Sorting Out Order Fulfillment and Supply Chain FAQs with Goodr | EP. #76
On this 76th episode of The E-Comm Show, our host, and BlueTuskr CEO Andrew Maff is with Greg Bicksler of Goodr Sunglasses, a well-established eyewear brand that makes unique, fun, and active sunglasses for everyone. Thriving in such a saturated market, Greg shares with us his insider tips on how to effectively manage supply chain, capitalize on performance using a strong company culture and create long-term relationships with external partners.
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Sorting Out Order Fulfillment and Supply Chain FAQs with Goodr
Andrew Maff and Greg Bicksler
CONNECT WITH OUR HOST: AndrewMaff.com | Twitter: @AndrewMaff | LinkedIn: @AndrewMaff
I worked as a management consultant for a decade, first at Booz Allen then later at AT Kearney. My primary focus as a consultant was working with large Retail / CPG / Logistics companies on organizational and operational efficiency with a particular focus on supply chains. After leaving AT Kearney, I have worked for a number of startups including Ruggable, Ettitude, and currently goodr. I grew up on the East Coast and went to school at UVA.
What I think is a smart way to use Amazon is to use it as an acquisition channel, and expose some of your product to your customers so that they get a taste. But if you want to have access to all of our skews and all of the limited sunglasses we drop that is super fun. You got to come to our site.
Hey everyone, this is Nezar Akeel from MaxPro. Hi, I'm Linda and I'm Paul and we're the Love and Pebble.
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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 on how they scaled their business and are now living the dream. Now, here's your host, Andrew Maff.
Hello, everyone. Welcome to another episode of The E-Comm Show. As usual, I'm your host, Andrew Maff. And today I'm joined by Greg Bicksler of gutter sunglasses, Greg, how you doing? Right for a good show.
Yeah, I'm doing great. Thanks for having me.
I am a big fan of your brand. So I'm super excited to have you on this call. Plus, I also know with your role as head of a supply chain, going to be very interesting to hear how you manage all of that fun stuff. As of right now, plus, you do not have a small product line. So but let's get into it. Let's pretend that no one knows who you are. No one knows who Twitter is. And let's and why don't you just give us a bit about your background? We'll
go from there. Yeah, for sure. So a bit about me, I started my career as a management consultant. I bounced around. I was at Booz Allen for a while and then I worked at Kearney for a number of years. My focus as a consultant was primarily on operational efficiency as a broad lens. But I really started anchoring and focusing on supply chain operations as a whole towards the end of my time there. And I realized if I was doing all these cool projects, I didn't have a ton of ownership of what I was working on. So I wanted my wife to have been in startups for years. So I saw that she was getting all the diversity and fun stuff that I was working that I was doing. But she had all the ownership as well. So I actually jumped in, I started, I switched out of consulting when started leading the supply chain for a company called irrigable. And then, during the pandemic, I switched to another company called attitude which makes sheets of home sheets. And we're on
our show a few weeks ago. Oh yeah, who do you know, don't ask me that question. She was the head of performance marketing. She was very impressive. Yeah, Chelsea's incredible.
I saw her a few weeks ago. Um, oh, really? Yeah. So I was an attitude for about two years. And then about a year ago, I switched to joining gutter. So gutter is a company that makes quite simply makes active $25 active sunglasses for everyone. That's kind of the tagline. But, you know, when you drill into that, what does that mean? We make a product that is incredible. It has an incredible performance. And we anchor it into the design principles of our company, which of the four apps so it has to be fun has to be functional, it has to be affordable, and it has to be fashionable. So if you're looking for a pair of sunglasses like that, that's basically what we do. And we do it really well.
Nice. If I were to say you are kind of like the Chubbies of sunglasses, would that be? Would that be a stretch?
You know, I don't think you've been the first person to draw that comparison. I mean, that's the I talked about the product and what we do, I think that's probably a bit narrow, in that we do have a lot of fun. I mean, I think our values are fun and authenticity. And that really shows through in the marketing in our webpage, and all the crazy stuff and ways that we get involved in our different communities.
Yeah, I am from a marketing perspective, too. I mean, it's not easy to stand out in the sunglass market. I mean, how many? How many competitors are out there doing sunglasses? So I mean, I didn't mean it as a negative thing. I think it's awesome. Your content is great. I love it. But alright, so you're on, you're on the supply chain side. Tell me a little bit about that. Because I can only imagine how complicated that is. Because you're dealing with a very inexpensive product. You're dealing with designs that go in and out of trends that have to get changed all the time. I can only imagine what it was like dealing with it over COVID Like, why don't you give us a little bit of insight into what that's like?
Yeah, for sure. So I mean managing our stuff. light chain, I think right now where we're at our biggest pain points are really around scaling and building up a supply chain that can support the growth that we're having. You know, we make an amazing product, as you said, it's small, it's relatively durable, which is ideal, for moving around the country and things like that. But it is, you know, it is a lower cost point so that every move that we make really eats into our margin, which means we need to be really thoughtful and careful about how we're designing our supply chain. You know, how we're buying how we're making our moves. And I think that has translated into us really trying to level up and mature as a supply chain function really, really quickly in the last year. So that's, those are kind of the key points around the key focuses we have right now. I mean, a huge part of what we're trying to do is to keep up with our customer demand, as I mentioned, through expanding our network, and really just getting closer to them getting product faster to them, and meeting their needs rather than you know, seeing delayed lead times fulfillment lead times, things like that.
Okay, so I know you guys already are doing ridiculous volume. Are you what's the what's your process with like, what how are you managing, pushing out? You know, what I assume is hundreds of millions of dollars a year or something a lot like something ridiculous. I know, you're a massive company, how are you pushing out all of that product or using three PLs so you're in your own warehouse? What platforms are you using? Like, what's that approach? Like?
Yeah, for sure. So we I mean, we have a tech stack to support our order flow and things like that, that is mature, it's probably not too dissimilar from what a lot of other startups have. But on the supply chain side, a huge part of why join gutter and a big initiative when I started out, as we were heading into a peak. Right when I started in April, I got to see firsthand what summer was like, in our warehouse. So we have our own warehouse is based in Inglewood, California. But it's not big, it's pretty amazing what our DC is able to do with the square footage they have without a WMS. Without a lot of these things that a lot of other warehouses have. I mean, they do incredible volume. But our lead times were not sufficient for what our customers were demanding, especially if you live on the east coast. So one of the big things I did, was I came in and started looking for three PLs that could help us on the East Coast. And we've been working on expanding that network. And adding fulfillment partners to meet our customer's needs in the southeast, northeast, Texas, and all the sunny states where our customers
where they're at, what is your thought to ever eventually expanding into just having your own warehouse in other areas? Or do you think it's probably gonna be more beneficial to stay with three peels?
You know, I think time will tell it really becomes a question. I feel like I've been talking about this a lot recently, it becomes a question of flexibility versus financial risk, versus your financials. Right. So I think the huge benefit of having a three PL partner and an external network is you can very quickly scale up your network if you need to, relative to, you know, the capex outlay and standing up your own facility, you can also scale down really quickly if you need to. So, you know, for the health of the business, when you're rapidly growing. It's a great configuration to have. But they are eating in your margin, right? It's a third-party, third-party business, you know, that typically runs really efficiently and you can get some cost savings out of things like outbound shipping, stuff like that. But at some point at some scale, it just financially makes sense to do it, you're on your own. So I don't have a crystal ball. I don't know exactly what I end up doing. But, you know, I think it's part of the beauty of working at a company that is constantly rethinking things and constantly questioning how things operate and what we should be doing. Is that give us the agility to constantly be making that consideration and plotting our future based on what makes the most sense for us?
Yeah. Well with that actually. So with your company, what it's like to actually, you know, work with, you know, everyone you've been working with at this company, what what is your culture like, like, how are they? How are you maintaining that culture? Obviously, from a marketing perspective, it looks like you guys are having a blast at all times. No, sometimes there are things behind the curtain. But then there's also like, no, it actually is that fun? Like, how, what is the culture? Like, and how are you all maintaining it?
Yeah, for sure. So this is a great question. I think it's very funny. Most startups have basically the same values, right? Like they call them different things. But when you boil it down, it's the exact same set of things. And some of them live up to them, some of them at all right. But I think what's really unique about Qatar is the core values, they thought about for a very long time, and it's simple, it's fun and authentic. So those are the two core values of the company. That's it. And there's, you know, descriptors pillars that underpin those, but fun, is, it's not, you know, necessarily partying or being wild, or any of the things that I think a lot of people might be associated with it, but it's being fun is, is being a professional crushing what you're doing having a vision, you know, being really true to the brand, and just kicking it out of the park. So I think that is a huge, huge, fat way that we maintain the culture is always looking at things through that lens of fun. And then authentic authenticity, you know, really being true to yourself, really being true to the brand and, being comfortable with failing, being comfortable with growing things like that, I think are super important to us. The way that we maintain this is there are too many to count. To be honest, I think our leadership team probably spends more time thinking or our executive-level team spends more time thinking about people and culture than any group I've ever worked with, particularly our CEO. it's top of mind for him constantly to the degree that he has his own podcast just about Guterres culture. And it's super interesting. Yeah.
What's the name of that?
It's the culture gutter podcast.
Oh, that's a stupid question. Sorry.
And I mean, he does it. He's releasing episodes right now, every two weeks with Sean who has been a pillar of building the culture at gutter. He's part of our people team. And you know, the two of them, to a degree are kind of I mean, they're not the sole owners of building the culture, but they put in countless hours and thought and effort into making it the place of this.
Yeah. Nice. Beautiful. So with that culture, obviously, the sometimes the thing I find is, it's difficult to, let's say, extend that culture into relationships that are sometimes outside of the business. So obviously, we're headed supply chain, I would imagine you're working with a lot of partners or vendors, all these different things you've got to work with, like, do you find ways to kind of make that culture still part of what it's like to work with you? Or is that where you guys draw the line? And you're like, No, we have fun. Your company's your problem?
No, it's a great question. I mean, honestly, I think it's twofold. So first, and to clarify, being fun does not mean avoiding hard conversations, I think it actually means leaning into the the discomfort and really taking on, you know, the candor and we owe it to each other to have those hard conversations rather than just pretending everything's okay. And I think that's, that's it. That's how I function, my group thinks about interacting with our vendors. Right, it's, you know, we pick vendors that are a good fit for us, as a culture, I think, and I think agility is a huge part of that, I think, being able to have candid conversations, showing up like professionals do it being reliable, those things are super important to us. So picking people that meet those criteria upfront makes it a lot easier to align on those cultural elements. But then holding each other accountable for what you said you were going to do. And that means sometimes having hard conversations, you know, yelling at one another, and at the end of the day, like getting it done. We are on a team. But I think, you know, that the key is, is being candid being honest, and being clear with your partners.
Yeah. So are you almost vetting like your partners and these vendors just to make sure their culture fits as well as obviously that their businesses are aligned with yours?
Oh, 100%. Yeah, if we, I think we look at it very often. Yeah, I mean, I think, but the reality of it is, is we look at our culture As a competitive advantage for us, you know, we, and if we dilute that, or we don't find partners that are going to be able to think about things the same way that we do, that's going to be a disadvantage, or that's going to penalize or restrict our ability to succeed as a company. So I mean, competing on cost is one thing. You know, that's obviously a factor whenever you're picking partners, but if you pick someone that you can't work with, it's going to fail.
Yeah. We're pivoting a little bit here. Where are you available? Obviously, I know you have your own website. Are you on multiple marketplaces? Are you in retail, like where goods are available for purchase? Yeah,
we have a pretty broad channel set at this point. So we have our own website, you're right, then we are available in a lot of specialty shops. So we work with a lot of running shops, a lot of cycling shops, locally owned, you know, two to five store kind of places. Obviously, we're also in some larger versions of that. We actually launched ski goggles this year. So we work with some ski shops and snowboard shops. But then we also have some big box partners that we work with, like REI. So we're available there. And we do have a global network that we work with as well. So we are available in some, some overseas countries.
What about online marketplaces like Walmart, and Target? eBay?
Yeah, do the one marketplace that we work with is Amazon. And it's in a pretty limited capacity. Candidly, we only have two skews. Sometimes we add a few screws here and there. But we typically only carry two SKUs. on Amazon, on a regular basis.
Interesting. So what's the reasoning behind that?
Yeah, it's, you know, that that's, that decision was made before I joined. But I agree with it. So I can, I can speak a little bit more towards, you know, my beliefs in and around this, as opposed to, as opposed to, you know, maybe broader gutters. But I think it's a smart approach. And I've seen this at several of the companies I've worked for, is being really thoughtful and intentional about how you use the Amazon marketplace. For some businesses, and it depends on the business, right, you have to do what makes the most sense for your customers for your fulfillment network for your product and financials. But what I think is a smart way to use Amazon, is to use it as an acquisition channel. So expose some of your product to your customers, so that they get a taste of what you know, is available. It's a great marketing platform, people are looking for sunglasses online, you know, we'll be there. But if you want to have access to all of our skews all of the limited, sunglasses we dropped that are super fun, like our St. Patrick's Day ones that are out, you got to come to our site. And there's a number of reasons for that control over the product control over the customer experience, things like that, obviously, Amazon eats into your margin pretty significantly. And if you lean into it too much, you also open yourself up to competing with their set of products on their marketplace as well. So I think, you know, my preferred approach is to either keep them at a distance, you know, use it as an acquisition channel or not do it at all. But that's my personal preference. Yeah, but I think that approach I've seen be, I've seen that be very effective for a number of companies.
Make sense? I would agree with you. Especially I think for a brand like yours, having it as an acquisition aspect. But still, like, get like you said, giving them a taste is probably the best way, especially for someone when you're doing limited drops, plus the manpower to just launch limited drops on Amazon would be a pain. For sure. But so from a marketing perspective, it's very simple to showcase. Well, I'd say it's simple, but it's simple to showcase how what your differentiator is from your competition. You also mentioned that you see your company culture as a differentiator, which is also very interesting. From an operational side. It's always like the guys behind the scenes, right? So like the supply chain guy never gets enough credit. How do you think that the operational side you know, supply chain inventory, all that fun stuff, like how are they? What's the differentiator there, from that kind of perspective as opposed to What you obviously believe your competition is doing?
So to clarify, you're saying, you know, how do I see the supply chain as a differentiator for gunner? Yeah. Okay, cool. Um, yeah. So I mean, for us, I think it's funny, you mentioned like supply chain as kind of the supporting character. And I feel like, I think it was your, I think it was on your podcast, someone was talking about being an offensive lineman. For if it wasn't you, it was another podcast, but someone brought up this idea of like, the supply chain team is like the offensive lineman on the, on the football field, and I used to play offensive line. And I actually think that makes a lot of sense, you know, you're not, you're used to, at least it used to be right. Like that was, I think, the old school mentality of, you know, no one hears your name until you mess up, and you get you to make a mistake. I think that has changed in the last few years with everything that's gone on. And the disruption of global supply chains, you know, there's been a lot of talk about is just in time dead is, you know, is the whole mentality around inventory management shifting, and I think it is, partially because I think supply chain is starting to be seen as a strategic advantage, it's something you can compete on. As I said, we're competing our culture, we want to compete on our operations and our supply chain, I don't think we're quite there yet, we still have a lot of work to do around that. But if you can deliver an incredible customer experience, and yeah, it might cost you a little bit more, but if you're winning customers over on being able to get them sunglasses, as you know, in a couple of days, like an Amazon network without using Amazon, that is a that's a competitive advantage. And that will draw people in. And I think more importantly, that'll, that'll bring them back, that may not get your first buyer, but it will get your second your third buy with those customers if they know like, hey, this company has their well as their shit together and can get me these, you know, this pair of sunglasses I need for my 5k on Saturday. If you know you have that reliability built in, then that is a strategic advantage. That is something that customers are looking for. And, you know, it gets you out of the supporting role gets you out of the shadows, and you're really starting to help drive revenue as well as opposed to just cutting costs.
It's a very good point. Greg, thank you so much for being on the show. I really appreciate it. I don't want to take up too much of your time. I know you're super busy. I would love to give you the opportunity here to let everyone know where they can find out a little bit more about yourself. And then obviously Twitter as well.
Yeah, for sure. I mean, for me, I'm pretty simple. I'm not a big social media person, but I am on LinkedIn. You know, you're welcome to hit me up if you'd like good or check out our website it's goodr.com You can find us in the retail network I mentioned but if you want the freshest availability and the and to make use of our awesome supply chain comm check out our website and you know to buy a new pair.
Beautiful. Greg, thank you so much for joining us. Obviously, everyone else thanks you for tuning in. Make sure you do all the usual rate reviews, subscribe, blah, blah, all that same stuff or head over to YouTube or ecommshow.com or wherever else you decide to listen to this. And as usual, thank you all for joining us and we will see you all next time we go
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