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Eric Autard and Sabine Beysel are the founders of One Kid, outerwear for kids that is both functional and fun.
On this episode of Shopify Masters, these two first-time entrepreneurs share how they launched a viral video (link in the show notes) that received 5 million views and led to over $200,000 in sales.
Listen to Shopify Masters below…
There were a lot of shots in the dark. A lot of them didn’t bring the results we were expecting but, fortunately, a few of them brought back some major leads and sales.
Tune in to learn
- How to create ads to promote a product video.
- How to launch a product to customers that don’t know they need it.
- How to pick and choose compromises when negotiating with big manufacturers.
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Felix: Today I’m joined by Eric and Sabine from OneKid.com, that’s O-N-E-K-I-D.com. One Kid designs and sells outerwear for kids that is both functional and fun and was started 1999 and based out of Westport, Connecticut. Welcome guys.
Eric: Thanks Felix.
Sabine: Hello Felix.
Felix: Hello. Yeah tell us a little bit more about your business and some of the outerwear, the products that you sell.
Eric: Okay, like you just mentioned my name is Eric and my wife is Sabine. We are ex-employees from Adidas. Back in 1999 we kindly, we quited our shop and started One Kid LLC back in 1999. Basically the same all kind of things where you have a kids and you’re kind of tired of corporate life so we started a kids line. We had a boy so we for the first three, four years early on we only did boy collections. Then we introduced the girl collections three, four years later.
Everything went well. We only sold to whole sales, mom and pop stores, department stores, catalogs. It was really a business to business exclusively at the time. The business was quite good until 2008 when pretty much everything hit the fan. We had, prior to that, we had an office here in [Fairfield 00:02:46] area. We had employees, we were running our own warehouse and as the business started to turn sour after 2008 we needed to regroup. We started working a third party ware house which was located in Boston. Unfortunately we had to let our people go. We moved the business to our garage and we’ve been running this business in our garage ever since after 2008. We’ve been here for-
Sabine: Ten years.
Eric: Almost ten years we’ve been doing it out of our garage.
Felix: Wow, okay. Let’s talk a little bit about the beginning. You both had jobs already, full time jobs, started raising a family and that was the catalyst that made you want to start your own business. Was it because you wanted the time … What were you looking for by starting a business?
Eric: I think we were looking for more independence. I think that we were very very motivated to make a difference in the kid’s markets by bringing great, good looking, and functional product. I think also that we just wanted to be really to become independent. We really wanted to start our own business.
Felix: Do either of you have experience in apparel at that time?
Eric: Yes. We, like I just mentioned, we came from Adidas which is an apparel and footwear company, sports apparel footwear company. We used to work there for many years, over ten years. Sabine, my wife, she was a head of apparel design when we did that. I was running a part of their footwear operations.
Felix: Very cool. What kind of advantages were you able to get from having the industry experience? What did you think helped you from your day jobs, helped you the most in starting your own business?
Eric: I have to tell you Felix, the most advantage we had was our connections with factories in Asia. I used to work in Asia. I lived in [inaudible 00:05:10] for about five years. I had a lot of connection on my own. Sabine was the apparel design and development, she also knew a lot of factories in Asia. Really the biggest advantage that we had when we started our own company was our connection with many factories.
Felix: Were these manufacturers, I’m assuming were very ready and willing to work with a big apparel company like Adidas, were they still as ready to work with a relatively new startup that you guys were starting?
Eric: It’s a very very interesting and very good question because that might as well been our biggest challenge. At the time, since business was booming pretty much everywhere, the factories didn’t mind working with us as new because they sort of knew us. They’re minimum quantity was quite high, especially coming from those factories that were working with bigger company like Nike or Adidas, Reebok. They were accustomed to pretty big quantities.
For us, of course we were not able to reach those quantities so we had to negotiate quite hard with them. We were forced early on to buy some inventory which we were not too happy about.
Felix: Tell us a little bit more about it, I think this is a similar situation a lot of businesses are in, which is that they want to work with manufacturers but there’s just high minimum orders quantities that you’re talking, which then requires a lot of negotiations. Tell us a little bit more about this negotiation process. What kind of tips do you have to offer for other folks that are in this position where they have to negotiate around these minimum order quantities?
Eric: I think that if we can, if you can, the best advantage is really the relationship. If you can form a relationship, a personal relationship with the factory. We’re going to the [far east 00:07:23], not often anymore but we used to. We also had the factory owner coming over to us and trying to form personal relationship is very important. I think that once you are able to talk with a factory owner one on one and tell him, “We need you to be on our side because it’s a brand new venture for us. Hopefully we’re going to grow and bring some decent business.”
Most of them, I think not most, all of them are willing to help you at the beginning but somehow after I would say maybe three, four, five years you need to show them that the business increased. If the business does not increase then they become more and more strong on pricing, on quantities, on delivery, you don’t get the priority. Any longer with factory space. Often enough if you don’t have the choice then you’re forced to move on to somebody else, to another supplier.
Felix: I’m assuming these decision makers at these factories or manufacturers they’re probably super busy. They have so many clients, so many prospective clients, so many relationships they have to maintain. Did you experience any issues with getting around that when you were trying to build this relationship with them? I understand what you’re saying about how these personal relationships matter but then how do you even get the time to speak to them when they are I’m assuming very busy professionals?
Eric: They are busy professionals but I think they are also very savvy business people. They just want to make sure that they book time for you. Every business is important, nobody can read the future. I think it’s also, like I said, more about relationship and respect. I think that if you’re nice with them and you can get their attention I think that … Also for us being in the east coast and working mainly with China and Macau it’s 24 or 12 hours difference. It’s longer, long evening for us staying up until 11, midnight, 1 o’clock in the morning to be able to talk or Skype or phone call with the business owner or marketing managers. That was really early on. I think nowadays … I know, right? With the email and Skype it’s a lot easier to communicate. Everybody has more time to communicate in their own personal time so it’s not as direct as it used to be with a phone call where you needed to have somebody answering right away.
Felix: Right. Now when you are working with these factories and trying to get the attention of these much larger factories, what do you find that they are looking for in a partner when you don’t have this background, not necessarily background, but you don’t have a track record for your new company that shows that you have a lot of potential and you have a lot of revenue in sales coming through. How do you make sure you position yourself as an ideal partner for these factories to invest their time and energy into you?
Eric: Like I said before, I think it’s all about potential new business for them, potential new business for you. It’s all about negotiations. Unfortunately if you’re not able to bring their quantities that they required than you face to maybe work alone. Maybe you’re not able to do your own colors or your own print, something which is already existing at the factory, lack of materials it depends. Also of course price. The factories they … If you don’t have the quantities and if you don’t have what they really want then they need to talk to you about pricing and of course they’re going to increase the price a little bit because of the quantity not reaching the minimums.
It’s not their fault either because when we talk about mass production there is a certain amount of minimum quantities that we need to achieve with the fabric mills. They going to dye I think 100 or 200 or 300 yards of fabric because the machine needs to have that many lengths for it to take the colors or the prints and whatnot. It’s to just always me against you or them against us, it’s also the mathematic of mass production.
Felix: Right, they have numbers that they have to hit themselves. Obviously lots of compromise is involved when you are trying to start these partnerships and relationships with big factories with big manufacturers. Was the plan, not the plan but do you just have to live with these compromises whether it be on price or whether it be on the customization of the products until you have more success then you can return to the “negotiation table” then get more of what you would like?
Eric: Yeah, absolutely. There’s no doubt about this. We had to go through those steps to be able to manufacture everything we needed to. Compromising is part of doing business. We do have to compromise quite a lot. We had to compromise on pricing, we had to compromise on some delivery because, like we mentioned, our quantity not being that big then they put us at the end.
The one thing we never compromise on is quality. We have a pretty strict process in product design development where every stage of the product when it’s been built, we ake sure we have it all controlled on quality and we know all ingredients that goes into our product. Compromising is one thing. You can compromise, sometimes you do have to compromise a lot but the quality and the integrity of the product, that we never compromise on.
Felix: Now how do you pick and choose on what you can compromise on? How do you pick and choose what you can live with? Obviously quantity was never on the table for you guys but then when it came down to it, how did you decide, okay we can live with this versus we cannot live with this?
Eric: It’s about balancing your needs versus the need of the factory. I think that … If we needed to increase the price by say 30 or 40 cents because we’re not reaching the quantity, if we needed to maybe buy the fabric at the mill directly because all pays upcharge on the fabric that we have to compromise because basically we have no choice. We need to get that product down.
The thing which are very difficult to compromise on is for example the freight because we always try to bring all of our product by oceans. If the product is late to a certain extent we need to bring it into the air. That part of the negotiation is also some sort of a contract we already have with the factory saying, “Past that deadline we need to airfreight the product so just try to make sure that we don’t go past that dead line. If we do then normally then we have to … ” They negotiate on our hand waves the factory to say, “Guys, you’ve been late certain amount of days a week and you’re forcing us to bring these by air instead of ocean or that portion of the production by air. We need you to help us pay for it.” The factory wanting to keep relationship in any case they normally apply to that. They just … They either pay for the airfreight or part of it.
Felix: When you guys were … I want to talk about the red code a little bit later but that sounds like your most successful product these days, but back when you first started what were you selling? What were the first … What was in the catalog for the store early on?
Sabine: What we started on was boys. We decided to develop a boys sportswear collection. We had cargo pants but those cargo pants were for example fleece lined and there was one … That was not done before on the market in 1999 that they have cargo pants with fleece line which keeps it extra warm. The fabric was also was a nylon fabric. It was lint, water, and also stain resistant. Then of course we had fleece tops, we had tee shirts. We had sweatshirts, we had jackets. We had a whole collection from A to Z.
Eric: We had gloves, socks, short, pants, sweaters. We even had suits at one point too.
Felix: Wow. This sounds like you were launching a lot of products right off the bat. Did you feel like it made the launch process much more difficult?
Sabine: Yes but coming from Adidas we were just used to handling a lot of [SKU’s 00:18:12] you know. For us it was just like a normal thing to do to launching all of those different products.
Felix: Right. Now how long did it take from starting the company to getting your first production run of products?
Eric: It took us a year until we started designing our first collection and getting somebody to manufacture of. We started with a factory which were located in Macau. Yeah, it took us about, I would say maybe a little bit under a year, ten months.
Felix: Now were you already getting orders from these wholesale clients of yours at the time or were you waiting to get that first production run before trying to go out and selling the products?
Eric: No, you know Felix, what we did we did a set of samples and I think the first year Sabine and I went to a trade show in New York City. We had a little booth all the way at the end of the trade show. We were quite happy because we had a pretty good show as I remember. We had a printed tee shirt with a diagonal print which was kind of [heat 00:19:36] at that trade show that day. We got quite a few orders. We were very happy, we were very psyched.
After that we also joined that show and after the [inaudible 00:19:50] shows we got approached by sales agencies, sales rep. Later on we had show rooms in … We had a show room in New York, in Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Boston if I did not mention it before. Of course New York City as well.
Felix: Nice. These samples that you had created, this was prior to getting the first production run?
Eric: Yes, of course. Yeah.
Felix: Got you. Okay, you had these samples and decided to go to trade show first just to see if you can generate these sales. It sounds like things took off very quickly for you guys. When the orders started coming in, were you guys just taking any and all orders? How did you decide who you should be working with when you … After this assess at the trade show?
Eric: At the trade show we of course took orders and everything but before the selling season ends we need to send production orders to our factory. Say the selling seasons last for three months, within one and a half months we need to send production, the bulk production to the factory. After one and a half months we needed to look back at the collection and say, “This color is not really selling, doesn’t get get received very well. We need to remove that from the collection.”
After a period of time we waited a little bit. The offering … We needed to place the production. That’s when the forecasting comes in place and we need to go and forecast and make the buy. After that then your sales goals are a little bit more focused because since you know what you bought then you can gear the sales people and the show rooms to try to sell what you’ve bought, which is … It’s always a guess. 99% of the time it’s unfortunately not such accurate guess. We left with inventory, we didn’t buy enough of what we should have bought more. It’s been very complicated and very stressful process.
Felix: I definitely want to talk about forecasting in a bit. Before we get there you mentioned that this trade show that you were at, you guys were tucked away in a corner all the way in the back but still had lots of success coming out of this show. What do you think attributed to that? How were you able to generate that kind of success even though you weren’t given a great placement at the trade show?
Eric: I think, as being mentioned, we came into the marketplace back in those days with new product coming from Adidas and working … Sabine and I did work with some world athletes. We approached the collection at the time like kids being athletes. We created a functional product like she mentioned the cargo pant with the polo fleece lining. We had all sort of product which were geared a little bit more into assuming that kids are like little athletes. Everything was functional, everything was … Our quality is really good. I guess that’s how people at the show started say, “Hey, go all the way at the end. There’s a little booth there. Those new people they look like they know what they’re doing. They have very interesting new design and pretty much everything is functional.”
Felix: Obviously a great product had a big contribution, big impact on that kind of success. Any tips of actually how to work a trade show, how to set up a booth to make sure that you’re able to display a great product like yours in your case?
Eric: Yeah. There is rule and regulation for each trade show so you’re not really able to plant mannequins in the middle of the isle. I think that good lighting is good. You have to have … It pays off to pay for extra light in the booths. I think that’s important. If you have good lifestyle posters, pictures to put on the wall. That is good, that attracts people. People go to the trade show they walk slowly and they look left and they look right. You really need to try to get their attention with bright colors or fluffy things. Whatever you do, try to showcase that as much has you can.
Felix: Got you. Now you mentioned that a sales agency started approaching you, was this right after that first trade show?
Eric: Yes, it was. Yeah.
Felix: Great, I’ll just use these. These are … This is I think pretty new for a lot of listeners. Not a lot of companies that come on this show talk about working with sales agencies. Tell us a little bit more about this. How do you work with a sales agency?
Eric: Sales agency, they are … For us at the time they were a needed evil let’s say. You need to work with them because they have contact with the stores. It’s very difficult because we always work with sales agency who represented [inaudible 00:25:44] line. Again, this is the same game when they bring a new collection they showcase it a lot because they hope that it’s going to bring a lot of sales into their showroom. If that’s the case then that’s great. If it’s not the case then they are going to take the collection and put it at the end of the showroom and start not showing it sometimes. We had that happen with some territories.
One thing that which was very interesting to me, and it’s really still a big questions to me, is that for territories say, for example in Atlanta we had 80 mom and pop stores. We would move from one showroom to another showroom. Mind you that those show [mines 00:26:35] in the same building. You would think that if we have 80 store and we bring it to a different showroom we would carry those 80 store to that new business but in fact it’s not really the case. Even though we would give our accomplice to the new sales rep, they would not do business with a lot of our old accounts. It’s only after certain of time that I understood that.
A lot of mom and pop stores, they go shop to a certain showroom. They don’t necessarily follow a collection moving from one showroom to another to another. They go to that showroom which has been servicing their retail store for many years. They go to do a one stop shop and go to that one showroom and buy all their dress. They going to go to another showroom where they going to buy all their, I don’t know what they carry, they carry pillow case or different product, that’s where they going to get. It was very interesting, Felix, to see that moving from one showroom to another would not necessarily generate additional sales but sometimes maybe even less sales based on the popularity of the showroom.
Felix: Yeah, that’s interesting there. What did you do when you did have to make these changes from showroom to showroom or to different sales agencies and now you have previous clients that just weren’t interested in moving with you to these new showroom?
Eric: It’s very difficult. It’s really something which we cannot … We would call the stores and say, “How come you’re not buying the line? What did we do?” Basically the answer is no, I didn’t do anything wrong but I just go to that one showroom to buy my collection. since you’re not there, then I’m …
There was not really, at the time there was not really very much loyalty into the brand but more into who represented the brand. Sales agency back in those days were very very important. They’re still now very important but I think that with the raise of the internet and online stores like Zulily’s and Ohlala’s, I think that stores and retail stores and sales agencies are … They have a hard time now.
Felix: Right. Now are you no longer going to these showrooms and working with these sales agencies anymore?
Eric: No we don’t. We don’t.
Felix: This came from your transition, right? That you mentioned earlier from wholesale now over to more direct to consumer?
Eric: Yes, absolutely.
Felix: Got you. Okay, let’s talk about this. What was that experience like? Maybe we’ll start with why that transition. Why transition from what was working already in the past through this wholesales business like you’re saying, business was doing very well. 2008 came around and was essentially economic decline, was that the reason for you wanting to make that switch? Tell us about that process.
Eric: After 2008 our business started to slow down pretty much every season. We would not understand why because the collection was still great but we always did the show in New York City. We always went there. The other shows that we had our sales rep doing it. That show in New York City we saw it dwindling down. At one point when we did it last year, last January it was a year ago actually, there was almost … It was very difficult to look at any buyers really.
Sabine: There were vastly more vendors there than buyers.
Eric: Right. Year after year our business went down to the point where we say, “Okay, for us in order to survive we cannot longer make tee shirts and little polo shirt because the price point is too low to work with with retail and you need quantities.” At that point we didn’t have the quantity anymore. We decided to go and concentrate on doing only outerwear, which is a much bigger price point. Higher price point and of course the margins are better. That’s what we did for about what, three or four years? Five years? We only did outerwear, in the same concept that we did before. With building a collection, building samples, sending samples to the sales man to different showrooms and whatnot and gathering orders and at one point doing the forecasting. Placing the production and getting products and all that stuff.
Even that was starting to decline. We had to go really … Also we had stores, Felix, that use to buy, they would buy $20,000 worth of merchandise from us. They would give us their credit card. We would just tell them we’d call them before we ship. Charge my credit card, not a problem. A lot of those stores toward the end were like … They were buying $2,000 from us. They would say, "Eric, can you please charge $500 this week and $500 in three weeks and $500 in eight weeks from now. It’s tough. We sold a lot of retailers going out of business.
Felix: You saw these retailers feel that crunch, that squeeze. Then it started impacting your business. Do you think that … Are you saying that you think that you would have been better protected if you were selling direct to consumer rather than going whole sale during this decline?
Eric: Yeah. We think so, we just didn’t know how to. That was not our experience. We had totally no clue. We had a website but that website was totally neglected. We took the pictures and slapped a picture on the web and forget about it. Maybe once in a while we would have one order from somebody who stumble into our website, we didn’t know how. That was not a priority. Not only was it not a priority but we come maybe from a different generation where we didn’t know how to.
We are big fan of Shark Tank. We used to … With Shark Tank you had those entrepreneur that came on Shark Tank and they would tell those sharks that they have $300,000 or a million or 2 million dollars in sales and they only do that online. Sabine and I, we looked at each other and was like, “How do they do that?” How can they possibly make that much money sending online? We had a web store but we would get crumbles, we would get nothing. We would just get … We didn’t know how to do … How to approach that business at all.
Felix: Before you explain that transition for you guys, why do you feel like it would have been … The business would have been better protected if you were selling predominately through e-commerce rather than through these retailers?
Eric: Felix, I don’t know, no. I don’t know. I cannot answer that question because I am not sure. Like I said, we didn’t know that part of the business at the time. I cannot say how our business would have been more protected simply because I had not he knowledge that I have today.
Felix: Sure. Okay, let’s talk about this transition then. You guys both recognized that there was some opportunity going on because there’s so many businesses selling online. You saw it through Shark Tank that all of these businesses that were selling exclusively online making a ton of money, margins were obviously going to be better this way too. What were your first steps towards making this transition from the wholesale business into e-commerce, which you’re saying you had absolutely no experience with selling online at that time? What was that transition like?
Eric: No experience whatsoever and it also started like it did in 1999 New York Trade Show. The same show that we use to go for the past ten, fifteen years. Sabine by the time she was so fed up with the trade show that she didn’t want to even come. I went by myself with my booth. Of course there was not that many buyers. You have a lot of time to talk to your neighbor, the other people that show their collections. We were next to Fernando and Connie which are from Australia and they have a little line that’s called Mini Treasure.
I talked to them and we strike a connection pretty much right away. That evening when I came home I told my wife Sabine, said, “Look, just come. Come with me and meet those two people. I’ve talked to them, they seem to be really nice.” She came and we talked with them and they were nice enough to introduce us to Susan, Susan Bradley from the Social Sales Girls which we contacted Susan. She basically had reliable revenue online courses, which we did. That was January of last year.
Sabine and I, we took the laptop and we listened to her podcast, we listened to her videos. We did all of this. We basically spent three months … Not three months but one and a half months we spent on in our living room sitting on the sofa and listening to Susan and talking about terminology we did not know what that was. It was a brand new business for us.
Felix: Nice. You were learning a ton of … Taking in a ton of new information. What were the first actions that you guys took to make this transition to having success online?
Eric: Susan, she has a collection that’s called Wee Squeaks. Our partner event was on Facebook. She basically took some of our jacket and put it in a Facebook page and tried to promote the [inaudible 00:37:51] this way. She had a lot of reaction from a follower asking if those jackets were car seat safe? Of course some of them where because they were thin, puffy, packable product. They wear safe for car seats. Since that comments came back more than once we started thinking about what’s with the puffy coats and the car seats. We had no idea of the danger of it.
At the same time the NBC two day show, the segment about the danger of wearing puffy winter coats in car seats. When that aired, it actually came on my Facebook feed, I took Sabine and I said we need to address that, we totally need to figure out how to bring a solution to this. That’s how we came with the road coats. That’s how the road coat really came to life and that’s how we started doing really good with our website.
We moved into Shopify back in January of last year and that’s when we started putting, not 100, but 110, 120% of all of our effort in learning the online business, learning how to market your online business, learning how to inter use the product. We just went full speed. Of course we still had whole sale business, we do some business with Saks Fifth Avenue but that was not our focus. Our focus was Shopify was online, how can we make this a viable business.
Felix: Got you. To kind of recap this, you already had an outwear line, you partner up with the successful e-commerce business and through that exposure through this other brand Wee Squeak, you started getting feedback with people wanting to know more about the safety features of that product. You guys didn’t go back and redesign the outerwear to create the road coat or was there just different marketing. What were you doing with that feedback?
Sabine: We basically went back to the drawing board and designed and engineered coat which can be worn in the car seat. It was a complete new product for us.
Felix: Got you. How did you launch that product? It sounded like there was a lot of discussion around car seat safety and codes? Now you had this product that was a solution for that particular problem? How do you launch a product into the marketplace when there is some kind of buzz around people trying to find ways to solve this problem that you had this solution for?
Sabine: We knew we had to do a video to get the message across.
Felix: Why’d you feel that?
Sabine: I think you have to have to really show to understand what the problem is. I think a lot of consumers they don’t even know about the problem, about wearing a heavy puffy winter coat in the car seat can really cause injuries in a car crash. We knew we had to get this somehow on video to explain them first it’s dangerous, why it’s dangerous and that we have a solution. We need to do this with video because we could not do that with just a simple post.
Felix: Okay, I like this line of thinking. You recognized that there was a problem you had a solution for it but then you felt that the public didn’t know that this was a problem. Now when you are approaching creating this video or maybe any kind of content where you’re trying to sell a solution to a problem that your targeted customers might not know is a problem. What do you do? Do you spend most of the time talking about the problem? Do you spend more time talking about the solution? How do you design the content? In your case this video?
Eric: I think Felix, the first thing that we need to make sure that our product worked. We did several independent crash tests with the coat, with some dummies. We did side by side crash tests. The dummy wearing the road coat, the dummy not wearing the road coat, a dummy wearing a normal heavy puffy coat. We had all of those data that proved to us that the product that we had brought a better solution to car seat safety and wearing jackets.
We also work with a lot of CPSD, those are car passenger safety technicians, instructors. Before prior we launched the product, we did a lot of research on our own to make sure that the product that we created was actually a benefit to the car seat safety and puffy jackets.
Felix: Right. This sounds like a big investment creating this video, doing all this testing. Do you remember how much you had to invest in all of this preparation and this also in creating the content itself?
Eric: Yeah. We had to spend quite a lot of money. The tests were expensive. Before we launched the product into the marketplace, we needed to have a patent or a patent pending. If you launch a product and you don’t have a patent or a patent pending then you cannot loose your right to apply for a patent because you basically revealed your secret to everybody because now you cannot patent it. We had to spend money on that. It was at least over ten thousand dollars that we spent for this.
Felix: Wow, okay. This redesign to getting the patent done to creating the video for the launch, how long did all of this take?
Eric: Yeah, it took about six months.
Felix: That sounds like a pretty quick turnaround for redesigning a whole new product, going through this entire process.
Eric: It is. It is, Felix but you have to understand that that’s the only thing we’re doing. Sabine and I, we don’t have a day job. One Kid is our mean of revenue for us and for the kids and whatnot, for our family. It is a short period of time but it’s not also eight hours a day either. It’s a lot more than that.
Felix: Right, I see what you’re saying. There’s full on dedication towards creating this redesign and launching this. Now I’m really interested in this partner you had with Wee Squeak. Can you talk to us a little bit more about how that was set up, how you partnered with a successful e-commerce brand? I think this is a great avenue for anyone that are in the shoes that you guys are in, which is that you had a lot of experience selling offline but now when it’s transitioned online, maybe the best approach is to partner up with someone that already has partnered up with a brand that already has experience selling through e-commerce. Tell us about this partnership and how it was set up.
Sabine: Susan Bradley, she owns Wee Squeak. She’s running this business very successful on Shopify. That’s part of what she teaches in her Social Sales Girls, which is her other company where she’s [fastly 00:46:08] teaching her tools and methods, how she’s driving the traffic and sales to her site. Since we were in her reliable revenue online course, we vastly got to know her, we talked to her. We talked to her over the phone. Then she said that … She offered actually to us why I don’t do a partner event with you guys so I’m going to post your jackets on my Facebook side and post it out and let’s see what’s happening. We going to get some traffic on our side because we had no traffic. We had no terrific, Felix. We started out on Facebook with 45 likes. Today we have over 18,000 likes.
Felix: Wow. The video too, the video that you guys put out, I think I read that it now has now over 5 millions views?
Sabine: Yeah, 5.4 million views.
Felix: That’s amazing. What do you think contributed to that kind of success? 5.4 million views on … That demonstrates the value of a product is very life changing for a business. What did you think you guys did right to kick off this kind of virality?
Sabine: Honestly Felix, the 5.5 million views, most of it is organic. I think that the media took on a life by itself. Eric had said, we had really no clue what to expect. We put it online on July 22 and then months later it was multiplying daily with views.
Eric: I think what happened with that video is that, like we mentioned before, I think a lot of parents and grandparents were not … They’re still not aware, a lot of them of the danger of wearing a puffy jacket while in the car seat. What they do is you take the kid and you take the jacket out and you put the kid in the car seat. Then you put the jacket on top, like as a blanket, but it’s not really. I think that the fact that we were able to bring a solution to a common problem really made that video viral. We have a lot of shares.
Everyday we had a lot of comments, that’s another thing we spend a lot of time on and we still spend a lot of time on. Answering all the queries, the comments that comes from that video. I think the reason why it became so successful is because basically we came and we presented a solution to a problem that a lot of people had with their kids when they’re in the car seats.
Felix: Right. Okay. What was this video posted on? Was it on Facebook, on YouTube? Where were you guys hosting this video?
Sabine: On Facebook. It’s on Facebook. It’s also on, we have YouTube channel too and it’s also posted on our website. The views are coming from the Facebook.
Felix: Got you. Now were you guys boosting this video? Did you throw any ad dollars towards getting this video viewed?
Sabine: Yes, we boosted the video. We created ad sets around it. We had 20 different targets.
Felix: When you say that you created assets around the video, can you say more about this? What do you mean by that?
Sabine: Advertisement sets.
Felix: Okay, ad sets, got you.
Sabine: Ad set, yeah.
Felix: In these ad sets you were targeting different demographics?
Sabine: Different demographics, yes. Definitely.
Felix: Now when you are running a video ad and trying to drive traffic to it, do you approach it differently than if you were running an ad to just drive traffic to your site?
Sabine: Yes we do because the video … Because we had no traffic on our site, we had no traffic on the Facebook side so we need to [inaudible 00:50:17] started us with [goal 00:50:17] targets. That’s how we targeted video and with a lot of demographics stacked in there too.
Eric: When we started doing the advertising for the video or for our Facebook page, beside the fact that we’re looking at parents, we didn’t know which target would work for us and which one would not. Beside the gender target female and parents and people living maybe in big cities or rural. We also targeted our competition, we targeted some retail stores like Buybuy Baby. We targeted some people looking for car seats. There was a lot of shots in the dark. A lot of them didn’t bring the result we were expecting. Fortunately enough a few of them did brought back some major leads and sales.
Felix: I think that this is a great approach that you had so many different ad sets early on to test it all out. Do you remember how much you were putting behind each ad set, each target?
Sabine: Two dollars per day.
Felix: Oh, wow. Even with two dollars per day you were able to understand which ones were more successful than others.
Sabine: Yes, that’s because what Susan Bradley was teaching us. She also teached us how to read the results on Facebook.
Felix: Got you, now when you are running these video ads and you’re trying all these different ad sets, were you changing the copy, changing any of the … I guess with a video you can’t really change any images but were you changing the copy around it? The text that you were putting in the ad itself? Or were you strictly just changing the targeting options?
Sabine: Just changing the targeting options, definitely. In the beginning we basically, we didn’t target different incomes but then we target different incomes because the price point of the coat is a higher price point. Then we targeted from income levels, we targeted also cold weather states instead of the warm weather states.
Felix: Nice. You let this run for a bit then once you recognized what was winning and what was doing well and what wasn’t doing well then you started refining your targeting from there? What was the testing process behind this video ad?
Sabine: Yeah, definitely. How many likes we got, how many hits we got on the website. Also how many states we got. We are generating sales from this video and we still are running this video today. We still running advertisement sets on this video.
Felix: Got you. Okay cool now that you’ve been able to generate these … Such a viral video and much more experience in e-commerce, can you give us an idea of how successful the business has been now that you’ve made the transition into focusing selling online?
Eric: Sure, of course. We have been selling a lot of those sport coats. We were fortunate enough to have a little bit of inventory at the beginning when we launched the product so we were good for a period of time. Soon after that we’re sold out. We did a lot of pre-order and it didn’t seem to be a problem for our customers. They were willing to buy the product on pre-order and we would ship it, what would you say Sabine? Three weeks later or something like that?
Sabine: Four weeks.
Eric: Four weeks later. That helped us in different ways because from a cash flow standpoint that’s was a great way for us to run the business. Secondly it didn’t seemed like people were too much worried about not getting the product. I think maybe some of them knew already about the company, about One Kid. We sold a little bit over 2,000 pieces since we launch in July.
Felix: 2,000 products of inventory. Pretty much just off of the back of this video that you guys created.
Eric: Yes, pretty much.
Sabine: Yes, pretty much. With the video we did an official launch of the road coat. We did a giveaway and an early access event for list building. That’s what we did too. The video is driving really most of the traffic to the website.
Felix: Awesome. Thanks so much for your time Eric and Sabine. What do you guys want to focus on in this year now that you have this experience in e-commerce, have that success, figured out … It’s amazing that you were only a year in e-commerce and have a viral video out there. I think that’s a great accomplishment in itself. What do you guys want to focus on in this year?
Eric: We’ve learned a lot. We listen a lot from our customer, from people which are following us on Facebook. We take to heart the comments we’re getting. We’re going to create some new product around the road coat which are addressing some of the concern that people had. The current product we have is down product. Some kids are allergic to down so we’re going to bring a [polyfoam 00:55:57] …
Sabine: [inaudible 00:55:58]
Eric: [inaudible 00:55:59] into the market which will enable the product to be also a little bit less expensive because down is quite pricey. We are bringing the [aesthetic 00:56:13] feeling into the market with a lower price point. That’s what we’re concentrating on. We also bring the road coat into different shapes. We’re going to be launching a long coat. We have people asking us for a longer product, a longer coat. Then we’re going to be launching also a [bomba 00:56:37] style road coat, which is going to be … We going to launch all of those product in August of this year.
Felix: Very cool. Thanks again so much for your time Eric and Sabine. OneKid.com again is the website. O-N-E-K-I-D.com. Anywhere else you recommend the listeners go and check out if they want to follow along with your story, follow along what you guys are up to?
Eric: Yeah, they can follow us on Facebook.
Eric: Instagram and we have a chat on our website so if anybody wants to get in touch with us they welcome.
Felix: Very cool and check out that video that you guys created just to get a bit of understanding of how to create a video to educate your customers on a problem they might not know that they have. I think that’s going to be a great example for anyone out there that is in that situation. Again, thanks so much for your time guys.
Eric: You’re welcome.
Sabine: Thank you, Felix. Thanks for having us.
Felix: Here’s a sneak peak for what’s in store for the next Shopify Master’s episode.
Speaker 4: Fit, form, and function are really the key elements that I see many companies miss. They’ll focus on a design that looks amazing but doesn’t perform like you want.
Felix: Thanks for listening to Shopify Master’s, the e-commerce marketing podcast for ambitious entrepreneurs. To start your store today, visit Shopify.com/Masters to claim your extended 30 day free trial.
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