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How An Entrepreneur Couple Bootstrapped to $5M: RuffleButts CEO Amber Schaub and COO Mark Schaub (Part 5)

Posted on Friday, Jan 24th 2014

Sramana: Did you gain traction with the brick and mortar retail stores?

Amber Schaub: We did get some good success early on. Nordstrom contacted us in late 2008.

Sramana: How big was your first Nordstrom order?

Amber Schaub: They did a 5 store trial order, which at the time, seemed huge to us since no stores had put us in. They ended up putting us in 50 stores and I thought that order was just incredible. Today that is pretty standard.

Sramana: You said you put in $40,000. How long did it take you to break even?

Mark Schaub: We operated in the red for about half of the year.

Sramana: What was your revenue number in 2009? How did the business ramp.

Mark Schaub: In 2009, we did $375,000 gross. In 2010, we did $1.1 million gross. In 2011, we did $2.5 million gross and in 2012, we did $3.7 million. We finished just under $5 million gross last year.

Sramana: What were the key milestones in 2009 and 2010?

Amber Schaub: On a personal level, we had our first child at the end of 2008. I had a big learning experience in 2009 where I had to learn how to be fully devoted to the company as well as my child.

In 2010, we hit the point where we needed help. Mark sacrificed his career to join RuffleButts to maximize the opportunity we had in front of us. By that point, I had a customer service representative and I had also hired an assistant. When Mark came on board, we did a big website upgrade and we moved into the wholesale arena.

Sramana: How did you manage a full year with a newborn while operating the company before hiring that help?

Amber Schaub: I hired a part-time assistant who worked half-time during the week. Looking back, I have no idea how I did it. You face what you have to face and you do it. Looking back, I have no idea how I handled it. After 5 months, I put her in daycare. My mother lived in a different state.

Sramana: What was your team growth like?

Amber Schaub: Our team grew quickly. In 2010, we hired someone to pass the orders and pull the orders. We hired someone to cover customers service.

Sramana: Were you still operating out of your home?

Amber Schaub: We were. We had converted our basement into a RuffleButts headquarters and we had fantastic team members who were willing to come to our home to work on a daily basis. My son was born in April of 2011. In May of 2011, we moved into our first office warehouse.

This segment is part 5 in the series : How An Entrepreneur Couple Bootstrapped to $5M: RuffleButts CEO Amber Schaub and COO Mark Schaub
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