Your entire organization is capable of amazing ideas. Don’t look just towards the leaders of your company to solve challenges. There are people in every level of your organization that will help you succeed…Every one of your partners from logistics, shipping, marketing, accounting is an important part of your brand and your team. As a small business you need partners to help you grow. These partners need to understand your brand’s philosophy and strategy as they are as much as an ambassador for your business as your employees.
I had the pleasure to interview Scott Murray. As the COO of AMS Distribution, Scott is launching a new product, ecoegg, from the UK, across North America. He has built and developed the products supply chain, logistics, sales, marketing, and launch strategy for the brand and looks forward to its success. A progressive business leader with over two decades of orchestrating and delivering services and solutions for retailers to adapt and grow their businesses, Scott’s proven track record in developing national service organizations is inclusive of marketing, advertising, retail technology, category management, and retail pricing. His experience working with retailers developing strategy and executing new concepts provides him with the ability to evaluate recommendations and decisions, understanding what the impact is across the business and downstream with the retailer and the consumer. Scott served on the Nielsen Retail Advisory Board for over 10 years, providing leadership guidance and direction as well as other retail advisory boards and committees with Revionics and the National Grocers Association.
Thank you so much for joining us Scott! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
After spending much of my career as an executive at a large corporation, I decided to change direction with a new challenge and open a small business. Through this venture I was fortunate enough to develop a great friendship with a group of like-minded individuals with a vision. That vision created AMS Distribution, the distribution company for Ecoegg in North America.
Can you share your story of Grit and Success? First can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?
The ecoegg laundry egg was developed in Gillingham, Kent, a small community in the country side of England. We all instantly saw how disruptive the ecoegg laundry egg can be in a category that has not had a lot of innovation in a number of years.
The great thing is our retail and online partners saw the innovation as well and instantly recognized what made the product special. A reusable laundry egg, that has been scientifically tested to work just as well as its competitors, is great for sensitive skin, and costs less than its eco-friendly competitors. Just because they were excited to see something different did not mean they would commit to carrying the brand.
Launching a consumer brand is a major endeavor, especially one that changes the way people think about doing laundry. I’m not sure if you know this but not many people enjoy doing laundry. So how do you get a consumer to try something different and change a process that has been the same for generations in a task that they don’t enjoy?
I referenced the movie Field of Dreams many times in our conversations. “If you build it, they will come” is something that will not grow a brand. Just offering an all-natural laundry detergent alternative is not going to help consumers identify with the brand.
We are not a big company or a giant corporate brand. We had to do things differently to grow the ecoegg brand. We have spent and continue to spend countless hours educating consumers that there is a different way that does not involve harsh chemicals and is better for the environment. Our team enjoys talking to customers and engaging them on social media from both the UK and the US.
Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
I’m fortunate to have a great group of partners that work as a team to support each other. Each of us has their own strengths but together, as a group, I feel there is no obstacle we cannot overcome.
So, how are things going today? How did Grit lead to your eventual success?
Today the Ecoegg laundry egg is in over 1000 locations in the US and growing and will soon be launching in Canada. Our consumer engagement continues to grow as the ecoegg brand continues to gain consumer awareness and recognition. The feedback from our customers has been amazing. We have had countless messages from customers on how much they like the product, as well as some special ones about how the laundry egg has made a big difference for individuals with sensitive skin issues.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
We work with a great team of folks over in the UK and, without them, none of this would be possible. As someone who had never been to England until we started working with Ecoegg, with every country or business some terminology and acronyms may be different, but you can usually interpret or in our case think you can interpret the meaning. After weeks of metric conversions, calculations on shipping to maximize cube, coordination on sailings we were finally ready to pick up the first shipment and found out we ordered the wrong height container and the pallets did not fit in the door. Don’t assume a meaning. Ask the question.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Ecoegg laundry egg is a unique product. As a brand we believe doing the right thing for your family and the environment should not cost a fortune. At a time when the world is more aware of the impact of plastic in our oceans and chemicals in our water supply, ecoegg is doing its part to address these issues by providing an eco-friendly solution.
What is most enlightening to me is how the brand has helped people with dermatological issues and sensitive skin. One of our customers in Florida told us that for years she had a rash and tried numerous medications and creams on it. She changed from using the “clear” and “free” types of commercial laundry detergents to using the Ecoegg. After a few weeks, her rash had gone away.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Running a small business never stops. It’s easy to get consumed each day with a different challenge. Trust and enable your team so they can grow. Try to schedule time away from the business each week whether it’s breakfast with a friend or an afternoon enjoying your favorite hobby. Whatever it is, there are always going to be reasons to cancel. But stick to it. Good leaders need time to think.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
I have been fortunate to have several mentors in my career. Each taught me so much at different stages of my career. The learnings from each have helped me develop into a leader today. One, 20 years later, continues to be a very good friend. A few years back I was able to provide guidance, too, in return.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my company” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Your entire organization is capable of amazing ideas. Don’t look just towards the leaders of your company to solve challenges. There are people in every level of your organization that will help you succeed.
- Ask for feedback but understand you may not like what you hear all the time.
- Trust and empower your team to make decisions. As a leader, encourage your team to make decisions and bring solutions, not issues.
- Every one of your partners from logistics, shipping, marketing, accounting is an important part of your brand and your team. As a small business you need partners to help you grow. These partners need to understand your brand’s philosophy and strategy as they are as much as an ambassador for your business as your employees.
- Be open to try new ideas. Not every new Idea will be a home run but you will always continue to learn and adapt.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!