Tell us about yourself and Hen Outdoors.
I am a software engineer. I’ve worked at a variety of places, from a small startup that turned into a big company, to a large fortune 50 company, and even at a non-profit trying to change the world.
It’s a bit weird that a liberal, vegetarian software engineer from Portland, Oregon, teams up to start an apparel company for women who hunt and fish. So my partner is my sister Kari. She is an avid outdoors woman, she goes out and hunts, fishes, and shoots guns and bows. She is a tough woman and frankly we are complete opposites!
Kari was tired of never having clothes that represent her hobbies. A lot of everyday apparel for hunting is for men and boys. Or the clothes look tacky and bad. She started designing and selling t-shirts but had a tough time with the tech and marking side.
I kept helping her more and more, and realized this could be a huge opportunity. I also realized there was a lot more to all of this than clothes. It’s about empowering women to do what they love and carve out a space for themselves, in an otherwise, male dominated sport and hobby.
How do you manage order fulfilment and customer service as a remote business?
We both don’t live in the same city, so communication is very important. We have a part-time employee, but it’s just us, so we have to get all the help we can get. We still lean heavily on the fulfilment service Printful. They print our products and fulfil our orders for us. Though, we are moving away from them and doing more and more in house fulfilment. We really needed a partner when we got started to help with quality, shipping, etc.
As for customer service, it’s an obsession for the both of us. Kari handles all of that. We try to respond within an hour, every time. We get most questions directly from facebook messenger.
So far we get complimented the most on our customer service so I think we’re doing a good job.
Did you build your Shopify store yourself or hire a designer? How long did it take until you were ready to launch?
Since I’m a software engineer / developer I created the store myself. We hired a designer to help with design though. I did a lot of the tweaking myself, but we hired someone to do most of the styling, as I was too busy. I’ve made a number of customizations behind the scenes to automate stuff. Such as adding sizing guides for all printful products. I even made an open source project if someone needs it: Printful Sizing Guide
What Shopify apps do you use? Which apps are most important to your business?
The very most important is Printful. Other apps:
Are there any metrics you can share in terms of monthly orders or revenue?
We are now at over $2k in sales a month. Our facebook page has over 23k likes and is growing every single day.
What are you working towards right now?
Content content content! We want to be more than a store. We want to help other women figure out what gear to buy. Tips on hunting. Be an inspiration for other women. Also to entertain.
An example of useful and relevant content for customers.
On the business side, moving more fulfilment to in house to increase margins. This will make us faster and increase quality. Get the customer acquisition cost way down. Put out better designs.
Any other advice for Shopify store owners?
It is cliche, but you really need to focus on building an audience. A huge majority of all of our sales are from our growing audience.
Also, trying to become an expert at Facebook / Google Ads and SEO. I really like Brian Dean’s stuff over at Backlinko.
Where can we find more?
You can follow us on Facebook at Henoutdoors.
If hunting is your jam, you can follow our Henoutdoors blog here.