Based in Long Island City, NY, Baron Fig was started by two guys on a mission to make the perfect notebook. Back in 2013, co-founders Joey Cofone and Adam Kornfield set out to create a tool that was simple, beautiful, and easy to use. They called it The Confidant, and today it’s still their #1 bestseller.
Four years and thousands of notebooks, planners, pens, and pencils later, the duo has managed to grow their dream into an international business and launch a podcast to boot.
“Our greatest challenge has always been navigating the transition between different phases of the business,” Adam tells me.
Here are a couple ways Joey and Adam have been able to sail smoothly through the stormy seas of e-commerce:
After spending an entire year working on everything from design to production to shipping to coding their website, Joey and Adam were thrilled and relieved to finally launch their e-commerce store. But then that all-too-familiar feeling of “Now what?” set in.
Sure, there were products in the pipeline, but as any e-retailer knows, physical goods can take months before they’re available to sell. The guys knew they had to keep the momentum going, so they decided to launch a community-driven Poster Project in the meantime. The idea was to have something with a quick turnaround that would help generate a buzz while the rest of their inventory was in the production queue.
“It was great for engaging customers, and to this day people still mention the project and tell us which poster was their favorite,” Joey says. “Plus, the project was covered in several media outlets, including Fast Company, which helped our tiny company get in front of new people.”
These days, Baron Fig has a team of 6, but for nearly 2 years, Joey and Adam ran everything themselves—design, production, shipping, customer service, marketing, legal, finance, and so on.
“We knew at some point we’d have to make our first hires and start handing off portions of the business,” Joey says, “but we didn’t know when it would happen or what we’d hand off first.”
Slowly but surely, the guys began hiring and handing off responsibilities. In addition to bringing on new employees, they also turned to digital solutions and marketing platforms like Mailchimp to help lighten the load.
“We’re a small company, so offloading that work onto software like Mailchimp automation gives us more time to do what we need to do,” Joey says.
“For example, we know on average that customers use a Confidant notebook for 4 or 5 months, and we know when someone needs a refill for their Squire Pen,” Adam says. “We’re able to send product follow-ups at a time that is actually useful to the customer.”
Best of all, it’s solidifying a relationship with a person on the other end.
“The product follow-up automation creates individualized touch-points with our customers,” Joey adds.
“We’re sending more emails, but more of the right emails, so these have a lower unsubscribe rate. It’s clear people appreciate an email that comes to them at the right time.”