Hi, everyone! It’s your old pal, Melissa. I’m super excited to bring you a special What’s in Store mini-series all about marketing automations. Last month, the What’s in Store crew traveled to the Big Apple to interview 10 different customers about how and why they use Mailchimp automations, so that we can bring you their top tips, tricks, and learnings.
Hickies' Money‑Making Welcome Automaton
How the innovative lacing company turned a "hello" into revenue.
First up was Hickies, an innovative lacing system designed so you don’t have to tie your shoes, like, ever again. Hickies is the brainchild of husband-wife team Mariquel Waingarten and Gastón Frydlewski. They loved sneakers, but hated shoelaces, and so they decided to develop an alternative to standard laces. They did some research, made a prototype, and launched a Kickstarter campaign to see if the rest of the world was ready for Hickies. As it turns out, the world was, indeed, ready. When their Kickstarter raised more than 600% of their regular goal, they knew they were on to something.
In just 5 years, Hickies has grown their distribution to include 47 countries. As any small business owner knows, that kind of rapid growth comes with pros as well as cons. “We have 23 employees, so we don’t even have one employee per country,” explains Gastón, “and each country has its own demands, culture, demographics, and interests.”
Gastón and Mariquel knew that if they were to maintain this level of global business, they’d have to implement a sustainable growth strategy. Here’s what they did:
“When we first decided to act on this idea, we knew we couldn’t do it in Argentina, our home,” Mariquel tells us. “We quit our jobs, sold our business, got married, and moved to New York from Buenos Aires to make it happen. With our home base in New York, we’re able to tap into the city that everyone is watching all over the world. Through networking in the city, we have established a reputation as a New York company with touch-points all over the world.”
Who knows the landscape of a market better than a local? “We rely on the expertise of local talent to direct us in the proper way to develop content and strategies for markets in relevant, ethical, and sustainable ways,” Gastón says. They also hired a team of senior executives in Europe, one of their largest markets, who had come from footwear and athletic industry giants like Adidas and Under Armour to provide expert guidance.
Hickies loves their customers, and if they could, they’d send a personalized welcome email to each and every one of them. But with a list that’s grown to more than 300,000 individuals, that’s just not scalable.
“We can’t do everything ourselves, so partners like Mailchimp help us with integrating our whole customer relationship and education,” Mariquel says. “We currently have an opt-in pop-up on our sites, and when people subscribe they receive the welcome series right away. If they don’t open it, they receive another one the next day. This keeps users engaged and it also allows us to communicate the value of our product through another medium.”
“Not only that, but it has also generated a ton of revenue for us,” Gastón adds. “To put this in context, we have generated over $800,000 in revenue from the welcome series since we launched it back in 2015.”
In fact, the welcome series automation allowed Hickies to generate the revenue they needed to grow as a company without depending on third-party vendors or wholesalers. And it also helped them to understand how to best communicate the nuances of the product when onboarding new customers.
And the more they grow their customer base, the more insights they get, which means they can keep optimizing their content.
Learn more about Mailchimp’s marketing automations.“We think about marketing in terms of content generation and content distribution,” Gastón says. “Once you have the distribution taken care of with automation, then you can focus on the generation, which is the exciting part.”