In this Prime Talk Podcast Video Sponsored by GETIDA, Francois Jaffres, the Director of Business Development at Noviland, a supply chain solution for eCommerce sellers, solving challenges of product sourcing & Amazon logistics. Jaffres shares his personal journey into eCommerce.
Have you ever wondered about all of the components that go into fulfilling an online order? How do those products actually get to you? What are the processes involved? Yoni Mazor of PrimeTalk delves into the world of supply chain management and all of the parts necessary to get a product to the purchaser.
In today’s episode, PrimeTalk has teamed up with Francois Jaffres, the Director of Business Development at Noviland, which is a global sourcing and purchasing platform for everyone from Fortune 500 companies to newbie Amazon sellers. Noviland has over 4000 factories that they have carefully groomed to meet your needs and has successfully delivered over 2 million products across dozens of categories.
Francois Jaffres discusses the importance of understanding supply chain management for your business in order not to be caught if another global crisis causes supply chain disruptions. So if you are an Amazon seller wanting to have a more secure supply chain, or if you’re interested in the logistics of it all, then this episode is for you!
Visit Noviland for more information.
Learn about GETIDA’s Amazon FBA reimbursement solutions.
Find the Full Transcript Below
Yoni Mazur 0:06
Hi, everybody. Welcome to another episode of PrimeTalk. Today I have a special guest. I’m having Francois Jaffres. Francois is basically the Director of Business Development at Noviland, which is a supply chain solution for e-commerce sellers. So anything that you need to solve with, you know, with your, you know, chain supply of manufacturing, quality assurance, transportation, everything like that. Yeah, these guys help out and it seems like they’re doing, you know, top-of-the-line jobs. So, Francois, welcome to the show.
Francois Jaffres 0:37
Yeah, thank you for having me. Yoni. How are you doing today?
Yoni Mazor 0:39
Pleasure. Here in Teaneck, New Jersey weather is a bit cold and a bit snowy. What about yourself?
Francois Jaffres 0:47
Well, we had a 70-degree day yesterday in Atlanta, and today, rain. So it’s it’s probably in the 50s today, but
Yoni Mazor 0:55
I’ll buy that. I’ll buy that if I can use my American Express, I’ll buy that weather. Give me a day of 70, next day a 50, I’ll buy that, instead of having a day of 20-25 here.
Francois Jaffres 1:04
You got to get the points on that Amex card.
Yoni Mazor 1:08
Yeah, I’ll use my points to travel and go visit you, I’ll be able to double-dip on the weather and being able to travel. But thank you so much for, you know, taking the time. Joining us here for the show. Today is really going to be the episode of Francois Jaffers. You’re going to share with us, you know, Who are you? Where’d you grow up? How’d you end up in the professional world? So I guess without further ado, let’s jump right into it.
Francois Jaffres 1:32
Yeah, yeah, no, it’s uh, I was just telling you. Before I wanted to thank you, first of all, for making me think a little bit about the past. I actually talked to my mom a little bit last night just to remind myself like, Did that actually happen? Or was I dreaming that? But, yeah. Where would you want to start?
Yoni Mazor 1:48
Let’s start with the basic fundamentals. Where were you born, for example, where you grew up?
Francois Jaffres 1:53
Yeah. Yeah. So I was born in Virginia Hospital, right in Arlington, Virginia, right outside of DC. Beautiful area, can’t complain.
Yoni Mazor 2:02
Were your parents involved with the government? That’s kind of a government area. You know, like, you know, Arlington, Virginia. I know the CIA’s headquarters are over there, for example.
Francois Jaffres 2:08
It’s a government area. Definitely. There’s a lot of, you know, just government officials in that area. No, my mom is actually an immigrant from Bolivia. She came here about 29 years ago, she immigrated here and my dad the same actually but for France. Some I’m a first-generation American myself. They met…
Yoni Mazor 2:29
So French-Bolivian, it’s such a unique combination.
Francois Jaffres 2:32
I get the name for my dad, of course. And that is actually my grandfather’s name, and I get the tan from my, from my mom’s side of the family. And so a lot of times someone will look at me like, you know, you’re Francisco like, I promise you I spelled my name correctly. It is Francois, I promise. Yeah, but aside from that, you know, born in Arlington, raised in Arlington. My parents split kind of at a young age. But my mom’s background, I guess, just to give you a little bit of context of how I was even raised, my mom’s background is she was a house cleaner. And she still is, to this day, you know, she actually came into this country, came in through Texas, or flew into Texas, flew into Miami, then migrated over to Texas clean house for living there, figured out there are no opportunities there. She was raising my sister. My sister was about three years old at the time, emigrated up to DC and my dad was a baker at the time actually at an, I believe it was Marvelous Market in southeast DC. I think it was Marvelous Market.
Yoni Mazor 3:31
Marvelous market. How do you spell that? That’s like a local thing area. I’m not too familiar. I’m here on the East Coast.
Francois Jaffres 3:38
I think it’s a chain, but I don’t know how big of a chain it actually is
Yoni Mazor 3:43
French foods? French bakery?
Francois Jaffres 3:46
They did a lot of French food. But the majority of the bakery was actually filled with Central Americans. And so there were a lot of Mexicans, a lot of Salvadorans, a lot of Hondurans.
Yoni Mazor 3:59
What’s that word? Ah from Honduras, right, Hondurans? Yeah, gotcha.
Francois Jaffres 4:06
So my dad actually knew, you know, of course, he knew how to speak French from being in France, but he also knew how to speak Spanish and English. So he actually was a manager there.
Yoni Mazor 4:15
Which part of France is your father? A small note on that. Which part of France is your father?
Francois Jaffres 4:20
La Rochelle, it’s like Western France? I guess it’s, he’s right on the water where there’s like a prison directly across the water is if you just take a boat straight across. You can get to the UK basically.
Francois Jaffres 4:35
Yeah. The canal. Yeah. Yeah. Or something. But um, and your mother’s from La Pas in Bolivia or somewhere else?
No, she’s from Oruro. Oruro, yeah. It’s a small, very small village.
Yoni Mazor 4:49
Yeah. I’ve been to Bolivia. Full disclosure, beautiful country. I’ve been in for a month and a half. I just was fascinated and fell in love with it. Great place to visit. So hopefully when the pandemic ends, anybody gets a chance to go. I definitely recommend it. So shout out to Bolivia, France. I’ve been there also, but not as long as I’ve been to Bolivia. So, more and more and more points for Bolivia. Okay, so they’re in the Arlington, Virginia, you know, space there, I guess you know, they meet and then you were born?
Francois Jaffres 5:21
Yeah, she worked. I was born to maybe some conflict of interest nowadays. Back then it was kind of fair game. And so I was born. They split actually at a young age. My dad went to work on a farm. So my dad loves sort of the countryside, he moved to Shenandoah worked on the farm.
Yoni Mazor 5:40
Shenandoah in Virginia?
Francois Jaffres 5:42
Shenandoah, Virginia, yeah. And so lived with him for about a year we milked goats when I was a kid. There are some very funny videos of me milking goats, you know, getting up at 5 am to make sure everything was all tended to. And so I lived with him for a year, moved back with my mom. And I guess to backtrack whenever he was at the bakery, so he would work the night shifts, whenever he was at the bakery, I would sleep at the bakery with him. Whenever he would have me on the weekends. And then my mom, whenever I was with my mom during the week, she was of course cleaning houses. And if I didn’t have to go to school, I would go sleep under the tables of the houses, which is kind of a funny story. And I would help her with the small things, you know, dusting and the minor things that kids do.
Yoni Mazor 6:23
So I can fairly say that, you know, since a young age, we were exposed to a lot of labor, you know, intensive labor or hand labor, you know, work environments.
Francois Jaffres 6:33
Yeah, well, it was always working, my dad was always working, you know, 15-16 hour days, and he was perfectly fine with it. My mom, you know, she was getting three, four houses are done in a day. And she was making a great living actually from it. Once you find a house cleaner that, you know, you could fully trust, and they could take care of your kids sometimes. And you know, it’s huge houses, you can make decent money actually being a house cleaner. And so that’s some of my background from when I was a child. And then, you know, when I was growing up, I grew up mostly with my mom, section eight housing, not the best environments. But I’m definitely, you know, humbled to say she always gave me as much as she could at all times.
Yoni Mazor 7:12
And you’re still in Arlington, Virginia?
Francois Jaffres 7:15
Still in Arlington. Yeah. So there are two different sectors of Arlington. There’s North Arlington, and there’s South Arlington. And so I grew up in South Arlington, it’s a little bit different. I guess looking at North Arlington. Culturally, it’s a lot of Ethiopians, Asians, South Americans, Central Americans a lot in South Arlington. And so those communities are all down there. And actually, from a young age, I had my first job I think when I was, aside from the farm milking goats, when I was seven, and I would go door to door around every single apartment in the entire complex and I say, Hey, I’ll take out your trash, give me whatever you need. And it was all about convenience. I was like, I know these people you know, I see them every day. I know their kids, I know their kids are lazy, they’re not going to take out the trash. And so I’d go home sometimes like 20-30 bucks, sometimes 50 bucks in a day. My mom bought me this little ATM machine that I would put in all my money. It was fun stuff. And then from there, it was you know, I would start going to Goodwill actually and getting some toys and then buying those toys and reselling them into the community and selling them off. So you know my neighbors from downstairs and did the same thing for YuGiOh cards and Pokemon I think the classics from a lot of kids from the 90s that they used to play with. And so from there
Yoni Mazor 8:33
Let’s jump into high school and graduation. Still, you graduated in Arlington, Virginia?
Francois Jaffres 8:38
Yeah, I grew up all the way K through 12 in Arlington Middle School. Funny enough, I also had another business, I’d go to Costco buy big things a candy resell them, got suspended a few times for it. And the third time I got suspended, Dr. Word, I hope Dr. Word listens to this, he opened up a school business with a little stand. That sold all the same candy and drinks that I was selling after getting me in trouble for it and I was like this seems ridiculous. Why don’t you just let me do it?
Yoni Mazor 9:07
You’re the founder, you should get the business. But yeah, he stole the idea and eliminated the competition right away. That’s pretty smart.
Francois Jaffres 9:12
Yeah, I know. Yeah. It’s smart on their end. I mean, they own the space. So kudos to them. High School, also grew up, you know, I had a job working at Target as a cashier for a while. And then when I was around 17, worked for this pizza shop called Naked Pizza, which didn’t actually have any East Coast stores. I think we were actually their first East Coast store. And that was from just going around with my buddy Ishmael at the time, door to door for every business, and just like hey, look, we need a job. It’s you know, I don’t care what you pay us. Our moms, our immigrant moms are hounding us that you have to get a job because you’re almost 18. I was like, Okay, okay, I’ll get a damn job. I ended up loving the job. Actually working at….Yeah, it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I got to meet, I think he was the COO at the time, Mike Egan and I always admired Mike
Yoni Mazor 10:03
So you worked in the shop or there’s a corporate office or both?
Francois Jaffres 10:07
It was a shop. It was just a small shop right in Pentagon City, just right outside of Arlington. And, you know, I met Mike Egan and this guy, Mike Perry. They’re both from the corporate offices. And I was just astounded, you know, they were awesome people. And a lot of people are, you know, sort of starstruck by actors or by athletes. I think that was the first experience where I was actually starstruck by a corporate person. I was like, Man, these guys are just Yeah, they flew over here. They’re wearing all these nice suits. They got nice rental cars. Why don’t I want to be like that? Well, I don’t, I’m not gonna be a soccer star. I could be a football player or lacrosse star.
Yoni Mazor 10:45
But you’re gonna be a business guy, make money with business. Right?
Francois Jaffres 10:49
Right. Right. And so when they came over, actually, the first time, I was just a cashier at the time, 17 years old, just a cashier, I ended up helping hire one of my friends, two of my friends, three of my friends worked there. Two in the back making pizzas, one of them, you know, front house cashier. Within six months, they, Mike Perry brought me on board to the marketing team, actually, surprisingly enough, I don’t know, for what reason. But he let me run the marketing sort of on the east coast and said, hey, look, how do you really target? You know, the people in these suits? How do you buy your Pizza Hut? Or your Papa John’s? You know, what are you doing to do this here, compared to the west coast? And so I told him, you know, hey, people come door to door, they leave these little door hangers. And so he said, Okay, let’s do it. He put a few thousand dollars into it. Let me run it. He said, you know, go out, hire a few of your friends. 10 bucks an hour, you guys get to every single part of the building. You know, I don’t care if it says no soliciting. Just make sure people see what Naked Pizza is. So of course, me being an idiot at 17, I was like, why are we going to try to, you know, go into all these doors? Why don’t we just go to the cars? And why don’t we put it on the, you know, the front windshield of the cars and not thinking proactively? At the time, it seemed like an amazing idea, like, hey, everyone’s gonna go to their car, everyone’s gonna see it. You know, if they’re going out, they might come back and say, let’s just order a pizza for the night.
Yoni Mazor 12:10
Francois Jaffres 12:11
What I didn’t realize is that this is the middle of summer. It’s like 95, close to 100 degrees. And these things are melting onto the windshields of the car. And I kid you not, the entire next week and a half, two weeks, were getting phone call after phone call after phone call after phone call, you know, what the hell just happened? You know? Why is this thing melted onto my front windshield? What are you gonna do about it and you just send someone out? Are you gonna pay for the damages and there weren’t any actual damages, it had to be scraped off, and it was hard to scrape off. Well, I got my friends, again, everyone that was working in the shop, actually, also, and I told everyone that called to Hey, look, come in, we’ll you know, treat you good with the, you know, small size pizza, or you know, half a pizza, whatever, you know, we can actually give them to keep them happy. And we’ll scrape it off personally. So I was out there, you know, spraying down, scraping them. Meanwhile, they’re sitting outside, we just set up some outdoor table.
Yoni Mazor 13:09
Oh, so you told them to come to the pizza shop. I’ll clean your thing and give you a pizza. That was good. All right.
Francois Jaffres 13:13
Inadvertently it worked. And then from there, I kind of worked into this assistant manager role at 17. And I had no idea how to manage other than, you know, managing a few friends that I had there at the time. But then I had to do things like inventory and after, you know shop cleanup and making sure that we have forecasts for the next two weeks. What the hell is all this? They didn’t teach us this at Washington Lee High School. Like, this is not what I just learned.
Yoni Mazor 13:42
This is a real-world business for sure.
Francois Jaffres 13:43
Yeah, this is real-world business. But now, I think that was probably my favorite experience. Overall, I guess in my younger childhood of just working. And then from there, of course, you have graduated, didn’t do the absolute best but took some AP and IB classes. School is just not necessarily my thing. Even for college, not necessarily my thing but ultimately decided to go to West Virginia University. So right in Morgantown, and I came in thinking like, Okay, what can make me the most money? You know, every, I think it’s a stereotype, but it’s this true stereotype. Every immigrant parent says, Hey, you have to be a doctor, a lawyer, you know, an engineer or something that just makes a lot of money. You have to
Yoni Mazor 14:32
Yeah, a professional, a highly professional.
Francois Jaffres 14:34
Right. Right. She was like, you can’t do business. You can’t do marketing. You can’t do, you know, social sciences. You can’t do any of this. And I was like, okay, you know, to appease her, I was decent at coding. I did you know, two years of IB computer science in high school. I’ll go in and I’ll do CES, I already took some out classes in high school. You know, I’m coming in with 12 credits, 14 credits. I’m like that’s easy, I’ll do it, 4 years left. Go in, found out I’m completely trash at coding, I’m not up to up to par of like the 102 level class where it’s all about recursion. And basically teaching algorithms to take in other algorithms and just keep running on them. To me, it was just like a completely foreign language, I couldn’t wrap my mind around it, but spent a whole year basically trying to do this. And so I even skipped on my, you know, prereqs just to be able to get into the classes, ultimately saw that I just, I don’t want to do this, I hate sitting behind the computer, I hate doing, you know, solo projects for 12 hours a day, or the tests were boring, nothing of it seemed appealing anymore. Sure, the money was awesome. But that’s, you know, there’s a lot of ways to make money, right? As every seller knows, nowadays, Amazon is one easy way to get money, or not so easy, but it is an opportunity to make money. And so from there, moved on to civil engineering, actually. And so I thought, you know, okay, development, I’ll be able to do bridges, trusses, you know, more of properties. Real estate is never going to go out of style or out of business. So there’s always going to be a need for civil engineer,
Yoni Mazor 16:15
Got it. Which year is this? Let’s talk about the chronology a little bit. So which year you discovered that you know, engineering is something that is probably going to be needed also in the future?
Francois Jaffres 16:23
This is my sophomore year.
Yoni Mazor 16:24
So what year is that? Two thousand and? 2014? About seven years ago. 2014. You’re saying I’m gonna head into the world of engineering?
Francois Jaffres 16:37
Yeah, civil engineering, though I had that locked down also. And then mechanical engineering was a big part of it. Right with understanding civil engineering, and mechanical engineering, something absolutely hated also. It’s not so much the numbers, it’s just something that’s completely boring. To me. Project Management didn’t seem very appealing either. And I had a friend actually, at the time, that was a bit younger than me, but he started Industrial Engineering at West Virginia University, with Dr. Bird, and Dr. Bird is like the head advisor for this entire program. Amazing individual, he always went above and beyond for anyone that’s ever been in the industrial engineering program. So I will always pay him my respects. But I guess 2015, or the semester after spring 2014, I decided I just can’t keep up with civil engineering, I don’t like it again. Let me take this other switch. So I went into industrial engineering, and then you know, started hearing more about it after I went into it, but I found out that it’s more so as the business aspect with engineering pieces to it. So you have to take electrical, mechanical, you had to take classes like thermo and basically every aspect of engineering, including, you know, quality control, including supply chain, a whole bunch of stuff.
Yoni Mazor 18:01
Got it. Your second pivot into the third option, right? So we started with, you know, coding, right software coding, civil engineering, and now we’re into industrial engineering. You find to be more robust, more you know up your alley.
Francois Jaffres 18:14
Yeah, more my style. A lot of the classes had to do with more case studies. It was like, hey, how did you know, one actually very interesting case study that always stuck with me: How did Clorox you know actually become a thing? How do they blow up? And it’s because their marketing team from the beginning, they said, Well, no one wants to use this because they already have different types of detergent. Why don’t we give this out for free? And then have people start to depend on Clorox and see it as a brand that they want to buy?
Yoni Mazor 18:40
Is that Clorox the wipes or which type of…?
Francois Jaffres 18:43
Uh, Clorox the bleach. It was basically just bleach.
Yoni Mazor 18:47
Bleach for the floor?
Francois Jaffres 18:48
Yeah well, bleach for clothes.
Yoni Mazor 18:50
Ah got it. For washing your clothes.
Francois Jaffres 18:52
Yeah. And like, what another case study: sewing machines. How did sewing machines become, you know, this very popular thing amongst housewives? Well, you know, back then, a Catholic woman said, I don’t want to do that because God gave me two hands. So I could sew, and I’m gonna sew with these two hands.
Yoni Mazor 19:09
So that was a friction point back then?
Francois Jaffres 19:11
That was the friction point for sewing machines. So they couldn’t sell these at scale. And so what do they do? They actually went to the church and they found the head priest and they gave the head priest’s wife a sewing machine. And now this head priest’s wife can get so much more done with this sewing machine. And then she said to everyone in the church Hey, you guys should get a sewing machine. Everyone needs a sewing machine. This is something that just makes everyone’s lives easier.
Yoni Mazor 19:30
Which manufacturer or brand did this?
Francois Jaffres 19:32
I had no clue. It was just…it was
Yoni Mazor 19:35
I think Singer is like a big, one of the big sewing machine brands. Maybe it was them.
Francois Jaffres 19:38
It could have been, but it was just like a case study that sort of stuck with me. And I love those sorts of you know, Hey, how are we going to work out all these problems and just active problem-solving. So that really appealed to me, industrial engineering. And, you know, class after class after class. Some are harder than others. Of course, you know, calculus is a different story. That stuff is, you know, once you’re getting into purely letters, I started to hate it. And getting it integrals and all that stuff. But the business aspect, it’s still, you know, it’s something that sticks with me and industrial engineering is all about processes and making something that’s more complex as simple as possible. And I think, you know, and this is something that I wanted to thank you for before, because last night, I was liking everything that I did, you know, even selling candy at school. And, you know, actually, when I played Runescape, I actually would have these auto clickers that you know,
Yoni Mazor 20:33
What’d you play? Which game? Sorry?
Francois Jaffres 20:35
It was Runescape. It was like a…R U N E S C A P E. Runescape. And it was like this online game where, you know, you could forage trees, and you can go out to lobbies and fight other people. It’s a whole bunch of stuff. But at that time, a big thing was people selling coins within Ru