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ScotteVest CEO: How a Facebook Passion Project Evolved into a New Business

John Jannarone

Scott Jordan with Margaux (photo by Thomas Hawk)

By John Jannarone

For nearly two decades, Scott Jordan’s day job has been CEO of ScotteVest, an apparel company he co-founded with his wife Laura in 2000 that now generates $18 million in annual sales. The company, based in Ketchum, Idaho, started with a fisherman’s vest called an “eVest” designed with extra pockets to carry 21st-century gadgets like iPhones and tablets but now offers a wide range of clothing with specially-designed pockets. ScotteVest has produced custom vests for elite events such as Allen & Company’s secretive conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, and also has a retail audience similar to the likes of Lululemon, Nike, and Oxford Industries.

But recently, Mr. Jordan shifted focus. Margaux, one of several standard poodles he and his wife have owned, passed away last year after losing both her hearing and vision. In a joint interview with CorpGov and The Native Influence, Mr. Jordan explains how his personal experience with Margaux gained a social-media following on Facebook that inspired him to publish a children’s book about her struggle. The success of the book ultimately led him to create a media platform supporting a broader movement called YAY Margaux (see more on the website and Instagram). While Mr. Jordan remains CEO of ScotteVest, he is now working full time on YAY Margaux.

The interview with Mr. Jordan, along with two videos about the book, are below:

 

Trailer for Waggy Tail One — the First Book in the YAY Margaux Movement

 

CorpGov: How and why did you start YAY Margaux?

Mr. Jordan: My wife Laura and I started YAY Margaux as a passion project when our standard poodle Margaux became deaf and blind. I was looking to the community for support and advice on how best to take care of her. While doing so, I realized that there was quite a bit of interest and enthusiasm for all things related to Margaux. At first, I started a separate Facebook page to organize posts about her vs. posts on my personal page. Initially, there was no profit or business purpose whatsoever. Only after one of the community members suggested that we begin writing an illustrated children’s book based upon her experiences did any business purpose come to mind. We started working on the book in January 2018 and completed it in September 2018.

After Margaux passed away at the end of July 2018, we weren’t sure how to continue her Facebook page.  But due to the overwhelming output of support, we decided to do so in conjunction with the book and added a whole bunch of additional products. This all coincided with me taking a step back from my company SCOTTeVEST as the CEO to allow our President to run the company without my direct involvement.

CorpGov: What is your long-term vision for YAY Margaux?

Mr. Jordan: We are building a movement, not a brand.  Our top line goal is to inspire people through the lessons of Margaux, who faced life’s challenges and adversity with a huge smile.  We hope and expect that people will begin using the expression YAY Margaux! to mean, “I can do it!, if that old, blind/deaf poodle in Idaho could do it.”

We plan to do this by a multi-tier approach by combining a content strategy with merchandising opportunities. This will include, but isn’t limited to, initiatives like: 1. Illustrated children’s books starting with Waggy Tail One, with 20+ books following in the works; 2. Branded apparel; 3. A line of dog products; 4. An animated version of each book (first one is here) as well as engaging Facebook and YouTube content; and 4. A line of children’s products such as stationery, puzzles, stickers, etc.

Through the Yay Margaux movement, we want to teach children and families the value of staying positive in life, no matter what challenge lies ahead.

CorpGov: How has the first book been received?

Mr. Jordan: People are universally inspired when they learn Margaux’s story, whether through the picture book, on Margaux’s Facebook page, or on the YAY Margaux website. The first book debuted on Amazon and due to Margaux’s loyal fanbase, it sold out in a day! More copies are available now on Amazonour website, as well as BarnesandNoble.com.

We’ve been floored by the community’s response so far. The Amazon page is packed with awesome customer reviews (all 5-stars!) and we were even ranked in the top 20 children’s books in various categories and in the top 1,900 overall books before it initially sold out. It’s truly been incredible and we really look forward to continuing this journey with Margaux’s amazing fans.

CorpGov: How did you get into the publishing industry?

Mr. Jordan:  As I mentioned above, we got into the publishing industry through a suggestion from one of the YAY Margaux community members. Prior to working on this book, I self-published Pocket Man: The Unauthorized Autobiography of a Passionate, Personal Promoter and Shark Bites: The Unofficial Guide to Shark Tank by Entrepreneurs from the Show, which are both available on Amazon.

 

Full Animation of Waggy Tail One

Contact:

 

John Jannarone, Editor-in-Chief

www.CorpGov.com

Editor@CorpGov.com

Twitter: @CorpGovernor