This is a follow up story for Boomerangz Footwear. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published about 1 year ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
G’day again! Brad here, the CFFO of Boomerangz Footwear! (CFFO stands for - Chief Flip Flop Officer - very important role.
We sell our interchangeable flip flops to customers all around the world via e-commerce channels and brick and mortar retailers.
We created (and patented) the boomerangz plug technology of our flip flops that are designed to minimize blowouts (when the straps break) but also means the bases and straps are interchangeable. This allows the customer to simply replace the straps if they break which extends the life of the product and means the customer doesn’t need to buy a new pair.
We have a great range of fully customizable and multi-colored summer footwear and have introduced a new ladies’ Sandal style. Our flagship products are our Men’s and Women’s 2-tone interchangeable Black/Grey flip flops pictured below with a few different colored strap options including the straps in them which are our unique hand-painted custom-designed straps - no 2 pairs are the same!
With some steady business growth over the last couple of years, we have shifted our focus to the environmental impact of our business and products and what we can do to improve. This includes using innovative materials, upgrading business processes, and improving our products which are designed to provide the customer with better value for money and allow us to continue to expand the business. Let’s delve into this below.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
The business has been growing steadily and like many businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic, we have had to pivot and re-strategize. Some of our international markets were hit harder than others and retail has been affected as well with the forced closure of stores and fewer people out shopping.
You can make more sales by selling a different product or slight variations of the products you are successfully selling now.
Trade Shows, fairs, festivals and mass gatherings of people where we would normally display our products were all canceled so this put a hold on many events around the world. Overall, we have fared quite well and have managed to keep growing with the E-commerce side of the business as well as opening up some new distribution channels. This year will be our first shipment to New Caledonia and other islands in the Pacific.
This is thanks to a new International / Retail / Brand consultant we have taken on. He has previously worked with other brands on an international level and helped us implement the necessary processes to take the business to the next level.
With the closure of a lot of retail stores, we continue to improve our e-commerce side of the business by focusing on our customers, finding out what they need, finding out what we are missing, where can we add value for them and making these gradual improvements over time.
We have a unique product so Social Media marketing continues to increase awareness and sales. The one point I would like to mention here is that you don’t need to do ALL the social media marketing channels if they are not right for your business. For example, you might not need a Pinterest account if your target audience is spending all their time on Tik Tok.
Remember to get the data behind where your users are coming from, how they are finding you, what are they looking at on your site, are they converting? If not, why? Find the trends specific to your business, iterate, improve, and scale.
You can use a multitude of tools for this including Facebook and Google analytics.
For example, we found that over Summer, in particular, the news media liked to run articles specific to innovative Summer products. So we targeted this and scaled up which improved our Social retargeting ROAS (return on ad spend) to 6:1 and Google search and shopping ads had a ROAS of 4:1. That’s $6 and $4 returned for every $1 spent.
One of the main things we have been working on for a while now is the implementation of best environmental practices for our business. This includes processes, materials, adhesives, packaging, etc.
We wanted to reduce the waste associated with our products and be as eco-conscious as possible. This led us to the discovery of our new flip flop formula.
Our footwear is now made using a combination of natural rubber and BMZ Bio-Foam®. This includes an organic additive that enhances the biodegradation process through a series of chemical and biological processes when disposed of in a biologically active landfill.
ASTM D5511 tests (representing biologically active landfills) carried out for durations ranging from 1 to 12 months, on a broad category of a product containing the eco-additive have shown excellent biodegradation rates. It is important to note; that biodegradation will begin and will continue leading to significant bio-assimilation, shortening the period the product would have occupied the landfill space from hundreds of years to several years.
We have also had our products “Vegan Certified” by Vegan Australia. This means that no animal-based products, materials, dyes, or glues are used in our manufacturing process.
This implies is that our manufacturers and suppliers are also held to a strict code of keeping an audit trail on all the materials used in our manufacturing process – guaranteeing that our products always stay animal cruelty-free… just the way we like them!
Our interchangeable footwear straps can be replaced if they break. This extends the life of the bases but what about the broken straps?
The straps can be recycled up to 8 times (depending on the application) because of the recycling process does not measurably decrease the chain length of PVC molecules.
This led us to start a strap recycling initiative which is in the early phase now, but we will roll out across stores and E-commerce businesses.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
The coronavirus pandemic was/is a bit of a blindside this year as mentioned above and this was unprecedented so no one was ready for that. One lesson I learned from this is that you need to quickly adapt or the business is in trouble.
It is also a good opportunity (and the right thing to do) to support other businesses that are going through the same thing. For example, some retail stores that were stocking our product were forced to close and they weren’t sure when they would be allowed to re-open. This meant they would miss the end of our Australian Summer so any stock they had would be very slow to sell until the next Summer. So we offered to take back the remaining stock and clear that from any unpaid invoices.
Financially we took a bit of a hit as this meant less money coming in but we know we have a great product that we can sell. We sold a lot of that product online and ended up selling out at the end of Summer.
Which brings us to another problem we faced - No Stock!
We did have plans NOT to sell out completely so we don’t lose sales momentum but that was another mistake we made as we weren’t prepared for production. Covid-19 also contributed towards this but we should have started production sooner.
Ideally, you never want to run out of stock but you also don’t want to have too much stock otherwise it takes too long to sell, you pay storage on that stock, discounting just to sell it comes to your mind (and should be avoided). From this, we have learned to put systems in place and be continually aware of the stock control process.
New stock is on the way through and we’re excited for our up-coming summer to release some new color-ways as well as the BMZ-Bio range.
A personal lesson I have learned over the last year is the positive effects that ‘journaling’ can have on your well-being and thought processes. Particularly getting things down on paper in the form of questions. The questions that keep you up at night… How are we going to pay for this? How are we going to supply that on time? How can we improve customer retention? How? Why? When? Who?
I found that once the questions are out of my head I can then start to solve them as opposed to have the same questions running around in my head. Daily goals and gratitude also help put things into perspective.
I use ‘the Five-minute Journal’ which comes highly recommended by Tim Ferriss (for all you ‘4 hour work week’ and ‘Tools of Titans’ fans).
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
In the short term, new stock is on the way and we’re excited for our up-coming summer to release some new color-ways as well as the BMZ-Bio range. New product releases include a 3-tone / new colorways which has so many color combinations the customer can create.
We plan to launch some grass-roots sponsorship initiatives now that the color ranges have opened up even further and pair our product with sports team colors of all levels.
As well as the eco progress we have partnered with a well-known mental health charity here in Australia and the US called LIVIN.
We wanted to join their mission to break the stigma of mental health. Their slogan, “it ain't weak to speak” aims to encourage people that are having a tough time speaking up and get help. We have collaborated the businesses by designing and selling their very own LIVIN flip flops and will help spread their vision which they do through the development of cutting edge education programs, apparel, and community awareness initiatives.
Boomerangz has also added a ‘Pride’ collection, where we will replace our branding with a pride flag badge to help raise funds and awareness for equality.
In the long term, we want to have our product selling in more countries around the world. We will continue to build our database and spread brand awareness through ambassadors, influencers, events, retail, and e-commerce initiatives. Our plans are always changing and adapting to the world we live in which is also constantly changing. Hopefully, a lot of small businesses can not only ride out the coronavirus pandemic but thrive while it’s going on.
I’d like to bring on some more staff to add to our small but rock-solid team to help take the brand to the next level. I’m working on slowly replacing myself and the jobs I do and finding people that are better than me at every facet of the business.
Have you read any good books in the last year?
I sure have! I can’t stress to your readers how important it is to read… You’re reading this so you’re on the right track!
Shoe Dog by Phil Knight - A memoir by the creator of Nike. A great first-hand account of many challenges and successes of the Nike business including product development, athlete sponsorships, and personal stories.
Ready, Fire, Aim by Michael Masterson - An in-depth look at the different stages of business and how to navigate them. A truly helpful read.
The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz - Practical advice on running a start-up and how he faced and overcame business challenges. Most of the time there are no easy answers. Helps entrepreneurs realize they’re not alone in the challenges they face.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
Find a ‘road map’. Look at other successful businesses in your industry that are selling similar products or services and seem to be growing. Find out why. Contact them and try to meet with them. Find articles on them and collate all this information to help you direct your business.
Continue to expand and diversify your product line. You can make more sales by selling a different product or slight variations of the products you are successfully selling now. You can make improvements to those same products to provide more value and charge a higher price. You can find more people to sell to (enter new markets).
Learn a little bit before you outsource. I’m guilty of not doing this. If you don’t know anything about a particular type of work needed to take your business to the next level then you won’t know who you need, why you need them, and what you need them to do. You can quickly get disappointed with the results because you don’t understand the process or the timeframe required to get the results you’re trying to achieve.
Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. There’s no shame in telling people you’re struggling. This is sometimes how you’ll find the solutions to your problems. Talk about them, someone might just have a little bit of gold advice for you or be able to put you in touch with a person that does.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
We are always on the lookout for motivated people to join Boomerangz in any way shape or form.
Content creators - Get in touch with us and we’ll send you some product in return for some cool photos.
Influencers / Ambassadors - Live the Boomerangz fun and relaxed way of life (even if it’s just when you’re on holidays), get in touch and we’ll send you some flip flops to promote. Must genuinely love our brand and products.
Distributors - Can you introduce our brand and products to the market in your area/country? We can help you sell our products online and to retailers and supply you with everything you need. Including exclusive distribution rights for the right partners.
Retailers - If you own a retail store or you’re a buyer for a retail chain. Get in touch and learn more about our wholesale business and how we can help you sell and profit from our products.
Online Retailers - E-commerce is booming! We offer partnerships with the right online marketplaces and supply product images and dropshipping services all over the world. Get in touch if this interests you.
Brand partnerships - Are you a brand owner or marketer? We love to collaborate with other brands and businesses. We can even put your logo on our flip flops and design your very own styles for you to sell to your customers.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
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