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Episode 18 – Sami Glastonbury

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#SeriouslySocial The Podcast

with Simone Douglas and special guest Sami Glastonbury

Our guest this episode is Sami Glastonbury from Blanche Box. She and Simone talk about the evolution of her career, ethical marketing, and the power of breaking the rules.




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Check out our page for updates and teasers about upcoming episodes, links, and details about Simone’s best-selling books. 

Hosted by Simone Douglas

Videography by Marie Carbone

Audio by Chris Irving

Music used in this episode is “Alte Herren” by KieLoKaz, used with permission under a Creative Commons Licence

This production is protected by a creative commons CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 licence.


Simone Douglas 0:00
Welcome to the seriously social podcast with your host, Simone Douglas. Our guest this episode is Sami Glastonbury from Blanche box. She and Simone talk about the evolution of her career, ethical marketing, and the power of breaking the rules.

Alright, so today I’m joined on the Seriously Social podcast by Sami from Blanche Box. Sami thanks for joining me today.

Sami Glastonbury 0:23
Thank you for having me.

Simone Douglas 0:24
My pleasure. And perhaps we can start off by giving me the cliff notes version as to how you’ve ended up here today. So what’s your background? And what kind of things are you into?

Sami Glastonbury 0:34
Sure, um, so my background is I’ve had a small business called Blanche box, for coming up five and a half years. Prior to that I was in the wine industry. So in sales and marketing for close to 12 years. And we’ve recently moved to Adelaide in the last three years, okay, so it’s been a big shift. So now it’s about understanding kind of the Adelaide landscape, getting my head out of the country. And yeah, and coming down and meeting people and doing exactly this networking and finding out what people are doing.

Simone Douglas 1:09
yeah, awesome. So who is your favorite type of client to work with at Blanche box?

Sami Glastonbury 1:16
So I think that’s a really easy one for me to answer. And that is someone who is ethical, and has created a business or service that is going to leave a legacy or to better the environment for someone who’s either receiving their service or buying products. So anything that’s really giving back, I think, to a greater good.

Simone Douglas 1:41
yeah. So what kind of advice would you give to someone who’s maybe sitting at home, and they’ve got an idea for a product or a service that’s going to make the world a better place? Because I think that we need more of those types of businesses in the world. And they’re scared of that leap of faith to get started, because I think it takes a lot of guts to start your own business becaus there are always people who will tell you it’s a bad idea. So…

Sami Glastonbury 2:07
Definitely, I think, exactly, just picking up exactly what you just said, is talk to people, but don’t talk to too many people. I find that that seems to be a recurrent thing when I speak to people is “oh but I’ve spoken to this person, and they said I should do this, I should really look into this further or that before I do anything.” And the big thing, which I’m sure loads of people say is you just need to start, you need to start and you need to start to put yourself out there because one of the things that I find, especially if you do have that great idea is you may think that you’re going to help this group of people. But when you find that you start that actually group of people evolves. And you speak to some there’s another person that you’re actually helping or contributing to?

Simone Douglas 2:50
Yeah. Oh, I think yeah, that’s very true. I was having conversation with one of my BNI members yesterday, like, so he’s younger than me. I don’t know how young. But he was saying to me, you know, “how do you go and find a good business mentor?” And what is it a mentor into, because he wants to, (he’s had his business for two years,) he wants to grow it or he wants to grow it the right way and instill a good culture. And I ended up saying to him, “I’m the worst person to talk to you about mentors”, because I’ll talk to anybody, like in terms of giving advice. And I said, and when it comes to listening to other people, they actually have to be, you know, have their own business, they have to have experience. And they usually end up my drinking buddies, you know. So, you know, they start off in some kind of professional sphere. And then it gets to a point where they, you know, they’re in in my sphere, because they’re straight talkers (and I like straight talkers).

Sami Glastonbury 3:47
Yes! I love it. So you end up having a village of just frank conversation.

Simone Douglas 3:53
Yeah, exactly!

Sami Glastonbury 3:54
I Love it. Yep yep.

Simone Douglas 3:55
So what’s been the biggest challenge for you then coming into Adelaide?

Sami Glastonbury 4:01
I think the challenge has been just understanding the landscape. And to be really honest, understanding that everyone in Adelaide knows everyone. So you hear it, so I’m initially from Queensland. And so when I relocated down, I went straight to the Barossa. So I’d always heard that term or ever on the job. It’s one degree separation and all the rest of it. So then coming to Adelaide, I think, just kind of understanding that that is true. Yeah. Not that not that it sort of matters or changes anything, but it’s just been really interesting. Oh, oh, yeah. That’s my rubber on No, no, we used to always school together. And so that’s been interesting. I think also to understanding because of that, there’s a lot of people that are already connected. Yeah. So therefore, hence doing things like this for me is really important. Not only because well, I love meeting people and love hearing their story and what makes them tick, but also to Yeah, getting broadening that network.

Simone Douglas 5:03
Yeah, I’m a big fan of that when I talk about networking, which will do a lot. I say that you have to have, like depth and breadth of your network. So and for that to be successful, you have to have, you know, gender diversity, you have to have generational diversity, cultural diversity, and then industry diversity. Once you can tick all those boxes and say, Yep, actually, I have a fully functioning network that takes all of those boxes, that’s when you start to find the business starts to take care of itself. You get those referrals and those introductions from a really wide sphere, or you will bump into somebody, and you’ll be complaining about something like I you need to go and speak to Sammy about how she’s amazing. And but it takes like five years today in Adelaide, because like you said, Everyone knows everyone that was connections, and then you kind of have to anyway, and it’s a bit like being in a country town.

Sami Glastonbury 5:59
It is oh my gosh, yes, it is indeed. But I think I think following on from that, too. It’s I think, like you said, which I really liked that part, how you said about the industry diversity? Because I think it’s it’s very common for people to sit in that same sphere in the same space. So I we’re sort of a couple of hats. I have three kids, and my youngest has special needs and a complex health condition. Yeah. So I actually sit as a consumer advocate with a women’s and kids have sat on national boards and so forth. So I actually have that different sphere. And that’s funny you saying this? Because that’s exactly what’s actually helped expand my business. Yeah. Because it’s being having those outside of non marketing the cool kids. Yeah, that there’s this another element.

Simone Douglas 6:47
Yeah. And it, it does work that way, in terms of, you know, those left of field relationships, because, you know, like, we were talking before, like earlier about Rachel, who’s a mutual friend. But you know, I met her because she lives across the road for a very good drinking buddy of mine, who happens to be one of my mentors that I had coffee with, you know, eight years ago. So, yeah, so that’s Adelaide, Adelaide. Um, but I think too, it’s also a lot of people in business don’t appreciate the importance of kind of getting out of their comfort zone and networking, outside of the fish pond that they live in.

Sami Glastonbury 7:29
Couldn’t couldn’t agree more. And that’s something that in my space in with watchbox, I’ve diversified out of wine. And I purposely did that. Because of after having the experience of after having my son and so forth, and and that so now I’m dealing with a lot of people who are wanting to market themselves in the health sphere. Yeah. So I sort of more sit now, I suppose probably 60% of my client base is health marketing. And and that’s one of the things exactly that I have that conversation, because usually they come from a clinical background. Yeah. And so they’re constantly thinking through and looking through eyes through a clinicians eyes, which is great. And it’s great evidence base. Yeah. But as you and I know, in the real world, not everything is evidence base, and not everything goes to plan. And not everything is textbook No.

Simone Douglas 8:18
and health is a challenging one like that. Because obviously the APA guidelines, right. I know, you know, we have a lot of dentists and physios on books, and their level of risk adverse and yes, stepping on the AP, regardless, perfectly understandable for the health practitioners listening. Yes, I would. Definitely, um, but yeah, it does involve a complaint mindset to be able to say to them, well, this is how we are compliant. That’s right. But still telling a story.

Sami Glastonbury 8:48
And we’re going to reach a market beyond Yeah, the clinical sphere. Yeah. And we need to do that and to reach more people, and for this to be a success. And for you to ultimately do what it is that you’re setting out to do. And that is make a difference and help people. Yeah, so we need to get you out there in front of people. Yeah, yeah. And so exactly that shifting that mindset of I remember a couple of years ago speaking with someone who clinician, and was kind of like, oh, but I’ve got my network. But my network is this and are saying, but your network is actually bigger than what you’re thinking it actually used. There’s more people that connect in that need to know what you’re doing.

Simone Douglas 9:26
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. I think too. One of the things that often get when I’m coaching people on how to use LinkedIn properly, yes, they’ll go, oh, but I only want to connect to people that I know. And, and, you know, in my industry, and yet in my field, yes. And I’m like, would you like to sell stuff? So? Yeah. And they’re like, yeah, unless you want more customers? Yeah, yeah. So it’s, you know, my thing is, I’ll connect to anyone that either now or sometime in the next 15 years can either refer me to someone that might be able to use myself services or might want them themselves. Yeah. And in doing that I have picked up some fantastic clients by accident. Yes, by light, you know, I post content out there. That’s not white noise. I don’t post very often on LinkedIn, but when I do, it’s because I’ve got something to say. Yeah. Um, but yeah, so you end up with these great inbound inquiries from people who go, Oh, you posted something six months ago.

Sami Glastonbury 10:23
Yeah, that resonated with me. It’s like opening. It’s like opening the gate. Yeah, it’s like, this is your little house. Here’s your white picket fence, but just open the gate. There’s more people on the street.

Simone Douglas 10:32
Yeah. Yeah, like that analogy. That’s really good. What would you say is the best piece of advice you wish someone had given you when you were starting your business that you can share with somebody else? Um,

Sami Glastonbury 10:47
I think it’s probably around understanding the type of client, understanding the type of client, I think we all go into business, and we sort of go, Oh, it’s a client. Oh, we have to take it on. I’ve just started out and I need to feed my family. Yeah. Yeah. Well, that I need and I need to pay this. But it’s funny. I say that though, into in two stages, though, because I think you need to do that. If you’re not clear on who your client, your ideal client is and what your if you’re not clear on your offering. But I think it’s probably more so the advice that I wish that I I think I probably had people say things to me, but I probably didn’t, it didn’t resonate. And that is that. Really think about your offering and really think about who your client is. Yeah. But also to don’t put a ceiling on it. Because that client does evolve and does change to a point a bit like opening the gate. Yeah. And so yeah, I suppose it’s that it’s not, don’t take everything on. Don’t take everyone in a kitchen sink. Yeah. Because usually, I think you find that next minute you you’ve gone down a bit of a rabbit hole, and next minute you’re going. And I think because you always want to be in love with what you’re doing. Yeah, I want to get up and get out of bed and go, I love what I do, because I help these people achieve their outcome. But if you’re kind of like, you know, going through the dirty dishes every morning, yeah, it kind of just takes their job

Simone Douglas 12:11
takes the love out of it, doesn’t it? Well, and I think that’s got to be the payoff for having your own business is being able to work with clients that you enjoy working with on things that you enjoy working on. Yeah. Because there are certainly, you know, we have all the other stresses that go with having your own business. Yeah, but yeah, it’s funny, I, this week’s radio show was actually on understanding your best clients. So okay. And, you know, one of the things that I talked about on that was about, you know, it’s, it’s not just about classifying people into a Class B, Class C class clients, it’s about, you know, what type of personality of person do you lack to work with or work well with you? So when I was the owner, operator, you know, I predominantly worked with people that were higher D’s on the disc profile, because that’s what I am. So yeah, bullet point and bullet point, we will find, yes, yes. But if I, if I’ve got a C type client, then you know, like, in terms of, you know, being very methodical and research based and wanting lots of detail, it just took up all of my time, I got frustrated, and then they get frustrated, because I wouldn’t give them the level of detail. You know, now that I have a team I have some c type people and sub s type people and I can just go Yeah, he ego. This is your client. That’s your client. Yeah, well

Sami Glastonbury 13:24
together. And that’s so true, isn’t it? It’s like, the Lucy who works with me my business. Yeah, she’s the opposite of me. Yeah. And it works beautifully. Because exactly that she is I sort of sit in this feels like she is my She is my weakness. Yeah. And I’m her strength. Yeah, and all of that. So we work together. But that’s, it’s it’s so true. But I suppose following on actually, from what you just said, There, I think that’s the other thing is the client questionnaire. I’m now really, I’m really rigid on that. Yeah, must fill out that client questionnaire that I put out, which I never use, I used to think, oh, that’s okay. We’ve had a coffee or we’ve had a chat, or I’m pretty sure I know what they want. But as you know, when you actually get someone to write it on paper, they actually take the time and I think more and then a hallway conversation or coffee conversation. It’s a you’re actually saying, you know, who is this? And what is this? And what then when your why and all those sorts of things. Some a little bit more, I suppose. Clear on making sure that that letting they feel that in

Simone Douglas 14:32
Yeah. Well, and that would give you a really solid brief to start with. Yeah. So I think you know, I’m a bit the same because I often fly by the seat of my pants, but guess what, I have lots of detail people around because I can’t do the detail. I’m very good at creative and bright shiny. Oh, yes. I love it. Yeah, no, it’s great. I think, what was it the other day we had a client on and the team was struggling to come up with some big and six word stories. So you need to be able to come up with a six word story at the sums up the emotional felt sense of what a client’s gonna have when they work with. Okay, yeah, you need to have that immediate reaction. Right? Anyway, so they was struggling with that and I went six words Bang, bang bang or white shirt with that, because I’m sure to a client. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 15:16

Simone Douglas 15:17
But you know, as I call it this, and and I’ve looked at me and I’m like, please tell me you wrote that down because I don’t know what I just said.

Unknown Speaker 15:24
I love it so much.

Sami Glastonbury 15:26
out of times exactly that exactly that you start writing or start creating a tag or something. Bla Bla, and exactly that. Might Lucy, you. You were doing that what you Yeah.

Simone Douglas 15:38
While I was talking? Yes. Yeah, cuz you need those people to do that. And it’s Yeah, because I don’t know why I think it’s called creative amnesia

Sami Glastonbury 15:46
or something. Yeah, well, it is.

Simone Douglas 15:48
That’s what I’m calling it now.

Sami Glastonbury 15:50
With 10. It’s a diagnosis. Yeah. Creative. Yeah.

Simone Douglas 15:53
Because it just looks out of my mouth. And I’m like, yep, it was brilliant. The client, so I slide up and you’re like, you know that you’ve nailed it, and then you let it go. I say, you know, what did you say whenever I’m giving a keynote, that will happen, like quite often because you’ll be on stage and be like below just talking and you’re in the zone. And someone will come up to you afterwards. And they’ll be like, Oh, that was amazing. Is that the other knee? Like? You like that? Okay.

Sami Glastonbury 16:18
And did you write that down? Yeah. Did someone filming? Yeah. happening? So yeah, just put that on an email? I would I’ll use that one again.

Simone Douglas 16:26
Yeah. Well, I got really lucky once. There was a journalist. Oh, he’s from Flinders uni, but he was a journalist. And he was in the audience for like, I was delivering, you know, Digital Trends for the year or something like that. And he had, he literally took copious notes. He said, I’ve taken so many notes. I’m like, would you mind sending me through a coffee? He’s like, Yeah, sure. Absolutely. And I was like, Ah, this never happens. This is great. Brilliant. Yeah.

Sami Glastonbury 16:49
Do you want to hang around? Yeah. When I come around one day, when we’re doing a brainstorming session,

Simone Douglas 16:53
I said, Okay, can I just invite I’m happy to invite you to whatever I’m delivering next.

Unknown Speaker 16:58

Simone Douglas 16:58
I’ll trade you. You know, I’ll give you some freight. Brilliant.

Sami Glastonbury 17:01
I love it.

Simone Douglas 17:03
So what would you say is your biggest challenge? What has been your biggest challenge this year? Because there’s a lot of talk about, you know, you know, in 2020, you know, surviving COVID thriving during COVID. pivoting, wherever, where have you and Blanche box found yourselves from that perspective.

Sami Glastonbury 17:25
So we COVID kind of, I suppose, I think because of having a son with needs and who was immune compromised? I was watching things quite closely. Yeah, absolutely. And so probably probably more so than probably the average kind of person. And because it was it had a an immense medical impact on our family, which then has an impact on on my business. Yeah. As it takes me away from Yeah, so. And so I kind of preempted a few things. So I had a few conversations with clients and said, You know, this is what’s happening, things are changing, I’m going to pick up that phone and have that conversation with you first, because I know it’s going to be an uncomfortable phone call for you. Yeah, staff, you need to talk to your account, you know, your accountant, you’ve got this, you’ve got that your landlords. And so I sort of preempted a few things by by selling off those conversations. And that put things in really good stead in the respect that a bit like what you’re saying before about that referral base was even though we lost clients, we left on really good terms. Yeah. So they come back and exactly that. And so regardless of whether they’ll come back to me, their thought, and and, and, and dealings with barkbox, so really quite high. Yeah. So they’re going to refer and but also to that’s a lot of who I am, I’m very ethical like that. So I preempted a lot. And I suppose the big shift in my businesses, we wholly and solely focus then on just health clients. Yeah. So in a way, it was kind of nice, because I felt that we actually really kind of refined and defined how we deliver health marketing. Yeah. And it was by obviously taking things that you would that were more so the norm in some of those other kind of sexy or fun kind of places like food and wine, and actually started to apply some of that those sort of insights into health, which sounds bonkers.

Simone Douglas 19:20
No, but Sammy Gasser got really good results in you got great results.

Sami Glastonbury 19:24
That’s right. So I think if anything, it kind of really, it kind of sharpen the pencil, to be honest. So that was a that was an immense learning and growing and experience. So that was great. I think the other thing that’s happened, what I struggled with, is not having the face to face. Yeah. And don’t get me wrong. Zoom is great. And I love the fact that people were embracing more of that digital space. And there was a lot of people that hadn’t until that point. But I thought, You know how sometimes you actually need to say With someone there to actually understand, yeah, and all those little cues that you pick up from when having a face to face meeting. Yeah. So there was a lot lots of phone calls. I think I was on the phone, I’ve won Sure, like everyone on the phone as much as I could be as well as soon because I just thought, zoom is is is great. It’s like Austin, but it’s exhausting. You could say that people were tiring. Yeah, you could say that people weren’t truly understanding what you were asking or talking about. So that that was a real challenge for me.

Simone Douglas 20:34
Now, that makes sense, right? I think so just going back to what you were saying about sharpening the pencil and changing the rules for health marketing. It was very much the same when I took over the pub three years ago. Because of course, when you’re doing hospitality marketing for other clients, you have to work with where they’re comfortable, so you can push them a little bit. But you know, like, I didn’t necessarily have any solid data that said, If you let me do these things, these are the kind of results that I can generate for you. Yes. And but when I took over the public, do whatever the hell I like, yeah. And so and I did, and it worked. And I was like, Ah, so then I could go back to you know, yeah, hoteliers, and go night. If I say one more post about a $10, parmi. And upon if I see one more burger poster, like, you need human beings, you know, tell the story customers, you know this that the other stop talking about you start by identifying and doing implied selling instead of at least that sell. Yes. So yes. And I think that’s where we’re going. So I think it’s a good spot to finish on. And it’s been very nice to have you join me today. Thanks for coming in. And it’s always great to meet someone that is very relationship focused. Because I’m a big fan of the fact that if you put the relationships ahead of the sales, the sales always come. That’s right.

Sami Glastonbury 21:56
Yeah. And to be yourself.

Simone Douglas 21:57
Yeah, absolutely. So thanks very much.

Thank you for listening to the seriously social podcast. See our website for more details at WWW dot social media, a slash podcast. Check the show notes for credits music used in the program and more details about our guests.



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