Have you ever wanted to get insights on how entrepreneurs took an idea and turned it into a successful business while utilizing ShipStation? 2x-a-quarter event series, Ship and Sip allows you to do just that.
Hi! My name is Erin and in addition to being the Manager of the ShipStation Community, I also have the honor of hosting Ship & Sip. Just recently we had our very first Ship and Sip of 2022 and I’m here to break down all the great insights from the Founder of Fitppl, Patrick Schecht.
The origins of Fitppl: better for people better for the planet
Back in 2012, while future Fitppl founder Patrick Schecht was working at a startup he was dismayed by the lack of healthy snack options provided by this then-company. He asked the office manager if they could bring in some protein powder for a healthier option, but was surprised by the generic unapproachable protein powder that was provided. He knew there was a need to help busy people still focus on their health.
So when Patrick launched Fitppl in 2015, he made sure that his brand prioritized authentic sustainability. In addition to using sustainable and minimal packaging, Patrick makes sure Fitppl is a waste-neutral company. Fitppl not only pledges to do better for the environment but challenges its customers to participate in clean-up events and pledges like the One Piece a Day initiative.
A different approach to inventory management
Starting as a one-man operation, Patrick had a lot to keep up with and found that manually processing orders was not efficient or sustainable for him.
“I was actually loading packages up on my scooter and going across the Congress bridge and dropping them off at the post office and manually inputting them in the UPS website.”
By the time his product was launched in multiple Central Market locations, a local upscale grocery chain in Texas, he found that the work was too much just for one person. He also knew that fulfillment and shipping logistics were not his area of expertise.
He ended up working with a local dropshipper to help with fulfillment. This dropshipper introduced Fitppl to SkuVault which allowed the company to automate and keep track of its inventory. In addition to those solutions, ShipStation helps Fitppl automate the post-sale process by funneling orders into one place and transmitting that information directly to their dropshippers.
With SkuVault monitoring inventory levels, ShipStation streamlining the post-sales process, and a reliable dropshipper handling order fulfillment, Patrick successfully expanded and scaled his business.
How Erin sees it: pearls of wisdom from the chat
No one business is ever 100% successful in any growth stage
In my talk with Patrick, you can hear him say a few times that there are certain areas where he has not had previous experience and where he does not feel as strong. After talking to many businesses of varying sizes this is something that I hear often. It’s okay not to have everything 100% perfect or automated because that’s not realistic.
You will always have areas that you can improve on as a business and sometimes you might experience failure, but perseverance is often the key difference between successful and unsuccessful businesses. Take each loss or failure as an opportunity to learn, grow, and do better next time.
You don’t have to be a subject matter expert on every aspect of the business to have a successful business
In addition to being able to take failure in stride and acknowledging areas of improvement, it is also important to know what is realistic and achievable internally and when to seek out external solutions.
Don’t let the lack of knowledge about every aspect of the business stop you from going after something you are passionate about. We live in a day and age where subject matter experts are everywhere and help is more accessible than ever. Knowing when to dig in and learn and knowing when to ask for help is an important skill of successful business owners. Be active in seeking out help and solutions to keep your mind focused on your mission.
Outsourcing and delegating can help small businesses make a bigger impact
Outsourcing can be such a polarizing concept to many but especially with small teams sometimes it is necessary to outsource in earlier stages to help guarantee scalability. As you hear in the video recap, Patrick hit his turning point when he was starting to ship to many different retail locations and was struggling to do this manually. Seeking out help early allowed him not only to sustain his growth, create efficient workflows, but also focus on his brand’s mission.
It is important to note that in addition to not being afraid to outsource, a key to FitPpls successful outsourcing was that he did his research. Take the time to network with peers and get recommendations, scour reviews from multiple sources, ask for tours, ask for references or anything that makes you feel confident in your business decisions.
At the end of the day, only you will know what is best for your business so follow your instincts always.
Create an authentic brand and practice what you preach
From the founder to the partners they work with, Fitppl preaches authenticity, and they back that up with action. From using fallen palm leaves to make scoops and using pouches over plastic tubs, all the way to hosting clean-ups to offset the waste created by their company, it is clear that every business decision is made with their mission in mind.
Thank you again to Patrick Schecht for sharing his story and to SkuVault for sponsoring this event. If you liked the video recap and what you read here, we would love to have you join us live for our next Ship & Sip event on April 14th.