BRENDAN LEONARD FOUNDER OF SEMI-RAD SHARES HOW HE’S MARKETING HIS ECOMMERCE BUSINESS AND LIFESTYLE BRAND
In this episode, Andrew chats with Brendan Leonard, the founder Semi-Rad, and outdoor-focused website that sells his books, illustrations, stickers and other merchandise with a humorous theme. Semi-Rad is for the folks who love to get out there, but maybe don’t take it too seriously. The Semi-Rad lifestyle means you have an enthusiasm for things regular folks can do, adventures for every person. It’s a web site for those of us crushing it, kind of.
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Announcer: Welcome to the Stickers on the Mic podcast brought to you by stickergiant.com, where we talk with our customers about how they started their business, how they're marketing their brand, and how they're growing their company. If you're joining us for the first time, welcome. And if you're a regular listener, thank you for your continued support. Without further ado, it's time for the Stickers on the Mic podcast from StickerGiant. Let's get on with the show.
Andrew Matranga: Alright. Hey everybody, welcome back to Stickers on the Mic. This is Andrew. Today we're very fortunate to be dialing in Brendan Leonard from Semi-Rad, which is an outdoor focused website and brand that covers a lot of bases and in an effort to let Brendan tell his story. I'm going to turn the mic over to him right now. Brendan, thank you so much for joining us on the show. It's, really great to have you here, man.
Brendan Leonard: Thanks for having me. Yeah. Do you want me to explain why or attempt to explain what it is. I do.
Andrew: I do, I do want you to attempt to explain. So that our listeners understand what Semi Rad actually is. It's, it's a lifestyle. It's a website, it's a brand but like tell us where semi rad came from.
Brendan: Boy, you know, it started as a blog. Because, well, I wanted to write stories about the outdoors or I guess sort of create content about the outdoors and adventure. So, camping, hiking, skiing, trail running, rock climbing, all that sort of thing. And I found that a lot of magazines weren't super interested in my idea of what was a good story. So basically I started writing all these things that I thought were funny and putting them on a website decided to do one a week. I thought I'll just regularly do these once a week until something happens or I get sick of it. That sort of, I wouldn't say it was solely responsible for blowing up my writing career, but they sort of happened at the same time.
Then, you know, I started at the same time I launched this blog and I started getting more magazine assignments and then, you know, a couple years later it, it had become a thing where more than one editor of magazine said just write this like you would write it for your blog, which was a shock to me. Since then,+ that was 2011, February 2011 so it's just over nine years old now and I've kind of noticed or sort of tried to evolve. What I do, according to where I can reach people so I started sort of drawing these little funny charts and putting them on Instagram. I noticed that people reacted to them. So I bought myself an iPad and said, Well, this could be a total waste of 1200 dollars or it could be one of the best things ever bought and just a way to make these drawings, a little bit more Professional. I guess that's that's a bad word for they still don’t look professional.
But hand drawn charts that are jokes or other things I noticed I call it I've started calling emotional data visualization because they're, they're not like you know, actual statistics. It's like, here's what happens when I go to a grocery store that I am not familiar with, or something like that. They're their jokes. So that's led to me sort of designing T-shirts and coffee mugs and doing some of these charts for corporate clients because they feel like it's a good way to say things about what they do. So yeah, the whole thing. I mean, it sort of started, my background has always been writing but that's led to filmmaking, film directing, story development, consulting, voiceover work for films. Yeah, writing books, writing magazine articles, just sort of everything. And it's, I just feel like it's probably like a lot of people feel it's just a constant hustle to stay afloat and not have to get a real job.
Andrew: So your writing career obviously was in magazines, like you said, and you were doing that. But when it came to like writing books I know when we met up at your house a little bit ago, you know we're talking about your first book, but you're like, I don't really want to talk about my first book, and I can appreciate that, actually. Because it's so far away, right and you're like onto the next project. But that first book, you got to get that one out the door to like say that you write books. Right. How have you come up with these book ideas? That's really more my question about the first book, and then all the books are like, where did you come up with that idea.
Brendan: Oh yeah, you know, I had just moved into my car after a breakup and was working remotely for a large tech company as a copywriter and really thought there was a story about road trips and trying to find yourself and blah, blah, blah. And that was living in a 1996 Subaru Impreza Outback for six months. So not really sleeping in it too much, if I could avoid it, but I had been reading road trip books, my whole life and tried to string together quotes from those books and, you know, other other things like, you know, Thelma and Louise, I think is a great road trip story. Things like that and just try to pull it together and try to figure out how to ask some questions about how we live our lives and what we focus on. Yeah it ended up self publishing it and it eventually sold around 10,000 copies still out there. But I think publishers don't necessarily care about your idea. Sometimes if it's not a super strong idea. But if you can show them that you can sell a few books on your own. They become a little bit more interested, which I think is what happened to me. I'm not sure.
But yeah, since then, I've only written two real narrative books. One is about road trips. The other one is sort of about climbing and addiction. And then a lot of the other ones are sort of concept books that either publishers have an idea and need someone to write it, or I sort of have an idea that I pitched them. So one is called surviving the great outdoors and it's just literally how to do everything from hiking, kayaking, whitewater rafting, camping, all those things with a little bit of humor and some illustrations from a friend of mine. You know, I have one that just is coming out in April, called the camping life, which is I don't think I'm supposed to call it a coffee table book, but it has lots of really pretty photos in it from my friend Forest Woodward. It's our love letter to camping. But I think it's also something you throw in a coffee table and flip through from time to time. So that they kind of go all over the place and they have varying levels of success and sales, and not a single one of them has been a quote unquote best seller. But, you know, if one of them does someday maybe I'll maybe move into a bigger house or something, I don't know.
Andrew: Nice. So you also do some speaking work. I noticed you were also a speaker at Ignite boulder. I did a talk there. I've done a couple there myself. So that's a fun thing you end up getting to get your message out there doing public speaking. Do you find that work or does that work come to you?
Brendan: Yeah, it generally comes to me, not in a huge...there's not a flood of people looking for a speaker like me. I'm not like Britney Spears' headset, suit and tie. Here's how you can climb your own Everest speaker that you hire for your corporate event. I call myself a low-polish motivational speaker, where I tell a very authentic real story, but it's also you know, it's not...I feel like the people in the audience, hopefully can relate to it on the level of, oh, this is how this sort of thing applies to my everyday life or work but also maybe I could do something like that guy. Did you know because it's not too far out of reach, I guess, right.
Andrew: When we were doing the video at your house, we were going through some of the products, you've got print, you've got, of course, stickers, but the fun thing you are just working on was this Yellowstone project. Now I want, without a visual, obviously, just sort of walk us through coming up with a sort of one-off product that you have that is in your tone in your voice, but kind of different than anything else you've probably had to produce, right?
Brendan: Yeah, so I have to come up with an idea, every week for my blog and some weeks, you know, I'll just draw a flow chart or something that's just a drawing and most weeks I try to write because that's easier for me and I'm not actually that good of an artist. Every year in Yellowstone National Park there are stories of tourists getting way too close to wildlife and I've seen it myself being there. You realize that a lot of people believe it is some sort of zoo without fences, where the animals can be approached, and I think people fail to recognize it like a bison can run like 30 miles an hour if you piss it off, which is like you're like sneaking up on a running motorcycle and if it decides to just drop its rear wheel it's going to kill you. But anyway, so I just always been sort of like sort of appalled at the way people do this and treat Yellowstone. So I made a...wait what's the...what's the policy with profanity on the show?
Andrew: Go for it.
Brendan: ...OK, so...
Andrew: After all, it's the name of the product.
Brendan: I drew these sort of, I drew these greeting cards, or baseball cards basically is what they are, and they're called Things in Yellowstone That Can Fucking Kill You. And so it's eight different animals and other phenomena. So like grizzly bear, elk, mountain lion, rattlesnake, geothermal pools, and the Yellowstone SuperVolcano. And a few others in there that I'm missing, but a moose and something else. Anyway, you know it describes three characteristics of the things and there's a photo. There's a photo of the animal on the front, and I had modeled it directly after 1984 Topps baseball cards or something like that.And you flip it over to have three characteristics of the animal. You know how fast they can run, whatever things like that they look like. And then the fourth one is always can fucking kill you. Just to remind people that oh yeah these things conflict and kill me. And the fourth one is the yellow sounds super volcano, which if that thing erupts. A lot of us are going to be dead.
So, it's intended as a joke. And you know, I put it on my blog and put it on Instagram and somebody on Instagram said you should actually make these into trading cards and I started looking it up and you can do it, you can get custom baseball cards printed like if you wanted to. You have three kids, and you want to get baseball cards made for your whole family. You could do this, you know. So I did and I wouldn't say it's been the most profitable thing in the world. I think I had to have 200 of them printed and I broke even. But it's just mostly this fun thing you know where people can have these funny trading cards. But I've realized that I should maybe just make it things in the outdoors that can kill you because it's a little bit more broad, you don't have to have been to Yellowstone.
Andrew: Right. That could be your evolution of it. Right. Yeah.
Brendan: Yeah, but it's fun. You know, you're just like, you know, want to do this thing that's sort of an art project and then put it out on my virtual sort of arts and crafts market table and see if people like it. You put it out there and a few people buy it and they dig it. You know, sometimes if they're on my website and they buy a t- shirt. They also buy a thing of Yellowstone trading cards that are funny to give to somebody or whatever.
Andrew: Yeah, one of these fun little prints, which some of these are really great.
Brendan: There. Cool. Yeah, we just like, I don't know, maybe I'll maybe I'll make this and see if people like it and you know magnets are another thing or coffee mugs and it's a really cool universe to be a part of right now where you can just make things and with relatively low costs, I guess.
Andrew: Yeah. So how do you do who's doing your fulfillment and all that back end of this
Brendan: It’s a company called Printful. Oh, nice. And there I believe their corporate offices are in Charlotte, North Carolina. So t-shirts, they print on demand prints they print print on demand. So basically if somebody goes to the website and orders a t-shirt, print it and then they send it out. Same thing with coffee mugs, most of that stuff. I also sell signed books and like does Yellowstone trading cards. So I basically just sent boxes and stuff to Printful in the warehouse for a monthly fee and then charged you $3 every time they fulfill something. So, it's really hard to make money on very inexpensive items like trading cards. So there, it's not really a moneymaker for me as much as it's just, hey, here's a fun thing. If you buy this, I won't lose money. But I'm not going to be be buying a new house with the money from some of these things.
Andrew: Right on. Yeah. Cuz I know just figuring out fulfillment and e-commerce is for some people really daunting. So it's good that you've been able to like scale it and it doesn't seem like it's something that's stressing you out. You know what I mean.
Brendan: Yeah, it's, I think there's a lot of options out there for people and just figuring out what works best for us is definitely a thing. You know, I could try to do it from my living room, but it's, it would be extremely difficult.
Brendan: I didn't realize how much, really, you know, I think I don't know what the statistics are but I've heard of businesses, saying, Oh, we do over half our business. During the holidays. And do you think of a storefront that's open 12 months a year and they don't do anything for several months, but then all they just get crushed during the holidays and I saw that happen. I didn't have to really deal with it. I wasn't like shipping stuff out of my living room, but I did see a few. You know, the customer service aspect was evident during that period where people are going, hey, is my stuff going to arrive in time and you just kind of got to be like, well, we'll see what we can do. And if it doesn't, I give you your money back, but enormous amount of sales during that period. So very educational for me.
Andrew: Right, yeah, learn as you go.
Andrew: Very cool. So that's, that's a big part of your business there and trying to figure that part out. On the top of the 70 read website, though in the nav there. I noticed there's a couple things really stuck out is, there's the 52 marathons and then the 100 favorite things pages. And I just want to talk a little bit about these 52 marathons. Tell us a little bit about that. What, what went on there.
Brendan: Yeah yeah so I I turned 40 last January. So January 2019 and I've been getting into ultra running the last. Well, I guess, almost five years now, I have been running races longer than a marathon and I had started to just think and sort of look back at my Strava data and realized I had run like six marathons without really trying. You know that go for a long trail run or I paced a friend at a 100 mile race if you know the company in him for the last 30 miles or whatever walking and running. I thought maybe I should try to do a bunch of marathons in 2019 and that turned into maybe I should try to do 52 of them. And I didn't tell anybody until I had done like five or six of them, and I was talking, you know I told my wife like I think I'm gonna try to do this, you know, so it's like one a week.
It wasn't like I would go do a race every weekend right was there. People do that, people have done it. Lots of people have, but logistically it's enormous to try to do that sort of thing. And so I was just like, well, I'll just run one out the front door, you know, the first one I did was January 2 was my my staying with my parents for the holidays and just ran out their front door down some gravel roads and Iowa and, you know, got 26.2 miles and and then I did one like four days later and thought, okay, feel okay maybe I can keep doing this. And so it just went throughout the year, like that and the big thing for me was deciding whether I ran 52 miles or 100 miles. If that counted as one marathon or three or four however many.
Early on my friend Forest said you should just count it as however you know you should do if it's 78 Miles, you should count that as three marathons, so when I signed up for 100 mile race, or did a 50 mile training day I would stop my watch after 26.2 Miles then restart it again. Just keep going. So if you want to split hairs, you could say, oh, that's not 52 marathons. But, you know, it was good enough for me. So I was able to finish it in early December of last year and definitely felt it. You know definitely that I ran about 2000 Miles last year, and you know every week I ran a 26.2 mile run. So you do the math, I was only running like three times a week, but one of those times is always a marathon. So I just want to see if I could do it. I don't know, sort of maybe hope that it might inspire other people to do something like that. If not, you know, not necessarily that many marathons, but like a weekly thing, you know. Which I think is doable for a lot of people, but we always think, I think we tend to think of things as more of like we need a huge goal, you know, as opposed to just one that's every week that builds up.
Andrew: And isn't that that's the topic of your Ignite Talk to right, like something about celebrating doing it small or something like that.
Brendan: Yeah, the joy of making it smaller.
Andrew: There you go. The joy of making it small.
Brendan: That event is one of the most terrifying things I've ever done. Because if people haven't heard of it. It's a... I don't know if you feel the same way, Andrew, but it was like, like what is it six minutes of a sudden...
Andrew: You have five minutes and you have 20 slides that auto advance and you're on stage at the Boulder Theater in front of 800 people who are pretty boozed up and there to have fun, not at your expense, but just to like be entertained through public speaking, which is this very unique sort of thing. And we actually had Andrew Hyde who started Ignite boulder on the podcast last year, and you know I've done two of them. I did a talk about the cannabis class that I teach, and then the Star Wars class that I teach, and I'm pretty familiar with those topics but you're going through the speaker training and you got to get, you know, really tight slides for 20 of them in five minutes and you like you're practicing in the car and the shower, walking around for like weeks trying to really like, where's my laughline. Where's this? How am I going to do this? And it is stressful even though I know it and I volunteered. And we sponsor through StickerGiant for those events, and I get paid to talk in front of people. Still It was absolutely terrifying.
Brendan: Oh, yeah. And if you mess up, you don't get to go back.
Andrew: You know, you just got your slides and got to go.
Brendan: Because it auto advances through the next. It's like five people in a row. Right? Correct?
Andrew: It's like you got to get off the stage.
Brendan: Yeah. Right, it's yeah, so you have to finish and it is a very forgiving very supportive crowd but but yeah I've, I've been there when people have lost their place, and it's it's uncomfortable with people just like, they get you back into it by like applauding whatnot, but it's terrifying. But yeah, my talk was about, you know, as you're young and you're a writer/creative or whatever you have these illusions, you're going to be a best selling author or you know, have the number one song and the country or whatever. And the idea of just making a living as an artist or creative that's not, you're not famous but you are able to do it as a full time gig is a thing you don't really hear about very, very often.
I really have enjoyed that and it was one of the central parts of the story was having a guy just like chase me down and Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, when I was there working on a climbing guidebook, just like tailgated me and I pulled over and he was just happened to be on a road trip from out from Tennessee inspired by the book I had written that was published like six months earlier. And he just saw my van which had my website name on the side of it and chased me down and we met, and it was like this cool thing. Like I just got my photo taken with him, and you don't realize you're reaching people unless they tell you, you know? So super cool things and just other things and other benefits like that like maybe being a best selling author isn't you know the only mark of success. You can hang on to. Yeah.
Andrew: Totally. That's awesome. Sorry. We segue from the 52 marathons into the Ignite talk but...
Andrew: ...but that's okay because it's part of your story and then you've got this 100 favorite things page, which is just kind of a cool like way for people to get to know you, which has like all kinds of just random links to things that you like and it's clearly very much like in your voice, you know what I mean? What inspired you to do that? Like here, I'm going to put up this list just so that people don't ask you, or what?
Brendan: No, I just like so I do almost how many years ago...this now probably almost five years ago, I started doing this and a post on my blog every Friday, which is now just it comes an email newsletter, too, but it's called Friday Inspiration and it's just things that I find on the internet every week that I think are great because I spend some time, you know, bouncing around the internet reading things and it's my way of sharing it. And I really think that at least half of the people who subscribe to my email list or visit my website are there just for that and they don't care what I write on Thursdays. So it's one of those things where I just collect cool things almost always positive, you know, things that I think are inspiring and one way or another you know, if the story itself that is linked to that I linked to isn't like a really positive story at least the writing is admirable or something like that. So you know I was kind of just thinking about what are 100 things that I really like. All time things that I am into and so I started going through and like, yeah, there's a few books, few albums, few this and that. I just came up with 100 of them because I thought it would be...I thought it'd be fun. And yeah, there's some there's some YouTube stuff, some like Spotify playlists, restaurants, you know, and I think I think everybody should try to sit down and come up with something like that at some point it's pretty fun to think about, like, with no categories you know no limits. Just, just what are your favorite things.
Andrew: Right, that's a lot of fun. And I noticed there's a link to like the gear, obviously, you're in the outdoor industry and gear is a big part of that, it's kind of a gas in the tank for pretty much everything, you know, especially editorial having spent time in the outdoor industry myself. I know that gear and gear reviews, it's kind of how you can keep the lights on. How do you do your gear partnership there with the site that you have, how does that function as a part of the business, I guess.
Brendan: Up until really recently it was just an advertisement on the site that I had from a company from Outdoor Research, and I just recently switched to Arc'teryx as a sponsor and that doesn't necessarily involve having an ad on my site. So that's kind of cool. It's more based on appearances, you know, public speaking, stuff like that, creating things for them and just in general, being an ambassador for them, which is cool. You know I tried to do gear reviews on my site early on and realized that was a super horrible item. There are people who are great at telling you the difference between fabric X and fabric Y and which one is more water repellent yet breathable, and I am just awful at it, you know. I just want to put on a jacket and go and go do my thing, and hopefully it works. And if it doesn't, I'll get a different jacket, but I still, I just don't pick things apart that way and I've had to tell people that when they're like, "we could send you some gear to review," and I'm like I don't do that, it's bad, it's a bad idea, you know, but early on it was a really cool way to get free stuff, you know, and you're like yeah I'll review at tent, you know, or whatever, but when you realize how much you have to dig into those things like figure out the difference between two tents or two. You know what works, what doesn't, all that stuff. It's difficult for me. I like stuff that works, you know, and most of it works pretty well.
Andrew: Right, and they're not going to like pay you to review, something that doesn't work, and they're not going to waste pages or pixels to, you know,
Brendan: Yeah, or what's the point of like you never see anybody like here's the top five tent you should not buy.
Andrew: Well, right. Yeah.
Brendan: This one suck this one side. It's always like, which is good. I don't see points like writing negative reviews about anything, but yeah, so it's, yeah, I like to have stuff that works. And, you know, being a part of the outdoor industry for gosh over 10 years now, you find ways of getting it, you know, for free or cheap or used or whatever. I haven't been in a situation where I've needed to buy something brand new retail for a while, but I occasionally do, but like you know it's it's nice, you know you realize that a certain point, you kind of just have most of the stuff you need. Yeah like I'll look down and be like, oh, this ski jacket is like four years old, I should, I'm representing this brand perhaps they would like me to wear something newer. I don't know, but you don't need to. So...
Andrew: So you've been able to partner with some companies to help out with the site, which is a nice little sort of foundation, but otherwise it's, you know, getting out there and doing it and doing the work. What does your creative process look like to come up with one of those graphics? You've by setting a weekly deadline for like a post or whatever, or whatever your goal is. That repetition and that routine is obviously crucial. But like how do you come up with the idea itself, I guess, right?
Brendan: Yeah I know I hadn't...so the year before I started my website semi-rad.com, I went on this bike tour across the US with my buddy and we were trying to raise money for the nonprofit I worked for the time. So as a way of keeping, staying in people's consciousness and also updating our mothers and girlfriends where we were I kept a blog of our trip, and I didn't have an iPhone. I think Tony had one of the newer iPhones at the time. Since it was 2010, I was very unfamiliar with asking your phone for directions at that point, I don't know if anybody did that. So I had this I had this little like ASUS laptop that was like a basically a netbook $300 thing I got from Best Buy and a digital camera. Every night, we would stop at a hotel, Tony doesn’t like hotels, he was not a big camper because he's seven feet tall. So it's also hard to find a tent that fits a seven-foot-tall person and sleeping pad etc etc. So we'd stopped at a hotel every night, and I would write what happened that day and you know a lot of days it wasn't that exciting but I realized that, you know, it was, it was, you know, pretty boring day, but a lot of my friends who were just at their jobs, you know, back, back in Denver or wherever just working it was more exciting than some of the some of their days at work so little escape for them.
Andrew: And I read that back in the day.
Brendan: Thanks man.
Andrew: I mean, so I was the target audience and it did do that for me. You know what I'm saying, like, because I read your work when I was at Backpacker and then you know the launch of Semi-Rad when it went live. I was like, this is just great. Like the way it all came together.
Talk about parlaying like the ethos and explain to me, or not just me I know, but for our audience, the ethos of what Semi-Rad actually is because to read the stories and go on the site is one thing and see the graphics on Instagram. But you explained it to us and explained it to our listeners a little bit like the Semi-Rad concept.
Brendan: Yeah. So yeah, to back up. After that bike trip I was talking to a friend who works at a branding agency. And I said, I think I want to start a blog and we're just having coffee. And he goes, you know, one thing to think about the thing I really liked about your, your blog, you biked across America, is that every morning it was there when I got up. I knew there was going to be something to read. And he said, you might think about that regularity and right there, I said, Okay, I'm gonna do it every week, you know.
A lot of people will start a blog and say, I'm going to blog every day. And it's, there's just, that's really difficult for a lot of people to come up with a new piece every day. So I said, you know, every Thursday. I think I could pull that off. So at the time. I don't know why I had fixated on the words semi rad. I'd seen this book called Semi Tough when I was a kid like 13 years old, walking around the mall in Omaha, Nebraska, in like a waldenbooks or something. And this cover always stuck with me as the phrase semi tough and it turns out it's a book about football. I think it's fiction. I've never read the book, I just remember the cover. And I thought, semi rad. It's kind of like, yeah, we're not I'm not that great. I'm not like climbing Everest or even El Cap. I'm not winning marathons. I'm not super, I'm not really good at anything, but I have fun and I think most people are like this, you know? Most of us are not in the top 3% of our sports, you know, we're just out there doing our thing. So maybe I can capture that sort of ethos and put that in the form of stories on my blog and find the things that we have in common.
Since then, it's sort of I would say it's evolved a little bit from the original tagline was something like “the relentless pursuit of the every man's and the every woman's adventure”. And I think of it more nowadays as a place to create content that's positive in some way. Yeah, some of it has to do with adventure, but sometimes I just write about something that's barely relevant to adventure, but it's also a life thing just hoping it doesn't, you know, there's so much stuff if you spend any time scrolling through anything besides Instagram, you're like finding so much negative stuff to read. The internet in general just makes you feel bad in a lot of ways. And I think, well, if these posts are not going to go worldwide, or, you know, they're not going to like to blow up the internet, but maybe they'll make a difference to a handful of people you know every Thursday or every Friday when I do. So it's, yeah it's I've sort of, I'm not an extremely positive person by nature, but I have sort of disciplined myself to not be negative on the Internet. So, people might, you know, if they meet me. They may be like that. Sure. I thought you'd be really, really enthusiastic and you know, really, really positive in person, like, yeah, okay, sometimes. Yeah, I am. I think in general, I'm writing notes to myself sometimes with some of this stuff and being like, this is the way you should be. Don't be this way. I'm just trying to make the world a better place in a very small way.
Andrew: Or a lot right now we need a little bit of that don’t we.
Brendan: Oh, man. Yeah.
Andrew: Not to date this episode, but folks, we're recording this on March 19 of 2020, and there's a massive snowstorm here in Denver, looking out my window and you know the world is coming to grips with a new reality. So we appreciate Brendan that you're willing to not be negative on the internet and also give people something to take away. I think those Instagram things, those little vignettes that you do are just fun and they're you know instantly shareable. I mean, they play really well on Facebook, that's for sure. But then, you know, it's giving people something to latch onto that's not the news of the day. And I have to say it's suffocating right now and I appreciate the energy and effort you're doing to put in something every week. Man, that's not easy to do.
Brendan: Yeah. And you gotta. I mean, I've been thinking in terms of you know, if you're, if the content you create is a response to the news or the sort of thing that's of the moment, oftentimes that content is only good for about five or six days, and I sort of want things that are able to live a lot longer than that, you know, like, yeah, maybe, maybe I don't want to be you know, maybe we'll get away from smartphones, at some point, but I think we're gonna have toasters, you know, in like 30 years so jokes about toasters are always going to be they're gonna be pretty good, probably through the end of my lifetime, unless we find a better way to make toast.
Andrew: Like don't put a knife in it, like that and time honored advice from your parents.
Brendan: There's a place for that sort of stuff. But I always think of like if I'm writing this could go in a book and be good in five years, or would it be sort of you know of the moment and go away and I have done a handful of those things. But yeah. Right now it's it'd be...there's a lot of material you can put out that has to do with the way everybody's feeling right now, and it's I think some of it is you know it's good, but I also, I kind of battle with that going well. Maybe I just want to sort of keep doing my thing in good tastes, you know, not like not like avoid the issue, but sort of just do your thing, and be a break from all the...because like a break from all that news because literally your entire newsfeed is taken up by articles about this and it's not helping. It's not helping me become less anxious.
Andrew: Right. And you got to separate. There's Brendan, the guy with the social network. And then there's Brendan who runs Semi-Rad who's trying to make sure that the rent gets, you know, the lights get paid and you don't ever want to. It's really difficult with business in the social media age for sure. Um, so with that said, and I definitely don't end a bummer because this is this show is all about promoting small businesses and people like yourself who have an idea and really follow through with that. What do you think is next for semi rad, other than global pandemics, you know, aside, like what do you want Semi-Rad to go in the next year so?
Brendan: You know, I'm trying to figure out more ways to make things that will be useful to people on their walls, you know, things like that. Other book ideas, I have book projects in the works. You know, it's cool to like to be able to reach people via social media, but a large part of what I do is just basically giving away these square shaped charts and they just get used without attribution all over the internet and it doesn't really benefit me that well. So I would rather be something that's a little bit longer lasting than just that day and somebody's life. So I have a few different products that I'm I was gonna put out a few different things in the next couple months, but I don't, you know, it's like it's really just tone deaf to be like, hey, you should buy this new poster that I that I'm introducing today, you know, and when people are worried about a lot of different things besides you know what's going on. I'm not not counting on the revenue from this new poster. This new shopping bag design will like to carry me through the next month. And I think it's okay not to to not be introducing those things when people have a lot bigger worries on their plate right now. So, plus it would just be a bad sales tactic. What are you talking about, I'm like, trying to buy toilet paper. I don't care about your new t-shirt design.
Andrew: We're very much trying to balance that ourselves too and we sort of provide an essential service in a way where, you know, people need labels for products. So we have to make that stuff so that other things can be made. And so being part of the supply chain is tough and keeping our customers happy and not pissing off everybody on social media is also that really tough balance that we all play and our social media person is very attuned to that. And she's keeping her finger close on the pulse, because it's not it's not fair in these times to seem like you're trying to take advantage of people you want to be there to add value and maybe levity to, you know, without not having seriousness in a, you know, understanding the sobriety, the situation.
So it's good that you're promoting people to get outside, as long as they're six feet apart and everyone's washing their hands, right? But I'm glad you haven't done that as a graphic yet, although I guess getting outside is like the original social distancing, right? That's the beauty of that sort of pursuit. But in any event, thank you so much for sitting down with us and sharing quite a lot actually. We covered a lot of ground, and I hope folks were able to pick up some of those mantras, where can people find you Brendan, if they're looking for you out there on the internet?
Brendan: Semi-rad.com is the website. And if you want to find me on Instagram or Twitter, it's @semi_rad on both of those. I'm deleting my Facebook at the end of March, so no more Facebook.
Andrew: Cleanse. Wow, okay. Your personal or the Semi-Rad?
Andrew: ...both wow, just...
Brendan: Doesn't seem to be working for me anymore so what's the point?
Andrew: I will miss you. I have to say I do love those popping into my feed, but I could see you, I could see why you say that because Facebook is kind of going in a direction that some people can't quite you know, like it's just for some people, it's not where they want to be. Instagram is clearly your best sort of aspirational platform for what you do and the kind of stuff you do.
Brendan: Yeah, and owned by Facebook but...
Andrew: You can't win them all.
Brendan: Yeah, it's fine.
Andrew: It is fine. Well, thank you so much. It was a pleasure, folks, you know, find Brendan out there in all the places that he mentioned. It's always a pleasure sitting down with you folks. Be safe out there. Be well. Thank you so much for tuning into Stickers on the Mic. We hope we've been able to add a little bit of service and perhaps a little bit of levity to your week. So thank you everybody out there in podcast land. It's always a pleasure. And don't forget, every sticker has a story. Thanks, Brendon.
Brendan: Thanks, Andrew.
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