entrepreneur

Traeger Grills Talks Office Life and Building a Cult Following

By Austin Miller, Content Marketing Manager

In the 80's Joe Traeger invented the wood pellet BBQ grill. And though it's design resembled traditional smokersit included a hardwood pellet hopper in place of the traditional side-mounted firebox. This small but revolutionary changed has helped to create a cult-following and passionate fanbase (especially in the Pacific Northwest). 

Grill talk aside, it's no longer the 80'sand not only is Traeger Grills still here some 30 odd years later (a formidable feat of its own), its new CEO Jeremy Andrus is helping take it to the next level.  

You guys have a killer looking office. Did you have a designer? Or did it just come together organically?

We partnered with Method Studio and Henricksen Butler to help us capture the vision. We wanted a space that was reflective of our purpose bringing people together to create a more flavorful world. We have a state-of-the-art indoor kitchen/classroom/studio which is used for broadcast recording, public grilling and barbecue classes and dining events.

What would you attribute your awesome growth to?

We stand in the fire by being innovative and testing the status quo. We have invested in our product, facilities and team to match and fuel the passion our consumers have for our product.

How's the vibe at Traeger HQ? It seems like there would be a lot of fun activity with all those grills lying around…

We get a lot of people asking ‘when do you guys open?’ thinking that we are a restaurant when they see the grills smoking on our patio and end up getting little tour of the office, their next question is usually ‘are you guys hiring?’. 
Those grills are going all the time! We have always ready grills so people can throw their lunch on a Traeger, go back to work and have a delicious lunch… that is of course, when our chefs aren’t already cooking lunch for the team. 

What was the reason for Traeger’s move from Portland to SLC?

After the ownership change in 2014, it became obvious that the culture and team morale had been neglected for some time. In order to disrupt the BBQ industry, we needed the right people and the right atmosphere. Utah is a great place to run a business and we’ found a home in Sugarhouse.

HOW OFTEN DOES THE “TEST KITCHEN” GET USED?

Every day! We have 4 full-time chefs on staff that are always testing recipes for photoshoots and cooking for our team. We eat together at least 3 times every week. 

 

Does Traeger Have a Business Philosophy?

We win with team and culture. The rest can be taught but coming to work everyday surrounded by like minded people all looking to do remarkable things is the foundation of our business philosophy.  Momentum begets momentum.  
 
Please note that Bookly’s sponsorship of this blog article is not intended to address the specific circumstances of any particular individual or entity and does not constitute an endorsement of any entity or its products or services. This content represents the views of the author, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of Bookly.

London's 'Juice Gee' Talks Fashion, Going Hyper-Niche, and Building a Shoe Empire

Juice Gee London

By Austin Miller, Content Marketing Manager

This week we sat down with Jess Gavigan AKA "Juice Gee" a London-based "fashionpreneur" who has passion for streetwear and a soft spot for trainers. Her unique online store SFBK (Small Feet Big Kicks) sells only trainer shoes and targets sneakerheads with smaller feet. With the shoe-space being ever dominated by the likes of Amazon and Zappos, we wanted to know how Juice Gee's been able to carve out her own piece of the pie

Where does your love for shoes come from and how did you get into the kick game?

I got into the kick game through my bf at the time (2007)  and now my best friend. He was mad into kicks and had some of the sickest ones i'd ever seen.. so it spurred from there really!

You’ve got a strong following on Instagram and your account has been featured on several websites. Would you say Instagram is your main vehicle for business?

A lot of my work/business started actually through me being known through Small Feet Big Kicks - as I was featured on an IKEA advert a few years back relating to SFBK and how many kicks I had.

Instagram has only become serious for me in the last couple of years, in which time I started a blog with my friend - "The Unisex Mode." So really the blog and the website are my primary means of business, Instagram comes after.

Was IG (instagram) always the goal? 

IG was never really my "goal" I never saw it as a business opportunity until about a year ago - I was just obsessed with taking photos of friends and stuff I did. I wouldn't say it's my goal, as IG is a fad - it will come and go, and changes IG makes to the app will make it more difficult for people to use it as a means of business. It's nice to have a strong following - and even more rewarding when I meet people in real life that have followed my journey from Tumblr to Instagram to the blog. 

Nike Trainers

How does your personal IG account tie into your shop “Small Feet Big Kicks”? 

I occasionally post images of new kicks we have on SFBK, or any pictures I take of my own kicks as a 'crepcheck' picture i'll occasionally upload to SFBK. 

It doesn’t get more niche than smaller shoe sizes, trainers only, and for females only. What are some of the positives and/or challenges of this hyper-niche approach?

The main positive is it makes people feel like they have somewhere they belong and can have something they are a part of, like a club. It's the one stop shop for cool or one off kicks that you can't necessarily find on the high street.

We started off labeling it as something purely for females - but actually through selling at Crepe City for so many years we have many male customers - from boys to smaller footed males. 

Small Feet Big Kicks

There are so many shops that cater for males and male sizes, so we wanted to create something different - to ease the hassle for people that find it hard to get decent kicks in small sizes!

It also allows us to be the go to for many women in the sneaker scene - for example we are often called on to sell at trainer events all over Europe to be their only female sneaker seller, which is nice that there is that outreach.

On a personal note - having my name affiliated to SFBK also allows me to be the go to for many sportswear brands as a UK female sneakerhead representative. :)

London Fashion Model

Who are your fashion icons?

I love the old hip hop unisex styles of Gwen Stefani and TLC etc but when I look at who inspires me on the daily I look to people around me and bloggers that inspire me. Vashtie, Mercedes Benson, Milocuki, Christina Paik - girls who like to dress comfortably and aren't afraid to just wear menswear like me!

Jordan Shoes

What’s your favorite pair of shoes that you own?

I hate this question!! It's too hard! AM97 Valentine, AM95 Redwood Nike Free Woven Inneva

There’s a big problem with counterfeit shoes in the sneaker business. How do you combat this, and how do you assure your customers you’re the real deal?

I only buy from trusted shops or people i've been buying from for years. Having been in the sneaker scene for many years now, I can pretty much tell a fake shoe (or so i hope! haha) - but also as a brand we have been established for 5 years now - and we've never encountered an issue with fake goods! (touch wood!)

sneakerhead

How would you advise other "lifestyle brands” to grow their following/influence in the marketplace?

Stick to what you know, and be you. Don't ever try to be someone else. Don't try to preach too much to people - be real! 

How do you source your kicks and what makes a "good sneaker” in your opinion?

That would be telling!! Wouldn't want to give away all my good spots!  A good sneaker.. nothing too crazy like additional straps or attachments.. good colours.. and premium materials. 

How to Keep Up with Juice Gee

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Instagram: @juicegee

Twitter: @juicegee_

 

 

Please note that Bookly’s sponsorship of this blog article is not intended to address the specific circumstances of any particular individual or entity and does not constitute an endorsement of any entity or its products or services. This content represents the views of the author, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of Bookly.

 

A Sit-Down With Studio Mcgee

Studio McGee owners Shea and Syd Mcgee

Studio McGee owners Shea and Syd Mcgee

By Austin Miller, Content Marketing Manager

Studio Mcgee is a full service design company run by husband-wife team Shea and Syd Mcgee. They sold their home and moved to Utah to follow their dreams. With 18 employees, clients all over the country, features in Domino Magazine, and a social media following that might even make Kim K bat an eye—things are paying off in a big way. 

Recently we got a chance to sit down with the couple who's making waves in the interior design industry. We talked design, business, and how to keep family relationships going strong when you're both needed at the office.

Before you started Studio McGee you guys both had your own successful careers…What made you come together and decide to start a business?

We had successful careers in extremely different fields – Syd managed an affiliate marketing startup focused on email marketing and I ran a busy interior design business out of our home. After Syd’s company was acquired, it was time to figure out his next project. I was supporting our family during the transition and couldn’t keep up with the number of client requests I received.

We soon realized that our skill-sets complemented each other really well and that he could run the business and allow me to focus solely on the design. We sold our home in Southern California and moved to Utah to start our design firm in a more business-friendly state. A year later, and a lot of late nights hunched over our laptops, we have 18 employees and a quickly growing business!

Studio Mcgee Office Interior by  Lindsey Salazar

Studio Mcgee Office Interior by Lindsey Salazar

When did you know that going into business together was the right decision? Was there ever an “Ah-ha” moment?

We toyed with the idea for months, but shied away from taking the leap because it sounded crazy! We decided to test the waters and Syd started by helping me get the business more organized (it was a mess) because I was a typical creative and had a lot more interest in designing homes than organizing invoices! We discovered that we actually work quite well together and that gave us the encouragement we needed to go into business together.

Do you try and keep work-family life separate? Or is that just an old platitude…

For us, there is no separation! Perhaps it’s because the business is so new, but we discuss business all the time – dinner dates, family walks and most times in between. That said, we get a lot more family time because of our flexible schedules. The only time we really get a separation is by going on vacation and making a conscious decision to clear our minds and take a break from work.

How do you leverage your strengths and weaknesses as a couple?

Our strength is that we have a unified vision and goals for the business. Our weakness is that we are so comfortable around each other that it can be easy to speak bluntly where other business partners would be more professional!

Studio Mcgee Office Interior by  Lindsey Salazar

Studio Mcgee Office Interior by Lindsey Salazar

What are some of the struggles of running a husband-wife business? The benefits?

The biggest struggle for us is that running a business is extremely demanding both on our time and emotions! When we’re tired or stressed, it’s easy to bicker over little things. However, for us, the benefits far outweigh the struggles. We get to work together doing something we’re both passionate about, our daughter can ride her scooter around the office while we have a quick meeting, and we get to celebrate big and little wins together every day.

What advice can you give others who are considering going into business with their significant other?

My best advice is to only go into business together if your roles in the company are very separate and distinct. Although we keep each other in the loop and make big picture decisions together, we rarely venture into the others’ business territory – Syd never picks out tile and I don’t develop project management systems. For us, the separation of roles has been key to a happy work/marriage life.

 

Check out our post "Utah's Top 5 Workspaces" to see a in-depth look at the Studio Mcgee's HQ. 

 

Please note that KPMG Spark’s sponsorship of this blog article is not intended to address the specific circumstances of any particular individual or entity and does not constitute an endorsement of any entity or its products or services. This content represents the views of the author, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of KPMG Spark.