Get #motivated with these three inspiring eCommerce stories.
Here at CreativeMinds, we know that launching (and running) a business is no easy task.
Some days are tough, and on those days you might need a pick-me-up. Someone to remind you that your dreams are achievable, and that your hard work isn’t in vein.
That’s why today, we’re bringing you tales of inspiring eCommerce stories. We hope these will help motivate you and keep you working towards your goals.
3 Inspiring eCommerce Stories
A good eCommerce success story not only provides a motivational boost, but also with lessons to learn from. There’s so much to learn from those who have walked the walk. So read on for 3 inspiring eCommerce stories.
The Beardbrand story starts in 2012. Founder Eric Bandholz traveled to Portland, Oregon to compete in a beard and mustache competition (yes, that’s a thing!).
While there he fell in love with the ‘bearded lifestyle.’ Feeling inspired, he started a blog and YouTube channel to build a community of fellow beard lovers. He shared his tips on how to cultivate the best beard as well as style advice.
By the end of 2012, Beardbrand got its break when it was featured in a New York Times article. This served as the catalyst for transforming Beardbrand from an online blog to a fully fledged business.
Working in a small team with just $30 and a “promise from a vendor,” Bandholz was able to open a store the day before the NYT article went live.
Beardbrand was launched because Bandholz felt beard grooming products were kitschy and cheap.
They started off by testing the market with other brand’s products. If they proved popular with their customers, a Beardbrand version would be developed and the other brands would be phased out of their store.
This is what Bandholz had to say about their first product:
“Our initial product was beard oil and I found a lot of the products on the market were a little heavy, shiny, and too fragrant. Since the product goes right under your nose, we wanted the fragrance to be subtler and from a performance standpoint it needed to be lightweight and absorb quickly into the beard. A healthy satin shine is the finish that we desired.”
The goal of the company was to provide beardsmen with high quality products to be proud of. And it worked.
Over the last 8 years, Beardbrand has kept on growing, proving that beards are no passing fad.
Beardbrand’s continued success can be attributed to its faithfulness to its origins. Bandholz still nurtures the community aspect of his brand, with a well-maintained blog offering style tips and grooming expertise for the discerning beardsman.
Beardbrand positioned itself as a “lifestyle brand” from the off, and has remained truthful to this ethos through its growth.
With a laser focus on their brand mission, Beardbrand is now a 7 figure business – grossing around $100k per month. There’s a lot to be learned from their approach to business.
You can find out more about Beardbrand’s incredible journey on their website.
If you know anything at all about women’s fashion, you’ve probably heard of Spanx.
But did you know that it was started by a lady with no background in business or fashion and just $5000 to her name?
Spanx founder Sara Blakely was selling fax machines door to door when the idea for Spanx came to her in 1998.
While getting ready for a party, Blakely realized she had nothing to wear under her white pants that would keep her looking “smooth.”
She initially cut the feet out of control pantyhose. While better than anything else she’d tried, they kept rolling up under her pants. She resolved to find a way to keep them down and, in that moment, Spanx was born.
Blakely took the plunge to leave her job and put her life savings, the whole $5000, into her new venture. She launched the business from her apartment in 2000.
Her gamble paid off though, with her first major order within the first few months of the launch. In the same year, Spanx was featured in Oprah Winfrey’s list of “Oprah’s Favorite Things.” From there, things kept growing.
Over the last 20 years, Blakely has continued to build upon the Spanx brand with more innovative products – from control fishnets that ban the “butt grid” to a line of Spanx bras.
In 2012, Blakely was crowned the youngest self-made billionaire in the world by Forbes.
Today, Spanx makes around $400 million in yearly revenue.
Although the Coronavirus pandemic hit the business (no parties = no need for shapewear) Blakely is positive they will be able to bounce back.
The brand has positioned Sara Blakely as one of the world’s top entrepreneurs and inventors. According to Forbes, as of 2020, she’s worth $610 million and sits at #32 on their list of self-made women.
In the past, she’s done TV work with Virgin founder Richard Branson and is a guest judge on the popular American TV show Shark Tank.
So what can we learn from Sara?
Her stratospheric success with Spanx shows that you don’t necessarily need to be an expert in the field to make things work. She says of her success: “I did not have the most experience in the industry or the most money, but I cared the most.”
3. Traveller Collective
The Traveller Collective was started by enterprising Darryl McIvor in 2015.
An avid traveller, McIvor wanted to create something for people who share his passion. He started making the signature rings and clips in his apartment.
The keepsakes commemorate travels around the world, and travellers can collect a ring or clip for every trip they take.
However, the collective also has altruistic goals that have helped propel it forward. The team states:
“Since day one, we’ve donated 20% of profits to charitable initiatives. When we started in 2015 we worked with well-recognized organizations like charity: water and imagine1day to complete water and education projects in Ethiopia. We even had the privilege of visiting Ethiopia and taking some members of our community with us to see the difference their Clip purchases had made to people across the globe.”
Since its creation in 2015, the Traveller Collective (TC) has grown to include 130k members in 120 different countries. They’ve sold products to more than 10,000 travel lovers from around the world.
It’s been so popular that McIvor and his team regularly have to ward off copy-cat creators. The TC is known as the “Original Travel Ring Creators” and has moved from McIvor’s apartment into a dedicated office space in Vancouver, Canada.
The brand continues to grow in popularity, with a dedicated hashtag on Instagram that helps members connect with one another and share stunning images from their travels.
The takeaway from TC’s success is that by creating a unique experience around your products, you can help your brand to grow to new heights.
You don’t need a million dollar marketing budget to create something spectacular. You just need a way to get people talking.
The TC proves that following in the footsteps of charitable brands, like Toms, can also help to improve your sales and grow your brand.
As the conscious shopping trend continues to grow, it’s worth keeping this in mind as you embark on your entrepreneurial journey.
We hope that these inspiring eCommerce stories have given you that extra motivation to keep on keeping on.
From unexpected billionaire inventors to a unique collective of like minded people, there are millions of success stories out there that you can learn from.
Even when times are tough, there are positive stories to be heard. Being an entrepreneur isn’t always easy – but there are some big rewards to be had!