Millie Blackwell. Millie is the president and co founder of Showcase Workshop.
And, Millie, I, I’m just so excited to have you here because there’s so many different topics that we’ll be able to talk about including how you handle or remote team because I got to tell you, I did not have one team member in my state or even in my own part of the country, but there’s so much more to you than having remote team members. So I would love if you would share a bit about yourself and where you came from, how you got to where you are today.
Millie Blackwell: Oh, of course. Thank you, Kim. It was a lovely introduction. So I guess I introduce my entrepreneurial journey in three stages. It began on an apricot orchard in New Zealand. My parents were, were farmers and I grew up on an apricot orchard or farm. And while farming isn’t necessarily something people immediately associate with entrepreneurship, my parents sort of pushed the boundaries a little bit.
In the 1980s New Zealand’s trade, the trade regulations were opening up and they were among the first people to start exporting fruit out of the country and they also started a commercial gem and source operation out of our orchard. So I kind of crude it to my, my own journey as having that, having started there and having started with them. We really were cool.
Kim Sutton: I would’ve never thought about an apricot orchard. I think you are the first person I’ve ever heard say apricot orchard. Well you don’t think of it as an orchard. I guess, and this is going to make me sound naive, but I guess I had never thought about where apricots came from. That is so embarrassing to admit, but I mean, I grew up in Western New York and we had apple orchards all around the state and you know, and what do you, will you call it a vineyard? So I’ve seen plenty of, you know, vineyards, but I just never thought about orchards of other types.
Millie Blackwell: Yeah. I think if it’s got, if it has a stone in it or, or a PIP stone or a pit fruit, you can call it a norm.
Kim Sutton: Oh yeah. So what was stage two?
Millie Blackwell: I guess it’s having grown up there, it’s, it never really occurred to me as a very interesting or special as most of us think of our childhoods. It’s not really that unique, but just that part of the story I think especially the more time I spent in the U S the more, the more time I spend with the who, who don’t grow up really.
Kim Sutton: Well I’m in Ohio, so like I’m being so, I’m so sorry I’m being so rude and interrupting, but I’m in Ohio, so I’m surrounded by corn, corn, and soy fields. But yeah, I just never thought about it. Have you ever seen, well, you just said anything with a with a pit. I want to know where I can find an avocado orchard. Have you ever seen one? Do they exist?
Millie Blackwell: Yeah, and I think, I actually don’t know what the formal term for avocado is because they grow on a vine like Kiwi. They kind of own a tool. Wine, they almost like grow above your head taller than than the grape. And I don’t know what the formal term for an avocado orchard is, whether it’s a, yeah, a grove, maybe avocado grove, I’m not sure. But yeah, they grow up tall and they hang down off of a stem individually, not in clusters like grapes.
Kim Sutton: Welcome to the Positive Productivity podcast where we go off on random tangents about what you named the big plot of land where fruits and vegetables are planted.
Millie Blackwell: My dad is going to be so proud right now.
Kim Sutton: Ah, well, you know, it’s interesting that you say, you know, farmers and entrepreneurship because that was something that I never thought about until I moved out here to Ohio. I mean, there are tons of huge family owned farms all around me. And until I actually, right before I started my business now, I worked at Honda and some of my coworkers were from even more rural areas than I am in. And their best friends were farmers and they would just have, they would educate me on the huge expenses that went into farms cause I had never even thought about it. I mean, it never occurred to me that tractors cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. I mean more than our house. I mean, yeah.
Millie Blackwell: Yeah. I think we really under, I think even now that I have got more of an urban lifestyle it’s easy to forget quite how expensive it is to be a farmer. For most farmers or everywhere that I’ve traveled, mostly around the world, it seems like being a farmer means caring, quite caring, quite a lot of debt. And yeah, we kind of underestimate that and especially when we complain about how avocado is going up in price by 50 cents, this there’s a lot of expense on the production side as well that we just don’t, don’t really know to account for.
Kim Sutton: Absolutely. And here’s another embarrassing admission from me. I’ve been watching or listening to Little House on the Prairie while working for the last couple of weeks. And I just never thought about how much stock they put into their seed. You know, they, they have to buy all the seed. They don’t even know if they’re going to be able to harvest the crop. I mean a tornado could go through massive storms, wipe out the whole crop and who knows what’s going to happen next. But they guess the same is true for any entrepreneur. We, yes. So the seeds and who knows what’s going to happen.
Millie Blackwell: This is the one crazy thing I think about farming is farming in, in being an horticulture or agriculture’s mostly you get paid once a year, so you get paid for your crop once a year. If you’ve got a bit of diversity, you might have two or three crops. But as you say for where the patent ruins that crop or anything else ruins that crop. And I know that there were years like this where my parents, where you might go one year with get paid once a year, but sometimes you might have to get paid once every two years or you just can’t, maybe didn’t get the same amount as you got the year before. It’s a, it’s a really amazing budgeting skill to be paid once a year or once every other year.
Kim Sutton: Huh. How have you seen that type of sowing the seed and reaping the harvest in your own entrepreneur journey?
Millie Blackwell: Yeah, well I think I think one of the things that really I took from my childhood is that my parents really saw the head, their main business. They had the orchard and then they kind of saw a lot of opportunities around the edges or it may be in the shadows that sounds wrong around the, around the edges. So they had their main crops and then they diversified and built this jam and source business and they started with exporting when that was a new opportunity.
And I think all through my own life I’ve carried, I’ve carried that through and I’ve, I’ve enjoyed seeing when I worked for other people, I’ve really enjoyed seeing where people make the most of those, those edges. And really my first miss by first I had a few, a bit of a a strange journey to end up ultimately in in the advertising industry.
And several of the companies that I worked for made, well the last one I worked for actually made a really strong position for themselves doing the things in agency life that kind of were unglamorous or kind of were around the edges. So if you haven’t worked in the advertising industry typically the big brand campaigns and things you see on TV or on billboards or even on the radio, those are, those are called above the line. And that considered sort of the glamorous things to be doing in the advertising industry.
Millie Blackwell: Creating brand campaigns, those kinds of things in the, in this agency I worked for quite proudly said that, that they would do, they wanted to be responsible for all the work that the big agencies didn’t want to do. And that mostly was internal communications. Sometimes it was for retail clients. It was promotional things in the stores that’s not really considered a glamorous job.
And so I think that was something that I noticed along the line of lots of different businesses that I worked in that there are a lot of opportunities to build a business that just exist just below the surface of the things that are obvious to us.
Millie Blackwell: And and that sort of where even where Showcase my company now Showcase Workshop came from is this opportunity to help. So Showcase… Showcase is a software products and it simplifies the sharing of sales and marketing material and by putting them into a beautiful app.
And that was really an opportunity for customers that I worked with and advertising industry. They, they would create this beautiful material, but there wasn’t really a good way for them to share that material that either had to print it and send it out to their people or their stores or they had to put it on an intranet. But there was really this opportunity just below the surface that this could be done a better way. This could be done more elegantly or more simply.
Kim Sutton: Huh. You have so many questions in my head right now. I’ve warned you about this in the pre chat. So I’m just going to go with the first one that I thought of. Where would billboards fall above the line or below the line?
Millie Blackwell: A billboard? The typically considered above line. Yeah, most of the things that the general public will see any kind of mess, mess, communication, it’s mostly considered above the line. And it’s it’s most of a decade now since I’ve actually been in an agency. But I would, I would say that quite a bit of social media now probably falls into above the line.
Kim Sutton: That’s interesting. And the reason I’m thinking about it is because I have a dream of building my dream house, which I will, I don’t, I just don’t know when building my dream house on a big plot of land and putting up a big fence around it with this security security camera and everything. But a lot of the, a lot of the plots of land that I see have big massive billboards stuck up in the middle and you know, the farmers are making advertising money off of it or they’re not making advertising money. They’re renting out that little plot of land to the company that manages billboards. You know, anything, I don’t want to billboard in the middle of my lot, but I’m sure that’s making them, you know, the farmer, some good money.
Millie Blackwell: I think it would definitely make them some money and and maybe it’s a good way to get some additional revenue. I’ve for sure. I’m with you. That my preference if I had a beautiful plot of land in the country, would, would not be to have a billboard on it. Yeah, for sure.
Kim Sutton: Yeah. I might change my mind though if Chipotle says, you know, we’ll give you free Chipotle for life. If you let us put a billboard on your yard, I probably still wouldn’t do it. But you know, it would be tempting.
So, tell me more about showcase workshop because I’m curious about how the, the marketing assets get shared and actually, okay, here’s where the, the multiple questions come in. How did you even get to the point that the app became an idea and how much work did it take to get it produced?
Millie Blackwell: Yeah, so I guess the point where it became an idea is that the last agency I was working in worked with a lot of retail clients and in any retail business from, you know, clothing or department stores through to convenience stores. All of those kinds of businesses, each, each promotional cycle they produce a set of documents that they call schematics or promo guides. And the purpose of those, those documents is so that the people on the sites, this customer service representatives, they know how to sit up and display the products in most specifically how to set up in display the promotions. And this is all hugely operational against feeling unglamorous part. You know, I’ve done the promotion, but now how do we want it set up in our stores and what do we want customers to see? All of that has to be put together in a guide and sent out to the stores.
And so that’s where that, that’s actually where the idea of Showcase came from. As I was working on some of those guides and it was 2010 when the iPad had just been launched. And myself and my boss at the time thought that witness’ B wouldn’t an iPad be a much better way to do this than sending out paper. And to put that into context, just one of our customers was spending $200,000 a year on printing and shipping these promotional guides to their sites.
Millie Blackwell: So, that’s just one customer. If that one customer went and bought a hundred iPads, they would quite quickly pay or they would have recovered the cost of them within a year. So that’s where the idea came from and we sorta, we pitched this idea to the client at the time. It was actually BP in, in London and that back in 2010 we we’re still, we’re in that phase where we didn’t want to have cell phones on near petrol pumps.
And so the clients thought this is quite a good idea, but if we can’t have cell phones on the site, we probably can’t have iPads either. So I didn’t land with them at that time.
Millie Blackwell: But the idea we spun off from the agency, my boss at the time and two other founders, we spun them often to be com showcase. And we started pitching it as a tool for sales teams actually. So marketing managers who are creating brochures and promotional videos and data sheets, they could put that all into an app and send it out to their sales team. And that’s really, that was really where Showcase went from there.
But curiously in 2010, 2010, no sorry, 2010 as the beginning 2016 we did manage to get BP to end up using it for their schematic guides that sort of relaxed their rules around cell phones on the, on the forecourt. And they decided actually this is pretty good idea now. So eventually we did get, we did get it used for the original idea.
Kim Sutton: That’s amazing. And you’ve actually got me thinking I was at the grocery yesterday. We do a lot of online ordering now, but I was at the grocery and okay, I was walking down the soda aisle. Family wanted soda, I had to get it. But while I was there I was actually thinking about those Superbowl displays.
You know, Coca-Cola puts a lot of money into making these fantastic looking displays, which I always feel bad when I see a customer taking one of those, you know, cases of soda off the top because like a fantastic flag or foot ball or whatever the holiday is. But I never thought about this schematics that went behind those displays. Put this pack there, put this pack here and now you have to get a diet pack or whatever, you know [inaudible]
Millie Blackwell: I think you should definitely not feel bears because that’s exactly what that is the promotions designed to do. They want you to take those whole boxes. And the store should be actually quite thrilled that they get to replenish it because that means that promotion has worked.
And the other thing that may be be who don’t know, who haven’t got a retail background is not only have they designed their display, but Coca-Cola or whoever, the, whoever the advertiser is has also paid for that placement. So that’s why it’s so critical for the retailer to get it right is they have agreed to run the promotion and the advertiser has paid much like they would pay for a billboard space. They have paid to have their products advertised in bulk at the end of the Island, the supermarket. So don’t feel bad about it. Actually think there’s an effective promotion. Someone’s taking the whole box off the top.
Kim Sutton: Well, I went to art school, so I’m an artist by background and it, it just feels sometimes like I’m taking part somebody’s art. But I love how you said that, that that’s what it’s meant to do.
You know, that’s in, although this isn’t directly related, I didn’t realize until I went back to my hometown. I, for any of you in the Northeast, you got to give, you got to let me know that you’re listening and that, you know what I mean? When I say Wegmans, are you familiar with Wegmans, Millie?
Millie Blackwell: I have not. No.
Kim Sutton: Okay. If you ever go, if you ever go across country and wind up in Western New York or even if Pennsylvania, Virginia, there’s this fantastic grocery store chain called Wegmans. And when I went back to New York one time, my husband, it’s soda again. Okay. People don’t mind me. My husband’s just addicted to his Mountain Dew.
So, he asked me if I could pick up some Mountain Dew for him. So I go into the store and I’m in the soda aisle and all I see is WPOP. It’s their generic and it’s also pop in that in that area of the country. But all I can find is WPOP. And I had to search around for the brand names and I got home and my sister was a grocery manager and I was like, why can’t I find it? And she’s like, well, they, they just charged so much for the shelf space because you know, and the, sometimes the companies just don’t want to pay to get up at that line of sight. And it never occurred to me, I knew that the S that the shops paid for the inventory, but it never occurred to me that the brands that are being represented had to pay for the shelf space.
Millie Blackwell: I know, I know. And when you think about yourself as a consumer, it’s quite it’s quite complex, isn’t it? Not only do I have all this choice, but my, my choices are also being slightly I think it’s manipulated is not the word I want to use, but my choices, choices, choices being presented to me in a very specific way. Yeah.
Kim Sutton: Actually, now that I think about it, I’ve been, I’ve been trying to teach my kids how brand name doesn’t always or it doesn’t mean you’re better than anybody else. It just doesn’t. But now I feel sort of bad knowing that the brand names are for the premium space. Whereas you know the generic brands, Hey, they’re putting them up there because they can. They’re not paying for that premium.
What have been your biggest wins while building? I mean, I would have to think that BP, but what other big wins can you think of during the growth of showcase?
Millie Blackwell: Well, honestly, so many. So much of it feels like a win to have taken. Just, you know, I guess a lot of people who start businesses feel this way too. To have taken an idea and to have created a business out of it alone feels feels like a big win. But I think coming from so showcase was founded in New Zealand and I moved out to California in sort of the, there was an on and off nature of my time in California for the first couple of years. So I really started coming here seriously in 2014. And so the business was founded in New Zealand and really getting it to the, to the point in the U S where it could warrant me being here more often and now basically being here full time. I guess that’s one of our really big wins.
To have taken a little idea from a little South Pacific nation and have brought it to the U S feels like a huge win. And just sort of knowing that that’s possible. And for me the product that Showcase is, it is an interesting product to solve to solve this content distribution problem for stores with a network of 50 or a hundred stores, which is really what you’re dealing with in New Zealand.
Millie Blackwell: But then to take that and, and scale it up and impact, you know, a network of 1200 stores, which is one of our biggest customers is is really fascinating and really rewarding. And sort of the reason that you build, set out to build a software product like this to, to really solve problems at scale. So yeah, bringing it over here and I’m starting to build our client base in the U S was really one of the biggest ones for me.
Kim Sutton: You need to know if you don’t already know that I have Chronic Idea Disorder.
Millie Blackwell: I do know this. I love that statement.
Kim Sutton: Okay. So while you were just saying that you got me thinking because my, as I said, my background as an artist, I was an interior architect for a decade and it always amazed me and with all respect to all the brands that I worked with, it always amazed me how much waste there was actually in all the catalogs. I mean every year there were you know, products that were being dropped in those cut sheets went into the recycle or in his trash there were, you know, carpets, the carpet designs that were being wiped out and those samples went, who knows where. Like, it makes me sad to think about all the waste.
But you got me wondering if there’s a way that showcase workshop could even be working with these and interior products agencies and just be saving the environment from, you know, just with all the, I understand the benefit of having the fabric in your hands and being able to feel it. But how much money would it save? Not having to make all these, you know, six inch by six inch samples.
Millie Blackwell: We we actually do work with a few customers in the, generally in the building materials industry and one of them is a garage door manufacturer and it’s actually quite, the specific example that you brought up is quite fascinating. They, you know, they have all the different kinds of finishes that you could have on the garage door and instead of actually issuing those as little, as you say, a little six by six inch tiles, they have put, if you go into their showcase, you can blow up and have a hole. All the samples are in Showcase now. So instead of it just being a little six by six inch tile, now it’s the whole size of your computer or the whole side of your iPad or whichever kind of device you’re using. And I thought that was a really fascinating example of how to use Showcase.
And the paper thing that you brought up, this was something that I didn’t, I, I won’t honestly, I will honestly say we didn’t set out to save the save the trees, but it’s something to that occurred to us quite quickly is the opportunity to say paper that Showcase presents. And because, because of that idea, we actually ended up setting up an environmental program and we consider it sort of doubling the impact of our customers.
Millie Blackwell: So for every page that they view and showcase that counts as a, as a, essentially it’s a piece of paper that they would have otherwise printed. So a piece of paper saved and we build up credits and we plant trees. We make a donation to a company that plants trees. So we’re kind of doubling the impact of our customers who use Showcase. They’re saving the paper in the first place and that adding more trees to the stock as time goes on. So we’ve, we’ve donated about $20,000 in the two years that we’ve had the program. And yeah, that occurred to us as well quite quickly that there’s this opportunity to have quite a big environmental impact as well as just a practical impact.
Kim Sutton: I absolutely love that. In full disclosure, I went seven years without having a printer in my house.
Millie Blackwell: Good for you. That’s awesome.
Kim Sutton: It was amazing. Okay. And I did buy one a few months ago. I have to say having a printer scanner bag in the house is also amazing. I think I’ve used the printer four times since I bought it, but I just got tired of having the send thing send ’em prints over to the, the local print shop and them up. Usually I want it right now.
And especially with a lot of projects I’m working on, it was just chronic idea disorder is not helped. When you have the idea you want to get it done, but you have to send, send it over to the print house and then chances are, and this is usually what happened with me, I would forget because I would move on to the next idea and now they’re calling and I, full disclosure, I don’t leave my house nearly as much as I should.
Kim Sutton: I mean I’m like Sandra Bullock from the net. I don’t know. I don’t even know what my neighbor across that street looks like because the other neighbors moved out like three or four months ago. I have no idea who moved in across the street. I know there’s a car in the driveway. I have no idea if it’s a man or a woman. And that’s so embarrassing.
I sound like a hermit, don’t I?
Millie Blackwell: Maybe a little bit since it’s your words, not mine. Oh, it’s okay. I fully admit I am a mom hermit. Yeah,
I totally get the Chronic Idea Disorder though. And I just, I absolutely love that phrase.
I sit, I sit I’m sure you’ve read the book the Happiness Project or you at least know about it.
Kim Sutton: Yeah.
Millie Blackwell: The the concept is, you know, that for every, for every month of the year she said about doing take practicing one tactic that could potentially make her more happy. And this year I S hit myself kind of, well, I caught her a leadership project. So every month I tried to work on an aspect of leadership that I could in an area that I could improve in.
And one in that the theme I head for July was no new ideas because like you, I do have this chronic idea disorder. And so I, I didn’t allow myself to implement any new tactics. I didn’t read any business books. I didn’t listen to any business podcasts. And I can say that there’s quite a freeing feeling in that. I read about recycling and I read a little book from 1904 about etiquette.
Kim Sutton: I can only think about 1904 etiquette. You know, they, they must be turning in their graves looking at, you know, I’ll just pick on my kids for a second and I have good kids, don’t get me wrong, but etiquette or accepted etiquette maybe I should say is completely different now than it was then.
This is a total tangent and I apologize Millie, but I was, I don’t very often get sidetracked by going on news websites, but I was on one last night and there was an article about Prince Harry and Megan, I’m so bad with names, you all know who I’m talking about. His wife and their, their etiquette is actually getting them, is making it so that they’re not getting invited to parties anymore because there’s usually assigned seating at these parties and they ignore the assigned seating at the dinner table so that they can sit next to each other and then their PDAs are just really uncomfortable for, for the hosts.
It’s just, I was just cracking up because I’m like, you know, I would want to sit next to my husband too. I understand why they’re not sitting them next to each other. It’s, you know, it’s a social event and there’s a reason why they do it.
I mean, I would love to put my husband sometimes at the other end of the table just so he could talk to people besides me. But I do understand the benefit of sitting next to each other, that’s for sure.
Millie Blackwell: And I can only say of 1904 etiquette that I think at least half of the book I’ve been breaking the rules. Yeah. It’ll, kit has certainly changed or it accepted it. A bit has certainly changed since 1904 but it didn’t actually mention about whether you should sit next to your husband at dinner parties and didn’t have a section on how to be a hostess, but it didn’t specifically cover where husbands and wives should sit.
But I’m like you sometimes, mostly I prefer to sit next to my husband, but I understand the benefits of it at parties. It’s nice to sometimes break couples up and have new and different kinds of conversations.
Kim Sutton: Well, it’s funny to look back at, you know, and we don’t have cable anymore, but I remember growing up and watching, you know, the TV shows that my parents would have watched when they were my age and they, and in know there may have been a quote mom and dad in the show, but if they showed the bedroom, the beds were always separate.
And then I would go over to my grandparents house, my dad’s parents, and sometimes their beds would be together and sometimes they would be apart and that it just, I never understood, but I also never asked. I’m still sort of curious about, I mean, and they both passed now, but did they have a fight with their beds were apart. You know, it’s just sort of funny to think about it.
I want to go back to though to what you said about July and, and know new ideas. I love how you added in the no new implementation. That’s what gets me in the most trouble is I have ideas all day, every day and it’s the implementation that got me into so much trouble for so long. But I’ve got that sort of under control now. I would be curious to know what would happen if I went a month with no implementation.
Millie Blackwell: Well, I, I, I actually used the challenge to give it a go, but I think the thing that really made the difference there sort of has, I guess we’ve been, I’ve been building up to this month of no new ideas, but for the last two about the last two years, maybe a little bit more, we’ve been using a philosophy or a print yeah, philosophy called the 12 Week Year and a, it’s a book written by some Canadians. And so the principle is that every, you do your planning based on a 12 week cycle and you implement on a 12 week cycle.
So during the course of a calendar year, you kind of had four, four execution periods. Each of 12 weeks in that 13th week is a sort of a review and a wash out week. And just getting into that rhythm actually has forced me to plan and say, well, it’s only three months.
Millie Blackwell: I’ve made some decisions. I’m going to get these things done in three months and going kind of repeating that cycle has led to the point where I’ve gotten quite good at it, good at the 12 weeks and sticking to the things that I decide on and then I’ve actually almost learned how to join those so much into those 12 weeks that I always can’t fit extra things. And so when I get distracted by a new tactic, I’ve started to realize that it’s got a compromise, something I’ve already decided on for the 12 weeks.
So I guess I would say for as someone with Chronic Idea Disorder and who’s managed to get it somewhat under control, that, that changing to that, that 12 week or that three month sprint, it’s sort of, it’s just enough for somebody with, with execution disorder that you, you, you sought, it’s a far enough horizon that you can see it out. It’s an, it’s a short enough horizon that it doesn’t feel like you can’t see the end. And once you get into the role of it, it helps you think, well, it’s only another whatever, six weeks or two months away until I can decide on the next lot of ideas and start implementing those. So I’m maybe with netbook maybe it would be a recommendation if that’s something you actually want to do.
Kim Sutton: Oh my gosh, it is so absolutely something I want to do and I’m, I’m loving.
Okay. I know sometimes I timestamp these episodes, but we are recording mid August, my kids start school next week. I have been supposed to be working on a course because I’ll be speaking on stage and I would like to promote the course while I’m there.
But then I had my team was working on branding for a client and getting all their social media profiles looking better. And I sort of got inspired to create a Lookbook for Pinterest. So while I’m supposed to be recording this course on Pinterest, all of a sudden there goes a week creating a Lookbook. And that was not on the agenda. I could’ve had how many modules recorded and often the editor during that time.
So Millie, I just want to thank you. I think actually because I have so many ideas that I’ve already committed to. I’m actually going to take it for September, October, November. I’m going to love it. The 12 week sprint and the no new idea implementation. I’m going to combine them both together and I got to say I’m scared, but I’m also very excited. So there, there’s my…
Okay. Listeners, this episode will be out a couple months after I start this, but I would love for you to go to the show notes page, which you’ll be able to find it that TheKimSutton.com/PP618 and give me a kick in the butt because I guarantee you that by the time this episode comes out I’m gonna need that.
It’ll be September, October. Oh, I think I just committed the four months. I think I said the end of the year. Oh wow. Okay. So I’ll be halfway through this no new idea cycle. I’m going to need your help people.
And I would love to actually, I’m not wrapping this up yet, but I would love to hear what our ha’s and just what amusement, I mean that in the best way you’ve found out of this episode so far. So be sure to head on over to the show notes page again at TheKimSutton.com/PP618 and share your comments down below the show notes.
Millie, what are you most excited about as we wrap up 2019 and even look into 2020.
Millie Blackwell: Wow. So the thing that I’ve been working really hard on over here is building our presence among convenience, retail and grocery stores. So I’m going to have to look up Wegman’s for sure now that you’ve mentioned that name.
But so since we have had BP start to use Showcase for their schematics and promotions, we started to build on that. And subsequently we have Exxon Mobile, Shell, Arco, which is a brand out here on the West Coast and Speedway, which is one of the East Coast brands. We’re solely started to build up our presence among convenient store and grocery. And so I’m excited to just keep working on that. That’s my big, that’s my big North staff on the next two years. And so that’s what I’ll be working steadily toward.
Kim Sutton: Awesome. Well, along with Wegmans you’ll have to add Hannaford, Kroger and Meijer and I can actually give you a Hannaford contact probably, but that’s so huge. Yeah. Yeah. What are you reading right now?
Millie Blackwell: Oh, could you say that again? Sorry.
Kim Sutton: What are you reading right now?
Millie Blackwell: Oh, right now. Well, I decided actually to carry my, no new ideas over with me and other month as well because I just, I loved the, the freedom and the sense of especially the sense of freedom gave me with my reading because I listened to a lot of podcasts and I listened to a lot of audio books in the car. But I I have very little reading time in. So changing my reading habit from usually delving into a business book to just avoiding business books made the, the reading time that I do have so much more pleasurable. So for books not so much audio books, but for books I’ve maintained my theme of no new ideas. So that means no new business books.
So at the moment I’m reading a book called 101 ways to go. I think it’s called 101 ways to go without plastic or to reduce plastic. So it’s about getting your, getting zero plastic or zero single use plastic in your life. That’s what I’m reading about and it’s, it’s rather thrilling and makes me look at my takeaway coffee cups in a totally different way.
Kim Sutton: I’m looking around my office feeling really ashamed.
Millie Blackwell: Oh, no shame. No shame. Well it’s, you got it.
Kim Sutton: Well, like, you know, I picked up a prescription yesterday and you know, how can I ask the pharmacy, I just don’t even want to think about how many pill bottles, you know, are thrown out,
Millie Blackwell: Right? Yeah, I think pill bottles, I mean recycling is a whole nother story in the, is talking about this right now. But I think pill bottles apart from the caps, the bottle itself is recyclable. You could always take it back.
One of the suggestions in the book for things like soda or makeup products is that we can send the packaging back to the company that we got it from. And their point is that for many other industries, sorry, I’m turning this into a recycling show for many other industries like our cars and our, and our electronics, we, we and the company pay for the recycling of those at the point of purchase. So you buy a new computer, there’s a charge on there to recycle it. There’s a charge included in the price of your car to recycle it at the end of its life.
But companies that put things into plastic, they don’t pay a price for that. And I guess ultimately as consumers, we don’t pay a price for that. But then now we are paying the price for it with all of this plastic and single use plastic.
Millie Blackwell: So that’s, that’s one of the, one of the suggestions put forward is they could be a price that the there, it could be a price at the start to recycle it at the end of its life or as the consumers we might decide to send the packaging back to the company and, and have them think about it.
Kim Sutton: That’s such an interesting thought. I hadn’t even thought about that and I really never thought, I’m sure you could refill lows. Well that that brings up a, like you have to wonder would the pharmacy allow that because I’m sure there’s some type of FDA type of …
Millie Blackwell: I’m sure. Yeah, you’re right. I’m sure there is.
Kim Sutton: But I want to thank you too because I, well I have stopped listening to podcast for a little bit just because it was feeding too much into Chronic Idea Disorder. Just just like you said, I mean I, I kept on hearing ideas on the podcast and then would need to go implement them.
Yes, I did say need. I felt like I needed to go do that right then.
So right now my queue is backing up. I felt so good because it was getting ahead and now it’s is getting backed up again. But I had never thought about, you know, if I wasn’t reading business books, I could still be reading nonfiction because the alternative to business books to me was always just going straight over to fiction. And I do love fiction, but I’m just not in that place right now. Like, yeah. But I did read the Alchemist this year, which was amazing.
Millie Blackwell: I’ve read that book. Yeah. It’s a great book. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. The other thing that I am yeah, the thing that I’m reading at the moment is I am not a citizen yet, but I am on the path to be American citizen one day and I’m, my husband and I bought a stack of books with titles like how to be an American citizen, a handbook for Americans. So I’m learning a lot about how the police, the how the political system works. All sorts of things about really being an American citizen. So there’s the other things on my reading list at the moment.
Kim Sutton: How the political system works or how it should work. Huh?
Millie Blackwell: The principles of the political system that say that.
Kim Sutton: Okay, that’s good. I like that a lot. Yeah. Well I want to thank you so much for coming on today. Where can listeners go to learn more about you and just about everything that you are doing?
Millie Blackwell: Sure, so my company is Showcase Workshop and that’s showcaseworkshop.com and that’s everything about the app and the company and then me personally, I can always be found on LinkedIn and I think the LinkedIn addresses LinkedIn.com/MillieBlackwell.
Kim Sutton: Awesome, listeners, there will be links in the show notes, which again you can find it though. TheKimSutton.com/PP618
Well thank you so much for this such fun conversation. I know that was not grammatically correct, but for everything from orchards to do grocery displays and book choices and chronic idea disorder. This has been truly entertaining and you know, just very insightful for me and I just want to thank you.
Millie Blackwell: It was such a pleasure. I had a really good time.
Kim Sutton: Do you have a parting piece of advice that you can offer to the listeners?
Millie Blackwell: Well, this is my standard advice that I give when anyone asked me this question, and that is to stay hydrated.