How Shopify Startup Seep reached £1 Million a Year in Sales with Laura Harnett (episode 448)

Laura Harnett is the founder of Seep, a certified B Corp selling eco house cleaning tools. She shares her journey into eCommerce, discussing how Seep generates a million pounds a year in sales through its Shopify store and wholesale channels.

Laura Harnett Seep on eCommerce MasterPlan Podcast

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Dive in:

[02:27] Why Laura chose to start her own business.
[04:52] What it’s like starting a UK-based eco-cleaning brand.
[10:26] Product information and having a social purpose.
[12:46] Offering complementary brands to increase customer acquisition.
[15:23] Trade show growth, engaging influencers and lead capture.
[20:05] How brand collaborations work well by connecting customers organically.

About Laura

Laura’s background is in consumer and retail, including being the director of digital for Selfridges. Towards the end of her time at Selfridges, she began angel investing in small consumer brands and became fascinated with the startup world.

After being diagnosed and treated for breast cancer, Laura reassessed her life and decided to start something of her own. She felt it was the future and a way to stay relevant in consumer and retail. Additionally, she didn’t want to have any regrets in life, which further motivated her to take the leap and start her own venture.

Trade show tips and lessons

Seep’s first trade show focused on both wholesale and retail, which aligns with their business’s growth strategy. Laura shares some of what she learned from the experience:

  • Find a trade show that brings in the press and influencers. Engaging with them can increase social media exposure, which is an unexpected benefit of trade shows.
  • Simplify your lead capture process.
  • There’s no need to showcase too many free products. This will help you avoid individuals taking advantage and repeatedly collecting items.

Why free gifts are great for growing sales–in more ways than you think

Laura explains that they offer their own products as free gifts to drive trial and clear out overstock, while also offering other brands’ products to gain access to a new audience. This approach serves as a customer acquisition strategy and helps raise the average order value.

She believes that partnering with complementary brands introduces their customers to products they may like and fosters a reciprocal relationship. She also mentions that it plays a significant role in their economics as they focus on maximizing the average order value for initial purchases rather than relying on subscriptions.

Why they’re not a subscription business

Relative to their strategy of offering free gifts, Laura says they’ve been experimenting with this approach because they chose not to offer subscriptions.

The typical subscription model aims to attract customers with a subscription and retain them over time. However, they avoided that strategy and considered other options. It was important for them to maximize the average order value for the initial purchase, given its significance to their economic model, which made them decide on utilizing gift-with-purchase promotions.

Community building tips

For Seep, community entails managing customer services and building relationships by providing a personalized and human touch to interactions, both through email and social media.

Laura emphasizes the value of going beyond just selling products and aims to educate customers on sustainability and product-related information. Additionally, she mentions using the Seep platform to share content related to social causes and engage customers with various activities and materials aligned with their values.

eCommerce Book Top Tip

eCommerce Traffic Top Tip

  • Brand collaborations. This has worked well for Seep, especially since the cost of advertising has gone up.

Tool Top Tip

Carbon Top Tip

  • Understand the carbon footprint of your product and try to reduce it as much as possible. One tool Laura uses is Impact Forecast, which helps you improve your climate impact. They’ve also partnered with a carbon offsetting charity to help them with their carbon footprint.

Interview Links

*Thank you to Paul Finch from Growth Studio for the introduction to Laura!

Related episodes

  • Taking a Sustainable Products brand to 2million+ customers with Jennie Perry from Grove Collaborative (episode 377)
  • Reusing 5.5 million Plastic Drink Bottles with Hayley Clarke, co-owner and MD at Onya (episode 431)
  • The eCommerce Mattress Revolution with Mark Tremlett, Founder of Naturalmat (episode 437)

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