We’re sitting down with leaders on the business side of the creator economy to get their best advice for creators looking to launch and develop their careers.
Last week, Spring—a creator commerce and print-on-demand merch company, formerly known as Teespring—announced that former Meta vice president of commerce partnerships, Annelies Jansen, will be joining Spring as president and chief operating officer.
We sat down with Jansen to speak with her about her extensive experience and how it informs her work at the creator-oriented company Spring.
Annelies Jansen has established a global career in digital and social media. Prior to joining Spring, she landed executive roles at multiple companies and chased emerging opportunities in digital technology. Notably, she helped the Times and the Daily Telegraph expand from print-only newspaper circulation to digital publication.
“I felt it was my job to present to journalists new opportunities for embracing digital. You can actually talk with your audience, you can actually expand your audience,” Jansen told Passionfruit. “I take that with me to Spring as well. What we do well is we serve the creator ecosystem, and it’s our job to present new opportunities for creators to drive value.”
Jansen said she was poached by Facebook in 2017 to build a global partnerships team. From there, she was promoted to vice president of commerce partnerships, where she worked to connect Meta to companies building e-commerce technology in order to make shopping easier on Facebook and Instagram. In 2019, she pioneered the creation of the Instagram Checkout feature.
“I think that if we look at where I am today and what I bring to Spring, it is a collective of experiences,” Jansen said. “I became aware of the power of ‘viral’ combined with commerce. I saw some really interesting early stage social commerce initiatives that were driving revenue, and were creating a business opportunity for one individual creator.”
In her new role as president and chief operating officer of Spring, a move which was publicly announced last week, Jansen said she is focused on developing a partnerships strategy to improve Spring’s services for creators.
“The creator space is a very crowded space,” Jansen said, “I’m impressed by and I like Spring’s approach around simplicity: we’re here to drive value around creators. We provide them with the opportunity to create a product, to sell their product, and to fulfill their product.”
Spring currently integrates with platforms like YouTube, Instagram, Twitch, TikTok, and Linktree to make it easier for creators to sell products from Spring in-app on major social media platforms. Spring’s CEO, Chris Lamontagne, told the Passionfruit that he’s looking forward to seeing how Jansen’s approach to partnerships plays out.
“When me and Annelies first met, I think we really locked horns in our thinking about partnerships, and we were lucky enough to be able to really develop that. Going forward, I think it’s a core part of Spring’s strategy as well. It made sense for us to be able to work together from a strategic perspective,” Lamontagne said.
Lamontagne also said that he wanted a partner to help motivate him to achieve other business goals for the company and assist with day-to-day operations.
“Really the ambition for the future is how do we create more opportunities for creators. Our kind of core business has been focused around merchandise,” Lamontagne explained. “But more and more we’re seeing that sort of morph and evolve and expand into digital products, into building tools for creators, into NFTs with mint-on-demand, into global selling for creators across borders.”
Jansen expressed a desire to cut through the hype of new trends to find what’s really valuable for creators.
“We’re a company focused on creating real opportunities in front of creators and making it come to life. Take NFTs for example,” Jansen explained. “Everyone’s talking about NFTs. We have a lot of creators on our platform, most of our creators make money through physical goods. How can we present the NFTs to somebody who sells a lot of physical goods successfully, in a way that’s not a distraction?”
Jansen provided another example of cutting through the noise, explaining that while Spring’s leadership is interested in global digital commerce, it’s also interested in curating more local distribution partnerships in order to offer better order fulfillment for creators selling physical goods.
“Cross-border opportunities are there. There’s a great opportunity for creators in Thailand to sell in the U.S. Do we need to ship from Thailand to the U.S.? Maybe not, because we can find local fulfillment centers,” Jansen said. “So don’t expect the company to pivot to the right or to the left. We’re just trying to build more and better on what we’ve done so far.”
Closing out our conversation, Jansen shared some parting advice for creators.
“Understand your audience, your community. Really spend time. And I will say, read all the comments. Make sure you reply to people,” Jansen advised. “Those are the people who will tell you and guide you on what to build and sell to them. They are an incredible resource to you.”
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