December 22, 2021
During this holiday season, we are taking the opportunity to re-release some of the most popular episodes of Distribution Talk. The August 2020 interview with Lisa Fiore, co-founder and CEO of Landscape Hub, broke all download records for the show. People were intrigued with her ability to apply this digital marketplace to the highly fragmented legacy industry of landscapes.
Since the interview, Landscape Hub has grown dramatically and they're continuing to add more robust search features for the end user. From a fingernails in the dirt family business to technology-driven service provider, this is a really cool innovation story. Enjoy!
Lisa Fiore left the family business behind to transform an industry. Jason and Lisa discuss the challenges that have shaped her management style and the tech she’s created to revolutionize a stodgy wholesale vertical.
“Their version of the story is that I grabbed the business and took it from them. My version is they gave it to me,” Lisa laughs, recalling the series of events that ultimately lead to her taking over the family’s century-old landscape supply business in 2010 - at the height of the Great Recession.
Throughout that crisis, Lisa maintained an honest dialogue with her staff and her family about the painful adjustments to come. Fostering that level transparency taught her a great deal about the value of vulnerability, an attribute that has prepared her for the current pandemic. “We all have deep scars from the recession and I guarantee you we're all gonna have deep scars of living through this…[but] it's informed my instincts.”
Challenges should beget meaningful change. That’s a takeaway Lisa has run with throughout her career. After shoring up the family business, she left the company to realize her dream: the creation of an online marketplace connecting buyers and quality suppliers across the country.
But optimizing a fragmented ecosystem is not an easy task - or a quick one.
Imagine an industry in which the established common names for products change from region to region, where orders are often taken via pencil and pad. That’s what Landscape Hub is up against. Three years in, however, Lisa is as enthusiastic about her tech as she was the first time she pitched it to venture capitalists. “This is the future of the industry and I have to be a part of it and I have to see this thing through.”
Under her guidance, Lisa and her team will no doubt do just that. An entrepreneur at heart, she’s happiest laying the foundation for future innovations. “We are doing something that is genuinely going to change this industry. We don't know necessarily what role we'll play in terms of the finished product, but I guarantee you, what we're doing today will make a difference.”
I remember saying to everybody, ‘To stay the same, we have to change.’ I think it's a Shakespeare quote.
I saw very clearly that this industry was the last bastion of this non-digitized space. I wanted to be the one that brought us into the new technological era.
I don't think we could have done this if we had a mandate to be profitable.
Leaving a lifestyle business or a family family business to go to a venture-backed business, for me, was like a breath of fresh air.
It tends to be some of the most successful companies out there that are the ones that are most resistant and, you know, I think success can breed...narrow-mindedness or complacency.
Distribution Talk is produced by The Distribution Team, a consulting services firm dedicated to helping wholesale distribution clients remove barriers to profitability, generate wealth and achieve personal goals.
This episode was edited & mixed by The Creative Impostor Studios.
Special thanks to our sponsor for this episode: INxSQL Distribution Software, integrated distribution ERP software designed for the wholesale and distribution industry.