Sramana: How have you expanded your team from 2010 onward? What has your recruitment philosophy been? What positions have you hired for and how have those people helped you scale the business?
Amber Schaub: Throughout the process, we have hired on a need basis. We are a family business and we did as much as we could before we hired anyone else. We would almost be bursting at the seams before we brought on another team member. I suppose that is an entrepreneurial manner of working because the budgets in a bootstrapped startup impose that reality. Today we have 18 employees, including Mark and I.
Sramana: How are the roles of your 18 team members divided?
Amber Schaub: Mark runs the operations and financial side of the business. I run the big picture, design, marketing, PR, and sales side of the business. Operations take up 60% of the employee base. We have people who pack and warehouse. They manage fulfillment. The other half of our team is sales, marketing, production, and customer service.
Sramana: I understand the pick, pack, and ship side of your business, that clearly makes sense. What is the sales angle for your team members? Are they focusing on wholesale deals with stores?
Amber Schaub: Yes. Our sales team has grown over the years. In the beginning, most of the stores came to us. Stores filled out applications and I would then sign the stores up online. We are a lot different than other companies in that we are eCommerce driven. Traditional wholesale apparel companies are used to trade shows and faxed orders. We had our customers placing orders on our website from day one.
Our sales team is responsible for approving any applications from customers that may come in. They introduce our line to other stores where we may be a good fit. I would estimate that 80% of their time is spent helping existing customers and 20% of their time is spent attracting new stores.
Sramana: How many of these sales people do you have?
Amber Schaub: Three.
Sramana: What percentage of your business is wholesale?
Mark Schaub: We are about 60% wholesale.
Sramana: What do you do in marketing?
Amber Schaub: We do Google AdWords. We do some print marketing. Our marketing is somewhat traditional eCommerce marketing. We have a Facebook page and manager our own social media.
I handle the majority of our marketing, print and social medial. We have another person who manages the AdWords and online advertising. Mark manages that side of the house as well.
Sramana: Do you still do all of the design work yourself?
Amber Schaub: Yes. Hopefully not for too much longer! That is the driving force of our business, so I have maintained control over that aspect.