With their “zero drag powder baskets,” solid, light-weight, REAL bamboo poles, 100% recycled hemp webbing, and super sticky grips, Panda Poles are truly great ski poles. But more than that — Panda Poles is doing their part to be stewards of sustainability by getting us to question the conventional mindset that man-made synthetics are always better. Read on to learn more about how Panda Chief TanSnowman built his international brand on Shopify.
Please tell us a bit about yourself and what you sell at Panda Poles.
We are Panda Poles — manufacturers of the most durable intergalactic ski poles in the universe! In other words, we handcraft bamboo ski poles in Southeast Idaho, and sell online in 25 countries worldwide.
When did you get started selling online? Why?
We launched PandaPoles.com on January 18, 2011. We started selling online because our resources were limited to get into the retail market via trade shows, etc. Online marketing via social media and video is our strong suit, and lends itself directly to building a strong ecommerce brand.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in building and running Panda Poles?
Some of the biggest challenges with our shop have been making website updates quickly and easily. It seems like web changes usually take three times as long as I plan for them to take. To overcome some of these challenges, I have learned to plan well ahead for any changes. We are still constantly learning more effective ways of communicating with customers to resolve issues without as much effort on our part. Finding new apps for our Shopify store is a constant experiment.
How do you attract new customers?
We attract new customers through our Athlete/Ambassador program, Pro Purchase Program, online advertising (via video and social media), and promoting ski industry events with product giveaways. Here’s one of our favorite video spots: Samurai Training.
Can you share a tip or something interesting you learned in the process of building and running Panda Poles?
One of the most interesting aspects of running our online shop is discovering all the new apps and programs that help streamline every facet of the business. All business, sales, promotions, etc. are handled by one guy (me) at Panda Poles, so figuring out ways to reduce my load is always at the forefront of my weekly research. Bizzy has been one of those apps that has taken a load off of my shoulders in recent months.
If you’re a ski fan (or know one!), and want to leave what’s been given to us on this Earth better than how you found it, check out Panda Poles today!