Face Forward: Q&A with Netrush Studio Director Jeni Malone

Jeni headshot

Get to know Netrush Studio Director, a veteran of nearly four years, and self-proclaimed knowledge magpie as she gives the lowdown on being resident wrangler of projects and people.

Where did you work before Netrush?

When I joined the team, I had worked at a bank for three years. Previous to that I’d been working on and off since having my kids. It was sort of a tradeoff, where I put working on the backburner a bit and was more focused on them. Previous to the bank, I worked at a market research firm which was more focused on data collection and working on the tech side with companies like Intel, IBM, and Microsoft.

What does a typical day look like for you?

So I’ll come in and deal with a really full inbox, and then get together with my team leads. Because we front-load all the projects at the beginning of the month, we want to make sure we’re on course or provide timely response to feedback from our brand partners. It’s our opportunity to connect and to talk about what the team needs to get done that day.

The rest of my day is spent ping-ponging back and forth between projects and meetings. Whether it’s communicating with Geneson [Klaus, Catalog Manager] and getting an understanding about what needs to get prioritized, or looking at the projects and providing feedback for whatever we might have the team working on that day, or I might be in a bunch of meetings looking at new brands, or working with a team to understand how the backend fields work. I’m a catchall, and because of my experience in the company and because I’m sort of a knowledge magpie, there are a lot of things that people come to me and ask.

What’s changed at Netrush since you started working here? 

The faces, the people, the work we do here. When I first started, I was part of the content team, that had only been around a couple of months, and we were responsible for making sure the content on the listings was correct.

It’s not like anything we have now with our creative process, or even the brand management process where we work closely with our partners. It’s moved from the single-celled organism of the brand management team to more specialized departments and skill sets that support the core service offering we provide.

We moved into our much larger new space. It’s crazy growing from a company of 30 people to over 100 people and seeing the change in partnerships and the approach in the way we service the brands we work with, and the opportunities we have out there right now. It’s a totally different world.

How did the Netrush Studio come to be?

Steve [Klinetobe, Executive Creative Director], joined as a contractor to give us an idea about what we would need to set up a creative studio. We realized we needed to have a specialized approach to how we serviced our brands and their content. He spent a lot of time talking to everyone about what was needed, and it just so happened he was capable of making the changes he was proposing.

Before Steve came on board as ECD, it was a small staff. I was the Catalog Manager and there was no split between creative services and catalog. There was one designer and a photographer. I shifted to Editorial Director so that I could manage the copy team, and then hired Jeff Rockwell as our Director of Photography (now our Creative Director). When he started, we just took a breakout room and set up an area for him to shoot, and that was his first photo studio.

Today we have several designers, photographers, copywriters, and a copy editor. We have a streamlined process for all the production, proofing, editing, and it all gets sent back to the brands for feedback and approvals. We’re always refining our process, but we’re worlds away from where we were before because there was no world before!

What’s different about Netrush’s approach to creative services?

There’s a depth to the relationships we have with our partners. We take the time to own what content needs to look like on the Amazon platform for each brand. We invest in making sure we are delivering the message as the brand wants to see it while tailoring it to live up to Netrush’s standards and Amazon’s parameters. The Amazon customer is different. The way that the message has to be delivered is different. There’s more thought and investment on our side.

What’s been a favorite Netrush moment?

One of our partners, Alaffia, visited a few years ago and we got the opportunity to see what our relationship looks like through their eyes. We had the CEO and owner come down with his team from Togo, West Africa. That was really special to get an opportunity to interact and share with people that have had such a different life experience and seeing what it means to them for all the work we do.

It can feel simple, right? Putting content on Amazon and selling product through the Amazon platform. But to them, it is such a big deal to sell their products and give back to their community. They stand behind education, infant mortality, supporting mothers, and female empowerment back home in Togo. It was just incredible to see how far reaching our efforts can go.

What would you want people to know about Netrush Studio?

Just how many hands touch their content and how much thought goes into it. We have a catalog team that’s dedicated to reviewing their listings and making updates when needed, a copywriter that fully understands their messaging, their editorial style guide, [and] the way that their message needs to be taken from their content and translated into what’s appropriate for Amazon and for the customer they’re trying to reach.

We have designers who really understand what the messaging needs to look like and how to translate it, and photographers that know how to make a product look good on Amazon. I’m not sure our partners understand how many people spend time on their products and the amount of thought and consideration that’s involved because it’s a lot of work. It’s deceptively complex.

What does the future look like for Netrush?

Wow, there’s so much opportunity. Looking at other platforms, and making sure we’re being thoughtful about where we’re investing, whether that’s international, whether that’s external to Amazon, and new partnerships, or new categories that we’re working on. While continuing to refine what it looks like to support our current partners.

So, over the last year and a half has been such an exceptional period of growth for Netrush, and I feel like we’ve reached a point where we’re thinking about how far we’ve come, and where we’re going from here. There’s still so much opportunity for growth, so I think more change and more opportunity [is in Netrush’s future].