We sell high quality handmade soap for men. It all started as me and a childhood friend were both taking a closer look at what we put into (and on) our bodies. We realized that many commercial bath products, especially for guys, were packed with alot of scary looking chemicals.
From there we set out to find a way to create an affordable way for the everyday guy to take care of himself better with a natural, handmade product.
We decided to brand around the Sasqautch as we felt it was the perfect embodiment of man's free and natural spirit, plus it was a lot of fun!
We both had no prior experience in starting a business or with soap products, but we quickly were able to get up to speed on both aspects and be successful pretty quickly.
In barely over a year we went from 500 in monthly revenue to being featured in places like Birchbox and men's journal.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
Other than family and friends, our primary initial growth channel was Google Adwords. We really took a long-term approach with adwords, knowing that even if we broke even (or lost a bit) on the initial sale, that the LTV of our customer was the key indicator to look at.
This initial base generated a ton of word of mouth and referral traffic.
Today, this is a small part of our traffic base but we primarily have grown through strategic partnerships. We have found the best way to sell our product is to give it away. By partnering with companies like Birchbox and Bespoke Post we were able to sample our products directly to our target market, along with getting awesome brand placement and recognition.
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?
Shopify is great because we were able to find a third party distribution company that integrates directly with our store. Orders come in, and are automatically fulfilled by our 3PL in their own system.
In addition, we use Chargify to manage all of our recurring billing infrastructure for our "SoapScription" product.
What are your top recommendations for new ecommerce entrepreneurs?
Two big things:
1 - Find ways to have your customers help sell your products. For us this has primarily been through product reviews displayed on our site. By using the app Yotpo, we have been able to get amazing reviews, and showcase them on our social media and website. Additionally, we are in the process of setting up a referral program for customers that will give them discounts for referring new customers. In our opinion this is one of the most efficient way to drive sales automatically.
2 - Diversify your income streams and price points. One challenge with soap is that its an inexpensive product. It takes a ton of volume to really get any meaningful revenues. To address this challenge we have done two things. The first is re-purposing our product and adding value-add products such as our soap saver and gift box. Most importantly we have created a Soapscription service that is a great source of steady, recurring revenue. For a small business like us, its a great way to smooth out your cashflow and predict for future marketing spend and other investments.