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Hoodzpah

In this episode, Jen and Amy talk shop with us about how Hoodzpah came to be, the source of their entrepreneurial spirit, taking joy in doing the work, and how they’ve landed coveted clients like Disney, Target, and Nike.

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Start before you’re ready

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Ep
169
Dec
29
With
Hoodzpah
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Can you charge too much for a logo?

You might better know Jen and Amy Hood by their clever business name: Hoodzpah. The California-born, Kentucky-raised twin sisters co-founded their brand identity and type design studio because they had to. And before they were ready to.

In this episode, Jen and Amy talk shop with us about how Hoodzpah came to be, the source of their entrepreneurial spirit, taking joy in doing the work, and how they’ve landed coveted clients like Disney, Target, and Nike.

The conversation gets even more interesting when Chris asks, “How much do you charge for a logo?” A question that ultimately leads to a spirited debate on pricing and relative value.

If you’re a designer, or considering starting your own design business, then give this one a listen and learn from two helpful and acclaimed design pros.

Hosted By
special guest
produced by
edited by
music by
Appearances

Episode Transcript

Amy:

It's so much easier to start when you're young and you have blind ambition. So, I really try not to tap down any ambition that someone has when they're young, even if it may be too soon for them to start their own business. Because ideally, you would get two to three years working for somebody else so that you can see how things work, what to do, and what not to do.

Jen:

On someone else's dollar.

Amy:

And with steady income, because you want to have that savings net for when you do go out on your own. But at the same time, nothing will force you or persuade you more than not having any other fallback than to just do the outreach and get clients because you have to pay your bills.
(Silence)

Chris:

Well, first of all, I want to say it's so lovely to see both of you again. I guess, since the pandemic we've not crossed paths at one of the many speaking engagements or tours. And I don't get to see you in real life and your crazy, sparkling energy, but I'm just thrilled just to see you virtually here.

Amy:

I know. It's-

Chris:

How have you been?

Amy:

We used to have our once-yearly Adobe MAX Hangout.

Chris:

Yeah, right.

Jen:

I know it's funny. I keep having friends move back to LA and they're like, "Oh my gosh, we should hang out." And I'm like, "I haven't seen my LA friends in decades." You'll understand once you're a local, but even your friends who live sort of close in LA, you just never see, unless it's a conference or something, it feels like.

Chris:

Yeah. So I'm so excited to catch up with you, but there's probably a handful of people who don't know who you are. Can you do me a favor and introduce yourselves?

Jen:

I'm Jen Hood of Hoodzpah. This is my twin, Amy. I speak on behalf of... no.

Amy:

Jen's the mouthpiece.

Jen:

And we are sisters and co-founders of Hoodzpah, and we do branding, identity work, type design. And to be honest, a little bit of everything, because when you do brand identity, you kind of have the joy of, if clients like working with you at the beginning, they keep asking you to do everything. And it's just when you want to say no.

Amy:

Yeah. And you just keep bringing people on as you need, and that's why branding is so fun.

Chris:

Yes. Okay. So I think I just want to quickly point out, this is probably a first for us. It's our first two guests on at the same time, first twins, first design twins. And so we're doing a lot of first things today. First double hit of blonde. So a lot of excitement and energy here.

Amy:

Double bleach treatment.

Chris:

Okay. You guys know we're in for a wild ride.

Jen:

Get that peroxide high going, you know?

Chris:

If you normally need coffee to be caffeinated, I would say, don't do that. It's going to be too much energy for you. You could just fuel the energy through your ear holes right now and take all of this in. Okay. I'm-

Jen:

And Chris, this is exciting too, I have to say. I was so worried this morning really quickly, at the office, the electricity went out because they're moving all of the above-ground internet and electricity cables underground. And the minute they turned it on this morning, everything went dead and it just devolved back into, like prehistoric times and we were panicking and we were like, "It's so funny how we have so many skills and we're so evolved. And then the electricity goes out and you just turn into like the worst version of yourself." And I was just like, "What are we going to do? How do I..." And then I'm like trying to... I was about to email you actually because I was worried, but I'm so glad it went back on and we turned back into the best version of ourselves. Ready for this. And I'm so excited that we got to talk to you.

Chris:

Just in time. Just the way it works, right? Yeah. A little sketchy moment there. Okay. You know what's really interesting to me? Besides all the design stuff that you do, the lettering and all the beautiful work is that you also teach people about pricing strategies and how to run a design business. And so that's relatively new, unique and different in the world of creative people. How's that been going for you?

Amy:

It's been so fun. And it started with our book, which we talked about a couple times, yeah. But it's so weird how, when you're a designer or a creative of any kind, you always think the greatest joy comes from the work. But then, if you ever get the chance to mentor or teach, that changes so quickly because... Sure this job is fun and that's all great, but being able to help someone else figure out how to make more, get the dream clients, get the work they want, helping them the way that somebody helped us when we were young, is just so rewarding. So it's been really fun. And not only that, it's been making pretty good money too. So it's like a win-win.

Chris:

I love that.

Jen:

You know what I feel like? I'm investing in the future, yes. And that feels good, but also, it's almost like, as a grandparent, it's like, you really need to treat your grandkids and kids right because you're about to be phased out. You know what I mean? So I feel like I'm training up the next generation and I'm building bonds and I'm hoping that when I'm on my last leg, they throw me a few bones here and there. Maybe a little design project over here. And that way, when I'm coughing out dust, I still have some income, hopefully.

Chris:

Wait a minute. You're not that old. What are you talking about? Come on.

Jen:

Oh in the life cycle of a creative... do you know what I mean?

Chris:

Oh, I see. It's like God years?

Jen:

It is. It is funny. People, I feel like you phase out earlier because there's so much good, young talent and you meet creative directors of giant companies and they're 35 and you're like, "Dang, this is kind of crazy, right?"

Chris:

Yeah.

Jen:

No, I'm just joking though. I'm really not manipulating or conniving, but at the same time, it really does feel good. I feel like in some ways, there's benchmarks we've reached for our studio that have been so exciting, but then, the benchmarks we reach helping other people do things that are exciting to them, it feels like that much more exciting when it's someone else. I don't know that you get to live through it vicariously all over again. Almost like kids, you know?

Chris:

Yeah.

Amy:

Well, Chris, do you find... Because you have all your students, I find that having younger generations, some of them aren't younger, some of them are just peers and we're all just swapping knowledge. But I just find having other people there to tell me about new things coming down the pike or share styles or... It keeps me young. I find that it keeps me young in a way that if we were just doing our own thing, we might become myopic.

Jen:

Yeah.

Chris:

Yes. I think we get caught up in our own bubbles and we forget that there's a whole nother world and people have different points of view. And so being around people who are learners, regardless of what your chronological age is, they're not old, crusty and jaded like some of us are. And so they remind us. Like, "Oh yeah, there was a time when I used to look forward to those things." And it keeps you really honest and grounded, I think. Is that your experience?

Jen:

Right. Oh yeah.

Amy:

Oh, totally.

Jen:

Yeah.

Amy:

Totally. Or even just with live streaming our design process. People will be in there, being like, "Why don't you use this tool? It's way quicker. You just took 15 minutes to do what this new tool takes two seconds to do." And I'm over here, learning the Shape Builder Tool, live on air while everyone just reams me. But it's this great humbling process of, technology is always changing so if you're just doing things the way you've always done them... there's all these new ideas, new ways of doing things. So yeah, any kind of sharing your process, I always find I learn just as much, if not more, from sharing what I think I know, because you have to quantify it. And you have to kind of organize it all together and it really does help you solidify the why.

Chris:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Now, I know we've done several pieces of content together, but I'm always a little surprised when people actually never watch the YouTube channel and they only listen to the podcast. So for those people, if you don't mind, I just want to do a little quick origin story of you two so that at least they know who the voices are and where it comes from. You're not native Californians, you're from Kentucky originally, is that right?

Amy:

We were born in California, but we did do our formative years in Kentucky. So you are 100%. Right.

Jen:

And our grandma and our mom's family all lives there. So yeah, all the people are there.

Amy:

So our heavy ties in Kentucky, yes.

Chris:

I see. Okay. When is it that you discovered design and who discovered it first?

Jen:

Gosh, well, I think we discovered art really early because we loved to draw and doodle. And our mom had that book, let's see... Something about, Help your kids make a million dollar lemonade stand. I don't know. Maybe somebody knows an actual title that's somewhat similar to that. But the idea being, I think our mom always had this great idea that she would raise entrepreneurs, which is great because, from an early age, she was always telling us like, "Oh, let's write a book together." And we would doodle book ideas together. And we wanted to draw murals on our wall and she made us sketch something out so that we could prove our concept to, her, the art director.

Amy:

Yeah. It was like Shark Tank. We had to...

Jen:

Propose it to the board and she would pass it and then we would get to draw on our walls. So she gave us a lot of freedom, but also instilled this crazy amount of just blind belief that we could do stuff and make stuff and just kind of do it. So we would drawed a lot, drawed it a lot. We drawed a lot. But then, later on, I think the easiest-

Amy:

Pretty soon we started making it lucrative. Like, in high school I would make a Valentine's shirt for my boyfriend. Like bedazzle a shirt that says, I love Ross, or whatever. And then the other girls would be like, "Oh, I like that." And so I would charge all the girls to make shirts for their boyfriends. So, pretty soon you start to realize that this is a skill that you can trade. And then somebody tells you in college like, "Oh this is actually a job that you can have. You don't have to do... art can pay the bills." And I think, Jen, it was your aptitude test that told you that.

Jen:

Yeah. I just took a quiz in the community college career center. It's like, "Please help me make money with my drawing." And the computer said, Design. And I said, "I think I'm already doing that for my friend's band." Which everyone does, I think when you're young and you like to draw. You doodle stuff, scan it in and then print it out at Kinko's. And you don't even know that you put comic stands with a doodle and that's graphic design, you know? So yeah. It was more organic like that.

Chris:

Okay. So if I get this right then, your mom has encouraged and fostered a creative and entrepreneurial spirit, so the seeds were planted early.

Jen:

Oh yeah.

Chris:

Now, I just want to quickly get back in there. Who is your mom? Why does she think this is right for her children?

Amy:

To be honest, it's not... It's the Jost family line. And it's the Hood... Also, my dad too. They have always been very hard workers. Like, never expect anything to be given to you. You have to work and claw for it.

Jen:

And then say thank you.

Amy:

So I think it was just a mixture of, our dad is such a hard worker and all of his family really prides themself on that. And then, our mom's whole family have always run their own ranch, run their own farm, run their own business.

Jen:

Very grassroots business.

Amy:

Yeah. And they've always had two or three businesses. They ran the country store, they rented out their fields for farming, and then they also did backhoe service. So it's like always three hands in three different pies. But my grandma is such a baller. So she's also kind of the one who passed down this entrepreneurial spirit. And she would pay for a Cadillac every year in cash. It was a used Cadillac, but it was only a year old.

Jen:

And you know how she did it? She never gave any money away because she used to make us do all the chores around the house, which yeah, you should, you're kids and you have to pull your weight. And it's funny because we would work all day in the yard and she would give us a quarter. She was just really... And that's what she taught us. It's like, "Save, save, save. A dollar saved is worth more than a dollar earned." If you can not live above your means, then you're doing really well, which I didn't think was that novel of a concept until I moved to California where you realize that many people don't understand this-

Chris:

Shots fired.

Amy:

Shots fired.

Jen:

Basic principle of saving your money and, at least budgeting and stuff. So I am really grateful that just basic financial skills, which nowadays I think there's a lot more of that being introduced early on, in middle school, high school, where they have all these apps and programs to try and teach financial literacy. Which is so great because the earlier-

Amy:

I don't even think they do it enough, though. I wish they did it more. I wish it was more built into the curriculum.

Jen:

Yeah.

Chris:

Yeah.

Amy:

Like our friend, [Sen Funch's 00:11:59], he's got a whole startup that's angled at teaching kids financial literacy.

Jen:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Amy:

Yeah.

Chris:

Yeah, okay. All right. So, we understand the hard work stuff runs deep in the veins there. So we get that and you have to earn your way through life, nothing's going to be handed to you. I get all that part. Where does the art and drawing and using creativity come in, prior to you doing that aptitude test on a computer?

Jen:

Okay. We moved around a lot.

Chris:

Okay. Tell me about that.

Jen:

So California to Wisconsin, Wisconsin to New York, New York to Kentucky, Kentucky back to California. All at pivotal moments where-

Amy:

All before 16.

Jen:

All amidst a stream of braces and acne. This is what I'm saying. So we realized pretty quickly, "Oh my gosh, this is a skill people find interesting for some reason," because we would draw. And then-

Amy:

It's like how Lemmy from Motorhead is the most hideous man alive but, put a guitar in his hand, get him up on the whiskey stage, this man can get any lady he wants. It's this kind of thing.

Chris:

I see.

Amy:

If you're an artist, you can make friends despite being kind of ziti and awkward.

Jen:

That sounds sleazy, but it really was a way to just connect with people. And I think we realized, "Oh okay. People find creativity interesting. And we can collaborate with people because they have a band, they want to make this poster or they like comics, I like comics. Whatever." And so I think it was a way to just make a connection. And it was just fun and it's just something we did naturally. So we kind of transitioned that to... Well, and thank goodness we came up during the time when John Fontana was blazing a way for hand-drawn logos because... Do you remember 20... 2000 and?

Amy:

Yeah. Do you remember when this happened, Chris? How did you feel?

Chris:

I don't.

Jen:

How did Art Center take it? I know everyone from Art Center's trying to use Helvetica and me and Amy are doodling hand-drawn lettering and scanning it in and poorly vectorizing it and calling it a logo. But that was early days of our logo treatment but eventually, we did clean it up and learn how to do it properly. Luckily.

Chris:

Okay. I find this a little bit hard to believe because the way that you, since I've known you, you are both very outgoing. You seem super-fun and gregarious, but even if you moved around a lot, I just don't feel like you guys would have a hard time blending in. First of all, you always have your friend or best friend with you everywhere you go so you're never really that lonely.

Jen:

It is handy.

Chris:

So I feel like it's always like, you come into a new school and you just dominate.

Amy:

We didn't-

Chris:

Is that wrong?

Amy:

Okay-

Jen:

It's wrong.

Chris:

Tell me then, because it's hard to believe.

Amy:

I will say, our mom instilled in us, try to be friends with everybody, and people are just as scared as you. So if you just are the first one to go up and talk to them, that's usually all it takes, is somebody to go up and say, "Hey, I'm Amy."

Jen:

So we've always been pretty good at meeting people, except when we moved to California back when we were 16.

Amy:

People in California, man, they like to withhold that love. They're very withholding, especially in high school. I think everyone was just so scared of being rejected. That I just remember, I would see somebody from first period in the hall and I'd be like, "Hey," and start waving. And they were just like, "oh my gosh." And they would just keep walking. I was like, "This is it. We're not in Kentucky anymore. We're not Kentucky anymore."

Jen:

Well because in Kentucky, everyone waves, you wave at complete strangers.

Amy:

Yes. It's a big wave state.

Jen:

It's a big wave state. Yeah, you got to tip the hat otherwise you're a rude outsider.

Amy:

But, Chris, don't you find, even if you're outgoing now, you say that you're a loud introvert.

Chris:

Yes.

Amy:

You kind of learn how to read the room or how to read certain situations and how to get out of your comfort zone. And when we were young, we were really good at it. In high school, they beat us down in California, they beat down our spirit. But we learned again later, just that just remembering that everybody's scared. If you are just the first person to say hi or put yourself out there, people usually want to connect. Wouldn't you say that's true?

Chris:

I don't know, I have to think about this, but I also want to quickly interject that this is an interview with Amy and Jen Hood, from Hoodzpah. It's not an anti-California propaganda piece because it seems like it.

Amy:

We love California, to be honest. But this is probably refreshing because most people just hear us go on and on about how much we love it here.

Chris:

Right. Okay. So this is the departure then, right?

Amy:

Yes.

Chris:

I mean we're here for a reason. We're paying all this money for a reason, right?

Jen:

I will never, you'll have to drag my carcass from this state. I love it so much here.

Chris:

Okay. So this idea that people want to connect maybe because I've grown up in California most of my life, that there is sometimes, and especially in LA, they are standoff-ish, like, "Who the hell are you and why should I even give you two looks?" Because here everybody is famous. Everybody's beautiful. Everybody is talented. And who the heck are you? And what can you do for me? So there is a little bit of that stereotype that I think rings true in some experiences. You guys faced it at 16 but I still am like, "You ladies can't..." I don't know how I could process this that you had a hard time so that you use art to be your peace offering.

Jen:

I wish we could call a friend. Remember in Who Wants to be a Millionaire? we got to call a friend? I wish I could've called to my friends who could've been like, "Yeah, these girls..." you wouldn't believe how quiet... I literally would just go sit behind the gymnasium just so nobody would notice me, I was so-

Chris:

Okay.

Jen:

I love listening to Conan O'Brien's podcast because he interviews a lot of comedians and stuff. But it's funny how even comedians are, generally, when they're not doing comedy, kind of quiet and observant. And I think we really do like to observe the world and gather information and then be like, "Oh, okay, so that's going on." We kind of assess the situation and then we try and make a connection any way we can, to try and reach out to people because we really do, we are social people, I think. Even though, it's not always easy at the get-go. But I think that's also why after that, we've really been interested in creating community because having moved around a lot, we realized how hard it can be to get new community.

Amy:

Oh it can be so hard.

Jen:

And so, later on in our life it was always like, "Let's start a meetup in Orange County because everyone thinks it's only fun in LA. Let's see if we can make something fun in Orange County." So we started a little meetup with some friends and everyone else was craving that same community. And then, with the workshops and stuff like that, I think we're always just interested in like, "Let's try and bring some people together around this. Surely we're not the only ones who think this is interesting or we should put our heads together on this."

Amy:

Share this knowledge or whatever.

Jen:

Yeah.

Chris:

Yeah. I love that. Okay. So for all the art nerds out there who may not have a twin sister, not be bursting at the seams with energy and waving at everybody, I think it's really neat that you were like, "Okay, what is it that I can do that gives me some acceptance and some cache," because especially in that whole social hierarchy, that seems to help. If I do one thing that's unique and people like, I can build an identity around that, right?

Jen:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris:

Going back to my original question, I had asked you who got into design first? So is that Jen with the aptitude test?

Amy:

It was, it was Jen. Jen definitely took the first graphic design class because we were five years into this two-year community college. We were very much overstaying our welcome but our... But our dad was like... I just love that my dad, as soon as we needed a car, he's like, "All right, go get a job." And then it came time for college, I'm like, "All right, dad, are you paying for me to go to UCLA or what?" And he's like, "No." But I honestly thank him for that because we had to work to pay for our school. We had to work to pay for our rent, all those things. So it took us longer to do community college. But because I waited, I made a friend at my coffee shop job and he owned a magazine, him and his friends had started this local magazine.
Okay. Now he had definitely talked it up, it was a coupon clipper. But he gave me my first job and he actually taught Jen and I on the job, he gave us an apprenticeship. So we basically got to learn design for free, on the job and get paid to do it. So I couldn't-

Jen:

That's what you call a good ROI. You know what I mean?

Amy:

I couldn't have asked for a better first job. And he gave us so much responsibility because it was just us three and him churning out three publications and a bunch of print house, business cards for small businesses.

Jen:

And recreating logos for people who only had a 300-pixel JPEG of their logo.

Chris:

Okay. I want to get the chronology here, you come back to California at 16, you deal with the snobby people. And you're in community college, taking a little longer to process this and then you're working. So, are you in your twenties now?

Amy:

Yeah.

Jen:

Twenties, yeah.

Chris:

Yeah.

Amy:

18, 19 20, 21. Yeah. Because we must have got our first job when we were 20, doing design because we started Hoodzpah when we were 25, so...

Chris:

Okay. Okay, very interesting. All right. So you get this job and then, is it a two-for-one? You hire one sister and you get the other one?

Amy:

It was crazy. People always ask, because we always thought we'd do our own thing. We never had classes together, we kind of had our own friends, even though we would bring them together on the weekends but we pretty much had our own lives. Now, we are absolutely merged at the hip in every possible way. And it all started because-

Chris:

I can verify that that is true.

Amy:

Yes. And it all started because this guy who came into my coffee shop was like, "I need two designers." And I was like, "I happen to know somebody who I know works as hard as I do."

Jen:

You know what the funny thing is too? I was working at a California Pizza Kitchen, which, they make some good pizza for anyone out there. Believes, it's true. And I was a server and I was making pretty good money with the tips. So I was like, "We're taking a step back here with this magazine job."

Amy:

Jen, her view of her future was so small.

Jen:

Yeah. I don't know if any of you have been a server at any point, most people have, but it's like when you see life longterm of a server, it's just working nights and weekends, you never see your friends. And then you just get drunk after work to numb the pain of serving people all day. So I was like, "I can't keep doing this. This is really bad for my psyche. This can't be a longterm solution."

Amy:

So yeah, we both worked at the print house.

Jen:

So we worked at the print house. Yeah.

Amy:

Slash Magazine.

Jen:

We got so much great experience by just doing really quick iteration, rapid-fire ad work. There just wasn't time. It was a 30-day turnaround to make two magazines and we had to do 50 ads each for clients.

Amy:

And at one point we had three magazines. They would just keep piling on the magazines, but never hire anyone else. So it was just like... Oh, it was crazy.

Jen:

But it was great work because you do, you just learn so much by just repetition, right? The 10,000 hours. But then, when we started Hoodzpah, we realized we needed to learn again, but with repetition of a different sort. We had to elevate the kind of work we were doing. We didn't want to do ads anymore, obviously. No more coupon ads for local carpet cleaning companies. So we had to do all the things that you tell everyone to do, like make your passion projects, like make stuff you want to get paid for. So we were kind of juggling, I had a part-time job doing more ads for another magazine and then Amy was kind of full-time trying to build up Hoodzpah. And we were living off of some savings and trying to bankroll the dream.

Chris:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). So is that the extent of your design education?

Jen:

Isn't that shocking? We took two college design classes.

Amy:

You took. I took one.

Jen:

Amy took one and then we learned on the job and a lot of things, we-

Amy:

But it was basically three years of on the job training I would say.

Jen:

Yeah. And you know what, we learned all the really good things of soft skills. I'll say we did learn the programs and he did teach us really well, but we did also pick up some bad habits, but that's... you kind of realize, as you go through life, "Oh, okay, I need to relearn that because that wasn't proper or whatever." More of the technical stuff, I think we did have to relearn a lot to pivot to what we wanted to do, but the soft skills we learned were invaluable with dealing with so many clients on such a short deadline, all the time. Just learning to focus their attention, learning all the different communication styles that people have and how, if you really do want to get the most out of people, you can't be so rigid as to not be flexible to how they have to be communicated with.
We're millennials, so we're terrified of the phone, but we had to get on the phone and bother these Boomers about their ad deadline. So, you got to sometimes get out of your comfort zone.

Amy:

Yeah. Oh totally pushed us out of our comfort zone.

Jen:

Yeah and get used to talking confidently on the phone and leading people and making them feel comfortable to say, "It's approved."

Chris:

Yes. So when-

Jen:

Feel comfortable to say, "It's approved."

Chris:

Yeah. So when you talk about soft skills, in case people are like, "What the heck are they talking about?" it's things like thinking, negotiation, communication, right? And then the hard skills are, I know how to use Adobe Illustrator or design or whatever. And you got a little bit of both while doing a gazillion ads.

Jen:

Right. Exactly.

Chris:

Okay.

Jen:

And it's interesting because when you start your career, you are leveraging everything on your hard skills. It's like, "I can do this, I can do this, I can do this." And people hire you based on, "Show me what you can do," right?

Chris:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jen:

But as you move up the invisible ladder or whatever ladder that is for you, if you do want to get up into those higher management positions, it skews way more to soft skills. To the point where, creative directors who've been creative directors for years and years and years, if you ask them to open a file and do something, it's kind of interesting, they don't really have those hard skills directly anymore, they just have really great taste and vision, and they get paid for that. So it is kind of interesting, but we never got to that full point where we fully delegated even with Hoodzpah. We love doing the hands-on work, too. And that's why we've purposefully stayed small, because we want to do the work ourselves, we don't want to just pass it off to someone. We're kind of greedy that way.

Chris:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). It's probably that farming, hard labor work ethic that was instilled in you that you're like, "This is an honest day's work," right?

Jen:

It is, yeah.

Amy:

Of course. It feels good to do it. Yeah, I do. I find a lot of reward from being able to see something at the end of the day.

Chris:

Yeah. This is where you and I may depart from our philosophy on business, right?

Amy:

Right.

Chris:

Because I think that as an entrepreneur, at some point, if you want to grow beyond a boutique creative service agency, that you actually have to hire people, and you have to delegate, and then you have to make-

Amy:

Oh, you do.

Chris:

... hard decisions and-

Amy:

Oh, you have to, you do. And which is why we stayed small. We realized when we started trying to grow, we were just like, his isn't for us, let's just use our name and we'll just get bigger projects and bigger pay. As people see that we are better and better at what we do.

Jen:

Right. But that's the cool thing. Chris, what you built will live long, long after you're gone because you have scaled that to a team that's not just you anymore. I mean, you are that amazing figurehead, but you've trained up all these amazing people who can keep it going.

Amy:

Yeah.

Jen:

So that's, what's so cool is you'll have a legacy. We'll just be that flash in the pan. But it was known. It was known [crosstalk 00:26:19].

Chris:

It was super hot though. Super hot flash in the pan.

Jen:

It burned bright and hard, but it faded out. Because we didn't set it up for a long time, but that's okay with... To be honest we're like... You know what? I think we're more almost expert... They're hiring an expert to do it. They're not really hiring an agency. We've just kind of elevated. But I think there's something really cool to that. When we first started Hoodzpah we did have the vision of "Oh, we want to be the pentagram." We want to grow to be that thing. And then we were like, actually, we can kind of still do these things that we like to do ourselves. We could just be a small brand that's really well known and is an expert in that wheelhouse. And for anyone out there who doesn't feel they're really... That's not their wheelhouse to scale, scale, scale. You really can still get your dream jobs. If you at least position your small brand, the right way as an expert.

Chris:

Yeah. There's a lot of paths towards being, or making a living, being a creative person.

Amy:

Right.

Chris:

What you guys are doing. You can also work for someone that's okay too. Or [crosstalk 00:27:17] you could be like me and yeah. And just delegate most of the work.

Jen:

Well, there's a lot of people working for someone else making way more than we are.

Amy:

Probably way happier.

Jen:

They sleep more. But it's interesting. It's like each person does the path that, yeah they find most interesting. But this is what I want to know, Chris, I'm going to turn it back on you because you recently had your face in Times Square, which is so cool.
And it was from a NASDAQ company that went public, right? But it's like's your face was in Times Square. And unless you're in a Calvin Klein ad or you're a Marvel Universe character being promoted for the next movie. You don't get your face in Times Square.

Amy:

It's so... What-

Jen:

So I need-

Amy:

Want an achievement.

Jen:

I need to know details. [crosstalk 00:27:53] When and how?

Chris:

It's not as big of achievement as you might think. [inaudible 00:27:56]

Jen:

It was there and I saw the photo.

Chris:

Thanks [crosstalk 00:27:59] for drawing me into this and now everybody's going to like, oh, it was just that, that's it? Okay. I'll tell you the whole story. Okay. Very quick story. First of all, it only appeared on that screen for a moment. It was very up and then it was gone and it only looks like it's something because we were given a photograph of it. So it's like, wow, this is awesome. But here's the thing. One of my design, internet, friends, Chris Green, he said, Chris, there's this company and they're going to feature people. You should submit your photo. And I'm like, oh God, do I really want to do this? And then looked at it. Only five people made a comment. So part of the contest was you have to make a comment. I'm like my odds of one of five? Pretty good.

Jen:

Very happy.

Chris:

And they didn't require anything else. They didn't say anything. Like you have to jump through three hoops and wrestle bear or anything. It was really straightforward. Submit your image. Tell us a little something about what you do. And that was it. I didn't think anything else of it. And then Monday morning, they're like, you need to be sure you're there for the opening bell tomorrow at nine or am or Eastern standard time. I'm like, well, that's not a lot of time for me to get on a plane. So I had to reach out to my friends on the internet and that's all it was, it was kind of-

Amy:

[crosstalk 00:29:13] I just love that.

Jen:

Is that not the most amazing parable though, to just put yourself out there because- [crosstalk 00:29:19]

Amy:

And Chris, you have... you are one of the most famous designers out there and you still said, yeah, I'm going to do this little contest on Instagram. I love that. But, you know what I'm saying?

Chris:

If it's one of 2000 people, I'm like, shoot. I mean-

Amy:

But I think that's great.

Jen:

But you played the odds. That's smart.

Amy:

Also, Chris-

Chris:

The odds were really good.

Amy:

And your nighttime skin regimen, you've been prepping for this. You've been prepping for this baby.

Chris:

All my [crosstalk 00:29:44] life for this moment.

Amy:

My face was meant to be big.

Jen:

I want to know what K beauty regimen your eyes was. Yeah. You do not age.

Chris:

Okay. Right. I want to get it back to you guys though. The thing that you said, which I think a lot of people are going to have a hard time figuring out on their own because your story, isn't the typical story. Self-taught, took two classes in a community college and gets a job at a coffee shop design. And then all of a sudden, three years later, I'm going to start a company. So if somebody is out there sitting there thinking I'm doing those coupons or those ads still help me please. What do you say to those people?

Amy:

It's interesting because it's so much easier to start when you're young and you have blind ambition. So I really try not to tap down any ambition that someone's has when they're young. Even if it may be too soon for them to start their own business, because ideally you would get two to three years working for somebody else so that you can see how things work, what to do and what not to do, right? On someone else's dollar and with steady income, because you want to have that savings net for when you do go out on your own, but at the same time, nothing will force you. Or what would you say persuade you more than not having any other fallback then to just do the outreach and get clients because you have to pay your bills. So it's interesting-

Jen:

Which was our experience.

Amy:

Which was our experience. The magazine we were at folded. We were basically just out on our butts and we live in Orange County and it's very expensive here.
So we started our company much sooner than we had anticipated. Because on paper we were not hireable for the reasons that we have said, one design class, worked at a coupon clipper. I wish I could show you my portfolio. It's so funny. But these ads worked for the clients and that's really all that mattered. But as far as getting hired on it, no it wasn't going to happen. So we really just had to start the company just because we knew we had all these friends that had been asking us for months and months and months to do these little projects for them. But we hadn't had time because of our full-time jobs. So we basically just reached out to everybody. But when somebody is at a steady job and they're like, I want to go out on my own and maybe they're a little bit young.
I always just try to tell them start getting a roster of clients on the side, first. Start building up your nest income. Try to get three months savings at least so that you have operating expenses to bank roll the slow months as you get rolling. But at the same time, I love when young people want to start something. Because you never have the freedom like you do when you're young, and you don't have maybe a wife or kids or a lot of overhead from a house. So it's like, why not try something when you'll bounce back and your bones are made of rubber, like why not try something big? Who knows?

Jen:

And I actually feel for people who they do have the steady income, they have reached that really great job that they love, but they still have that dream of going out on their own. It's harder for them because they have such a great thing going, right? You work for someone else-

Amy:

And now they're monthly nett is probably so high.

Jen:

Exactly. So for them, you just have to kind of think about it more of like, will I hate myself if I never try this? Right. So it's like build up your again, build up savings, savings, savings, savings, savings. Because at that point in your life, obviously you probably have a little bit more to lose. Maybe there's people who rely on you. So you just really got to build up savings. And then even still if you can muster up the energy to start it on the side, even though that's a lot to ask of someone, especially if maybe you're older and you're just not as energetic as you once were, but still starting anything on the side is the easiest way. Just low risk and high reward. Just see if you can prove the model with two or three clients, if you actually even enjoy doing it. And then from there you can kind of see am I willing to try and scale this up?

Chris:

In a situation like that, you're working at the magazine and the magazine folds. And so now you're like, what are we going to do? Right. We need to do something. And I look at gaps, sometimes there's a confidence gap. Sometimes there's a skill gap and sometimes there's an opportunity or a network gap. It seems to me you're not short of confidence, your network of friends that you said had been bothering you about doing something. So you had opportunities and you used those three years wisely to close whatever skill gap. But I kind of have to think if you showed your portfolio at that time it just be a bunch of ads and ads generally are not that sexy. Did you feel at that point in time that you had the skills you just didn't have the proof of that in the work that you were doing?

Amy:

A hundred percent, hundred percent. Okay. We always knew. I always was like, I'm going to be a famous artist or I'm going to own my own big business.

Jen:

I just [crosstalk 00:34:07] did not feel the same way. I never felt the same way, but I thought, well, at least I can cling onto Amy while she rides it high into the sky. I don't know why? When I was in Kentucky, I was like, I'm made for big things, baby.

Chris:

Yeah. Did you walk around a little different like head a little higher and [crosstalk 00:34:24] You know, your fart don't stink, that kind of thing?

Amy:

Oh, in high school in Kentucky, man, I used to be, I was so out there, I had so much confidence. That's outrageous. I would dress like Gwen Stefani on or like Britney Spears. I was just so out there. But, yeah. So I think I always really wanted to do that. I just knew that like you said, the skills, maybe I hadn't had the opportunity. And also I just hadn't learned the programs to do the more fun work, the more creative work. I had mostly just been a, kind of a yes man for clients to get their ad done. So, yeah, that first year was just taking on projects. Really any project we could, we were not at all picky at first. And you-

Jen:

But then on the side we were doing passion work. So we made a lot of... just stuff that we thought was cool to try and see-

Amy:

Try and build a style.

Jen:

Exactly.

Amy:

Yeah.

Chris:

Work that you did just for you.

Amy:

Yeah, exactly.

Chris:

Right. I love that.

Amy:

And all of my favorite designers still do that. Even if they work for someone else, even if they work for themselves, people like Matt Stevens. I mean, he did good movies as old books. It's a big project. And I think it was like he did it like something like 150 entries and he ended up making it into a coffee table book that sold out. It was so popular. And it just started as an exercise of what's the pop culture that I love? And how's the way that I can test and flex my old illustration skills and make this something for me. And almost always, when you make something for you to practice a skill and you do more than 10, people grab onto that. People like that kind of thing.

Chris:

Yeah. I think those daily or weekly exercises that you give yourself a prompt, so you don't have to really think about the assignment and that there's a lot of constraints that you work within. Those are great portfolio building exercises that can lead to a lot of different things like great marketing materials, to get clients or potentially turn into a product that pays for itself. I like that. One thing I want to quickly highlight is that whether or not you had it Jen, Amy had it. Right? So she had this belief that she was going to be a world famous designer and everybody's going to celebrate that.
So then she just needed to manifest that into reality. And so I think that's something for people to understand. We're giggling about it. We're laughing about it. Because who is she to think she's so superior to everybody else, right? But you need a little bit of that. You [crosstalk 00:36:40] really do. So each and every single person who's listening to this, think about this future state where you've achieved, not all of your goals, but some of your goals. And then once you magnetize yourself to that goal, the means and the methods will appear. Right? And I think [crosstalk 00:36:58] that's... You are living proof of that.

Jen:

Oh yeah. It's so true. Well, and I met this lady one time. She was saying the important thing is not figuring out how you're going to do it, which that sounds really naive. But hear me out. She said the important thing is not figuring out how to do it. It's just figuring out what you want to do and starting to talk about it with as many people as you can, because the people around you will actually be those connectors that help you get to the next steps. And now of course, yeah. Logically try and thinking through how the best way you would do it is, but don't close your self off to just talking it out with people. Because they'll say, my gosh, I know someone who wants something like that. And they will actually make better connections for you than you could ever just dream up out of nowhere.
Right? Because it's the real world and you just can't plan ahead for the perfect scenario. So yes, plan, because I mean, planning is smart, but then also just talk about it. And it just goes to show... You know Amy was way more confident probably than I was. If I was probably left to my own devices, I would probably just go to work for someone else, my whole life, even though I do like doing my own thing.
So, but it speaks to how important it is to have community around you. And just to hold yourself accountable by telling people what you want to do and then letting them actually kind of ride you on it. Being like, where is that at? Why haven't you finished that? Having people who can kind of call you on your stuff so that you can push yourself to the next level, if that's what you want. Not everybody wants to be constantly harassed and ranked, but I actually kind of like having friends who really talk honestly with me about things that I've said I want to do.

Chris:

Yeah. I think it's so neat and special that you have a friend, a sister and a business partner and someone who has very complimentary personality traits where she, as far as I know, comes her across as the rebel, the risk taker, the I don't care if it works out, because I'll make it work. And then you're the pragmatic, let's get this thing done. And so she can jump first and you're like, how's the parachute, [crosstalk 00:38:50] what parachute? Right? I didn't know I needed a parachute. And then you're like, she didn't die. I'll jump too now. But it's a combination of those two things. And it's very rare and special that you have that, especially because you're sisters and it works out really well. Okay. I want to circle back to something that you kind of just said very jokingly, your grandmother had money because you never spent any of it. You never gave it to anybody. And I'm thinking work at a coffee shop, design for magazine living in California. The math doesn't add up. It's [crosstalk 00:39:24] pretty expensive to live here.

Jen:

We were living with eight people at one point.

Amy:

Oh yeah. We were living in a big house. Yeah.

Chris:

Okay. Don't don't skip any of the details. Tell us the dark period there. Yeah. Tell us all that.

Amy:

My gosh. It was such a dark period. When that guy offered me that job, I was working at this coffee shop and people were honestly worried about me. I was cursing like a sailor. Any little thing would fly me off the handle. I had not achieved these dreams of being a famous artist and I thought it was going to be fine art. So I think I was like really spiraling as to like I had all these goals why I thought I was so good. Why is no one seeing the potential in me? They're not seeing me the way I see me. And it was so good though. I find that we've thrived under rejection. And I read this article by Brian Collins it was a letter to design students or something like that.
And the student basically asked him, I don't feel comfortable. I don't feel like there's a place for me. I don't feel there's anybody who really wants what I have. And he said most of the greats don't and I'm not saying I'm a great, he was just saying if you're carving a new path where people don't really share the same taste as you in this area or in this field, that means you need to start your own little community. You need to start your own little thing. Start-

Jen:

Invite people into what you're doing.

Amy:

Start inviting people into what you're doing-

Jen:

Rather than trying to fit into what they're doing.

Amy:

Sure, so I think pretty quickly I was like, okay, I'm probably not going to go to design school. I don't have the money. They don't want my portfolio.
And so I just started taking opportunities and then maximizing them. So at that coupon clipper, I started my own interview column and I... We had great readership because it was a free magazine that had a few local interest stories and then mostly just ads. Well, I would convince the editor to give me a interview column where I would interview local celebrities. And I would just tell them what the readership was. I never showed them the magazine. I would just call their PR people and say we go to a hundred thousand homes, great readership. We'd like to interview buzz Aldrin. And they would say, sure.
And so we interviewed people like Merle Haggard and all these really cool people. And, I can only imagine their face when they actually got the printed magazine, just shock and horror. We just leveraged the opportunities we had to be the best they could, and to kind of get us to that next level. Only then when we started Hoodzpah as far as we were renting a place with five, there was five of us total.
And then we had the kind of living room sectioned off as Hoodzpah HQ and we just made it look so cool and then took photos at the right angles to make it look like a studio. And so that was the office and that was what we used on the website to make it look like this was a above board operation. And then there was just a lot of trade with friends, for photography and stuff like that to make it look snazzy.

Chris:

I like that. My gosh. Because yeah, I suspected this was true and you're proving it to be true. The name Hoodzpah is really what you embody, the fact that you had the intestinal fortitude to just call up famous people. I'm like, you know what, I'm going to just by hook or by crook, get stuff done. Because I got places to be and things to do. And you didn't let the reality of it temper your vision of what the futures like. For you, you're like I'm the creative director, editor of Vogue. I'm not going to call people, that that was kind of how you felt, even though it's like the Penny Saver or something you just.. Right?

Amy:

And I think it's also being instilled with that thing. Our dad would, I don't... He never said it, but it's like, if you're going to do a job, do it right. So even though we were working at a job where I'm pretty sure I was making $12 an hour, we were making literally nickels and dimes but I still treated it... Like I would work overtime. They didn't even pay us overtime. I would just work nonstop because I wanted this to be like Sunset Magazine.

Jen:

And obviously there's some bad habits there. I think we're always more eager to just like, we have to prove ourselves as bit of a chip on the shoulder, but we had to relearn some things like healthy boundaries and actually kind of finally getting used to asking for what we're worth and not apologizing all the time.
Obviously that was a different hurdle we had to pass when we started Hoodzpah, which was not just being like, it's going to be this price, but I'm sorry. I don't know whatever you want to pay. You can't do it like that. So we did have to really learn to show confidence in a different way, not just in skills, but just in talking money, which was not something we were very comfortable with at all. So getting confident there, we had some friends who had really good business experience and so we would just kind of run scenarios with them and they were kind enough to just be like, just say this, this and this. And we just took as much advice as we could from literally anywhere we could get it. Shout out to Mark, Henny and Joel Bugleman. Pretty much everyone who's ever given us advice, ever in our life.

Chris:

Time for a quick break, but we'll be right back.

Speaker 1:

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Chris:

Welcome back to our conversation. Okay? So you're making nickels and pennies and you're working like dogs for three years. They're just piling on the work and you don't spend any of it, I assume because you have to live pretty modestly here. It's not a lot of money at one point you say to each other, I think this is a thing. Well, let's get our own place. And I think we can, we're going to have clients and things are going to work. When was that? How old were you and what happened to trigger that?

Amy:

Gosh, I wish I could remember the moment. I feel it's so easy to just... as you start to accomplish things, it's easy to forget those really early, just big meaningful wins. But I think year three was when we started finally feeling like we had our footing, we finally got hooked in with some local agencies that had got us those logos that you want on your logo carousel, right? Like history channel, Tribeca Film Festival, you put those logos on your logo carousel on your website and people just assume, you know what you're doing.
It's like the power of putting the Nike symbol on literally any design. It immediately becomes cool in the eye of the beholder. And so just having... Being able to say we worked with agencies like these 72andSunny. And just being able to put those logos on the carousel was a huge game changer for us. And that's when we knew, I think like, okay, if we're doing it right for these agencies, we no longer have to worry, is our process what other people are doing? I think everybody worries that is everyone doing it this way? Is this how it goes?

Chris:

So only three years in, into your nascent business. You're working with international brands.

Amy:

Yeah. Which to be honest, felt like [crosstalk 00:46:38] forever at the time.

Jen:

Be a subcontract.

Amy:

[crosstalk 00:46:41] The head on this girl, it's like three years.
Because some people start their businesses and sure, they have more years experience before starting their own business and they just grow so quickly. And I feel like that's what I always see. It's like one year in, they're already working with Facebook or whoever. Like whatever multimillion dollar company, but yeah.

Jen:

We are working with those clients via subcontract from an agency. So, but, and in some ways we're like, okay, this is fine. Literally we'll take it any way we can get it. But I think it also helped us realize, okay. So we really don't need the middleman. We can get these, we just have to build up our confidence in our presentation because those clients do expect a different level of song and dance.
Well, yeah. And leadership through the project, like they just want to know like you're not going to just disappear tomorrow. You're not just like a flight or fancy freelancer, but someone that they can rely on, like they would rely on a large agency. So you just have to, you really have to run your p's and q's and really give the right presentation from the get go. The decks have to be right. The calls have to be right, the way you talk to them. It just has to be a different level of just assurance to them. And rightly so, they've got a lot more on the line when they're those larger companies.

Chris:

The question I always get from people is when you start working with big brands, it's easy to work with big brands. The problem is how do you get to work with the big brands? So you're working with friends, probably mom and pop businesses. And then the next... How is it that?

Chris:

The mom and pop businesses. And then the next [inaudible 00:48:04], how is it that you're able to get one of those big brands?

Amy:

Okay. It's always, I find... Jen and I did this really fun exercise where we tried to circle back to our biggest clients and how we got them. So, for Red Bull, we got that through a DM on Instagram. We were posting work nonstop, really trying to get ourselves into the surf modo kind of arena that we know locally has a lot of work to be had, right? And so, I think we just were really putting it out there and people were starting to notice because Red Bull is locally in this area. But, then things like my friend who started coming to... I met at our creative meetup that we started, he works at ASICS. I did a logo for his wife's ice cream company. He loved it. Then they're like, hey, ASICS needs a logo for this small event.
We need a brand for this event. It's literally like taking on the job that you think, ah, this may not be huge, but it'll be fun. Everybody knows somebody a little bit higher up or with a little bit more clout than them, right? So, I think it's just really taking care of the people in your life and trying to put yourself out there to meet people, which I know has been hard in the last few years. But, even just going to live things like Adobe Live and they have the live chat. Jumping in there and saying hi to people, starting conversations, finding them on Instagram and Twitter and following up with them. Some of our greatest leads have been through friends we literally only know on the internet. We've never even met in real life.

Jen:

Oh yeah.

Amy:

Well and the power of cold emails, because this agency reached out to us a smaller, more a studio [inaudible 00:49:34] call themselves an agency. They reached out and said, if you ever need subcontractor help, we're around. And they did incredible work, but we don't usually subcontract that often. However, we get a lot of work in that we can't take on. I refer to them all the time because they cold emailed me to work for us. That didn't work out, but it doesn't matter. If you have a good portfolio and you're willing to put yourself out there, it's amazing what can come back. You just have to...

Jen:

It's a numbers game.

Amy:

It is a numbers game. It really is. But, another interesting thing about what you were saying, there are brands like Nike, Red Bull who have so much work that they need done and so many sub-projects and sub-events and the budgets aren't always what you would think they would be to be honest. And so, if you can get in with those kind of companies and you're kind of an up and coming studio, they want that kind of experimental, really relevant look for a lot of their capsule collections, a lot of their events. So, really reach out to those places. Never fear because our directors, really they're on the hunt for what's new and relevant in those kinds of worlds.

Chris:

Okay. Couple things to talk about here. Some of the things and you're going to hear recurring themes here is you need to be a little bit fearless. You really do. And that's what you're saying because that leads you right into the whole, put yourself out there. Because if you don't, no one will ever know. And Amy, I guess you're the poster child for this because you keep just saying, hey, you want to talk to me or not? And host hosting events and doing things that creative people generally freak out over like sending out emails to people they don't know and being visible and public and seen. And the other part to your secret is be in Southern California, right?

Amy:

It is. I have to admit, and I think this a lot, there is a perk to being in an area where a lot of business goes down. We're right in the middle of Hollywood, LA, it's ports. There's so much going on. Not to mention San Francisco, which is just a plane right away.

Chris:

Right.

Amy:

So, there's definitely value to that. But, if you give yourself a budget for conferences, you can meet just as many cool people if you are just putting yourself out there and just making the time. And there's people in your area that do cool things and you just never know who they know or who's in their circle of influence. So, take advantage of what you can in your area. And then that will start to grow if you just do right by your clients. [crosstalk 00:51:58].
The things that have come that have had nothing to do actually with local connection, interestingly. So, Red Bull was in the DM. They were just searching hashtags. The power of literally just hashtagging your work. And art directors are looking for a certain kind of thing that they need to get approved to do for their thing. That, but also we reached out to a lot of people who worked at brands that we really admired on Twitter and we met a ton of really cool people that way. That wasn't through a local connection or a local meetup. That was just the power of the internet. And we work remote. We don't have an office where people can come to and we can woo them and wine them and dine them. So, we did have to take advantage of that remote reach out approach that people in secondary, third markets, that kind of thing, have to do a little bit more of. But, it's possible. It totally is possible.

Chris:

Yeah. I'm glad you say that. But, I also was saying it in a very serious way because I have a lot of friends that are not from California. And they're Chris, the kind of budgets you're talking about just not... I'm like, well, dude, this is just normal here.

Amy:

Yeah.

Chris:

And we pay this living tax, quote unquote, to be here because real estate prices are ridiculous. And we're joking beforehand, you can get a tiny little place and it's going to cost you an arm and a leg to get. But, there's this thing where if there's a lot of enterprise and commerce and entrepreneurs that everybody's looking to grow their company and if you're in the creative service space, you're ideally situated. Like you said, there's a lot of people in your backyard, right? In Newport or in Orange County, tons of businesses, from retail, fashion. Where in LA's entertainment capital of the world, lots of opportunities. You pay for that. And we need to be around that. But, you said, too, don't let that be your limiting thing because opportunities exist. You just have to travel a little bit. You can go to a conference. You can go to a trade show or something and just be around others who are looking for help right now. And the other thing that you said, Chris, is this thing it's called social media. You do it, you might get some opportunities and it's totally true.

Amy:

It is. It's true. And it's saturated now. I mean, Chris, how do you feel? I almost feel bad because we got in early. We got in when there was room to be had. Now it is, I feel like it is, hard to stand out now. I totally understand. But at the same time, there's a sick little nature to popularity, right?

Jen:

That's true.

Amy:

And I'm saying that in a good way. The brands are the people that have the big followings now. It's sad, but familiarity breeds contempt, as they say. And I think there is a different kind of advantage to being the new person on the block who has that fresh voice. And I think there's a hunger for that. And there is a benefit to being the up and comer.
So, don't worry if you're not the 60,000 or 200,000 follower person. Because, to be honest, they start to get to a point where they're priced out of a lot of people's budget and there could be a point where even there's over exposure. But, that's a whole other thing. All to say, every single person deals with their own kind of problems, right?

Chris:

Right.

Amy:

And we were up and coming for plenty of time. And I think we did have an advantage of being like, hey, we do really quality work. As quality as any one of these really well known people, but you're going to pay studio prices, not top built prices. And we played that angle for a while.

Chris:

Yeah. So, Amy, in a few short years, you guys will be grandmas. And so, somebody will be looking to fresh new hotness, right? Is that what you're saying?

Amy:

Right. Yeah. Right.

Chris:

There's always room.

Amy:

There is.

Chris:

No matter how saturated something is, there's always room for people who do it better.

Amy:

Mm-hmm (affirmative) That's a good point.

Chris:

So, there's usually the rush and the people who are early in get first mover advantage, but eventually the market settles and then just the cream rises to the top. So, just be on top of your game.

Amy:

Or have a personality, have an angle. That's what I love about... You had Adam JK on. He would not claim to be a great drawer. He would not say, I can draw a figure from memory. That's his charm. That's his charm is he's not trying to be the most perfect drawer. That's why he's awesome and his voice is so funny. So, you don't have to be the best even. You just have to have a funny, interesting story and something doesn't have [inaudible 00:56:05] funny, just interesting.

Jen:

Like a different angle.

Amy:

Well, there's so many of those cartoon shows. When the Simpsons came on, everyone was kind of like, wow, a cartoon show for an adults. How novel? And now you wouldn't think there'd be any more room for cartoon shows for adults and yet they keep coming up with more. It's just like, if you can do it in a new way, there's room for more [inaudible 00:56:25]. Who thought we need another sock brand? But, they came in and did it different right?

Chris:

Right.

Amy:

That's just the power of positioning in a way that people haven't seen from something they're very familiar with, right?

Chris:

Right. I think that's also the power of recognizing niche markets in saying, just because they're sock companies doesn't mean there's a sock company for me.

Amy:

Yeah. Right.

Chris:

For dog lovers. For people who like argyle or for people who are dressed as lumberjacks today. You could do different kinds of things and there's a market out there. I wanted to ask you this question. Because I'm like, oh my God, we're running out of time here. I have to ask you this question. What is your relationship with money today? I know this about people who grow up not on the coast. They believe in hard work. There's always a sense of guilt when it comes to getting paid. You cut your teeth and develop some bad habits at this company where it's just like, just say yes to everything. What is in your own evaluation of what's your relationship with money today?

Amy:

I actually think I'm really proud of what we're getting. I think we've done some projects that have really put our... This is going to sound really vain and I don't mean it to. It's just when you work for 10 years to grow your brand and you want to get the projects that Mackie Saturday gets, that Jessica Hiche gets. Those kinds, that level of project to finally get some, it feels so good. Because we got the Seat Geek logo, which is, I think that's today probably one of our biggest logo projects for a brand that's known, a fairly known brand.
And so, after that we've gotten a few other inquiries that are of the same level in caliber. And we've been able to land prices that I never would've thought we could do just because we didn't get an MBA. And we weren't...

Jen:

And we're only a four person studio.

Amy:

Yeah. And we're a small studio, but I am so grateful for people who when we were coming up, we went to Epicurrence, in what, 2016, which was this designer event thrown by Dan Petty and Mackey Saturday was there. And I was asking him, I don't even understand how anyone could charge 10 grand for a logo. And this was back then. And he was like, you can, I'm telling you right now, you can, your work's good enough. You just have to work up to it and you have to get your decks right. You have to get your presentation right. All I can say is you got to get the presentation right. Because people who pay that much, it's all about, they need a certain level.
So, just having people along your journey who are just telling you, no, you can, it's not impossible. And then from there, slowly getting that price and getting that rate and then boosting our confidence to do that as a new kind of median and then raising the rate even more. I don't know, I do feel like we're finally more confident that we can scale to those higher budget projects. But, at the same time, we still love doing projects for mom and pops as well. Mixing it in because there's a level of freedom and just joy on return on investment when you help a friend who's starting their pasta shop or things like that. And so, be able to mix that has been really rewarding to us and is the perfect blend. And we're still making a good amount of money and we are putting away savings and that kind of thing.

Chris:

Uh-huh (affirmative). Okay. Can I ask you a money question?

Amy:

Sure. I'm scared.

Chris:

Yeah. You should be. You should be. Because one of the most popular videos is when I tell people how much we charge for a logo and they freak out over this stuff, like nobody gets paid $18,000.

Amy:

Right.

Chris:

And they're really quick to say, oh, I'll just go to Fiverr. Chris, you've developed a whole career and [inaudible 00:59:50] no and not getting any clients, right? Okay. I'm going to ask you the question. What do you charge for a logo? Generally speaking.

Amy:

We do it in tiers. So, we have three tiers and they're basically three base prices that we do plus or minus. So, it's small company, which is mom and pop people that we love or we just really believe in what they're doing. Could be friends. Medium is the mid-size company. They could do big things later, but they don't have the budget now, that kind of thing. [crosstalk 01:00:18].

Jen:

But they have a decent amount of funding. They're not using personal money. There's some sort of a built in budget there.

Amy:

Yes. And then there's the big client. The people who have the big name, who are courting the bigger agencies. But, maybe, I find that a lot of people these days are feeling jaded with bigger agencies. I found that there's so much open mindedness towards using small firms where you just get an expert on the team.
So, those would be the higher rates and we don't get as many of those, of course. I would say for that level of logo we've done... What would you say?

Jen:

Like one a quarter.

Amy:

Really? No, no, no.

Jen:

Yeah, yeah, no, because I do the quoting.

Amy:

Well. Oh, okay. I see what you're saying.

Jen:

Yeah.

Amy:

Maybe we do three, two or three in a year.

Jen:

Yeah.

Amy:

For the high high one.

Chris:

Yeah.

Amy:

And then mostly the middle size and then peppered in with the few of just friends or things that we're so passionate about that are small business.
But, to be honest, like you were saying, some locations just can't afford the same rates, right? So, we'll do it for as low as $1,000. And then we'll go all the way up to 50 to 60.

Chris:

Was that uncomfortable for you to say?

Jen:

[crosstalk 01:01:27] was like a piano dropping on Wiley Coyote. I heard it coming. No, but that being said though, the 50 to 60, when you are a small studio, boots are on the ground. The work that's put in to ensure that... Usually the use cases there are so broad. So, you have to prove that this thing will work across so many different applications because usually at that level, it's for an established brand.

Amy:

Yes.

Jen:

And they're taking on a lot of risk to put this new thing out in the world. So, you really have to prove it to them.

Amy:

Stress test it.

Jen:

Yeah. So, there's a lot more of the soft skills of the presentations.

Amy:

And sometimes it's hiring subcontractors if we need help, just in ideation phase or putting together decks, things like that.

Jen:

Well, purely the time of just getting the board and all the people, all the stakeholders that are involved to agree, right?

Amy:

Yeah.

Jen:

So, that's why the price goes up.

Chris:

Yeah.

Jen:

But you know what's so interesting? There's so much to be learned about pricing and money from movies. I was watching My Fair Lady the other day and this professor of linguistics, this street urchin comes in is like, I'll pay you, I forget what it was, five pence to teach me to talk right. And the guy in the room's like, that's nothing, that's a slap in the face. And then the guy's like, actually that's all the money she has. If you think about it, it's a fortune to her. It's the best money I've ever made. And that's the whole thing about a sliding scale of value for pricing on things where it makes sense, obviously. Where it's not just a service that anyone can do where it's a specialized service. And you do, you slide it on a scale based on what they can...

Amy:

Or that's what we do.

Jen:

Or that's what we do. Yeah. They can value and it's worth it. The value to you and the value to them.

Chris:

Okay. I asked this because obviously it's a very tricky thing. Most creatives don't want to talk about money. The fact that you and I and you together talk about money and teach people how to run a business, eventually we got to talk about money somewhere. And so, people are gobsmacked that they're like, what can a human being do with their hands that can warrant such high price tags, right? But, I think you explained it. There's a lot of different things that are going on and people are going to have a reaction to this when they hear this episode for sure. They're going to and then that's why we are a little reluctant to say these things because it feels fine to me, but I also don't want people coming out of the woodwork trying to say, well, who do you think you are?

Jen:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Amy:

Sure.

Chris:

Amy's finally realized her dream. The world's most famous designer [inaudible 01:03:56] can charge. [crosstalk 01:03:56]
You know what I mean?

Amy:

So funny.

Chris:

I'll design you a logo and you can buy me a BMW.

Amy:

Yeah.

Chris:

It's a fair trade, right? And people are like, no. And it's because they have a false attachment to labor and value. This gets into Karl Marx, labor theory value and all that kind of stuff that historically speaking the predominant way to measure value is through labor. And so, people who know how to design logos, that is not worth the amount of labor that goes into a five series BMW or something.

Amy:

Right.

Chris:

They can't process that.

Amy:

Sure.

Chris:

I'd love for you to just take a minute and think, what can you say to the people who are going to have this horrible reaction to hearing both of you say, well, we charged as much as 50K before? This is your opportunity to talk straight to them, to their heart and their soul right now.

Amy:

Well, it's interesting. Once you hit a certain level, you'll be laughed out the room if you don't quote a certain amount. If you say, I can do this for $1,000. They don't want you to do it for $1,000. At that level, there's an amount of prestige that's wanted, as well as they want to know that you have your skin in the game a bit. If you only do it for $1,000, you might not have the dedication level of, okay, they're going to pay me $50,000. I want to make sure I have everybody on the team that we need to make this the best project that they've ever had, right? So, like you said, it's more of a mental thing. And it's the reason that LeBron wants to go out and buy a Louis Vuitton [crosstalk 01:05:34] bag.
Yeah. Fanny back or whatever bag instead of go to Costco and get one for $5.

Jen:

Kirkland.

Amy:

Kirkland brand, baby.

Chris:

Right.

Amy:

And actually I saw Jamie Lee Foxx the other day on TikTok with his daughter and he got his jeans from, it was something like $20 jeans. And it was making me laugh so hard. It wasn't Kirkland, but it was something similar. Anyway. So, some people still are level headed, but when you get to that level, you want the prestige of saying like, we got this designer, we got this studio. And it builds in the value of when you launch this rebrand. And so, I think maybe when we were five years in and again, speaking with people like Mackey, they were saying, you have to start positioning yourself to be perceived as that higher echelon. You need to put the money into the website to make that look like it's not just a glorified WordPress. You need to do all these things to show that you belong among the lineup on Rodeo Drive. Not that specifically, but you know what I'm saying? So that people feel like they're going to the top brand studios when they come to you.

Chris:

Yeah. This is a lot about perception.

Amy:

Yeah.

Chris:

Perception is reality. So, the reason why the food tastes better is because the ambiance of the restaurant and the way you're spoken to and the tablecloth and the cloth napkins. It all creates an experience for you. Seth Godin writes about this in his book, All Marketers are Liars, in that we are complicit in the lie. So, we think the steak is better because we've seen that chef on TV.

Amy:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris:

I've I purchased your cookbook, so I know. And so, part of you building your brand is to create that experience for people in their mind because we're emotional buyers and we lie to ourselves all the time.

Amy:

So true.

Chris:

Right? Is that Louis Vuitton fanny pack better than the Kirkland model? It's debatable.

Amy:

They both [crosstalk 01:07:22].

Chris:

But, it makes you feel very different.

Amy:

It does!

Chris:

They almost make you feel like you are from a different fashion era. They both achieve that equally, but it feels different.

Amy:

And even for the way that your client is perceived, right? They don't want to say they only spent $1,000 on this logo. They want to say, [crosstalk 01:07:39] we went to the agency and that builds in respect from the end user, too. Oh, they got so and so to do it, potentially. You know what I mean? It all kind of builds on itself to yeah.

Chris:

Yes. So, the thing that you said, and I want to emphasize for people to hear this is that when Red Bull's calling you or Nike or ASICS or whoever and they're looking to get help launching something that's going to generate a quarter of a billion dollars of revenue for them this year. And you quote them some ridiculously low price relative to what they're expecting to pay, what they're going to feel is a sense of you're new, you have a small team, you're a fly by night operation and I'm losing something here.

Amy:

Right.

Chris:

And they want to buy assurance, not insurance, but assurance that you've been doing this and there's a team and there's a whole process and they're paying to feel better that the proper amount of attention and time is going to be spent on something. Otherwise, they can't consider you.

Amy:

Yep.

Chris:

You can lose a job because you're too cheap.

Amy:

Yep.

Jen:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Chris:

I know it's hard for people to hear, but it's true.

Jen:

But, also, there's the opposite opposite side of the coin. And it depends on the service they're coming to you for. And obviously what the project is, but we've definitely had the bigger brands come to us earlier in our career when they knew that we were a small studio and they were hoping to get the bottom bin prices because it was a smaller thing or a little event. But, some brands really throw their notoriety around and expect some really crazy prices.

Chris:

Yes.

Jen:

Crazy low prices. Even for our students [crosstalk 01:09:12] we were three years in. We were like, excuse me, I get more from my friend who lives down the street and runs a donut shop. Are you kidding me?

Chris:

Right.

Jen:

So, there is both sides of it, which is interesting. And it's funny once you know the certain companies, because then when you see all the people working for them, you're like, ah, interesting. Okay. So, they said, yes. Not like you should feel bad about it, but you can realize that there are certain projects with certain brands that look really great to other clients that maybe don't pay very well, actually. But, it doesn't matter. It adds a credibility to get the medium sized clients who want to think I worked with a brand who worked with Nike.

Amy:

Yes.

Jen:

And actually Nike jobs are kind of like... There's a lot of jobs to be had at different tiers, which is great. They're a great company to work with. They have a great brand. They have a really great creative vibe. So, if you can get those smaller jobs, and I'm not saying they pay really poorly. They're not one of the ones that I'm talking about, but I'm saying they have little events and capsule collections that it's a smaller impact.

Amy:

[crosstalk 01:10:11] be sold at one event, in one city.

Jen:

Right.

Amy:

It's just a shorter life span.

Jen:

It's a shorter lifespan. So, it's not going to be like the big rebrand budget. And so, you do have to temper your expectations, but we're so grateful for those little capsule projects and event projects with Red Bull, which were really great portfolio pieces and did give us that notoriety of having worked with a big brand. And for sure, that was a big part of us building our name, I think.

Amy:

Yeah. 100%.

Chris:

Do you think that there's a ceiling to what you think is reasonable for someone to pay you to design a logo?

Amy:

I do. I do.

Chris:

You do?

Amy:

I do. It is crazy. Sometimes I'll hear things.

Chris:

Who's this speaking?

Amy:

This is Amy.

Chris:

Hold on is this is Amy? God's gift to design?

Jen:

Shoot for the stars, Amy.

Chris:

Shoot for the stars.

Amy:

This feels gross and gratuitous.

Chris:

[crosstalk 01:10:56] Shoes and cars. Okay. Hold on, hold the presses. Hold on.

Amy:

We're still from Kentucky. We can't help it.

Chris:

[crosstalk 01:11:06] You can take the girl out of Kentucky, right? Yeah. Okay. So what is the ceiling for you, Amy?

Amy:

To be honest, I don't know. I think it's a feeling. I think you know when you get there. Here's what I think. I don't know if it's a specific number. I just know there's an attitude that can come along with getting used to getting the higher rates and you almost become...

Jen:

Jaded.

Amy:

Endless hunger of, I need more, I need a higher rate, I need a higher rate. Let's see if I can get more. And I think that's just can be an empty and just meaningless chase if you're just after how much can I get. And at some point your service in the client's mind won't return on that investment to them. And they'll start to feel more jaded. I once had a client who told me, and he owns some of the most awesome restaurants in Southern California. One of them is The Cannery. And he said, I always like to have a mediocre facade. And I was like, what? And he said, I want them to see a okay building, but then when they go.

Amy:

And he said, "I want them to see kind of like a okay building. But then when they get inside, I want them to be absolutely wowed." And, I think it's just that old adage of under-promise. I don't remember, wow.

Chris:

You see all that adage. [crosstalk 01:12:17]

Jen:

Their own adage they can't get right. Fool me once, fool me twice.

Amy:

Shame on someone.

Chris:

You can't fool me all the time.

Amy:

Oh my gosh, you know the one. You know what I'm trying to say.

Jen:

You're trying to give advice and it just-

Amy:

But truly though, right? I just always want to make sure that the clients that come to Hoodzpah, no matter what they pay, feel like they got an amazing outcome for what they paid. I want them to feel great about what we did together. And I think at a certain point if they just feel like you're sucking them dry and it's all about the money, they'll sense that, you know?

Jen:

Even, if it is a top brand they can't afford it. Not saying that they should get some sort of a cut rate, but as long as it's fair for both sides and it's not just getting to a point where it becomes a bubble and it's just going to ruin it for everyone. Because I mean-

Amy:

A tulip bubble, is that what you're saying?

Jen:

Yeah at some point we just become tulip bulbs. Straighten her tulip bulbs.

Amy:

Chris, rain us in. She's gone off the rails.

Chris:

The words are starting to fail us now.

Jen:

This has gone off the rails.

Chris:

All right, you. Okay, well I want to stay here for a minute. So you were talking about when the restaurant owner says, "I want a mediocre facade because I want to temper expectations and so they're completely blown away once they walk inside." You're drawing that parallel to, if you charge so much money, the expectations that you have to live up to are probably more than what you want to deal with, right?

Amy:

Sort of, yeah. Keep going, keep going.

Chris:

Oh okay, all right. And then there's certain words that you use that I want to just-

Amy:

Tear it apart, tear it apart.

Chris:

Not a fan of here, right? [crosstalk 01:13:49].

Jen:

Devil's advocate.

Chris:

Here we go. All right, when you say it's a chase and if you pursue it like, "I need to make this amount of money, otherwise I'm not going to be happy." It's an endless, probably you didn't use the word hollow pursuit, but you said it makes you feel like you're sucking them dry. When I think of sucking people dry, I think of vampires, leaches and parasites. Is that the feeling you have about certain price points that you become that person?

Amy:

I don't think it's the price point. Again, I think it's different for every individual because I actually am very practical and Jen and I actually do set a number every year that's a goal that we want to make and it's always more than previous year. And so far, we've always met that goal, which has been amazing. So I actually do really believe in making monetary goals for yourself. I think it's a really great way to know if you're growing and just to make sure you get what you need to run the business successfully.
But that being said, it's easy to get wrapped up in, especially when you hear famous designers talk about, "Oh, I get this much, I get this much." It's really easy to get wrapped up in, "Well, I could get this much." And starting to have that become your reason to be and reason to do. And I just think that's can be a really slippery slope from getting away from, this is going to sound so Kentucky, but just doing quality work for good rates for everybody. I still want to make more next year than I did this year. So, but just not having it be the whole reason.

Chris:

Yeah, it almost sounds the L.L.Bean catalog I got the other day. Which is make a high quality product and charge a fair price. You guys with that whole, just a modest amount of profit. My whole thing is make a quality product and get as much as you can.

Jen:

Yeah, no, that's true.

Chris:

It's a little different philosophy, right? A little bit.

Amy:

I wish I could be more like that. No, but the thing that I hate about myself though is when I'm like, well it's also a good learning experience though. When you quote something and they say, "Yes," too fast and you're like, "Damn it, I could have quoted it higher." And then you resent everybody.

Chris:

Yeah, yes.

Amy:

It's like I don't want to go into a project resenting someone thinking that I didn't get enough and they got the wool over my. So I try-

Chris:

You pulled the-

Amy:

Yes.

Chris:

You guys and your expressions.

Amy:

As soon as it's approved. I just want to start thinking positively about like, "Okay, I'm going to make this killer and I'm grateful that I got it." Yeah, now of course I always take note of what did they say yes to, and did they say yes too fast. Because I want to make note of that from the next time I'd have to someone with the same industry, same background. Because that's how you fine tune your quoting.

Jen:

Sure.

Amy:

So it's not like you should be just blindly ignorant about it. But at this same time, I don't want to be someone who's just always grumbling about how much I wish I would've gotten from someone.

Chris:

Okay, right.

Amy:

So I guess it's more of an attitude thing. It's like you just got to keep your attitude grounded.

Chris:

Okay. This where it's hard to read someone's attitude or intention or motivation, right?

Amy:

It is.

Chris:

We can only just have general conversations about what we can see when it's done.

Amy:

A hundred percent.

Chris:

Now Amy answered the question really quickly that there is. Jen, are you in alignment? Is there a ceiling?

Jen:

I mean, yes.

Chris:

Wait, no hold on. You're making this[crosstalk 01:17:02].

Amy:

Back up.

Chris:

Hold on, back up, back up. Give her a moment. Let there be silence, go ahead.

Jen:

It is funny though. Well, the minute you make the most, this isn't an answer, this is just an observation. The minute you make the most, you become the biggest target, right?

Amy:

Jeff Bezos says.

Jen:

And I think that's how you can just edge yourself out, even out of your industry almost. And I'm not saying that this is an example of it, but it's just something that came to mind. So Pentagram is a very easy target or these top, top, agencies. Because they put out these rebrands, and if people don't it, it's easy to say, "Everything's turned to shit." Why are they getting those rates? And not to say you have to do everything to please everybody else because that would be an exhaust task and no one should live their life that way. But, I don't know, it's just like when you're charging so much, it's easy for people, I think, to think, "Is it even worth?" I mean, I don't know. It's like Jeff Bezos says, "Everybody who makes the most money becomes the enemy." I don't want to be the enemy. Do you know what I mean?

Chris:

Those are called first world problems by the way.

Jen:

Right, maybe I'm too-

Chris:

"I make so much money that everyone hates me." Like shut the front door.

Jen:

You become so detached from the normal human existence that you have to move to space? I don't want to have to go into rocketry, do what I'm saying?

Chris:

Yeah, I want to share something and then we'll hopefully find a way to finalize our thoughts on this, which is what my business coach care told me many, many years ago. And I said, "[Kure 00:07:07], this isn't normal." And he looked at me. He goes, "Normal? You do understand California is not normal relative to the rest of the United States."

Jen:

Right, Yeah.

Amy:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jen:

"And then Southern California is not normal to all of California."

Amy:

Oh, a hundred percent.

Jen:

Have you ever been to Fresno?

Amy:

And then LA is not Southern California and then Santa Monica. So he is like, "You are so far from normal right now, you need to just understand that." Because if we were to travel back in time to coffee shop, Amy and Jen, and said, "You're going to charge $50,000 for a logo. Something that you're going to be able to do in a couple of days.
And you would probably then say, "Shut up. That's so ridiculous. Nobody would be worth that much." But your perspective changes as you continue to grow. We're on board, same thing.
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jen:

Oh yeah, I see.

Chris:

So some young person in the middle of this country, who's never made $2,000 on anything, is sitting here thinking there's no freaking way that these ladies are worth that amount of money. So it's all relative, right?

Amy:

It is, yes.

Chris:

So, I'm going to ask you one more time. Is there a ceiling on how much you can charge for a logo?

Jen:

No.

Amy:

Jen is so easily persuaded. [crosstalk 01:19:41].

Jen:

Did I pass?

Amy:

Jen just said-

Jen:

Wait, Chris, did I pass?

Chris:

This is perfect by the way. This Hypnosis through zen cast here. [crosstalk 01:19:55]

Amy:

Jen just demanding, wow.

Jen:

I heard the bell whistle and I needed to answer.

Chris:

You're like, "I'm done." [crosstalk 01:19:56]

Jen:

Have I been trained?

Chris:

No, I only want you to answer that the way that you feel because I'm pretty sure when you're at your grandma age. Legitimately, you and I will be sitting here, we'll do another conversation. So what's the most you ever charged for a logo? And you're like, "$407,000." I'm like, "That's what I thought." And you're like, "Well, but 600 is ridiculous, Chris." It's all relative because the farm, right?

Jen:

Yeah, I like what you're saying. I like the vision you see for my future.

Chris:

Yes, I'll help you. Okay, so the idea here is this, and I will hopefully will plant a little seed and see where it grows to. You guys watch Million Dollar Listing LA?

Jen:

Mm-mm (negative).

Chris:

Just to see how crazy home prices are?

Jen:

No, but I look on Zillow every day.

Chris:

Yeah, same here.

Jen:

Love it, its therapy.

Chris:

It's like, "Oh my God, that's crazy." And the realtors, they play a game. Now you could say some people are a little sleazy or slimy. But they played a game and they're entrepreneurs, they're salespeople. They want to set new benchmarks. I sold the most expensive single family residents in Beverly Hills or I broke new records. And I think there's something really cool and inspirational about. That they're business people through and through, and that's what they're trying to do. So I don't tell myself, "Oh, I need to charge this amount of money or I think I'm worth it." The only thing I ask myself is, "I wonder how much they'd be willing to pay." And it's okay if they say "No.", I'm not offended. And I'm pleasantly shocked and surprised that they keep saying, "Yes.", and you had said this. If your clients keep saying, "Yes.", it's a signal that maybe you are actually worth more than you think.

Amy:

Yep.

Chris:

And then you should try a new number because we want them to push back a little bit. We want some resistance to know that we did actually meet them at their ceiling and they're giving us what they were prepared to spend. Not that we're extorting them. There's nothing unethical about this. But that you are not leaving money on the table, which they were happy to pay you.

Amy:

Yeah, I agree with that. Yes, a hundred percent. Well said.

Chris:

Yeah, we have not designed a lot of logos in our life. But we've been able to charge a lot of money and that's the thing I want to help creatives understand. The value isn't in what you see it is, it's what they see it is.

Amy:

So true.

Chris:

Because they're prepared to spend different amount of money.

Amy:

Yeah.

Chris:

So don't use your own value system to decide this is the way it's going to be.

Amy:

Sure.

Jen:

And that's probably the hardest thing is to learn how to do that recon and pick up the context clues to figure out what your client's value system is. You know what I mean?

Chris:

Yeah, that's right.

Jen:

And I know when we first started out, I couldn't talk money on the fly. I just wasn't confident enough and I didn't have those skills honed well enough to do it real time. So that's why we perfected our proposal deck because I would take all my notes on the call and then I would get off the call and say, "Okay, I'm going to send you a proposal by tomorrow." And then I would do crazy recon and call as many friends as I could to get good feelers and ideas on if my numbers sounded right. So that's how we did it back then. But I mean, Blair Enns who you've had on your show a lot, he's a big proponent for talking money on the phone to save time. And that is the best way a hundred percent.
But you do have to get yourself used to that skill. So we did it slowly through that, have the call, do the research and then send the proposal as a way to work around that until we felt confident to do that. But now I do find that, that's something that I'm able to do better and better on the fly. And they have these little words that they say that I'm like, "Okay, that other client we quoted had that same thing and I quoted him that, and they didn't say yes." And I'm running the numbers in my head and writing notes down as they're talking. But it's so true, you do have to get used to business and be somewhat world wise and in what these companies make, what their income streams are, what budgets they're usually working with, that thing. Which is a whole other skill, you know?

Chris:

It is a whole 'nother skill.

Jen:

Yeah.

Chris:

And I'm glad that you're [allising 01:25:07] the fight to help creative people learn how to be better business people because we got to be able to take care of our business if we want to continue doing our art or design, right?

Amy:

Totally, hundred percent.

Chris:

Yes, okay I have a small challenge for you. And then I am just trying to mind time, we're running a little long. Thank you for hanging in there with me.

Jen:

Yeah.

Chris:

And then I have one, somewhat not so serious, question to ask you, okay?

Amy:

Cool.

Chris:

All right, so here's the challenge. Challenge first, is you had said something that every year you set yourself new financial goals and every year, thus far, you've been able to hit that. So first of all, congratulations, that's progress. You guys are building and growing and you deserve every bit of success.

Amy:

Wow, thank you.

Chris:

My challenge to you is set goals that you know you can't hit. To set goals and deliberately fail. And I forget who said this, I want to say it's either Jim Rohn or Jack Canfield, who said, "You need to set big hairy audacious goals. And it's not as important that you achieve those goals, but the person you become in the pursuit of those goals."

Amy:

Right.

Jen:

Totally.

Amy:

Oh, I fully agree with that.

Chris:

So when you set these really high milestones for yourself, you're like, "You know what, we have to write a third book and we have to go meet Oprah because that's on our thing." And what do we have to do to become a person that someone that would talk to.

Jen:

Right.

Amy:

Yeah.

Chris:

And so I want to challenge you. So for 2022, I want you to be slightly disappointed that you didn't hit your goal.

Amy:

I love that though, I think that's great.

Jen:

No, that is great.

Amy:

I think that's great. We do, do a safe goal and then we do a dream big goal, usually. We've always met the safe goal. Sometimes we meet the dream big goal, so. But I'm going to dream even bigger.

Chris:

Even bigger, one where you write-

Jen:

You've asked the right person to be this.

Chris:

Right, she's already in outer space. So what's a little bit. [crosstalk 01:25:41].

Jen:

She's on it.

Chris:

Yeah, exactly. So what you want to do is to look at each other and like, "There is no way in that we can do this." So then the means and the process, the how's will materialize or they won't, but that's okay.

Jen:

Yeah.

Chris:

And it's always nice to fail at a super big goal than actually to achieve a super small goal. My opinion.

Amy:

Yeah, because usually you still fail over what the safe goal would've been.

Chris:

Yes, that's right. So, that's the challenge. So in December of 2022, post pandemic fingers crossed, we'll have a conversation. You'll DM me as like, "Chris, you won't believe it. You won't believe it."

Jen:

You won't believe it. Put it on the testimonial board.

Chris:

"We didn't hit our goal, but here's what we did." I need to hear, "We did not hit our goal, but this is what we did instead." And we're going to celebrate, right.

Jen:

Cool.

Amy:

I love that, great idea.

Jen:

Is that cool? [crosstalk 01:26:28].

Amy:

I love that.

Chris:

So keep that down.

Jen:

Okay.

Chris:

Now, I didn't realize this. But this is my final question for you. I was like, "How are you guys hearing me?" And then I can see on Jen, she has one half of an AirPod, right?

Jen:

It's so disturbing.

Chris:

Because I'm like, "How can they hear." This must be really weird to only hear out of one side of your ear, but okay. You guys have mastered this game. So here's what I want to do. Here's the not so serious, serious, question. I want you to look at each other, okay. And I want you to say that the one thing you appreciate most about your partner, your sister, your partner in crime. What is the one thing that they bring to the table that you're like, "Freaking A, if you weren't in my life, what a disaster this would be." Because I want to see what you see in each other, if that's okay.

Amy:

Okay, I know it. Okay, so first off-

Chris:

Okay, wait, wait. Before you say, are you both ready? Because I don't want you to influence-

Amy:

Oh yeah, I always have my answer.

Chris:

You ready?

Amy:

Yeah, oh I'm ready.

Chris:

Okay, okay, go ahead, now set. Amy go first.

Amy:

We talk about it all the time. Yeah, because we have such different, even though we're very similar in our tangible skills, our soft skills are very different. So without Jen, I would be making half of what I'm making. I have really big goals, but I just want to do them so badly that the money is neither here nor there for me sometimes. So I think I'd be getting half as much. And Jen, as far as strategy goes, Jen is really good at gaining the trust of our clients. She's really good at speaking cohesively and really honing in what somebody took two hours to say into three really succinct goals or even one really succinct goal that can start guiding the project much easier. So Jen does the strategy that really allows us to work with these bigger clients.

Jen:

Thanks, Am.

Amy:

You're welcome.

Chris:

Okay, hold on. I would love it for you to say the number one thing I appreciate the most about Jen is.

Amy:

Okay, I just got to follow the format.

Chris:

Yeah, just got to follow the format.

Amy:

How do I put that-

Chris:

No shotgun approach. Just the number one thing that she brings to the table that I appreciate the most is.

Amy:

The number one thing that I appreciate about Jen is her business sense mind.

Chris:

Okay.

Amy:

Yeah.

Chris:

I love that. That's a very succinct.

Amy:

Yeah.

Chris:

Did you kick her under the table by the way? Just saw you looking at her like, "Dude, you better say it right." Yeah, okay.

Jen:

I need something good, I need-

Chris:

All right, let's flip rolls.

Jen:

Okay, Amy, the thing that I appreciate. I don't want to having to look at you. Your eyes look so awkward.

Chris:

You guys can't even look at each other when you talk, makes it too awkward.

Jen:

Yeah.

Amy:

It's looking in a mirror.

Chris:

I know she didn't make eye contact with you.

Jen:

I know she won't look at me.

Chris:

So weird.

Jen:

The thing that I appreciate most about Amy is her-

Amy:

Has to be succinct.

Jen:

Optimism. You can't take like, "I'm sorry, I don't like her." Her optimism because the way you see things and how easy it'll be, which it never is. But just the way you have an optimistic vision of everything you want to do and you just go for it. Which I guess that's like adventuress optimism.

Amy:

Oh, I love that. Thank you Jen.

Chris:

Yeah, okay.

Jen:

Which I like to dream and stuff and then I just write it in a notebook and then put it in a drawer and pack that away.

Amy:

Deep down.

Jen:

And then pack it away and forget it in a house that I sell 10 years later.

Chris:

Yes, so if I were to guess, and I'm not into this woo stuff. But I would say Amy must be an air element. She's lofty, she's floating. She doesn't want to be tied down by these things, but she's oxygen for your business. And then Jen, I say you are earth. You're grounded.

Jen:

Oh, that's it.

Chris:

You're pragmatic. You're practical. We got to get this stuff done. And you know what happens when air mixed with earth, right? You get a dust cloud. I'm just kidding, I was trying to make it like beautiful glitter of gold. [crosstalk 01:30:28] If it was water and earth I would say mud, but it didn't work. Okay, I'm sorry. That's as far as I got with that, that's why I am not a-

Amy:

Chris that was so eloquent. I mean, if I was paying you, I'd approve this right now.

Chris:

Okay, it's been a delight. I can't believe it's been an hour and a half. Thank you very much. Hood Sisters, Hoodzpah. It's so fun. I already know every time I to talk to you, I'm going to leave more energetic than I came in. So, thank you very much. [crosstalk 01:30:53]

Amy:

Chris, thanks for having us.

Jen:

Thanks for having us. I tell this to everybody I know. You do so much for the design community and all your resources are gold. So thank you for continuing to do what you do and to invite us into it. It's just fun to always hang out with you and the crew. Everything that you're the whole team does is it is just really, really awesome.

Chris:

Thank you so much.

Jen:

I'm drinking the koolaid, I love it.

Chris:

I appreciate that. Okay, so if people want to find out more about what it is that you do, where should they go?

Amy:

They can find us pretty much everywhere at Hoodzpah Design. So Instagram, Twitter, and then we have a YouTube which is just Hoodzpah.

Chris:

And Hoodzpah, is that how you spell it or is it a different spelling?

Amy:

It's, H-O-O-D-Z-P-A-H.

Chris:

There you go, Hoodzpah because it's Amy and Jen Hood.

Jen:

Yep, Amy and Jen-

Chris:

And they have a lot of Hoodzpah.

Jen:

There it is.

Chris:

So I love it's very clever.

Jen:

It's in the name.

Chris:

And yes, all right, thank you very much ladies.

Amy:

Thanks Chris.

Chris:

Have a great weekend ladies.

Amy:

You too.

Jen:

You too, thanks for having us on. I'm Jen.

Amy:

And I'm Amy. [crosstalk 01:31:53] And you're listening to the future.

Greg:

Thanks for joining us this time. If you haven't already, subscribe to our show on your favorite podcasting app and get a new insightful episode from us every week. If future podcast is hosted by Christ Do and produced by me, Greg Gunn. Thank you [to Anthony Barrow 01:32:17] for editing and mixing this episode. And thank you to Adam Sandborn for our intro music. If you enjoyed this episode, then do us a favor by reading and reviewing our show on Apple Podcasts. It'll help us grow the show and make future episodes that much better. Have a question for Chris or me? Head over to the future.com/heychris, and ask away. We read every submission and we just might answer yours in a later episode. If you'd to support the show and invest in yourself while you're at it, visit the future.com. You'll find video courses, digital products, and a bunch of helpful resources about design and creative business. Thanks again for listening and we'll see you next time.

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