Jake Orak: Skyrocketing Your eCommerce Brand From Zero to 7-Figures

More than 24 million eCommerce stores exist on the internet. You’ll be shocked to know that the global eCommerce retail sales crossed the $4.28 trillion mark last year. And with an ever-increasing number of entrepreneurs kickstarting their online ventures, the number has been predicted to reach $6.39 trillion by 2024.

I’m really excited to be bringing an old friend – he was on the first cover of the Change Creator Magazine. His name is Jake Orak, and he’s the founder of an incredible 7-figure eCommerce brand called Ethnotek Bags where each product sold helps preserve cultures around the world.

One minute Jake was rubbing shoulders with chemists, thermodynamic experts, and mechanical engineers in the bustling metropolis of Minnesota (USA), and the next, he was discussing business terms with the Hmong people up in the northern highlands of Vietnam. It’s not quite a tale of rags to riches, but Jake is on a mission to make the world a better place, one handmade textile at a time.

The team at Ethnotek Bags is laser-focused on celebrating culture by producing premier laptop and travel bags featuring ethically sourced traditional handmade textiles.

Ethnotek is more than just a bag brand. They’re on a mission to preserve cultures all across the globe.

Rapid technological advancements have resulted in weavers and artisans being replaced by machines and factory labor. Year-over-year, we’re witnessing a rapid decrease in local demand for traditional handmade products due to low yield and long lead times.

As stated by Jake, their primary aim at Ethnotek Bags is to keep the traditional culture alive – which is why they’ve partnered with artisans across different villages in Ghana, India, Guatemala, Indonesia & Vietnam.

Visit Ethnotek Bags and check out their amazing gear:


During This Episode, We Discussed:

Jake’s a long-time friend. And it was a pleasure interacting with him again. While he has achieved incredible success with his eCommerce venture, one of the things that have helped him reach the 7-figure mark is his dedication and will to keep the traditional handmade products industry from dying. Throughout this episode, we discussed:

  • Jake’s story in a nutshell
  • Jake’s experience with Shopify
  • Why hasn’t Jake ever made the decision to change/update his eCommerce store’s logo?
  • The evolution of Ethnotek Bags – What has worked and what hasn’t
  • How rolling out user-generated content and being authentic helped Jake turn his eCommerce venture into a 7-figure business
  • How does the team at Ethnotek Bags actually define their target audience?
  • Identifying your target audience and buyer personas based on what problems your product and brand can help solve.
  • Ethnotek team’s focus on delivering a stellar user and learning experience on their website to not only create a great first impression but also build trust and credibility.
  • The actual meaning of branding – and how has this knowledge helped Jake build a 7-figure business
  • Jake’s focus on high-quality visuals – how can top-quality images and videos contribute towards your brand’s overall success?
  • Why one of Ethnotek Bags’ cinematography videos didn’t deliver the desired results?
  • How important it is to try to gain insights into why your past campaigns didn’t work out?
  • What kind of data do Jake & the team look at to make strategic decisions?
  • How Jake built a world-class team comprising talented like-minded individuals from scratch
  • Jake reveals how and why he plans to expand his business across Europe.
  • Why it’s important to build a customer-centric legacy brand?
  • Insights into Jake’s personal and professional challenges

Final Thoughts

Interacting with Jake is always a pleasure. And it has been so exciting to see him break through the noise and conquer his goals. Also, one of the things that I really love about Ethnotek Bags is their focus on preserving the traditional handmade products and make a gigantic-sized impact.

Every week, I e-meet with marketing experts, industry gurus, and entrepreneurs and share their inspiring success stories to help my audience (amazing folks like you) understand how they can conquer their goals the right way.

I hope you loved today’s episode. And if you did – don’t forget to support the show and leave a 5-Star review on iTunes. Every review matters 

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Episode Transcript (unedited, will likely have typos):

Adam G. Force  0:00 

How do social entrepreneurs and small businesses create an authentic brand people love so they can get the edge they need to stand out, create Predictable Revenue, and compete against the big guys. That’s what we’re here to discuss. I’m Adam forest, the founder of change crater, and this is the authentic brand mastery podcast.

Adam G. Force  1:21 

Hey, what’s up everybody welcome back to the authentic brand mastery Show. I’m really excited today because we’re bringing back an old friend but before I announce who that is, the last episode was with Tom Schwab. He’s the founder of interview valet and we kind of get into the the ins and outs of being a guest on podcast right this is a great way to bring attention to your business. This is organic and it just takes a little hustle on your end to get out on those shows. Or you hire somebody like Tom’s team and they will do it for you. So whatever works but it is a valuable way to bring in clients to bring in attention and all that good stuff so check it out if you didn’t get a chance yet it’s really valuable for building your brand

Adam G. Force  2:07 

so today we are going to be bringing back a guest that we’ve had before so he was actually on the first cover of Change Creator magazine when we were running that magazine and he is the founder of ethno tech bags where they are keeping culture alive with each bag that they produce His name is Jake or rack and he’s just a super cool guy and after we met that first after we had him on the magazine I interviewed him and stuff on the show this was years ago now and then we met out in California at a conference to have some dinners and got to know everybody really cool dude and just doing a great job developing his brand so he is an artist he’s not a branding guy but they have developed the brand they gonna talk about some of the ways that evolve what’s been working what hasn’t How do they use analytics to grow the brand and why they have some things as a really polished look why some things are wrong and really just authentic and it’s just a great conversation so I’m excited to have Jake back here and I think it’s gonna bring a lot of value to you guys from a branding perspective also an e commerce perspective as well I know we get a lot of e commerce clients so alright guys leave us a review on iTunes we appreciate your support and don’t forget to stop by Change Creator Check us out for our brand studio. Okay, show me the heat on no you go. Hey Jake, welcome back to the show. How you doing brother? Good it’s pleasure. Thanks for having me. Yeah, so for anybody that doesn’t know we’ve had Jake on back in the early days and then we did a revisit and we’re having him back again because he’s an awesome dude and he’s a buddy of mine and he’s just doing incredible things with his e commerce business so we want to talk a little bit more about the evolution of his brand I think that a lot of you guys listening will just get a lot of value from that so Jake, for people that don’t know you just give them the like, I like to do a little like where what’s going on and ethno tech world today that’s exciting and then just back into give them background on kind of like how you got there. Yeah, sure. So what’s exciting is that we turned 10 years old just last month so we’re been in business for 10 years. I have been steady it’s been quite a roller coaster but that was that was really cool. I just did an exercise I wrote an article basically thanking every single human that’s contributed along the way and that was like a trip down memory lane and yeah, so good. You know, it’s it’s all about the people and super grateful for everyone that contributed along the way. And it’s it’s been fun. It’s been fun, for sure. And yeah, so that was the highlight of the year so far. And so athletic is a social enterprise. And we collaborate with artisans in Ghana, Guatemala, India, Indonesia and Vietnam. And we combine their traditional handmade textiles into our high tech laptop travel bags. So I’m a designer and got a degree in Industrial Design works at three

Jake Orak  5:00 

to college and design bags for a few other brands before starting ethno tech. Yeah, and there it is, in a nutshell, I think

Adam G. Force  5:08 

I love the nutshell. Okay, perfect, perfect. And, guys, if you want to really go deep on some of that backstory like his motorcycle ride, his epiphany and all this stuff for the business, that is all in our first interview so you can backtrack and we will link to that interview when we put this one up on the website as well. And we’ll be you can check that out. So, Jake, I kind of want to get into now that you’re like further along because every time we talk, it’s been like another year. And like I mentioned before, last time you saw me I had hair. You know, tell me a little bit about like, I know you were you started your site on Shopify, right? Yeah. And you have like, way more products now than you did when you started, like your photography bag, like, and that came from, you know, client requests and stuff like that, right? So I like to just give people a little taste of where the brand started. So we can get a sense of the evolution of the brand. Yeah. So tell me a little bit about like when you started up on Shopify, are you still on Shopify now? Or

Adam G. Force  6:16 

did you go on Shopify? Yep.

Adam G. Force  6:18 

Okay, did you know you must be doing some some decent custom work up on that platform?

Jake Orak  6:23 

Pretty much mostly custom. Still, I still I love Shopify, I know it’s really intuitive work. Once our theme designer is done with it, I can populate most of it myself, or, you know, it’s

Adam G. Force  6:34 

exactly for that. Okay, cool. Cool. And so has your Tell me a little bit about where you started? Because I want to know, like, has your brand, like, for example, a simple layup is like, has your logo evolved since day one?

Jake Orak  6:49 

No, it hasn’t evolved at all. Despite my designer perfectionism wanting to it’s just, you know, people talk about all the time that they love it, and it they get it, you know, like it says, what the brand is about? And so

Adam G. Force  7:04 

like, Yeah, no, I mean, I totally agree. I mean, sometimes people like, they don’t totally change it, but they’ll just start like, you know, shaping it or polishing it a little differently as the company evolves. And I’m always curious, you know, like, like, do we go through sometimes rebranding So would you say that since you started and things have you’ve gone from you know, I’ve making no money and I’m just starting to making, you know, seven figures plus with the platform? Can you give me like a description of how do you feel like the brand has started evolving over time, whether it started like, totally ugly, or, you know, we all have our beta versions, but then it evolves and gets more polished. Can you talk to me a little bit about some of the evolution there?

Jake Orak  7:49 

Yeah, I would say honestly, like, not much has changed over time, I think that if anything like that, the focus goes on to improving the product over time and improving the customer experience over time, through e commerce and our b2b channels and things like that. So like our, our imagery, and our videography, has always kind of had a user generated feel and people tend to really connect with that you have experimented recently with more professional cinema cinematography, quality videos, and those actually performed less well than me on a gimbal with my iPhone and I don’t know like, for some reason, it is that way and so like since the beginning we’ve loved highlighting and promoting our customers with their bags and venturing out in the world and being like really transparent and approachable and human, rather than really polished and so that has worked really well for us and it you know, translates really well with the mission you know, it’s like handmade textiles, it’s there to elevate traditional handmade art and, and fabrics and, and culture and so, to have an overly polished vibe gloss on the brand doesn’t seem like it would fit it would feel a little bit synthetic, I think in a way

Adam G. Force  9:13 

it’s interesting and I hear that a lot too, you know, when especially when it comes to video, like the authentic like I’m in the car in Vietnam and we’re driving down a bumpy road like I know some of those videos I’ve seen back in the day from you guys and I do enjoy that also. And you know, the polished look, I think immediately says like, oh, advertising or and there’s this like stigma or something about I mean, I guess there’s a place for Polish videos, but I mean, as far as visual identity goes, like I see a couple things happening here. Like your, your customer experience, and I think the authentic visuals of your videos, that is part of your brand identity, right? That’s kind of like how you see yourself being excited. To the world, and that’s what’s working for you, obviously, with your audience and stuff like that. And how do you guys actually define your audience these days? Like who’s really your buyer at this point?

Jake Orak  10:10 

It’s, it’s pretty, pretty wide in terms of the demographic but it is it does skew primarily female. Okay. And it’s, you know, it’s usually between like, 25 and 55. It’s a it’s a wide, wide range.

Adam G. Force  10:25 


Jake Orak  10:26 

But, you know, that’s not to put things in a gender box, you know, like, we have a really big, like, LGBTQ plus community. And it’s Yeah, I would probably say it’s like, you know, what, 7030? Male, female and but, yeah, it’s usually urban suburban dwellers that either have a passion for travel, or actually do travel a lot for work, or pleasure, or both. Yeah. And so it’s a people that, you know, probably don’t have a huge income, but value quality and products with meaning, you know, people who actually take care and the food they eat the things they put on their skin, and wanting to know where it’s made, what it’s made of, conscious consumers, so people willing to pay more for something that has meaning to it. And so, like we’re in, we’re in bags, you know, high quality tech, like, like, our tea bags. And that seems to be a pretty, pretty easy commitment for people to make, you know, because it’s, you know, long lasting, and you can use it for both work and for travel. And it’s kind of a multi tool of a type of product. So yeah, so it’s for people looking for variety and expression, and something that actually stands for something. Yeah, yeah. And I

Adam G. Force  11:47 

mean, just going back to that, that brand identity, and I think you know, it’s nice to know who the audience is, because we can see who you’re kind of representing yourself to, as we talk here. And I like that you made the point because people get really pigeonholed on who they’re trying to talk to with their company. And I like that you made the point about they care about what they put on their skin, and they care about what they eat because we’re really getting into you know, the type of person right it’s really and there’s other because I feel like when people get into marketing they really dial in on reaching I want people who want bags, and it’s like, you know, yeah, no, I mean you can go like they might be they might be following a blog about vegan food and that’s who you retargeting for ads and things like that because that’s part of their world right? And so I think it’s a great point that you made to expand your thinking that people you’re going after they have lots of things in their world that they’re interested in that make them who they are right so it sounds like you guys have really kind of dug into that quite a bit which is good and you know, just go back to them go ahead.

Jake Orak  12:53 

Yeah, just just to touch on that one more time like that. That’s actually like a post mortem observation to be honest because we’ve never we all let’s say we stopped getting hyper specific on what type of customer to target because in the beginning we’re like this is who our customer is going to be here’s what we’re going to sell the bags were completely wrong. And so like so i think i think the key for us I mean, at least for our brand anyway is to just like really know what what it is your product and service is meant to do. Like what is it what problem is it solving and does it do that well, and is it different? And that’s always been my key focus because if it ticks both those boxes then then you should find a group of human beings that will buy it so yeah,

Adam G. Force  13:45 

yeah, it’s true and you know, it’s because it’s right and the reason I bring that up is you know, we it’s really good to know like the story of who you’re trying to talk to and that’s what I always look at it I call it a digital conversation I mean you’re using the technology or you’re talking to them say I got this bag I know that you probably you’re interested because this is your lifestyle and you probably are looking for something not generic like jansport you’re looking for something that has more meaning behind it a story right and you know, I have found that marketing does better when to your point you can broaden it up a little bit like trying to pigeonhole too much is actually bad knowing the customer is important. But actually when you go to market like I could go after people who like the Food Network because I know my audience like I find data that they’re if they like Tony Robbins the same people like the Food Network, they’re obsessed with it right so now I go after people in the food category, you’d think I’m crazy selling branding services, but that’s where they are right? So I think that’s a really great point for people to to think about. And it’s that diversity is important because you never know where you might find the right fit for for that kind of thing. For your identity now you say okay, we keep it authentic. We haven’t changed much, but I have And I follow you guys and I do see an evolution of your identity, right? So the branding that goes deeper, right? It’s it’s positioning taglines, all that stuff and the audience that we’re talking about, but the actual identity, it builds trust and credibility, right? So like, you want people to have a good first impression and things like that. And, and so I have seen an evolution on like, your site is polished, it’s very nicely done, right? It is professional, like, you know, it’s not like you’re in your your Batcave putting something together on

Unknown Speaker  15:36 

things together.

Adam G. Force  15:39 

I’m still like, I doubt that was the first iteration of your site, like, you definitely must have evolved, like you got developer guys, you know. And so when I talk about that evolution, as you make money, and you’re, you’re saying, Hey, we’re selling these products, like, Alright, let me get a developer in here. Let’s take this thing. Let’s kind of polish it up a little bit more. So you have gone through those phases, right?

Jake Orak  16:01 

Yeah, yeah. Oh, for sure. For sure. No, definitely. Like I want like, like, I’m really big on first impressions, because you really only get one, right? So website is perfect for that. And I want like every image to just like, wow, you and I want that I want things to be easy. Like the shopping experience of browsing experience, the learning experience should be as seamless as possible and intuitive, as impossible. And so that website, man, we’ve been working on it, we work on it every day. And we have been since we started like it’s just a constant testing and optimizing and improving and re uploading and all that. And that’s that’s probably the evolution mostly and probably, like incrementally image like the content as well as the quality of the content, probably I think I might be too close to it. But to me, it feels like the spirit of it hasn’t changed much. But yeah, I

Adam G. Force  16:56 

think that makes sense. And this thing, people misunderstand what branding really is. And it’s how we make people feel right. And so the spirit of your brand is there, because that’s like the core of who you are, where this thing was born from. And I do love seeing the evolution of the identity to become crisper, because you’re seeing what works. And I think you made a very important point for people, which is you’re testing and iterating from, like, what’s working, what’s not, you’re looking at the data, right? Yeah. And I feel like and I get people, you know, sometimes I talk to or coach and it’s like, well, it’s been a month and this hasn’t happened. And I’m like, Well, how many people have been on your website? Oh, yeah. This is what happens when we associate time with the success, not the data. So like, you guys are really looking at the data and you’re drunk. And I love the fact that you put so much attention to the visuals. I just got off a call with somebody and the last two people we’re working with in the brand studio it’s you need a professional photo shoot, you know for your products and things like that, because that first impression, but also you want your products look sexy as hell for people. Totally that that to me, like the videos I see the authenticity thing, the pictures, I think they need to be sharp. Right? So and I feel like you’re going down. Yeah. And so how do you I guess you know, that feel and you found that that feel has an impact through your testing cuz I see you run Facebook ads and things like that. So you’ve tested and maybe I don’t know how close you are to it. Or if you have like a ads team or something that may know this, but just tell me if you’re not sure. Like, are you finding that like, you’re putting up these nice images do they perform for you just as well as like the authentic video so like, you know what I mean, I’m trying to see like, the pictures can be polished with the videos, you might want more authentic,

Jake Orak  18:59 

right? Yeah, yeah. I mean, I mean, a lot of times they do and a lot of times it surprises us. You know, like, like I said, like, we tested this new cinematography, cinematography style video, and it just didn’t perform whereas the one that we you know, I filmed with my gimbal and a smartphone, yeah, in Bali, we’ve been just running that non stop for the last three years just because people just latch on to it. And so it’s like, oh, wow, so we invested like whatever six grand in this video six hours of my time, and it’s completely opposite revenue. But uh, but at the same time, you know, there’s there’s a lot of inverse of that. So it depends on what like, first of all who the audience is, because sometimes you’re targeting the wrong people or a lot of times you don’t have control on Facebook just like feeds you an audience that’s just not the right fit. Yeah, so it does depend on who’s seeing it and interacting with it. That’s, that’s a big one. But also like the Like the quality of the imagery for sure, like you said, and I that’s one thing I tell to a lot of like, you know, startup owners that are just getting going is that those product images do make a huge difference. And even though I don’t do the studio photography of all of our products anymore, like I kind of delegated that, like three or four years ago, I’m still involved in directing it. And every time we get a new photographer, they’re way more qualified than me. But they get like, annoyed with me, because I’m just like, no, the tripod angle really, really makes a huge difference. Like you got to crouch way below, it kind of looks slightly up at the product to make it look like a hero. And it was like that angle makes it look less mundane. If you’re like looking at it from eye level. And they’re like, what, okay, yeah, good call, it looks better that way.

Adam G. Force  20:45 

That’s this experience, then with your own products and stuff, like, Yeah, I love that. I mean, that’s such good insight, too. And, you know, I’m a big fan. I’m like, you, man, I love design, I love like making things look the way it should like to me like, there’s polished design, but people get hung up. Like, when we talk about good design, good design, to me is what sells, it doesn’t have to be

Jake Orak  21:10 

with their dollars, right, they find a use for the thing that they just bought, or they wanted to like either connects with their identity, or just improves their life a little bit out of the convenience in the way they use it. So for sure.

Adam G. Force  21:21 

That’s branding, that is just what sells,

Unknown Speaker  21:25 

sells. Junk Don’t do that.

Adam G. Force  21:28 

Don’t spend six grand on a cinematography video. I’m surprised Did you find out why that? Like, did you get any kind of insight as maybe why that didn’t perform so well? Yeah,

Jake Orak  21:41 

we don’t think it’s that we don’t wouldn’t really think it’s the video quality. I think it was the timing and timing more than anything, because it was for a backpack. And it was during COVID at the tail end of COVID guide like a few months ago, and it was during a period when just people weren’t buying backpacks. And it’s when we’re approaching summer and so we had high competition for adspace. So it’s most likely that, um, and our bags are expensive, and coming out of COVID you know, people’s wallets are tighter, and people’s budgets are tighter. And so it’s I think it’s just like seasonality, and just the just the climate of the market, more than just the cinematography, I think cinematography, at the right timing probably would have amplified it, you know, you know, 10 acts in the opposite direction. So

Adam G. Force  22:35 

yeah, yeah, I think that makes sense. So there’s a number of variables that come into play and and that’s, that’s the other part of it is to, you know, for anyone listening, it’s like, you really, you don’t want to jump the gun get emotional, like, Oh, I spent all this money and it didn’t work? Well. There’s probably a number of reasons, if you just take the time to investigate logically, yeah. And it sounds like you’ve thought through it. And there’s probably a number of variables that contribute to that. But to your point, I always talk about timing, like, you can do the wrong the right things at the wrong time. And, you know, that’s, that’s catastrophic, for a number of reasons. But when you do things, and you consider the timing and you get the timing, right, you know, things can really blow up and be amplified. So that video is probably not a waste, it’s probably something you can roll out at another time where that’s gonna work out really well. Yep. Yeah.

Jake Orak  23:26 

And it’s a tool we have, we just have it now forever. And it’s it’s great to have on the website, it’s great to have and various other channels, you know, just just because it doesn’t work on one channel or one platform doesn’t mean it doesn’t work for all does find a new home for it.

Adam G. Force  23:40 

Exactly, exactly. I’m also curious, just as you are really putting energy into the site’s evolution to optimize, optimize, optimize, I mean, that’s a part of it. That’s like, I always people, like oh, I don’t need a website. I’m like, Yeah, okay, you know, like you this is, this is like real estate that you own versus rent. And you don’t buy real estate and let it just sit there and do nothing and burn a hole in your pocket, you know, you build something on it, that creates revenue for you. And then you optimize it and make it better, better, better. And so what kind of data do you and your team look for to make decisions?

Jake Orak  24:21 

Well, it changes but so we have a small but awesome team of people to help with Google ads, Facebook ads, email marketing, and just analytics in general. Yeah, so so our analytics manager, he and I kind of worked really closely together to like AB test a lot of things on the website in terms of, you know, button color button placement, and we work with UI UX designer who custom designed a Shopify theme for us. Based on the advice of a CRL conversion rate optimisation manager. We did an audit of our old site and said, if you want to increase conversion rate Then you have, you should redo these things, you know, you have a sticky button on mobile and all these little tiny, tiny tweaks, they weren’t a lot of big changes. But when you add them all up, it was a lot. Yeah. So we work with basically smart website designers who understand that the core goal is to sell product. And to eliminate the weird experience that people have with your internet or with your, with your website. make them want to leave or confounds them or bore them friction points, right? Totally. Yeah, so So we do a lot with hot jar. So we do a lot of like screen recordings to actual people what they do on the website, and to see what what are the hot spots in the cold spots of the website? Yeah, um, so we look at return on adspend. So our row as is was is a big one, but it’s less than less these days after the iOS 14 update. So we’re looking at more at CTR click through rate and CPM cost per marketing or cost per impression, traffic volume, and it’s a bit more of a black box these days. So we’re looking, we kind of have some benchmarks around adspend percentage versus overall revenue, because what our what our old 3x realizes probably now that like the 1.5 to one point is like the new three point roll as which is like, very unsettling to just say, um, okay, let’s just assume that. But yeah, so we’re having to, like, reinvent the metrics that are most important to us. And so with email marketing, like we look at open rate, click rate, and then always conversion rate, and then just kind of so every everyone, every platform kind of has its own benchmarks, and then we, we all meet monthly, and we compare notes, and we compare metrics, and we make some assumptions. And then we make some goals for what what to change to improve things over time. And so I hope our team after they listen to this, don’t think I’m just like, mashing up these these data points that we all care so much about, um, but ultimately, they’re they’re definitely the experts. And that’s why we brought them in, you know, and that’s how was the game changer for us is that like, I know my role, like, I’m good at high level strategy and vision and does a product design. And when we’ve found people to help with all of the marketing channels that are experts in that domain, know how to report on it, know how to tweak it, and they watch it and test it, and they test everything. And so we we hypothesize together, but they’re the ones who go away and just work their magic. And the common misconception is, I don’t know how to do that, I don’t have the budget for that. And that was my mindset going into it too. But like, you can find really good people on a budget, if you a treat them well and have like, you know, passion and enthusiasm and a cool brand or cool product. And so like eventually, you can bring in good talent on a small budget. And you all grow it together. If you have the same goals and kind of make them a part of it and get paid them on a commission then they’re incentivized to just perform and do what do well, and then you know, just have an internal culture where you don’t treat them like a contractor on their own island, they should be a part of your own team, your own family, and then that is the incentive enough to to do good work. And you can find people like we love Upwork Fiverr. Yeah, yeah, just co working spaces, word of mouth, connecting with people that specialize in those those areas. So if you just have, you don’t have to be an expert on web design, e commerce, digital marketing, but you know, just know what you want, and try to find the right people.

Adam G. Force  28:48 

Yeah, yeah. Now those platforms are really helpful. And I think just being patient to find the right people, because you can put up a job post and make sure you have qualifying questions. And you get a lot of people, man. So sometimes I like to go and reach out to specific people that I seek out on those platforms, and then have them kind of fill out the application proposal. But you can find a lot of talent and you know, again, timing, it’s like, I feel like when you’re in the earlier stages, there’s probably some really key data that you’ll be tracking on your site to optimize because you’re not going to have as much going on as you do. Right? You’re You’re the seven figure plus and somebody who is just trying to work their way up to six figures, they’re not going to be doing the same thing you know, any mean so that’s always a mistake. I see. And I like to just point that out to anybody listening is yes, Jake has ads and all these things and videos and all this stuff, but like you’re not there yet. That’s another version of the business if you’re not in the seven figure space, and you will have less going on, which means you can hone in like a smaller portion of data to track to just get done what you need to get done in that moment at that time, right. So yeah, like and I always I’m a fan of like, understanding how these things work at some high level and then hiring so you don’t get screwed over by fire. Yes. Right. I mean, I, I don’t need to be a Facebook ads expert, but I run some ads. I know I kind of know like, what I’m looking for and what the benchmarks like you’re mentioning, I know. And for people that don’t know ro as that’s return on adspend when you’re when you’re running Facebook ads and things like that. So yeah, there’s a lot of value there. And it sounds like do you do a lot of internal hiring or mostly like external teams that you just kind of grow close with?

Jake Orak  30:33 

Yeah, just external, like independent contractors and freelancers that we find either through our own network, word of mouth, or through Upwork. And I’m trying to think of a few other hiring platforms, we found some part time peeps on indeed, and I think I can’t remember it’s escaping me. But there’s there’s a few, I think Nomad list. But yeah, just essentially, just entrepreneurs out there doing their thing. And a lot of them specialize in just one thing. I’m a bit we’ve tried to work with, like people who do say they do everything. And that hasn’t worked out ever guys. Well. Yeah, I’m leery of like a one stop shop. All digital marketing full stack person. Usually they have a lot of VHS that they delegate everything to and then they’re not really, really in on what’s going on. Yeah, but yeah, so that’s, that’s kind of what we’ve done.

Adam G. Force  31:31 

Yeah, yeah. No, that’s a good point. You got to be careful that I’ve always been wary of whether it’s a person or like even a business platform, like, Oh, we do everything your email marketing, your website, your data, I’m like, Oh, that’s just like, it’s just, it sounds so appealing. But it ends up being a recipe for disaster because they’re a generalist, and they don’t specialize in anything, right? So like when hiring I agree, man, like you want people like you specialize in SEO. Okay, great. I do need to make sure that our content writers know what kind of content we’re focusing on. And like, so everybody’s got their own specialty. I think that’s a good approach to take. So tell me what’s next for for your brand. What’s going on?

Jake Orak  32:13 

Yeah, what’s next for us is that we’re, we’re branching out and expanding into Europe now. So nine distributors there for quite a while. And you sell

Adam G. Force  32:25 

products online to anywhere in the world right now. Right? So no distribution centers there.

Jake Orak  32:30 

Yeah, just to make it more affordable to the customer, you have all the barriers of having to pay so much for VAT and have to wait forever for things to ship from the US. And so we have, we have an operation, we have a warehouse in Indiana in the US. And then we have one in Australia for Asia Pacific. And now we’ll have one in Europe. And that should be all we need to you know, make our products accessible to everyone our key key places that we’re that people are into our bags. So that’s more of an operational not so sexy thing to be moving on. But it’s all foundational. It’ll help us you know, continue building.

Adam G. Force  33:09 

Yeah, I mean, I think it’s sexy, like, that’s very Jeff bass, those of you that I mean, listen, there’s one thing I like about the guy. And that is that like, since day one, he was not selling products, he was selling customer experience, and they obsess over customer experience, right? So he would be like, Well, I have over 4 million square feet of what do you call it fulfillment warehouse space in the US because I want to be as close as possible to make the shipping, a better experience for people faster, cheaper, all those things. And, you know, part of your brand is really it sounds like you obsess over customer experience, right? Take out the friction in the website, make it more appealing, open up the distribution center in Europe to make it better for the customer. So, I mean, it’s operational, but it’s sexy at the same time, because you’re thinking of the customer, I guess is my point. You know,

Jake Orak  34:06 

thinking of the customer and thinking long term, you know, like we the goal isn’t to build this and sell this thing. It’s like we want to build a legacy brand that’s around for forever. And so like the foundational side of things needs to be tended to, and, you know, this is like kind of our one one last big move operationally. So then we can just you know, again, refocus on storytelling. And once you know and that’s that’s, that’s for full global e commerce focus, you know, we’ll be we’ve been stepping back stepping back from b2b for quite a long time very slowly, so that we just have full brand control. And you know, we’re not beholden to strict, you know, outdoor industry or fashion industry lead times, which kind of puts pressure on the artist and supply chain and that sort of thing. And so when we can fulfill all of the globe Through through our online channels then we have total freedom and we can launch like hyper limited edition collections in just Germany or or the Netherlands and the US or Japan like we have total freedom to do whatever we want and because we have those kind of operational hubs so that we can really be efficient with it and so that’s when it gets really fun for me is because it like once that’s all set we go like okay now we get to just like play around a bit more and and then just really really hype it up so

Adam G. Force  35:35 

so what I’m curious what is most stressful for you right now?

Jake Orak  35:42 

most stressful probably living back in the US We’ve been living in Southeast Asia for like 15 years and now that we’re back here everything’s so expensive

Adam G. Force  35:56 

no doubt about that. So why did you move back anyway What happened?

Jake Orak  35:59 

Well we we want to be close to friends and family and we had some some deaths in the family and that kind of shake the tree for us and we want to be close for that and the celebration of life and you know, we’ve been over there for a long time and we’ll always keep going back to Southeast Asia to visit the artisans and the factory team and and for product development and all that will probably be going back you know still like 234 times a year so ready for a change of scenery want to test the waters back here so we’re from Minnesota so this is our soft landing and by no means our permanent landing so my wife and I are very nomadic and so it might be mountains Mountain State next or America who knows. But yeah, so it’s just we need to change it up I find that I kind of stagnate creatively when I’m in the same place for so long. Yeah and even though this is like a an uncomfortable, strange move like reverse culture shock for me I see that it has a good effect on my psyche and it’s just pushing me and challenging me And so yeah, I just kind of always put myself through that kind of pain process to kind of regenerate and it works and so so though there’s all this kind of like New Adjustment happening I see it as a good thing so yeah,

Adam G. Force  37:25 

I think that’s awesome man. I mean those challenges you know, sometimes people get emotionally kind of dragged down from it. And I just read a great book from Ryan Holiday called the obstacle is the way so the obstacle in the path becomes the path right? Now the whole concept and your mindset was already there you’re already like well I see it as a good thing for my psyche and how it’s gonna jolting me and so you know, it does jolt the creativity when you’re out and about and changing up scenery and stuff like that. Yeah, so listen, you know you’re ever out in Miami trying to warm up from those Minnesota winters. You let me know cuz we got a nice little out here. Man, I appreciate the invite. Absolutely. Always door’s always open man goes

Jake Orak  38:06 

for if you ever in Minneapolis.

Adam G. Force  38:09 

I won’t be

Jake Orak  38:11 

Yeah, especially in the winter. I

Adam G. Force  38:13 

just can’t you never know where you land man. You never know I don’t have any family or anything out there. But if I’m out in Minneapolis, I would definitely connect for sure. Yeah. Listen, man, I want to be respectful of your time. I know you’re a busy guy. Let’s just remind people of where they connect and check out all your awesome stuff that you’ve been building for the past 10 years man Yeah, thank you.

Jake Orak  38:33 

Well, everything flows through ethno tech.com eth and otk.com we have social channels we’re mostly active on Instagram so at fo tech bags on Instagram and those are our two favorite shopping points

Adam G. Force  38:50 

you know yeah you know it’s nice to keep it simple man you go to the website you can find everything you need there lots of good stuff so anybody checking it out looking for some new gear? I still have you know it’s in my drawer here maybe you’re somewhere but the passport travel Yeah, I use that every time I go out I love that thing and I know Danielle and Amy have their bags that they fell in love with and just for people listening like we were hanging out at a conference in California and you know people come up to buy Jake stuff and you know Jake has a premium price but there’s there’s there’s a story behind it that’s powerful and that is attractive because you’re supporting artisans and things like that. And when people trade the bag for money they’re you’re like Welcome to the tribe or you know whatever your monster might be at that point but people were excited like oh man, it feels good I love like just knowing like I’m part of this now and they they’re excited to buy the product. You just said you’re gonna get back into storytelling and I just you know that brand story is kind of like the you know, contextual essence of of who you are and all that stuff. So as I mentioned, you guys can check out one of the first interviews and even the second one because there’s some interesting evolutionary conversation we had there. But you can see where Jake all started and get more insights. This was a great conversation. I appreciate you just sharing some of these details about the evolution of your brand identity and your brand strategy focus on customers and pictures and all these things. That’s really, really great. So great to see you again, man. And I appreciate it.

Jake Orak  40:23 

Thanks until next time,

Adam G. Force  40:24 

until next time. Thanks for tuning into the authentic brand mastery podcast. Don’t forget to stop by Change Creator calm for more information fresh and articles content and our services if you’re looking to build a brand that people love, and please stop by iTunes, leave us a five star review. We appreciate your support.

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