Phoebe Yu is the Founder and CEO of Ettitude a sustainable bedding brand that’s all about helping customers get a better night’s sleep. They launched in Australia in 2014, and more recently launched in the USA in November 2017 where it has consistently hit monthly growth of 15-20%.
About the Business
- Based in Australia and the United States
- Consistent monthly growth rate of 15-20%
- Switched from Big-Commerce to Shopify Plus
- Runs two distinct sites for different markets
Looking for Better Options
Phoebe built a career in product development for large US home goods retailers manufacturing out of Asia. While she learned a lot about the retail business and especially product development and supply chain management, she says that rather than quality, comfort and sustainability, companies seemed to only care about keeping production costs as low as possible.
When she began searching for products to outfit her own home, she found little to nothing available on the market that ticked all of her boxes. Some people would have just given up at that point, but Phoebe went on a mission to develop high quality, sustainable bedding at an accessible price point. Since then, the company has developed a range of other product lines and has expanded significantly.
Ettitude started in Australia, but after the team noticed most of their sales were coming from North America, they launched formally in the United States in 2017.
The company keeps two different web sites and maintains a separation between the Australian and UK site and the North American one. The surprising reason for this is actually due to the differences in bed dimensions and names.
In Australia and the UK—it’s a single. In America it’s a twin, a UK double is a U.S. full and so on. Today, the brand has expanded into loungewear and baby goods— a growth that came organically from customer feedback. One of Phoebe’s favorite things about eCommerce is the unique ability to connect directly with customers.
Listen to learn how an eCommerce platform can help incentivize product development and expansion.
The Ettitude Team
Edditude has a total of 10 people on the team—4 in Australia and 6 in Los Angeles. When she started growing in the US, Phoebe brought on company President Katrina as a partner to grow their US market and has based much of the business operations there.
The marketing manager and full time graphic designer reside in Los Angeles and Phoebe herself relocated from Australia. Phoebe has been very strategic in her hiring and says that the diverse experience of her team makes the startup work.
Her willingness to give free range to her employees to explore their interests and expand their skill sets has created a richer work environment and ultimately a better product.
The team works in co-working spaces in their respective locations that Phoebe says provide not only a great work environment but the opportunity to collaborate as well.
In order to work between the two time-zones, the team has scheduled a once a week “all hands on deck” virtual meeting, but the smaller teams talk to each other daily using apps like zoom and google hangouts.
Development and Growth
Ettitude products are manufactured in China, where the organic bamboo that forms the main base for their products grows. Phoebe’s experience in product development and supply chain management gives her the expertise necessary to develop and refine an innovative product line using a novel material as well as the ability to put all the pieces together in a comprehensive way.
She is continually working on development with her team who bring in customer feedback and suggestions.
Reviews and word of mouth are part of the life blood of the Ettitude business model. Like many major purchase items like mattresses, Ettitude offers a long period for a money back guarantee on all of their products.
Phoebe says that getting the material in the hands of users is the most important thing, largely because people need to experience the fabric in order to feel truly sold on it. Ettitude uses influencers and subscription boxes as a way to develop education around the product and build a reputation of quality.
With a novel product material like bamboo, it’s crucial to get people to touch and feel the actual product so they can then share their feedback within their own sphere of influence.
Listen to learn how Ettitude uses subscription boxes and influencers to build the reputation of their product.
In Real Life
Real world connections are what Phoebe says makes their business unique. As a startup, the group has decided it’s important to attend events, connect with customers and get great word of mouth reviews. One way to make that happen?
The team is currently working hard on preparing for a three month pop up. Creating a user experience is critical for today’s consumers and designing the retail environment has been a significant project with a tremendous amount of details and planning.
eCommerce Book Top Tip
- Venture Deals by Brad Feld
eCommerce Traffic Top Tip
- Work with subscription companies to include a physical product in their boxes. Unique products fit well with influencers and subscription box.
Tool Top Tip
- Asana for project management
- Slack to keep the communication going
Growth Top Tip
- Testing! Finding the unique channel that works for you. Phoebe says pinterest or podcasts and that in real world platforms are coming back as well. Each brand has unique needs and Phoebe recommends testing.
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