DTC POD: How The Best Brands Are Built

#203 - Brendan Brosnan & Chris Heckman: Yogaste - Building & Selling to OpenStore in 24 Months

Episode Summary

Brendan Brosnan and Chris Heckman are co-founders of Yogaste, which they built and sold to OpenStore after just 2 years. They are serial entrepreneurs who are experts at quickly creating, scaling, and selling online brands. Brosnan and Heckman met and bonded over a shared passion for eCommerce and entrepreneurship, and partnered up to create and scale several profitable eCommerce businesses. They’ve had experience launching over 15 brands, with 6 being major wins. Their most recent success is Yogaste, a DTC yoga and apparel brand. Yogaste was less than 2-years old when the business was acquired by OpenStore for $490K cash.

Episode Notes

On this episode of DTC Pod, Brosnan and Heckman join Blaine & Ramon to discuss the process of creating, scaling, and selling an e-commerce business. They cover topics including how to start an online store, how to validate before investing in inventory, getting started with print on demand options, tapping into sourcing agent networks, what makes a viable partnership with a manufacturer, options for acquisition, how to sell the business, how OpenStore’s credibility and ethos made them the right buyer, what payout and transition looks like, and what opportunities look exciting next.

11:27 - 12:15
“New Age Entrepreneurship Methodology”
I think something unique that that we did, it’s kind of the New Age Entrepreneurship Methodology now is to kind of like pre launch products. So before we actually put $1 into inventory, we launched the entire collection for all the brands that we did. So we have done a sock company, a tie dye company, jewelry company, yoga company, men’s apparel company, a couple other in there, but those were our five kind of most successful brands. Every one of those was pre sold at the start. So we just built out the collection, didn’t have any inventory, just told our customers that we were going to be pre selling. And we just were trying to gauge interest and drive some some traffic and see how well the site converted. See what our cost per clicks were on Facebook and see if we had real traction before we started pursuing the product.

24:56 - 25:37
Having Trust Saves Time And Money
The one piece of advice that I would say is to find one supplier instead of like going through Alibaba, that might be how you have to find an initial supplier, but build a relationship with one supplier that you really trust. Because even if like our jewelry supplier, for example, she didn’t manufacture yoga mats and socks and all that kind of stuff. But she was able to give us recommendations. We’d say, hey, we need to source x, y. And she would say, I’ll introduce you to my friend who has a manufacturer who does this. And cutting Alibaba and the online lists out of the process will save you a ton of time. But in the beginning, it’s kind of necessary to build that first relationship.

1:01:30 - 1:02:12
Don’t Let Failure Slow You Down
We have had way more failures than we’ve had success. We’ve probably launched 15 to 20 stores. We’ve had 5 successful 5 or 6 successful stores. Like we just move fast test things. The classic move fast, break things, fix it. Especially with eCommerce online business, it’s easy to move fast. You have no excuse not to move fast, and at least test concepts and ideas. And then when you have something you believe in or at least believe that can be a success, then taking the time and investing in the cop (edited) 

This episode is brought to you by OpenStore:

Visit https://open.store to get a free, no-obligation offer for your e-commerce business from OpenStore in 24 hours.

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Brendan Brosnan and Chris Heckman- Co-founders of Yogaste

Ramon Berrios - CEO of Trend.io

Blaine Bolus - COO of OmniPanel