How We Updated Our Brand Style And Launched A New Product

Published: May 19th, 2021
Ollie Aplin
Founder, MindJournal
from London, UK
started March 2016
Discover what tools Ollie recommends to grow your business!
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Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.

My name is Ollie and I’m the co-founder of MindJournal, a men’s wellbeing brand focused on getting men to a journal. Every day we’re helping thousands of guys to feel happier and healthier all through the power of keeping a journal.

Our best-selling product, The Journal has sold more than 65,000 copies and has received more than 900 five-star reviews.


Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?

Since our last story on Starter Story back in 2018, things have grown massively for us at MindJournal. In 2019 we updated our brand style and launched a new product, The Jotter. In 2020 we navigated the global pandemic caused by Covid 19 and have been fortunate enough to be able to help people through it with the use of our products. To do this we opened our first fulfillment center in Ohio, USA. And in 2021 we hired our first employee to help further grow the business.

Don’t get obsessed by the big numbers and focus on what’s important for you. Celebrating the small wins will help you achieve the bigger ones.

For us, our main focus since 2018 has been to do the basics but better. To constantly learn and improve by listening to our customers and understand how we can serve them better. This has covered areas of the business such as fulfilment and shipping, customer support and email marketing.

We’ve also been working hard behind the scenes to optimize and improve daily operations so we’re more productive and efficient as a team. Our brand is focused on wellbeing and looking after yourself, and so we make sure we practice what we preach.

What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?

The biggest lesson we’ve learned is how important it is to look after your own health when running your own business. It is easy to get consumed by work, especially through the pandemic when working from home is now the new normal. The lines between work and home, quickly blur and before you know it, you’re working 10 hour days, six days a week.

During the UK lockdown, we made a concerted effort to actively reduce the amount of time we worked. We wanted to make sure that we had enough balance between work and life. We discovered we could be just as productive if we had less time to do it. Something I learned from Tim Ferriss in The Four Hour Work Week.

“Focus on being productive instead of being busy.” - Tim Ferriss

What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?

So much! We’ve got a range of new products launching towards the end of 2021, along with a new website we’re in the process of developing. There are also some top-secret projects we’re working on that we’ll be announcing soon.

We’re also opening a fulfillment center in Europe so we can provide a better service to our EU customers.

Have you read any good books in the last year?

Profit First by Mike Michalowicz has been a game-changer for us as it has allowed us to fully understand the financial side of running an online business. I highly recommend anyone stepping into eCommerce to read this book.

Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth by Gabriel Weinberg has also been a really good book that I’ve found super helpful when you manage your own marketing. Gabriel has a great strategy and approach that makes things really simple to understand, plus a tonne of ideas you can follow.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?

There’s no right time to start a business so my advice to anyone is to always start. Get out of your comfort zone and just go for it. Have fun and enjoy it.

For those that have been running their business for a while and are trying to get to the next level, I highly recommend finding a financial minded mentor or advisor. There are so many decisions that each rely on each other when it comes to eCommerce businesses and having someone help you map out all the possible eventualities (good or bad) will help you make better decisions.

Don’t forget to look after yourself too. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t get obsessed with the big numbers and focus on what’s important for you. Celebrating the small wins will help you achieve the bigger ones.

My biggest advice would be to keep a journal but I would say that!

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

Yes! We’re looking to hire for the below positions:

  • Head of Growth
  • Community Manager

Please email your CV, portfolio, and a short cover letter/email to [email protected]

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!