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Episode 82: Having Fun & Giving a Shit with Wylie Robinson of Rumpl

We're joined this week by Wylie Robinson, CEO and co-founder of Rumpl! Wylie talks about how COVID-19 and becoming a father changed his business mindset, how their company prioritizes having fun and giving a shit, and how they put their employees first.

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Episode Transcript

Lisa: Hi, welcome to all our listeners and creative professionals out there, marketing managers. Welcome to Outside by Design. This is Lisa.

Iris: This is Iris.

Lisa: Coming at you from Whitefish, Montana.

Iris: Maybe you're driving in the car, maybe you're sipping your cup of coffee in your home office. Maybe your home office is really just a couch like mine is. Welcome. Thanks for joining us today.

Lisa: How is your home office, Iris?

Iris: Well, I have to say I wish I had a Rumpl blanket right now because I'm fucking freezing all the time.

Lisa: You are, you're freezing all the time.

Iris: I like my house to be a solid, like 77 degrees.

Lisa: You have an office blanket.

Iris: [laughs] I'm like a lizard over here and I live in Montana and it's not a good combination.

Lisa: You would be the perfect candidate for a Rumpl blanket.

Iris: Yeah, I should have one ‘cause my office blanket isn't that warm. The one at the office. I... to all our listeners... so even though we're an office of women and we already keep it pretty warm, I'm always so cold in our office that I have a fleece blanket on my chair and a really thick sweater. So I wear, like, in the summertime, I wear like tank tops and then I put this huge cardigan on all day long at work. [laughs]

Lisa: It's very confusing.

Iris: And I feel like people can relate to that.

Lisa: Except me. I just, I just stare at you.

Iris: A lot of times I'm like freezing cold and sweating at the same time, but that's fine. I don't need to tell people that.

Lisa: [laughs] Speaking of Rumpl blankets, who's on the podcast today?

Iris: Today we have Wylie Robinson, the CEO and co-founder of Rumpl.

Lisa: Yeah. Wylie is a cool dude.

Iris: Yeah. He knows how to be cozy.

Lisa: How to be cozy, how to run a business, how to be a very conscious employer.

Iris: Yeah. He's going to talk about how his design background plays into how he runs his business, how he creates this company culture that gives a shit and also gives a shit about their employees. And all the different measures that he and his company have taken during this COVID-19 crisis.

Lisa: and fatherhood.

Iris: And new fatherhood. Yeah. He had a fresh kid and then immediately COVID-19 happens. So he's had to be flexible lately.

Lisa: That's right. Let's get into it.

Lisa: Cool. Wylie, thank you so much for being here today.

Wylie: Thanks for having me.

Lisa: So the very first question we ask everyone is to describe where they are in the world and what you're looking at.

Wylie: I am physically located right now in Portland, Oregon, I am looking out a window over Marckum nature park, which is where our house is situated. It's kind of an overcast day as it normally is in Portland, but there is a break from the rain right now, which is great. But it's, it's really pretty out. All the leaves are out and it's really green.

Lisa: Nice. And you are the CEO and founder of Rumpl.

Wylie: I am.

Lisa: Awesome blanket company. And you and I have never met before, but I did some internet research. So I have a funny question for you. How in the world did you go from like downhill racing to making blankets?

Wylie: [laughs] They're completely unrelated, downhill and mountain biking in general is something I've been super passionate about my whole life. I went to University of Colorado and raced on the, on the downhill team there. And at the time it was, it was mountain cross, which is like a four person BMX. So those were the disciplines that I competed in. And then for a few years after college, I actually raced professionally… while at the same time, you know, working in a design field, I was, I was never good enough to make enough money racing downhill.

But, yeah, it's totally unrelated and just a personal passion of mine to be into mountain biking and specifically downhill, mountain cross and Enduro.

Lisa: So did you major in some type of... some type of design, like how did... how did you get there?

Wylie: Yeah. I have the pre-professional architecture degree from the environmental design college at CU Boulder. I loved that education. I think it was really, really helpful for my career later. I think that what the major really focused on is communication more than anything. There's, there's a lot of, you know, design skill and, you know, rigor that goes into an architecture occupation, of course. But largely what you're doing is presenting an idea that an audience needs to believe in. And I think that that has really carried over into what I do every day for Rumpl.

Lisa: Hm. That's cool. That's way cool. And so, so did you, you just invented this, this product, right? There was nothing like it on the market of blankets made out of like sleeping bag and down jacket material?

Wylie: So there actually were, you know, in my initial research... before kind of launching, we found out... I started this with a friend, and we found out that some of the major players had actually created this product for their, like extreme alpine athletes. You know, these were athletes that were going and sleeping on a ledge on K2 or something, and they didn't want to remove their boots at night for frostbite, or, you know, just the hassle or for other reasons.

So you know, North Face and Marmot, and Mountain Hardware and a couple of these bigger players, they actually had created this product so that the climbers could wrap up without having to take their boots off. But nobody had ever really marketed it to everyday consumers. So the product itself existed, but there wasn't yet a consumer market for it.

Lisa: Hmm. So you saw that opportunity and went for it.

Wylie: Yeah, and honestly, it really wasn't like, “Oh, there's this gap in the market and we need to fill this, fill this hole somehow with this product.: It was, it was, it actually started from sort of a loathing of duvet covers, I hate putting a comforter in a duvet cover and shaking it in there.

It's like... that always reminds me of those ads you see for, like, really hardcore athletes that are like, they're... they're shaking the ropes, the big like nautical ropes to get like a core workout. It reminds me of doing that when I'm, when I'm putting a comforter in a duvet cover. So I would often wash my duvet cover and then like leave it folded in the corner of my room for a couple of days and just sleep with my sleeping bag on my bed.

And it, it wasn't like the most practical- it looks kind of ghetto. It wasn't the most practical way to sleep. So the idea was, okay, let's design a blanket that's really similar in properties and hand-feel and functionality to a sleeping bag. ‘Cause, ‘cause I really liked the sleeping bag. And so, but I, you know, I, I wanted it to cover the whole bed.

And so originally the first Rumpl was really kind of designed for on-bed.

Lisa: Hmm. No kidding.

Wylie: Yeah. And you know, once we had created the first prototype, it was like obvious that this thing really works great outside and in a bunch of different settings - whether it's on your couch or on your patio, or actually, you know, out in the back country camping.

Lisa: Yeah. Man. So Rumpl is an amazing outdoor brand. You do, like you do a great job showing that you have this great balance between like having fun and also giving a shit like the post consumer recycled content and climate neutral... like, how do you, how did you do that as a brand?

Wylie: Well, the, the PCR, the post-consumer switch happened for us in fall 2019. So that was a huge, huge project. And uncovered a lot of complications that we didn't foresee, which I can definitely get into. But that was a project started probably at the end of, probably middle of 2018. And, you know, it, it was... it was really important to us that we make this switch. So we went through every product we make and figured out if there were ways we can incorporate post consumer recycled content. Some of them we were successful, others we weren't.

And you know, throughout the whole process that the directive was, “we want to do this. We, we are not willing to do this at the sacrifice of quality.” So we wanted to make sure that we didn't, we didn't drop our quality levels at all in switching over to post-consumer. And fortunately in the products that we were able to transition, we didn't do that at all. In many cases, we actually improved quality and improved strength or durability, or weight, et cetera.

But the challenges that we faced in doing so were that when we launched the collection in fall 19 there's just a lot of what we call 1.0 product, non post-consumer products. And we needed to find home home for those products.

So there was just a lot of you know, clearance activity that we had to do and we found some great retail partners to help us with that. But it was a big challenge for the company, for our sales team, for our marketing team. There was, just for a period there, there was a marketplace with both old Rumpl product and new Rumpl product and communicating to customers what the differences were. It became a big challenge that we, that we didn't necessarily foresee.

But long term, I think that it's really good for the brand to make this move. I think that any, any apparel or textile company that can do this with post-consumer content should. The cost is really not that much different. And the quality now is, is on par. You know, 10 years ago there wasn't as much high quality post-consumer content. But there, there's a lot now and most supply chains, most modern supply chains have done a good job ramping up because there's increased demand for this, for this type of material. So that was... that was a good move for us. I'm really glad we did it, even though it did cause some challenges for us in the short term.

I think long term it's a good, a good move for the company.

And then the climate neutral piece is, is sort of separate. That sparked because I'm personal friends with Jonathan Cedar from BioLite and Peter Dearing from Peak Design. Peter and I have been in touch for the last, I dunno, five or six years.

We're kind of the same SF/Bay-area Kickstarter cohort. You know, he started Peak Design in 2012. Rumpl was at the end of 2013, both launched through Kickstarter. We just share a lot of personal values and he... and by the way, Rumpl also shares an investor with BioLite in White Road Investments. They led our last investment round and they also participated in a financing round for BioLite. So we were connected through that also.

And when they were getting climate neutral going, Peter just reached out and he said, "Hey, we're doing this thing. You know, we want to get a few committed brands and Rumpl…" and it was quick for me to say, "okay, you know, this is going to cost this much. This is going to take this much work. All right, we're in." And Rumpl was sort of one of the first, I think it was like first 15 brands. I think there's over a hundred now that are climate neutral certified, which is amazing.

But that was something that I did... I thought, I thought it was important for the brand to move in that direction. I'm super grateful that Peter and Jonathan put the effort in to create this certification. So it's pretty turnkey for brands to join. I mean, there's still a lot of work you have to do, but why we hadn't done it before, it was sort of like an uncharted territory, you know, we didn't know what the actual requirements, we didn't know how to get those requirements certified. And it was a tremendous amount of work to, to make a climate neutral claim before this climate neutral certification came around. So they did a lot of the work and I had to give them most of the credit for that.

Lisa: Yeah. That's awesome. Why do you personally find that important and how do you integrate that into your company?

Wylie: I just think it's a, it should be a requisite of any company doing business. I mean, carbon is a huge threat. It's, it's easy to offset right now. Carbon offsets will increase in price over time, but right now there's just some really low hanging fruit and you can buy these offsets for a very, very small percentage of what your total revenue is. And it's... it's... it's easy to do. And I think that there's a lot of carbon that running a business creates between shipping and manufacturing and all sorts of things. And to offset it is, is just a tax you should impose on yourself. So I think that that's... it just aligns with how Rumpl is as a brand and how I feel personally. So it's, it's not super hard for me to justify the spend at all.

Lisa: Absolutely. And I can tell that you're very good at adapting. And so, you know, you personally had a big year so far, right? Because you and your wife had a baby and then COVID-19 hits.

Wylie: Yep.

Lisa: So how.... I can't even imagine, how's that going?

Wylie: You know, honestly, it's been, it's been really good in a lot of ways for us. As a family, I think that, you know, there's obviously like the uncertainty and the sort of underlying fear of the whole situation, which hasn't been great, but we're spending more time now as a family than I think we would have otherwise. I'm able to, you know, eat three meals a day with my son and wife and it's great and I wouldn't have had that opportunity otherwise. So the silver lining of it all is that there's just a lot more time as a family and for him especially, you know, developing connections... and we've got a great connection. The... the downside of that is it's really good for him to meet other people at this age, which he's not able to do as well. But overall I think it's been positive for us for sure.

Lisa: How has fatherhood kind of changed your narrative in entrepreneurship.

Wylie: I mean, there's obviously a little bit of a reprioritization of things that's happened.

But I mean, my, my routine was pretty locked in, honestly, before becoming a parent. I mean, I, I spend the majority of my time on Rumpl, and then when I don't have to be spending time on that, I'm, you know, either spending time with my wife or getting outside and that hasn't really changed. You know, I'm just sort of integrating having a kid with, with those, those other things.

You know, it's not necessarily going for a solo mountain bike ride now, it's more going on a hike with my son. We got a cool Osprey carrier and he loves being up in that thing, and we have some hiking trails right outside our door. So it's, it's been pretty easy, honestly.

Lisa: That's amazing.

Wylie: Yeah. Yeah. It's really fun too. I mean, he actually loves the product, like I kind of just throw him in a big ball of Rumpls and he just plays around in there and tries to eat them and it's really funny.

Lisa: That's so cool.

Wylie: Yeah.

Lisa: And you know, meanwhile we've got COVID going on. So like, what was your process when you realized like, “Oh, wow, the world's changing and I'm responsible for this company and the humans who work here, and you know, sourcing all this material” like how, what was your process like?

Wylie: Yeah, it, it was... it was extremely stressful to be totally honest. And what was so challenging about it is there was no real clear guidance provided by anybody about what to do. I mean, I guess that's a theme for just general entrepreneurship, but there was a lot of guidance provided, you know, around what the government was saying they were doing, but there wasn't a lot for businesses about how to respond to this. So I was, I sort of like just pulled as much disparate information together as I could and you know, really leaned on other peer CEOs and business owners. I leaned a lot on our board. We have a great board at Rumpl. Our other investors were super helpful as well, and kind of cobbled together information from a bunch of sources and kind of put it all on paper and then picked out what nuggets made the most sense for Rumpl. And I am proud to say that Rumpl, you know, in the grand scheme of things, when I talked to other companies, Rumpl was very, very quick to make decisive action about how we were responding.

And we, you know, I mentioned we raised, raised some money - that was in 2018, so Rumpl has a good cash position. So we adjusted our financial strategy and got, you know, board and investor approval to sort of re-forecast and actually to... to not focus as much on a profitable year this year in order to maintain the jobs of our entire staff. So that's the decision we've moved forward with. Everybody has taken a small haircut to their pay, but we have not let anybody go and we've not kind of put anybody out to pasture with a zero income situation. I think that is, that is going to be the toughest right now because, you know, the unemployment rate is extremely high. People just aren't hiring. I think people that are finding themselves in an, an, you know, zero income situation, it's going to be very difficult to, to get back to earning income right now. So even though our, our entire staff is at a slightly reduced salary right now, nobody is, is kind of hung out to dry, which I'm really proud of.

Lisa: Wow. How large is your staff?

Wylie: It's small. I mean, we're, we're 14 full time employees, you know, W-2 employees. We have a couple of like what I would call Permalancers, you know, people that are, that are 1099, but majority working on Rumpl. And then we've got a whole, you know, there's a whole bunch of consultants and third parties that we work with as well, but it's 14 full time.

Lisa: That's still a lot. That's, that's a lot. The most staff I've ever had is 10 and I was like, Oh my goodness.

Wylie: Yeah, it's right at the... It's right at the threshold where, you know, I still know everybody on a really personal level. I know, you know their spouse or partner, I know about their kids, all that, you know, what their, what sports they play, all that stuff.

Yeah. I don't know that I'm, I'm really capable of knowing, having close relationships with much more than, you know, 20 or 30 people. So we're, we're right there and I like that size.

Lisa: Yeah. You guys crush it. You seem like... I was expecting you to say like 40.

Wylie: Thanks.

Lisa: You’ve got a lot of powerhouses it seems.

Wylie: Yeah, we've got... we've got a really good team. You know, the, the… the workload is high for everyone, but I think that we have a really engaged team. And actually one of the things that we measure as a company is employee engagement, and it's one of our key strategic priorities is to have an engaged staff.

So we are constantly working on ways to keep the team engaged and happy. Even during this situation, we've got weekly happy hours. We've got monthly, kind of like, info shares. Last week, our marketing director, like, baked these cookies with everyone on a, on a Google Hangout. The week before our finance director showed everybody how to make sourdough pizza. So it's just like stuff like that where people, you know, hopefully kind of integrate their relationship with Rumpl into their everyday life.

I mean, what, what my ideal situation is, is, you know, if one of our employees meet somebody out, not that that's happening a whole lot right now, but let's say they meet somebody at a bar or something and it's like, you know, “tell me what you do. Tell me about yourself.” You know, I hope that it's like, you know, “this is, this is what I'm into, this is what my family's like, and I work for this company Rumpl.” It's kind of like in the top three things that they, that they most identify their self with and so that's something that we've, you know, written down, clearly defined, astrategic priority to have an engaged staff. And so it allows us to have a much smaller team if we get people that are really, really hungry and really committed to what we're doing.

Lisa: That's really thoughtful. That's a thoughtful way to go about your company culture.

Wylie: Thanks. Yeah, I mean, it, it, it didn't happen overnight. Like, you know, I, I've tried the route where we hire people that are really experienced and, and you know, you make an assumption that they're going to get really into their work. Um, that doesn't necessarily always happen. Um, I think that what's really key is just like screening for commitment when you're interviewing somebody, like how committed are they going to get to the work they're doing?

Lisa: Mmm. And so, are you still involved in hiring every single person or like how is your…

Wylie: Yeah, for sure. I mean, there's, there's definitely… there's definitely a couple of roles we've hired for recently that fall, you know, outside of what I spend most of my day on, but I'm always in there for like a final interview to just make sure that there's sort of like a culture fit and, and all that.

Ad Break: Hey, Iris. / Hey, what? / Do you remember earlier this week when we were having a video meeting with our whole team and then my golden retriever puked up a pile of stomach bile and embarrassingly a pair of my underwear. / Yeah, I do remember that. / It was really weird, but I was, it got me thinking a lot about how a nice pair of underwear is… it's always there. You don't really feel it, but it really makes a positive, positive impact on your day. / Hm. That makes me think of a creative agency I know where it works behind the scenes to help pump out creative work for your brand and has a positive impact on your brand and your customers. / Yes. What kind of agency is it? / It's a creative agency called WHEELIE and you can check them out and they will help you level up yourself, your brand, and your community with meaningful and impactful creative work. / And like a good pair of underwear, most of the time they don't smell! like underwear for your brand.

Iris: Lisa, I love what Wylie has to say about employee engagement and using that as a key metric when running his business. I haven't really heard of something like that before. I mean, engaging your employees and company culture is really important and obviously very important to Wylie, but I love like, making that a stated priority of your business.

Lisa: Yeah, I think that's awesome... and like caring if your employees take pride in identifying as being associated with the business.

Iris: Yeah. And it's also just a great marketing tool to have this team of people who are going to be staunch brand ambassadors because they know how much the brand cares about their employees. They love it. They're going to be evangelists for the brand wherever they go because they're so well taken care of.

Lisa: I think at WHEELIE we have pretty good employee engagement because we are all wearing matching hats and we have so many WHEELIE beanies now.

Iris: That's true. I'm like always... sometimes I feel weird because I'm wearing like my WHEELIE beanie and my WHEELIE puffy coat and like driving my WHEELIE car or whatever. I’m just like, oh God.

Lisa: We have kind of a cult following up here.

Iris: Yeah, we do.

Lisa: It's fun. I bet Rumpl has quite the cult following locally.

Iris: I think they do that like on social, it seems like they have quite the fan base.

Lisa: It's awesome.

Iris: Almost like a Hydroflask level.

Lisa: Yeah. Good job, Wylie.

Iris: Yeah. Let's hear what his favorite parts are about being a CEO.

Lisa: I'm sure your job has shifted immensely since starting it and experimenting and growing and growing. So what are the things that you like most about being a CEO?

Wylie: I think... I think I actually - well, the things I like most about being a CEO I guess are... I really enjoy speaking to our investors and our board and other company owners and executives. That's, that's a huge benefit to the job. It's relatively easy for me to be able to hop on a phone or have a coffee with somebody at another company that's at an executive level, just simply because of the title, which is awesome. I really enjoy that and it's been able, it's allowed me to build a really cool network of people that I'm excited to work on with Rumpl. And you know, other things outside of Rumpl too.

What I... what I like doing every day really is still what I started doing and where my biggest skill set is, which is, which is kind of in creative. I still like, you know, really getting close to the product, getting close to the marketing, how we're talking about our brand and really like trying to connect with the customer still. I mean, that's still my favorite thing to do.

If we were to sort of slice Rumpl in half, so like consumer-facing and, and behind the scenes, I definitely skew more consumer-facing. I'm not as much of like an operational CEO as... and so anything that the customer faces, the customer sees, I... I like having some sort of a hand in and participating in.

Lisa: That's awesome. So what... what shifts have you made with your messaging through COVID?

Wylie: So our marketing director really early on had a really good idea and it's, it's so simple, which I think are some of the best ideas, but it was kind of like going back to psychology 101, and looking at Maslow's hierarchy of needs and identifying, okay, people are in an uncertain time. They might drop a little bit lower on the pyramid of needs. You know, someone that was, that was formerly trying to self actualize and get to the top of the mountain and you know, accomplish a lot, they might be more focused now on security, comfort, relationships, love, et cetera. Because that's, that's what happens in crisis situations.

So we've really shifted our messaging to just be more about comfort and it's less about, you know, using our product to get out and adventure. And. And be all you can be and all this stuff. It's more just about hunkering down, staying cozy, staying comfortable. And it's a really subtle shift. But I think it's working really well and it's something I'd actually like to carry out after, whenever, whatever, after COVID means or whatever it looks like. It's, it's messaging I would like to keep forefront for the brand.

Lisa: And, and that works right? That the product is already there. And blankets are awesome.

Wylie: So, yeah, we're, we're in a fortunate situation where that is the case. You know, other, other companies I've talked to that focus on, you know, super technical equipment that's, that really is, you know, focused at the customer that's at the top of that needs pyramid that's really trying to like, push themselves physically. And, you know, there's still a market for that, for sure. But I think that they're having a harder time talking to customers that are moving up that pyramid.

And companies I've spoken to that do have like, you know, a lounge wear offering or a comfort component to their business. They're doing really well right now.

Lisa: An interesting thing we are facing as a creative agency is we make very high end videos and very high end creative, and a lot of people are responding to this saying, “Hey, it doesn't need to be high end. We can make videos on our phone” much, you know, much like TikTok where it's more about the experience. As a CEO, like where do you live? Where do you land with that, the need for high end creative versus good enough?

Wylie: It really depends on the medium and the platform. You know, if it's something that's like a, a social post that's gonna live for 24 hours, I think you can, you can dial back the professionalism of it, and it can often be better received if it's a little bit more immature or more homemade. And I think that if it's something that's, you know, going to live on your homepage for a year and it's like talking about your mission, then it definitely benefits from having kind of a, a polish on it.

So I would say that the full spectrum is, is valid and relevant. I think that people are more understanding of… of homemade now, for sure. And I just think that now is maybe not the time to do an evergreen brand video and I think that now is where you just have to focus, you know, shift your content strategy a little bit to more homemade, DIY-type stuff. Like, you know, product, education videos and things like that that I think people are totally cool with those being homemade right now.

Lisa: I think so too. I think another interesting thing is, like with all the Zoom meetings we're seeing into each other's homes, and that's been really fascinating. And like, things I wouldn't normally, I wouldn't normally see into my employee's homes.

Wylie: Yeah.

Lisa: And like, how has that kind of impacted you or your leadership style or like, I don't know, are you calling it out or not saying anything or, I don't know. What's your take on it?

Wylie: I mean, I haven't seen any, anything really… you know, I, I wouldn't want showing anybody external. I mean, if, if somebody on our team, you know, popped up their Zoom and they had like a pile of dirty laundry in the back room and you know, the bed was unmade or something like that... I might, you know, offline say, Hey, next time we on a call with our, with our partners, maybe just clean up or something. I have a, I have an office in my house, so it's, it's pretty much like there's a plant and there's a little couch and it's, you know, there's not a whole lot going on in there, but I mean, everybody at Rumpl has a good home workspace.

We... we gave everybody, you know, a 48 hour window before we shut down the office to go in there and stagger times. If they needed to, they could get their desk, they could get their, monitor all their equipment and, and build a home office for themselves. But generally speaking, the whole team has done a really good job adapting and... and you know, the communication is still good.

We, fortunately we used all of the work from home tools - we've been using them for years. I mean, we've been on Slack and Asana and Hangouts and all that stuff for years. So it wasn't like we had to learn all these new tools. I think it would be really challenging if, you know, you used some communication style that was like only in person before and you didn't have any, any digital tools to help with communication. You had to all of a sudden learn all these tools and deal with everything that's going on. So we were lucky in that sense. I mean, Rumpl’s got a really flexible work schedule anyway, and people work from home often. So most people have a work from home set up already.

Lisa: Oh. So you kind of started that policy out of the gate.

Wylie: Yeah, I mean, so one of our, our company values is to promote a balanced and active lifestyle. And for, for us, what that means is having flexibility. The big thing at Rumpl is just getting your shit done.

And I would say we're very much like a results culture. If you're getting good results, you're going to fit in with the culture. It's less about like, you know, do you ski or do you trail run or...? You know, that's not what people connect with, I don't think, from a cultural perspective at Rumpl, it's more like… are you supporting your team? Are you doing good work? Are you making others' jobs easier? And for us it's really important that, that we give people the ability to have a balanced lifestyle where, whether that means, you know, if they do need to get out and go for a run in the middle of the day, because that's what, what brings them back to the office and allows them to perform better. Or if it's, you know, “Hey, I need to pick my kid up at this time from daycare and then spend the next hour feeding them” or something that's... that's an important thing too, that allows people to prioritize and come back to work. You know, maybe for an hour after hours, you know, at six or 7:00 PM or something and get work done then.

So we've always had a really flexible schedule, both in terms of working hours and also location and people, you know, people take advantage of that perk and that value. And you know, people will often go and work from Park City for, I mean, our ops director is leaving for Park City this Saturday and he's going to be there for five weeks. It's totally fine. No big deal. Granted, everybody's work, works from home right now, but if that were to happen in a non-COVID situation, I don't, I wouldn't see a big problem with that either as long as he's, you know, getting this stuff done and making sure that he's not dropping the ball for any of his other teammates.

Lisa: That's amazing.

Wylie: It's really not that hard of a, of a policy to have in my opinion. I think that this COVID experience is showing everyone that working remotely or working from home is very doable. I think there's obviously some jobs that you can't do that manufacturing jobs and restaurants and stuff like that, but for... for a lot of us, you know, we're working behind a computer and if you've got a good internet connection, you can work anywhere.

Lisa: Absolutely. That's one of our struggles. We're based out of Whitefish, Montana, and some days I just feel lucky to have internet.

Wylie: [laughs]

Lisa: Yeah. Yeah, but it's, it's a great place to have photo shoots and stuff like that, so it's pretty good. But yeah. Interesting. And then are you as a company doing anything to like pay for people's internet or give them some type of work from home stipend? That's something I've been kind of playing around with a little bit.

Wylie: There's no work from home stipend. We are doing monthly care packages though, for the entire team. So, like last month we... I... I just hopped on Custom Ink and got, you know, 15 hoodies with a Rumpl logo made, like super cozy hoodies. And we put those in a little package with, along with the pizza dough from the pizza dough workshop. I think we put a beer from a local brewery in there. You know, there's a house plant that went in there and, and some of the people on the team like readily volunteer to do deliveries because they want to get out of the house and do something else. So, you know, somebody takes two or three hours and just hits everybody's house in the Portland area and drops these things off.

We just did one last week where we had like a pair of Stance socks. Also a beer, a tomato plant, and then this cookie dough for this cookie dough making thing. So it's like really little, small stuff like that. I mean, it costs the company like 200 bucks, maybe, a month to do that. And it's, it's super small and, but it goes a long way, you know, like everybody's really appreciative of it. And so it's not a stipend, but it is a little extra thing we're doing now in this, in this situation.

Lisa: That's really beautiful.

Wylie: Thanks.

Lisa: That's cool. Yeah. Do you, how do you come up with these ideas? Is this you are the advisory board or do you have HR?

Wylie: No, we don't have HR. The care package idea was actually from our finance director. He just joined. He joined like, like we didn't even do his first day at the office, so he's never worked in the office. And actually he's been really helpful for us in terms of navigating this from like a re-forecasting and budgeting perspective. So we kinda, we got him like at the perfect time for this.

But he, you know, he joined and he hadn't really connected with the team at all, obviously 'cause he hadn't met any of them. So he came up with this idea and it was really well received. It was inexpensive. And so we're just going to keep it going every month until we're all back together. But yeah, but the ideas come from everyone is what I was getting at. These definitely aren't all my ideas at all.

Lisa: Cool. Cool. Well I know you're busy. Is there anything else you want to tell our audience that I didn't ask you about?

Wylie: Not really. I mean, you know, I think that we're, we're in a situation where we're learning a ton. Whatever after this situation looks like it's gonna it's gonna be different than what it was like before the situation.

And I think that the ability to be adaptable and to kind of roll with the punches and... and get through - this is what's gonna help companies come out on the other end. I think that what's really interesting about the situation from like a much broader perspective is this is really like the first time where almost the entire world, I mean really like the entire world is focused on one issue. And the... the most optimistic perspective I've heard about this situation is that this is, this situation we're in now is kind of a test for some challenges we might face as, as a species in the future, you know, like we're going to have to deal with really, really big problems in the very near term future, like climate change and, you know, wealth inequality.

And there's just so many issues that we're going to have to look at as... as a globe, as a species. And this is forcing us to do that. And so seeing what we're capable of now is… can be a very optimistic way to look at the situation.

Lisa: Right. And like now we have something in common with everyone on the planet.

Wylie: Everybody on the planet. Everybody on the planet’s dealing with this. Yeah.

Lisa: Yeah. Yeah. That's a cool perspective.

Wylie: Yeah. I liked it. It was not mine. I don't remember who said it, but I've been thinking about it for the last five or six weeks and it's, it, it gives me some optimism.

Lisa: Yeah. What... what have you learned about yourself through this process?

Wylie: I think, well, honestly, the, the, you know, the first topic, we - or, the earlier topics, we spoke about just parenthood. I've really, really enjoyed being able to spend extra time with my son and wife. And I'm like pretty high energy person and I'm usually rushing out the door and coming back and trying to like knock out a few tasks or errands before the sun goes down and I'm just like kind of rushing all over the place all the time. And this whole thing, it's like I'm, I'm walking, you know, 15 feet to my home office, and then I'm walking five feet to the table where we have our lunch and it's just like a little bit slower. And even though sometimes that can be a little bit boring, it's like it's nice to slow down and have some time with family right now.

Lisa: Wow. Thank you for your time today.

Wylie: Yeah. Thanks so much for having me.

Thanks so much for being here, listeners, and thank you to Wylie for joining us on the show. We really appreciate it. You can find Rumpl’s social media and website in the show notes. And if you liked the show, please share it with a friend who you think might enjoy it and leave us a review on whatever podcast platform you listen. That really helps us get us to more people.

Lisa: Party on.

Iris: Party on and we'll see you next week.

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