Welcome Stefan! Let’s start in 2013 when it all began. How have things evolved from the D2C side up until today?
Sure! So 2013 was the peak of excitement around subscription businesses. I was super interested in the model and it broke that traditional eCommerce mold. I knew I wanted to start something in subscription, and socks made a lot of sense. The user base is infinite, but you’re in enough of a niche to craft a strong brand storyline.
So making the subscription valuable for the customer became our primary focus for probably about four years. And it was really hard. We didn’t have access to off-the-shelf software that enabled us to achieve our ideal “randomized box” subscription. So that challenge led to a pretty insane journey of different tech stacks.
But we’ve learned so much along the way, and we’re just integrating Smartrr as we speak - which will (hopefully) solve all of our needs.
That’s great to hear. We’re big fans of Smartrr here. You’re in good hands! Tell us a bit about your team growth? Which decisions have you made on that front?
Well - to start: We do our own fulfilment. And one of our biggest focuses since the beginning has been to streamline the warehousing and fulfilment parts of the business. So we’ve invested heavily in warehouse and fulfilment staff - those were our first hires. Over time, we’ve added even more team members here, and even have our own operations manager to drive that.
The second tranche of hires for us was on the marketing side. We wanted to be able to control our narrative a little bit more and focus on content, in-house. There, we hired growth execs to nail down paid acquisition, and at the same time brought in customer service in-house too.
All in all - we’re 20 people today. We have our office here in Atlanta, and many employees are now working remotely from Chicago, LA, Georgia, Indiana - all over the country!
What are the biggest challenges you're working on right now?
Top of mind is the integration to Smartrr and a move to the native Shopify checkout. That’s going to enable us to get integrated to so many more apps and solutions we haven’t been able to connect to. That’s also going to allow us to shift focus to developing the site in greater ways. We can’t wait to make iterations here and there based on the customer feedback and data we’re seeing.
And that’s where you guys and Storetasker come in. It’s been amazing so far to be able to work with you on the littlest projects, all the way up to very beefy projects. You’ve been able to execute on everything so quickly. So we’ll be working with you even more once we gain back the extra bandwidth.
Great to hear. And from our end - we just wanted to say it’s an honor to work with you and Sock Fancy. We really love the brand and the entire experience feels super polished. So congrats on getting the business to where it’s today - it’s a best-in-class D2C example for others to learn from.
Thank you - that’s nice to hear!
Want to bring up the topic of retention. It’s so crucial in your business. How have you solved for that?
Step one is to make sure you're able to retain them from a technology standpoint. Making sure it's a smooth experience from start to finish is critical - and so often overlooked. As a subscription company, your minimum guarantee is saying: I'm gonna get you this thing that we promised to get you, every month. So if you don't do that, you've just failed to uphold the entire agreement, and your customers won’t be happy.So hyper focus on being able to get these things done. Make sure your payments don't fail, make sure there's no shipping delays.
Last question from us: What advice would you have for a new founder?
Not to sound cliché, but you just gotta stay curious and ask a million questions or you'll never get any answers, especially right now. I think we're at a really interesting turning point in paid marketing, where everybody's kind of scrambling to figure out what's next in affordable acquisition. If you’re not staying on top of the trends, and you’re trying to build a business with insights dating from 2020 - you’re screwed. So stay curious and keep asking questions.
Thanks Stefan! Such a pleasure to speak with you. Thanks for being a great customer, we’ll be cheering you on!