Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
We had an idea for the type of guitar gear bag that we wanted to use to carry our pedals and cables around with. It didn't exist at the time so we decided to make it. First we started working with manufacturers, but that didn't work out. We could never get the level of control over the process so we moved everything back to the US. Now we make everything in Nashville. We also work with fair-trade artisan textile makers from Peru and India to import fabrics.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
We did things that didn't scale, such as contacting a lot of people directly via email and social media. We eventually started to work with influencers on social media and in the media to get reviews of our products out there. We've given away a lot of product to artists that we like and bloggers that we follow. Our two main channels are wholesale to independent guitar stores around the world, and our through our website, which is powered by Shopify.
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! We also like TradeGecko for tracking inventory and managing our wholesale sales. We use ShipStation for creating shipping labels, we use Wave for accounting, and Dropbox as an internal server. We're also big on Trello for managing projects. We try to keep everything in the cloud so that anyone in our company can access everything no matter where they are. We manage fulfillment ourselves right now using ShipStation and TradeGecko.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
Do as much as you can to validate that there is a market for your product before investing too much in it. Try to run as lean as possible and carry as little inventory as possible.