Customer Story: Libie from Fulton
Hi Libie! Let’s get into it: When did you launch Fulton and what's been the journey like up to today?
We launched Fulton 7 months ago. At the end of March 2021. My co-founder Daniel and I met in business school about 2.5 years ago at a welcome event for Wharton. I shared the idea for insoles as a category ripe for disruption and he resonated with the idea because of his own experiences with unsupportive footwear. We spent the summer before business school working on it, doing a lot of research, understanding the industry, the opportunity and the customer.
We went into business school very ready to work on it and spent the next year and a half developing the product. I remember during our finals week we took a flight to Portugal to evaluate different factories. We went into prototyping mode for almost a year. With COVID in the middle of that, we faced a few delays but after 10 rounds of prototyping, we launched a pilot to our immediate community.
We had about 300 friends, family, & classmates try out the insoles. We were testing 3 different materials for the top layer of the insole. We did a bunch of surveys before and after to understand how people were using it, what questions they had and that helped us refine the final product. That was in September of 2020 and then we spent several months finalizing the product, building out the website and our launch strategy, and then we launched!
Let's focus on the acquisition part of the equation. How did you solve for that?
We've always tried to be very lean in terms of marketing and we haven't wanted to blow a ton of money into Facebook & Instagram.
We set up a prelaunch / email referral campaign where we were promoting a non-shoppable website saying “if you subscribe, you get 10% off. If you get 10 people to subscribe with your unique link, you get $5 off. And then eventually if you get 25 people, you get free product.” - That was powered by ViralLoops and helped us acquire emails.
After that, I spent $20 to get this app to scrape all of my email contacts (ever). I was able to download every single person I've emailed since I had my email. Daniel did the same thing, and so did my mom! We scraped all of those emails. And then we sent this mass email to tens of thousands of people announcing the launch, and asking people not only to buy the product, but also to share it across their personal social channels. That helped us launch with a bang without spending too much money; you don't realize how many people you've emailed over your lifetime. A lot.
Beyond that we also partnered with Thingtesting, they did a launch profile for us on the day of our launch which helped us get a lot of customers. After that, we started doing more press & paid ads.
Are you going D2C via your site as the main channel? or have you ever considered other marketplaces, Amazon, or something else?
The majority of our sales are through our website. But we are in a few marketplaces. We're on The Fascination, and one called Goldune, Be, and another called Verishop. It's an interesting way to acquire new customers. The challenge is that you don't get the customer data and right now, we really want to be able to be close to our customers and understand who they are. We're also in a few stores like Neighborhood Goods, and a few comfort footwear stores.
Regarding Amazon, that's not something that we are prioritizing but it could be something we do in the future. Right now, brand building & brand equity is so important to us and we don't want to jeopardize it.
Let’s jump into the website & operational side of things. What have been the key components needed to make your website a success?
We worked with an amazing designer to build out the brand. Together, we developed the brand that we always dreamed of: Something modern, cool and relatable. We also worked with a team of developers to design the website; they shared the website for the Apple iPhone as their main inspiration. It’s a very long scroll experience. We adopted a similar approach and we have this spinning insole that highlights the features beautifully. We worked with a 3D designer to make that a reality.
And then there's also a bunch of beautiful photography & videos. Lifestyle videos of people putting insoles in their shoes. For that, we worked with a photographer / videographer Josh Wehle, who’s very talented and we hired all the models through instagram. Our budget was very limited, and I remember reaching out to agencies who were charging us exorbitant fees for models, when we just wanted “normal” people. We found 4 spectacular models and we had a great day of fun filming & shooting that content.
One more thing: When you scroll down the page where there's a woman who’s putting insoles in her shoes with icons overlaid.. We did this with a studio called Soona where everything is shot completely remotely. We just shipped them the insoles, and some shoes + instructions and they were able to execute it perfectly in 3 hours.
Can we talk a little bit about some of key apps that are involved on the site?
We're using JudgeMe for reviews. We switched about a month ago from Yotpo and it's definitely a huge improvement. Then we’re using attentive for SMS, which is great. We tried postscript which we liked, but we found attentive to be a little bit more intuitive. We’re using Klayvio for emails, and Talkable for referrals. With iOS 15 - attribution has been messy, so we started to use “Enquire” as a post-purchase survey. That tells us where people came from, and we’re seeing a 30-40% delta under-reporting in Facebook vs. what’s actually coming in.
And how did Storetasker fit into your stack? What's your experience been like?
Storetasker has been such an amazing resource. We were using a custom Shopify theme and we've tried to make changes on it in the past, but it's always been quite challenging. We've tried working with different developers and they've always had a lot of issues with it.
It became scary to edit our theme. But we noticed that the rotating insole loaded very slowly and because the spinning insole was initially at the very top of the website, if you didn't have a very fast browser connection, you'd get to the top of the website and it would be white, which crushed our conversion rate. So I made a wireframe of what I wanted a revised hero module to look like. And then, I was connected with Erin, a developer through Storetasker and explained to her via email what we were looking for. She quickly gave us a quote and was able to do it within days.
We were genuinely astounded with the quality and speed considering how long it's taken us to make any other changes to the website with other developers. Because, it's just a very complicated theme that scares off anyone that looks under the hood. But Erin made it look incredible. And we've seen a very significant improvement in our conversion rate: Almost a 100% improvement.
Libie! You rock. We wish you and Fulton nothing but the best & we’re here for you anytime you need.