MudGear is "outdoor performance gear for warriors". Our business actually started as some crazy guys making team shirts for ourselves to wear in mud runs. We collected money from the guys we worked out with and handed the shirts out from the back of our trunk at workouts.

There was one shirt we really loved that was made by one of the big sporting goods brands. It was fitted, wicking, comfortable, and perfect for obstacle racing, but in 2012 they switched to a cheaper fabric and we hated it. Nobody was making gear just for obstacle racing, so we decided to make our own.

I think we now have the world's best apparel and gear for the growing sport of OCR. We make our own shirts, trail socks, and compression mud run sleeves with unique features for the course.

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

Our first 12 months of sales were totally driven by customizing our gear for partner groups. We set up a separate fully hosted Shopify store for our partner F3 Nation at where F3 groups can get their logos printed on our gear and other products.

Today, we drive traffic and awareness of MudGear using SEO/SEM, PPC, Facebook, Twitter, and blogger outreach. We ship all over the US and had our first international sales this year.

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?

Our goal has always been to automate the crap out of our back-end systems. It's the only way we can keep up and stay focused on growth. We use Shopify because it's the best looking platform visually, we have no software to maintain, and the reliability has been outstanding.

The apps we use most are Product Reviews, Chimpified, and Back in Stock. We rely heavily on StitchLabs to automate our inventory functions and keep stock levels synced between stores. Orders flow from Shopify to Stitch to Xero accounting without intervention, and with no half-baked desktop order import tools.

What are your top recommendations for new ecommerce entrepreneurs?

Setting up a new business is intense, and you have many choices to make that will greatly impact how you spend your time. Understand where you add the most value and find ways to automate or outsource the functions that draw you away.

Plan to hustle. Plan to alter course as you get smarter. Pay attention to data and details, but first and foremost know your customers and create what they want.

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