What Does It Take To Bring A New Product To Market, Expand Globally, And Continue To Deliver On A Brand Promise? Ask Adina Jacobs co-founder of Smarter Than Most Goods, Episode 64

The perfect episode for a budding business owner or corporate leader responsible for rapid innovation and an easy to adapt strategy in light of recent seismic market changes. This is the story of a woman who takes mentorship seriously and knows how to adapt to change in a fast-paced world at the intersection of tech and fashion. Meet Adina Jacobs. She co-founded STM Goods back in 1998 with her business partner Ethan. They were early pioneers in developing protective backpacks and laptop accessories at a time when not everyone had personal tech. Getting their business off the ground took a lot of persistence and finding their audience. 

Over the past 22 years, STM has expanded globally, undergone a major rebrand and launched a virtual AR app – which has given Adina lots of insights and business learnings she can share. Most recently, with many businesses moving to a remote setup, the demand for protective accessories for digital devices grew almost overnight, seeing a surge for the products STM had long been developing. There has been a big learning curve (albeit a positive one) for Adina and her team in agility and resilience. 

Adina is also a big champion for mentorship, having co-founded the Australian chapter of Mentor Walks, which is a monthly event series connecting emerging female leaders on the cusp of success in their chosen area with established achievers.

Share this episode with three business owners who are poised to become pioneers in their desired markets and can use experienced wisdom.


  • Origins: With little overhead—save the cost of goods—Adina and her partner Ethan each chip in $7000 to launch STM.
  • Imposter Syndrome: Adina explains how she overcame imposter syndrome at a time she had few other personal responsibilities in her life and there was little competition in the market. 
  • Mentor Walks: Pre and Post Covid.
  • How to Pivot Profitably: Stay on top of trends, maintain connections and relationships, surround yourself with people who know things you don’t, and keep moving!
  • Products: Where should products be produced? To figure out what project to focus on, observe what’s going on in the environment and talk to people. Products need to appeal to different demographics simultaneously. 
  • Takeaway: Adina leaves entrepreneurs with sound advice about being open-minded, thinking creatively, and making decisions.

Links to quench your curiosity:

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Melissa Llarena

Melissa helps movers and shakers up to those in the corner office rediscover what makes them unique so that they can land their dream job in a forward-thinking company where their ideas are listened to, valued, and supported.

She brings insights from having worked in 16-business units (including Human Resources) in NY, Paris, and London. Additionally, in her former corporate career, she worked on billion-dollar brands for P&G and on IBM for Ogilvy & Mather. Later, as the founder and CEO of Career Outcomes Matter, Melissa created a 3-step “sellable strengths” process which has been the centerpiece of her clients' results.

Melissa applies this method consistently to support mid-level professionals up to the c-suite to get into Fortune Global 500 organizations and agencies. She studied Psychology at NYU and earned her MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

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