The Unofficial Shopify Podcast

Focus on Fun & Profit: What a Firefighter Learned Selling Thousands of Wallets

Episode Summary

Firefighter turned merchant Jake Starr on why he's chosen to keep his business intentionally small, bootstrapped, and fun.

Episode Notes

Jake Starr, a former firefighter, started Recycled Firefighter in 2013 when he noticed decommissioned fire hoses being thrown into the landfill, took some home, and turned it into an iPad case he sold on Etsy. "I feel bad for whoever bought it."

Today, Jake's Shopify Plus store has sold thousands of wallets, backpacks, tool rolls and more made from recycled canvas fire hose material. He owes his success in part to the Every Day Carry community on Instagram where he has nearly 100,000 followers.

In this candid interview, Jake joins us in studio to discuss his journey, what he's learned, and why he's chosen to keep his business intentionally small, bootstrapped, and fun.

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Episode Transcription

Kurt Elster: Hello, and welcome to The Unofficial Shopify Podcast. Joining me in studio today is a wonderful gentleman, a friend, a previous guest from many years ago, and a long-time Shopify merchant, Jake Starr from Recycled Firefighter. Jake, how you doing today?

Jake Starr: I’m doing great. What’s up, man?

Kurt Elster: You know, hanging out, doing work. What brings you from Louisville to Chicago?

Jake Starr: So, I flew in this morning to visit a 3PL called ShipBob, and I’m just kind of hanging out, eating some lunch, enjoying the nice, gray, Chicago skies.

Kurt Elster: You know, I’m sure there are plenty of people who as you grow, probably like the first thing you outsource, one of the first things is shipping and fulfillment. And so you had a 3PL. You’re considering changing 3PLs. All right, I’m giving them a free plug, but tell me about your ShipBob experience.

Jake Starr: Yeah, it went well. So, our current 3PL in Louisville is kind of probably 10 years or so kind of behind the times. Not really technology driven, and this ShipBob, one of the guys reached out a couple months ago and kind of gave me his sales pitch, and it has a really good kind of backend dashboard that you can do a lot of returns and stuff from, and their price per order is kind of all built in with customer service and everything, like just one price, so you’re not nickel and dimed for everything. Which is kind of nice, because right now we’re paying an in-house customer service rep $38 an hour for just our 3PL, which ends up being somewhere between $2,000 and $3,000 a month, which is just kind of high.

Kurt Elster: Oh, so you have like a CSR who’s just inputting orders?

Jake Starr: So, she handles all the returns, and like misships, and receiving, and stuff like that, so it’s everything. But the $38 an hour, for the whole month, I was like, “Wow. That’s a little high.”

Kurt Elster: Yeah. No, I can imagine it ads up. So, your business is Recycled Firefighter. When did you start that?

Jake Starr: So, I think I bought the URL around 2013, but it didn’t really take off till probably 2015-ish, early 2015.

Kurt Elster: What is Recycled Firefighter? Where are you finding firefighters to recycle?

Jake Starr: Yeah, it’s kind of hard. That’s a good question, man. So, it’s not actual recycled firefighters, but firehose, so we get hose from different...

Kurt Elster: Different area codes.

Jake Starr: So, say we’re in Chicago right now, yeah, Chicago, say the fire department had a bunch of hose that failed, so you test it every year, so that it doesn’t explode while you’re in the fire, because you pressurize it up to like 150 or 190 PSI.

Kurt Elster: Right, and these are all mission-critical items.

Jake Starr: Yeah, and you don’t want them exploding, so you test them every year, and if they kind of stretch, or if there’s a hole that’s leaking, you put it out of service. And a lot of times, fire departments just surplus this hose, and we get it and turn it into wallets. You know?

Kurt Elster: Okay, so where did you get the idea from? How did this happen?

Jake Starr: So, back, I think it was 2013, maybe 2014, the firehouse that I was working at was throwing away a bunch of this hose. It was just in the dumpster out back, behind the firehouse.

Kurt Elster: So, to be clear, you were a firefighter.

Jake Starr: I was a firefighter, yeah, for 10 years. Sorry, I’m gonna turn my phone off if you can hear that. Yeah, so I was at the firehouse, I was on shift, and I was taking the trash out at night, which is kind of the last thing you do before you go to bed, and there was one or two rolls of firehose back there, and I asked the chief the next day when I got up. I said, “I can I have this piece of firehose?” And I just took it home and started. The first thing I made was like an iPad case, and I sold it on Etsy for like 20 bucks. And it was terrible. It was absolutely terrible. I was surprised. I didn’t sew it. I riveted it together, and I sold it to some poor person in Ireland. I don’t even know, man.

But I was pumped to sell something online, and it just kind of took off from there, man.

Kurt Elster: So, you’re a firefighter. You’re staring at this decommissioned firehose that’s on its way out. And you think, “Ah! I bet I could turn that into an entirely unrelated thing that I could sell on the internet.” Like what-

Jake Starr: Yeah, it’s nuts, man.

Kurt Elster: Where do you go? How did that happen? Does it really just pop into your head like that?

Jake Starr: The best way I describe it, so most firefighters are pretty industrial, like when you… Say somebody gets in a car wreck, and it’s 2:00 AM, it’s cold outside, it’s snowing, and you’re on an engine company with four guys. And so, there’s two cars, everybody’s bleeding, you’re trying to cut somebody out of the car, you only have the tools that are with you, so a lot of times you have to get stuff done with what you have.

So, it’s kind of the mentality. You just get stuff done with what you have. You know? Kind of that industrial, kind of creative mind, I think. A lot of firefighters kind of fit that mold.

Kurt Elster: It’s ingenuity.

Jake Starr: Ingenuity. Yeah, exactly. So, I didn’t take… I don’t know why I took it. I wasn’t like, “Hey, I’m gonna make a billion dollars out of this piece of firehose.” And I didn’t take it to save the planet, either. I think I took it to make some extra money. It was definitely like a side hustle kind of first move for me, because I needed some extra money. We just had, my wife and I just had our first kid, so I was kind of making ends meet with the salary, so I kind of just needed some extra cash. You know?

Kurt Elster: So, you had that drive and that need that kind of drove the entrepreneurial spirit. You said, “Hey, I think there’s something here.” The thing your… So, originally you made an iPad case, and it’s riveted together, and it did sell.

Jake Starr: Yeah.

Kurt Elster: The thing you’re best known for now, you’ve got a lot of really amazing products. I use your duffel bag every single day.

Jake Starr: Oh, cool.

Kurt Elster: Actually, you can see it. It’s under that.

Jake Starr: Yeah, I see it. Yeah.

Kurt Elster: Yeah, it’s sitting over there. I love it. But the thing you’re best known for are wallets, so how do you go from iPad to wallet?

Jake Starr: Oh, gosh. I think the journey from iPad to wallet kind of took some twists and turns. I made some bags, some belts, some messenger bags, backpacks, some stuff, until I settled. I realized that the smaller the item, the easier to ship, and the smaller the item, the more that you can get out of one section of firehose, because like originally, I only had a few hundred feet of firehose. So, I could make this big item out of all this hose, because I just wanted to kind of maximize the amount of material. You know?

So, I settled on a wallet, and that original wallet took probably six months or so, and maybe… It’s been so long, I don’t exactly remember how many iterations, but probably close to 50 or 60 wallet designs until I settled on what we currently call the Sergeant wallet, which is like a front pocket wallet. That’s our best seller.

Kurt Elster: So, if I sat down today and said, “All right. I’ve got this cool material.” We’ll say I have acquired Kevlar, and I’m gonna turn that into something cool. Wow, a wallet. That seems easy. There is no universe in which I could sew a usable wallet together out of any material.

Jake Starr: I bet you could.

Kurt Elster: How-

Jake Starr: I could teach you.

Kurt Elster: You’ve got your sewing machine, that’s your tool, and you are always… You’re making one-off prototypes of stuff all the time.

Jake Starr: Yeah.

Kurt Elster: I see it on Instagram. I’m always so impressed that you were just fabricating your own stuff whenever you feel like it. Did you start knowing how to sew? Or was this like you were like, “I can figure this out.”

Jake Starr: I did not know how to sew. I bought a $99 plastic sewing machine from Walmart, and it was terrible, and I started watching YouTube videos, and I made parachute fabric backpacking hammocks for like the Appalachian Trail. It’s like this lightweight hammock made out of parachute nylon. And that’s how I taught myself how to sew, just because it’s really long, straight stitching. It’s super easy.

But yeah, man, it’s just a lot of trial and error. It’s with any, just with anything that you want to be a master at, you just gotta put in the time. Not that I’m a master sewer by any means, but I definitely have 10,000 hours in it by now. And I think it just takes time. The creative aspect of it, I don’t know if you could grow that. A lot of the ideas and the prototypes and stuff come out of a need in my own life, you know? Like just a more comfortable wallet, or a notebook wallet, or a belt that works, or a backpack that lays flat and is orange on the inside, so you can see your gear.

All of these kind of things that I needed in my own life. It kind of came out of that, and those ideas normally just come in the shower, so I have a little waterproof paper notebook and a pencil that sticks to the shower, and so the ideas… I think my wife got it for me. I think it’s called like Don’t Let Your Ideas Go Down the Drain or something like that. But it sits in the shower, and all the good ideas just get written down on that little waterproof paper. Yeah.

Kurt Elster: A lot of people have said, “Oh, I have my best ideas in the shower. I do my best thinking in the shower.” For me, I do my best thinking in the car, driving, because you can’t be distracted by a screen. I assume the same is probably true of the shower. It’s interesting that you very literally are like the idea comes in the shower, and I note it and write it down in the shower. I also found interesting in doing… We’re coming up on like 300 episodes of this show. There is a very common entrepreneurial journey and story, and a hallmark of many of these Shopify merchant stories is I had a pain or problem in my own life, can I solve that and do a better job than other people, or do it in a different way?

And you’re no different, and you’re doing it like serially, which is very cool. It wasn’t just one product, it’s over and over and over. You have consistent… A lot of people are able to create an initial winning product, and then trying to make other products, it’s like trying to capture lightning in a bottle again. Whereas you’ve been able to just repeat the success.

Jake Starr: I think that can be a double-edged sword, though, because being the “idea guy,” there’s always something else, like I literally have 50 products on the back burner right now that I could make. And they’re just sitting there, and who knows? Like 20% of those could be big. You know, the 20% 80% rule I think would apply there. But those ideas take from, to a certain degree, the stuff that is already selling well. But being the idea guy, it’s always fun. There’s always something new, something shiny, and you’re trying to get those ideas out.

The creative aspect of it, like making the same thing over and over and over kind of hurts if you’re a creative guy. You want to do something new, so I think it’s cool. It definitely… It’s gotten me where I am now, but it also… It takes some of my focus away, probably, from some of my best sellers, which maybe I should focus more on those, to try and scale those up. You know?

Kurt Elster: How many products do you have?

**Jake Starr: I don’t know. SKUs is probably in the 200 to 300, but products is probably 50ish.

Kurt Elster: Because I just went through your site. I think you have 68 products listed.

Jake Starr: Okay. Yeah. And not all of those… We sell some pins and notebooks and stuff. Not all-

Kurt Elster: Yeah, there’s some accessory items in there that-

Jake Starr: Yeah, so I’d say yeah, probably 50 or so unique products, and I’ve discontinued a lot, too. I bet there’s probably closer to 100 that I’ve sold.

Kurt Elster: That’s crazy. The amount of products you’re able to produce and turn out is exceptional. So, do you have someone else manufacturing these? Because you’re making the initial prototype.

Jake Starr: Yeah.

Kurt Elster: Initially, I would imagine, when you were making the initial wallets, were you making all of them yourself?

Jake Starr: Yeah, so in the early days, I found some guys that would help me in the early days, in those first… Maybe it was March or so of 2015. We had a batch of 5,000 that I had worked with somebody with, and they came back and they were absolutely terrible.

Kurt Elster: Oh no.

Jake Starr: And I was like, “Oh my, this is a disaster.” I was like, we had this big product launch, and I had made like 2,000 myself, over the last six weeks or so, and those looked amazing, and then these other 4,000 or 5,000 were just awful, and I was like, “Oh my gosh.” But since then we’ve… Yeah, we’ve found some guys that have helped, and that’s really helped us scale production.

I do a lot of limited runs, and kind of unique stuff, so this last month I did a mystery box, and I did all of those one off… It’s called the Captain wallet. I did all of those myself and a bunch of other things, so I do spend my time mostly prototyping and making stuff, which is still… It’s still fun. It get kinds of old. I have wear headphones while I sew, because the machine is so loud, it’s just like teeth chattering, like, “Oh my gosh, I can’t take this anymore,” when you’re sewing for like eight hours a day. It definitely, it kind of grates on your… because it’s so loud, and it’s like vibrating stuff, so I’ll put on headphones and put on a podcast and just kind of go to town and sew for six or eight hours at a time still.

Kurt Elster: Wow!

Jake Starr: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Which, one of the wallets, that’s something that I really focused on streamlining, and figuring out a product that you can make a lot per hour, like we make this cash, or I make this cash band wallet. It’s like an elastic band that… I did the math the other day. I can make them so fast. It’s like if we sold that many, it’s like $2,000 an hour. So, I was like, “I wish I could sell that many cash band wallets. I’ll just work one day a week.” You know? And just kind of do the other marketing and stuff the other four days and be done.

But you know, that product hasn’t scaled up that well yet, so…

Kurt Elster: Well, it’s interesting. You have some big products, like you’ve got backpacks, and duffel bags, but it sounds like, and those are more expensive, like it’s a hundred-plus dollars for a bag. And they’re great. I’ve got one. But it sounds like your love, both in making and for the business, is just these smaller, simpler, everyday products like the wallet, and the wallets go for like 20 bucks.

Jake Starr: Yeah.

Kurt Elster: So, is there… There’s an advantage to these simpler, straightforward, lower AOV products?

Jake Starr: I think so, yeah. The barrier to entry’s a lot lower, like for the backpacks, when it’s a $150 backpack, first of all, it takes two hours to make $150, for me to make a $150 backpack. When in that same time, like the Captain wallet, I can make 10 of those an hour, and those sell for $50 each, so that’s $500 an hour, just if we’re counting my time, trying to figure out the best place for me to be focusing my time.

Kurt Elster: So, you’re often thinking in terms of your effective hourly rate.

Jake Starr: Not always, but I think that’s part of it. Yeah. If I just focused on bags, it would be harder to scale up. And that’s why we have a team to make bags, too, you know what I mean? Because it’s just really hard to make that many bags with one person.

Kurt Elster: The same… There’s also the cost of goods sold creates these inventory cashflow issues. The outlay for 100 wallets is going to be a fraction of the outlay for 100 backpacks.

Jake Starr: Exactly. Yeah, it eats up a lot of cash.

Kurt Elster: And for acquiring a new customer, I would imagine like your customer journey is I show up, I buy a wallet, and then I’m on Jake’s email list and I like my wallet, and I like Jake, and, “Oh, all right, well Jake, he’s got this new bag.” I think that’s probably a journey a lot of customers follow, so having that lower price point on the entry-level product is probably advantageous for both customer experience, the brand, your cashflow, et cetera.

Jake Starr: Yeah. I think that’s a strategy we’re gonna focus on this year. Scaling up the wallets, and then trying to retarget people for the bags as a follow up, instead of trying to get cold traffic straight to the bags, the backpacks.

Kurt Elster: Well, and even not knowing the product is, if you just go, “Hey, you’re gonna make a first purchase. Do you wanna spend 20 bucks or 150 bucks?”

Jake Starr: Exactly. Yeah. Yep, 20 bucks is way better. $9 is even better, but yeah, I don’t know. It’s kind of tough. Is somebody that buys a $9 wallet gonna follow up and buy a $150 bag? I don’t know.

Kurt Elster: They’re more likely than the cold traffic, for sure, but you’re right. I mean, that is… There’s a stretch there. But, so drawing on an info product background, the wallet then is your tripwire product. This separates the people who are never gonna buy from the people who will buy, because they can only… They can spend 10 bucks and they have a product from you. The fact that they have made a purchase, it was delivered, now they have a relationship with you, it’s now you can sell them on the next product. And maybe it’s only a little more, but then you turn around, “Hey, I’ve got this limited edition run of bags in this one colorway, and I only made 20. First come, first serve.”

Because I’ve seen you do stuff like that, especially on Instagram, where the really rabid fans are, so that would be called your product ladder. So, I think it’s about figuring out your product ladder and that product journey.

Jake Starr: I think so. Yeah. Yeah, figuring that out, because I’m not a numbers guy, a lot of times my brain just like shuts off. It’s like, “Oh, man.” I need to be better at numbers, so being the creative guy, and trying to force myself to figure out all these numbers has definitely been, like as I kind of contemplate my business journey, it’s been difficult, man. It’s like… I’m not great at the numbers, but I’m great at making stuff. You know what I mean?

So, let’s focus on making stuff and less on the numbers, and maybe it’ll figure itself out. That’s kind of where I’m at right now, you know what I mean?

Kurt Elster: See, this is where a business could benefit from a business partnership. So, like if you had a guy who is more focused on the numbers, and then you could focus on creative, so the product creation and the marketing, suddenly life becomes much easier, because you’re not like banging your head against a wall with a thing that you don’t enjoy.

Jake Starr: We went through that journey last year. I hired a for-hire COO sort of thing, and either my numbers that I gave him, or the Google sheets and algorithms that he had, the numbers just weren’t adding up, and you know, we’re trying to scale, and we ended up being over-inventoried, so we had a lot of our cash kind of tied up in too much inventory. And that was the thought, like, “Okay, I’m just gonna give this guy all of the numbers.” And I realized, even though I’m not super amazing at numbers, I know… Nobody knows the business better than I do, and there’s some value in that. You know what I mean?

A guy like that can be super good at numbers, but not know exactly how the business works, so that was kind of a hard pill to swallow, that we got probably six months in until… before I figured out that the cash crunch that that brought in was kind of bad. It was supposed to free up some cash, but it kind of went the other way. But I see what you’re saying. I think it can be super beneficial. I probably could have done a better job at explaining the numbers better. It was definitely my fault as the business owner and president or whatever it says on my taxes, I don’t know, of the business. It was my fault, but that was… It was a good lesson.

Kurt Elster: The pain or struggle is tied up in inventory forecasting.

Jake Starr: I think so. Yeah. Because if you get over-inventoried on a bag that’s made in the US, that costs a lot of money. Excuse me. It’s really easy to just have all your cash tied up in inventory, like you know, even two, or three, or four months extra inventory, that’s a lot of capital as you’re trying to grow and use that for advertising. Yeah.

Kurt Elster: Right. Absolutely. So, switching gears, I want to talk about marketing and promotion. How did you get the initial idea out in the world? Because you were just some firefighter, some working firefighter who happened to sell some stuff on Etsy. How do you go to now, it’s like Jake, the Recycled Firefighter, who’s sold… How many thousands of wallets have you sold?

Jake Starr: I don’t even know. I haven’t even looked. Yeah. Tens of thousands, I think is what I would say. I don’t know if-

Kurt Elster: There’s a line we use on the website, on the wallet landing page.

Jake Starr: It’s like 30,000 feet of hose at this point that we’ve saved from the landfills. That what it says?

Kurt Elster: Oh, we just said literally thousands. Okay.

Jake Starr: Yeah.

Kurt Elster: So yeah, you have thousands of people are working around with your wallet.

Jake Starr: My garage is full of firehose, so it may be more than 30,000 feet of hose. I don’t even know, man. It’s a bunch. So, how did I go? Your question was how did I get kind of my name out there, like originally?

Kurt Elster: Yeah. How’d the original thing take off? Go from like, “Eh, I sold a thing on Etsy,” to thousands of wallets later?

Jake Starr: A lot of that early success came off Instagram back when it was free, man. Just growing through the… It’s called the Everyday Carry kind of community.

Kurt Elster: Yeah. EDC. Everyday Carry.

Jake Starr: Yeah, EDC. Yeah. They’re super passionate, man, and that kind of community was just really taking off on Instagram. It makes for really good photos, so like that top-down view, you take all the stuff out of your pockets, like a pocket knife, wallet, flashlight, just all the stuff that Macgyver would carry, you know?

Kurt Elster: Right.

Jake Starr: And you throw it on a rustic wood table, you hold your phone over it, you take a picture, and you edit it from an app called Snapseed.

Kurt Elster: Oh, I love Snapseed.

Jake Starr: Yeah, Snapseed is the bomb. And you post it on Instagram, and it gets a bazillion likes, and that’s kind of what everybody does. You know?

Kurt Elster: And this type of photo is called a pocket dump.

Jake Starr: Pocket dump. There’s a hand dump, where you’re handholding all your stuff, too.

Kurt Elster: Yeah. Following you on Instagram is what introduced me to Everyday Carry, and to the pocket dump concept, and it’s huge.

Jake Starr: It’s huge.

Kurt Elster: So, if you, in fashion, you imagine a flat lay photo, it’s that, but much smaller, right? Instead of clothes on a table, it’s literally the stuff in your pocket in your palm.

Jake Starr: Exactly.

Kurt Elster: Or yeah, a rustic background tends to be kind of the thing.

Jake Starr: So, you can get as crazy as you want with it, like some guys put their boots out there, or a backpack, like pretty much everything that’s on you. Yeah, you can get pretty crazy with it, too. I had a business idea a few years ago where it would be like basically a 16-inch by 16-inch poster, like a piece of paper, that’s printed in like rustic wood, or rustic metal, because if you put that paper down and put your gear on top of it, nobody knows that it’s not an actual rustic wood table.

Kurt Elster: I saw a Instagram ad for this concept.

Jake Starr: Really? Okay.

Kurt Elster: They were like two foot, two-by-two panels, and you would get like a set of them, and you’d get two of each, so that you would have the seamless background. Yeah.

Jake Starr: It’d be super easy. You could ship it as posters, so if somebody’s listening to this and they take off, steal this idea, that’s totally fine. Just shoot me a commission check, you know? But something like that, in that community, even though it’s a small niche, I think it could do really well. But like I’ll be out somewhere at a restaurant or something, and see like a really cool flat tabletop or something. I’ll be like, “Hold on, let me throw my wallet on here and take a picture.” You know? My wife’s like, “What are you doing?” Taking a picture. Hold on.

Kurt Elster: I’m an influencer.

Jake Starr: I’m at like some pancake restaurant in the Smoky Mountains a few years ago, and I was putting my phone and all my gear on the railing. It was like the rustic wood, but it made the best photo ever, so it was totally worth it.

Kurt Elster: So, yeah, how many times a day do you post?

Jake Starr: Right now it’s one, just because it’s gotten overwhelming. I haven’t missed a day in like five or six years, man.

Kurt Elster: Wow.

Jake Starr: It’s like, “Oh my gosh.” Yeah, it was so bad. I was doing… I was trying to post somewhere between three to five times a day, and about a year ago I was just like, “Oh my gosh. I can’t do this anymore.” I did that for four years. So, this last year I just do one, and then I focus on Instagram Stories, so it may be actually five times a day, but one picture or video to my feed, and then the rest on Instagram Stories.

Kurt Elster: Okay. That’s been a big change in Instagram since you started, was the addition of Instagram Stories.

Jake Starr: Yeah, that’s huge, like linking that, you can link your post directly to an IG video, or just your product page, like that swipe-up function on IG stories-

Kurt Elster: Swipe up.

Jake Starr: Yeah, it’s huge.

Kurt Elster: Which, do you still have to have 10,000 followers to get swipe up?

Jake Starr: I don’t know. I guess I’ve never thought about it, because we’ve had 10,000.

Kurt Elster: How many followers you got?

Jake Starr: I don’t know, man.

Kurt Elster: Of course you know!

Jake Starr: Is this like a humble brag? Oh, I don’t know. It’s somewhere in the 90,000. Somewhere. I stopped realizing what the actual number is. 90-something.

Kurt Elster: 94.1 thousand followers.

Jake Starr: There you go. 94.1.

Kurt Elster: Sir. With 7,700 posts.

Jake Starr: Yeah.

Kurt Elster: Yeah. People should check it out.

Jake Starr: It’s a lot of work, man.

Kurt Elster: @recycledfirefighter. It is… Well, I guess if you’re into Everyday Carry, it is a master class. But it’s worth it to see like… Okay, there’s a lot of fashion and apparel stores on Instagram, so it’s like you already… You get the concept of what fashion apparel looks like on Instagram. Now, if you want to see the masculine accessory version of that, is this. It’s this Everyday Carry thing. But it’s just funny that it’s like… It’s really a lot of the same format. Just kind of we flipped it on its head a little bit.

Jake Starr: Yeah. Yeah, a lot of the Everyday Carry posts got kind of stale, so that’s why I post a lot of videos and stuff on there now, and not just the straight down, pocket dump kind of photos, because you can only do that so many ways, and buy so many knives, and switch things up so many times before you’re like, “Oh my gosh, if I post this one more time I’m gonna puke.” You know?

Kurt Elster: Now, do you do the thing where you tell yourself like, “Oh, well, I gotta create this content, so it’s a business expense, so I gotta get this new folding knife for myself.”

Jake Starr: That’s what I tell my wife.

Kurt Elster: Yeah. Okay.

Jake Starr: I don’t know if I lie to myself and tell myself that. Yeah, but that’s what I tell her.

Kurt Elster: So, this whole thing was born out of having the advantage of being early on Instagram.

Jake Starr: I think so. Yeah. And yeah, just that hashtag, Everyday Carry, or EDC, just really took off, man. Yeah. Just the second amendment kind of guys, too. The knives, guns, gear.

Kurt Elster: Yeah, there’s some overlap there. Tacticool is in there.

Jake Starr: Tacticool. Yeah. Backpacks and stuff. Yeah. It all happened at the same time, like I think all of Instagram was growing, but within that community, it was just so… Because they make good photos, you know? Like the gear photos?

Kurt Elster: Right.

Jake Starr: You can gain up your photos, and they just look really good on Instagram. So, kind of like food. You know? Looks really good on Instagram.

Kurt Elster: Yeah, there’s some things that lend themselves well to the Gram. You mentioned hashtags. For a while, that was like the Instagram magic, was you know, post at least daily and throw 30 freaking hashtags on the thing. Do hashtags work anymore? Does that still matter?

Jake Starr: I don’t know if they work, but I stopped using them. Maybe I just got lazy, but I would waste so much time trying to figure out what the best hashtag to use was, and I wasn’t seeing a bunch of extra likes and followers off of that. That’s just my experience. And I think it just cheapens up your photos. You can add it in a comment now, so it’s not directly under your photo. I just don’t. I don’t use a lot.

If I use one, it’s kind of like a joke, like-

Kurt Elster: It’s the punchline is the hashtag?

Jake Starr: Yeah, the hashtag. Sometimes I use like RecycledFirefighter hashtag, just so if you follow that, you can find my stuff. But honestly, if I use any, it’s like two or three.

Kurt Elster: There were no other promotional channels or strategies here? It’s just riding Instagram out?

Jake Starr: So, we used Instagram and giveaways to build an email list early on. I would post a photo and say, “Here’s this custom backpack.” Like I would make a custom backpack out of bunker gear, like the gear that firefighters use in a fire, like the kind of brown gear with like reflective trim on it, you know? So, I would handmake a bag and say, “Enter this giveaway.” And we would run it through through Shopify. It’s a Shopify app.

Kurt Elster: Right. Yeah, for doing giveaways.

Jake Starr: Yeah. Giveaways. We would collect all those emails. We would put that popup link, that email collection link directly in our Instagram bio, and just push people there and collect sometimes 2,000 to 5,000 emails or so.

Kurt Elster: Whoa!

Jake Starr: Yeah and give away one product. And those were lower-value emails, but still, it helped us grow.

Kurt Elster: How often were you doing those giveaways?

Jake Starr: Probably a few times a year. Maybe once every three months, two or three months. It depends. Yeah. We would partner with some people, too, because I realized if my Instagram gets shut down, or if that channel stops growing, I need some emails. So, we focused on giveaways early on. Yeah.

Kurt Elster: Oh, so part of it was just a diversification strategy.

Jake Starr: Exactly.

Kurt Elster: You were trying to build that list, because like Instagram, you don’t necessarily own that channel. Like I wouldn’t be super worried about your channel getting shutdown on Instagram, like you’re not posting anything risqué or weird, but it’s always smart to do it, and owning the list, that’s where a lot of the magic happens.

So, one of the things I love about your site is you have one of the best about pages. This thing is long. It’s got so much good stuff in here. It starts with My Story, and it literally is your life story. It starts with you, it’s got photos of you as a kid. It’s got a timeline of your life in here, and then it… You gotta get a third of the way down the page before… Oh, no. I see you talk about your first full-time job. This about page is phenomenal. What inspired you to do this? How did you put this thing together? Tell me everything about this about page, Jake Starr.

Jake Starr: I stole that from somebody, man, and I don’t remember who to give credit.

Kurt Elster: It’s yours. How did you steal it? It’s your story!

Jake Starr: Yeah. The format, or the idea, maybe you gave me that tip. I don’t know, man. Can I give you credit for it?

Kurt Elster: I’ll take it.

Jake Starr: Okay. Yeah, you told me to do that. Yeah, the longform kind of story. I don’t know. I didn’t put too many personal things in there, but I gave enough personal kind of stories to kind of get people interested in the brand. You know, and the pictures on that page are like low-res, like they’re not high-res. I probably need to update that, but a lot of the photos were so old.

Kurt Elster: As the person who set up the… when you changed to Turbo theme, I set up this about page, and yes, those photos are low-res. You need to get me higher-res photos. Following up on an email from over a year ago.

Jake Starr: Okay.

Kurt Elster: Right now. I need higher-res photos, FYI.

Jake Starr: I’m too busy making wallets, man. Yeah. What the heck? I need to focus on other things.

Kurt Elster: Well, it clearly is this about page works.

Jake Starr: It does. Yeah. On the Shopify kind of backend, where it gives you tips and stuff, it says how well it converts. And it’s not like amazing, but it converts well, and I think it helps people buy into the brand, too. It kind of tells that story. Because once you buy a wallet, once you commit, you get that history email sent to you, where that hose came from.

Kurt Elster: Oh, I love this.

Jake Starr: But to get to that point, we kind of needed to tell that story beforehand, to get people to commit. And I think that kind of story on the about me page helps people get informed.

Kurt Elster: You do a lot of really clever stuff, great stuff with your email strategy. So, you’re using Klaviyo. You’re sending out promos and newsletters, and you’ve got a lot of marketing automation set up. Talk to me about your success with Klaviyo.

Jake Starr: It’s been huge. I don’t have my laptop in front of me. Maybe you can log in and see what our percentage breakdown of email is. But it’s in the 40%-ish of total revenue is through email, through Klaviyo.

Kurt Elster: Whoa.

Jake Starr: Last time I checked it. Maybe lower or higher. Double check that for me if you can, but yeah, the flow, so you set up some really good abandon, like browse abandonment flows this last year, which have been huge for us. Obviously, the cart abandoned flows are huge. I’m trying to think what other flows. So, there’s as buy or die sequence-

Kurt Elster: I love it that it’s called a buy or die sequence.

Jake Starr: Buy or die, yeah, so Drew Sanocki from Nerd Marketer-

Kurt Elster: He was on the show in December.

Jake Starr: Okay, yeah. He’s amazing. Did he talk about the buy or die sequence?

Kurt Elster: No, we were talking about postcard marketing.

Jake Starr: Okay. Yeah, so that may have not even been his… Maybe he didn’t come up with that, but he set that up, excuse me, for me, back… I did an email marketing thing with him in San Diego a few years ago and he set that up for me. But that’s been huge. Just working off memory, it may be 14 to 20 different emails over two months, like a two-month span, that once you buy you get bounced out of the sequence. But it’s just like a storytelling through longform email, like, “Hey, check out this wallet.” Or, “This is where we started.” Or, “This is how many reviews this wallet has.” Or, “This is some of the features.” And, “Hey, we make bags now.” And all different sorts of things, and once you buy you get bounced out of that sequence.

I think towards the end, there’s a discount ladder, too.

Kurt Elster: Yes.

Jake Starr: Yeah.

Kurt Elster: Yeah. Your email flows and sequences do some clever things. It’s one coherent storyline broken up over multiple emails, and then it starts offering you a discount, and they always have… To create some urgency, there’s always a limited offer there. It’s very cool. I loaded up… All right, we’re gonna reveal the stats here. For the last 90 days, conversions from Klaviyo, 48%. Almost half of your conversions come from Klaviyo. That’s wild!

Jake Starr: It’s huge.

Kurt Elster: And it’s about… The split, 17% is from automation. That’s great. 31% from your email campaigns.

Jake Starr: Yeah, and a lot of that, obviously Black Friday is in there.

Kurt Elster: Yeah. The last 90 days, that covers Black Friday. But it also includes the slow period before Black Friday.

Jake Starr: Yeah. And I was sending campaigns… I try and send out a campaign once a week, but leading up to Black Friday, I was sending out like one a day. I hit my max. Klaviyo only lets you send a certain amount of emails, so I hit my max right before Black Friday and I had to upgrade like an extra $400, just to get-

Kurt Elster: And you’re still almost at the limit. It’s got the… When I logged in. I love when I see this, because I know that, “All right, here’s somebody who’s really utilizing emails,” when I log in and Klaviyo says, “You’ve reached 95% of your monthly sending limit.”

Jake Starr: Oh, my… Yeah, I see that all the time. Klaviyo is huge, so I don’t balk at it too much, but man, yeah, I wish that limit was a little higher. I mean, that’s in… We’re sending over a million emails, I don’t know, per month. It’s up there, isn’t it?

Kurt Elster: You have sent 997,937 of your monthly limit of 1,050,000.

Jake Starr: Okay. Yeah, so right before Black Friday, I had to upgrade to like 1.4, 1.2 million emails, just to get… Just to make sure we could send the emails up till Black Friday. Or Christmas. Black Friday was in December. Anyway, like my Klaviyo subscription goes from the 4th to the 4th of each month, so I think Black Friday was in there, but-

Kurt Elster: Do you do anything to prune or clean your list?

Jake Starr: I haven’t. In my email list percentages, the open rates are pretty low. I don’t know. I’ve found that I generate more revenue if I send to everybody, even the unengaged people.

Kurt Elster: Okay.

Jake Starr: So, there’s an engaged list that’s about two thirds the size of the all subscriber list.

Kurt Elster: Actually, that’s still pretty good for a list that’s been around this long.

Jake Starr: I’ve never pruned any of it. I’ve never… Like when somebody’s-

Kurt Elster: Yeah, for two thirds to still be engaged. That’s very good.

Jake Starr: Like I’ll get an email every now and then, be like, “Remove me off this freaking list. Stop emailing me.” You know? I’ll prune those.

Kurt Elster: I don’t get those. It’s like, “Really? You can’t just go scroll down and click unsusbscribe?” I get those too.

Jake Starr: Yeah, sometimes-

Kurt Elster: It’s like they want you to know. Like, did you just want me to know that you unsubscribed? That you want to be unsubscribed? Or you really can’t figure it out?

Jake Starr: It’s like passive aggressive. I’m like, “Hey, the link is literally one inch below. Just move your thumb, dude.”

Kurt Elster: I think it’s just passive aggressive.

Jake Starr: There you go. Yeah.

Kurt Elster: Because replying to you took more effort.

Jake Starr: Just gotta fire back.

Kurt Elster: Right?

Jake Starr: You just gotta fire back. Be like, “Dude, no. You do it yourself.”

Kurt Elster: I go through. I send them a screencast. I spend about four hours just to mess with them. No.

Jake Starr: It’s worth your time. Yeah, it’s worth your time. Yeah.

Kurt Elster: When I’m calculating the effective hourly rate on messing with email subscribers who are passive aggressive.

Jake Starr: Yeah. That’s totally worth your time. Yeah. Makes you feel better, doesn’t it?

Kurt Elster: So, all right, we’ve been talking for 40 minutes. I love what we’ve discussed. You know what? I’m gonna back up. We talked about your success with Klaviyo, and these amazing flows. There’s two I really like, that I think are worth mentioning, because a lot of people could benefit from this. We were talking once, I said… Because you sell not one wallet, but a whole bunch of different wallets, and it’s not necessarily obvious which one is right for me. So, I said, “Hey, do you have like a guide? A buyer’s guide on these wallets?” And you said, “Yeah, yeah. Here’s this blog post.”

I set that up as a browse abandonment flow, so if someone… I just took the regular browse abandonment flow in Klaviyo, then filtered it down to this, the wallet collection, so if you visit the wallets collection or products and you don’t make a purchase, and we’ve got your email, and we probably do because of a welcome popup, we probably have your email already, then you get an email called Which Wallet’s Right For Me? And it’s just that post, and it spells out, it’s like, “All right, here’s the buyer’s guide.” That thing, I remember I set that up for you, and then like the next day I got a text from you and you’re like, “This thing’s already sold so much!”

Jake Starr: Yeah. Yeah, that thing prints money, man. It’s nuts. That’s probably one of our… Outside of the cart abandonment flow, that’s probably one of the best automated flows that we’ve done. Yeah, that was huge, man. The bag, so I set up something similar for the bag abandonment flow, I think is what it’s called.

Kurt Elster: Yeah, I see that in here.

Jake Starr: Yeah, which doesn’t make as much money. I don’t know if it’s because of the barrier to entry is a little bit higher.

Kurt Elster: Well, it’s interesting. That one makes more… It’s a higher conversions per recipient.

Jake Starr: Yeah.

Kurt Elster: But yeah, I think it’s the price difference is what’s going on here.

Jake Starr: Yeah. The wallet one, man, just… Yeah. Especially considering, like I know you set the triggers up in the templates, and then I went in and like kind of copied and pasted the text and the pictures in there, and that was maybe an hour or two of work. And just, and then you leave it alone.

Kurt Elster: Yep.

Jake Starr: And then it just makes money, man. I mean, it’s a great use of your time. That’s how powerful Klaviyo is, man. And I thought when I set that up, I thought that was triggering everybody that came to the site. And that viewed the wallet. Which, that would be huge, but it’s only triggering the people that come to the site and we have your email. Like if it could send emails to people that we didn’t have their email, like I called Klaviyo, I was like, “Is this sending to everybody that viewed the wallets?” And they were like, “No, just if we have their emails.”

So, if you can figure out how to send out emails to people that we don’t have their email, that would be huge.

Kurt Elster: Well, and that’s why you want to run popups on a site. So, you have a welcome popup, and this is worth mentioning. It goes, “Hey, did you want a free gift with your purchase today? Click yes.” And then, so they click, that’s like a micro commitment, and they say yes, then we ask for their email, then they get the coupon code for the offer. So, I’ve got your email as soon as you landed on the site.

And then if they go to exit, there’s an exit intent popup. “Hey, wait! Do you want to save on your order?” And then that requires your email, too. So, coming or going, hopefully we grab your email some point in there, and then plus, like you do the giveaways to shore up the list, so if one of those people visits the site, it’ll still work. So, it works really well, and I think the other thing I really like is you do an order follow up that explains, that has your story. So, between… Before my item has showed up, after I’ve paid for it, I get your story in my inbox, and it talks about the product, and so now that’s in my head, and if someone asks about my wallet, I could say, “Oh, it’s by those guy, used to be a firefighter, and he started buying decommissioned firehose and recycling it.”

So, you’ve got, like that brand story becomes viral.

Jake Starr: Yeah, and especially you use your wallet like in social situations, like when you pull out your wallet, you’re paying for something, people are most likely around you. So, you’re more likely to share it, you know? People see it’s unique. Not many people carry a yellow wallet. A lot of the firehose is yellow, so it looks unique, and hardly anybody carries a firehose wallet, so it tells a cool story. You know what I mean?

And it’ll last forever, so you have somebody that pays $29, like our cheapest wallet, the best seller is $29. So, then you have this guy carrying it out, pulling it out five to 10 times a day for years, you know what I mean? Our tag is huge. It’s on the front. The URL is on the back of that tag. So, it’s definitely like word of mouth marketing. I think half of all of our conversions come from direct traffic, so people will just type it in and just a buddy tells them, or they see it, or they hear about it in person, and then just direct to the website. You know?

Kurt Elster: That’s like the best thing you could hope for.

Jake Starr: It’s amazing.

Kurt Elster: That is really… I don’t know if you realize how phenomenal this business is, based on… The story is cool. The fact that people are sharing the story and really connecting with it. And that you’re on Instagram, in the right place, at the right time, and your email automations work so well. You’re like, “Well, I’m not really great at the numbers, I’m not a numbers guy.”

Jake Starr: Yeah.

Kurt Elster: It doesn’t even matter!

Jake Starr: Yeah.

Kurt Elster: You’re killing it with this thing.

Jake Starr: Yeah.

Kurt Elster: So, you’ve got-

Jake Starr: Thanks, man.

Kurt Elster: Yeah. Really. You should give yourself a pat on the back and be proud. For the last… You’ve been doing this a little over five years. How have things changed in the e-commerce universe? Like if you had to start over today, in 2020, versus 2015 or earlier, how have things changed? What would you have to do differently, do you think?

Jake Starr: I think that’s such a personal question, man. I read a book. If you ever watched MythBusters, it’s a guy called Adam Savage.

Kurt Elster: I love MythBusters. I love Adam Savage.

Jake Starr: All right, so Adam Savage wrote a book this last year that was really good. It’s called Every Tool’s A Hammer. And throughout the book, he just talks a lot about how making stuff in itself, and making a living at making stuff, is a success in itself. It made me think about if I made… I have a shop, a detached garage by my house, that I go out in the morning. It’s a nice shop. And I make stuff all day. And I make a living. I provide for my kids.

And I was like, “Would that be a success if I do this for 20 years?” Instead of focusing on trying to grow my business into some big, profitable… I mean, profitable would be fine, but bigger than it needs to be. Because with bigger numbers comes more stress, and it takes away mental energy, and just physical energy from your family. So, reading that book I was like, “Man, how cool would it be if I could just goof around in the garage, make stuff, kind of fulfill that maker kind of heart that I have, like creative aspect, and make good money?” You know, there’s nothing wrong with making good money. But it not become all about growth.

Like the past few years, because as you grow, you get so focused, or I have, on growth.

Kurt Elster: I think this is a common thing that happens to entrepreneurs.

Jake Starr: Yeah. The more money you have, within reason, in my own life, is it really worth… I think back to the early days, when I was doing everything, and it was super stressful, but we actually profited more money back then. You know, when I was making stuff, and I think there’s a balance between trying to grow too fast and get too big, and you’re doing everything yourself. Like there’s a happy medium, you know what I mean? Like that’s fulfilling, where you can quit at 5:00 PM and you can have some family time, you know what I mean?

And you can take a day off. You can go to Disneyland. You can do fun stuff with your family, man. And make good money still, but not try and make $30 million a year, you know what I mean? It’s okay, and that’s kind of the… Reading that book with Adam Savage, that was one of the books, there seems to be one book a year, every other year, that kind of hits me hard. Early on it was the 4-Hour Workweek.

Kurt Elster: Right.

Jake Starr: Last year it was Adam Savage’s book, and then this year I’m reading a book called The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, which is just like learn how to be quiet and take a day off kind of thing.

Kurt Elster: Oh, I need to read this.

Jake Starr: Yeah, it’s so good, man.

Kurt Elster: I literally… So that I can unplug nights and weekends, I do not have a computer in my house.

Jake Starr: That’s amazing.

Kurt Elster: Because otherwise, I just do not have the willpower to not go poke at it.

Jake Starr: Yeah.

Kurt Elster: And I always end up like on Monday, I was a little stressed when I’d go back to work. If I don’t have my laptop, and I don’t have access to a computer, and I don’t have my email on my phone, when I get… On Monday, like, “Wow, I feel great! And I’m excited to go back to work.” Right?

Jake Starr: Yeah.

Kurt Elster: So, it’s important to unplug and disconnect, especially when you have to do creative work.

Jake Starr: Yeah. It’s so hard. It’s so hard, man.

Kurt Elster: You need to be able to step away from it and come back.

Jake Starr: I have no… It’s go all-in type of mentality, you know? Like, so I have a hard time turning it off, so that’s definitely been a big one. What I would do differently… Oh, man. I think if I started the business now, I would focus, I would try and be profitable from the beginning, and just have profits. Your net. Focus on your net instead of growth. Like how much money, net profit, am I making per order? Raise your prices if you have to. And focus on email marketing.

If I had focused on email marketing at the beginning, my list would probably be twice as big, and all those automations would be even bigger.

Kurt Elster: Decide on what you want, like what you want to get out of your business, and your life, and how you want to run it, because you’re the sole owner. You’re in charge.

Jake Starr: Yeah.

Kurt Elster: And if you have a clear vision for that, and that could change and evolve over time, that will really help inform some of the business decisions, and how you run it, and what you do. But then also be focused on profitability, because that’s gonna make life easier when it’s baked into the business from day one, and it sounds like you’re a big fan of… The fact that you think about effective hourly rate. I often think in effective hourly rate too, so I appreciate this about you. It’s part of optimizing your life in business. So, when you’re thinking like that, and sort of thinking in longer ROI terms. So, you said, “Hey, I wish I invested in email.” Yeah, because that list pays dividends, and email automation, like you set it up and you get a good one that really works, wow! That thing just will print money for years, potentially.

Jake Starr: Yeah. I think a lot of it is learning as you go, because I… You don’t know what exactly, what type of business that you’re good at, or what you want, until you do it. It’s like I didn’t know I wanted a smaller kind of business that I can make quick moves. I just wanted to make stuff. Until I started to grow and take on more complexity, I didn’t realize that I did want it smaller. You know what I mean?

So, a lot of this stuff you think you know, and then you do it, and you’re like, “I don’t know.” So, keeping it small, I think you can make changes easily. Easier. You know? But yeah, I think it’s a good summary, man.

Kurt Elster: Oh, absolutely. Have you read Company of One from Paul Jarvis?

Jake Starr: I’m reading that now. Yeah. Dude, that is so good, man.

Kurt Elster: That sounds similar to some of the things you’re talking about now.

Jake Starr: Yeah, and I think, honestly, man, it can be a bragging point, like, “Oh, I’m growing.” You know, it’s like when somebody asks how you’re doing. “Oh, I’m busy.” It’s like, “Is that good?” It’s like, “Are you bragging on how busy?”

Kurt Elster: That became a status symbol.

Jake Starr: Yeah, like why is it cool to be busy, man? I want to take a break, dude.

Kurt Elster: Yeah. Now everybody’s busy. No one’s like, “No, I’m just hanging out.”

Jake Starr: Yeah, what’s the quote? Busy is the new stupid. Like, “Okay, everybody’s stupid. Whatever.” So, I don’t know who said that. But probably me. Maybe I’m stupid.

Kurt Elster: I’ll give you credit.

Jake Starr: Yeah, so the Company of One, that’s another book that I’m reading now. I tend to get like a quarter of the way through a book and then I move on.

Kurt Elster: You know, that’s fine. I don’t think… I think more people should read, but also be entirely unapologetic about like, “Yeah, I got the gist of it.” Just move on. It’s fine.

Jake Starr: Maybe I need to read a book on how to finish a book.

Kurt Elster: I’m sure that exists, and please don’t.

Jake Starr: I’ll quit halfway through.

Kurt Elster: I did just blow an Audible credit on the Adam Savage book.

Jake Starr: Yeah. Oh, it’s good, man.

Kurt Elster: Because he narrates it.

Jake Starr: It’s good. Yeah. Oh, he reads the whole thing, man. It’s super good.

Kurt Elster: Let’s wrap it up. If you had to give a single piece of advice for someone just starting out, or early in their journey, their entrepreneurial journey, what would it be?

Jake Starr: I don’t really have a mantra. I think stay true. #staytrue. Maybe that’s a good one. I don’t know. That’s kind of hard to say, like have fun, maybe. Is that kind of lame?

Kurt Elster: I think that is important.

Jake Starr: Have fun!

Kurt Elster: I think a lot of people ignore the fact that your business should be fun for you, because it will make it dramatically easier.

Jake Starr: Yeah. It’s not always gonna be fun.

Kurt Elster: If everything’s a chore, good luck.

Jake Starr: Yeah. You need to have some fun. Like when I’m sewing for eight hours straight and I’m going cross-eyed, that’s not fun. But it’s fun enough that I don’t quit. Like if you can just do something, and not have fun, and not quit, you’re a better person than I am. But I need it to be fun to just keep chugging along, because a business, a small business especially, man, it’s lonely, dude.

Kurt Elster: Yes.

Jake Starr: Like, it’s my wife and I, you know? And you don’t get a lot of thank yous. It was the same at the firehouse, man. You hardly ever get a thank you. You know, this guy, you drop him off at the ER, or they didn’t make it, or it’s their worst day ever. You don’t get a thank you. Maybe… There’s a handful of times in my career that somebody would like bring a cake back to the firehouse and thank us, you know? But it’s a pretty thankless kind of thing, and it’s the same way with e-commerce, like you hear the guys complaining. They’re louder than the guys that say, “Thank you.” They always are. You know what I mean?

Kurt Elster: Yes, and those are the ones you remember.

Jake Starr: Yeah, it’s like those are the ones that you’re up at night going, “Oh my gosh, that guy.” So, have fun, because it does get lonely. Loneliness I think can just be part of the business, the small business sometimes. So, learn to have fun, and take some days off, man. Take a breather. Go fishing. That’s what I do now. Fishing helps.

Kurt Elster: Yeah. It’s good to have a hobby. For me it’s flying my drone. That’s what I do.

Jake Starr: Oh, nice. Yeah, yeah.

Kurt Elster: Because it’s a creative thing, and it gets me out of the house, and you really can’t be focused on other things when you’re trying not to crash your drone into somebody’s house, so it’s… Yeah, that’s not gonna be fun.

Where could people go to learn more about you? Where could we find out about the Recycled Firefighter?

Jake Starr: Yeah, so just is the main page. We’re on Amazon, as well, but yeah, that’s the main Shopify page.

Kurt Elster: And definitely check out the Recycled Firefighter Instagram, @recycledfirefighter, and I have linked to those things in the show notes, so tap or swipe up on the show art to get to those, and I’ve also got the… We mentioned several books, and a great photo editing app that Jake and I both use, so grab those show notes.

Jake, this has been fabulous. I am so glad you stopped by.

Jake Starr: Yeah, it was fun, man. Thanks for having me.