Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
Our founders received Lululemon products for Christmas and did not like the brand, but liked the premium nature of the athletic company. They tried to find a brand in the space that spoke more to them and realized there wasn't one, so they decided to start their own. To source our products we use a top-tier design consultant agency as well as an internal director of product. This agency has factory relationships and helped source the initial lines. As we've been expanding, we began using more agencies and are bringing everything more in-house.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
Word of mouth. The test line in November of 2013 went over so well with just word of mouth that it made the decision for the founders to pursue the business. We are 50/50 wholesale and direct online. Our biggest wholesale account is Equinox and we were just picked up in 70+ REI doors. Online is where our focus is as we can control the brand better and release smaller collections to our customers.
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 run a reward system called Swell, to reward our customers for their loyalty and to increase customer retention. We also built an account management survey to let us learn more about our customer and serve them better. With regards to shipping and fulfillment, we use a new third-party logistics company out in UT but work very closely with them. We actually have a satellite office in the warehouse.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
Focus on forecasting inventory and predicting demand to avoid inventory mistakes. Don't be afraid to test (old school mailers are one of our best channels and it was definitely a test). Personal touches are key.