First Movers: Jay Bartel
Jay Bartel is Team Leader for Pure Play eCommerce at Edgewell Personal Care and a 25 year old CPG veteran with a background in sales, trade funds management, and category management. He has spent the last 10 years learning about and growing with eCommerce.
He truly enjoys the ongoing challenges inherit in the online revolution and takes pride in his team’s ability to lead Edgewell into the next phase of retail. He spends his work days trying to figure out how to bring more joy to consumers with Edgewell Products (oh and trying to figure out why Amazon is pricing that darn ASIN so low).
Why did you choose to pursue eCommerce in your career? It chose me. Energizer purchased Playtex back in 2007. At that time, I was calling on Toys ‘R Us and had turned the business around. Our infant business was growing for the first time in a while and suddenly a new company came in and I was ‘pushed’ into a new role due to my ‘entrepreneurial spirit’. That role was a hodge podge of about 300 accounts and I seriously considered quitting. Thank God I did not! I took a step back and realized that there were accounts in this hodge podge that could be developed. First I identified and grew our Dollar General and Family Dollar into our Value Channel. And then there was this little account called Amazon. What a ride it has been from being buried in the obscurity of those 300 or so accounts to now being the driver of growth at EPC! I have been truly blessed to have been given this opportunity and love the fact that today is Day 1!
What is your biggest strength, and how have you used it for your success in eCommerce? I have a large bias toward action and delivering results. I think this has been critical to the early days of eCommerce at EPC. When Amazon was small and unknown, I was able to map out a plan without having to go through a lot of red tape. It allowed me to have my own ‘test and learn’ lab.
How have you most successfully influenced change within your organization (or with your clients)? By being successful from delivering results. It is amazing to see how an organization will flex if you can show consistent results. We all remember the early days of eCommerce. Being scrappy and fighting to explain why we needed to use a credit card for Adzinia. Today, the organization is fully immersed in digital and seeks out to understand more. It has been a lot of fun to be part of this journey.
What was your most “valuable” career failure, and why? Early in my career, I ran a ‘great’ promotion that was very successful, except that it had a very large overspend! That ‘mistake’ has made me better. I now understand the ‘transaction’ at a deeper level and that has made me a better negotiator.
In the last five years, what new belief, behavior or habit has most improved your life? Where there is a problem, there is a solution. I have been using that mantra on my five-year-old, but also on myself. eCommerce is an awesome space to be in because it is so dynamic. There are new challenges everyday and sometimes you need to step back to find the optimal, long term solution.
What are you learning right now? We need to listen more! The world is being feed to us in small sound bites and we have forgotten how to listen and respect different opinions. Rather than always trying to prove I am right, I am TRYING to take more time to understand where other’s perspectives. Hopefully, I will continue to grow.
What are the 1-3 songs that would make up your career soundtrack today?
- Believe in
MeUs by Staind
- You Make
LovingeCommerce Fun by Fleetwood Mac
- Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way by Waylan Jennings
What are the 1-3 books you’ve gifted the most or that have greatly influenced your life, and why?
- Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom: because we are never to old to learn, we need to stop and savor life
- Motley Fool: their goal is to make you smarter, richer and happier
- Prof G: makes my head hurt but makes me think
If you could have a gigantic billboard for the world to see with anything on it, what would it say, and why? Carpe Diem as explained by Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society
What advice would you give to a future leader of change about to enter business, or specifically the eCommerce field? Think long term. Think about more than selling product. Think about how you can differentiate is a sea of blue. Think about enhancing people’s joy!
What specific, industry-related change do you believe will happen that few others seem to see? I see both good and bad in our future. I believe that technology has evolved to allow machine learning to provide meaningful suggestions into the products that could enhance our individual lives. But I also see that personalization getting out of control and, if used improperly, being used to manipulate us from independent thinking. A bit deep and probably a bit paranoid????!
First Movers is a change leader interview series featuring select industry pioneers who are boldly driving the evolution of digital commerce, the consumer and everything in between.