Pawprint Chats is a series where we chat with our friends, clients, and peers in our local Colorado community. It’s a chance to check in and see how everyone’s doing, in business and in life.
Today we’re talking to Jacob Wallace, founder of Shipist.
YellowDog: Hello! Give us the “elevator pitch” version of what your business does.
Jacob Wallace: We are like a coworking space and a fulfillment center together. We call it CoShipping. Small businesses that ship small volumes, infrequently, or made to order items aren’t able to use a fulfillment center so they miss out on all of the benefits. We offer self-service packing stations that give small shippers the best of all worlds.
YD: What has been your biggest win in the past year?
JW: Finding software to support our needs proved challenging. After reviewing 20+ softwares, I started to think that we’d have to develop our own software ($$$). Then, I found a company called InstaDeliver that was in the middle of developing a new software geared towards courier services. With a bit of tweaking, their software was a really good fit for us. We ended up being one of their first users/guinea pigs and have provided copious amounts of feedback about bugs, user experience suggestions, etc. They’ve been amazing to work with and have helped make Shipist possible.
YD: This past year has been a learning experience for everyone. Anything you’ve learned about your business during the pandemic?
JW: I’ve learned so much this year! Here are the biggest ones.
I learned how important it is to carefully think through your company values and stick to them. Looking out for people, being generous, being environmentally friendly — those things are easy when times are good. 2020 has been a challenging year and it has forced me to put my money where my mouth is on some values.
I’ve also had to learn not to panic. There have been some times where things seemed really dire and that I might be crazy to be opening a new business. But, panic rarely leads to good decision making. I’ve found The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday to be very helpful in learning to not only stay calm, but to see the potential opportunities that come up through difficulties.
YD: What has been one of your proudest moments as a local business owner?
JW: When Shipist was just an idea on the drawing board, I wasn’t sure that anyone would be interested or willing to try it out. Having customers come in and tell me how grateful they are for what we’re doing is incredibly validating. Last week, a customer left me a thank you note that I’m planning to frame. Getting that note has probably been my proudest moment so far.
YD: If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing about your business, what would it be?
JW: To have all of the construction done! We’ve had to do some modifications to our space, including adding a new bathroom. And, of course, those sorts of things always take longer than expected. Perhaps foolishly, I’m doing some of the work myself, so I’ll be happy when brick-laying is done.
YD: Describe your brand in three words.
JW: Fast, innovative, collaborative.
YD: Love it! Now for some friendly rapid-fire questions:
Are you a dog person or a cat person?
Tough choice, I love both so much! Probably more a cat person. My cat Max is the best.
Early bird or night owl?
Night owl for sure.
Favorite local beer?
Great Divide Hibernation Ale
What’s your best party trick?
I’m really good at foosball.
What show are you currently binging?
Just finished Queen’s Gambit on Netflix. And, of course, The Mandalorian.
Any book you’re currently reading?
I’m usually reading a few books at a time and I switch back and forth depending on mood. I’m reading Thinking Fast and Slow (which is incredible), White Fragility, and Heaven’s River (sci-fi is one of my favorite genres). I recently finished Everything Is Spiritual by Rob Bell and think it’s probably his best book yet.
What do you miss the most about pre-pandemic life?
Going to concerts!
YD: Thanks Jacob. It has been so fun to watch your business sprout this past year, and to follow all the artists and makers who go to you for shipping and fulfillment.
Would YOU like to be featured in a Pawprint Chat? We’re always looking for business peers to feature in this series. Get in touch to find out more!