Manifesting Limitless Growth with Hey Harper’s Growth Mindset - Hey Harper | EP. #52
On this 52nd episode of The E-Comm Show, our host and BlueTuskr CEO Andrew Maff is with Catarina “Cate” Oliveira, the founder and CEO of waterproof jewelry brand, Hey Harper. If you’re a self-funded brand like Hey Harper, you’d love to tune in to this episode as Cate shares their humble beginnings at Hey Harper and how they now generate US$5 million in revenue.
From setting the right mindset to navigating the waters of influencer marketing, here’s Cate to share everything they’ve learned in building Hey Harper.
If you enjoyed the show, please be sure to rate, review, and of course, SUBSCRIBE!
Have an e-commerce marketing question you'd like Andrew to cover in an upcoming episode? Email: email@example.com
Manifesting Limitless Growth with Hey Harper’s Growth Mindset - Hey Harper
Andrew Maff and Catarina Oliveira
Catarina Oliveira is the Founder and CEO of Hey Harper, a self-funded waterproof jewelry brand that last year drove +5 Million dollars in revenue.
If you are really, really careful about who you hire and when you hire because you are only going to hire someone, if you really, really need that position.
Hey everyone, this is Nezar Akeel from Max Pro. Hi, I'm Linda, and I'm Paul, and we're Love and Pebble. Hi this is Lopa Van Der Mersch from RASA. You're listening to, and you're listening, and you are listening
everyone, and welcome to another episode, episode of The E-Comm Show. I'm your host, Andrew Maff. And today I am here with I hope I get this one. CATARINA OLIVEIRA of Hey Harper, how was that closed? Off? Right? Okay, thank you for like, super excited to have you on the show. I'm really looking forward to this one. I know this space pretty well. And it's always very interesting to me to hear all the differences in the way that people approach things. But why don't we do the fun aspect, pretend that no one knows who you are, and let you kind of tell everyone about your background, where you at, where you are, where you've been, where you're at, and why first ended,
to The E-Comm Show. Welcome to The E-Comm Show, presented by BlueTuskr, the number one place to hear the inside scoop from other e-commerce experts. They share their secrets about how they scaled their business and are now living the dream. Now, here's your host, Andrew Maff. Hello,
thank you so much for inviting me to be at your show. So basically, I'm CATARINA OLIVEIRA. I'm from Lisbon, Portugal. And I've started Hey Harper four years ago in 2018. And we are waterproof jewelry brands. And basically, last year, in three years, we are self-funded, I think it's important to share that with you. And last year, we made $5 million in revenue. And we are on our way to doubling it in 2022. And so basically, before I started the harbor, I worked in pretty much different fields. But everything is connected, to be honest. So I worked with Vito at the store. And it was amazing to have a little bit of experience with the customers and everything. And then I worked at a digital agency to build websites and everything. And after that before Harper, I used to manage a models agency. After that, I decided to leave the agency where I was working, and I was a little bit bored. So I started to make jewelry at home. And actually, things started to take off. And here I am, to be honest.
You have been to a lot of different places. So one thing you mentioned, is that's very interesting to me. So you started, hey, Harper, four years ago, you did 5 million last year you're projected to do this year, is that right? So how did you manage that growth in a year? Five?
It's the fourth or fourth year? Yes. So basically, I think that one interesting thing about our growth is that when I started in Harper, we it literally started as I started at home, doing jewelry, by myself, and started by John nice to RAM. And one important thing here is that my boyfriend started with me. And he while doing another job and he was doing an acquisition. So from the moment zero, we start finding pipettes. So we were very, very, very small. And we were already we're doing paid advertising on Instagram and Facebook. So it helped us a lot to reach a bigger audience. And since day zero, we started our main markets were the US, UK, and Germany, pretty much because of this. Also, this is not enough to grow. Until this point, I think that one thing that we have really, really it's strong. It's strong at Harper is our growth mindset. So even when we were at home doing jewelry, we decided to put very, very clear goals monthly goals. So even when you are a small brand or starting something for fun, I really advise able to just decide to go like next month I went to 20 guys. And when you do this, you start to wake up thinking about how you're going to reach that. And you start to say, okay, what can I do when I'm why I'm not reaching this? Am I contacting you for answers? I am I doing? Launching good enough products? Am I taking in a photoshoot? So when you start putting goals, even if you are really, really small, I really believe that this is game-changing. And yeah, that's what happened with it. I think it was crucial for our success.
So this year, doubling your business your growth is really based on you guys having just been really good at setting certain goals and making sure that you're hyper-focused on hitting those goals. There was no like, one overnight like the viral thing or some kind of PR anything around that
is solidly focused on goals. We are absolutely focused. Goals driven. We are main channels of course right now it's our main channel is our website where we sell we started to do wholesale this year. So we already are excellent shoe and other retailers and to diversify the channels of course. But yeah, only this year we started doing PR so what helped what is working for us is we are really good at defining goals and working for them. And basically, we do everything through our but most of it comes from our paid media. So we do we have ads on every platform, Google ads, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook everywhere. And also, of course, we are really focused on our product. So we have designers in-house we don't focus on copying what is trending right now we are focused on delivering and designing specific pieces. So I think that everything combined, it's working pretty well.
So I know the jewelry space is incredibly complicated because it is very crowded your differentiator obviously being that its waterproof jewelry, now I'm a guy I don't wear as much jewelry. Isn't most jewelry waterproof? Isn't that kind of sort of the case? Oh wrong, totally wrong.
So basically, the only thing that is so Gold is gold color is gold right? Other than gold every material on these hurts is either silver or bronze but mainly silver. Even stainless steel which is a material that we use is silver. But the problem here is until or until Hey harbor people are the jewelry makers used to do what they do is sterling silver than which is silver and then they give you a best but the best. It's only about so every time you wash your hands or take a shower or whatever with perfume or even with your sweat. The color starts to fight. Also, there are a lot of bad materials for example brass that with your sweat, for example, it starts to get rusty in green. So and the thing here is most of the jewelry is either than my brass or silver because it's way cheaper Of course than gold. So yeah, the thing that we introduced here was stainless steel. With a completely different bus. It's called PVD coating. Instead of bashing the pieces in gold, it's a chemical bath. It's totally different. And it's way way way stronger than the usual last. And yeah we are able to say that it lasts a lifetime.
Wow. That's pretty cool. Is it so the bath that you're putting it into this chemical that you're using is that proprietary to the geyser is that something that as well as
everyone? Stainless steel before being used in jewelry. It's super common to use. It's so so resistant. It worked, for example, for our clients at home I might have bridges or pretty much everything is built from a lot of things, especially the ones that last really long are made of stainless steel. So it's pretty common but it's yeah It's recent, they use it, you have to make it in jewelry.
Okay, so I know with jewelry, you know, you kind of go through although you did mention you don't really cater too much to trends, there is, you know, seasonality to certain pieces. And then you know, after a while pieces just kind of go out of trend, and like how do you how often are you releasing new products? What's that whole life cycle? Actually, the
the funny part here is that our best seller has been the best seller for more than two years now. And we yeah, we don't, we don't have fall, winter spring summer launches, we launch products, pretty much every week, we launched four new products, four to five products every week, because in terms of brand, we did a benchmark, and we were offering a much, much smaller catalog than our competitors. And we saw the correlation between the number the sales and the number of products that you are offering, especially when compared to your competitors. So we decided to, to make to leave or to have more products. So we were launching for up to five products every week. And what we do is what works, we rely on it. We can reorder it, and yeah, pretty much continue to sell it. And until the time we see that no one Yeah, the purchase is declined. So that's why we have products that are here. Since I launched the hardware, we have a pair of earrings, which are very, very, that everyone uses. It's super simple. It's like a hook with a pearl. And yeah, it says the meaning. So what we focus on here is we know that the essential pieces are pieces that you wear, we look at this, like for example jeans, and white t-shirts, we all need them we are all we are always using them all the time. Even if we buy a new blazer or a new dress, we all have a white t-shirt, black research, great T-shirts, and jeans. And we will look at our pieces the same way designing pieces that never go out of style. And we are going to make it as right now I can tell you to start introducing more special pieces and those pieces Limited Edition. But apart from that everything we sell on our website, we feel like it's something that you can use for years and that's the goal. At the same time.
You had mentioned that a lot of the marketing approach that you have taken at least from the beginning was on a paid advertising side Have you done anything let's say like influencer marketing, have you guys gone
when you do a lot of or when you have mainly acquisition through paid media, you have a problem here, especially when you are starting when you start to go and invest more and more money first, of course, you raise your word, you decrease your roads because you are investing much more money. And the second thing here is of course the brand value. So it's different to build a brand through PR influencers, social credibility, or advertising through paid media. So we started like one year and a half ago we started to invest more on the branding side and the long term because believe me that is really good to to grow fast to have many fast long term investments of course being self funded, we don't have much money available to invest in branding or long term growth it has to be really really carefully thought so but we started to invest recently and we have influencers right now we are doing paid partnerships purely focused on awareness made something that we started when and health here ago previous that we were working with the discount codes with influencers so basically they would share our brand and a discount code and we would pay them per cell but we started we stopped doing that like yeah eight months ago several problems here first influencers don't like to do it because they don't receive if they sell and we have to look at these of course from their side and have a little empathy with them because basically they are working and maybe get five and what they say is okay, even if I don't sell I'm doing awareness I wouldn't awareness job so I reserve at least a baseline and and we wanted to start work with we're working with different influencers that simply say no to promo codes. So we've had to do that to make that call.
Yeah, I find that to be common. A lot of people really love the press malcode approach Have you ventured into like, tick tock realm yet? Or are you still mainly focused on it?
We start to do medium on tick tock recently, yes, a few months ago, it's something that it's a channel that we are that is showing really great results to be honest with you. And a lot of people are coming to the web to our site from tick tock. To be honest, we are not that good yet creating content for tick tock, it's a totally different approach. It's a totally different tone of voice, you see. So we are I think that we are still figuring out how to communicate there our brand because it has to be entertaining. The idea is to go viral. And yeah, we are still thinking and going through how can we do it. And what voice do we have there?
Yeah, yeah, it's definitely it's an interesting channel, it's, I find it hilarious because you get a lot of ecommerce sellers that are used to if it works on Facebook, you know, and it works on Instagram, I can replicate it and try it on, you know, YouTube ads, or, or Snapchat or something like that. But like, when you go to tick-tock, none of that stuff works. You have to create all new stuff. It's got to be a completely different approach. It's interesting, but I have definitely seen you do it, right?
Everyone is still trying to figure out how to work there and how to grow there. So you match like the first one. Nail it as you said, it's a goldmine. But yeah, we are working around that. But it's showing great to great results. It's very, very promising. It's not the rule was, it's not still what we want, or what we demand. But it's getting there.
Yeah, I actually want to go back to something you mentioned that you kind of skimmed over because I gotta give you credit for this. You started hay Harper and you've bootstrapped the whole thing. Correct? Like,, you're on pace to do 10 million after your fourth year, and you had zero investors, correct? That's amazing. Did you put anything in ourselves?
I have to be honest with you here because I think that what helped us here is when you started an E-commerce business, and it's something that I want to share with everyone. Because what I learned here is that in our business you can do this because you really have to first invest on the product, and find out the product. And you have to buy stock or invest. But in my case, I was it was on demand. And I just did the same for the first two pieces. And once you sell it after two, or three days, you have the money. So you are able to receive the money. Tell people, okay, it takes it's handmade, it takes five to 10 days to be shipped. And then you receive the money and you are able to go buy the materials, do the jewelry yourself and then cheapen so basically if you do it well, you don't have to put up performance money. And if you manage things, what you have to do next, of course, it's investing part of the your margin in quiet media again, and starting to grow. From there. What I think worked really well was that I was not obsessed with having everything perfect. Because a lot of people, in the beginning, buy the perfect packaging, buy the perfect pieces, buy the perfect everything. And you don't have to do this. If I show you how I used to send the pieces in the beginning, you tell me that I will just Yeah, it looks like it's Chinese stuff sent from Aliexpress or whatever. It looks so so so bad. But it was so cheap for me. In the beginning, it was amazing because it really helped me to evolve. And of course, right now we have high standards of everything. But in the beginning, you don't have to do it. In the beginning, I was just focused on two things selling and dispatching orders. And it was like this for two years. And only after that, of course when you are bootstrapping. You are really, really careful about who you are and who you hire. And when you hire because you are only going to hire someone if you really, really need that position. Other than that, you are always going to try to do it by yourself. And I think that it was something that we do we did really really well because in the beginning it was we used to have people on acquisition and people dispatching orders. And then it was me all the photoshoots were in my home. Even when we were making $2 million. Our photo shoots were in my backyard. It was crazy. And the model was one of my best friends. So you have my point here is when you have to relax And they understand, okay, this is not what I this is not my dream yet there in the sense of okay, this is not perfect, but it doesn't have to be. And I think it's a juggle. But if you manage things well, there are still positions we don't have, for example, we don't have a designer, or graphic designer they are everything is mined by our brand manager, the Acquisition Manager. So we hire people that have a lot of skills besides the job they are doing. And it really helps to manage stuff. I feel that the 25 people that we have a day Harper are really, really, really needed. And I think it's the most important stuff. That's how you manage to be bootstrap saving and applying for the money wisely. Because you were having.
Yeah, that's a very good point. That's awesome. That's I mean, that's a, you know, that's a really challenging way to go. It does make it a little bit easier when it's handmade when you
buy everything comes from China. So right now. Everything comes from there. So right now, and more handmade.
And are you still dealing with the supply chain?
No, no, no at all. The only I think that the main issues issue for us to Harper is Jr. China is the only jewelry producer in stainless steel. So we are only buying from them. It's the only possibility. And they have the Chinese New Year. So what happens is the same that happens to every basically everyone that buys from them is that the clothes in January, February in March, so it means that you have to buy a lot of front stock. And when you are Bootstrap, it can be challenging because you have to put in a lot of upfront money. So it's challenging, of course.
Yeah, yeah. This was amazing. Thank you so much for being on the show. Really appreciate I'd love to give you the opportunity, obviously, please let everyone know where they can find out more. Yeah, basically,
we have a website. It's HeyHarperShop.com. And you can find it there. And if you want to connect or would like to connect, you can find me on LinkedIn. CATARINA OLIVEIRA. So yeah.
Catarina, thank you so much for being on the show. Obviously, everyone who tuned in. Thank you as well please make sure you do the whole rate, review, subscribe or whatever on whichever podcast platform you want. Or just head over to EECOM show.com You can find everything there. But as usual, thank you all for tuning in. And we'll see you all next time. Have a good one. Thank you
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