New Apparel Launch, Process & Results

New Apparel Launch, Process & Results

For Q3, 2018, we wanted to put a larger emphasis on what has traditionally been a secondary product category: shirts.

We rolled out four new t-shirts and expanded color variations in some of our original designs (everyday T, crew neck sweatshirt, female tank tops). We took this product range to our biggest and baddest event, the Minnesota State Fair. 

Process to improve category:

1. We found a new manufacturer.

We do a lot of events and this provides us real time feedback from customers. Soft is definitely in and we doubled down hard on how our shirts feel. Our new manufacturer has allowed us to find our perfect blend, which we call SecretSoft. It's a mixture of cotton, rayon and polyester that won't shrink much and feels amazing.

2. We found a local screen printer. 

When our quantity needs spiked this significantly, it really helped to find "our guy" for screen printing. Quick production times and easy access to ship/pick up allowed us to carry lower inventory levels and do quick reorders. 

3. We designed new stuff and expanded our offering.

Our new designs were split between two categories: designed in house and designed by friends. The MN Lakes shirt was designed by Matt, while the Walleye, Bear and Moose were designed by friends.

For a long time, we've been asked for color variations. At first we were reserved, with fears that variations may quickly become too many SKU's to manage. We decided to give it a try and finally branched out with our first navy and green options for the Crew Necks. 

4. We went tagless. 

For the four new shirts, we removed the interior tag and printed on the size and washing instructions. This is a small detail that we really like, and we wanted to see if others did it too. (They did!)

Results:

  • Q2, 2018: 220 Shirts, ~ $7.2k Revenue
  • Q3, 2018: 1,913 Shirts, ~ $57k Revenue

These figures show a drastic increase in both quantity and subsequent revenue generation. It is not surprising that Q3 apparel sales are above Q2 apparel sales, as the Minnesota State Fair is a big sales generator for apparel. Q3 also accounts for a full three months of our new store at the Mall of America, while Q2 only had the month of June for MOA apparel sales support.

Therefore, comparing Q3, 2017 results to Q3, 2018 is a closer comparison as both quarters encompass sales from the Minnesota State Fair. 

  • Q3, 2017: 682 Shirts, ~ $16k Revenue
  • Q3, 2018: 1,913 Shirts, ~ $57k Revenue

Q3 2018 generated 3.5x higher revenue than Q3 2017 - outstanding growth for this category. We attribute a portion of this increase to the greater exposure that the Mall of America had on our sales, but the majority of the increase to the new designs.

What we learned:

While it's difficult to manage more SKU's, color and design options can increase revenue. As a quick case study, we saw that specifically with the increase in crew neck sweatshirt sales due to having 2 new colors. 

We have 6 sizes per shirt and every additional color option increases our inventory tracking responsibility. If we rolled out all 4 new shirts with 2 color options, it would be 48 different options to track. That gets confusing very quickly without the right system in place, which we don't have. We held back on shirt color variations, and only released color variations on crew necks and tank tops.

This is a real category for us, with further growth potential.  Expect to see a greater emphasis in apparel in the coming 4-6 months.

Xoxo,

-Peter

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