Customer Clarity and Growth Focus with Buderflys’ brilliant Shea Gerhardt (episode 412)

Shea Gerhardt is the inventor, founder, and CEO of Buderflys, an innovative and strategic earbud brand. Based in the USA they’re selling exclusively DTC via their Shopify store to the USA only at the moment. Founded in 2016, they started selling in 2021 and did nearly $500k in their first four months of marketing – including going out of stock multiple times.

Shea Gerhardt Buderflys on eCommerce MasterPlan Podcast

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Landing in the World of eCommerce

Shea went to business school and figured out that her mind worked best in the marketing space.

Early on, she worked at TBWA\CHIAT\DAY, and did brand strategy and go-to-market strategy. From there, she mostly held executive positions but creating disruptive products in big industries.

About six years ago, she started her own business because of an idea, and that’s how she landed in eCommerce.

How Buderflys Came About

It all started when Shea fell asleep with her Apple AirPods still in her ears. She woke up in the morning with pain in her ears, but because she still wanted to use the EarPods, she tried to find a way to make them fit better.

She cut the AirPods along the seams and wrapped the components in swimmer’s wax. She used them all day. and found them really comfortable.

She later discovered that the main issues for people in the earphone industry are fit and comfort. Armed with that knowledge and learning that the human ear is constantly moving when someone talks, exercises, or chews, she set out to create an earbud that flexes with the ear so that it can be worn comfortably by anybody.

The Buderflys Earbuds

Buderflys earbuds come with a tether to provide nine and a half hours of active battery life. This is compared to wireless ones that typically need to be charged after only two hours of use.

Shea said they added the tether because they were focused on the consumer and their target audience. And users have been giving Buderflys different reasons why they love having the tether, but for Shea, these are just more ways for the brand to understand how their earbuds are being used.

Taking the DTC Route

While there were a lot of options, Shea decided to take the DTC route and build the Buderflys brand because it was a way for them to emotionally connect with consumers.

However, going DTC is not stopping Buderflys from looking at other opportunities to scale the business. Sectors like the military and call centers have already approached them for possible deals, and Shea is looking at other industries as well for their long-term goals.

Identifying & Understanding the Market

Shea’s first approach to coming up with the product was to look at the problem they were solving, how many people were affected by it, and if it was something people were willing to pay for.

When they identified their market, they further narrowed it down and focused on those who would benefit most from the product and become their future evangelists and ambassadors.

eCommerce Book Top Tip

eCommerce Traffic Top Tip

  • For Shea, it has to be a mix of different things, such as PR, influencer marketing, and social media. And don’t forget to connect and create a relationship with your customers, and have email and SMS work for you.

Tool Top Tip

  • Asana work management platform
  • Slack messaging program
  • Streak for investor management

Buderflys is also building a productivity tool where you can record the last 20 seconds and the next 20 seconds of what you’re listening to and have it translated to text.

Growth Top Tip

  • Define and strengthen the positioning of your brand to connect with your consumers. Also, get your message out through PR if you want to grow quickly.

Interview Links

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