This is a follow up story for Highway Robery. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published over 4 years ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
My name is Evan Streusand, and my wife Jackie and I started a robe company called Highway Robery.
We make robes using deadstock fabrics that come in two sizes (standard and extended) and are gender neutral.
Our sales grew 175% in 2021!
Tell us about what you’ve been up to. Has the business been growing?
Our business has grown about 175% since we last updated you. In 2021 we released a collection of extended-size robes, which have been very popular. For the first 5 years of business, we only sold our robes in one size, but we always got requests to add a larger size option.
We always have to evolve! Content, audiences, tastes, they all change. We have to change too.
After a lot of research and fit tests, we were finally able to offer them in the fall of 2021.
Our testing process started with two women who specialize in advising apparel brands who are looking to add extended sizing to their offerings. We were fortunate that we already had a relationship with these women, as they were instrumental in helping us get this done right.
We discussed everything from the fit of our prototypes to the language that we should use on our product pages and social media. The reception for these robes has been very positive and we’ve continued to grow that section of the business.
We do our email marketing through Klaviyo (where we use campaigns and several flows). Our primary method for getting new signups is a popup we have on our site where we offer entry into a giveaway for a free robe in exchange for signup.
Some of our most successful flows are cart/checkout/browse abandonment and a flash sale flow that is sent directly after someone makes a purchase, which encourages them to buy a second robe with a discount code we provide. We’re still using the same channels to advertise - google shopping + search, and Facebook/Instagram.
We’ve started making some animations of our editorial photos that are pretty eye-catching and have helped with driving sales through Instagram.
What have been your biggest challenges in the last year?
For a brief period this year, our Facebook/Instagram ads weren’t performing very well, so finding different audiences and assets to use for ads took some real thought and effort. We started using dynamic product slideshows and the aforementioned animations and those have both worked well.
Our biggest challenge is just time to work on the business. I probably work 15 hours a week on Highway Robery, but that varies depending on the week. This is still a bit of a side hustle for us - I run two women’s shoe brands (@fortress.shoes and @humablanco) that take up quite a bit of time!
If you believe in what you’re doing, just keep at it! Even if the thing you originally dreamed up isn’t the thing it ends up being, you’ll get somewhere new by following through.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
Biggest lesson learned is that we always have to evolve! Good life lesson as well. Content, audiences, tastes, they all change. We have to change too.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
This question always reminds us of the Mitch Hedberg joke: "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?" "Celebrating the 5th anniversary of you asking me this question."
Seriously though, our big goal over the next couple of years is to start collaborating with different artists on robe designs. Our idea is to commission artists to create designs and then we put them on our robes.
There are a lot of challenges here - how does the relationship with the artist work? How do we produce custom fabrics in smaller quantities? On and on. We’re hoping to make some progress this year and then maybe start releasing robes in the second half of 2023.
What’s the best thing you read in the last year?
Currently reading The Price of Peace: Money, Democracy and the Life of John Maynard Keynes and it is phenomenal.
I never thought I’d be this engrossed in a book about an economist, but here we are. Highly recommend it.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
Gonna repeat my answer from last time because it still holds true: If you believe in what you’re doing, just keep at it! Even if the thing you originally dreamed up isn’t the thing it ends up being, you’ll get somewhere new by following through.
That said, don’t keep chasing the thing if you know deep down it isn’t gonna happen. Don’t be afraid to cut bait and start anew.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
If anyone wants to make videos for us (and also knows how to do Reels/TikTok well, please reach out! [email protected].
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
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