Shop and Shout. Vancouver Born, Canada-Wide Goals.


  Hello Lovelies,

  I had the joy of meeting up with Vinod Varma from Shout and Shout awhile ago. He had reached out to me over Instagram and the concept of his company interested me enough to meet up and find out what he was so eager to share with me.

  When I arrived at the cafe and finally met up with him. I was drawn by his energy and drive. He was genuinely excited to tell me about Shop and Shout, a project that's concept was simple, yet effective. 

  A website that brands could reach out to that would help them connect with local Influencers in their area over Social Media and said Influencers could then test out the products and services and write honest reviews and thoughts on the products. (a concept developed in 2016 by Vinod and Laura, and launched the first beta site up in early 2017) works as the bridge between everyday influencers and brands, bringing in real people who aren't being paid in huge ad campaigns to give their honest opinions of the brands that they choose or qualify to work with. This offers security to consumers, that the people that they follow are giving them an authentic review of products or local services that they could try today or in the future.

  I myself tried out by working with them and a local grocery company named who offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee with their organic and healthy food that is delivered straight to your door!

What I got from
  I had enough followers on Instagram (thanks to all of you) that Vinny was able to get me to try out this amazing service. In about a week I received my first shipment from

  I can say that I was extremely pleased with this trial service. I honestly got some of the best tasting organic food that I've had in awhile.

  It was nice to know that there was a local company near me that I could use if I ever didn't have time to go shopping on my own that I could just have quality food shipped straight to my door.

  Needless to say, I fully support Vinod's goal of being able to reach out to more local influencers, I want to watch the company flourish and eventually reach the milestone of  being able to become a Canada-wide service.

  Social Media Influencers should definitely check out the site and see what offers that they could qualify for based on their followers and friend counts. It could translate into some seriously amazing deals!

  I think what I enjoyed the most about my talk with Vinny, was when he told me about how whenever Shop and Shout reached 5000 Influencers he and Laura want to sponsor a classroom overseas with school supplies and over needs. 

  This meant a lot to me since too many times we see companies not choosing the route of giving back to the world or trying to make a positive difference in the communities, cities or countries around them. I have seen the difference first hand when I went to the Philippines how just a little care and love change the schools and children attending there... the gift of knowing that there are people out there who care about them. Also, in being a mother, I understood the impact a mission like this would mean to the parents in these countries. A little less for them to worry about so they can focus on providing for their children at home.

  We also spent some time lamenting together how sad it has been watching local businesses struggle to survive in a city like Vancouver. Small "Mom and Pop" businesses are being pushed out for bigger corporations who can afford the skyrocketing rental prices downtown... even though these businesses have been there for years, they are struggling to survive and need new ways to promote themselves. Vinny works with these types of companies to get the word out about them!

  I asked Vinny if I could send him a small interview and have him fill out the answers, he was more than enthusiastic to help me. So without further ado, here are his honest and unfiltered responses.

Tell me a little bit about your background, where did you get the concept and how did you get started with Shop and Shout?

After barely graduating high school lol I put in the time, and made it out. I ended up moving to the Interior to attend TRU, where i graduated with a double major bachelor of business. i spent about 6 years there where i went to school and worked for a few different companies before deciding to pursue an opportunity to work for Best Buy's head office. 

I Learned a great deal while working with some of the worlds best brands, and was blessed to be mentored by some exceptionally talented individuals. I learned some awesome marketing methodologies...and I always admired the simplicity and effectiveness of influencer marketing. 

I guess this was kind of the first spark for ShopandShout. 

What was your first big break?

​Haha I don't think we've had a big break yet, we're just getting started! :) I'm pretty lucky to have met such a supportive business partner who just "get's it" in Laura. 

We've been lucky to this point to get this far, that's for sure. I think we were always confident in our abilities and our vision / goals for the company... But the development cycle is risky, lengthy, and unpredictable. 

I know your website talks about working with smaller influencers, why do you think that they can make a bigger impact for companies?

​Yeah, we tend to focus on engaging "everyday influencers" who have authority in their space. Their relationships tend to be more personal with their following, and therefore, they build more trust with their followers. When they speak about a brand that they have chosen to support - their following listens because they understand this person's business is their reputation. They choose to work with brands that mesh with their social values, and benefit their followers. So it makes it easier to attract these influencers in our no pressure environment, where they can basically "shop" at their convenience for brands that they would like to support.  

We don't represent our influencers like an agency - we've created an open marketplace where they can shop for products and services, from brands that they want to support, using their social following as currency. It's a unique concept from anyone else doing influencer marketing. 

When did you start ShopandShout and what is your end goal?
​We started the concept, and incorporated with a basic game plan about a year ago. We took our time creating the vision and business plan, and finding the necessary talent it would take to help build our vision. We did a beta launch of our marketplace in May 17' after beginning development in December 16'. We were quite happy with the way things have turned out so far.

The end goal is to build an amazing marketplace where everyday influencers get to experience awesome brands by agreeing to share shout-outs about the brand with their following. Effectively monetizing their social channels. We want it to be open for any and all influencers, on more social channels. We also want to pursue awesome modern brands that understand the value in these influencers, the efficiency provided by our platform, and who understand the advantages our social dashboard provides them with.

We believe in listening to our users, so the functionality of our platform will be molded by our users as we progress. Both influencers and brands alike - our development path will be based on their feedback as we pursue our vision of building an incredible open marketplace where brands and everyday influencers create synergy at scale. 
What were you doing before you dove into this? 
I was a Buyer for Best Buy, and worked as a Director of Operations for a year where I learned amazing operational disciplines, and logistics best practices, I also observed what not to do in marketing lol.  

What is it that keeps you motivated to make this business work?

​A few things, I believe in our platform's ability to deliver value to small / medium sized brands. I believe in empowering these brands with our platform, giving them an edge in today's competitive market where cash is often king. The brands we've partnered with who are experiencing success seem to really enjoy our service and how easy our platform is to use. So, it's motivating to keep going when people like it. 

I also love how we help influencers monetize their social media (in the form of free products and services) I've seen how hard they work hard to keep their following engaged! It's great that our site helps alleviate some of the costs of living for them once in awhile. I think UBER and AirBandB have built their success on convenience for the customer, and monetizing the supplier. Which is essentially what we've done, which gets me excited. 

In addition to that, we have strong corporate values about giving back. And we give more, as we become more successful. So...sometimes, some days are tougher than others, having a greater cause helps keep me motivated. Always knowing that there is always someone having a rougher day than you, it's a blessing to be able to give back this early in our company. 

How to you advertise your business to potential clients? What makes you different and special from other companies that try to offer the same services?

​We call them :). We want to uphold the integrity of our marketplace, so we are somewhat selective on the brands we work with. We want to ensure that they mesh well with the Influencers we have, and that we are able to deliver based on their needs and expectations. 

What makes us unique is our marketplace, and our self-serve dashboard that we set up. 
Our marketplace saves time, and complicated negotiations, and logistics with influencers. Influencers and small/medium businesses just don't have the time or resources for that! 

Our dashboard is unique, as it provides the ability to monitor social campaigns, within and independent of the Shopandshout marketplace. It also allows brands to manage their own social media, meaning it gives them all their channel insights + it allows them to create, schedule, and publish posts on all their social accounts from one easy box. 

And from what we's less expensive then typical influencer solutions. 

You talked a little with me about how you want to be able to sponsor a classroom once you hit 5000 influencers. What made you come up with this concept and what will you do once you hit that mark? Will you find new avenues to be charitable?

​Yeah, at every 5000 influencers we will be sponsoring a classroom overseas with supplies and student aid. This is done in partnership with World Vision Canada. We knew we wanted to do something to give back, both Laura and I believe it's important. It would be great to influence a group of students to overcome the struggle they are in via an education. We will always be on the lookout for new avenues to be might be a classroom for this first 5000 influencers, and maybe we'll do something different for the next 5000? We'll put out a survey :) 

Do you plan to stick with working with smaller local businesses only and take on just a few bigger companies in the future... or do you see yourself geared towards the businesses that you feel help make Vancouver and the local area more of a community.

​We will work with any brand that see's value in working with our influencers, and our platform. It's a two-way street though, so we do our best to make sure that the brands who join add value to the influencers shopping in our marketplace. We love the idea of supporting local business - so as we expand and have companies based across Canada - we will have influencers in those areas as well, who support their own local brands! ​We want to be the marketplace where local influencers can experience local brands, as we grow, our marketplace will need to have more localization features built into it. 

We want to grow at home though, and anticipate we will be growing our Vancouver office and hiring Vancouvorites to start our growth journey.  
How do you guarantee that influencers will do the promised promotion? So companies don't worry about losses.

​During the checkout process, influencers input their card information just like ​any other shopping website. We authorize the card for the value of the good, but don't charge anything. Once the shout-out is 100% complete, we release the hold. (our backend monitors this so we can release the hold as soon as the shout-out is complete). 

So far "knock-on-wood" we haven't charged any Influencers, which I think speaks to the quality of influencers we've managed to attract thus far.  
Do you see this company expanding Canada-wide or even into the US? Or do you plan on staying centralized in the Vancouver area?

​We will definitely go Canada wide, and into the US. ​Think groupon, only there is no money exchanged, and brands aren't forced to diminish the value of their goods for a sale. Instead brands use the collective voice of real people to advocate on their behalf. 


  So there you have it, I HIGHLY recommend that if you are a blogger, or Social Media influencer of any kind in Canada, reaching out to Vinod at and start working on a fantastic collaboration opportunity. I haven't regretted the friendship I have made with Vinny. I can only hope that you will find a good friend and business partner in him and his company as well!

  He has been extremely patient in waiting for me to finish this blog post! xD


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Stanley Park 10/03/2015