How I Started A $60K/Month Business Selling Male Rompers

$60,000
revenue/mo
3
Founders
1
Employees
product
RomperJack
from Los Angeles
started July 2017
$60,000
revenue/mo
3
Founders
1
Employees
404K
alexa rank
23.5K
followers
158
followers
9
subs
platform
email
reviews
social media
productivity
advertising
design

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Hello, my name is Justin Clark, I’m 31 and I am the founder of RomperJack. RomperJack is a men’s apparel company that specifically sells men's rompers and jumpsuits. Our rompers are made from premium materials and designed to be perfectly fitted.

RomperJack is a premium men’s brand that is predominately preferred by the LGBTQ community. Our customers tend to be bold, confident and unique. Our customers enjoy our floral patterns, tight fit, and whacky styling.

Men's rompers are very unique and have not even been around for 2 years yet.

For those who are unfamiliar with a mens romper; it’s a button up shirt sewn into shorts and a jumpsuit is a button up shirt sewn into pants, like a fashionable onesie. Check out the pictures below….

how-i-started-a-60k-month-business-selling-male-rompers Romper/Jumpsuit….

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

Actually, it’s kind of a cool backstory...

In late 2015, I was just about to go to Medical School and shortly before, I came up with an app idea called Whiz Tutor. Whiz Tutor is similar to Uber however, is designed to help parents and students find local, on-demand tutors in their area.

We officially launched the store on July 10, 2017 and on the first day, I remember we did about $1,200 in sales. We were so stoked and have only continued to grow since then.

Long story short, I raised capital, launched the platform, went through an accelerator program, raised more capital, and began to scale. I ended up choosing to remain in the entrepreneur world and haven’t looked back. This early startup ultimately gave me the skills and provided me with the team that would later open the door to RomperJack. Whiz Tutor to this date is still our main focus and is continuing to prosper and grow everyday.

As Whiz Tutor was growing and becoming more and more popular, we never really thought about how slow it would be during the summertime as an Ed-tech startup. Well, let’s just say you can hear crickets in our office during summertime because Tutoring is not cool and hip especially when school is on break. Summer time is Whiz Tutor’s slow period so this gives us time to play around with other possible business opportunities.

In May 2017 just after finals ended (Just after our busiest time for whiz tutor), I came across a Kickstarter campaign called Romphim; it was a couple of guys trying to launch the men's romper. They essentially wanted to raise $10,000 to get their project going, but by day 3 they already raised $330,000! I was blown away!! The first thing that popped in my head was product-market fit. They had this instant explosive traction and they didn’t have a single competitor.

So I gave them a competitor, MEEEE 😎. I remember that day calling a couple of friends and quickly asking them for some funding that would be used to help design the rompers and buy inventory. After about a minute of me pitching them, they all happily agreed. Also, My other Whiz Tutor Co-founders all agreed to help as well.

That was the day the idea was born.

how-i-started-a-60k-month-business-selling-male-rompers

Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.

When we first saw the romper on Kickstarter, all we had to work with was a picture since no one was actually selling mens rompers at the time.

So we took that picture, threw it into Photoshop, changed the color and gave the romper a more tapered and fitted look. We changed the fit and look of the romper because we were targeting the LGBTQ audience. This specific customers tends to like clothing more fitted. Once we were happy with the look that's when I reached out to different manufacturers on Alibaba.

Before Romperjack, I did have some experience sourcing products on Alibaba. I’ve sourced many samples for other side projects that never really got going but that experience gave me a pretty good upper-hand.

Inventory has killed more companies than the plague. If you are familiar with the book The 80/20 Rule, you could clearly apply this rule to your different SKUs and see that there is a very true correlation.

Usually, when you source products, you reach out to multiple manufacturers for samples, but since no one has ever made this product, we had to do this differently. I vividly remember this clothing manufacturer that I stumbled upon who was making women's’ rompers oversees.

I decided to email them a picture of the romper and asked if they could make it. A man named Baloo (yes like The Jungle Book) responded to the email and started asking me all sorts of fashion/garment manufacturing questions. I had no idea what he was talking about. I knew absolutely nothing about fashion so I was completely lost.

So, I just told him “Baloo I don’t know a single thing about fashion but I need to get a sample made, can you take this picture and pretend you were going to make a men’s romper sample for a 180lb, 6-foot man.”

He emailed back and said “My friend, no problem. I make for you!” Two weeks later I had a sample. 😂

The first sample we got was really, really bad. The material was really thin, the fit was way off and it felt cheaply made. However, we at least had something to work with. We measured the sample and then went shopping for better materials.

how-i-started-a-60k-month-business-selling-male-rompers The picture above is of my brother wearing the first sample. This was actually the first picture taken of the product.

I sent Baloo the material we were looking for and the new measurements. Within two weeks, we got the new samples and they were perfect! Baloo and I discussed MOQ (Minimum order quantity) pricing and once I was satisfied, I made a bulk order for 1 style with 4 different colors.

The first order we purchased was for 1200 pieces 4 different styles.

Describe the process of launching the business.

At the time, none of us had any experience with fashion nor an inventory-related business, so we were like a chicken blindfolded running around when we launched.

The first issue we had when creating our website was that we had no available product to take pictures of so we had to use our photoshop mock-ups to create the original site. The second issue was that we had no clear understanding of who our market was. No one had ever tried to sell a male romper before, so we had no idea who to even market to.

Even though we had some things against us we did know how to create a business, market/advertise and how to create a well-designed website. For the website, we decided to use Shopify to power our e-commerce store and host our site. Shopify definitely has the best platform for merchants. To file our business LLC and to create a DBA, we used LEGALZOOM.

We also filed for a trademark to protect the RomperJack name, to do this we used Trademarkia. To source the product and find credible manufacturers we used Alibaba.

Once we finally finished building the site, we needed to run a live test to make sure everything was functioning correctly.. (keep in mind we had no product at this time, I believe the product was not supposed to arrive for about 35 more days). I published the website to test everything and 30 seconds after doing so, someone in San Francisco somehow found our brand new romper site and purchased a romper. NO JOKE!!! 30 seconds after launch, someone bought!!! We all freaked out, we didn’t even have anything to send him, lol. Long story short we had to email the customer to let him know what had happened and we promised him a free romper once we got our stock.

The customer that bought the first romper gave us the idea to sell on pre-order because we knew that customers would still purchase pre-orders if no one else was selling rompers yet. So we officially launched the store on July 10, 2017 and on the first day, I remember we did about $1200 in sales. We were so stoked and have only continued to grow since then.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

Before Romperjack came to life, we were already running 2 online companies making us already extremely familiar with different online marketing tactics. However, we weren’t sure which ones would necessarily work better - which is where testing came in to play.

When we first launched Romperjack, we had a huge advantage right off the bat which was having very very strong SEO, like page 1 spot #2 for our keywords. This was simply due to the fact that there were only 2 companies in the world at the time selling mens rompers - Us (Romperjack) and Romphim. Since this day, we have remained in the #2 spot.

To build our initial traffic and to find an audience, we tested and utilized a ton of different marketing platforms… Facebook/Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Ad roll (retargeting), Google Ad Words, Bing Ad Words, Reddit Ads, Outbrain, Influencer Marketing etc… Now, not all these platforms worked. In fact, some of them failed miserably.

Over the past 2 years, we have simplified our marketing down to 4 keys things: I will break them down:

Facebook and Instagram Ads

We use this platform to find new customers and to retarget current interested customers. Facebook ROAS is about 4.2X.

In the beginning we casted a very wide net to find our target audience and as we got more and more sales we narrowed that audience down. Now we run lookalike campaigns based off our customer list.

We also have a sales funnel setup to capture a customer at multiple stages. We run a ton of retargeting campaigns at different stages to finalize the sale.

Google AdWords

We use this platform for the mid-level funnel. People who find us through Google Ad Words by searching our key words means that they are seriously thinking about buying. We buy keywords like mens romper or male romper so when one puts that into google we pop up.

AdRoll

This does retargeting that is seen on 1000’s of websites. Retargeting is a way to show ads to customers that visited your site but did not purchase. It’s kind of like subliminal marketing, they see the ad and it reminds them, then later on they come to back to purchase. We have about a 12X ROAS with retargeting. This is super simple to setup, Adroll will even make the ad for you.

The last thing we use is email marketing. We build email lists of interested customers by offering them something when they subscribe. These lists build over time and with the right campaign we can get these customers to convert quite well.

All in all, Romperjack has about 45k visitors to its website every month. This number continues to grow and grow as more and more customers learn about our products and mission.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Today, Romperjack is doing great! So far, we have been growing by an average of 60% month to month in 2019 and things are looking great.

Here are some notable analytics

  • Monthly Visitors: >40,000
  • 2.4% Conversion Rate
  • 15,000 Email Subscribers
  • 20,000 Instagram followers
  • 24% Return Customer Rate

We have some really cool things planned for our future. Since we have now established a brand, we are excited to begin to offer other products other than just rompers. We just recently launched our first pair of mens shorts and have plans to launch mens overalls and nice button-up shirts. We also recently launched a womens overall brand called Romperjill that has already completely sold out.

Our goal is to grow Romperjack into a recognizable global brand and to have its success continue to be carried on either by us (the founding team) or by a possible buyer in the future.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

Over the last 2 years, we have learned so much from Romperjack - our first ecommerce business.

The main takeaways from starting this company are that we learned how to define a proper audience, learned a ton about online marketing, how to deal with inventory, how to successfully source products from overseas, and most of all, the importance of establishing a brand rather than just a product.

Start something you actually enjoy doing otherwise you will just get bored and the probability of it failing is much higher.

We have also had many hardships over the past 2 years. The 2 in particular: dealing with inventory and available cash to increase growth.

Inventory has killed more companies than the plague. If you are familiar with the book The 80/20 Rule, you could clearly apply this rule to your different SKUs and see that there is a very true correlation.

We quickly saw this with Romperjack when we made the huge mistake of launching way to many styles and assuming they would sell. Now we see that literally 80% of our sales come from only 20% of our products. So to combat this, we order a very low amount of new designs until they are proven high sellers and order a very large amount of the popular designs.

Lack of capital is also startup killer. To grow, you always need capital. We were actually growing faster than we could afford, which in turn, actually slowed our growth in a sense. We still have this problem to date.

We are growing anywhere between 60-100% month to month but we can’t afford to order enough product at that rate either because some SKU’s are still unsold or because our funding capital has already been spent the previous month. To combat this we take high credit lines with terrible terms that require quick payback. Unfortunately, this eats into our profit but it avoids us selling equity early on.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

  • Sketch, Photoshop (and other Adobe Suite apps) for design
  • Slack for communication
  • Dropbox & Google Drive for file sharing
  • Taxjar for sales tax
  • Klaviyo for email marketing
  • Facebook for customer chats
  • Yotpo for customer reviews
  • Shopify For e-commerce

Marketing Platforms:

  • Instagram/Facebook
  • Adroll - retargeting
  • Google Ad words
  • Reddit Ads

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

Books

Favorite Podcast

  • How I Built This with Guy Raz

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Always start small and lean. Prove the idea/concept - never just dive straight in. One of the best methods is to follow the Lean Startup method by Steve Blake. Also if you fail do it fast, most of the time you can see a business crashing before it sinks. “You wouldn’t try to repair a sinking ship in rough waters”

Last but not least always start or launch something you actually enjoy doing otherwise you will just get bored and the probability of it failing is much higher.

Watch for trends and act fast.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

No not at the moment, but maybe in the near future. A fun fact: every hire to date, other than the founding team, has been a stay-at-home mom/dad. Usually new parents who were in the workforce and just recently had a child. We feel like hiring stay-at-home dads and moms is a bit of a way for us to give back and to help support new parents.

Where can we go to learn more?

Email: [email protected]

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!

-  
Justin Clark,   Founder of RomperJack

Want to start your own business?

Hey! 👋I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.

We interview successful business owners and share the stories behind their business. By sharing these stories, we want to help others get started.

If you liked this story, join our mailing list for new interviews every Tuesday.

Interested in sharing your own story? Shoot me an email!

-  
Pat Walls,   Founder of Starter Story

Are you ready to boost your revenue?

Using Klaviyo will open up a massive, untapped sales channel and bring you closer to your customers!

We've interviewed many impressive businesses who swear by the results of the product, including Brumate, Beardbrand, and many more.

Level up your email marketing with Klaviyo!

Ask A Question


Check out our premium interviews:
Learn how businesses are earning as much as $2.5M per month.