We have amazing users who sell great products, and we love to tell the stories about their business and how they use ShipStation. Today’s user success story comes from Spurcycle.
Nicholaus Slone, Co-founder with brother Clint Slone
To say Spurcycle exceeded your Kickstarter campaign would be something of an understatement—you set out to raise $20,000 and brought in over $330,000. What would you say was the biggest factor in getting attention?
Hard work thru every detail. We worked hard for over a year on the design before even considering Kickstarter. The design is great. Then we worked hard to build the project, pushing the quality of communication in our video and copy. Finally we worked hard to raise awareness on the project and win attention within the first 48 hours of launch—such that the project quickly built upon itself. Kickstarter featured us in their popular category, as staff pick, etc.
Have you faced any difficulty keeping production in the United States?
Contract manufacturing in Asia is alluring. Production hubs enable one stop shopping for a brand looking to make new product. We are unique in that we have decided to contract manufacture our bell in the United States. In addition to the extra cost this imposes, it means that we are responsible for coordinating with lots of partners. Most of the cycling product made in the USA is different from ours. Some fundamentals make typical US-Made bike products feasible.
In the case of product which is handled by a contract manufacturer, the product is usually simple, like single-part molded plastic/rubber.
Major brands like Chris King, Paul Components, and White Industries make beautiful and complex product by handling most manufacturing in-house.
Often items made in the USA are in a category of product well above the $100 price point.
Aside from the tremendous capital required to setup in-house manufacturing, it can be limiting. We could not have Kickstarted our bell without manufacturing help. We even work with manufacturers in other industries, medical device and aerospace. Some are machine shop specialists. Others do stamping or deep draw. Of course, some specialize in metal finishing. We get to leverage expertise in each field while maintaining a production intimacy that is more difficult across global distance. In this way we achieve a very capable toolbox with which to work. We bring parts from all these vendors into our shop to assemble and complete the bell building process. We are our own contract manufacturer—dependent on strong relations with sub-vendors, process control, and coordination across of network of partners. Our challenge is managing this very capable network through every step of production to get bells to come seamlessly together through the final stages of our own shop assembly.
What advice do you have for fellow businesses on handling a sales surge?
Get comfortable saying no. Strong demand is great because it allows you to be strategic with your growth and position the brand on your own terms.
How has ShipStation helped you with your business?
It gives me a view of our order queue that is easier to understand than reports in some of our other software. I can quickly see how many orders are outstanding, totals units, dollars, etc. I can filter and focus on a particular product or order size, region, etc.
What’s your favorite ShipStation feature?
I spend most of my time on the Orders tab. There are many features I depend on but a favorite might be the sidebar. It’s an easy place from which to summarize and act upon orders. Sort, select, summarize, apply preset and ship. We handle a lot of orders that way (for such a small operation).
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