Well, holy moly. I didn't check my emails as early as I normally would have this morning however when I did I was as excited as a teenage girl at a Bieber concert.
Keegan and Corey are the industry kingpins, the Titans of t-shirts, the kings of our industry. I owe a lot of my own success to these guys as Keegan was our original coach back in the day when we were learning how to sell on Teespring.
I love these guys and got to spend a few days with them in their old office, hanging out, drinking, tours, and just getting to know the men behind one of the biggest success of ecommerce. This is their story so far, it's certainly nowhere near what they will achieve with the drive and determination these guys have.
I give you…
The cRush Brothers
Your Name: Keegan Rush / Corey Rush
Company: Blue Pack Marketing
Monthly revenue (average): 1.8 Million+
Number of founders: 2
Number of employees (excluding founders): 18
Location: Clayton, North Carolina
Start date: July 2014
Klaviyo – If you aren't emailing daily, you are leaving tons of money on the table. If you are cloning/duplicating without changing out imaging, products, or content, you are emailing half-assed.
If you provide genuine content and great emails, your emails can generate thousands of dollars in sales a day. We really love the functionality and ease of using Klaviyo vs other services.
LOOX Reviews – This review app is awesome! It really incentivizes your customers to send in reviews along with pictures.
The best part is it's 90% automated. We have a team member who approves reviews and passes along great fan photos to the marketing team for email and social purposes.
Bulk Product Edit – Time management is key in this business. If you waste a ton of time doing manual things when you could automate a task, you're losing money. Spend time doing revenue generating tasks.
Bulk Product Edit allows you to quickly change SKU's, product descriptions, etc. Set it, and forget it.
Q. Where are you based? Do you have a family? What do you do for work and fun?
We are based out of Clayton, North Carolina
Keegan: I live in Garner, NC. I have lived in North Carolina my entire life and would never want to change that. Whenever we travel to cities like New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, etc.
I always return with a sense of gratitude for how much I love where I am from and where my family is. Our roots are firmly planted in North Carolina and I wouldn't want to leave for any reason.
I do have a family and wouldn't change them for the world. My amazing wife Sara and 1-year old son Boston are the reason I attack every day with the mentality to level up to give them a better life.
For work I sell stuff online, whilst building brands with the ultimate goal of selling as much stuff as physically possible. My goal is to always improve the lives of those I surround myself with. I want to provide a better life for my family, partners, clients, employees, suppliers, etc. and their families.
That can be done through selling more stuff and growing the business. For fun I love to spend time with family and friends, drive my Audi R8 fast, and sell stuff. Most would call that “work” but I genuinely love to sell stuff, so it doesn't feel like work to me.
I'm also a big Chicago sports fan, as well as Duke Blue Devil fan. Sports has always been a staple in our life, which has instilled an intense level of competition.
That level of competition has helped us aggressively scale the business but, also to take office Ping-Pong way too serious. You take the good, with the bad right?
Corey: Angier, NC is where I call home. I've got an awesome and very supporting wife Elizabeth, and 3 of the coolest kids ever in Carson, Piper and Palmer.
If we aren't at the ball field with Carson, we enjoy hanging outdoors with the grill on; and the wine pouring! WORK for me personally is fun, when we made the decision to build this e-commerce thing into a true business; it was a decision to do what we loved and what we were pretty darn good at.
Outside of my Family and the Blue Pack Squad; I enjoy really good Wine (Caymus, Far Niente and Plumpjack are my favorites). We set a goal to buy supercars, so I purchased an original McLaren 12C and it's been LOADS of FUN.
It drives very much like how we run Blue Pack Marketing, FAST and STRONG!
Q. What did you do before getting started online?
Keegan: Before discovering Teespring and becoming an internet marketer, I worked in retail at a Sports Memorabilia store and ran a couple websites on the side.
I learned photoshop, basic coding, and in general became very computer literate, which led to being able to design my first round of initial designs on Teespring that took off. The combination of retail plus computer literacy, definitely gave me a leg up on the competition when I jumped into the Teespring world.
After running successfully by myself for 6 months, I decided to ask big brother for help with the “business” aspect and he initially helped with the books and taxes. After seeing the massive potential, he came on as a partner and we formalized everything, he left his corporate job and we attacked this full time with 2 minds, instead of 1.
We launched Blue Pack Marketing and It's been scaling higher and higher by the day. Now we have an awesome team at Blue Pack, with like-minded individuals who attack every day, as hungry as the day before.
Corey: Prior to starting Blue Pack Marketing with my brother I was working my way of the corporate ladder with the Couche-Tarde (Circle K Convenience/Gas) organization. I operated as a Director at the age of 28 and controlled up to 3 states over 150 stores/2,000 employees during my tenure.
The corporate world while rewarding and exciting simply wasn't one for me. My brother Keegan and I had started 3-4 smaller ventures prior to creating Blue Pack Marketing; 2 of which were very successful so we knew we worked well together.
So when we decided we were going to double down on this “online selling” thing; I did what any normal guy would do……I went home and told my pregnant wife, in our brand new home that I was quitting my job to sell stuff online with my brother.
She supported me the whole way; and we have never looked back.
Q. How often do you launch new products?
We launch 1-2 new products a month. We attack the angle of launching multiple designs, compared to products. Once we identify that a product is going to work well for the areas we sell in, we scale it out horizontally with every design concept and niche we can think of.
Product research and development should be treated the same as launching ads. Some are going to work, some are not going to work. If you only go to bat in Baseball 1 time and you strike out, your batting % is 0.
If you go to bat 10 times and get on base 50% of the time, you're batting .500. If you aren't fast about scaling out your designs on that product, somebody else will.
One of the big mottos we always preach is “Success loves speed”. Being in the print on demand space, it allows us to not carry inventory, debt, and the ability to go from concept, to design, to selling, to shipping in potentially less than 1 hour.
Q. Where do most of your customers come from? Google search? Social Media? Other sites?
Facebook is our main vehicle for sales if you look at %'s however email, Instagram, and Google Shopping are contributing larger chunks to the sales engine by the day. Instead of trying to be superstars in everything, we've built up team members and partners to be the Michael Jordan of their own specific area.
Myself and Corey put the lion's share of our ad focus into Facebook while we have somebody specifically handling the other sales channels. A lot of focus, testing, and reading is required to stay up to date on all of the recent Facebook algo changes.
I think we have always done great at maneuvering the waters during change, to not only stay profitable, but also to see growth even when things are down for most others. Part of that speaks to the power of brand on our stores.
People visit brands, they don't visit pop-up T-Shirt shops that look fly by knight-ish. If you were to turn off all ads, between email and organic traffic, we have a couple brands that would still do 7 figures a year easily.
Q. I’d love to hear more about your ecommerce successes to date. What great things have come to you through building your success and growing your store? Would love to hear a story.
There are a couple stories that immediately stand out when I think of our successes.
1.) We have generated over 75+ million in sales, possibly more if we had more accurate tracking on some brick & mortar, television and local work we've completed over time. This is from brands that we own and/or platform sales over the years.
It also includes wholesale channels into brick & mortar boutiques and stores. We have had 1 brand in over 200+ locations that we eventually sold. Our current brand is in over 700 retail locations and trending to be in over 1,500 by the end of the year.
Our wholesale director Joe Amara has built this wholesale pipeline from the ground up and is now executing at a really high level. We have taken a Shopify brand and cultivated a wholesale distribution channel, which to my knowledge hasn't been done on this scale.
2.) We have successfully exited 2 Shopify/E-Com companies in the 6-figure range. We are hoping our next major acquisition is in the 8 figure range and current valuations dictate that.
3.) We made it a goal to both be driving super cars. One day Corey mentioned that we should go do it and within 72 hours, Corey had a McLaren and I (keegan) had an Audi R8. Now we want to outfit all of our team members in super cars.
It will make driving past our office each day a true spectacle.
4.) We've always done work in the e-com space, we have had multiple relationships approach us about advertising in other arenas. We accept clients based on relationship, compared to seeking them out ourselves.
We took on some work for the History Channel. We were able to rank a TV show in the Top 50 most watched programs in the United States that night. It went up against a competitor's similar show, who did the national talk show circuit with Ellen, Fallon, Conan, etc.
We ranked in the Top 50, they were ranked 83. It was a very small advertising budget but, we were able to crush it and make waves on a national stage. It was a success because we had no idea what to expect from the results being that we're sellers in the ecom space.
It showed that a lot of our principles can be applied across multiple industries.
Q: What platform/tools do you use for your business?
Full quickbooks integration with an accounting department to insure all invoices are checked for accuracy.
Sometimes an invoice might accidentally have 3-4 extra items in it, with multiple suppliers, multiple brands, that can easily add up over the course of a year, you need to be very careful.
We also utilize Matt Stafford and Tanner Larrson's Build Grow Scale optimization team. The importance of optimizing the traffic you already have is understated in our industry. People are so focused on Facebook Ads and the next design instead of taking care of the current traffic.
Any change in your bounce rate, click through rate, conversion rate, can lead to more profitable dollars. We used to think we were hot stuff when our store was converting at 4%.
Right now we're converting at 7%, which means if we want to make more money, we just need to get more people on the site. We were doing around 400,000/month prior to working with their team. Now anything less than 1 million a month is a slow month.
Q. What’s your number 1 tip for new dropshippers getting into the industry?
Structure your business from the start, don't let the money fool you! Statistics simply aren't on your side as an entrepreneur with over 90% of ventures never operating in the black. (Profitable).
Throughout the last 5 years and companies that we have started and sold (That's right we have built up Shopify Brands and SOLD THEM); if your supply chain/organizational structure/customer service isn't all on the same page…..YOU WILL FAIL.
Unfortunately this isn't something that is managed by an application, or something that a virtual assistant can do off the bat; it's something that will require you to lay out a very detailed game plan.
The other part about structure that many e-commerce teams struggle with is tracking financials and actually analyzing them. Are you winning on shipping? Are your weights correct? Are you accounting for larger sizes?
Are you accounting correctly for expenses? These are all questions that if you don't STRUCTURE from the start, there is a higher chance that your business will end up failing.
Don't take in money, pay invoices and ad spend and assume the rest if profit. Make sure you're tracking your expenses and profit daily.
We do this 7 days a week and account for every dollar divided by 30 days a month for accurate tracking/accounting.
Q. Where can people find out more about you? Is there anything else you’d like to share?
You can check us out on BluePackMarketing.Com – We don't seek out new clients, we generally like to take on cool projects or ones that stem from relationships.
If you have a cool opportunity, please feel free to reach out to us. We would love to give a major shout out to our team. Everybody plays a very important part in our story and the development of our brands and projects we work on.
Our goal is to be on an island and we plan to bring the entire team with us when the major acquisitions start happening. If I were to expand on how awesome each of them are, this part would be longer than the entire article.
Shout out to others that we have met a long the way. It's been a fun ride and we plan to keep this locomotive rolling.
Also dibs on all sales, on all advertising channels.
P.S.. Shout out to our parents and family as well. Love you guys and appreciate all of you!