062: Jamie Lewis on age, gender, and WooCommerce Solutions


About Jamie Lewis:

Jamie Lewis is a Growth Manager with a tech startup, Oliver POS, that specializes in creating an adaptable point of sale solution for WooCommerce shop owners.

She holds degrees in writing and design and is completing her MSc thesis in Digital Marketing and Data Analytics. She’s worked in ad agencies and non-profit organizations in roles comprising marketing and communications, writing, and design, and she’s passionate about understanding the intersection of data, psychology, and creative marketing and communications — and WordPress, of course.

When she’s not at work, you can find her in the garden or spending time with her two-year-old daughter.

Find Jamie Lewis: Jamie Lewis & Oliver POS  | Instagram | LinkedIn


Women in WP | WordPress Podcast
Women in WP | WordPress Podcast
062: Jamie Lewis on age, gender, and WooCommerce Solutions
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Transcript

Angela:

Welcome to Women in WP, a bimonthly podcast about women who blog, design, develop and more in the WordPress community. Hi, welcome to Women in WP. I’m Angela Bowman.

Tracy:

And I’m Tracy Apps.

Angela:

Our guest today is Jamie Lewis, who is joining us from Newfoundland Canada. She is the growth manager with a tech startup, Oliver POS, which is point of sale solution for WooCommerce shop owners. Welcome, Jamie.

Jamie:

Hi.

Tracy:

Hi.

Jamie:

It’s so good to be here.

Angela:

It’s so awesome to have you, finally. We like to start off each episode asking our guests how they got into WordPress. How did you get started?

Jamie:

I got started when I was doing my undergraduate degree, which was nothing to do with any sort of web… I have an English degree with a history minor. Completely unrelated to WordPress. But I was working with our school newspaper there. As things have been going with news publications in the past few years, we began to move everything from a print format to a digital format. With that came, using WordPress. So, we set that website up, that was how we were publishing everything.

Jamie:

That was my first introduction to it. I worked a part-time job at a retail store that uses WordPress as well. That was like a baby store, where they sold all kinds of accessories and stuff like that. They also had a WooCommerce shop online.

Jamie:

It’s interesting that, now I work with a company that sells a point of sale system for WooCommerce, of course, that was interesting, that’s come full circle for me, kind of.

Angela:

That’s amazing. What year was that, that you encountered your first WooCommerce site?

Jamie:

I guess that probably would have been back in 2014, 2013.

Angela:

That’s amazing. That would have been brand new, baby WooCommerce.

Jamie:

Yeah, it was very different than the WooCommerce that you see today, for sure. It made sense for the news publication because it was a blogging platform. But it was definitely more of a blogging platform back then.

Tracy:

Yes, for sure.

Jamie:

Yeah.

Tracy:

It’s funny, because a lot of people that we talked to, they’re like, yeah, my degree has nothing to do with what I do now. You’re not alone. But what were your plans to be if you didn’t grow up and become what you are now?

Jamie:

Initially, I was looking into law school. I had a few friends who were lawyers, and they’re like, “Jamie, I don’t know if you want to do this.” Which is totally valid. I’ve always had a knack for design and stuff, and I’ve really loved working on computers and stuff like that. I went on and actually did a degree in graphic design and did a coding boot camp, which, I guess, kick started my career into the direction it’s going now. More on the side of copywriting, marketing, all that good stuff, content creation.

Jamie:

Through that, I started doing a lot of freelance work. I was creating WordPress sites for small business owners, and worked in ad agencies then after I graduated with those programs.

Tracy:

I love it. That’s amazing.

Jamie:

It’s definitely not a linear path.

Tracy:

I don’t think any of us has.

Angela:

You wrote that one of your biggest challenges was to being taken seriously as a young adult and a woman. I feel that quite poignantly, because I had a child at a very, very young age. I was an adult, very young, and had a lot of adult responsibilities, but didn’t feel like I was being taken seriously. How’s that been for you, and what tips would you have for other young women facing those same challenges?

Jamie:

It’s not something that I faced so much in my day-to-day now. But certainly, when I was earlier in my career, when I was younger, I did find, there’s a lot of… I guess, especially when you’re working with stuff more on the tech side. I was setting up self-hosted servers on Amazon and stuff like this. People will be like, “Do you have any credentials?” I’m like, “No one really has any credentials in this, first of all. Unless you have a computer science degree kind of thing.”

Jamie:

But I think at the end of the day, your work just speaks for itself. If you really put yourself out there… A lot of the work that I did early on in my career was for, like I said, small business owners. It was for nonprofits. There was some volunteering aspect to some of the work that I tried to get in my portfolio early on, but it definitely kick started my career.

Jamie:

I definitely recommend just cold emailing people. If there’s a nonprofit organization or something that you really believe in what they do, just reach out to them and see if they need help with stuff like that. Because I find those are most often the people that, they’re very open to whatever help they can get, first of all, because they’re relying on government funding and stuff like this. It’s also a great way to just build up a clientele and a portfolio.

Angela:

That’s exactly what I did.

Jamie:

Yeah, that’s amazing.

Angela:

I volunteered with a nonprofit. I built their website, and that’s what launched me into this whole WordPress thing.

Jamie:

I love [inaudible 00:06:08]

Angela:

Nonprofits are awesome that way.

Jamie:

Yeah, I worked with an arts-based nonprofit here, which was-

Angela:

Mine was arts-based too.

Jamie:

Oh my gosh. That’s incredible. Initially, I was teaching writing classes and just doing… They have a youth drop in center and stuff. It was not really working on stuff related to website building. But the executive director got wind of the fact that this was something that was in my skill set. That actually definitely kick started a lot of work for me, because they then begun referring more clients to me. That’s awesome. That that’s how you started to.

Tracy:

Yeah. One of the things, because we always talk about the imposter syndrome. I don’t think we ever get rid of it. But when you’re talking about that just getting involved, like volunteering, or just getting your feet wet and getting in there. Just as a way to build that confidence, because that to me has been a big piece of people listening to me, and taking me seriously.

Jamie:

Yeah, it’s very true. I still get imposter syndrome to this day.

Tracy:

We all do.

Jamie:

It just is.

Tracy:

It’s just a matter of battling that. I think one of the things that’s helped me is, especially since I did start with a lot of little clients and everything, and some of the… Especially these small ma and pop businesses or whatever, they’re really thankful to have that help. Getting positive comments, and testimonials from them, and almost printing them out, so that you’d save them. Realize, oh, yeah, I’m helping people. I’m doing things. I’m doing a good job.

Jamie:

Yeah, absolutely.

Angela:

You mentioned that story about being 26, and being asked how old you were. I wonder if young programming men would be judged in the same way? I had a similar experience in the software company at about the same age, probably about 27, of being told I wasn’t technical enough, and it really had to do with, I wasn’t man enough? I was a woman, and that’s the whole reason I wasn’t technical enough. How much of that do you feel like was about your age versus your gender?

Jamie:

I guess it’s hard to say. At the time, I think I was just a little bit flabbergasted by the fact that someone would ask me that. I guess it’s a mixture of both. It’s different for me now, because I worked with a company that we actually have equal gender representation. But it’s definitely something on the tech side. When I did the coding boot camp, I walked in, it was just a bunch of guys there, which, again, you don’t want to see that. But when you do, the wheels start turning your brain, and you’re thinking like, I think this is the case here. Maybe women just don’t feel like… Sorry, in those situations, people just assume that women don’t have as much technical knowledge and stuff. But actually some of the greatest WordPress developers I know here locally, are mostly women.

Tracy:

Right. Some of the people that we’ve interviewed, I was like, it’s amazing, some of the things. I was like, I’ve used this product forever. It’s amazing, and it’s great. Just because no one else had it, so you just made it. Yeah. Okay, cool. Just.

Tracy:

It’s funny because I started off my college career, I was in engineering, and I had a very similar seat. Well, I feel like I’ve done this with… I’ve almost done this intentionally, subconsciously, I’ve done this intentionally. I played drums, and it was mostly all guys. I just go, I want to play drums. Then I went into engineering and went to an engineering school, and it was mostly guys, and there was a couple of classes where I was the only woman in the class.

Tracy:

Then the professor was making a bunch of blonde jokes, and he stopped in the middle, and he looked at me and he says, “I realize, these are kind of degrading to women.” I was like, oh?

Jamie:

He had his light bulb moment.

Tracy:

I know. I was like, yeah, they are. Thanks for noticing, and you wouldn’t have noticed that if I wasn’t here. I think it’s a testimony to you’re intelligence and adaptability and skills is that you stick through it, and you’re like, nope. Yeah, it doesn’t look like I belong here, but I belong here.

Jamie:

Yeah. With any client facing industry, I feel like you have to be able to let things bounce off you a little bit. I try to be optimistic going into things too. But that’s just me. I do know that my younger sister is doing computer science, too. It’s very similar. She’s like, “Yeah, most of my classes are just full of guys.” I think it’s getting a little bit better. But it’s a slow process, for sure.

Angela:

It’s the one of the stem that is still underrepresented. The rest of the stem, we’ve achieved parity, or gone above, but tech, not so much. It’s still challenging. I found, at least in the WordPress community, and with my clients, I’ve had the most amazing clients, male clients, female clients, and the most amazing people in my community, male and female who’ve been so supportive that, since I left the official corporate world, I just haven’t experienced that kind of obvious sexism at all.

Angela:

I’m curious, you mentioned these other women WordPress developers, and that you don’t experience that in your job right now. Do you feel like the WordPress environment is kinder in that way? Or is it just the company you’re working with? What was your experience once you really got into doing WordPress full time?

Jamie:

I do think so, because it’s a platform that is so adaptable, and you have so much power to be as creative as you want, you can sandbox it, you can scale it to be like this massive thing, or it can just be like a one page website for a mom and pop shop.

Jamie:

But with my own experience in the tech industry, it’s been great. I don’t know if this is an anomaly, just in the area that I live in and stuff too. But we are super diverse. We just got an award for being a diverse company, because we employ a lot of immigrants and stuff, too. Our founder, Mathias is actually an immigrant to Canada, as well. It’s just a really great culture, and I think that extends to the culture of WordPress, as well, and working with small business owners or larger business owners, because you can build anything on WordPress that you want to.

Tracy:

I think one thing that definitely, it had to have been very intentional from the get go, because otherwise, I don’t think it would have been possible to develop this community like we have for the WordPress community, where it’s not all male. It’s every other gender. You can see that represented in not only the people that use it, but the people who make it and the people that work there and the people that… Yeah, all of that.

Tracy:

I think that really, there’s all these studies about, oh, well, diversity and just diversity in general, everything. It makes for better products. It just makes the companies work better, make better products. I was like, yeah.

Angela:

That’s what you were saying about your POS company. Tell us a little bit about that. You said it does have equality there. Are there women programmers as well as in the non-programming positions?

Jamie:

Yeah, there are actually, yeah. We have a few different offices. But yeah, we do have more or less equal representation, which is amazing. Speaking to, from the product side, it is a point of sale system. But the goal coming into it was not to just be a point of sale system, it was to be basically as scalable as WordPress is. One really cool thing that we offer is that we give the flexibility of a user of our software to, you can actually build your own apps and your own custom integrations with a page builder, Like an Elementor, or Divi.

Jamie:

We’ve built really cool custom integrations for some of our bigger clients. I think, from the product standpoint, too, it’s very much like working with people to bring them solutions that they need to have within the framework of WordPress and WooCommerce.

Jamie:

Because, even with some of the bigger POS solutions, it’s sandboxed. It’s not really modular. You can’t add… We find the clients that come to us, they’re like, “We’ve tried all these different solutions, we can’t find anything that fits our specific shop.”

Angela:

That’s close. For people who don’t know, POS is point of sale. It’s really something that you would have in a storefront or at a table, some place physically with people, and that with WooCommerce, there are some checkout page plugins that will let you modularly build your checkout page to include different fields and information on the checkout page.

Angela:

What you’re saying is, you’ve been able to do this for your system to create a checkout page that is the point of sale that people can use in person, but people can… Is it like a drag and drop sort of interface that they’re able to build out their POS interface?

Jamie:

Yeah, it is like a cash register that syncs directly with your WooCommerce kind of thing. It’s browser enabled, we also have an app.

Angela:

Cool.

Jamie:

If you’re on your phone at a pop up shop or something, you can sell things that way. With the app builder, it’s basically contained within the register. Say you want to… I’ll give you an example actually of a local business called Nonia. They sell knitted products. They make handmade stockings and all kinds of cute stuff like this.

Jamie:

They’re in a shop in our downtown core, but they found that recently, they’ve had less foot traffic, of course, because of COVID and the cost of rent and everything has been going up. So, they built a custom app into their point of sale system that said, when they enter the customer information, they can actually ask the customer, are you a tourist, or are you local? Because if you have more locals than tourists, then you can have a storefront wherever you want. But if you have more tourists purchasing things, then you’re going to want to stay in the downtown core.

Jamie:

It’s really just super open source, it’s not boxed in at all. Whatever you need in your point of sale system, you can either build it yourself or the code is open source too. It actually works with any programming language, not just PHP, or not just… If you want to build a custom marketing integration where you automatically follow your customers on Instagram, sorry, then you can do that directly in the point of sale, which is pretty cool.

Angela:

That is really awesome.

Tracy:

This is actually very relevant because one of my clients that I’m working on right now is trying to… She’s like a brick and mortar place, but wants to get more online because, COVID, but still have the brick and mortar. It really seems like, instead of having to have multiple solutions, you have one.

Jamie:

It’s all contained in one. It’s so funny how it totally came full circle for me because I was working at that kids store in university, and I would have to go around with a piece of paper and be like, okay, we sold two [inaudible 00:20:22] pacifiers, and I’d have to write it down, then I have to go back to the big clunky cash register, and type in the inventory.

Jamie:

When I interviewed for this job, I was like, oh, my God, I wish 24 year old me knew… Well, the product wasn’t available then. It’s like, this would have been so useful.

Tracy:

You live in the future.

Jamie:

Yeah. It’s very cool, though. One of the custom apps we built is actually for a store that they sell baseball bats, but they have 15,000 skews. So, incredible amount of baseball bats that they sell. They have sales people who go out to baseball games and stuff, and try to sell those products. But of course, if you have 15,000 types of baseball bats, it gets a little confusing.

Tracy:

I didn’t realize there were so many different-

Jamie:

I know, right? Baseball people are intense, though. They worked with our dev team, and they have their own developer who built a custom app that basically connects to a camera. If your customer swings a baseball bat, it just tells you, you have to enter a few additional line items, basically. But it just tells you which product you should buy based on your swing, and your stance and stuff. Which is really cool.

Angela:

That is so amazing. Yeah, I’m going to totally check this out, because it does come up for me every now and then that I have clients who need a POS, not as often. But I get asked the question, certainly, quite a bit. For a POS, it’s more common is that people have an online store, but they have customer service reps who are taking phone orders, and need a kind of POS to put in a phone order. That’s super common. Do you feel like your system would work for that kind of situation where a CSR could be inputting orders?

Jamie:

Yeah, definitely. It works on any browser enabled device kind of thing.

Angela:

They’re not really even logged into the WordPress site, at that point. They’re logged in to the Oliver POS system, which is then connected to the WooCommerce site through an API.

Jamie:

Yeah, that’s exactly it. We have our own… I guess it’s basically a back office, we call it the hub. It launches through your WordPress, or you can just go there and log in. It does sync with WooCommerce, but we’re running it… Obviously if you have a point of sale-

Angela:

It’s a standalone.

Jamie:

Yeah, it’s not running on your server, basically. It’s running on our server, so we know that we can guarantee… Obviously, if you’re checking a bunch of stuff in, you want it to be really fast, and there’s a lot of variables there. As I’m sure you know.

Tracy:

That’s my slight running slow.

Angela:

Well, that’s amazing too, because for those clients who are having their sales reps logged into WordPress, and having to place these orders through a WordPress POS plugin, that it does seem like it would be more efficient to be doing that through a third party server that you would have less lag time and things like that being logged in as a shop manager into WooCommerce. I think that’s really worth checking out for people who either have CSRs or brick and mortar or any in-person sales-

Tracy:

Both.

Angela:

Both. They have that.

Jamie:

It’s a really cool solution. My background, I guess comes from, same as you, working directly with clients. It’s cool to see… That’s actually how our founder came up with this idea too, by the way. He was developing WordPress sites for people.

Angela:

Cool.

Jamie:

He literally was just like, “I’m going to build my own point of sale system.” It was never intended to be a public facing product. But of course now we’ve built up our team. As most startups, it was just a solution to a problem.

Tracy:

As was the best kind. I’m checking out the website and I see also you have hardware and stuff. Your team, is that all internal or do you have… I’m always curious about this, or do you work with third party for the hardware design type portions?

Jamie:

We do work with a third party for the hardware. We are working on some additional stuff for branded iOS kind of thing. But yeah, we have an APK that connects directly to our hardware. We also partner with payment processors. I don’t know if you know anything about the world of payment processors, which is a whole-

Tracy:

A whole other ballgame.

Jamie:

A whole other thing in the FinTech world, for sure. If we refer clients to one of the many payment processors that we built apps for, then they can give them their own hardware to access integrate payments.

Angela:

Like Square or something like that.

Jamie:

Yeah. We’re not partnering with Square right now-

Angela:

Because Square is so much more its own POS.

Jamie:

It is, yes. They’d be a competitor, for sure.

Angela:

They would be a competitor, yes.

Jamie:

We’re integrated with Stripe and stuff like that too, some of the bigger players. We also partner with some… I know, in the US, we’re partnered with PayJunction and FortisPay. Just a couple of different processors that offer their own terminals. We pass information, we don’t store any of those details, obviously. It’s good to be able to offer different integration options to customers as well, so they can get the best-

Angela:

Do you only work with WooCommerce, or are you working with-

Jamie:

It’s only with WooCommerce right now? We have lots of plans to scale. Tech, it moves pretty quickly, and everyone has lots of big ideas. But yeah, eventually we do want to work with other online systems. WooCommerce was just the one that made most sense for us, because it is so open source, and it’s so adaptable, right?

Tracy:

Well, we talk about, especially WordPress. Started off as a blogging platform. Then it went into a CMS, and then the talk about it being more of a platform. This is exactly what happens, and I love this because I’ve had clients that they’re like, WordPress has been around a while. Is it on its way out? I was like, “Actually, no.” Because that was right when the REST API was being integrated into core, and I was like, “Now you can run everything in one spot. So you don’t have to load your stuff, or even export and import your stuff into another thing. You have one system. So, you don’t have to duplicate work.” I’m like, “It’s exciting to me.”

Tracy:

Then the fact that, not only is it built on the extendibility of WordPress, but it’s also extendable as well. I think it’s a really cool thing, and really good for scaling for sure.

Jamie:

Yeah. I’ve worked with clients who are like, “I want to use Wix or other platform.” Well, first of all, it’s like you don’t own what you’re making, basically.” That’s a huge problem if you’re a small business owner, if you’re looking to scale, you can’t do it on platforms like that. I do agree, for sure, WordPress is around to stay. I don’t know the exact stats on the percentage of websites currently, that are on WordPress, but I know-

Tracy:

41%.

Jamie:

Yeah, there you go.

Tracy:

That’s a couple.

Jamie:

It’s just a few, just a few.

Tracy:

Because it is such a large demographic, it’s a large audience to make products for, how do you go about testing and improving your product? How does that process go with such a large audience?

Angela:

How’s your tech support queue? That’s what we want to know.

Jamie:

We have a really good customer success team, and we manage everything through a CRM as well. It’s somewhat automated. But it is a lot. We’re now available in, I think it’s seven different languages. We’re reaching a point where we’re growing pretty quickly, and we’re like, okay, we’ve on boarded a lot of Spanish customers in the past. Here in Canada, our second language is French, it’s not really in our repertoire of languages that we speak.

Jamie:

From the product side, probably some of my other team members could speak better to this, because I’m responsible for marketing to the people around the world, and then they iterate the products. They have a really good version control and QA process down to make sure that before anything gets released, it’s super tight.

Tracy:

When I think of it, because I do user experience design and product design. I rely on hearing what the people who are on that marketing side, because you have your thumb on the pulse of what people are looking for, or when people say. Oh, well, I was looking for something like this. Oh, well, that’s the end of the roadmap. That kind of thing, it’s very useful. That’s really great.

Angela:

You’re the sage of the company, in a way.

Jamie:

Yeah. Things come to us towards the end, and then we set everything back, but that’s fine.

Angela:

How big is the team there?

Jamie:

Currently, I think we have almost 30 full time. Then we do contract out some work for one off projects, we contract out some work to freelancers, or to agencies and stuff like that.

Angela:

Do you have any plans to go to Web Summit in Portugal? Do you know about Web Summit?

Jamie:

I don’t. I haven’t really considered travel yet. In Canada, things are a little bit more strict right now.

Angela:

Yeah, like in the future. I was thinking the Web Summit is the largest tech summit in the world. I went, and there were a lot of the kind of companies like your company there. They have these giant areas where companies connect with each other and potential customers. I went because SendGrid gave me one of their community passes to go, and I was just blown away.

Angela:

But for some small tech startups, the space on the floor, could be really expensive. But they also have this whole area, which is just these small kiosk like spaces, where all these small startups are in a line. But it’s the most fabulous experience to really get out there into the world of other systems like yours to see what other people are doing. It’s in Lisbon, and so it’s fabulous. That should be on your 2022 growth management roadmap.

Jamie:

It’s not the same when it’s virtual. I know our CEOs attended some pitches and stuff like this, virtually. But that networking is just not the same when it’s not in person, for sure. 2022, I feel like we could put that on the roadmap, we could.

Tracy:

Totally. What is, not only the WordPress, but also just the tech and startup environment in St. John’s? Is it the up and coming tech hub, or is it not?

Jamie:

It actually is… I love it.

Angela:

Should we come visit you, is what we want to know.

Tracy:

My friend says it’s beautiful there. It doesn’t matter, I’m going to come visit anyway.

Jamie:

It honestly is the most incredible spot in terms of just, it’s very rugged and beautiful. The weather is super unpredictable. So, just pack for four seasons, if you-

Tracy:

I’m in Milwaukee and it happens.

Jamie:

Yeah. It actually is one of the… I know that… We’re in Atlantic Canada, a bunch of reports just got released on the tech ecosystem in Atlantic Canada, and we’re actually one of the fastest growing, even though our capital city has a population of, I think it’s like 270,000 people. It’s really not very big at all. Of course, the capital city being St. John’s here, but we have a really great tech accelerator, Genesis Center. They work with a lot of graduates of our local university here who are in fields from, engineering or commerce or whatever kind of background. They work with people to help build tech startups from the ground up, basically. There is actually a really good ecosystem for tech startups here, which is interesting because we’re so small.

Jamie:

When you think of tech in Canada, you think like, oh, like a Vancouver kind of thing. But we have a modest population, but we do have really a lot of cool companies starting up here.

Tracy:

I like that.

Angela:

Well, I’m in Boulder, Colorado, and we have Google, and we only have 90,000 people. We’re definitely a tech hub. We have Google, Twitter, Microsoft, Netflix. We have so many companies here, plus a huge tech startup kind of community with a very, very small population. I don’t know that it’s about population sizes, as much as it is desirability for young people in tech to want to live there and find it to be a vibrant community that they want to be a part of, and that you have good coffee shops, and you have recreation, and you have things that people want to do, and aren’t going to be bored when they’re not programming, that they love it there.

Jamie:

For sure. You know what, that’s really interesting, because I think the community is such a big aspect of having a successful tech hub, for sure. It’s important in any industry, but the tech community here is pretty tight knit.

Tracy:

I agree. One of the things is… Because I’m in Milwaukee. Technically, Milwaukee proper has what, less than 700,000 people, I think, granted around surrounding area, a million and a half. But it’s a big, small town. I had a conversation with some of my friends that were out in, right around New York City, they were in New Jersey and all this stuff, and they’re like, I’m jealous of your tech community in Milwaukee. I was like, “Oh, really?” They’re like, “Yeah, there’s nothing. There’s so many people, but no one gets together, no one shares ideas.”

Tracy:

I was like, “Oh, yeah, well, because we have this meetup and then that one, then we had another one, and then this one and this one.” There’s all this collaboration in the smaller city, and we’re able to get more of that community. When you say that, I think that’s a big part of that culture of tech and startup world.

Angela:

With not being too big. That’s kind of interesting. Yeah. I like that.

Tracy:

We call it small-waukee, because I’ll be walking down town, and I’ll run into someone. One of the other things about this is about Milwaukee, especially, and I’m wondering, the same about both of your cities as well. But Milwaukee is very grounded. I grew up in the house that my mom grew up in. My family’s all around here. People are born and raised here is not a weird thing. People are like, “Oh, yeah, I moved from… Or I live in LA, but I’m from Ohio.” It’s always like, oh, I’m Milwaukee. Yeah.

Jamie:

We definitely do have that, I guess, that salt of the Earth culture here. Families are super tight knit. It’s very true.

Angela:

You have to be rugged people to be up there.

Jamie:

Me too. It’s very cold, very windy. Today is 21 degrees Celsius, and we’re extremely happy about it.

Angela:

So [inaudible 00:38:27] Something that I really loved in your description of yourself was just how much you have brought the arts into the work that you do. I wonder if you could speak to what your passion is. Yes, you’re a growth manager for a tech startup, but where’s your real passion?

Jamie:

I think I’m passionate about helping people. I think that really is the most gratifying part of what I do on my day-to-day. Of course, I love the creative aspect of writing and thinking about the psychology of how to speak to different people and things like that. But at the end of the day, the most gratifying part is being like, I’ve worked for someone and I’ve given them an end result that has helped them because I know them, I know they have a family, I know that they just bought a new house or something.

Jamie:

Definitely that day-to-day of just being able to know that what you’re doing is helping someone is what’s most gratifying for me, I think.

Angela:

Yeah, you worked on that film festival. Was that a volunteer position, or was that part of your job with Oliver?

Jamie:

No, that was actually a full time position. One of our big draws here is tourism in the summer. Of course, now, not the past few years. But we actually have a very, very vibrant arts community here, which is really cool. I guess when you’re isolated out in the middle of the ocean, or on a rock, you pick up a guitar, or you pick up a camera and start making things.

Tracy:

It makes sense.

Jamie:

My work with the festival was… Normally, they would have lots of people coming in from all over, from LA, from New York, all these big film hubs. They had to basically change everything to be completely digital. That was a big part of my work with them. Now, of course, most of the marketing normally for that would be location based. Had to come up with very creative ways to market something that was online when people are already online-

Tracy:

Basically, inventing the plane while you’re building it in the air.

Jamie:

Yeah.

Tracy:

So easy. No problem. Okay, cool. That’s so daunting, actually, really.

Jamie:

It was, actually. People are like, oh, we did this work with an NGO. I’m like, “Actually, it was easier when it was in person, because at least then you could turn around and be like, “Can you look at this?” But that was really great work, too. There really is such a vibrant arts community here. It’s incredible.

Angela:

You were able to increase their revenue 40% over the previous year, in a virtual setting, which is amazing. Because I also volunteer with a film festival, had for years.

Tracy:

Are you the same person?

Angela:

She’s version 2.0. She’s much improved over this original version. I’m so frayed around the edges, wasn’t quite as polished. She’s come out of the gate a little bit stronger.

Jamie:

You say that, but I don’t know, I cleaned up this frame behind me. I also have a two year old. It is what it is.

Angela:

That’s wonderful. I understand what that must have been like to undertake that. What do you think contributed to your revenue increase over COVID? Were you able to get more people who simply couldn’t fly there to be able to participate remotely?

Jamie:

Yeah. I think that was a lot of it. A lot of the feedback… Because, of course, we did a post festival survey, or whatever, I guess. A lot of the feedback that I did get was like, yeah, I live in this remote location, up in Labrador or something. I’ve never been able to attend in person, but I could, this time around. Or it was like, I have young kids, I can’t really justify going out all night, and it was really nice for me to be able to sit at home on the weekend and just binge watch a bunch of women creative films.

Jamie:

I think one aspect of it was definitely the increased accessibility. We did do some work around accessibility too, which was great. But yeah, it was definitely just, we did more outreach with digital marketing tactics too. That’s the niche that I work in a fair bit, in terms of marketing is digital marketing. Of course, it goes hand in hand with WordPress, for sure.

Jamie:

They had never previously done any media buys that were actually ad spends on Google ads or on social media platforms. We refocused from saying, let’s take these massive ad spends that were on billboards, and movie theater posters, and let’s reallocate that into a digital marketing medium. Through that we actually reached a lot of new customers. Of course, we opened it up to Canada wide as well. That definitely helped the increase in revenue. But there was some creative digital marketing tactics that helped to grow that as well.

Tracy:

I love it. Do you think you would do something more of a hybrid in future?

Jamie:

I think that is what they’re doing this year. I think that they’re doing a select number of in-person events, but also still offering it digitally, because so much of that positive feedback was around, like one of our screening locations might not have been accessible for people in wheelchairs or whatever. There was a lot of that.

Jamie:

I know that they want to keep that, for sure. But also, it’s about the experience too, of being able to go out to a movie and go to a reception afterwards and have little canopies and stuff, right? It’ll definitely be a blend of things in the future.

Tracy:

Nice.

Jamie:

Which is exciting.

Tracy:

Sounds awesome.

Angela:

It has been so wonderful talking to you. We could just endlessly talk, because you have such a wealth of talents that we could mine for so much, just all the creative plus the technical is quite phenomenal. I’m sure people would like to know how to follow you. How can they find you online?

Jamie:

The best way to reach out to me is probably on LinkedIn. My name is Jamie Lewis, and I’m Growth Manager at Oliver POS. You can also reach out to me directly through the email address, marketing@oliverpos.com if you’re having questions, you’re interested in learning more about anything. Yeah.

Tracy:

Awesome.

Angela:

It’s been great having you. Thank you.

Jamie:

Thanks so much.

Tracy:

Thanks for listening. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter, or join our Facebook group. We would be honored if you subscribe to the show. You can find us on Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play and iTunes. Finally, if you want to be on the show, or know someone who would, visit our website at womeninwp.com. Until next time.

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