In this week’s Shop Spotlight, we asked Jack Hyman from Requip’d to share his Shopify experience and best tips for selling online. Keep reading for some great insights about his path — including how to iterate on a product until you find the right fit and even a name change. Hockey fans: Requip’d sells some awesome gadgets — be sure to check out their awesome shop here!
Please tell us a bit about yourself and what you sell at Requip’d.
We are Requip’d and we take broken hockey sticks and turn them into BBQ tools, bottle openers, ice scrapers, plungers, putters, golf brushes, ice cream scoops, beer tap handles, frames and more! To date we have repurposed over 30,000 sticks that would otherwise have gone into landfills all around the world. We work with over 80 hockey clubs at the NHL, AHL, NCAA and junior levels. Our goal is to eventually expand into other sports and recycle all different types of equipment into unique and amazing products.
When did you get started selling online? Why?
We started selling online in April 2014. We felt we had a product that a lot of people were interested in and we wanted to share our product and our story with as many people as possible.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in building and running Requip’d?
There are so many challenges when building your shop. You don’t realize how much goes into starting a company until you actually try. Every day brings an obstacle and a new lesson learned. Some of the biggest challenges we face are keeping track of inventory, cutting costs, and finding products that people will be interested in.
Inventory Management Tips
Keeping track of your inventory is a huge pain, but very important so you know what orders you can and can’t fulfill. If you can’t fulfill them find out why and make sure you get what you need. The best way to do this is to make a spread sheet of all the supplies you need for every product you make. It’ll be long. Trust me. Then, find out how much of each you have on hand. Subtract pending orders that will deduct these supply totals, and then you have your inventory. I recommend doing this once a week (two weeks at most), so if a large order comes in you can be ready to fulfill it.
The first thing you have to do when cutting cost is find out how much each of your products cost you to make. Make a spreadsheet for each product and find out what goes into that each product from beginning of production to when it goes out the door (don’t forget the box, tape and any packing paper). It all adds up. Once you find the total cost of the product you can look and see where you can make changes. Then, start looking for suppliers that can help you beat the cost you currently have. The lower your item costs you, the more reasonable you can price it to customers.
Expanding Your Product Line
Lastly, is expanding the product line. The more products you have, the better, so you can offer your customers more. Make a sample/prototype of a new product and post it on social media to get some feedback. Send it to some of your larger customers and get their thoughts. If it’s a hit, start figuring out how many you need to buy and make it at the lowest cost possible. If it’s not a hit, scratch it and try something new.
We still face all of these challenges today, we are just better prepared. The biggest challenge still for us (and for all companies) is attracting more customers. There are always people out there who haven’t seen your product, but would love to get their hands on it. It’s just a matter of finding them.
How do you attract new customers?
We attract new customers through social media, word of mouth and email marketing. We have all the social media accounts up and firing every day.
We also donate a lot of items to events for auction items. Make sure the event is relative to your product. This gets your product in front of a lot of people who could become potential customers. You don’t make money off this right off the bat, but it does come back to you.
We sell our product to a lot of online and retail stores. This helps get our name out there in actual stores for customers to see our name. Make sure you have your company info on the label so the customer can find you later.
Lastly, we use Bizzy to reach out to customers that signed up for our newsletter, but have not yet bought from us. Here we are able to remind them about us, offer special promotions and promote new products.
Can you share a tip or something interesting you learned in the process of building and running Requip’d?
The best tip we can offer is to search for help when you need it and be sponge when getting information. As we said earlier, there is so much that goes into building a shop and there is no way you have the answer to all the questions you are facing or will face.
So, learn from those that have been there before you. Find companies that you like or that have a product similar to yours and see what they do that seems to be working.
Lastly, if you have a product that you believe in, don’t give up on it. Keep making adjustments every day to make it better. If you care enough about the product, you will find a way to make it work.
Have a hockey fan in your life? Treat them to a gift from Requip’d today!