SHEIN Fast Fashion Supply Chain, Freight Rates and More: Unraveling the Complexities
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Ever wondered about the future of the supply chain and its intersection with the fast-paced world of fashion? Join us as we untangle these complex threads in a captivating conversation with our returning guest, Grace Sharkey from FreightWaves. We kick things off with a deep dive into the heart of the trucking market, discussing the potential fallout of current freight volumes, the rates carriers are charging, and how student loans could soon drastically affect spending. We also share insights from the recent Future of Supply Chain conference, exploring how technology is acting as a beacon amidst economic turmoil.

The story doesn’t end there. We move onto the darker side of fashion, scrutinizing the ethical concerns surrounding fast fashion and its impact on labor practices, as seen in the backlash against SHEIN. We explore the role of influencers and the responsibility resting on consumers’ shoulders to understand the supply chain dynamics of major corporations. We also delve into the origins of fast fashion and discuss the concept of greenwashing, underscoring the urgent need for transparency in the industry.

We round off the episode by touching on intriguing conspiracy theories, including the legacy of the Titanic. We delve into the supply chain issues affecting Sriracha production, revealing the controversies behind Hoi Fung Foods and Underwood Ranches. In the end, we discuss the launch of Meta’s new social media platform, Threads, and the implications it holds for Mark Zuckerberg’s rivalry with Elon Musk.




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Show Transcript

See full episode transcriptTranscript is autogenerated by AI

Grace Sharkey: 0:00

LinkedIn presents.

Blythe Brumleve: 0:10

Welcome into another episode of Everything Is Logistics, a podcast for the thinkers in freight. We are proudly presented by SPI Logistics. I am your host, blythe Bromley, and we've got Grace Sharkey back in the virtual studio. I guess, yeah, virtual digital studio, whatever, but Grace Sharkey Freight Waves fame. She does like seven million shows. So she's here doing another one. This is a monthly appearance that she does And we call it affectionately called Freight Friends, where we dive into a bunch of different topics, usually one to two main topics, and then we typically have like a favorite but fun, sometimes fun conspiracy theories And then also our favorite logistics of stories. So everybody really liked that logistics of sand stories. I even got like a little copyright notice from YouTube on it, but the creator didn't care.

Grace Sharkey: 1:02

Beyonce's been doing that to me recently on Instagram too, like taking my 2016 post down and stuff Dang Dang.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:09

It's probably just like a legal team going in and cleaning stuff up Exactly Not for free. No, no, no.

Grace Sharkey: 1:15

Not on Instagram, not today. What's new with you, Grace?

Blythe Brumleve: 1:22

How are you feeling refreshed now after a future of supply chain? Freight Waves conference just happened in Cleveland. You guys did a lot of cool stuff up there. Give us a little recap.

Grace Sharkey: 1:31

Yeah, it was a lot of fun. You know it's so interesting, as I until I end up getting to this event every year. We've had it in Arkansas in the past. We had in Cleveland this past year. The future of supply chain is a really interesting event, for almost more of the economic updates right Like less of this is what tech is doing today. I think that's definitely part of the conversation, but it's almost more of like here's how tech can help you throughout this economic turmoil that we're going through. So I really enjoyed it. We got to see a number of speakers who were clearly very involved with the economy and had an idea of what's coming next and what we should be watching for. With Freight volumes. I mean, unfortunately there's no crazy spontaneous positive news that came out of it. Right, it just oh, a ton of ships for some reason that week like loaded up from China and had their way over here. Nothing crazy like that happened. But I think it's just interesting to kind of hear from multiple people and also, too, it's a chance to talk to a lot of the providers in this space and what they're hearing from their customers, and I will say it sounds like, most especially on the trucking side brokerages as well. Most are realizing like this is, this market could get a tad bit worse. Right now, it's definitely higher rates that we've seen so far in July than we've seen in May and June, but I doubt that we're going to see this market fall below like $2 or something like that. You know what I mean. So I think people are having know what their worst case scenario can be and are now planning their budgets around it, at least from what I'm hearing from a lot of tech providers throughout their same list and we're finally starting to get calls back. People are starting to maybe not optimistic, but understanding okay, there's a time, there's a place for an investment during these types of times, right.

Blythe Brumleve: 3:30

And I don't know if you know the answer to this, but I was thinking of it as you were talking What is, I guess, the dollar amount that carriers should be charging, I guess, in order to just either break even or to make enough to survive? You mentioned $2 a mile. Is that number like $250 or $3? Is there any kind of, I guess, maybe insight there?

Grace Sharkey: 3:54

Well, i will say from the trucking experts that I talked to there is no true number. I mean it all depends right on what year. Do you have new equipment and your cost for that truck are higher than most. Are you running more long distance? so you have to also consider where the driver's sleeping and food and meat. So there's not really a great judgment number. But to kind of showcase to you from the past market when we hit the really low low in May that and I would say that was probably our biggest bottom for so far this year That hit around $2.12 and that was about a week and a half before Memorial Day as well. So it wasn't like I think we saw it ramp up for like the end of the month too. So it didn't stay at that rate for long. Right now we're about $2.32. This is our NTR National Truckload Index. So it gives you the average spot rate across the domestic US. So if you're running contract you're probably seeing about. I want to say our spread difference is about $0.60, $0.70. So you're seeing a little bit more on the contract side of things. But as the contract shipments start to run out, then you'll see that the two numbers contract closer to each other as well. So I will say $2.32 is pretty great. It's actually we have a forecasting model as well and it has forecasted pretty well throughout this season. But I could see this falling back down to that low 2.10-ish area in the fall right around, i would say probably around October-ish November, right in time for F3. But I could see it falling as student loans start to come back on and people start making that transition into those payments as well.

Blythe Brumleve: 5:52

Yeah, because that's all obviously going to impact spending, where a lot of spending is going towards services right now, not necessarily products. So it'll be really interesting to see how the retailers are preparing for the perceived, i guess holiday shopping season.

Grace Sharkey: 6:06

Exactly, and it depends, of course, what we're buying for too. I think I still see a lot of people taking trips. If we get into the holiday season and people are saying, hey, instead of buying individual gifts, let's take a trip next year or do something, we might not see it in the numbers that we want to, and plus, you got to think about it I know you were worked in the space right. Then you go into January. In January, it's always the slowest month for freight, so even if there's a little bit of a pick me up, there's going to be a slide back down as well.

Blythe Brumleve: 6:41

So let's just put your expectations on and up or low, or keep your expectations low, and hopefully you'll be pleasantly surprised. Yeah exactly Well as we are. It's sort of a roadmap for today's show because this actually ties in the future of supply chain conference, actually really ties in with our first topic. We're going to be talking about the fast fashion supply chain, then we're going to get into a little bit of the best business models in freight And then we're going to I mean, we can't have a show without dunking on Meghan Markle. I think this is kind of like a regular thing. It probably should be. I think we have talked about her in every single episode We've recorded together.

Grace Sharkey: 7:19

So we're just going to keep it going. Stop dropping hot gossip about her every month. That's really their faults.

Blythe Brumleve: 7:26

I mean, and then you have to wonder like is it her team that's doing it, or is it just her embarrassing failures, or is it a sigh up against her?

Grace Sharkey: 7:35

The reed, or is it a combination of three? Is it just more an embarrassment to society, meghan? Is it karma finally coming back to you?

Blythe Brumleve: 7:44

I know I love, what a reed. So it could be a combination of all those things, and then we'll wrap up with our favorite conspiracy theories at the moment, and then, of course, our logistic story, as mentioned earlier in the show. You guys really liked that logistics of sand story that we did in the last episode, so we're going to bring you a couple new ones today, and mine's kind of related A little bit of a cargo crime. I'm a little obsessed with it, so we'll get into those later on. First topic though fast fashion in the supply chain, because there are a lot of she and influencers right now that are in a lot of shit and sort of. I guess you know the too long didn't read, the too long didn't watch. This is making big waves and sort of like the fashion beauty landscape, because a bunch of influencers were invited to visit a factory in I think it was in Denver or around the Colorado area, or they were flown to China One of the two I couldn't really grasp where they actually did the factory tour. I would be surprised if they did a factory tour in the United States, because I didn't know that she hadn't had any factories in the United States. So they anyways, they took this trip. It was a she in a little bit of backstory has. They have some rumblings about their supply chain morals. They use low cost labor, to put it mildly. They have factories staged all over the world where they can take advantage of low cost labor and that is the reason why you can get very, very cheaply made clothes very pretty fast and very cheap. We're talking like anywhere from like eight to ten dollars for a shirt that you'll see on a lot of different ecom shops, amazon shops that will. Those shops will list it for around 30 bucks. So it just kind of, i guess it shines a light on their supplier system and where they're getting a lot of these clothing. So the influencers went there, they looked at a lot of their different operations within a warehouse And because of that a lot of folks have come out and started commenting and targeting these influencers because they didn't know about or maybe they didn't know about you know some of their shady manufacturing policies. They just got a tour of a warehouse and got some behind the scenes footage and now they're being blamed for Xi'an's, i guess, supply chain. So with all that said, grace, i know you've done, you know, plenty of work on these types of stories. So what is your early read on this one?

Grace Sharkey: 10:18

I will say they did. they did spy on the China, So they did go to China.

Blythe Brumleve: 10:22

Oh, okay, okay.

Grace Sharkey: 10:25

I will say I have mixed feelings because I have attempted this same flight myself. There's a big company out in China called JDcom And I've tried. They're like the Amazon of China. They've got like all robotics like warehouses and stuff like that, and I have tried so hard to get close to their marketing team and I'm like, and they did kind of the same thing years ago And so I was like, if you're ever doing this again, just because I think I've never been to China, i think I would love it. Yeah, hopefully I would be blind to whatever atrocities that are happening behind the scenes. Also, i will say I bought from the site once or twice and I've never been fully thrilled by the quality. So at first I was like okay, interested in seeing, like maybe, how I've done deep dives on their technology, though They have a ton of investment that they've done in the past in particular. That is pretty interesting.

Blythe Brumleve: 11:34

And a lot of algorithms really sophisticated.

Grace Sharkey: 11:37

Yes, yeah, i mean they're deep into buy now, pay later systems. They're reverse logistics is pretty huge. They work with a company called Narbar that has over 200,000 drop off locations They have. They put a lot of money into the influencer side of things right, gaining that loyalty and retention, really gamifying rewards for customers and for those influencers. They I know of big areas, traceability, visibility tools. I think that's a lot of people will say right, if I do buy from them, it usually gets to me pretty quickly and it usually is. They're pretty open to the delivery times and things of that nature. So it is. It's pretty interesting as a whole, i think, where they're investing in making sure that they're competing really well with more of these US operations. Now how are they getting things done so fast and so cheap? Really not great labor practices, which is why everyone is really fighting against them. When I say everyone, i mean our elected representatives. So I guess she and girls, if you're out there in your org eyes and you want to fight against it, reach out to your representatives and let them know to stop it.

Blythe Brumleve: 13:05

But no, they're trying to block the IP. She is trying to IPO in the United States, but they're blocking it, I think.

Grace Sharkey: 13:12

Yeah, well, i think they put it on pause just because of the uproar from representatives, knowing that the fight's there right. Whenever you want to go public, you want to make it as smooth as possible, aka pay less lawyers as much as possible, so I think that's part of the reason they're holding off for now. But, yeah, a lot of representatives aren't happy that, and it makes sense. I mean, they are a powerful being. They're anti-competitive in the fact that you're using labor that no one else here is allowed to use. So, yeah, i guess I wasn't surprised, though, that they brought in influencers. It's a pretty smart attempt to try to cover yourselves up, But I think what happened is that backlash on the influencer themselves. Knowing whether or not you saw any of it, knowing, okay, well, how is No one there asked the tough question of? But you're also in China, who's trying to ask tough questions? That's what it's like. Who gets this trip to China? It's like, okay, now that we're here and I'm vulnerable, everyone wants to pretend as if they're an investigative journalist.

Blythe Brumleve: 14:22

Nobody does it more than the keyboard warriors who see And I think that there's kind of like a few things going on. I think that there's a little bit of jealousy going on from the commenters seeing somebody get the advantages of getting flown out, going on these behind the scenes type tours and not having access to those sort of same opportunities. And then also the geopolitical struggles between the US and China is that's another kind of play involved as well. And then there's the folks who are really passionate about the environment. So it's like all of these things that are coming together, and obviously labor laws as well, and ethical sourcing, which is just It's kind of exhausting at times. So I don't blame these Because from a greater point, there's a lot of responsibility that's put on the consumer to know these things, to know the entire supply chain of these big conglomerates, when sometimes you just need to dress in a few days, you just need something cheap in a few days. So some days I'm not going to have my morality standards eyes wide open on every single thing that I'm doing. I just think that they got a little. I think the overwhelming majority of these influencers got too much heat, when that heat should have been directed towards the company, because it's something like close to For 71 companies, or like the top 100 companies are responsible for 71% of emissions since like the 1980s. And it's these big corporations. It's in their best interest to put the onus on the consumer And so if they make it challenging to find out the, i guess, the morality and the ethical nature of the supply chain, if they put that on the consumer, then they can kind of wash their hands of it. And that's what's happening right now with these influencers, because She-In is not coming in to help and defend them, it's everyone. They're getting blocked, like they're not getting blocked, but a lot of these influencers have turned their comments off. They've deleted the posts. There's one girl in particular which I should probably play the clip now. She seems to be the one that is getting a lot of the I guess ire of folks is being directed towards her, but she apparently I haven't seen the videos. Some of them were taken down. She deleted them because she was trying to like double down on her message of like. I met with them behind closed doors in Denver And I think that's where Denver comes from. So she met with She-In people in Denver to kind of talk about some of those ethical issues And she said that she was comfortable with their answers And so she created a bunch of comment or content defending She-In, and so I think that that's why that she's getting a little bit of this heat, and so let me see if I You know.

Grace Sharkey: 17:29

What's interesting, too, is like you're exactly right, like as much as our generation wants to say, like, hey, we stand for these, like ESG initiatives and sustainable practices. They're valued at over $100 billion, i think it's. The average person has bought 14 items every year from them, and 28% of US fashion sales is going to them as well.

Blythe Brumleve: 17:57

So Oh, wow That is huge.

Grace Sharkey: 18:00

So at some point it's like I say this to people too, and anything political, like you know what doesn't change things, yelling at people on social media, like, take that same energy, write a letter to your representative, go visit them. Right, if you're going to fight a China, go visit your representative down the street, who's in an office that's completely approachable, and let them know. Like that's how you feel, like, yeah, bullying a bunch of influencers on TikTok which, if we want to go down that rabbit holes, owned by the Chinese they're being bullied on Instagram too, and it's like win, win, win.

Blythe Brumleve: 18:45

Which is God. That's not probably not the right phrase to use this, but I mean like money wise Right.

Grace Sharkey: 18:49

literally they're like oh yes, oh yes, go make content on TikTok and yell at each other there. That's not good for us either.

Blythe Brumleve: 18:57

And tweet it from your iPhones and text it from your iPhones that are also you know. You know I mean how, how deep are we going to go with this like ethical supply chain? Because I would be willing to bet that the overwhelming majority of those, i would willing to bet all of them, that all of those comments that were made in a negative fashion, were coming from a phone that has natural resources that were sourced using a lot of the same corrupt labor practices. So that's, i guess that's not an excuse, but it is something that you know from like a fast fashion standpoint. It is becoming, i think, more just aware with our generation, but also with younger generations. I think that's why we're seeing, you know, a lot of the increases in like vintage fashion and vintage finds. And I don't, you know, anecdotally, here in Jacksonville, there are a handful of shops that have popped up all over Jacksonville specializing in, like you know, vintage sports gear from like Florida based teams or just really anywhere. You know people getting rid of their old stuff and they're going to thrift stores and they're finding them and they're sourcing them themselves and then selling it and their retail shops So it's shop specifically designed to. Is it rethread or not rethread, but I guess up skill, up sale I don't know what that phrase is called, but it's basically just making sure that your, the clothes that you're buying, has a certain shelf life where you can reuse them multiple times, multiple, you know, decades versus like the She-In clothes which you know may fall apart after a couple of days. There was one shirt I bought from She-In and this was totally my fault, but I tried to put an iron on it and melted right to the iron, so it wasn't. It's not the best made stuff either, but let me play this clip really quick, because this is the chick I was talking about. That is she's facing the most, because she has doubled down. She has since gone and deleted a lot of those posts, but this is her sort of explaining. Hopefully we can hear the sound. Please, god, let us hear the sound.

: 21:03

Feel like a show. It didn't feel like something was quickly put together.

Speaker 4: 21:07

Influencer, danny Carbonari, is speaking out against growing criticism after posting glowing reviews of Shan's operations in China. In an almost 12 minute video, the influencer begins by saying she is imperfect and can take accountability for her actions. She describes being interested in the brand over their size, inclusivity and affordability and said she's friends with someone who worked there who helped make further introductions. She explains the company took her on a brand trip to Tahoe where she says she brought up many concerns and questions to the higher ups. Later she said she had an off the record meeting with political people and journalists where higher ups addressed more questions and gave answers.

: 21:45

To me. I was, I'm a very like logistic person and they just gave so many numbers and like that's when I learned about like their auditing system and how they do have so many suppliers.

Speaker 4: 21:57

She explains that the China trip was organized because the company wanted to put an end to criticism.

: 22:01

We're aware of all these rumors and all this stuff that's going on and we want to put an end to it. The trip we were not paid for, the trip we were not paid to post our travel accommodations were taken care of.

Speaker 4: 22:12

But ultimately, danny still says she needs to do better, adding that the experience has caused her to evaluate her brand and herself.

: 22:19

I should have done more research and I think content creators in general, we don't do enough research and I think especially plus size content creators, we're just so happy to be included. I'm sorry and sad that a lot of people that don't know me are so angry and upset, but the best thing that I can do, moving forward, is to lead with the same intention and authenticity. I always have an add in doing the research, doing my part, so thoughts.

Grace Sharkey: 22:52

I'm like a logistics person okay.

Blythe Brumleve: 22:55

That's why I wanted to play that clip. Because she said that line. I was like we have to play this because she's trying to bring the the logistics girlies into her drama and we're not going to stand for it.

Grace Sharkey: 23:05

Just six girlies. I'm one of you. What audience is she talking to? Our audience? How dare she.

Blythe Brumleve: 23:15

She's starting to creep in. They found out.

Grace Sharkey: 23:17

I also love that they actually like forced her into labor too. How Chinese of them. That's so awesome. She's at one point literally packing boxes. I'm like this is perfect. It's interesting because, knowing China's antics, there's always other like that could have been like a warehouse. I would be surprised if that's like a upfront warehouse that they take clients to. Oh for sure I doubt that's where it's all happening. I mean, for the amount of clothing and stuff in that. There's no way that's where that's all happening. I just hate I will say I hate apology videos. Just like do it and move on. I don't know why people spend this time like oh my god, i made a mistake. Like no, you got a free trip to China. Like great for you, yes, like double down on that.

Blythe Brumleve: 24:21

We've seen some of these logistical operations up close at, like the manifest conference, for example, where you can see these robotics and like these intricate systems. that truly is fascinating And I can totally empathize with getting an opportunity like that being able to getting a flight, getting travel accommodations to go to another. Most people would not turn that opportunity down. I would have had a lot more respect for if she just doubled down on it. She just said, hey, you know, this is what I'm doing and this is why I'm doing it, and 90% of y'all would do the exact same things. 90% of y'all would take this trip. But now she has, since she has deleted all those videos promoting the I guess, behind the scenes not tours that she's done, but behind the scenes conversations, because she called herself an investigative journalist.

Grace Sharkey: 25:11

Oh god.

Blythe Brumleve: 25:14

Ma'am, you take outfit photos. You are not an investigative journalist. It's a completely different skill set.

Grace Sharkey: 25:21

She's just a logistics person and an investigative journalist. It's like we do not accept you. Yeah, exactly.

Blythe Brumleve: 25:28

I know those people, the logistics people say no.

Grace Sharkey: 25:30

They don't have time for whatever you're doing right now. Oh my god, that's so funny. You know it's tough, because I am excited when you talk about visibility tech in this space. I think it'll be much easier as we move forward to get more insight into, like our supply chains and be able to say hey, this is who I'm buying from, this is where the product's from, it's just you know. Hmm, maybe I'll just let's blame men for this one, because at the end of the day, we just need dresses sometimes for events to look good really fast. And if society hadn't put that pressure on women for hundreds of years, maybe she and wouldn't be what it is today.

Blythe Brumleve: 26:12

So I need to actually link in the show notes. That's my conspiracy I embarrassingly, like know very little about, like the fast fashion supply chain. I should know more, but I think a part of me for a long time did not want to know, because it's almost like you know where you know when you start asking questions of like, where did the eggs come from, where does meat come from? And then you start diving into a lot of those different questions. I don't want to know those answers, i just want to be in peace, and it kind of goes back to, like my earlier point of like. So much of this responsibility is put on the consumers, and so, if this responsibility is put on the consumers, there's a certain level of exhaustion that comes into play where sometimes you want to be really, really morally a good person and sometimes you need to dress. In two days It's going to happen, some days your morals are going to be a little bit compromised And I don't think that you know consumers should have the bear that responsibility. You know all of the time where, like I said earlier, there's the overwhelming. The top 100 companies have contributed to more than 70% of emissions since the 1980s, And so that's where the blame should be, that's where the change should be. But that YouTube video talked about how. You know how, where did fast fashion? you know sort of, where was it born And when did the concepts of like fashion begin? And you know how did they start? you know, replicating outfits, because before fashion very much was like you, one artist made clothing for one person And it was somebody who was very well to do royals. You know that, that sort of market. And it wasn't until the early 1900s that these machines started being industrialized And that's when fast fashion started. So it was like English countryside, apparently. What happened is, and all these farmers were kicked out of their lands in like the British UK area. They were kicked off their land And when they were kicked off their land, they were forced to move into these bigger cities. Well, the bigger cities had all of the factories in them, and so that's where the concept of fast fashion was born. And then when it became, like you know, politically not good to have those fast fashion factories in the UK area, then they started searching for other areas. So they started searching for other areas of the world to outsource that part of the production, and that's how, you know, fast fashion was born. So it's. I thought it was super interesting that you know a lot of those same issues that were developed in one country. We're just, they knew of them, they knew of these issues And they still chose to outsource to other countries. And so that's where, like the onus of you know, green washing comes into play, which is starting to become, you know, more apparent. You know a lot of food brands will use the phrase like organic. There's no sort of government regulating body that can determine if something is truly organic or not. It's kind of a marketing ploy. So now we're starting to see this with retailers who are saying like, oh, you know, sustainably sourced, but then you do a little bit of digging and they're not so sustainably sourced. So one app that I did find that can help you if you are looking to maybe start slowly changing your habits, your purchasing habits of getting away from you know I need the dress in two days to these other brands, and one site that you can look this up is called Good for You, and so they will basically go to a brand's website. They have a certain amount of criteria on where the sources come from, what the labor, you know, what the workers, environment, labor environment looks like, and then you know return, shipping and how long the guard. You know what kind of materials are in the stuff that you make. Polyester, i heard, is one of the worst, i guess, offenders because they have so much like the micro plastics in their materials so that when you wear them they don't last very long. And to your point earlier, we're buying so much more clothing now but that clothing isn't lasting as long as being sent to a landfill where it's something like a dump truck of clothes are burned every second of the day globally. So we're consuming so much more and polyester materials are a big part of that And they're getting found in like these deep sea ocean animals, where, like 70% of the animals in like the deep sea have micro plastics inside of them And they think that that's how is because of these clothings that are made of plastic and up in our water systems. And you know it's just a whole chain of events.

Grace Sharkey: 31:02

Really crazy It's, I think. I think I had a couple of facts up here too when I did some in fast fashion. Yeah, 60% of most of it's made from the plastic based materials, like you said, And then the text the textile dying. actually, 20% of global waste water comes from just the dying process itself. So, yeah, it's not good for the environment, but it's tough because, like you said, like the average person buys at least 14 items of new clothes every single year. So from Xi'an. Yeah. So at one point are we yeah, where do you where?

Blythe Brumleve: 31:44

do you, and from that same video it was. They also said the average person buys a new piece of clothing every five days. So if you're buying those pieces of clothing and they're only lasting, you know, maybe two, three times that you're going to wear them. That's where these other companies that are coming in, like the good for you site, where they'll go and they'll analyze all of those things of like what the brand is saying, sustainability wise, if it's just kind of bullshit or if they're, you know, actually a good company. So they have a ranking of like five different you know, like avoid or we support. One of the companies that I thought was really cool that probably deserves a little bit of a deep dive. Maybe you know an idea for a future point of sale episode is Sheep Inc. They make wool. So wool is like apparently like the superstar as far as like sustainable fabrics. Cotton is next, but you know the recyclability of it is a little bit questionable. But wool apparently is like the upper echelon of quality fabrics that can be reused and reworn for years and it had, you know, less of an environmental impact. All that good stuff. But this company, sheep Inc. Every purchase you make, they will send you a button with your wool clothing so you can see the entire supply chain of that product and the impacts that each part of that supply chain So like, and you could also see the sheep that your piece of clothing came from.

Grace Sharkey: 33:11

Oh, they're not dead. So yeah, first of all, I first noticed that.

Blythe Brumleve: 33:14

So they're still alive. Yeah, they're still alive, so I think that's part of the sustainability.

Grace Sharkey: 33:19

Like oh wait, yes, no, that's good, good.

Blythe Brumleve: 33:23

But it looked. It looked really cool. My first thought, though because that's always like, i guess. Where my first thought, though, goes is okay, these buttons that you're sending, how sustainable are the buttons? So that was sort of like my first point. I was like, hmm, how sustainable are we if we're sending, you know, an electronic device That was probably made from plastic. I don't know what the actual button looks like, but I have seen the button in action and the content that they give you, which I think is really interesting, because you can see the entire supply chain, including the sheep that your clothing came from.

Grace Sharkey: 34:00

That's interesting, that would be cool to like have. But then again you're also thinking like as a buyer and I'm buying something every five days. at some point I'm like who cares?

Blythe Brumleve: 34:10

I did Well. the. also the button, like the novelty of it would be so cool for like five seconds Exactly.

Grace Sharkey: 34:17

And then what do you do with the button? I'm storing these buttons somewhere.

Blythe Brumleve: 34:20

Yeah, i feel like they could probably just maybe send you a link.

Grace Sharkey: 34:23

We're basically tearing this up Shark Tank style. right now We're like hmm.

Blythe Brumleve: 34:29

Well, that's actually a perfect segment or a perfect transition to go into our next segment which we wanted to talk about. that, Or wait, I guess I should probably ask it any last thoughts on sort of fast fashion and what folks can do or not do or.

Grace Sharkey: 34:46

I would say I think there's. There's other things to consider, too. When you look at the fast fashion behemoths out there. Ip is one of them. You brought this up right Like. A lot of a lot of celebrities and a lot of people have sued. These companies are stealing their ideas in different styles and stuff like that. So always consider that right Like are you also hurting the person that came up with this idea? Imagine you came up with this yourself. Are you happy that China is just pushing these things out at no cost to you, really, or them? That's another thing I have with it, but it's also, i think, just being being reasonable as a consumer. If you don't like it and you're going to stand up and to the point where you're going to shame someone on Instagram about it, you better not order anything off that site again right Like talk the talk, walk the walk type of situation I think is big here. I don't think they're going away anytime soon. I think that they could easily make themselves adhere to SEC rulings if there are any, but that's the thing. I don't think we'll see any. So it's kind of like a kick rock situation. especially it really depends right We have an election coming up where that could go to.

Blythe Brumleve: 36:12

Yeah, pretty well said. So I guess to be continued, especially in that world. But I'll leave a couple of those helpful links in the show notes, should you want to take your I guess morality to the next level and start searching for these companies that are trying to do good and they deserve to be supported, because that's a really good point. You brought up about some of these smaller designers and creators who are coming up with these different outfit ideas and then they're getting counterfeited essentially, which we all know. The counterfeit market in China is ridiculous. There's hardly any kind of laws to protect the Etsy sale sellers have been going through this, even some of the shoppers on Amazon who sell custom items. That is what happens. Which is super interesting is that a lot of these companies will rip off the original design of American companies and then they'll get all of these other shops or all of these other fake accounts to try to review, bomb or to try to get takedown notices for the original creator of it. So there's a lot of like, kind of like, i guess retail warfare that's going on, in addition to the ethical nature of the where you're buying the products. So there's a whole lot of strings to pull on that discussion but felt like we needed to defend the logistics girlies out here from getting people traded.

Grace Sharkey: 37:36

You know me guys, I'm about logistics.

Blythe Brumleve: 37:40

What's funny is that she said logistic, she didn't say logistics.

Grace Sharkey: 37:43

Yeah, dead ringer, i'm about logistics. Oh my God.

Blythe Brumleve: 37:52

Are you in freight sales with a book of business looking for a new home? Or perhaps you're a freight agent in need of a better partnership? These are the kinds of conversations we're exploring in our podcast interview series called the freight agent trenches, sponsored by SPI logistics. Now I can tell you all day that SPI is one of the most successful logistics firms in North America, who helps their agents with back office operations such as admin, finance, it and sales. But I would much rather you hear it directly from SPI's freight agents themselves. I want better way to do that than by listening to the experienced freight agents tell their stories behind the how and the why they joined SPI. Hit the freight agent link in our show notes to listen to these conversations Or, if you're ready to make the jump, visit SPI3PLcom. In our industry we talk. We talk about what works and what doesn't, and Carton Cloud's easy to use warehouse and transport management software sure has people talking. Carton Cloud's WMS and TMS is designed for growing 3PLs, giving you the tools you need to compete with the major players with flexible pricing, no lock-in contracts and expert local support. They've helped nearly 500 logistics companies worldwide with hundreds of five-star customer reviews. Want to check it out for yourself. Everything as logistics listeners can get 50% off your first three months with Carton Cloud. Head on over to the cartoncloudcom website and see the show notes for more information. All right, let's move on to our next topic, which, speaking of Shark Tank that we mentioned just briefly, i want to talk a little bit about the business best business models in freight, a little behind the scenes. I mentioned earlier that SPI Logistics is a company that is a title sponsor for this podcast, so I've been creating some content on the side to add up to my site in order to create these helpful guides or to helpful resources and then promote the interviews that we've been doing with those freight agents. So it's a freight agent model which, for folks who don't know, a freight agent is essentially someone who has a couple customers, maybe a handful of customers. You have a book of business as a freight broker. You then go out on your own and you start managing those customers and managing them yourselves, and now there's not. Now I don't know how long freight agent programs have existed. I imagine they've existed for a while, but they haven't really been marketed too well, and so that's where I'm coming up with these guides, just to sort of be that helpful resource for them. But more and more I think about it. I'm wondering if the freight agent model is one of the best models for entrepreneurs in freight And I'm curious to hear your thoughts. Because for folks who don't know, if you have your book of business, if you're a freight agent, you don't have to worry about technology upgrades, you don't have to worry about back office accounting things like that. The parent company, whoever you're part of that program, takes care of all of those things for you. So you can just focus, ideally on your customers, maybe getting new customers, but primarily you're working with a handful of customers and you're moving their freight And it's a really lucrative also position as well, much better than sort of, i guess, working the pound in the phones at like a big time 3PL I won't name any names here But I think it's one of those models that is really really underserved And it's one of those opportunities that if I wasn't so annoyed with like the freight broker floor, i probably would have gone into something like this. What are your thoughts on sort of the freight agent model, because I know you had some ideas on what maybe some other good business opportunities would be?

Grace Sharkey: 41:48

So I think I have mixed feelings on it. It really just depends on how that it's actually set up. I think that for a younger person just getting into the business it's, it would be a lot more difficult to, i think, get ramped up and going. I think if you are one of those individuals who I know a lot of freight agents who have been like shipper managers in the past and they kind of transition into this role, i think it's a yeah, you're right, it's a really great way to make a living, but it depends again, it depends on who you're working for. Like I know also, though, a lot of freight agents you take. You take just as many calls after hours. You don't really have a team to fall back on as much as you would if you were at a larger brokerage Now, i will say larger brokers you do that stuff too, Like ask people to answer the phones late at night. So to say that you wouldn't do that either, or is probably not fair, but I would say, as an employee, yeah, i do like the agent model. I think there's been some pushback away from it for a couple of reasons. One, a lot of like tax law, right, how you're paying the agents? how are they full time employees? Are you dictating their work? Kind of like the whole ABF type of situation or AB sorry, ab5 situation that you've seen like with drivers out in California, like that kind of those issues have come up because I know there was a time where we're considering doing more of like a freight agent program in my past But the way that we'd have to pay them and pay taxes like just wasn't convenient. So for either side there's people losing money on both sides. So that was part of it. I also would be a little bit fearful of like regulations that could potentially come up Like right now I know that the FMCSA is looking to redefine what a dispatcher, a freight agent and a broker is. So being in that kind of space, i would be nervous to maybe enter into. Sorry, i don't know what I have going on right now. It's needs an alarm but I'm late. So, yeah, i don't know. I think you also get less control over it, right. So, dependent on the agency and how it's developed, sometimes, like the parent company will let you pick a name right. Landstar, i think, has done this a couple times right, where their offices kind of go after go by different names So you could create, like your own identity that way. But my other fear would be that, as I'm going out in cold calling, if I am an agent and someone experienced a bad situation underneath a different agent of the same company, maybe they look at me that way. Right, you're still under this like umbrella of a company, so it depends. I'd have to look at. I definitely say, if you're going into an agent role like, check all of your paperwork, ask about 401k That's also my fear, right? Is that? a lot of time, agents like look at it like an Uber driver, like, yeah, you're making great money up front, but are you 1099? Are you considering in your taxes that you have to pay? Are you considering the benefits that you might have to pay for yourself and all of that? Is that worth the time? or just going underneath a large brokerage as a remote worker, right? So there's definitely ways to go past it. I would say, though, leading wise, if I had to choose, like if I was going to start a company and choose which one I wanted to do, i would probably avoid agent at all costs, and that's because I'm a control freak And I want to. Well, you know, if I want the experience it's. And this is where this is where the non-competes, i think, come into play, because, especially for an agent situation, this is where the questions start to arise. If you have an, let's say, abc Steel Company is working with Jessica and they love the work that she's doing, jessica decides to retire. Is the loyalty with Jessica, or is it with a land star right Or someone like that, or is it with SPI? So you get stuck in this situation where you're just like I want to be able to control my brand as like, maybe, leadership or as an owner, and that means I want to control the experience that everyone's having, regardless of who that person is. That's answering those questions. So I definitely see positives in all directions. I would bet that the way that technology is more accessible and usable today, free agents have a lot more resources in front of them that they probably had in the didn't have in the past, which is could be very useful right Now that technology is starting to get out there more and there's so many different ways that you can easily invest in your transportation business, where in the past it was, i'd say, a lot more upfront costs. Like that's a little bit different, but yeah, i think I've always been a fan as a scaling company. If someone, a company, that wants to keep growing, it gets messier and messier the more agents that you have, unless that you can control right.

Blythe Brumleve: 47:16

So In your experience, do you know if a lot of these companies that have freight agent programs, if they also have an in-house brokerage team?

Grace Sharkey: 47:29

That's I've, and I kind of think this is maybe where the FMCSA is like no, we needed to find these people differently. I haven't. But there is a company that I've knew of after my experience that I was introduced to And I remember, like trying to figure out how they grew so fast numbers-wise. I was like wow, for you guys to only be a couple years old, like you guys got really grabbed some revenue and they had actually worked to deal out with their past agency, kind of like a transitioning deal where it was like we want to start our own thing but we don't have the back office that you have, we don't have the technology. We're not going to be able to afford that up front for the first two years as we run this business. If we kick you a certain percent back, can we use your resources? and then, kind of like, do it like a step program out of the relationship. And so I think there's like different situations where, like those are, people have done that before. But if there's, if that's how they're adding to it again, i would be interested in what they're taking from you, because and I don't mean taking from you like they don't deserve it, but if I am supporting an in-house brokerage that's supporting your selling operations, then you're probably making a little bit less than you would if you were just handling all yourself. I would assume.

Blythe Brumleve: 48:58

Yeah, because I used to do agent commission That was one of my first big responsibilities when I was an executive assistant is okay, we have, you know, a dozen agents. We need somebody to do the commission reports And so I would have to go through and do the commission reports And typically if they were a good agent, you could get up to 80% of your revenue. So 20% goes to the program company and the agent gets 80%. Most of them that I saw and that I hear about today are 70, 30. There were some companies that were 60, 40, especially like for you know, if you're just getting started, if you've never been afraid agent before, those are typically the numbers that you're going to get. And but for some of these guys, if you have a big customer, you know these to recruit one freight agent could make a huge impact on your bottom line. But there's also the. I guess the worry, i think from the agent's point of view, is if you have an in-house brokerage team, because if you have an in-house brokerage team then that loyalty that that customer has could technically go to the company and not to you, who has spent years sort of cultivating that relationship. So there is a little bit of a worry, especially among freight agents, to go to companies that also have an in-house brokerage team. So where I was, that we did have an in-house brokerage team. We were trying to build the freight agent program up, but this was I mean, this was like 15 years ago, so I'm sure you know a lot of things have changed since then. But I know that that's a big selling point for SPI is that they don't have the in-house brokerage team. They only focus on their agents. So they have a corporate team that, like you know, handles all you know, like HR technology, custom integrations, you know things, like you know accounting, stuff like that But they don't have anybody in their offices like calling to, you know check loads or anything like that. It's all on the agent, which is, you know, maybe what they prefer maybe that's a little bit of a safer place to go is what I would imagine.

Grace Sharkey: 51:05

Yeah, i would agree, especially if you're a little bit newer too and you want that support. I think that's really smart too, and just make sure that you're getting your share, and it should. I assume it works out pretty well for them.

Blythe Brumleve: 51:19

Yeah, i mean. well, i know, with SPI in particular, they don't take new agents. You have to have, you have to be an established, you know, freight agent. So it's typically them leaving another provider to come to SPI or somebody who's like already in freight sales, that has a book of business, that doesn't have to worry about the non-compete. So those are the two markets that they go after, which is probably the same, for you know a lot of these, you know freight agent companies out here, but I think only a handful of them actually. does Landstar have an in-house brokerage team? Do you know?

Grace Sharkey: 51:56

I don't think so. I'm pretty just because of the way that they've worked. I'm pretty certain that they have the individual offices have like are run as like individual brokerages, Like as an agent, you can kind of grow your own office, right, Yeah, And that's how they can support it instead. But that's a good question.

Blythe Brumleve: 52:20

I'm not a fan, But it might also be a little bit different for them too, because you know you have to get your licenses and stuff like that. So, as a broker, are you still buying those licenses if you're a freight? It's all good questions. I guess I should ask you know the podcast sponsor? Yeah, And that would actually make for a great future conversation on what is the nuances of these things and what does it matter and why. But I know that that one point of do you have an in-house brokerage team or not matters to agents in particular, because they don't want you know the competition from the in-house brokerage team to you know take their customers or have the threat of that or perceived threat of that even happening.

Grace Sharkey: 52:57

Yeah, very. You see, it's interesting looking at. So there's a so like. For instance, for Landstar agent program. It says become a satellite office for shipment transport. So Don Ellis and I don't know Don, so if good service, bad service, i don't know, you figure out yourself audience, but that's what so Don's like built his own satellite office up called Shipment Transport that works underneath the Landstar MC, right, and so it looks like he's got contractor. You can be a contractor where you basically do what he's doing an employee, see, and this is like you get health insurance. So that's. The biggest thing is I would be concerned less with, like, how I'm backed up and more about how I'm being compensated as a whole, because the contractor side of it, which is more the agent side of it, is like tax benefits from owning your own business, right. So you got to figure that all about yourself. And then the other one It's very complicated, it is, and that's.

Blythe Brumleve: 54:08

It's like finding that out right now.

Grace Sharkey: 54:10

People think that stuff is a lot easier than it is, And it's not. And it's what my biggest fear is that people get you know into this and then they hit, get hit with their tax bill, not realizing yeah, 70%, commission's all great, until 30% of that's taken away in taxes at the end of the year.

Blythe Brumleve: 54:29

Or, if you're, you hire an accounting team to take care of it and they miss one of those payments And then the. IRS comes back on you a year and a half later, which is currently what I'm experiencing. So yeah it's not fun. Even if you hire a company to take care of it for you, it's still you know that little line on your taxes that you have to sign, that even if a CPA, you know, did these for you, you're still responsible, and yada, yada, yada.

Grace Sharkey: 54:52

This is interesting. It says any direct customer brought to the agency by you at the time you joined us will pay 6%. we will pay 6% commission on land star trucks And you will have an 88 to 12 split when moved with an outside carrier.

Blythe Brumleve: 55:12

So how does that? Oh, so that's how they have their own trucks, so that's how they're an asset based freight agent model. Okay, so they have their own trucks And so that's that dedicated freight or those dedicated equipment is going towards, you know, their agent freight.

Grace Sharkey: 55:27

See, and this is how this is where the stuff really irritates. And so I tell people, like, read the fine print, for example, how the 88 12 split works. You take the total you're billing the customer and you have 88% to work with. So so you're already break. This is already hilarious. And so, like, let's just say 90 to make that easier. So if you get $1,000 from the customer, you only have $900 to work with, And the margin you will make on that 900 is is what you. So if you get the carrier to haul 75%. So if you get the carrier to take it for 750, the bill amount you would make is 13%. So if you pay the care 80% you would make, so 800, you would make 8% of that $100 of that difference, of that difference. Yeah, so you're making eight bucks And see how, like that, like even when you say 88, that's not what you think at the end of the day. So that's where it's like, Commission plans are really interesting to me, And so I'll just always read, especially if you're going down the agent route just read them really really well, because I mean, that's basically making eight bucks a load, And how many low? that's the other thing, right. How many loads can you book without losing your mind in a day? Right?

Blythe Brumleve: 56:47

And so you're still probably doing all of the tracking and all of the communications. And did the driver fall off? you got to find another one like yours, probably still doing all of those things.

Grace Sharkey: 56:58

Exactly. So let's say that you're like a bad. I forgot I was on the radio, if I could swear. Let's say you're like a badass and you book 50 loads a day. I mean, let's say an average you're making eight bucks, So that's $400. That's, that's pretty great. But it says up here at that in your own employee, you're also making $9 an hour. So nine times nine, 81. So you made $481 that day, but you have to tax it, which is probably going to be close to, we'll just say, 40%. So you made 224 bucks that day, which is not terrible.

Blythe Brumleve: 57:38

And that's based off 50 loads, which is a lot, i was going to say yeah. I want to say that that's not average at all, especially in this market.

Grace Sharkey: 57:47

No, like that. I'm assuming you've worked there for a couple of years. You got some company you know takes like 20 little. Yeah, that's a lot of work. So yeah, you're basically making an average salary at the end of the day. And that's where they agent models annoy me, because they do all this stuff that makes it look really fun and easy And then you end up just making a teacher salary at the end of the year.

Blythe Brumleve: 58:10

It's like which is all the more reason to research those afraid agent programs before search best afraid agent program.

Grace Sharkey: 58:19

Well, it kind of goes back to like for me personally I think we've talked about this in the show before it goes back to like your question on like what's the right number right for a truck driver? Like what numbers do it? it depends. I mean, hell, if you're a stay at home, mom, and you just want some extra cash, a freight agent is like probably a great job for you to take, right, like that's not bad at all to contribute an extra $30,000 a year to your household with, yeah, that's not insignificant.

Blythe Brumleve: 58:48

No, so the job might not, and that's from one company based on like loose math that we're doing, you know, in 30 seconds. So take it with a grain of salt on in that regard, exactly, but. But it's definitely one of those, because we are writers I don't know that. we're mathematicians, yeah, but you are not a freight broker. We, you know. You know the ropes of how some of these things work. So it's interesting to dive into what each of these companies are offering, where it makes the most sense and what your true costs are going to be. All of these questions can be answered as you go through that sort of that review process with, you know, a potential partner, if you're going to take that route. But I think you, you had another business idea in freight that you thought more people should be aware of What's that.

Grace Sharkey: 59:38

What was that? I know I put in my notes to you last night It was a late night, i think it was something related to like freight tech. Oh, yes, yes, yes. So I was. I was kind of thinking in the regards to this like what would I do if I ever went back into it? like what would I do? And for me I think the move is and it's interesting tonight. Well, this will be late, but go check out my serious XM show. I'm gonna have Rick Larkin on the show tonight. Yeah, bcb transfer the loudest guy in freight, that's what I like to call him. He wakes up like that And he's got he's got a bigger TV set up than freight waves itself, and I would I would hate him for it if it wasn't sonar plastered on it all day long. He's just, it's just awesome advertising for us. But I was learning about some work that he's been doing with a company called Optimal Dynamics And long story short is they help companies like BCB transport, other logistics companies, take a hold of their data and really start to optimize back office processes and decision making right, like how are you choosing what load to put on a carrier? And they really try to dismantle the thought process of someone like Rick who's run a trucking company for decades. Right, and what's really interesting is it? the change management part is really what not only Rick learned the most from, but even Optimal Dynamics as well. I can't tell you how many times I I talked to people and I say you know, this type of tech I think is very interesting. Have you looked into it And they? they maybe have, or they had a bad experience. I see this a lot too, like when people trying to look into like outsource, maybe use companies, like lean solutions, things like that, and whenever you're making an investment into that type of space, it takes change management. I was having a really great conversation with Evan Shelley about this at the future supply chain, because the easiest change management is telling people to stop doing that and start doing it this way and just and just stop. You know, like. Well, what if we just let no, just like, stop and like. As humans like you want to stay so close to like what we know and the in the actions that we take on a normal basis, right, like whether it's like when you shower or how often you're exercising, right, it's like we get stuck in our ways and we want to push against what people are telling us, just because we're not comfortable with it, even if it's best. And I think that's a lot of the work I was doing before I entered into the space that I'm in now And I just I find it really interesting how we need people still, we need the human mind in this space, but we also need to leverage the technology better, and I love being able to. There's nothing I find more fulfilling than sitting with a entry level employee or lower level employee who's in it every day grinding, and you get them to maybe do something a little bit differently and it clicks. You know like it works and they see it and they're like oh okay, like that, i think, is so much fun. And that's where technology really starts to work And that's where you know Rick himself was even you know they ended up finding that he could run the operation making the same revenue he's doing with 16 less trucks than he was. He would so flip that around. They were able to find ways for him, just in the fleet he had alone, to increase revenue per truck by almost 20%. And that's just by, instead of saying, hey, whatever decision you use to make when choosing a driver in the past choose, let the, let the AI, let the technology choose for you and see what happens. And that's just like where I like to challenge people is like try it, try some of this stuff and see if it works for you. And the other side that I find interesting is like why? why won't you like what's push, what's keeping humans like so focused on doing things, old school that they're not willing to change a little bit? So change management, i think, is going to be huge in this industry. The more tech that we add, the more data that we consume, change management is going to become, i think, pretty big. So that's that's where I would eventually like to get into at some point.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:04:14

That's there. There's a gentleman by the name of Eric Kimberling I think I'm pronouncing his last name right but he focuses specifically on change management at the software level. I was on his podcast, i think, about a year ago, and he has a social media presence and this kind of kind of like I guess a little bit kind of related to what you're talking about. That kind of content does really well because and I think it does really well because a lot of people struggle with it. They struggle with picking a new software and why and what that looks like, because sometimes these purchases are made in a vacuum where you know it's a VP that got sold on it and you know they want to buy the shiny new tech toy and then they don't actually talk to the people in the trenches that are going to be using these tools and how it would fit into their day. So it's almost like forced on some employees versus like is this actually going to make sense for how we operate our company today, which you know kudos to optimal dynamics for helping folks to save money with their existing equipment and not, you know, having to? you know, purchase, you know, 17 more trucks and you're you know you'll run more efficiently, or you know? whoever is trying to sell that notion, yeah it was interesting.

Grace Sharkey: 1:05:27

They're very open and honest about it. Like you know, i think a tech people want to go in and just like, just click the button, rick, in a work, you know, and you can't do that with certain types of customers. And so they found like not only did they learn a lot about the industry by sitting someone in the office every single day, they like they use, they had like a special day of the week that they would It's like optimal, optimal, dynamic stay or something like that where to like slowly get them into it, like once a week. They would only only the robot can make the decision like not, and so Slowly got them to understand. But it also gave the BCB team time to sit back and say well, i know it's choosing this, but it can't choose this because maybe X, y and Z that the algorithm hasn't truly picked up yet. So true, both sides are like no, this takes learning and time and it's worth the investment. Like for optimal dynamics, it's worth putting someone in there to have a long term customer right. Yeah, in a really great outcome.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:06:32

They also. I met them at manifest because their their CEO is really personable. Actually I filmed I think you were, you saw me filming these like one minute logistics videos and it's actually with their CEO. So I did one of them with them and it was just on a whim because I stopped by their booth And they had the one of the coolest like marketing promo items I've ever seen. I wish I still had it. but I kind of ripped it up just to see what the guts looked like of it. But it was a booklet, that's a cardboard booklet and sprained it of course. but you open up the booklet and automatically a video with sound plays. So it just felt like a normal, like kind of brochure kind of product. But as soon as you opened it up a video is playing inside of the promo. So it gives like a full, like one minute explanation on who optimal dynamic dynamics is. And the marketing director she was saying how she had to have a hand program each one of these things by loading on the file onto it. So that's that's why I ripped it apart, just to see like how that process looked. But I kept that thing for like four months just because it was so cool and I would just periodically hit, hit, play on it.

Grace Sharkey: 1:07:42

Love that. No, it's a great company And hopefully you guys check out the episode. I'd like to have them. I think we're going to try to get them on Thomas's show too, so but go check it out They. I did an article on the partnership and it's it's pretty interesting. I'm excited I'm going to be able to hear a little bit more of Rick's side in the interview tonight, so I'm excited to hear more about maybe his pain points too, so it should be fun.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:08:07

Yeah, he's good people. I see in what they're doing with BCB live, which is different from BCB transport. Bcb transport is their trucking division, so they have to completely kind of even though they have the same name, but they kind of have to split those two off because of what BCB live is doing with the big TV with, you know, their new broadcasts located building that they just built out. So they're doing a lot of really cool things, so so shout outs to them All right. Next topic Do the people want us to dunk on Meghan Markle more? I think that is a yes, because, for folks who do not know Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, they famously scored a couple of deals to sell out their entire family and future opportunities to Netflix and to Oprah and to also Spotify as well All exclusive deals that are currently not getting renewed. Also, fun fact if you try to search for the famous Harry and Meghan interview on Oprah's website, it is no longer on the website.

Grace Sharkey: 1:09:12


Blythe Brumleve: 1:09:12

Curious, really, oprah, really, i did the search myself. Well, what I think happened is because they spilled. So Oprah, you know, wants to get in with the Royal family and has wanted to for years. But you got to play ball. If you go in with the Royal family, they'll give you news, they'll give you access, but they're a lot like the NFL, where if they're going to give you access, they're going to dangle it like a carrot And if you don't do well with that access, you're not going to be approved for future scoops. So yeah, so that interview was conducted, but I would imagine that Oprah regrets that now because she is no longer in the Royal family circle, which brings us back to those, all of those exclusive deals that are evaporating very, very quickly, and one of those is the podcast archetypes.

Grace Sharkey: 1:10:08

So crazy dude. So in saying, are you going to share with everyone what happened?

Blythe Brumleve: 1:10:14

Go, go, you sound like you're ready.

Grace Sharkey: 1:10:18

So apparently this chick wasn't even doing the interviews all the time. They sent an intern in there and then the intern was asking the questions and then they just recorded over her speaking, which puts the whole not Whitney Houston, oh my God Mariah Carey episode into a complete different view for me, because now I understand why she got so mad so fast because some little intern over here, first of all Mariah Carey show. Can you imagine? Mariah Carey shows up to this little booth and she's like okay, who are you? We're talking about Mariah Carey like the most Eva as person in the whole world. And then this little peon of a person who no one's ever heard of starts talking to Mariah Carey about how she's a diva. And I would have been, like, i said, that whole episode put into perspective, because I thought that she was just upset with the way that what's her name was talking with her, because Megan asked her.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:11:25

So archetypes is you know that. I guess the thought process behind it if I'm trying to put myself in her mind was she wanted to pick us a movie star and then a phrase that has, quote unquote, negative connotations to it and try to make it empowering. That was her goal with the podcast. And so diva was the phrase for Mariah. I forget what the phrase was for Serena, but to your point, she's inviting these very high caliber people that are showing up to the studio that Spotify paid to have built inside of her own house, megan Markle's house because she could not, she wasn't producing any episodes, and so they thought, if we build a studio in your home, it will make it a lot easier for you to produce more episodes. That did not work. Well, she's doing this whole time. She had 26 people and I think I've said this before, but she had 26 people working on this podcast, which would explain the interns asking the questions. So if these high caliber stars are showing up to your podcast, arguably they're doing you probably the favor, not the other way around. Maybe at that time they thought, oh, we're going to go. You know, sit down with somebody who is royal, married into royalty, i should say, and we'll get the caliber of maybe that access. No, it was other people asking these high caliber people the questions and then they would edit in redub Megan would record separately asking the questions and then they would dub those in as if it was a conversation that the two of these people shared.

Grace Sharkey: 1:13:11

I want to know what Beyonce thinks about this, because that whole Netflix, remember she? she's like oh my God, Beyonce texted me. She's like keep doing what you're doing, girly, or something Logistics, girly, keep doing what you're doing.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:13:26

I doubt she's sending those texts now.

Grace Sharkey: 1:13:29

There's no way. Oprah bringing that down sounds like a Beyonce phone call, Like late night. Oprah, take this woman down.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:13:39

Or just Oprah trying to apologize to the royal somehow in order to get that kind of access, because the royal family is going to be around for, i mean, maybe generations. I guess we'll find out. They've been around for a thousand years, so chances are they're going to be around for a little bit longer, much longer than somebody like Megan. But I just find it so fascinating how you had such an opportunity of a lifetime to be brought in, to make history, be a part of history books for years and years and you claim to have all of these things that you care about so desperately. You know women's empowerment and equal rights and you know campaigning for these issues all over the. You had that opportunity to be that change you want to see in the world and you just shit all over it to the point where these companies are saying goodbye, oprah's, taking down your interview, you're not getting the calls back and people are seeing you for the grifter that you are And just it's so crazy to know that Prince Harry is not. You know he definitely has fault in this, but how could you not see this, how could you not see these red flags ahead of time? And you chose his life. It's wild to be you, said. He said goodbye to everything, everything he's ever known for this woman, and now he's an embarrassment. He's a laughing stock on South Park.

Grace Sharkey: 1:15:12

Oh great, because he almost was a laughing stock before you know, and it's just like he, just he, just he said I'm going to double down on this.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:15:20

Which is also.

Grace Sharkey: 1:15:22

It's so bad people don't even make ginger jokes about him anymore. Like you're way past no soul Like it's just he was protected.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:15:32

I think it's so much more clear now how much he was protected by the royal family, where they put him in positions where he could be the lovable goofball that you know pokes fun at his brother and you know his brother is fine with it. But if this was a hundred years ago, even 200 years ago, if you were talking about the future king in that regard, or the future queen like both of them too would be hung out in the street, they would they off with their heads like would not. This would not be a discussion that would be had anymore. And that's what's so fascinating to me is that he has just completely ruined this. This is the second son syndrome which I think I've talked about before. You know on here, that is just so fascinating what goes on in these, in these the heads of men that are not going to be the king or not going to succeed, you know, whatever throne, because there's still like something like 100 royal families that exist all over the globe still to this day, but that you know the firstborn son having that lineage and not being it, what that psychologically does to a man. I mean there's a whole army in Game of Thrones called the Second Sons, because they're looking for purpose in life.

Grace Sharkey: 1:16:46

Yeah, That's so. That's what I was just thinking. I was like, what do these people do, Like, what are their lives like?

Blythe Brumleve: 1:16:54

They just like wake up and then like do you think he knows how to pay regular bills? No, no way.

Grace Sharkey: 1:17:02

Like he's 40 years old, You don't know anything like, like even laundry, like I'd be interested into, like knowing, and that's why, right, when all this came out, like what their budget needed to be in all this shit, and it's like, what are you talking about? Like, yeah, that's sure budget if you're going to live in like LA, but why don't you live at somewhere normal? right, you want to be normal. So bad, wow, it was all.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:17:28

It was all a ruse, but very fascinating, very, very. I guess the comeuppance has come and I am I'm cheering it on the entire way, even one of my I guess love hate creators. It was very like pro Meghan Markle for the last like three years that she will look for a way to defend Meghan. Over the last couple of months, though, she's kind of a. It's interesting watching her content shift away from covering anything Meghan Markle related to. Now she's going to she's focusing on like Kate versus Camilla and making up stories there which is just like wow, just we're just watching her the transition in real life as we speak.

Grace Sharkey: 1:18:14

It's funny because I was like I wonder what Spotify stock is like, because even I'm sitting here and I'm like what did Rebs like? wasn't Kim Kardashian supposed to do like a podcast to for, like, yep, A ton of money? When did that come?

Blythe Brumleve: 1:18:27

out, but they didn't And that's where the fault is. also, there's a partial blame for Spotify as well, because you make, you made all of these investments into celebrity talent to create content, when a lot of this They're not experienced podcasters and podcasters it's a long game, it's a lot of hours of investment. You're not going to. you know, make. I mean, unless you're like Conan O'Brien or somebody who can make that transition from TV to podcasting. you know pretty seamlessly which he has done. There's not many other people that could do that And there's not. you know, with podcasting is it's a long game And I think for like a Kim Kardashian type of person, it's very like short thinking for her maybe.

Grace Sharkey: 1:19:14

Oh yeah, no, it's not doing too hot, At least over three years. So I was like what's their stock like Right around? because I think 21 was when they started announcing all these different things. That was 364 there at 156 today, yikes.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:19:32

And that's I mean, a lot of their money is being spent on these, on this talent, that's just. It's also not bringing in the audience numbers, unless you're like Joe Rogan, which is just such an outlier. It's not to make any kind of comparisons but, as a podcaster, to from the business aspect of it, when you're signing these exclusivity deals, you're only on Spotify. The overwhelming majority of the podcast market still listens on an Apple device, and so you're just cutting your audience, or your potential audience, by 60% just by going exclusive to Spotify. So it's a little bit tougher to gain that traction, even when Spotify is like artificially pumping you up to, like you know, the top five spots, which is exactly what they did with Megan's podcast. When it first launched, they said it was something like the third overall podcast in the world, or at one point, you know, for maybe like two hours it beat out Joe Rogan's and I'm like, yeah, not a chance. So the Spotify just took that podcast and pumped it up in their ratings in order to try to make you know a buck back on these failed investments, these failed exclusivity deals, and I think it's going to be a tough road for a lot of different shows If you choose to go the exclusive route. I just don't see. I don't see how it makes sense to go to Spotify, even like a like a caller daddy situation. Like, as soon as her deal is up, she's probably going to leave because she knows that her audience has suffered, especially from like a growth standpoint. It was growing a hell of a lot more when it was on barstool, because you're on all the platforms and versus just Spotify. But she got a $10 million check or like a hundred million or something ridiculous from Spotify in order to go and that's life changing money for her. But for like Harry and Megan which is Harry, i don't know if you heard of like Harry's podcast ideas, because he was originally supposed to be part of this and he never was, but he had pitched different podcast episodes where he would invite world leaders on his show and talk to them about their childhood trauma and two of the names that he mentioned were Vladimir Putin and the Pope.

Grace Sharkey: 1:21:46

What Does he have? does he think he has that poll too? The delusions If I. I mean, if I could have anyone, i would say Putin's got to be the first Jesus.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:22:01

And Putin's going to come on your show to talk about his childhood trauma.

Grace Sharkey: 1:22:07

He's going to talk about your childhood trauma and how he's going to take over your country, because you're so weak from childhood trauma. That's wild.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:22:19

Well, i guess that's kind of a good point to bring up our next topic, and that is our favorite conspiracy theories, because it's kind of a you know, when you, i guess, when you're faking a podcast. It kind of ties into my favorite conspiracy theory at the moment and that is people faking podcast interviews for clout, so to sort of I guess you know, set the stage a little bit. We're all clout chasers over here apparently. So, like a typical interview setup, like like what we're doing here, we're talking to each other, and so in post production we'll be able to edit this video and be able to show, like that singular, that single shot, maybe add some b-roll to it. But it that's what every you know most content creators are doing is that they're taking the recording a podcast, in a video format like this, and then the video serves, as you know, tools to create social media friendly clips to promote the episode. So sometimes you'll put the full episode up on YouTube and then you'll make, you know, video clips from it. But you'll also have the podcast version as well. Well, there are now quote unquote influencers that are faking this because they want to see more important than they are, and so these are becoming like ad campaigns. They're becoming. It's becoming a whole thing. So I'm going to play this video because this actually comes from a woman that I actually really like and she talks about what's going on in social media. But let me go ahead and play the clip Check, yeah. So obviously the topic is probably not going to be appealing to a lot of folks, but if you're just listening to it, basically what they showed is a woman that is sitting at a podcast microphone. She's got the you know I guess call out like purple lighting in the background. So it's very like podcast vibe. Who would do such a thing? Tacky. But then they move into an ad and so this is performing really, really well from an advertising standpoint. But I just think it's so cringy that you have to. Why not just set up an interview with a podcaster who are always looking for guests and topics to discuss? Why go as far as to fake all of these things? Why not just have the discussion and release the entire discussion? Why do you have to go to the links of? you know, almost like the influencers that will rent a private jet and it's just like a movie set that they go and take photos in just to have the appearance that they've been on a private jet. That's what this feels like to me.

Grace Sharkey: 1:25:37

Yeah, a thousand, yes. And I've seen those setups too where it's like people can go in there right and take pictures in the gen, all that stuff. You know, i guess for me it's like is the values, the money value, really there? Are you spending? Are you making that much more off these videos, doing that stuff? because it's so at some level I can't blame you, but I also I guess I would not be able to live that lie as well, like I think what would be funnier content would be to be in the airplane and then to like jump out of it and someone be like what's that's happening? It's like it's clearly a fake plane. You know, like that I couldn't. I couldn't sit somewhere in like a fake environment and just be like, oh yes, like even making a fake podcast that maybe it's because I make podcasts all day long here, but that's. It takes a lot of time to do that. And again, one of those situations where it's like God, if you just would like put that energy towards like creating your own authentic content, wouldn't life be easier?

Blythe Brumleve: 1:26:45

Right, and wouldn't it make it so much, you know from even like a marketing lens, like why not set up the interview with a podcaster and then you can take, you know that video ahead of. You can ask ahead of time Hey, can I get a copy of the assets whenever we're done recording and when you get it scheduled? That's typically, i know I provided I know other podcasters will provide that once the episode goes live, of course, because you don't want you know somebody else getting the jump on releasing an episode before you have. But they can use that video to create their own social media content because it promotes the show that you were just on. So if you can, you know, do all that for to pose a you know 10 second long video to ask a question, why not just invest those same resources into just contacting a podcaster and they can create in you know 30 minutes, 45 minutes of content And then you can have dozens and dozens of clips to potentially pick from. So it just seems like a gigantic waste And you know, now that I've seen it, i've seen that that the fake side of those podcast interviews Now I notice it on a lot more videos now And it's interesting to see who is taking that as, because they're they're typically like the guru types, they're the you know, by my course, that from an industry that I've never worked in, type vibes, you know the business life coach that it feels very much like that market to me.

Grace Sharkey: 1:28:17

Yeah, very Yeah, In your face. You want to make a thousand dollars next week. Here's right.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:28:24

Avon or selling some kind of like pyramid scheme or something like that.

Grace Sharkey: 1:28:28


Blythe Brumleve: 1:28:29

That's what it feels. It just feels icky to me. So so that's my, my conspiracy story. Grace, what's yours?

Grace Sharkey: 1:28:37

What is mine? I have a I have. let's see how this audience takes to this one, this one I'm, like you know proof. no, no, it's just my personal thoughts, my own personal conspiracy theory. I don't think we ever planned on saving those people in Ocean Gates And I was really hoping yours is going to be Titanic related It is. I'm so glad because that story is wild. Listen, apparently like I heard this fact that we've actually it's safer to like visit space than it is to go to the bottom of the ocean. So you know, if you are my audience, you know me, i love space. So take that as it is. you know, and I was. so the reason I was reading this article about like what potentially this could have cost, like American taxpayer, some blah, blah, blah, i don't think we were ever really trying to begin with. I just think that we were like, hey, coast Guard, just like go out there a little bit right, because I was also reading the chances of us, let's say we did find them, like we would have had to like create like something that doesn't exist, to like go down there, bring it up slowly and enough time that they also had oxygen without it exploding inside itself, which it did anyways. And I just I really don't think anyone tried and I don't blame them in a way for it.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:30:13

Apparently, the US military knew their fate pretty immediately and just didn't tell anybody. Yeah, exactly. So the entire world is obsessing about this and search crews and all you know to your point. all of that wasted money And they do.

Grace Sharkey: 1:30:31

It's funny because, you know, my family has like a group chat, you know, and I have like a very liberal family, so it's like it's always like something happened. Now. But you got to understand from my perspective, like I'm living and breathing freight all day and like so well, this is happening. We're at in Cleveland, you know, and so I'm like just watching our group chat like will they be alive, you know, and I'm like what's going on? I'm having like a glass of rose and I'm like what's happening. And so like I remember getting home and being like, oh okay, yeah, they're dead.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:31:10

Like it's not so yeah, i feel bad smiling at this moment, but it's also like just everything that you.

Grace Sharkey: 1:31:18

I will say the only thing I feel awful about is that the son I feel awful, oh yeah the night it was, he was like 19 or something.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:31:28

He didn't want to go on it and he begged his father not to, and his father was just adamant. Yeah, also.

Grace Sharkey: 1:31:35

I also feel bad, for I usually side with Cardi B and all of her opinions, but I feel bad for her in the step son who is apparently like the blink 182 concert, like name a billionaire stepfather who's like who's who's worth like staying at home crying over. Let that kid go enjoy his blink 182 concert. I don't know of a billionaire stepfather is probably the number one dad, you know like who's there all day and if there is one, reach out to me, get on Twitter. I want to meet your billionaire stepdad. Okay, and he's got the paperwork that said he's worth a billion dollars, because I doubt that he is that awesome. I look, maybe got you the blink 182 concert tickets and then in that case, you went in his honor, but I just I can't, i can't. I get like very claustrophobic and that's the only thing my problem with space is, like when I get too claustrophobic, like not being able to like walk around, you know I can't, i mean I, i probably, if I went down, i probably would have been the reason that thing exploded, because my eyes would have been in the pitch dark, just like. No. I mean, i'm not gonna be on the walls until it sounds like they died in a pretty peaceful way, right like I mean it's about as good as you can go.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:32:59

Happen in an instant. Yeah, turn into molecules.

Grace Sharkey: 1:33:03

That sounds great, but, yeah, anyone who's concerned about taxpayer dollars in this situation, i think. I think we're good, i don't think we spent a dime on it And let's just leave the Titanic alone at this point.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:33:17

Okay, so a related conspiracy theory that it's not the. Titanic. That, not that one, because I do find that one like super interesting. The whole JP Morgan was supposed to be on it, you know, creation of the Fed, all that. The other conspiracy theory that came out from this is the only reason that we and I'm just you know, sort of paraphrasing this because I don't know exactly all the conspiracy details But apparently the way that we discovered the Titanic wasn't until the early 80s, and we discovered it because we had the. When I say we, the United States, had a couple subs that went missing, nuclear subs that went missing, or no, it was one sub that went missing that had two nuclear warheads on it. So we were looking at the bottom of the goddamn ocean floor to try to find them, before obviously anybody else finds them. And that's how they discovered the Titanic, which is also kind of correlates to why the US government would know ahead of time. Because they were monitoring the area, maybe because they haven't found these nuclear warheads yet. So they were already monitoring the area to see maybe who would come looking for them.

Grace Sharkey: 1:34:28

You know what's crazy to talking about this too and the fact that, like I was at this conference and I know I do is going on. Did you see the clip of James Cameron? apparently, when they went down there for that first time was on 9 11. So like, yeah, i'll find the interview, i'll send it to you. So then they like come back up and like the hot guy who's like looking for the old lady the whole time, like the main actor of the actors Oh yeah, because he died.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:34:55

The guy from Twister. Yeah, yeah.

Grace Sharkey: 1:34:57

That guy. He's like with Cameron. He's like the planes have hit like the towers And I'm like whoa, what? like a crazy, and it's, it's something. It's also something to you think about, like I would never want to tell someone while they're down there in a state where it's like I can't get you back up fast, right, same thing with space. It's like I can't get you back here fast enough to like for you to, so you just have to like wait till they get back And you're like, by the way, like the world's craziest disaster happened.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:35:33

Is that Bill Paxton? Yes, yes. Actors name.

Grace Sharkey: 1:35:36

And it's like crazy because you'd see, james Cameron's face is like and I was like we did it And he's like terrorist, oh wow. But if you mind the clip, you should add it because it's like it's so crazy. But yeah, it's kind of nuts to like think. I just think the Titanic's much older than that too, you know shout out to my niece on this one, because my niece is incredibly addicted to everything the Titanic And so she had to play anyone for her like American history, and she played the Unstinkable Molly Brown Oh, the cutest, the cutest presentation of all time, and I'm like that's adorable.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:36:21

So yeah, that's super. I mean based on kind of a little bit Titanic obsessed too and coming, you know, from all of this. You know that all of these stories that have been, you know, surfacing, for lack of a better phrase. There was one woman that was on TikTok and she was talking about the is it Carpathia, the ship that came to rescue the Titanic survivor? She actually did her like master's thesis or PhD thesis on it or whatever, and so she was writing about, you know, sort of the hope of that human beings have and how, the second that Titanic sent out the Mayday request, the people on the Carpathia dropped everything and said we're coming, we got everything for you We are. The amount of speed of that ship in particular, was so much more than they had ever tested, and, speaking of which, like they're going through the same waters that the Titanic just went through fear of iceberg, it's, you know, all of the same precautionary things. But the people on the Carpathia were so invested in trying to save as many people as they could on the Titanic, which I think is just such a story that I had never heard of and has a, you know, a much more like, i guess, a positive human spin on it. You know, obviously there's a lot of death and destruction and hopelessness that happens with something like Titanic But the fact that they dropped everything to come and try to rescue as many people as possible And then the story kind of gets lost is that they faced all of those same dangers and they could have succumbed to them too, but they were, so they were trying so hard to be helpful, which I think is, you know, maybe a good point to move on to the final topic of today's show, because we've been going for about an hour now. These conversations go so quick. That's why I love doing these interviews with you, because it's not really an interview, it's like a full on conversation. So do you want to go first for your, your logistics of story?

Grace Sharkey: 1:38:28

Yes, i will, and this actually is going to be an upcoming episode of Point of Sales. Well, dive into it just a little bit deeper. But I always love when a company comes out and says, hey, logistics girlies, that's going to be like the new thing.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:38:44

That's the episode title.

Grace Sharkey: 1:38:45

Yeah, logistics girlies. I'm one of you and I'm a CEO of a company and we're short because of our supply chain And that's. I hate that sentence because I follow up question and no one ever asked in these like things which I get is OK, what part of it You know? so Sriracha is the company that makes Sriracha. I think it's Hoi Hoi young food or Hoi Fung foods. They came out and said hey, sriracha, we're having trouble still. They came out, i think last year, that their supply chain had slowed down. They're having issues with their suppliers, which we'll get into in a second And so they came out again. They didn't mention the suppliers. They just were like very brief and short about it and just said, hey, we're slow, it might be tough for you to find Sriracha at your stores until about September, in which we should start having a come up. Now, again, i said bullshit wise is happening, so start diving into it And it's very interesting. So in 2019, prior to, of course, covid or anything, hoi Fung again is the Sriracha producer. They had one specific supplier, just one supplier of all of the red jalapenos I believe that they need to have specifically to produce Sriracha.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:40:13


Grace Sharkey: 1:40:14

It's hot peppers, sorry peppers, hot red peppers.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:40:17

OK. Ok, because I was going to say jalapenos are green. Maybe that's a different sauce, or maybe it's just the chili.

Grace Sharkey: 1:40:23

It might be the chili, i don't know. The sauce, well, i don't know. The sauce is made quite literally, so the way that they specifically made them, though, was, like I had to sit after it was like picked for like a certain amount of time, like it was. It had this whole like special way that it was picked anyway.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:40:41

Oh, it is red jalapeno. You're right. Oh, yes, yes, yes, thai chili peppers, red jalapeno and serrano peppers, yeah, so that's Sriracha sauce.

Grace Sharkey: 1:40:50

That red jalapeno is kind of like the thing that makes it really Sriracha. So the the company that, or the farm that produced them, was a group called and you might know them more now because they actually make their own sriracha called Underwood Ranches. Now, in 2019, underwood started to understand I mean, let's blame Hillary Clinton on this one, maybe it will be on site. They started to understand that they were OK. After 20 years of doing this and being their provider How much money are you making off sriracha, right? Like are we really getting the piece that we should be getting? And so the leadership over at Underwood started diving into, like trying to figure out exactly what their finances were. Now I think Hoy, fun food. I'm probably saying that I was nervous because likely they understood well, if they find out what we're making, they might charge us more. We only have so much that we can give up, blah, blah, blah. So they were like, really no, you can't see our finances, you can't see any of this.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:42:01

The deal or transparency for them.

Grace Sharkey: 1:42:03

No broker transparency at all for them And at the time, this farm really was dedicated to them Over 1700 acres. In 2016, they received more than $22 million in revenue just from Hoi Fung alone, and so they started getting upset because they wouldn't open up their books to them, they wouldn't have open conversations with them. Apparently, at the same exact time, the leadership at Hoi Fung was really nervous at the time of losing its biggest customer, walmart. So on their side they're like paranoid that maybe they're gonna kind of undercut us or service someone else. Then we'll lose all of our money, et cetera. So they ended up getting really nitpicky on rates, et cetera and underpaid Underwood I think it was $1.6 million for their services for you, yeah. So Underwood said screw you, we're tired of. We clearly realized that we have power in this relationship. So they ended up going back and, for all the inconvenience of not really creating this open relationship, they ended up suing them back because without that $1.6 million it also cost their business And they ended up winning actually about $23 million against Hoi Fung's food. So at first the Underwood was in trouble. Of course, you're now missing on $22 million of a relationship. They slowly brought that back And I think they said in 2020 is when they started to break back even. But the problem with Hoi Fung is that they had nowhere to get these jalapenos now and had relied on such a strong. I mean, they're like within miles from each other, so it wasn't far from their factories. It was like the perfect supply relationship. They just burned it to the ground, basically, and to this day, they still are having problems trying to get their hands on these peppers. So there's a lot of people are like well, how come everyone else is doing Texas Pita's now and everyone else is fine? Why is it Sriracha in particular having these issues? Well, they're dealing with a loss of a 20, almost 30 year relationship with a supplier and trying to continue to build that up, and now it's so many people coming back to Mexico where a lot of their jalapenos are pulled. Now they're competing on a way bigger basis than they have. So I think it's an interesting story of how important it is to build that good relationship with your supplier and to also make sure that you're diversified. For this exact reason, because we're on year two or three now, it looks like that Sriracha hasn't been able to keep up with services And it's interesting now, under what has its own Sriracha now, that people actually enjoy and like just as much. So whether or not to eat dinner, Original creator of Sriracha.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:45:08

Isn't he like a one man operation?

Grace Sharkey: 1:45:10

Yeah, like, yeah, it's like grew it up from his. That's what I mean. I think it was a really a fear of like losing that right, like if we share too much as a potential that someone could take what we've built and And that's exactly what's happening now. Yeah, literally right, and now that's quite literally. You're not only down $25 million, but I mean the relationship itself. Was it worth that 25 million? Was it worth the 1.6? you decided to hold back.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:45:39

And then also from the landscape of. I wonder if there are any like pepper cartels You know how there's like avocado cartels and olive oil cartels, who control you know sort of the production and the manufacturing of those goods and who you can sell to and at what price. I wonder if that's now playing a role too, where, like, maybe there's some kind of like pepper cartel that is preventing the original Sriracha brand from succeeding. So then that way, all of the maybe they're competitors or maybe somebody that they're founting can succeed instead Most likely.

Grace Sharkey: 1:46:14

It's really. It's just interesting, i think, and also just the business dynamic relationship, right. It's like how many times it just reminds me of freight in particular, where one thing goes wrong, right, and like these shippers just want to like we're never using you again. It's like, really, like you're, you think you can just find capacity out of the blue. So yeah, you can't. Even the largest, most popular I'm more of a Texas Pete girl, i'll say but they can't, sriracha can't even build that relationship up correctly.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:46:48

Yeah, which is pretty crazy. I mean, i've heard, you know, for years that it's, you know, the Sriracha shortages. I always thought it was a marketing ploy And I'm like, no, they're, you know, it'll be back. And then I was curious as to how these other, like a Texas Pete, were coming out with their own version of different Srirachas. And I'm like, well, how are they finding it? But this other company can't. And so when I found out that Sriracha cause my boyfriend actually he loves Sriracha, so he was doing he was like where the hell, you know, he's trying to find out where the hell is going or what the hell is going on with all of these products. And so it forced him to kind of, i guess, learn about the owner. And he's like, oh, it's a one man up, so I'll just, i'll keep supporting him And you know, just, you know, buy these other brands until he gets back up and running, and that's what his sort of an interpretation of it. But now, you know, come to find out it's, maybe it's like a soured business relationship that's ending up. It may be the, i don't know, it sounds like something that could be solved, but it could also put you out of business pretty quickly.

Grace Sharkey: 1:47:47

Yeah, And it sounds like the part of it too is that the specific jalapeno, like in the way that they have to like grow it, produce. It is very labor intensive, right. So it's like it's not something that you can just like pick up and put somewhere else. It's special care. Yeah, special care the chilies requires renders them more valuable to extreme weather, in extreme weather conditions, such as droughts, right, which California is already experiencing, or Colorado River's depleted water supply. So you add up all of that and it's like who else are you buying these from now?

Blythe Brumleve: 1:48:27

Right. It's definitely one of those situations. Obviously, too, you know keeping an eye on, but it's really. Maybe I'll bring it up in a future show. But the pepper growing specialty that is involved in hot sauces is just getting more and more scientific. I love so like, for example, i went to Belize a couple of years ago and they are known for their habanero peppers And there's this company called Marie Sharps, which you can now get her hot sauce in Walmarts all across the country. But she has the best hot sauce because she has the best peppers, and so she talked about especially early on, because she's Belize, like, born and raised. Her family has lived on the same farm for generations, which I should probably. I'll just explain it now. I was gonna save it for a future logistics of story, but she is, so she goes through this entire process family-owned farm, they grow all these peppers, they start making this hot sauce, so it's like a really proud moment for Belize, which is compared to other countries, it's a smaller country, they're in Central America and their farmland is, so it's more pristine than the rest of like the Caribbean or these environments where growing peppers is required, because where they're positioned, country-wise, hurricanes miss them, so they're able to grow much more frequently than other countries And so it's a little bit of a different pepper taste. It's more flavorful. That comes from Marie Sharp's Habanero peppers, but because she grows them on her family farm then she's able to manufacture them all on site and then distribute from there. She wanted to try to get into the United States in like the early 2000s I believe. So she was partnering with an American businessman who came down and wanted to invest and get all of the needed supplies or the needed structure to help her expand. Well, she trusted him a little too much, but not enough to where she gave him the actual recipes of the hot sauces. Because and thank God she did that because this American businessman found out about her entire operation and then just found another operation to source the peppers from in another area of the Caribbean and brought his hot sauces to market. And so if you see a logo of like almost like a Frida looking type, you know Spanish woman on the label, that's the one that's the fraud. Don't get that one. Get them Marie Sharp's, because she's the one. That is her family. Or you know her family farm, it's her supply chain. She controls it. So you know, hopefully she doesn't ever have to worry about the situation of what you know the Sriracha brand is facing right now, but she's definitely like a woman in manufacturing supply chain that I want to root for. I've tried to get her on the show, but she has an incredible operation going on in Belize And now you know, despite what that American businessman did or tried to do to her, she's now expanding out into retail stores much more. Because I used to. I just have to buy it from her website. Now I can go into a Walmart and get it now instead.

Grace Sharkey: 1:51:50

Awesome, that's a great spot.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:51:52

She's fantastic. So you know good little, i guess, side note story. So you know we're kind of talking a little bit about cargo crime, which has become an obsession for me lately, which is why I did the story on the logistics of stolen sand in the last episode. You know we're kind of talking about, you know, pepper cartels and things like that. There's one maybe future, maybe evolving cartel that is popping up nowadays And that is the fruit rollup cartel. Or maybe it's just Americans just flying all over the globe trying to sell fruit rollups.

Grace Sharkey: 1:52:29

Is this the?

Blythe Brumleve: 1:52:30

ice cream challenge one Yes, so with fruit rollups. For folks who may not remember, fruit rollup is like that kind of fruit snack. It's rolled out into a roll, as the name implies, and you unroll it and then you can kind of eat it in a variety of different ways. It's kind of like an airhead, kind of like taffy type texture Not really taffy, but anyways. There's a TikTok challenge that has been going viral for several months And essentially what you do is you unroll the fruit rollup, you take a scoop of ice cream, you put it in the middle and then you fold the fruit rollup so it's almost like a sandwich. That ice cream makes the fruit rollup so cold that when you bite into it it's almost like it's crunchy, it's crispy, like. It just changes the texture of the fruit rollup itself. So because it's going so viral, it's creating this demand globally And to the point where, like, a normal fruit rollup box is what? like you know, $6.99 for you know, a pack of like 12 of them. Well, a couple of Americans just got busted in Israel by trying to smuggle fruit rollups into the country into a suitcase. They had 600 of them. I wanna say, oh my God, six, yeah, no, no, no, no, not 600. 600 pounds of fruit rollups that were found in their suitcases. And if you know anything about cargo crime or you know cross-border shipping or anything like that, you know that you cannot enter a country with a lot of merchandise with the intent to sell 600 pounds to be precise, in order to sell these things to Israelis, where one fruit rollup pack is going for anywhere from like $8 to $15 apiece. So because they're smuggling so many I mean think about the economics there Like I gotta give it to her for trying, because that's a hustle mentality, that's a hustle move You buy a box of 12 of them for seven bucks and you flip them for you know that same price for individually. So that is the fruit rollup controversy that is going on, which is I would play a little bit of a. You wanna see the clip? I'll play the clip. I know you're not on TikTok.

Grace Sharkey: 1:54:50

I love this. So they just like thought they could be like Miles Teller and War Dogs, and they're just bringing in like millions of dollars.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:54:58

It's like do you know that they have sophisticated technology designed to find drugs?

Grace Sharkey: 1:55:02

This seems like an idea that came up in a frat house Like. This sounds like a frat house idea. Guys, It's such an.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:55:09

American thing to do. I think too Like let's take these snacks and flip them on the secondary market.

Grace Sharkey: 1:55:14

Do they have someone buying or they just want to like walk around? We heard you guys are buying this for the high.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:55:21

Oh, my God, all right, let me play this clip really quick.

Grace Sharkey: 1:55:31

This looks like the guy who would do this. I love the graph That is-. I said take them out of the box.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:56:05

Don't even bring the box in here, just like Maybe they thought that they could maybe, you know, sell it a little bit more to airport security. But for folks who are not aware that Israel is probably the last place that you want to try to sneak products in and out of, they don't really even have like a ton of airport security, except for people who are trained to walk around and study body language, like that's They obviously had the big guns because you know the Israel, palestine, which is you know whole other topic that I don't know nearly enough to talk about.

Grace Sharkey: 1:56:42

They're like shaking in their boots like, oh, we got something big. We got something big guys.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:56:49

It's fruit roll-ups, suitcases and suitcases of fruit roll-ups. In case you were just listening and you didn't actually see the video No reports yet on if they'll get jail time. They'll probably pay a fairly large fine And then that merchandise will be confiscated. Because you can only, you're only allowed This is my to catch a smuggler knowledge, which is my favorite show that airs on National Geographic. You have to, you're only allowed a certain amount of a product to carry that's reasonable for personal usage. So, for example, like what gets caught a lot on that show is cigarettes. So people who are, you know, buying the cheaper cigarettes, especially like in the States, and then taking them, like you know, across seas or you know, so you have to pay duty tax on those, you have to declare it, and then if you don't do both of those things, then you're, you're, you're facing a lot of trouble, a lot of issues.

Grace Sharkey: 1:57:42

You should not. Maybe we'll talk about this on the next one too. You should check out the guy from Michigan who was the Pes dispenser, like collector, and apparently because Pes dispenser, he used to go over to Europe where they made all the Pes's and he would get his hands on like the first editions that never went to market And he, literally he did a fruit rollup and he he stuffed. He would just go over with suitcase and stuff his bag full of them. Well, customs caught him coming back but someone at Pes never put the Pes product into the customs. Like, apparently, when you make a product, you're and you want it to follow those guidelines, you're supposed to register the product to customs border. Oh wow, that's interesting. And because it's like one suit at Pes never did the paperwork, they had to let him go. So he, like he was like it's a, it's a Netflix documentary, it's very interesting.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:58:48

I was going to say I thought I've heard of it before but it might be one of those. I just saw the preview and never actually click play Yeah.

Grace Sharkey: 1:58:54

No, he started off as a box top dude like scamming box tops, like, just like, like he's the reason that the box tops now say only one per purchase, like you're like the hustle never stops, Yeah. And so then he, he sniffed out Pes' and it's a very sweet film because the family still lives very poor and like a rural area in Michigan, but he's got and he he does have a demise, but it's like you get to meet the whole Pes like group groupies and they all know about them And but it's that would. That's what I found the most interesting right Being a logistics girly is he gets. He's like, yeah, they pulled me up and they start going through the list of products that you can't bring in at that certain amount And Pes literally never did the paperwork. Wow, and apparently so the cause. There's a US Pes and then European Pes and the US Pes guy like made him he's like arch nemesis for like his whole life And then he got his hands. The guy like got his hands on, like the US Pes' like favorite Pes ever made. That like never went to market And he like found out about and he like lost his. He's like not this Pes guy again And so everyone's like arch nemesis? Yeah, no, it was. It's very crazy. I was, it was nothing and I love more than billionaire men, billionaire stuff, fathers and other challenges. But it was like it's really interesting how, like this dude just straight up drives to the Ukraine one day and it's like, hey, you got some Pes', like just sweet talks his way into getting like these Pes' that no one has ever seen, or yeah, it just becomes like a millionaire off Pes' Wow.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:00:40

So he'll, you know, eventually, i imagine a lot of those will end up in a museum, probably, you know after maybe is he still alive.

Grace Sharkey: 2:00:48

Yeah, he's still alive. And there's a he's like a hero, like people like love this dude and he stopped doing it because it was just like getting like too too dangerous. I remember right. And in like there's like another character you meet too, who like won't show you his collection, like because he doesn't want people to know what he has and what, because it could affect the price. It's like oh yeah, it's like you get really introduced to the world of Pes'. But that's the cool thing is like, oh wow, like you could just imagine a fruit roll if never, never award Pes'. It's like Pes' antiquities. Yeah, it's really cool, it's really interesting. So, yeah, go check that one out.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:01:34

All really great contributions to this week's episode Before. I meant to bring this up ahead of time before we dived into a lot of these different topics but threads. We got some new social media action going on.

Grace Sharkey: 2:01:49

I did download it.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:01:51

You did download, i downloaded it, okay. So for folks who maybe, if you're listening to this by the time we were recording this, on Thursday, july the 6th, and Metta has launched Metta, the parent company to Facebook, has launched a rival to Twitter called Threads Zuckerberg, who is the CEO of Metta and founder of Facebook. He has been rumored to be working on kind of a text based social media platform for a while now, but Twitter had a bunch of drama over the last. I mean, would just Twitter not have drama? but they had an extra drama when they introduced what's called a rate limit. So there's a couple factions being involved here, where you have all of these AI platforms, these large language models who are data scraping places like Twitter, reddit, qura you know, these internet forums where the real value of that platform is in their data, and so you typically will have to license your data via API to allow for integrations into your platform. So Twitter decided to combat against these large language models, just straight up, just scanning their data and stealing it without you know paying Twitter. They decided to introduce what's called a rate limit, but they introduced these rate limits for everyone, including just regular users of the platform who do not, frankly, give a shit about anything else. They just want to access the platform. If you put kind of like a warning in front of them that you can't browse anymore on their own platform, they're going to find they're going to put their attention somewhere else. So it was a very questionable move by Elon to introduce this. It feels like one of those things that sounded good and like maybe a meeting, and then they rushed it to development and then the users hated it. All that to say, mark Zuckerberg has now launched probably pushed up the launch of what the platform is now called Threads and published it live yesterday. Overnight it grew to 30 million users. Now, to put it in perspective, it took Facebook years to get to 30 million users. They had 10 million in a matter of hours, which is something that I think you know like. I can't think of the numbers right off the top of my head. I'll pull them up in just a second. But just the growth of the platform. Already I can tell it was one of those moments. I did join. I was on Instagram as I saw it and it was Gary Vaynerchuk. He's like hey, listen, you know this. This, this platform, is going off. He's like. I got a lot of faith in this If you are working in some capacity of social media. He's like this is what you do. You download the new apps, you give it a shot, you see, you roll the dice and you see if something will stick. Being an early adopter has a lot of advantages And I said, damn it, gary, i don't want another social media platform. But he's right, let me just give it a shot. It was a very seamless download signup process, because you're essentially porting your username and your bio and all that stuff from Instagram immediately over to threads The threads. User experience is very clean. It looks just like Twitter. It's not just text, there is video and images. So far, the text seems to have the greatest importance. As far as the algorithm is concerned, you do, you can follow people, people can follow you, and then for your feed, it's just one choice And they're kind of just throwing a bunch of accounts at you to see what you would like to engage with. So there's no like, there's no additional timeline features just yet. It's still, it's maybe 24 hours old. So I'm sure that they will introduce, you know, those different features. They'll introduce advertising, because it's Facebook, for God's sakes. They're going to have some kind of an advertising component to it, but it does feel like in the sense of like striking while the iron is hot, and then also from the standpoint of like a Mark Zuckerberg type who, separately from this, is also going to be fighting Elon Musk in the Roman Coliseum, which is another little sort of string to pull on with this whole story. So it's like Zuckerberg, out of nowhere, is fighting Elon on two different fronts and winning, and I mean at least for now. Obviously the platform is very young, but 30 million people making the process very seamless, to where there are people that you already know and people that you don't know as soon as you sign up. So are you going to follow a lot of the same people that you followed on Instagram? Probably not, because of the way that the feed is designed, which feels very much like the TikTok for you page, where, for folks who don't know, you have a for you page. That TikTok, you know their algorithm is very good where they know what kind of content you want to see And a lot of times, especially from the social media perspective, in today's day and age, you have your platforms for connecting with people that you know, like Facebook for family and close friends. Instagram is kind of the same way, but this one it looks like they're taking the conscious choice of giving you the content that you want first, not necessarily from the people that you connected with. So it's that different sort of TikTok mindset where we don't really care about who you're friends with. We want to show you the content that's going to keep you there the longest. And when I tell you that it felt kind of special to be part of it last night, because there's no ads, there's none of like the scammy, like course guys, the hustle bro guy, they're not there yet. They probably are there by today because there's 30 million people and growing. But it was a very nice experience And I don't know that I've had that experience on a social media Like I'm. I'm. I've been twitching a little bit all day because I haven't checked the threads yet to see what's popping off, but it's a lot of the same content. That works well on Twitter, seems to work well on threads. They seem to, from an algorithm standpoint, prioritize text over images and videos. I tried to bunch last night. I posted our logistics of sand videos. I got crickets, but I post you know, i, you know, just a shit post, like how I typically post on Twitter, and it does. It does okay. And okay in that respect is I got six likes on a post and I was like, oh, wow, i'm doing something right. So it was one of those moments where, like the, you have to challenge yourself to learn a new social media platform. You have to kind of make those decisions on is this going to be worth my time or not. But so far so good. I think it's worth. I think it's worth the time to at least try it and download it, because the sign up process is so much easier. I'm sure there's going to be improvements made to the platform and I'm sure you know we'll see what those are. But so early signs are. So far so good. It looks like you're, you're trying it out, you know as you speak. So what are your? what are your early thoughts? You're already sucked in.

Grace Sharkey: 2:09:00

I was just not just. I was wondering if you could see me like following you and everything on there. It's just Twitter.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:09:09

Yeah, the icons look the same, like it's very, very similar.

Grace Sharkey: 2:09:13

It's like cool because it also links. It's like now you have your. Wow, sucker bird, you fucking genius. Because now it's like I can do. If I click, this is just taking me to Instagram. Oh no, because that's annoying thing. Oh, i bet you, this is so much easier to post on both threads and Instagram at the same time, probably not yet.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:09:41

There's also like a question around like DMs, because there's no DMs on threads yet. So there's kind of. I saw one person kind of theorizing that they'll. They'll just keep kind of like what Facebook tried to force like messenger on everybody.

Grace Sharkey: 2:09:55

I would assume that it would sync your DMs for both Instagram and this. You know what I mean.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:10:02

You would think. but with those kind of capabilities, just I mean even like to this day, like Facebook and Instagram don't play nicely together And I think it was only recently, like within the past couple of months, that from like a social media manager standpoint, you couldn't even upload like a thumbnail to reels or schedule your reels, which is very important for you know a social media, you know marketer or manager standpoint everyone is on this thing.

Grace Sharkey: 2:10:29

It's so funny. I'm like what's Gerard's on here too? That's so funny, wow, yeah, so I'm a new social media app for everybody to try out.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:10:42

I'm going on vacation this weekend And so I had a rule that I was like no social media all weekend. And then I download this Godforsaken app And now I'm wondering. I'm like, when do I break my own rule that I created out of no one's for wish or no one's, I guess, motivation?

Grace Sharkey: 2:11:00

That's awesome. Rick's emailing me now, Oh yeah, well. Well, everyone, go to threads and find me on threads. If you're already friends with life, I've retweeted our stuff, You know it's interesting, oh heck yeah. You can't see, like, who people are following, but you can only you can see who's you can.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:11:22

So you can. So if you click on the person's profile, click on how many followers they have, it'll bring that up in a separate tab.

Grace Sharkey: 2:11:31

It doesn't show you how many followers people your follow.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:11:35

Oh yeah, it doesn't. It doesn't do that, but it will show you. Yeah, because, like, for example, i went into a couple different people that I admire, like Craig is one of them. So I saw that Craig Fuller, you know, owner of freight waves, a founder of freight waves So I went into his and I said, well, who is he following? because it's probably people I want to follow to. So I did that with a handful of people to see you know who I should be following on this account or on this platform, and I'm trying to be really, i guess, conscious of who I'm following as well. Like I don't want to follow the same people that I follow on, you know, like Instagram or even Facebook, i, you know, with those platforms connected to this, i don't know that I want, like the Instagram and the Facebook audience, to see my shitpost and capabilities that I have honed in on Twitter for so long, and they have no idea that exists. But now it's going to be shining a light on that over in threads, so we'll roll the dice. That's what we do in marketing. We kind of see you know what platforms going to pop off or not, but there are advantages to being early adopters.

Grace Sharkey: 2:12:41

Yeah, we'll see you on threats.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:12:45

That's a good way to end the discussion, so we'll see you all next time. I hope you enjoyed this episode of Everything Is Logistics, a podcast for the thinkers in freight, telling the stories behind how your favorite stuff and people get from point A to B. Subscribe to the show, sign up for our newsletter and follow our socials over at everythingislogisticscom. And in addition to the podcast, i also wanted to let y'all know about another company I operate, and that's Digital Dispatch, where we help you build a better website. Now, a lot of the times, we hand this task of building a new website or refreshing a current one off to a co-worker's child, a neighbor down the street or a stranger around the world, where you probably spend more time explaining the freight industry than it takes to actually build the dang website. Well, that doesn't happen at Digital Dispatch. We've been building online since 2009, but we're also early adopters of AI, automation and other website tactics that help your company to be a central place to pull in all of your social media posts, recruit new employees and give potential customers a glimpse into how you operate your business. Our new website builds start as low as $1,500, along with ongoing website management, maintenance and updates starting at $90 a month, plus some bonus freight, marketing and sales content similar to what you hear on the podcast. You can watch a quick explainer video over on DigitalDispatchio. Just check out the pricing page once you arrive and you can see how we can build your digital ecosystem on a strong foundation. Until then, i hope you enjoyed this episode. I'll see you all real soon and go Jags.

About the Author

Blythe Brumleve
Blythe Brumleve
Creative entrepreneur in freight. Founder of Digital Dispatch and host of Everything is Logistics. Co-Founder at Jax Podcasters Unite. Board member of Transportation Marketing and Sales Association. Freightwaves on-air personality. Annoying Jaguars fan. test

To read more about Blythe, check out her full bio here.