Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
As mountain snowmobile enthusiasts, we naturally wanted to find a way to work in the industry. We found that there were a few niche product markets that had growing demand. In our market specifically there was a lack of availability and limited selection for a top quality product. That's how B&M Fabrications was born! All of our products are fabricated right here in our facility in North Branch, MN. We are a three man operation and pride ourselves on making quality products. Each and every ounce of material for our products is sourced right from small businesses within our own community.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
Our first sales came mainly from word of mouth. We sold in a popular local swap meet to gain our first handful of customers. From there the phone started to ring regularly. Social media was huge for us. We opened a business Facebook page and an Instagram account as well. In our market we utilize images of our products to catch the eye of our consumers. We focus on style and build quality of our fabricated products. Showcasing them via social media images has helped tremendously with showing what we offer!
Hands down Shopify has been instrumental in our success. We tried to use a traditional webstore/website in the past. We are fabricators not computer guys so the old webstore was difficult to modify and understand. We had a hard time keeping it up to date and looking good. We also did not have enough cash flow to hire our website building out. This left us with regular down time and loss of sales. Shopify was the easiest and most robust option we found. Our online sales have jumped dramatically through Shopify.
Tell us about the back-end of your business. What tools and apps do you use to run your store? How do you handle shipping and fulfillment?
We use three main apps within our store that assist with day to day operations. Shopify Facebook store is great to give social followers an option to jump to our store right from our page. Shippo has been great for simplifying our shipping process and billing. It works with all of our shipping vendor accounts and makes shipping seamless. Lastly we have started to use MailChimp for Shopify. This is a great way to deliver new product availability notices as well as company news. It allows you to track opens etc. so you can see if your campaigns are working. Everything is handled within our shop doors. Most of our products are built to order so we have a simple process.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
We are in a time when a single person can start a billion dollar company. It happens more often than you think. So don't be afraid to jump. You will struggle in the beginning and that's a fact. Success isn't given its earned so keep focused on the prize and ALWAYS FOLLOW THROUGH. Common sense, a little elbow grease, and pig-headed determination is all you need to get your idea off the ground. So what are you waiting for?