Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
Luckily enough I had invented a new product - the Beardo Beard hat, and thought it was pretty useful. I knew I really liked it so assumed others would as well. I was right! I inadvertently invented a new market! I ended up securing patents for the removable and adjustable function of the beard hat. As this was a never-before seen product, the first of these were made in-house with the help of some friends' grandmas and their fine knitting skills. Then I looked in North America and overseas to find a production house to keep up with demand.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
My first sales came organically. We had a great photographer and the images really spoke for themselves and gained a lot of international exposure. It doesn't hurt to have a wacky product either! Luckily the photos went viral soon after launch and we were rolling. We sold out of our first 1000 units in the first month, which was unbelievable as we had thought we would have enough for at least 8 months of sales - if people even bought them at all! Our worst case scenario exit strategy was to remove the detachable beards and sell the hats for cost. Our subscribers are a big part of our sales now, we have built up such a strong following. Being seasonal is a bit of an issue, but we enjoy the challenge of marketing overseas, and getting these viral bursts each season. Facebook has been good for us as well as we now have over 215k fans.
Tell us about the back-end of your business. What tools and apps do you use to run your store? How do you handle shipping and fulfillment?
We use the Product Upsell app, which is great for add-ons. We also utilize discounts to our fanbase and subscribers, which I think is key to maintaining your fans. There must be some level of value given. We fulfill in a few ways, both through our warehouse in Canada and by using a fulfillment service which allows us to more easily and quickly fulfill orders in Europe.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
It takes a certain type of person to successfully run any business. You need to find joy in doing it for the sake of doing it. Your motivation should never be money. If it is, you will find yourself getting burned out and frustrated. Its a long road, you have to be able to enjoy it.