Emma Moore is President of Fundamental, an agency that has helped startups as well as large corporations with innovating and quickly iterating on their ideas to produce quantifiable results.
We utilize research and data to produce creative solutions for website, software, and creative ventures.
Intro: [00:00:04] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX studios in Atlanta, Georgia, it’s time for GWBC Radio’s Open for Business. Now, here’s your host,
Lee Kantor: [00:00:18] Lee Kantor here. Proud to be sharing the stories of women business owners that are making things happen. This is, again, Lee Kantor. And I’m proud to have with me today Emma Moore. And she’s with an organization called Fundamental. Welcome, Emma.
Emma Moore: [00:00:34] Thank you. Thank you for having me.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:37] Now, Emma, before we get too far into things, tell us about Fundamental. How do you serve your clients?
Emma Moore: [00:00:44] Well, Fundamental is a full-service agency. So, we have worked on marketing campaigns, as well as startups ranging from Disney to FinTech. So, we’ve been able to kind of become the incubator to test products before they really launch into the full scale of, let’s say, a Costco product.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:05] So, now how’d you get into that line of work?
Emma Moore: [00:01:09] That’s a good question. I just fell in love with computers. I just literally fell in love with it, and I started reading books, and that’s how it worked. I would just practice, and practice, and practice all night long and didn’t sleep for about 10 years. And then, I started hiring other people who had similar passion but better than me. And then, we all kind of fed each other. And it’s been quite a journey.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:37] So, now, when you were going at the beginning, when you were starting out, how did you just kind of battle through the grind of the learning curve?
Emma Moore: [00:01:48] Well, I think there will always be a learning curve. And that battle will continue every day. And that’s one thing. That’s the beauty, as well as the shadow of tech, which is I don’t know anything. I don’t know a thing. And tomorrow, I won’t know anything. But how can I problem solve today to create a result in an ethical way that will serve my clients? And it’s a mindset of making sure that I ask the right questions and I surround myself with people that also ask really good questions and challenging questions. And then, we have that curiosity to make sure it happens.
Lee Kantor: [00:02:26] Now, when you’re working with a client, like what pain are they having where they’re like, “You know what, we’ve got to call em in her team to help us on this”?
Emma Moore: [00:02:38] Well, when we were an agency in Los Angeles, it was mostly just reputation. And it works quite well. So, I hadn’t ever truly advertised Fundamental. I’ve always kind of relied on people just knowing that we could do a really good job, and I felt that that was the best type of advertising.
Lee Kantor: [00:03:02] Now-
Emma Moore: [00:03:02] When it comes to … I think your question was, how do we … please repeat your question for me?
Lee Kantor: [00:03:07] How do you get clients for Fundamental? Like, what’s the challenge that that potential client has where they’re like, “I have to call the Fundamental folks. They’ll be able to help us”?
Emma Moore: [00:03:20] Thank you. Well, I mean, if it’s a large corporation, it’s usually an innovative product that they want to test. If it’s a small company, they have a great idea, and they’re just not sure if they want to invest a large amount of money to truly create the product at another agency. So, I’ve been able to scale the pricing model according to the business that’s coming to me, and in an ethical way, though. So, let’s say you have Joe down the street that says, “You know what? I have this great idea about X,” learn stitching, or syntax, some type of idea, we will price and create solutions that he or she can afford and truly create a profitable result for him and a scalable model that’s data driven. So, that’s what’s helped us.
Lee Kantor: [00:04:17] So, you kind of-.
Emma Moore: [00:04:18] They know.
Lee Kantor: [00:04:18] You’re kind of partnering with the firm in order to create something that your fees might grow as they grow?
Emma Moore: [00:04:29] Well, yes and no. Well, no. Actually, no. We’ve never done that. We’ve always kind of kept the same price. That’s a good idea. Thank you. We’ve [indiscernible].
Lee Kantor: [00:04:47] You never know where innovation is going to come from, Emma, so.
Emma Moore: [00:04:50] Thank you. We are seriously suffering from that. You’re doing well. I’m like, “We really should have priced better.” Thank you.
Lee Kantor: [00:05:02] So, the way that it works, Emma, is you make it work at the beginning stages. And then, if it becomes a huge success, then your fees stay the same, but it’s a minimal risk for the firm that’s testing out this idea?
Emma Moore: [00:05:17] It is a minimal risk. And usually, what happens is they just need more work. It’s just they just need more work. It may not be as profitable for us, but then they expand into marketing campaigns. They need more iterative testing. They need a different kind of database. So, it doesn’t ever become anything too hairy in that people suffer too much. But your previous idea is probably best.
Lee Kantor: [00:05:46] Now, in kind of in our current situation with the pandemic, has that impacted the business at all?
Emma Moore: [00:05:54] My heart goes out to everyone who is suffering. I think that it has affected almost every industry but tech. And even though there’s a lot of people that are getting laid off in tech, people are spending more time on their computers and more time watching anything that’s a product-based, tech-based. So, this is probably the first time that I have not immensely suffered. And I do mean that. The tech crash was awful, but what it did teach me was severe and utter compassion of what it takes to keep going every single day because, I mean, I’ve been hungry, I’ve lost everything, I know what that’s like.
Emma Moore: [00:06:39] And then, to come back every day despite that is where true champions are made. And I’m very hopeful for society and the people involved, especially the entrepreneurs and idea makers, we’re going to create a new world. I mean, not that we’d need to, but you see what I mean? There’s going to be so many people out of just dire consequences that they’re going to think of amazing things. And so, because I understand where that is, I think we can meet.
Lee Kantor: [00:07:12] And then, for you, and your career, and most people who have been in technology, there’s higher highs may be in lower lows. It’s very kind of change is real and it happens quickly. What do they say? It happens gradually, then suddenly. So, someone who’s gone through that maybe has a higher level of compassion or empathy for the people who have gone or this is the first time seeing something this dramatic occur.
Emma Moore: [00:07:43] Yes, I think so. I think tech, through the ways of tech, I’ve learned a lot of tips and tricks as to how to prepare for the next wave or the little ideas. How do you create an idea from nothing? How do you scale even though you have nothing? There’s just so many little things that happen to dire consequences. And humans are geniuses of what they come up with. So, we all kind of stand together, and we think of things because we all need to. I think beautiful ideas and innovations will happen.
Lee Kantor: [00:08:20] Now, have you had to diversify maybe some of your offerings in order to adapt to this kind of changing landscape?
Emma Moore: [00:08:28] Absolutely, absolutely. I will personally do consulting work. I considered, if the new business didn’t come in, no problem, get a full-time job if someone’s willing to hire me. I’m also a Coursera teacher, where I took on teaching about a certain trade that I know, which is UI/UX design with data science. And I’m willing to just turn up every day. What can I do? How can I serve? Just asking this question. What can I learn? Who can I connect to? How can I help?
Lee Kantor: [00:09:06] And that’s the kind of attitude that … that’s what makes, I think, us, as a country, special. We’re problem solvers, and we’re resilient, and we just find a way. And that’s a good lesson for the young people out there to not kind of wallow in misery and woe is me but to just figure out, “I got to make a work. I got to figure out a way.”
Emma Moore: [00:09:30] You have to figure out a way. I know it sounds very cheesy. I do believe Diana Nyad, there is always a way, and it’s not always easy. It isn’t many times, but it usually is simple. And that’s why I called the company Fundamental many years ago because things are not always easy. In fact, most the time, they aren’t. But they, usually, can be boiled down to a simple solution, or you can move from there. And principle, living by principle, and practicing those principles, not being overly confident that you can actually live them every day, but actually per episode. So, I think that is a stepping stone to this new way.
Lee Kantor: [00:10:15] Now, how about some advice for the people out there regarding one of your superpowers around kind of user experience? What are some things that a person on their own could do, maybe through their website or their media presence in order to make it as user-friendly as possible?
Emma Moore: [00:10:39] Okay. Well, many times, if they do not have the ability to scale themselves, depending on their product or service, you can use template sites. You can use Wix, you can use Shopify. There’s there’s even templates and WordPress that you can use a pre-formulated WordPress whether you want to market your services or whether it’s writing or copywriting, you want to take a hand at funny T-shirts, or you have some kind of technological innovation, there are plenty of templated ways to get started that already have that UI/UX kind of feel to it. And they have analytics, so that you can kind of see if there’s any traction. So, you may not need anyone in the beginning if you just have a few, I would say, a focus on understanding what you’re putting out there.
Lee Kantor: [00:11:40] Now-
Emma Moore: [00:11:40] Understanding your market, but you may not understand your market. Sometimes, you have to kind of throw the pain out and see where it lands. So, it really depends on what you’re trying to sell.
Lee Kantor: [00:11:49] And that’s probably an important thing for people to understand that you can kind of whiteboard something to depth in your office and within your own kind of circle, but until you put it out there into the world, you’re not going to know if it resonates or not, right? Like you’ve got to take action and and really kind of publish your work in order to know if it’s working or not.
Emma Moore: [00:12:16] And you, also, sometimes, can get on the ground. Like my friend had an idea about, “Hey, let’s create an application where you can shop from farmer’s market produce and have a pickup.” Even though that’s a really good idea where you can consolidate farmers in the area, and get the kind of things that you want, and you don’t have to deal with people in the sense of picking up any kind of illness, a lot of people, when you think about it, we could create an entire app on that. Technically, that’s a good idea as well. But when you think about when people go to a farmer’s market, they actually want to see the produce. They want to touch it. They want to smell it. That is the purpose of a farmer’s market. So, even though it seems like a fun idea for 24 hours, when you get on the floor and start asking people who cook a lot, they’re like, “No, no, no. I want to know what I’m buying. I want to walk around and check.”
Emma Moore: [00:13:12] So, even just asking if you have an idea, start asking strangers, what do you think? Or go online, and create a YouTube video and say, “This is …” Even though it’s risky, someone might take your idea. But it’s better they take your idea, and you create a better version than you doing something that is unapplicable for that particular market.
Lee Kantor: [00:13:36] Right, because a lot of times, I think, people imagine it so. And then, they miss a lot of money in building something that the market isn’t either ready for or wants.
Emma Moore: [00:13:46] Yes, yes. And I’ve told people that, and Fundamental has done the research for people. There’s been times where we give them research, and we want to make sure they know we want you to succeed. And by you succeeding, you need to think of another idea. We’ll do what you want, but I’m just giving you the data. And so, we don’t play to them. We give them facts. We’re data-driven. And if we’re wrong, we will pay the piper. We’re sorry. We haven’t been wrong yet because we’re data-driven. But I just said it, so it’s probably going to happen.
Lee Kantor: [00:14:27] Now, tell me about your relationship with GWBC. Why was it important for you to get involved with that group?
Emma Moore: [00:14:34] Well, we’ve been a vendor to Disney for many years. And I didn’t know that GWBC was part of Disney. And I had not ever participated in many women’s groups. I wasn’t aware of it. I had always just hit my head against concrete and just somehow just worked myself to death, essentially. And it was really a nice thing to see such an amazing group of women that are so successful and so collaborative. And for lack of loving that they’re going to create a group where we can cater to a certain sector, whether it’s contracts that only cater to X or Y, whatever variable that is. I wasn’t aware of it untul WBENC. So, there was a lady at Disney that said, “You need to do this. This is a good thing.” And so, you know it’s good when someone from Disney says it.
Lee Kantor: [00:15:31] Yeah. That’s a good sign because I know you like data. So, that’s good data point, right? When Disney is saying you should do this, that’s probably something you should probably consider.
Emma Moore: [00:15:40] Yes, yes.
Lee Kantor: [00:15:43] So, you enjoyed the support of the group, as well as the opportunities that kind of bubbled up or maybe in the future will bubble up for you?
Emma Moore: [00:15:53] Yes, very much so. I hope to make it to the convention next year, given the situation this year. But next year, I’d like to go.
Lee Kantor: [00:16:03] And then, for Fundamental, what do you need more of and how can we help?
Emma Moore: [00:16:10] You’re doing it right now by just letting me talk about it and opening up new avenues of business. And Fundamental basically helps not every person but we try to help through data, we try to help her research and scalable solutions, so that you can start where you are to go where you need to go. And you do define those values. We can give our experience, but we don’t always work with large companies. And so, we’ve actually found a lot of joy in working with startups because there’s so much passion and happiness in their idea that we love to see that.
Lee Kantor: [00:16:55] So, if somebody wanted to learn more and have a more substantive conversation with you about Fundamental, what’s the website?
Emma Moore: [00:17:01] It’s fundamental.is. So, fundamental.is.
Lee Kantor: [00:17:08] All right. Well, Emma, thank you so much for sharing your story and Fundamental today.
Emma Moore: [00:17:12] Thank you. Thank you for having me.
Lee Kantor: [00:17:15] All right. This is Lee Kantor. We will see you all next time on GWBC Radio.
About Your Host
Roz Lewis is President & CEO – Greater Women’s Business Council (GWBC®), a regional partner organization of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and a member of the WBENC Board of Directors.
Previous career roles at Delta Air Lines included Flight Attendant, In-Flight Supervisor and Program Manager, Corporate Supplier Diversity.
During her career she has received numerous awards and accolades. Most notable: Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 2018 Diversity & Inclusion award; 2017 inducted into the WBE Hall of Fame by the American Institute of Diversity and Commerce and 2010 – Women Out Front Award from Georgia Tech University.
She has written and been featured in articles on GWBC® and supplier diversity for Forbes Magazine SE, Minority Business Enterprise, The Atlanta Tribune, WE- USA, Minorities and Women in Business magazines. Her quotes are published in The Girls Guide to Building a Million Dollar Business book by Susan Wilson Solovic and Guide Coaching by Ellen M. Dotts, Monique A. Honaman and Stacy L. Sollenberger. Recently, she appeared on Atlanta Business Chronicle’s BIZ on 11Alive, WXIA to talk about the importance of mentoring for women.
In 2010, Lewis was invited to the White House for Council on Women and Girls Entrepreneur Conference for the announcement of the Small Business Administration (SBA) new Women Owned Small Business Rule approved by Congress. In 2014, she was invited to the White House to participate in sessions on small business priorities and the Affordable Care Act.
Roz Lewis received her BS degree from Florida International University, Miami, FL and has the following training/certifications: Certified Purchasing Managers (CPM); Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity (CPSD), Institute for Supply Management (ISM)of Supplier Diversity and Procurement: Diversity Leadership Academy of Atlanta (DLAA), Negotiations, Supply Management Strategies and Analytical Purchasing.
Connect with Roz on LinkedIn.
The Greater Women’s Business Council (GWBC®) is at the forefront of redefining women business enterprises (WBEs). An increasing focus on supplier diversity means major corporations are viewing our WBEs as innovative, flexible and competitive solutions. The number of women-owned businesses is rising to reflect an increasingly diverse consumer base of women making a majority of buying decision for herself, her family and her business.
GWBC® has partnered with dozens of major companies who are committed to providing a sustainable foundation through our guiding principles to bring education, training and the standardization of national certification to women businesses in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.