To close out our Know Your Orbit Grow Your Orbit launch event series, the Norby crew themselves hopped on IG Live to chat about the question you’re all dying to know the answer to: What even is a Norby? This conversation featuring Norby co-founders Nick Gerard, Steven Layne, and Sam Safer Valentine explored how Norby came to be, what it looks like right now, and where it's headed.
As I’m sure you all remember, the COVID-19 pandemic sent the entire world into a completely new way of life. The lifestyle we were all so used to was changing at a pace many of us had never experienced before--businesses small and large struggled to stay on their feet, students were getting their education remotely, restaurants closed their doors permanently… The list of effects goes on. For many small businesses in particular, the pandemic brought their operations to a screeching halt. Sam Safer Valentine, COO of Norby and a small business owner, spoke to her experience with this firsthand in her work pre-Norby.
“When COVID hit in March 2020, my business which was very, very tied to retail--both brick and mortar and e-commerce on both the consulting and sales repping side, was heavily impacted.” - Sam Safer Valentine, COO, Norby
With this in mind, Norby co-founders Nick, Steven, and Sam started to think about what this would mean for the creator economy. Obviously, in person events were off the table due to the pandemic, and everything naturally shifted to a digital space. It turns out that there was tons of really valuable, educational, and just, well, cool sh*t going on on the Internet throughout the heavy quarantine phases of the pandemic. To highlight the amazing things people were cooking up, Nick, Steven, and Sam built out an online events calendar to keep all of these events in one place. The calendar allowed for users to sign up for text message reminders for any of the events included. After winding that project down in the summer of 2020, they started to think about what they wanted to do next.
What started as an online events calendar project in the height of the pandemic ultimately led Nick, Steven, and Sam into laying the foundation for Norby, (yep, that's us!) an audience relationship management toolkit built for creators and brands. Through working on the online events calendar, the Norby team realized that for creators and brands, connecting with your audience in general was quite a rigid experience. Steven Layne commented.
“We learned a lot through that process. We learned that there are a lot of people trying to do a lot of different things -- whether it's events, releasing merch, or just engaging with their audience in whatever way… there aren’t really straightforward ways for them to orchestrate that whole process.” - Steven Layne, CTO, Norby
After coming to this realization, the Norby team started building infrastructure that supported this type of creator. As community builders and ambitious creators themselves, the Norby team feels personally connected to the tools they are currently building and understands what their users need to make connecting with their audience as seamless and straightforward as possible. Nick Gerard sees this in Sam’s personal story and spoke to this to showcase how they align with their users.
“One thing I love about Sam’s story is that it really mirrors that of so many of our customers. With the last year and people who had built a business having to reinvent themselves, people who had revenue streams and strategies, and then all of a sudden had the rug pulled out from under them -- they had to figure out ‘Okay, am I doing classes? Am I doing courses? Am I doing workshops? What now?’ We are thinking a lot about that person.” Nick Gerard, CEO, Norby
Ultimately, the Norby team aims to build out this technology to become the one and only place you will need to go to connect with and build upon your audience. There are currently countless different platforms available to creators and brands that allow them to build their communities--so many to the point that it can get overwhelming. For brands and creators, Norby wants to eliminate that.
“We are developing Norby into a one-stop shop platform to build, grow, and manage your online community and cover all of your bases in one place. Dead simple to use, hard to screw up. We’re really excited about how far we’ve come in a short time and we’ve got really big plans from here on out.” - Nick Gerard, CEO @ Norby
All in all, the Norby team is extremely dedicated to supporting creators and brands in their efforts to grow, expand, and connect. The tools currently available to creators seem to be rooted in ads, clicks, and likes. On the contrary, the Norby team aims to root their product in the needs of the creators and brands that they cater to. Nick, Steven, and Sam all understand the value that comes with community building and connecting with an audience, and are continuing to work on Norby with that in mind. If you are still left wondering ‘What even is a Norby?’ check out the full conversation on our IG, @bynorby, right here.