How We Doubled Our Sales After Shifting To Online Retail

$70,000
revenue/mo
2
Founders
0
Employees
product
Doppeltree | Dopp...
from San Francisco, California, USA
started November 2017
$70,000
revenue/mo
2
Founders
0
Employees
2.65M
alexa rank
2.64K
followers
market size
$145B
avg revenue (monthly)
$114K
starting costs
$23.5K
gross margin
70%
time to build
12 months
growth channels
Word of mouth
business model
E-Commerce
best tools
Instagram, Paypal, Facebook Ads
time investment
Full time
tips
31 Tips
Discover what tools Tony reccommends to grow your business!
Discover what books Tony reccommends to grow your business!
Start A Skin Care Product Line

Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.

Hey there, we’re Doppeltree | Doppelganger Goods. We’re a husband and wife duo that started with one side hustle product - an organic cotton cold brew coffee filter bag - that we soon expanded (and pivoted!) to become an all-natural self-care skincare products brand.

Our goal is to help folks look and feel better every day, and best of all, at an affordable price. Our products are a collection of skincare and self-care products that Protect, Repair & Renew, Enhance, and Balance your skin and body.

The Doppeltree product that most people start with is our Rejuvenating Under Eye Mask with 24K Gold. We like to say that using these masks is like getting 8 hours of sleep in 20 minutes, quickly getting rid of dark circles and puffy eyes!

Last time we were featured on Starter Story we were doing about $40,000 sales per month. We’re now about double that figure going into 2021.

how-we-doubled-our-sales-after-shifting-to-online-retail We’ve organically built a loyal customer following on Instagram

Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?

With COVID, we hit a rough patch for the first ~2 months right after COVID when sales slowed. But we started seeing sales increase MoM early in the summer that has kept pace into the Fall and Winter.

We likely enjoyed a bit of luck sprinkled in with some good business decisions that came to fruition during COVID.

It’s OK to experiment with pricing to improve margins without having to sacrifice total sales.

The luck part is being an online retailer positioned well to capitalize on the broader consumer shift to online spending because of the pandemic. Also, we’re fortunate that our company is a direct-to-consumer brand that specializes in products that help regular people take a bit of time out of their day to look and feel better - an affordable splurge for trying times and lots of time spent at home.

From a business decision standpoint, a few things stand out in hindsight.

Faye invested a lot of time and effort into expanding our product line earlier in the year, leapfrogging us from just an eye mask and detox foot pad product at the beginning of the year, to a full-suite of self-care products that now includes face masks, serums, mud masks, foot peels, chin mask, overnight face masks, rose water facial toner, and lavender sleep spray.

We made a conscious decision to focus most of our efforts on the Doppeltree (self-care) business, but on the Doppelganger Goods (coffee) side of things, we also launched a couple more products to flesh out our offerings, including an XL organic cotton bag for larger home brews, a polyester brew bag targeted for micro-beer brewing, and even a bamboo coffee measuring spoon!

On my side, I’ve invested time into building out our customer list to move sales off Amazon and onto our own website. As most folks know, this a) means better margins as well as b) allows us to own our customers (their contact information). We’ve got some great traction using paid Facebook/Instagram ads that are also proving to be scalable. Because Faye has expanded our product set, I’m also now able to cross-sell and drive repeat purchases with existing customers, and also increase average order size. I’m trying to use as much marketing automation as possible to reach existing customers and convince them to try other products via automated and segmented marketing campaigns that introduce new products, and ad hoc campaigns like Black Friday Cyber Monday promotions.

Another tactic we ratcheted up was to build our brand presence on social media, primarily on Instagram. We’ve done this organically without any campaign spend. Instagram and email are the channels we use to connect with existing and potential customers. We look for (authentic) influencers to promote our products. It takes a fair amount of time and effort, but the payoff can be good in terms of sales and customer engagement.

how-we-doubled-our-sales-after-shifting-to-online-retail

What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?

Here are some things we’ve learned in the past year:

  • It’s OK to experiment with pricing to improve margins without having to sacrifice total sales.

  • It’s also OK to have different pricing structures for different sales channels. For example, you don’t need to charge the same on Amazon vs. your own website.

  • Wholesale is another animal! It’s been hard finding a consistent and dependable buyer/partner because the prospecting-converting-fulfillment process is so different.

  • Having more than a few products allows a lot more flexibility to grow your business. As mentioned above, having a good “bench” of products lets you cross-sell, up-sell, and provides more opportunities to “talk” about your brand to customers.

  • If you can, consider expanding internationally, especially if you sell on Amazon. Amazon makes it (relatively) easy to sell to customers outside of the U.S. 50% of our sales now come from Canada, the United Kingdom, and Europe.

What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?

We plan to continue to add new products, expand internationally, invest more into organic traffic/SEO which we didn’t get to do much of this year, continue working through our process to onboard a couple of consistent wholesale partners, and scale more positive ROI paid advertising on Facebook/Instagram and Google Ads.

Have you read any good books in the last year?

We haven’t read many business books if that’s what you’re getting at. I’m reading Dune now which is a pretty good SciFi classic.

I did start following and joining some webinars (nearly all free) hosted by Ezra Firestone and Molly Pittman. Turns out I needed a refresher for my paid marketing, and their open and honest, straightforward, and no-nonsense way of presenting tactics for paid marketing, upselling and cross-selling, and campaign management has been very helpful.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?

You’ve likely heard it elsewhere but just do.

Most of our lessons have been learned through trial and error. 90% of the time there’s little risk of doing something and not being able to recover from it, so don’t be afraid of failures. Also, don’t get caught up with grand ideas and analysis paralysis.

Execute-Learn-Repeat.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

We hired a college summer intern this summer, so we may be interested in hiring more this summer!

Where can we go to learn more?

  • Website
  • Instagram
  • Email
  • Starter Story readers can get $5 off their first purchase at Doppeltree by using code STARTERSTORY5

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!

-  
Tony & Faye Ouyang,   Founder of Doppeltree | Doppelgänger Goods

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