The Design Business Show 201: Data Driven Ad Strategy + Business Partnerships with Jessica Gleim + Amy Christie

Director : Melissa Burkheimer | November 8, 2022
Check out episode 201 of The Design Business Show with Jessica Gleim + Amy Christie to learn about ad strategy and heir business partnership.

We are Jessia Gleim (rhymes with slime) and Amy Christie (yes, she has two first names). Together, we founded Flairst, which is grounded in our love of creative thinking, enthusiasm, and problem-solving. Our passion is empowering ambitious women-led DTC eCommerce brands. Consider us your strategy and growth partner – we’ll scale your business through personalized, data-driven omnichannel social media advertising and help you make shit loads of money! We don’t just focus on the now. Instead, we help bulletproof the future of your business by creating sustainable, profitable revenue. At Flairst, we’re all about putting money in the hands of women. Nothing makes us happier or more fulfilled than seeing our clients win BIG!
Here’s what we covered on the episode:

How Jessica + Amy Got Started

  • How Jessica and Amy sent me a message about being on the show and why I think the story of their business is important
  • Jessica and Amy both have fine art degrees and had separate businesses before creating Flairst together
  • Jessica shares that she loves paper products and was designing a series with Shutterfly but had some health problems and needed a way to do her own thing, which is why she started her freelance design business in 2014
  • After doing some design, someone asked Jessica if she could help with marketing, so she had her own marketing business going on for a while; then, around 2015, someone asked if Jessica could help with Facebook Ads, which is how she got into ads
  • In 2016, Jessica had her first child and quickly realized she could not be a one-woman show; Jessica dreamed of having a partner but never thought she would because she needed someone who could do it all and understood being a parent
  • Both Jessica and Amy had been going to a conference called Alt Summit for 10 years and had previously met there, but they didn’t remember meeting until they randomly got paired as roommates
  • After sitting down with each other at the conference to get to know each other, Jessica asked Amy to join her business
  • While at home with her oldest, Amy decided she needed something that fed her soul, so she learned everything about blogging, and within a year of blogging, she was also creating content for other people
  • Amy shares that she got to see the launch of many social platforms and got to figure out how they worked for creators and how they’ve changed to have advertising
  • As Amy’s kids got older and more involved, she found content creation exhausting and needed something where she could leverage the skills she already had – Amy could build a website, create graphics, write copy, and build ads, but she didn’t know how to do all of that and get clients
  • How Amy will be attending Alt Summit in New York this fall, but Jessica will not because she is 9 months pregnant and will be having her second child soon
  • We talk about the Alt Summit conference, which Jessica and Amy recommend for anyone in the creative space – the information is good, it’s aesthetically pleasing, and the community is great

Blessing of a Business Partnership + Flairst

  • When Jessica and Amy are interviewed on podcasts, the host always says they are the first duo they’ve ever talked to, which always surprises Jessica and Amy because so many people wished they had a partner
  • How motherhood, living during a pandemic, and entrepreneurship can all be very isolating – there are very few people who understand it, even if your friends and family support you in it
  • Jessica and Amy didn’t go into their business to only work with women; it just naturally happened that way – their mission is to put money back into the pockets of women and families  
  • It’s hard to be a parent, a primary caregiver, and a businesswoman at the same time, which is why Jessica and Amy believe it takes a village – not just with your children or yourself but also within your business  
  • Jessica shares that having a partner to be with her and help grow their team has been so impactful not just for the business but for her mental health
  • Although Jessica and Amy have similar backgrounds and learning abilities, they are opposites – Jessica says she is unorganized, has her head in the clouds, and has to focus on the next step in front of her, while Amy is organized, grounded, and looks at the end goal
  • How being opposites has been beneficial for their business, their mental health, and just life
  • Jessica says being a parent and having a business mesh together well because it gives you the flexibility you need  
  • Amy says the jobs they worked before creating Flairst were partly out of necessity because of the lifestyle they were living at the time and how their current work also compliments their current lifestyle, where if they need to drop what they’re doing for their kids, they can do that  
  • Jessica and Amy’s business is rooted in social media advertising, and Jessica shares that social media has been a blessing because so many women have been able to create businesses, substantial income, and influence from their phones on their own time – they know it can be hard to get back into the workforce after having children or taking a gap between working
  • Amy wishes the type of partnership she has with Jessica on every woman because even though they don’t live in the same place, the mental and emotional support that comes with being a partner and sharing the responsibility of growing a business together is something Amy wishes everyone could have
  • Even contractors and other members of your team that aren’t as fully invested in your business have a different take on the business – Jessica and Amy are equally attached to the business
  • Because there are two of them, Jessica and Amy have been able to lean into what they are really good at because they don’t have to do absolutely everything by themselves
  • Amy shares the conversation she and Jessica had at Alt Summit when they decided to work together after barely knowing each other
  • When Amy came in, she brought the business mindset because, at the time, Jessica didn’t have a website or brand name, just an LLC, a bookkeeper, and clients for them to work with
  • Jessica and Amy had much trust for not knowing each other well but had made a pact early on to always tell each other the truth no matter what
  • In 2019, Jessica and Amy went back to Alt Summit and gave a presentation about ads which is when they decided ad strategy for direct-to-consumer, women-led, eCommerce businesses would be their only offer
  • One of the best things Jessica and Amy have done for their business is working with a business coach whom they work with individually and together
  • Before narrowing down their offer, Jessica and Amy did everything under the sun for clients but found they could best serve clients by just offering ad strategy, which they are really good at
  • The advertising education Jessica and Amy have has come from the free resources they’ve found on the internet
  • How Jessica and Amy have always been obsessed with the psychology behind why people make purchase decisions and the emotional relationship that goes into advertising  
  • Jessica and Amy say to think of advertising like online dating – all these steps need to happen before you ask someone to marry you
  • Typically, Jessica and Amy get clients through fostering relationships and networking by going to conferences, usually with women, because women like to create relationships before making a business decision
  • Amy shares that they work with direct-to-consumer eCommerce businesses that own their data 
  • If you’re a business on Amazon or Etsy, that platform owns your business data
  • When Jessica and Amy work with clients, it’s less about the product the client sells and more about what stage they are at in their business
  • Because of the changes in the iOS update, pandemic changes, and the growth of digital advertising, the market has changed – when Amy was first starting, all of the social media platforms worked for the creator, but now the algorithm has changed to benefit the platform so they can run ads 
  • Ad costs have gone up, making it more complicated for small businesses  
  • The businesses that Jessica and Amy work with are usually well-established, mature businesses that are in the 2.5 – 3-million-dollar range because that allows them to have an ad spend range of $20,000 – $25,000 a month to be able to pay to play on social media platforms
  • It can be frustrating for small businesses that can’t afford to pay to play, but Jessica and Amy highly suggest growing your organic marketing by building your email list, social media, community, and influence until you are to a point where you can scale

Creating a Direct-To-Consumer Brand + Data Driven Ads

  • Direct-to-consumer brands that have created products that hit an emotional pain point or solution with their consumers will be successful
  • Jessica and Amy don’t see success with direct-to-consumer brands who create a product and then go try to find their target market, but if you create an audience and community and then sell to them based on what they are asking you and what they need, that’s where you will find success
  • Amy says brand and product positioning is about your customers remembering that you have served them well and will continue to engage with them – you need to have your product proven organically by a community of people  
  • There are a lot of different ways to run an ad strategy, but Amy says the first step is to pick your objectives
  • In ad strategy, there are a lot of levels because you are working with many different people at different stages in the buying cycle
  • You want to bring in new people to grow your community, make sure you’re managing and supporting your current customers, and grow the lifetime value – which is where the organic marketing portion comes in with Jessica and Amy’s ad strategy
  • Jessica gives an example to show how it’s not just one advertisement: it’s a whole strategy cycle to get someone who has never heard of you to become a repeat customer
  • Amy says that their strategy and all strategies should be built on data which is why businesses today need to be thinking about building their data portfolio
  • Before the iOS update, Amy explained that data on the internet was like one of those big communities where the backyard of all the homes is shared; each of the homes would be a different social media platform, and they all shared the same third-party data – it was inexpensive and free for anyone to use   
  • After the iOS privacy update, it’s like all the backyards were fenced in, so now you only have access to your backyard, which is why it should be your top priority to build your data portfolio because that’s what’s necessary to build efficient, functional, profitable ads   
  • We talk about the mascara line I want to create, the story behind it, and how to create a community first to then launch my product
  • Connect with Jessica and Amy on Instagram, TikTok, or visit the Flairst website – feel free to ask them questions because they want to know what other business owners are curious about and want to know      


Links mentioned:

Flairst Website

Connect with Jessica + Amy on Instagram 

Connect with Jessica + Amy on TikTok


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