Sapling was born from an idea and a might as well try and see if it works mentality. Originally, I had an idea to create an aluminum wallet but I didn't have the resources in order to prototype with this material. One day, when I was at my dads shop, I thought to myself, "What if I made a wallet out of wood and try selling that first?"
I ordered $30 worth of wood sheets to test and prototype with. Once I was happy with the outcome of my product, I decided to launch a kickstarter project as a means to see if I could get anyone to preorder what I had made. It was a good way for me to test the market without actually having to produce large amounts of something first. I managed to raise $3,209 in 40 days which was over double the amount I had seeked out to raise. My intentions were to produce the kickstarter wallets and move on to other things, but little did I know that there would continue to be such demand for my product after the initial funding period.
Email after email rolled in asking, "Where can I get one of your wallets? Do you have a website?" I started my website through shopify and couldn't be happier. The amount of tools that I'm able to implement into the whole process through shopify allows me to focus on the things I really need to get done which is wonderful. I'm currently running another kickstarter to create that aluminum wallet I set out to create and have raised over 8k in 30 days. I look forward to continued sales and growth while utilizing shopify and all the great tools it has to offer.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
I earned my first sales through a site called kickstarter where you are essentially taking money for preorders towards your product you want to produce. Once the kickstarter is over however, it's done. There are no more sales that come from that outlet, which is why I turned to shopify once my project was complete.
I'm able to continue with sales and work on the other demanding labors of starting a business due to the simplicity of 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?
The back-end of shopify is why I'm able to grow a business out of doing something that I enjoy. I use the facebook store app which turns your facebook page into another selling avenue. I've integrated the chimpify app to keep better track of my mailing lists.
The build a business app is awesome because it opens doors to so many tools that help you learn everything you need to know about starting and growing your own business. The community built around that app is great as well. It's an easy way to reach out for feedback from people with the same interests as you.
For shipping, I've just recently added an app called Shippo. Shippo allows you to buy and print your labels in one easy step.You're also able to print packing slips with ease. Shipping for me was quite a time consumer before I was able to streamline the process through Shippo.
What are your top recommendations for new ecommerce entrepreneurs?
I recommend becoming part of the build a business program. It's one of the best learning tools available when it comes to starting a business.
I also highly recommend the Shippo app for streamlining your shipping process. I encourage those starting out to look through all the apps and find ways in which they can utilize them to make running their business even easier.