Who Are Jeff and Nicole Thompson?
If ever a power couple existed on this planet, Jeff and Nicole Thompson would be the face of it. They are incredible! After starting a gratitude journal and writing daily, Nicole felt complete inspiration to start a children’s clothing line. This inspiration led her to spend all of their savings on fabric. Rather than feeling any sort of anger, her husband Jeff fully showed his support in her abilities and jumped on board. Exercising their optimism, hard work, and faith, they have now created an eight-figure empire, Dot Dot Smile. Their business is booming, and they are continuing paying it forward, donating to charities, helping nonprofits, etc.
Jeff and Nicole have an incredible outlook in life and it has led through incredibly challenging times with their heads held high even though through it all, it was easy to give in to despair. Hope you enjoy this podcast!
If Jeff and Nicole have inspired you to achieve your dreams and start your own business, there is a lot that needs to be planned and considered. Nicole and Jeff had savings in place, which helped them on their path, and so determining what money you’re going to use to start your business journey is a vital area to consider. You also need a lot of desire and passion, yet hopefully, Jeff and Nicole have shown what is possible! This can inspire a lot of people to achieve their dreams.
DotDotSmile quickly gained traction, and they have never looked back since
DotDotSmile launched on Instagram in 2013. It did not take long for the company to go from zero followers to 10,000! It was not a direct-selling company at this point, though. It was very much a small operation, with a social media presence that operated out of the couple’s spare bedroom. However, within three years, Jeff and Nicole realized that their business was headed for grander and bigger things. This is when Jeff decided to join Nicole as full-time CEO. He signed a lease for a warehouse, which was 1,200 square feet.
Speaking about Jeff’s involvement, Nicole said the following:
“It was a huge blessing to have him come on board. He saw the vision. He saw the growth. I’m really creative, but Jeff is very business-minded. He’s made some great decisions and can see the long haul.”
A lot of changes and additions were made to the business at the time to grow and expand it, which is something the couple continues to do to this day. A number of different products were added to the catalog then, as well as several other significant improvements. For example, the company looked into an overseas manufacturer so that they could lower costs and improve delivery times while still keeping quality levels high. This enabled them to expand their business, expanding to a bigger warehouse, which was 3,500 square feet. Only six months later, they expanded it 22,000.
Adopting a direct-selling model
As time went on, there was an increasing number of people who wanted to sell the brand’s products. Because of this, DotDotSmile looked into their options in regard to strategies for expanding their company. They decided that the strategy that made the most sense was direct selling. Because of this, the company announced its intention to introduce this business model at the start of 2017. By the summer, the infrastructure and software were implemented so that the first independent merchandisers could be added.
The vice president of sales, Silva Benilan, said the following:
“Everything has happened very organically so far. But since we’ve been here, we’ve started a lot of campaigns—everything from training programs to systems. We just had our first virtual opportunity call and had 69 people register and 45 actually on the call. It’s really impressive how many people are interested.”
It really is incredible to think that all of this has been created from a gratitude journal. It just shows you that all dreams start small, but until you chase them, you never know what could happen. Plus, with a dedicated husband and wife behind a project, you always have a chance of success.
Final words on the dynamic duo
So there you have it: an insight into the power couple behind DotDotSmile. It’s certainly inspirational to see what is possible when people go after their dreams. If you’ve got an interest that you have been wanting to pursue as a business for some time now, why not take the plunge? After all, you never know until you do.
Jeff and Nicole Thompson Podcast Transcription
Charan: Hey, what’s going on, guys? This is Charan Prabhakar with the Lemonade Stand podcast, and I am here with Jeff and Nicole Thompson, who are an incredible dynamic power couple. They have done some awesome, awesome things together, and the biggest thing that really struck a chord with me was Nicole had a gratitude journal. Correct me if I’m wrong, Nicole, but you had a gratitude journal. And you had a bit of inspiration and you wrote on it and that inspiration turned into an eight-figure business. That is fantastic.
Charan: I’ve had gratitude journals and I’m grateful I have them and that’s the end of it. But the fact that you guys actually turned it into something amazing is awesome. So I am so glad to join you and chat with you about it.
Charan: Now the company is called DotDotSmile. It’s a clothing company for children and doing really well with it. And I’m really excited. I’m excited one day to have kids just so I can try their clothes for the kids. So anyway, thanks guys so much for joining me. Nicole, Jeff, how are you guys doing today?
Nicole: We’re good.
Jeff: Really good.
Charan: Of course.
Nicole: Thanks for having us. We are excited to be here today.
Charan: Yeah, absolutely. So the Lemonade Stand podcast, just so you guys know, is a podcast that helps future entrepreneurs really… It’s all about people that started, their first lemonade stand story, like their first venture into business, and a lot of times that business would probably fail, you know? And you’re like, “Oh geez. What am I doing? Why am I doing what I’m doing?” But then you keep going and you keep at it. If it’s a kid starting a lemonade stand it’s like, “Oh geez. No customer showed up and my lemonade was way too over-priced at 30 cents so I’m going to go down to 25 cents.” Or whatever it is, right?
Charan: But finally you have some success and you get to keep on going for it. So I’m really excited to hear your lemonade stand story. Like how you guys got into business. And Nicole I do believe that your family are a family of entrepreneurs, right? You came from that.
Nicole: Yeah. Very much so. My background kind of started a long time ago with my grandparents and all my aunts and uncles. My grandparents owned catering companies, a wedding gown shop, a candy company. Startups Candy was their company. And all of my uncles and family members, a lot of us kind of generated in the wedding industry. So we have florists, DJs, photographers, I did hair and makeup for gosh 12 years.
Jeff: Catering was huge yeah.
Nicole: Yeah catering was really huge and so being an entrepreneur was something that was in me. It’s in my blood.,
Charan: Yeah. Did you feel like … Was it at a young, young age that you were like, “Oh I love doing business.”? Did you feel that or was it kind of as you got older or?
Nicole: Yeah, I mean I started working pretty young just by babysitting and then working for my uncle’s catering companies and then my first job was Coldstone [inaudible 00:04:34]. So I have always had a job and once I went to hair school, I started working for a company doing hair and makeup for weddings, and then I quickly realized that I don’t need to be working for someone. That I could do this on my own.
Nicole: So it’s kind of exciting that I just kind of had it in me from day one. I remember when I quit that business, she kind of laughed in my face and was just like, “Ha ha! Okay. Well, go right ahead. Go ahead and try it and you’ll come crawling back to me and realize how hard it is to run your own business.” And I kind of used that as fuel and it has served me to this day. She actually DMed me on Instagram a couple years ago saying, “Oh my gosh, Nicole. You have created an empire. I’m so proud of you.” So it’s kind of full circle now, you know? [inaudible 00:05:28].
Charan: I love that because it’s like that challenge, you know? It’s like, “Oh really? You want to be an entrepreneur? You want to start your own business?”
Nicole: Oh yeah, watch me.
Charan: Sometimes when people say no to me I’m like, “Oh my gosh thank you so much. Thank you so much for letting me prove you so wrong. This is going to be so great. I’m going to love this.”
Nicole: Yeah. Absolutely.
Charan: Oh that’s awesome. And Jeff now you didn’t grow up as an entrepreneur, but you worked your way through all kinds of things. You were at In-N-Out for a little while as a … What was your exact position there?
Jeff: I was an accountant there at [inaudible 00:06:02] in Irvine, California.
Jeff: Yeah I didn’t have the background Nicole did as far as family is concerned or inspiration. My dad was a phoneman for Pacific Belt back in the day, that was eventually purchased by SBC Global and then AT&T. But he did show me what hard work was and he was able to provide for the family but there was a lot of times there where we did struggle financially.
Jeff: And I remember instead of being resentful about that towards him or whomever, I used that as fuel and I said to myself, “This will not be my situation. I’m going to work hard to provide for my family. And this will not be my case.” And I just remember at a very young age, in my mom’s Ford Aerostar van, I don’t know how old I was, but literally looking out the window and seeing this guy in this beautiful Mercedes Benz with a dry, clean suit hanging up in the backseat and it hit me right there then just like, “That’s what I want.”
Jeff: And what was that? Who was that guy? I don’t know. He could have been anything, but to me at a young age that was success, right? And so I just wanted that. And so something clicked that day for me and at that point I made a decision subconsciously and I believe consciously as young as I was that I am going to be that. I’m going to get that. And so I think that once you put that out there, you’ve heard of the self-fulfilling prophecy, and I think that God or the universe or whatever it is that resonates with you puts people in your path to make that come to pass.
Jeff: And so meeting Nicole was a huge part of that actually. So when I met Nicole, and like she mentioned [inaudible 00:07:42], it was such inspiration to me. And I was so excited. I was right there to tell her, “Yes you are amazing. It’s your talents that are attracting these brides to this company and you need to go out and do it.” Now I will say we were worried. It was scary. That was the first [inaudible 00:07:59] being married and being like, “Okay, we’re going to do this.”
Jeff: But I also remember the fruits of her labors and that risk and the reward there when her and I were able to stash away $5,000 in savings. I don’t know if you remember this.
Nicole: I was thinking about it, yeah.
Jeff: But I was like, “Oh my gosh, $5,000. Who can do that as a young married couple?” And like, “This is amazing.” And just like honestly counting our blessings and being so excited having that fuel us. So I was with In-N-Out. I worked in their corporate offices there and to be honest with you I did the best with what I could there. I observed. I looked around and absorbed what they were doing right. Because that’s a phenomenal company, they treated everybody like family, and had an amazing mission. And so I just learned as I worked there and pursued my degree at night.
Jeff: Because one of the things I felt, because I didn’t have an entrepreneur kind of guiding me I felt that college was the answer. Education was the answer. I later found out that that was a great step but it wasn’t necessarily the answer, right? When it comes to entrepreneurship. Again Nicole was able to help me uncover that that was that burning desire deep down as a young kid looking out that window of the Ford Aerostar.
Charan: I love that story. And I love where you came, too, Jeff, and I love the fact that you two were, I mean, I know this is going to sound kind of cliché but you guys kind of completed each other, right? In the sense of-
Nicole: He’s the yin to my yang.
Charan: Yeah, the yin and the yang. And guys if you’re watching this video I’m just gushing over these two right now, it’s fantastic. No, it really is quite big. Because both of you had your individual fuel, right? Your individual fuel that would help motivate you to say, “You know what? I want more out of my life than what is kind of presented to me. I don’t want to just answer to somebody else or feel like I’m the puppet in somebody else’s plan or corporate ladder or what not. I want to create my own path. I want to create my own thing and what is that going to look like, right?”
Jeff and Nicole Thompson Talk About How They Met
Charan: So let’s talk about how you two first met because this sounds like a story I would love to hear about.
Jeff: Well, I’ll let her take it away.
Charan: Yeah, yeah. Please, Nicole. Go ahead.
Nicole: Oh man. Okay. We originally met at a young single adult party. And-
Charan: If you don’t know what a young single adult party is, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints have these congregations and these kind of social gatherings and what not and so there are those that are lucky enough when they are single they can go to these events and get to meet each other and fall in love and the rest is history.
Charan: Others of us are still at those parties. We’re still going. They’re still going strong. I’m not going to name names because it would be pointless so. But anyway go on. Go on. Sorry.
Nicole: I love that. So yeah we met at a YSA party in Newport Beach and I actually was dating somebody else at the time. I didn’t know anybody at the party but I knew one of his friends that he was with. So that’s where we briefly met really fast and I thought he looked like Ben Affleck. And so then I broke up with that guy I was dating and then a couple weeks later I went to Institute, which is kind of like a Christ-centered Bible study for our church as well.
Nicole: And he walked in the door and I remember he was holding his backpack like this. And I looked at my friend and was like, “Oh my gosh, there’s Ben.” And I’m like, “Remember that guy from the party? That’s Ben.” And she’s like, “I don’t think that’s his name, but okay.” So anyways, I did my thing. I flirted and still nothing. He didn’t ask me for my number. I saw him at the Young Single Adults ward—that’s our church—and still nothing. I tried so hard, you guys, to bat my eyelashes and smile at him and nothing. And then finally-
Charan: Playing hard to get, Jeff.
Jeff: Oh gosh, I was so timid and so [inaudible 00:12:07].
Nicole: He was shy.
Jeff: We saw each other at the Huntington Beach dance. And along the same lines that Charan’s already described, so it’s a dance, right? And then she came up, we actually danced there. Not being a slow dance, we were actually just dancing. And then after that she’s like, “Hey are you going to get my number?” I was just like, “She made it easy for me.” Right?
Nicole: [inaudible 00:12:30]
Charan: That’s like the smoothest move ever.
Jeff: [inaudible 00:12:33], right?
Charan: Yeah. And waiting for-
Jeff: [inaudible 00:12:36] for that moment, right?
Nicole: But this is like four times. I’ve seen you four times now and nothing.
Jeff: But again I’m not picking on these hints. But anyways I’m like, “Yeah, yeah, for sure.” So anyways I took her on a date. And she had dated a lot of guys. A lot of guys. We won’t even get into the number, but that’s awesome, right? But I think that’s a good thing. Being a father now, I would honestly encourage my daughters to date a lot before they actually just dive in. Maybe at 18, 19 and like commit to a guy, you know? So.
Charan: But when I took her out she actually told me that this was the best date she had actually been on because-
Nicole: The best first date I’d ever been on.
Jeff: Oh okay. This is the first I’m hearing of that. But okay yeah. So the best first date and the reason being is because I actually took initiative. I planned it. So she was used to getting in the car and the guy asking like, “What do you want to do?” And I had planned this date. So anyways, kind of won her over there but.
Nicole: I mean we kind of had some rough patches because I struggled with commitment. And so yeah so we kind of dated off and on for a little bit and then finally I came to my senses and I was like, “He is the one.”
Jeff: You heard it from her.
Charan: I think we all heard it from her. That’s awesome. And I mean it’s great because it’s like how long have you guys been married for?
Nicole: 13 and a half years.
Jeff: Crazy. Yeah. [inaudible 00:14:03].
Jeff and Nicole Thompson Talk About Challenges
Charan: That’s great. And it’s cool because I don’t get a chance to interview too many couples that are married and doing business together. So did that present any interesting challenges or anything like that? Working together?
Nicole: I feel like the biggest challenge is bringing the business into our home and not being able to separate it sometimes. Jeff goes into the office more than I do because I am home with the kids. I work three days a week and a lot of those times I’m working from home. And I will go to the office as much … I mean pre-COVID I went in a couple times a week.
Nicole: But I think it’s hard when he’s there full time and then he comes home and I’m like, “Okay how was the day? I want to know what happened. Like tell me.” And sometimes it’s great news and sometimes there’s heavy, hard things to deal with. And so the word dumping is kind of a severe word, but him dumping that on me when I’ve just been in my world of kids all day, you know? And it’s not that wonderful all the time.
Nicole: But I carry that and that burden is a little bit hard for me. And so someone gave me some great advice once in just saying how you just have to mentally drop the briefcase before you walk in the house and just be present and be home when you’re home. And so when you’re at work, you’re at work. When you’re home, you’re at home. And then later-
Charan: You kind of want to keep the boundaries, right? So you’re not letting things bleed into your family and what not. Because that’s a tricky thing. Especially when there’s so many things going on.
Nicole: Well, a huge part of our life and it is who we are, but we also like to have a personal life as well as a business life. We do like to separate it.,
Jeff: Yeah it’s easier said than done obviously. But also it’s something that we want our children to see. As I mentioned the way I grew up, I want my kids to see Mom and Dad succeeding in business and how they succeed in business. And that it takes hard work, you know what I mean? So a lot of times I don’t want to suppress that. I want them to be able to see that.
Jeff: But yeah to Nicole’s point, we even will go out on date night and we’re at the dinner table talking about business. But it’s really hard to get away from because it is who we are and we are so grateful and fortunate enough to have a thriving business to be talking about, right? And strategizing. So.
Charan: Well it’s interesting because, Jeff, as I’ve gotten to know you more and everything. I love where your hearts are at and your minds are at. And it’s not just about like, “Oh how do we make the most money in the world or whatever?” But it’s also about how to give back. You know? And I love the fact that you’re constantly trying to give back and do all the things that you’re doing.
Nicole Thompson Talks About Her Gratitude Journal
Charan: So let’s talk a little bit about the gratitude journal. This is what really excites me. And I apologize—my friend’s texting me right now. I apologize. So when I talk to different entrepreneurs doing different things, it’s very interesting to see what got them going to where they’re at right now, right?
Charan: You have decided, “Hey I want to have a gratitude journal.” What prompted you to have a gratitude journal and then what led that to be like, “Okay this is the inspiration that I need to start the company that I want right now and to build the empire that I’m having?”
Nicole: So it was January 2013.
Nicole: No, January is when I started the gratitude journal.
Nicole: So it was January 2013, New Year’s resolution, “I am going to start a gratitude journal.” That was one of my New Year’s resolutions. At the time we were living with my parents, trying to save money to buy a house and at that point I think we were already there for two years and we were getting a little bit discouraged. So I decided to start the gratitude journal just to kind of focus on the good that I have in my life. Even though there were times where I felt that there weren’t any good.
Nicole: I was just bummed on life and Jeff was working full time down in Orange County—we lived in Corona, and so that’s about 30 minutes away from each other but then with traffic it’s like two and a half hours. So he would wake up early in the morning and take the train down to Orange County. I would be home with the kids. I worked in the salon a couple days a week and I still did hair and makeup on the weekends. And I just felt like we were working so hard, I felt like we were in the trenches but yet we weren’t making any progress with saving money for a down payment for a home.
Nicole: So the gratitude journal started off a little bit as a “woe is me” sort of a thing and then quickly turned into there was so much more hope. Even though my circumstances hadn’t changed but I still felt hope. I felt a glimpse of happiness and joy in my life. And there were times I was grateful for really big things. But there was also times I was grateful for small things like, “Oh the sun that shined on my face.” “Oh I felt the wind blowing my hair today.” Whatever. You know? It could be something big, something small.
Nicole: So this particular day it was February, it was Super Bowl Sunday and I put the kids to bed. Jeff went to bed early because he was waking at like 5 am to take the train down to Orange County and I was having “me” time. And so I sat down, I was writing in my gratitude journal and that Sunday in Sunday School we had a lesson on revelation. And I wrote in my gratitude journal, I am so grateful for revelation, although I have never personally received it, it has blessed my life immensely.
Nicole: And I actually have never shared that part of my story before because I feel like a lot of people don’t really understand what revelation is. And instantly I shut the journal and I felt Heavenly Father telling me, “Nicole you need to do this and you need to do this now.” And I was like, “Oh my gosh.” I opened up my journal again and I just started making all these notes. And all these ideas just started coming to me and I know that that was the spirit speaking to me.
Nicole: So Jeff left the next morning to go to work. I got a babysitter, I drove to LA, and I spent all of our savings on fabric. We didn’t have a lot of savings, but I spent all of it. I believed in myself and I believed that I could do this, and I called Jeff and I was crying. And I was like, “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I just did this.” I hadn’t even talked to him about it and I just spent all of our money on fabric. This was my idea. This was what I want to do. And I’m so excited about it. I know this is the right thing for us to do.
Nicole: And do you know what he said? He was like, “That’s amazing, Nicole. I am so on board. I am 100% supportive of you. I am not mad at all. I am here.” And I was like, “Oh my gosh!” So since day one he’s always been my biggest cheerleader. He’s always believed in me and more. I really feel like the reason why DotDotSmile is where it is because he did not have that self-limiting belief. He did not want to live in this small little space, he wanted to live in this big space. And because he wanted to live in this big space, it made room for us to grow into that space.
Nicole: I kind of use this analogy. It’s like … We have lizards. We have little, what are they called?
Jeff: Bearded dragons.
Nicole: Bearded. Yes.
Jeff: We do yeah.
Nicole: I don’t think he’s ever heard this. But we have bearded dragon lizards, okay? Whatever, it’s a thing. And we only had one and it was in a small cage. And so Jeff decided to buy two more. So he bought two more and he bought … Anyways, so this bearded dragon—really fast, going back—this bearded dragon was really small in this small cage and never grew. And once we bought two more bearded dragons we had to buy a bigger cage. And so now that one dragon is now growing because it has the space and capacity to grow into.
Nicole: And that’s what I feel like Jeff has done for DotDotSmile. We did a lot of our work out of a small bedroom in our home. We were able to finally buy a house. And we did a lot of our business in this little, tiny room. And once he came on board 100%, he was like, “We got to get a warehouse.” And I’m like, “No. No. We don’t need a warehouse. We’re fine just here.” And so I thought it was this huge leap. And it was like this 1100-square-foot warehouse and we grew. And then guess what? Within six months, we were growing out that warehouse. So we moved into a 3600 warehouse. 3600-square-foot warehouse. And guess what? We grew. We grew out of it. Six months after that we had to move into a 21 …
Jeff: 22,000 square foot.
Nicole: 22,000-square-foot warehouse. And we grew. So that capacity I feel like was Jeff and his beliefs in me and in DotDotSmile. I feel like I was a little bit more limited even though I was the initial one to start this business and move on it and act on it right away, I felt like having him on board has only benefit us and our growth. And then now, last year, we actually moved into … I always get the numbers wrong. How many square feet is this new warehouse?
Jeff: 72,000 square feet.
Charan: Gosh. That’s fantastic.
Nicole: Yeah! So now we’re in a 72,000-square-foot warehouse and our numbers are just growing. And so that gratitude journal still lives to this day. I have a gratitude journal until this day I write in every single morning. And I’m incredibly grateful. We have core values at DotDotSmile and gratitude is one of them because DotDotSmile was founded on gratitude.
Nicole: And so I feel like it’s something that not only in our culture but also as individuals and in our lives and in any circumstance that we are in, it’s like Thomas S. Monson says, “There’s always something to be grateful for, no matter your circumstances.” And so that’s just something that has been rooted into me. And something that I want to instill in my children and be an example to all about.
Charan: Oh man, Nicole. Thank you so much. That was fantastic. And I love how both of you together were the key to making this thing happen because you had that initial revelation, the inspiration to be like, “We got to make this happen.” And I’ve had those moments where it’s like a flood of just information and thoughts and feelings just kind of come in to you. You’re like, “Oh my gosh. I’ve got to get this and I got to go do this.” And savings? Who needs savings? I’m going to go do it all. I’m going to just throw it all because I know that this is right. This feels good.
Jeff Thompson Talks About Growth Mindset
Charan: I love the fact, Jeff, that you were completely behind her and you were like, “Yeah. Let’s do this. This sounds awesome.” I love it. But then you had the ability, I guess the mindset, the growth mindset, right? You made room. I’d love to talk about that a little bit. How did you find I guess spacing yourself to make things grow? Does that make sense? Because I feel like a lot of times people have limited beliefs. And those limited beliefs, you can only grow as big as your beliefs, right? And so the wider your beliefs are in a sense or the more expansive they are, the more you can actually grow.
Nicole: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Jeff: Well yeah. I completely agree with you. And going back to that initial phone call when she was leaving LA with the fabric to confess, “Hey I just spent this money and I haven’t even talked to you, but I had this inspiration.” Like she said, I was like, “You know, I’m happy to hear this. I want to talk more about this tonight. I’m excited.”
Jeff: And I was so excited because I saw what she did with her bridal hair and makeup company, right? And she was generating over $100,000 in gross revenue as a young married couple. And so I’m like, “Dude I believe in you. I probably believe in you more than you believe in yourself.” She does believe in herself, but I’m just her biggest fan, right?
Jeff: And again like I said, Nicole was allowing me to see and understand that, “No, Jeff. You are an entrepreneur. You’re not an accountant.” That’s that burning desire within you. So honestly at that time I was working at a company called Stearns Landing. Huge bank. I had left In-N-Out Burger because I had finally achieved my bachelor’s degree. So I went there for growth. Because there was nowhere to go there, so I went over to kind of experience some growth, and I would gaze out their tenth floor to downtown Irvine, and my thoughts even at that time were, “I’m going to climb the corporate ladder. I’m going to be this top-level executive.”
Jeff: So my thoughts still were in the right place, to be quite honest with you. But I believed that I could do that. But Nicole just kind of opened up this thought of, “That’s not it.” And that realization came when I was driving into Stearns one day from Corona. And on that drive, we had launched prior to me leaving the door, Nicole and I had launched the sale for DotDotSmile. And by the time I drove into Santa Ana, they were located in Santa Ana, like borderline Irvine. And touched the front door handle there for the elevator. We had made more money in that sale in my one-hour drive then I was going to make that entire week.
Jeff: And when you factor in 40 hours plus drive time, that’s just crazy. And this epiphany went off like, “What am I doing?” I never felt inferior to her. We’ve always been a team. She always thought I was an amazing provider with that full-time job, benefits. But I always looked up to her because she was loving what she was doing.
Jeff: So back to your question of how I was able to find that growth. Well I always believed in her even when she was doing bridal hair and makeup. And that for me was kind of that turning point, that realization that it isn’t corporate America, man. I’m tired of people determining my self-worth. I had been through so many interviews trying to get out of Stearns and rejection after rejection after rejection. I never gave up but I knew, right, my value, and I wanted to be able to contribute somewhere. But the question was always, “What’s the product? What’s the service?”
Jeff: Fortunately Nicole satisfied that, right? With this product because of her creativity. So when I would take these orders, eventually we did get that house, right? And so we’d be up late. I’d work full time, right? I’d come home, be with the kids, put them down, we’d go upstairs and we’d have all these orders to fulfill. I mentioned that sale, we’re talking hundreds of orders. So that was her and I from 10 pm sometimes even 1, 2 am. And that was exhausting. But that’s the grind, right? And that’s the test of do you have what it takes? Are you committed? Do you have that burning desire? Right?
Jeff: And that’s kind of I think what separates right the successful from those who just continue to dream and want and scratch their heads on how did they become successful? Well there was a lot of hard work and belief in the process. And so when I would take those dresses packaged up to the post office on my way to the freeway to get into Orange County, I would pull down that … I would call it, I still do, “the blue monster” and I would feed it. And honestly I would get emotional and stop and just express gratitude through prayer for that moment. And in that moment I was just hopeful that this would take me away one day from corporate America and that we could build this.
Jeff: No lie. That was the thought. And so of course I was thinking bigger and as things started growing Nicole wanted to remain up there in that bedroom. I said, “No. We need to get a warehouse. We need to make this thing official.” I let her do the shopping, she found the first one.
Nicole: I did actually.
Jeff: And like she mentioned it was 1100 square feet. Each time we jumped I could sense this fear from her and that’s where I would override that small fear, crush it and say, “No.”
Nicole: Crush it yeah.
Jeff: ” … I’m confident we need to do this.” And we would move on, right? Even to now we’re in a 72,000-square-foot facility and right now that’s kind of the whole, “If you build it they will come” type philosophy, right? From “Field of Dreams.” [inaudible 00:30:52] say that. And so do we need that entire space right now? No. We’re going to grow into it.
Jeff: And we have a big, hairy, audacious goal right now of a nine-figure business. So that’s the BEHAG and my warehouse manager who’s been in logistics and distribution his whole career is like, “Jeff, you can be that in this facility.” Like, “You can. We have the space, we can do that here.” And so that’s the goal was like, “We’re here.” And that’s the goal to fill it, right? And to get to that dream.
Jeff: So anyways, that’s how I found the time. There were long nights, long days, man, but…
Jeff and Nicole Thompson Talk About Challenges
Charan: Yeah. Well you’re kind of actually leading to my next question which was just all about struggles. Because as you guys both know the road to being an entrepreneur is very uncertain, right? You are creating your own path.
Charan: I felt that as an actor, producer. Constantly creating your own path, constantly hustling, never knowing if anything’s going to hit. But in your case, it hit in a big, big way. So let’s talk about some of the struggles that you went, kind of created, even before DotDotSmile and even during building DotDotSmile, was there anything specific that stood out like, “Oh my gosh, that was a tough time. That was a rough one.” You know?
Nicole: Actually yeah. It’s sometimes so hard to talk about. It was probably the hardest thing that Jeff and I ever had to go through, it really rocked both of our worlds and it was oh my gosh, I don’t even know what year it was. But we actually did a collaboration with my parents’ company called LuLaRoe and that ended and it ended pretty abruptly. And how it ended was really heartbreaking to Jeff and I.
Nicole: Jeff, actually, so he said he worked at In-N- Out and then he said he worked at Stearns. When he left Stearns he actually didn’t come to work for DotDotSmile, he actually worked for LuLaRoe. So he worked there and it was an amazing experience for him. I was involved a little bit and they were growing and they approached us and asked us to do a collaboration with them. And it was awesome. The collaboration was so awesome. And we are so grateful that we had the opportunity to do that.
Nicole: It definitely helped with getting our name out there, it definitely helped with our growth, we learned a lot. And when it ended we weren’t prepared for it to end and how it happened was hard because it was my family. And I’m not going to share the details because that’s in the past and I have fully forgiven my family. I do have a really great relationship with them to this day, but it was really hard for Jeff and I, it rocked both of our worlds.
Nicole: So when he came over from LuLaRoe to DotDotSmile it wasn’t like, “Okay, we’re done. This is it. This is great.” No. Learning how to work together as a team, therefore also, he was happier because he left LuLaRoe, but then because he left, I was kind of in the middle still between my family and my husband. And that was really, really difficult for me. I was in a really dark place for about two years. But then I realized that that’s not what our Savior wants from us and I was doing that to me.
Nicole: They did something to hurt me, but I was living in that space. I chose to live in that space for two years. And yes it was hard, but it was probably the greatest struggle that I had ever been through. Yes, great as in “hard,” but great as in, “Wow, I’m so grateful I went through that.” It was heavy. but it brought Jeff and I closer together. It was almost like that “cleave unto your husband and your wife.” That’s exactly what we did. It made us strong. It made us solid. You know? Like, “If we don’t have anything else we have each other. We have our kids. We have each other. You know?”
Nicole: And moving into him coming and working with me and, yes, I have a little bit more self-limiting beliefs and he didn’t, and so kind of learning how to work together and learning his place and my place and inventory. We didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into. So we had a wait list and then we ordered all this inventory, and then the wait list kind of dwindled and now we got stuck with all this inventory and now we’re like, “Crap what do we with this?”
Charan: Right, yeah.
Nicole: Yeah. And so having to be creative and work together and that’s kind of where our charity efforts were born. And so I do feel like even though we’ve been through hardships and struggles, it really kind of plants seeds in other places to help us grow.
Nicole: And so with that overabundance amount of inventory, we were able to plant the seed of our charity. And so we were able to not only get rid of this inventory but to be able to donate money. And our first charity was Children’s Hospital of Orange County, so that’s known as CHOC here in southern California. And so it was an honor that we were able to raise $50,000 for this charity and that was huge to us, you know?
Nicole: And we were able to do that, but it didn’t come just like, “Oh we’re going to do this. And this is great. And look at this money. We presented this check.” No, it definitely came with its struggles to get there, but because of those struggles we were able to born our charity work, and it’s something that we continue to do to this day and that’s a big part of who we are at DotDotSmile.
Nicole: Man, those days were really hard and really heavy and I feel very grateful that we were able to go through them and go through them together and make it out together. And to really rely on our Savior to lead and guide us. I pray every day that he will continue to pave the path for us and continue to help us be an instrument in his hands to bless other people’s lives. And that’s my personal prayer and I really feel like it has come to fruition, and we get messages all the time from many people telling us how we have helped them, and I really feel like that gratitude journal was planted so we can help other people in their lives.
Nicole: And so again it’s not always rainbows and butterflies. There are a lot of hardships that we go through, you know? And so honestly, Jeff, another one of our core values is optimism. That we face all challenges with optimism and Jeff’s new thing lately is “there a solution to every problem.” And there is! Because you look back in the past and in that moment you’re like, “Oh my gosh. What are we going to do? This is horrible. How are we going to make it out?” And guess what? We did. And there was a solution to the problem and do we think about anymore? No we don’t.
Nicole: You know? And so every day, there’s a solution to every problem, you know? And even sometimes I’m like, “Ugh you’re so right.”
Jeff: Oh really?
Nicole: Because [inaudible 00:39:27]. It’s so true.
Jeff: Entrepreneurship, it’s problem-solving. You know? I had a buddy who recently launched a business and he came to me and he was asking me questions and he was like, “Oh I just figured out how to solve this problem.” I said, “And don’t sit back and relax because you have five more just around the corner. That’s what being in business is.” Right?
Jeff: So yeah there’s been difficulties for sure. Nicole got a little personal there. That was very tough. But we overcame that and we did a great job doing it. And there’s just been other things. Business is tough, like you were mentioning. You find yourself in a dead end or a big boulder, right? In your way. And just you find a way to climb over that, right? And you just never lose faith.
Nicole: Or chip at it one day at a time.
Jeff: Never lose faith or hope. Again, like she said one of our core values is optimism. So we face challenges with optimism because we know challenges are going to rise in business period. You know?
Charan: It’s so interesting. And as you guys are telling me all these things and you know the challenges are going to arise, so it’s like, “How do we face it with that open optimism and problem-solving?” Recently I’ve been kind of going through something and it’s more a really unique experience.
Charan: About 10 years ago or so I was cast in a movie. And the way I was cast in this movie was amazing, because I had met the director a few months earlier, and I didn’t even know he was writing a movie, but he and I got talking and he was just super cool and we really connected. So he wrote this movie, it’s kind of a suspense movie. I ended up being cast and we had a great experience, and I remember this director and I had some incredibly poignant moments. And this was one of my first movies where I was actually one of the main characters.
Charan: And so he taught me so much about acting. He taught me how to really believe in myself and kind of figure out what my character was. And I remember we’d have all these really significant moments. I remember the last day of shooting, he told me he’s like, “You know what, Charan? I’ve got to tell you, when I was writing this movie I didn’t know who the fifth character was going to be. I had no idea. I had four down, I needed one more and I didn’t know who it was going to be and then I met you. And instantly I was like, ‘What if I made it someone like Charan?'”
Charan: And he didn’t say he was going to cast me, he just wanted to write this part. So he did write this part and it fit really well, and he had a lot of auditions, but he felt like I was the best for that role, and so he gave it to me, and so in a weird way it was kind of like it was written for me even though he didn’t realize it at the time.
Charan: So that was about 10 years ago. And this director and I, we’ve shared some amazing exchanges and it’s been awesome. Unfortunately, as life sometimes happens to people, this director, he contracted cancer and it’s been really heavy and pretty serious. And so about a year or two ago I went and spent some time with him. And it was great to see him and we filmed the whole interaction as we were chatting with each other.
Charan: And I’ve always known him to be a really optimistic guy. And he was like, “You know I’m fighting it and doing great and it’s awesome. And we’re going to make it through.” But unfortunately his daughter has just posted that he probably only has days left now. And so I asked to see if I could reach out to him and maybe say goodbye to him or something and unfortunately I wasn’t able to get in touch with him. I don’t think he was speaking. In fact he may have passed away I’m not even sure.
Charan: But it’s been interesting. I’ve done a lot of reflection in the last couple days as I’ve been thinking about everything I realize the moments that I thought were so insignificant. Just the little moments. Just the way he would look at you and smile or the way he’d encourage you, or just like those little things were so completely priceless, were so completely priceless. You know?
Charan: And I think as you guys look back on your journey and all the interaction you’ve had, even those struggles. Those painful struggles that you’ve had with your own parents and your own family, Nicole, that you can look back and be like, “Wow. What a beautiful time. And what a beautiful experience that was. And even though it was painful, even though it was tough at the time. It was so sacred.”
Charan: And I know that sounds kind of weird that I’m saying it like that. But I don’t know my mind has been in that space just because I think all those things I thought. Because making that movie wasn’t a picnic. We were stuck inside of a mine for 12 hours a day, you know? And it was dark. You couldn’t hear anyone sometimes. And you’re like, “How did my life get to a point where I’m stuck inside of a mine making a movie?” And now I look back at every single one of those moments and think, “Wow how precious was that moment? And how great was that moment?”
Charan: So I’m so grateful that you guys are using the successes and stuff that you’ve had at DotDotSmile to really empower other people and to impress other people and to share your gratitude and your optimism and your hope. Because I actually think that message right there of who you already are is even more important than the money you’re acquiring and the clothes that you’re spreading. Because those things are great, but one day those clothes they’ll get old and they’ll get torn up and you have to buy new ones. But those principles of gratitude and hope and optimism are … I would like to say that they’re eternal, right? And I think they’re really powerful. So I really appreciate the stuff that you guys are doing.
Nicole: Yeah. I feel like people need to focus on their “why” and their purpose and then everything else will come. Because like you said, those clothes can get old and worn out and whatnot and stuff. So our purpose at DotDotSmile is we create smiles and build confidence. And it’s crazy because it goes full circle. It’s not even just within ourselves but also through the clothing we create smiles and build confidence when children put on the clothing. We create smiles and build confidence through our charity work. We create smiles and build confidence with those that we employ. We create smiles and build confidence with our merchandisers.
Nicole: So it is full circle. And when we are having a hard time and go back to our purpose and how it serves us. And how we can continue to serve our purpose with our every day actions and mentality as well.
Jeff and Nicole Thompson Talk About Finding Joy
Charan: Yeah. So I kind of want to just shift topics just a little bit here. What are you guys doing right now to have joy?
Nicole: Take it away, Jeff.
Jeff: Well, Nicole was trying to find joy today in a beach visit with other homeschooling moms, right?
Nicole: Yeah. Yeah.
Jeff: Finding joy. I think just looking on the bright side of things. I found joy, really, lately in the new routine I’ve picked up for me personally. Nicole and I, we were just driving home from Star Valley, Wyoming, on a family vacation, and Nicole had recently bought this Audible and we were listening to it on the way home, it was called “Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod. And we were listening to it—it’s a long drive, by the way—and so we were listening to it, we almost finished the book. And while I was listening to it, I felt that, Nicole talks about her personal revelation. That night in February, scribing in her gratitude journal.
Jeff: I felt basically the Spirit just hitting me heavily and saying, “Are you listening?” Because I have known and felt that I need to be getting up earlier and working on myself, right? If I’m going to be a leader of this company that’s what I need to be doing. And so I am so excited about it, it was on a Sunday that we were driving. And I was like, “I’m doing this. I’m doing this tomorrow.” And one of the things that was an “aha” moment for me in there is him talking about, “I am not a morning person.” That statement is a limiting belief.
Jeff: And Nicole and I would say that all the time, “Why are we both not morning people?”
Nicole: We struggle.
Jeff: And we both struggle and the mornings just get away from us and this, that, and the other. And I heard that and I’m like, “That is absolute true. And I’m going to prove that to be true and that that belief in my mind is false.” And so I got up and honestly today, that was August 10th and today is what? September 3rd?
Jeff: And I’m going at it strong. I haven’t missed a day. I’ve even traveled and woke up in the hotel early, hit the gym, did my studies. I’m addicted to it now. So now I’m very much a morning person and so I’m finding joy in it. And the reason I’m finding joy is because I’m doing it. And I’m surprised. I default back to that little boy who looked out the Aerostar window, right?
Jeff: I had this kind of built in me, it was wired within me, to desire more and then go after it somehow. So it was this subconscious belief in my abilities. But now I’m getting more intentional about it, right? And I’m being consciously aware of my thoughts. I’m even adopting… So one of the things he says is, “You should get up and start the morning with silence.” Right so prayer and meditation. I do both. I’ve never meditated before and I’m enjoying it and finding the need to do so.
Jeff: Then he mentions affirmations. Now this is something Nicole has done and she actually will do them with our children as they go to bed and I love that. It’s so sweet to hear. And it’s amazing that our kids sit there and say, “I am brave. I am beautiful and perfect just the way that I am.” But I felt weird doing it. But not here, right? So I started to do it and I’m noticing that we can be intentional about what we’re telling ourselves, right? Because that story that we’re telling ourselves is powerful and we need to weed out those limiting beliefs and be conscious about that.
Jeff: So there’s the affirmations and then there’s the visualizations. So I also created a dream board. Even though again, we’re very grateful for what we have and where we’ve come, but I do believe, gratitude is being grateful and content for the things that you do have while at the same time having a vision for tomorrow, right? So actually visualizing and then of course there’s the exercise to get the blood flowing. And then there’s the reading, which I like to have some spiritual literature as well as some mental exercise, right?
Jeff: So “Miracle Morning” would fall into that and you finish that and then you go on to the next. Right now I’m currently reading “Think and Grow Rich.” Had that book sitting on a shelf forever. But now I’m actually attacking it. And again that book “Think and Grow Rich” falls into so many principles we’ve discussed over the last 45 minutes or so. Faith. Burning desire. Belief in one’s self. Hard work. Right? Action. All of that.
Jeff: And so I’m loving it. And I’ve fallen in love with it. So that is bringing me immense joy. And one of the last things is kind of what Nicole is mentioning is scribing and journaling. That’s something I’ve never … Well I take it back, I did do that while living in Brazil for a couple years. But outside of that I don’t journal. So I put scribe there. So the acronym is SAVERS. And so scribing is basically just journaling. And as I’m doing that I’m seeing and noticing how much I’m growing in as little as 21 days. And so I can’t imagine what 365 days would yield, you know?
Jeff: Consistency compounds, right? “By small and simple things great things are about to pass.” This small habit if you will, I believe, will turn me into something much greater. And my faith will be increased and my belief in myself will be increased and I’m curious to see what’s possible in the future doing that. So anyways, that was a long rant but-
Charan: No love it.
Jeff: You can probably feel my joy, right? And as I speak about it so yeah.
Charan: No that’s awesome. Thank you. Thank you. What about you Nicole? Anything specific that [crosstalk 00:52:07]?
Nicole: We are really going through a lot of changes right now with homeschooling our kids. And I really feel like the first couple of weeks were … Two weeks were good. I felt like I was trying to be really mindful and in the present and this week has been more difficult than others. And it’s funny last night I asked Jeff, “Well what do you want from me?” And he was like, “I want joy from you.”
Nicole: And I’m like, “Okay.”
Charan: Legit that worked too, right?
Nicole: And so it’s such a good reminder because I was even a little bit resistant to this podcast, and I really feel like things that we are resistant toward are the things that are probably the most best for us. So even just talking this out and hearing of where we’ve been and we’re we are and where we’re going and what not. I feel like this has been really good for me. So thank you again for having us. I’m so grateful because even though you invited us, it has really been a joy in my life even just this last whole hour that we’ve been here.
Nicole: So for fueling my joy for today. So I feel like what I really strive to do is to be mindful and to live in the present moment. To not be so in the past or in the present. I feel like when we do so, we live with anxiety or depression or just a lot of just fears I feel like. And being in the present moment, I feel like does help me bring joy. Trying to pause those moments and to be with our children.
Nicole: You talked about your friend that might possibly have already passed away. About, almost five months ago, four-and-a-half months ago, my little brother, he was living with us, and he left our house and three minutes later got in a motorcycle accident and passed away. And it was really, really sudden and really, really hard on all of us. And one thing that I feel like I’ve learned from Alex is to really enjoy one another.
Nicole: I feel like before I say bye to somebody I give them a hug, I give them a kiss, I make sure that we really genuinely show that person how important they are to us because again you just never know if you’re never going to see them again. I didn’t think I was never going to see Alex again, I was in my kitchen cooking dinner, he left, I said, “See you.” Threw up a peace sign and he never came back.
Nicole: And so it’s still hard on us but trying to live with those that are still here and enjoying the ones that are in our lives that are alive here really does bring me joy, and especially after losing Alex so suddenly I feel like it’s something that we really need that reminder to just stop and to really just enjoy the ones that are here with us right now.
Charan: Yeah. Yeah I know. It’s all about savoring each other. I know that sounds kind of weird, but it’s like savor the moments and savor the things that we take for granted sometimes. Because little smiles and little hugs and things like that, those are so precious. And yeah especially when someone so suddenly leaves your life and someone you’ve been so close to you’ve known all your life, you know?
Nicole: Yep. Absolutely.
Charan: And I know we share similar spiritual beliefs and I often think it’s going to be such a beautiful, beautiful thing when we can all see each other again and hang out and just laugh through our tears, right? At the amazingness of life. So yeah. Yeah.
Jeff and Nicole Thompson’s Advice to Their Younger Selves
Charan: Thanks for sharing that. I guess one final question I would ask both of you, and by the way thank you so much for being on this podcast, because every time I talk to people like you, I learn so much as well and I feel like we’re all kind of growing together, so it’s a huge benefit to everybody. What would you give as advice to your younger selves? The ones that were just starting off in life or saying, “Hey, I have a dream. I want to do something with it.” What would you say to that person?
Nicole: Oh man. What advice would I give? Do you have any ideas?
Jeff: I would say, “Pursue that dream. Come hell or high water, you stay and put out there who you want to be, what you want to accomplish.” And like I said, “Come hell or high water you make sure that that thing comes to fruition and manifests itself in its physical form.” I feel like that’s how we’ve gotten to where we are. You’re going to have your trials, you’re going to have your challenges. But as you continue on and you do not quit, don’t ever quit, I guess is what I’m saying. You look back on those trials, those falls, and you look back with gratitude kind of like we’ve discussed.
Jeff:And there were moments of learning and amazing growth. And so we’re grateful for the trials because they allow us to grow, they allow us to learn and become better people. Stronger people. And so I would just say go for it. If you have … You mentioned impulsive thought and all these ideas. That’s when you just grab those, write them down, and actually formulate a plan of action.
Nicole: And act on it like the next day. Don’t sit on it.
Jeff: This is when affirmations can come in. And even if you don’t believe them in the moment, and even if you feel silly saying that, you tell yourself that you’re going to win. “I’m wired to win” and you just keep moving forward with faith. Faith is such a huge component, right? And not just in yourself but also in God that this is a worthy cause that you’re trying to bring into existence and that he has got your back there.
Jeff: And again once you do and the blessings do manifest themselves, then it’s like, “Okay how can I be a good steward over this blessing and then share that with other people?” Like Nicole said, one of our greatest joys is to have our merchandisers reach out with these amazing stories. I remember on a first cruise, one of the gals came up to me and she said, “I got to tell you.” And she was emotional and was crying and she said, “Last year I was on food stamps and we barely made it and this year I did over $80,000 myself. Just selling DotDotSmile.” And I said, “Are you kidding me?” And I just embraced her and she to this day just continues to hustle, hustle and just outgrow her potential.
Jeff: And that’s the one thing that … I’ve been really inspired by Kobe Bryant and one of the things that he says was, “You always want to outwork your potential.” Don’t look to the left or to the right and compare yourself, right? That’s the thief of all joy, as they say. So outwork your potential. And as hard as you think you can work, you can work harder than that.
Jeff:And so that’s what I’m showing myself is, I can get up at 4 am. I can work out. I can read. I can expand my thought process. I can be conscious and aware of the seeds I’m planting in the garden of my subconscious mind, right? And be aware of that. And anyways as you do that, consistency compounds. And so those things, if you just keep putting in the work, never quit, outwork your potential. Don’t get caught up with who’s doing that, who’s doing what. Focus on yourself. Believe in yourself and believe that a higher power has also got your back and wants to see you succeed as well. That would be my advice to anybody including my younger self.
Charan: Nicole anything from you?
Nicole: I feel like what comes to mind is don’t ever waver, you know? Plant your feet in the ground, let those roots grow deep and amongst the storms and the trials and everything, don’t ever let yourself waver. Because the grass is not greener on the other side. The grass is greener right where you are. And where you nourish it and where you water it and sometimes it’s the comparison. Sometimes you think somebody else’s life is greater than yours and you don’t really know what they went through to get where they are.
Nicole: Even me sharing a glimpse, just this much, of what we went through, and even just the emotions that I felt saying that little glimpse, it definitely wasn’t easy and it was really, really, really hard. But I am so grateful that I never wavered in my faith, in my trust, in my Heavenly Father. And I know that with that, that we will be blessed. And you will be blessed. And turning to Him with that faith and trust will only help us grow and will only open up opportunities and will only continue to pave that path for the future that He has planned for you. And so that’s my advice.
Charan: Oh my gosh. I cannot think of a better way to end this podcast other [inaudible 01:01:50] pieces of advice. Like seriously, you guys are amazing and it’s just been a real joy hanging out with you all and talking about just what makes you tick and what inspires you and yeah. I’m really grateful. Thank you so much for taking the time. Seriously, you guys are so great.
Charan: And I guess last thing, what’s the future? What’s the future hold for you?
Nicole: Oh my gosh. We have so much great things for the future.
Jeff: The future is, as I mentioned, it’s our big, hairy, audacious goal. It’s the “Matterhorn Mission,” as we refer to it. We had a big mountain to climb and that’s a nine-figure company. Like I said, definitely gratitude for where we are. You can have that contentment and appreciation while still having a vision for tomorrow.
Jeff: So that’s what’s next for us and we are gaining momentum and traction and we’re excited about that. As we continue to practice those things that we’ve learned and continue to see our thoughts through with action so.
Charan: That’s awesome. Well, you guys are the greatest. Thank you so much for taking the time and hopping on this podcast. Really appreciate it. Okay. All right. Well, have a wonderful day. We’ll chat with you both soon, okay?
Nicole: Thank you.
Jeff: Thanks. Take care.
Charan: Uh-huh (affirmative).
Charan: Thanks so much for listening to Lemonade Stand podcast and we hope you enjoyed this episode. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast on whatever platform we use to be alerted when we release new episodes. We’d love to hear your feedback in the reviews and if you or someone you know has an awesome Lemonade Stand Story, please reach out to us on social media and let us know. Thanks so much and have a great day.