Why The Elephant Pants returned to Shopify Plus to achieve its business and charitable goals
In 2014 Nathan Coleman co-founded The Elephant Pants, which sells glorious comfort in the form of harem pants and donates a portion of the profit to save elephants around the world. Born on Shopify, The Elephant Pants left for Symphony Commerce but quickly returned after a disastrous experience that jeopardized the company and its mission.
Since replatforming with Plus, The Elephant Pants has accomplished the following:
- More than $145,000 donated to save elephants
- Multimillion dollar company selling more than 500,000 pairs of pants
- Expanding their product line, moving into international markets, and selling wholesale
Nathan ColemanCo-founder, The Elephant Pants
“People want to do good things with their disposable income. We help people feel better about spending their money because they become a part of something bigger when they purchase elephant pants.”
Having achieved commercial success with its apparel, The Elephant Pants had also hit a nerve in the way it positioned its brand as an advocate for elephants- innocent creatures that can’t speak for themselves and deserve better than to be hunted and killed for their ivory tusks. With a desire to scale faster, Coleman and his team left Shopify in 2015 for Symphony Commerce before quickly realizing the move was a major mistake.
“They told a great story, promised us the world, and delivered a bag of shit,” Coleman says. “Even during the initial integration the relationship wasn’t good, but we kept telling ourselves it would get better.”
With the monthly fee, down time, and a crucial back-end tool broken, Coleman says it cost his company an unexpected six-figures in additional costs during the all-important holiday season. The Elephant Pants estimates that remaining on Symphony would have cost approximately $300,000 for the year. The mistakes and mounting costs meant the company was not turning a profit and struggled to fulfill its mission of donating ten percent of profits to save elephants.
“We were already in such a hole,” Coleman says of the company’s financial situation. “Struggling to fulfill our mission of saving the elephants was devastating.”
Less than a year after leaving Shopify for Symphony, The Elephant Pants returned home and replatformed with Shopify Plus to achieve both its business and charitable objectives. Besides Plus being an easy-to-use out-of-the-box solution, Coleman credits the quick transition back with saving The Elephant Pants hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“Shopify Plus alleviates all the time we used to waste on development,” Coleman says. “For example, Shopify has allowed us to focus on reducing shopping cart abandonment which is improving our top line.”
The Elephant Pants’ switch to Plus meant it would no longer be spending its time fixing a broken platform which prevented it from marketing and creating a better user experience. Even more important, migrating to Plus also positioned The Elephant Pants to more quickly earn a profit and begin making donations in accordance with its mission.
“We accomplished more on Shopify Plus in two weeks than we did in six months with our old platform,” Coleman says.
The migration to Shopify Plus has been a key factor in helping The Elephant Pants achieve both its business and charitable objectives. In fact, since moving to Plus the company has earned an appearance on Shark Tank that resulted in a $500,000 investment.
The Elephant Pants has also donated more than $135,000 to save elephants, expanded its product line, opened a wholesale channel for retail partners, and become a multimillion dollar company selling more than 400,000 pairs of pants.
“The grass isn’t always greener,” Coleman says in regard to the allure of competing commerce platforms. “Don’t just listen to the sales pitches. Check out the reviews and case studies with actual customers like me. And be sure to pay attention to what you are signing and what happens when everything isn’t blue sky.”