SEATTLE, WA / ACCESSWIRE / July 15, 2019 / Wallets don’t exactly scream “profitable startup segment”.
You don’t usually think about your wallet that much. It’s in your pocket or purse most of the time, and it only comes out when you’re paying for something.
But when Colby Bauer pulled out his wallet to pay for something, his friends sat up and took notice. He and then-girlfriend, now-wife McKenzie found a business opportunity. And in turn, Thread Wallets came on the scene with explosive growth.
We had the chance to sit down with McKenzie Bauer, co-founder of Thread Wallets, to talk about their entrepreneurial journey. The two of them have built a company that went from $140,000 to $4 million in sales-in only 3 years. And they started a family at the same time.
So how has Thread Wallets been this successful this fast?
The Origin of Thread Wallets
“It started with an accident,” says McKenzie. “Colby was bodysurfing in Hawaii and lost his wallet, and at that point he was holding his cards and cash together with a rubber band. So I decided I’d make something better-I sewed a simple sleeve out of some stretchy fabric and he started using that instead of a wallet.”
Colby’s “wallet” worked a lot better than the rubber band he’d been using before, but it wasn’t very exciting-it was plain white stretchy fabric. So he decided to get a design printed on it. That’s when people sat up and took notice. Every time he pulled his wallet out, he was getting comments.
Colby and McKenzie knew they wanted to build their own business, but they hadn’t been sure which direction to go. “So much of our dating life was us discussing business ideas,” McKenzie says. “We didn’t want to live a regular life. So when he thought he might have a chance as a professional soccer player, we considered it but decided to give Thread six months as an idea.”
The Wisdom of Crowds
Thread Wallets began as a Kickstarter project.
It was a tiny beginning, but it was encouraging enough that they decided to cancel another project they had going. Given Colby’s background playing soccer for BYU in college, they had pursued the market of custom socks and other accouterments for soccer clubs. But as the wallets picked up steam, it became clear that this was the direction to go.
They canceled a huge order of about 5,000 socks, taking a loss. They were committed. It was Thread Wallets or bust now.
Working together, Colby and McKenzie were able to build up the business rapidly. In the beginning, McKenzie was doing all the sewing, and then as it grew other people began to help. Eventually, the operation got big enough that they had to pass it off to an official manufacturer.
“I did a lot of sewing in the early days,” says McKenzie. “We were kind of surprised how much demand we had. The Kickstarter really opened our eyes to the possibilities. I was pretty grateful to pass it off by the time we got going seriously, though-my fingers were getting tired!”
Growing the Company
What was the secret to the quick growth Thread Wallets had?
Obviously having a good, simple, eye-catching product helped. And it was one that wasn’t that expensive, making the barrier to entry low. But if no one bought it, that wouldn’t have mattered.
But the biggest driver of sales for Thread was Facebook. Once Colby and McKenzie realized they had a good product on their hands, they began reinvesting their profits in promotional efforts.
“Facebook Marketplace was big for us,” says McKenzie. “When they started to offer ads, we were able to jump right in and find good results. That drove a lot of our early growth, and we’re still active on there today.”
What Marketplace ads did for them was give an easy avenue to people that were already interested in buying. They had high purchase intent already, and as Facebook served these people ads for a product that looked like something they’d buy, they tended to convert. That gave McKenzie and Colby an audience that was already being automatically optimized by Facebook’s ad platform.
In fact, Marketplace ads worked so well for them that they saw a 41 percent increase in return on ad spend year over year. Marketplace wasn’t the only avenue they used, but it was one of the most successful, and as they picked up steam it provided great results.
The Future of Thread Wallets
From a small, humble beginning, Thread Wallets has seen a huge boost in its audience and its revenue. They don’t just create wallets anymore. They’re branching into phone cases, lanyards and more. And with a small but growing crew of brand ambassadors repping Thread wherever they go, the company’s getting some viral buzz too.
“We’re excited to see where the company goes from here,” says McKenzie. “We weren’t even married at the start of this journey, and now we have a couple of kids. Thread feels like it’s been a part of our lives the whole way through. Where do we go now? We’ll find out.”
SOURCE: Press Works