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Bootstrapping From a Small Town in Denmark to $12 Million: Sebastian Petersen, CEO of TrendHim (Part 4)

Posted on Saturday, Jun 1st 2019

Sebastian Petersen: If you want to start an ecommerce company today, it’s very difficult to do it without a lot of funding and thinking big from the very beginning. Today, buying visitors and customers is four times the price it was 10 years ago. You have to think more creatively today.

Sramana Mitra: I’d say yes and no. The game has switched more to unique merchandise. All the generic stuff, you can buy on Amazon. You can’t really compete against Amazon.

Sebastian Petersen: When we started out, if you’re good at buying and selling, you would do fine. Today, you need more. Exactly as you said, you need to offer something unique which is why we decided we want to design and produce our own products. Today, you have to start out finding something unique.

Sramana Mitra: How many customers do you have today in Europe?

Sebastian Petersen: About 350,000 a year.

Sramana Mitra: What revenue level are you at?

Sebastian Petersen: Last year, we closed around $12 million.

Sramana Mitra: What is the scaling part for you? Is it more different kinds of merchandise or going into more countries? What is the lever that you’re going to push to grow?

Sebastian Petersen: We put a lot of resource into production and content creation. We need to get more market share in each country. That’s what we’re focusing on. We’re not focusing on adding more countries as we speak. We also sell to the US.

We are available almost globally. We also sell to South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Canada.

We don’t need to add more countries. We’re trying to focus on putting even more money and energy into designing unique products that offer value to the customer. What we really do is help men tell their story through what they wear.

Sramana Mitra: When you sell to customers in US or South Africa, what is the shipping? You’re just doing international shipping?

Sebastian Petersen: We send it to London actually. They forward it to the US in one big bulk.

Sramana Mitra: You have set up some sort of a logistics system to take care of these geographies, but you don’t have to go beyond that at this point. Do you proactively acquire customers in these geographies?

Sebastian Petersen: We actually acquire them. The US is a different game for us, though. We are used to the European way of buying customers and doing marketing. US is a bit different. It’s mostly people finding us organically. They fall in love with our brands. We are slowly gearing up our operations in the US and Canada.

Sramana Mitra: What about team? It was you and your team to begin with. How have you evolved the team?

Sebastian Petersen: It’s been a long journey. I did accounting. I’ve done marketing. Today, I’m responsible for the operational side and my partner is more the lead designer and responsible for the marketing team. Today, we’re 30 people. We have people in every department.

Sramana Mitra: All 30 people are all in one location?

Sebastian Petersen: We have 30 full-time employees in one location.

Sramana Mitra: Very good.

Sebastian Petersen: It’s important to have internal teams for every department. You hear a lot of stuff about outsourcing. To me, it’s bullshit. You get a lot of insights on having everything in house. You have all the teams working together. When outsourcing, it’s really difficult to get that know-how.

This segment is part 4 in the series : Bootstrapping From a Small Town in Denmark to $12 Million: Sebastian Petersen, CEO of TrendHim
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