This is a follow up story for Hush Blankets. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published about 3 years ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
Hello, my name is Aaron Spivak and I am the Co-Founder of Hush Blankets. We are a sleep company that is constantly developing new ways for our customers to achieve a higher quality of sleep.
Our flagship products include our Hush Weighted Blanket and our Hush Iced Weighted Blanket. Both designed to be unlike any other blanket on the market and if you know anything about the weighted blanket market… there is a lot of them!
What makes Hush so different is that we take pride in producing products that will actually make a difference for our end consumer and for our community. Our Iced Blanked was the first of its kind developed in Toronto, Ontario. We blended cotton, spandex, and bamboo to create a cool to the touch fabric, unlike anything you have ever felt before. Guaranteed to be the coldest fabric in your house. We launched that product on Kickstarter in 2019 and raised nearly 1.5M between both Kickstarter and Indiegogo.
Since then we have launched our Hush Iced Sheet Set and Hush Weighted Throw. The Hush Iced Sheet was actually a product developed based on consumer demand. After we launched our Hush Iced Blanket we had hundreds of requests for a sheet set to be made of the same material. In April 2019 we launched the pre-sale of our Hush Iced Sheets and pre-sold over $200,000 worth of them.
In 2018 when we launched our first version of the Hush Blanket we capped out the year at $600,000 in sales. By May of 2019, we already had 3.4M in sales and had placements in over 200 retail shops across Canada. We are now doing 1.6M/mo in sales, in over 500 retailers nationwide, and are on track to do 20M this year with a strong EBITDA.
Ps: There is a very good chance that by the time you are reading this we have already launched our Iced 2.0 product. Which is a product we have been working on for the last 12 months and something we are extremely pumped to release!
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
We haven’t really taken our foot off the pedal since we have started. Not to say we haven't had some huge challenges come our way. In Canada alone, we have over 70 thousand competitors selling similar products and you can 10x that number in the US.
A common mistake could be ignorance, we try not to believe what worked yesterday will work tomorrow. Constantly trying to learn new things and explore areas we haven't touched yet or had an understanding of is something we take very seriously.
We put a tremendous amount of pressure on ourselves to constantly be innovating and creating a strong sense of community around Hush. In 2019 we officially launched our #givebackprogram where we donate 1 in every 5 children blankets we sell and 1 in every 10 adult blankets we sell to now over 150 charities nationwide. Specifically tackling issues such as homelessness and programs for children with special needs.
We have also appeared on the Canadian Hit TV show Dragons Den! Where we locked up a deal never before seen in the show's 14 seasons. You can click here to watch that!
A big reason for our growth has truly been our mindset. It is very difficult at first to go from spending $500 a day on ads in 2018 to now spending well over $10,000 a day. Not going to lie, there is an emotional hump that we needed to get over but once we did it really enabled us to grow more aggressively.
In terms of specific channels that we advertise, I would say we are constantly testing and scaling on every available platform. Like many others, we have a goal to De-risk from Instagram and Facebook. For many, the majority of new business comes from those two channels and we see that as a huge risk. This is why we are actively looking into scaling on other channels like youtube, TikTok, Snapchat, linked in, offline ads such as billboards, and of course influencers.
Since we last spoke our team has grown as well, going from 2 employees to 16 strong now!
We try to bring as many things in house as possible. Although the popular trend in eCommerce is to hire out all tasks we believe in culture and community. Social, Paid, Wholesale, CS, and even warehousing is all done in house. We had a terrible experience with a 3PL after our Kickstarter so we invested in our own 25,000 sqft warehouse and it’s truly been a blessing. We can beat Amazon’s fulfillment times and have full control of the distribution of our product. Not to mention we save a ton of money every month and price out competitors if needed.
As a result of doing that and combining our recent launch of new products such as our Hush Throw which most likely is sold out right now since we can’t keep it in stock, we have been fortunate to have a pretty high return customer rate. Ranging from 15%-25% any given month.
A big needle mover for us has been our position on SMS marketing. In late 2019 we decided to shift entirely to SMS. No, that does not mean we gave up on email. It just means we focused on building our SMS list over our email list.
Since our launch, we are seeing open rates at 99% and CTR in the 20% range depending on the text. We have actually dedicated 2 full-time employees to communicate strictly via text with all customers and potential customers. Our Abandoned cart recovery rate is hovering around 25% which is 15% higher than the industry average.
For example, If you have $10,000 in lost carts in a single month that could be the difference between profitable and not profitable. (Golden nugget moment you were looking for).
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
We needed to get away from trying to perfect everything and get back to focusing on speed. We learned in early 2020 that we couldn't afford to be perfect every single thing about the business. Constantly stressing over little things began to slow us down.
The moment we got back to working at full speed we noticed it really brought us back to our roots and the engine and momentum started to pick up again.
We also had to learn offline advertising. Being 100% Digital for the first 2 years we had no idea where to start when buying up hundreds of thousands worth of offline ads. Learning about offline attribution and the overall list is still something we are figuring out but definitely becoming more analytical is something we are working on.
One thing we are proud of this year is the success of our influencer program. A program we started in 2019 but we just couldn’t get it into the green. We tried everything from changing our approach, our commission structure, and our offering but it just didn’t work.
A big move we made was bringing it all in house. We have a full in house team that now runs our program. A more personalized branded approach enables us to build contextual relationships with our influencers. Ultimately we understand that it’s less about the numbers and more about our emotional relationship. If we can build honest and genuine relationships with those who are representing our brand they are more likely to actually promote it and talk about it.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
We have many new and exciting products on the horizon within the 12-24 months.
Some of which we are super excited about. Being asleep brand we take a lot of pride in products that actually work. No gimmicks, no BS.
We also have global expansion plans in the works as we have been testing new markets across the bond such as the EU and AUS markets.
In the micro, we are working as fast as possible day to day. However, our macro vision has a ton of patience in it and we are doing our best to enjoy every step of the process… because for us, that is what it’s all about.
Have you read any good books in the last year?
I have recently taken up a huge addiction to reading. Must be all the time I have been spending at home. Notably, books like 48 laws of power, The culture code, and little black stretchy banks have been really fun reads. Looking forward to reading more as I find it has really helped me with copywriting.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
When it comes to scaling or trying to grow your business I find taking a few steps back really helps sometimes. So many little things can move the needle big time for your business that you most likely haven't touched in a long time.
For example, we are constantly split testing old ideas vs new ideas. From the copy on every single landing page to how we communicate with our customers. Every single touchpoint can be improved.
We saw a 100% significance test we ran on a banner we had as white vs black. If you know anything about tests it is almost impossible to see a split test run with a 100% significance. To extrapolate that number out to you.
If you have 10,000 monthly visitors and you are averaging 100 sales a month and you split with conversations as the goal, you essentially just doubled your sales by changing 1 simple thing on your site if you are able to achieve 100% improvement.
Now imagine you did that for every aspect. We are running anywhere from 10-50 tests a month and it's really helped us fine-tune our performance.
A common mistake could be ignorance, we try not to believe what worked yesterday will always work tomorrow. Constantly trying to learn new things and explore areas we haven't touched yet or had an understanding of is something we take very seriously.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
YES! We are actively on the hunt for a Growth Marketer. Somebody who is passionate about growing a business and all aspects of marketing. Tackling email, SMS, Shopify, and all the touchpoints in between. This position would have the candidate working hand in hand with myself and Lior daily.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
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