This weeks spotlight is on a company who'd prefer you shine some lasers their way instead.
RaveNectar is a creator and distributor of EDM-oriented, mind-numbingly complex clothing that fuses vibrant artwork with intense comfort.
Jordan Lejuwaan, who co-owns RaveNectar with his girlfriend Sandra Lam, built the company from home-made clothing, to a Kickstarter campaign, to a profitable business in the course of 8 months. Read on to learn more about Jordan's story and how he runs his business.
What did you do before RaveNectar?
When I was at college and in the process of dropping out, I created a successful blog/community site called HighExistence.com. It currently has 60-70 thousand members. I’ve also been a part of starting a sustainable community outside of Montreal. The goal was to create a community that is conducive to public well-being and that thrives on lending, borrowing, and overall selfless participation in things for the welfare and survival of the neighborhood. They currently inhabit 60+ acres and are thriving and expanding.
What is RaveNectar?
RaveNectar is a crazy clothing company that prints the dazzling work of independent artists ALL OVER clothing using sublimation printing. Sublimation is the process of transposing designs from paper to clothing by turning the ink into a gas using incredibly high heat. This allows for the insanely vibrant colors that our clients are looking for.
What’s the pain point that you address?
RaveNectar came to me a few years ago when looking for some crazy clothing to wear to a music festival. I couldn’t find anything that was really far enough “out there” that wasn’t super tacky and I have known others who had this same problem. There just wasn’t a viable outlet. I wanted to bring crazy, yet beautiful clothing to people like me.
How is selling to this audience unique?
I think this is a common issue for online retail especially in the clothing space: it lacks the physical aspect of traditional clothing shopping.
It’s easy for someone to see electronics and have an understanding of what they are getting. Or with physical clothes shopping, for them to say, “yes that design works for me,” or, “no, this doesn’t fit right.” Clothes have to look good and fit. When shopping for apparel online, there’s always that uncertainty.
What software / tools do you use?
Our store is built on Shopify and our blog is hosted on Wordpress. We’ve found that, when it comes to sheer ease-of-use, Shopify was an easy choice. There are other solutions out there that are more flexible, but their templates and themes are awesome.
We’ve been experimenting with Adroll for retargeting lately but advertising has not been nearly as effective for us as word of mouth and social networking. Our networked users provide more engaging leads than any advertising dollar has been able to give us yet. Our niche is one of intense communal pride and association, so referrals are by far our best marketing technique.
On-site we use Justuno to provide discount popups to users. They allow for time-sensitive popups, which we use to promote deals and products. I’ve found that if someone has a coupon code they are 1,000 times (exaggeration) more likely to proceed to your check out.
Now, do they convert? The shopping cart is an area we were seeing the highest number of exits and abandonment. As a business owner it was incredibly frustrating to see, so we are now using exit-intent targeting through Justuno to offer a discount as well during checkout, just to nudge those people along.
When we offer the discount code, we use it as an opportunity to collect emails to build our list. The popup is still Justuno, but for the lists we use MailChimp.
Currently Sandra handle's all of the customer support, which is made possible by using GrooveHQ, since you can aggregate all of your emails, tweets, and Facebook posts into one portal. Definitely has the best UI out of all the support apps (including Zendesk).
Product reviews are essential to our referral-driven traffic. We use Yotpo for comment generation and moderation. One of the best things about it is sending an email to your customer any number of days after purchase and allowing them to review your product directly from the email.
It’s a simple, one-step solution that generates hundreds of reviews for us (most of them 5-stars). Yotpo reviews go straight to the product. It’s an incredibly low-touch solution that works like a charm for us.
How does a day of work at RaveNectar go?
We use a family-owned print shop in Boston that does printing and fulfillment for us so I don’t have to do any of the heavy lifting.
My days, of late, have consisted of signing up for and testing different analytics platforms to try them all out before deciding on one. It’s nice because Shopify has direct and easy integration with all of them, so I don’t have to do much work getting them set up.
Most of my time is dedicated to research and finding new solutions to improve the business and sending out newsletters. When we release new products, my tasks are to take and edit product photos, upload them to the site and design the look of the new homepage.
Sandra handles communication with our artists, customer support and the finances. She's an amazing business partner. They say don't go into business with your significant other, but I wouldn't run RaveNectar with anyone else.
How do you stay organized?
We use Slack to communicate and ToDoist to create and share tasks. We have a meeting every Monday to examine the results of the previous week and to set the tasks for the coming week. Other than that, like I said, it’s pretty hands off.
Having ____ would make running your business easier?
I would love a service that would connect us Anglophone retailers with manufacturers and materials in foreign countries. If there’s a sustainable, trustworthy service where textile distributors would negotiate with an entity that handles translations and negotiations on your behalf, I haven’t found it yet.
So much is lost in translation and you get ripped off when wholesale materials distributors know you are from the US. A middleman who smoothes that relationship would help us a ton.
Do you have any quirks that make you perfect for this type of business?
In terms of ecommerce, I would say that my work ethic is key to my success. I’m dedicated as anything to my business’ success and will put in any amount of time to ensure it.
RaveNectar itself needs someone with an eye for design and an understanding of the culture, both of which I have. Our clientele is community-based and cohesive in their desire to share an experience, yet everyone is so unique in their background and personalities. I have a predisposition towards communal bonding and living for experiences.
(Not me in the image, but that's one of our shirts!)
I don’t succeed because I’m quirky, more because I understand and associate with my audience. But really, everyone is compatible with this crowd; they are such a fun-loving and receptive bunch.
If you could go back in time to before RaveNectar, what advice would you give yourself?
Spend the extra time to find the absolute lowest price for your products and materials. It’s so much easier to run huge sales and give discounts when you have more profit margins to work with.
What 3 pieces of advice do you have for ecommerce entrepreneurs?
Test demand for product
Before your create anything, you need to test demand. Give yourself a landing page, capture interest, and build a mailing list. Run FB and other ads to the landing page as if people can buy, and see if the click on a "Buy it Now" button to see if you're onto something.
Crowdfund if possible
You may not think you need Kickstarter or crowdfunding, and you may well not. But, if there’s a chance it’s remotely applicable to your business, do it no matter what. For starters, it’s great exposure, gives you pre-release demand, and gives you a solid lump of capital to work with without offering any equity.
Don’t worry that you don’t know something, you don’t need to know everything and you will learn as you go. I certainly didn’t when I began and I’m still learning every day. You can be successful without having your head fully wrapped around something.
Check out their Kickstarter Promo Video!
Find more RaveNectar
RaveNectar software recap
|Shopify||Ecommerce store builder and platform|
|Yotpo||Product review generator and platform|
|JustUno||Social commerce / sales / conversion tool|
|MailChimp||Email marketing and list building solution|
|Slack||Team chat / communications tool|
|ToDoist||Task management and organization|
|GrooveHQ||Customer support platform|
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