Taking a mulit-niche-brand approach to 7-figures plus with Trevor Crotts from Buddy Brands (episode 338)

Trevor Crotts is the CEO and founder of Buddy Brands. A pet products company founded in 2011 they have now become multiple dog brands which combined have annual sales of substantial 7 figures.

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Trevor’s Start In eCommerce

Trevor was an eBay power seller back in the early 2000s, and really got a great understanding of eCommerce from not only selling his own stuff but also selling other people’s products. 

He still recommends starting on eBay to anyone who wants to get into eCommerce because it’s a good place to learn how to sell online including write listings, take photographs, and handle customer issues.

About Buddy Brands

Their story started 10 years ago with a company called Buddy Rest.

At that time, Trevor was working in the mattress industry and had a labradoodle. During a routine visit to the vet, he was surprised to learn that his dog Buddy’s life expectancy was only 10 years because dogs like him suffered from painful joint problems. 

Knowing how the right mattress support helped people, he looked for something similar for Buddy but found nothing.

Out of need, he saw an opportunity to create a business and do something for Buddy and all the other dogs and that’s how Buddy Rest came about.

Growing The Brand

For the first several years, Buddy Rest was a solo brand.

In the beginning, they made one prototype product and showcased it at a local pet fair. They got validation that people were interested in the product to support the health of their pets, and the encouragement to keep going.

They went on to make more products, got their website going, made their first sale two weeks after that and grew organically from there. They also joined a pet industry show where they made some connections with bigger companies, and from that point, the company just grew.

Launching The Brand’s Own Site

Trevor decided to sell via their own website instead of selling on eBay because he says with the latter, there are so many things you can’t control.

Owning the customer relationship and building out the brand were important to him and to go on eBay would not have given him that.

Making A Pivot

Buddy Brands wasn’t initially designed to be an eCommerce company. They were set on being in brick-and-mortar retailers and they were actually successful in having their products picked up by 600-700 stores.

The problem was there was no follow through: they got the first orders from shop owners but didn’t get reorders because the sales people couldn’t articulate the value of the product.

After several years, they switched to DTC and sold online. This was pivotal to the company and obviously the right move for them looking back.

Educating Your Market

With differentiation and having a higher-dollar product, there is a huge educational component you have to achieve.

Buddy Brands found it easier to educate their customers with videos and online content versus relying on store employees.

Expanding To Other Brands

Trevor didn’t think it fit well to have different products under just one brand.

The pet industry is a good place to be, but not all dog owners are the same. This is why the expansion to other brands — whether through build or buy strategy — came about and Buddy Brands is now a collection of products that target different demographics.

Marketing Approach Across Multiple Brands

There are a lot of cross-over and standard marketing practices every brand needs to do, but for Buddy Brands, it’s a diverse approach depending on what works for each brand.

Continuously improve, reiterate, and do the right things every day and these will accumulate and compound. These are the guiding principles at Buddy’s Brands that have given them their success today.

The Buddy Brands Team Set-up

Trevor says they don’t have a large team and their headcount is around 20.

There are brand managers working on a project management level, and they have agency partners (including an SEO agency and a Facebook Ads person) to supplement the team.

They also have production and warehouse people, because aside from making their own products, they create custom products for other companies.

Key Advice

Look at what assets are in front of you, what your brand is about, and who is it about.

Everything should be natural, organic, and intuitive, and should all be about user experience.

It’s really easy to find if something doesn’t fit and if it doesn’t feel like it fits, then it doesn’t fit.

eCommerce Book Top Tip

eCommerce Traffic Top Tip

Tool Top Tip

Growth Top Tip

  • Finding out what works and quadrupling down on that.

Interview Links

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