As fans of Michigan State University, we were looking to celebrate our school's 2009 victory over rival Michigan, one in which the winning football team takes home a large Paul Bunyan Trophy. So we wanted to buy our own. One problem: there weren't any for purchase. So we decided to produce and sell our own.

After humble beginnings we are now licensed by the Big Ten Conference to produce 8 rivalry trophies, many of them the most well-known in college football.

How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?

Our first sales were earned through message board traffic. We went on to a Michigan State message board and described our product, providing a link to our Shopify store. Fans loved them, and through the sharing of links and word-of-mouth advertising we began to quickly grow.

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've experimented with a few shipping apps, but we've recently found Shippo to be the most convenient, efficient and cost-effective means of managing fulfillment. And the shipping that used to be done out of two basements will soon be done out of a local warehouse owned by Rivalry Trophy.

What are your top recommendations for new ecommerce entrepreneurs?

Experiment with the apps available. Try them out until you find one that fits your needs us, there's one.

And most importantly, take advantage of the Shopify services. The development of a retailer and customer-friendly site is hard work, and Shopify eliminates much of that stress, allowing you the ability to focus on what matters most: quality products and top-flight customer service.

Be the next Shopify success story