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I recently chatted with Katy Mimari, Caden Lane CEO and designer, to find out how she got her start in the baby décor market and built her company into a mid-sized business with the help of Bigcommerce and Endicia.
As a blossoming business owner, Mimari has found success selling online, in-store and via wholesale. Here’s what she had to share in regards to her chosen ecommerce technology and shipping solution.
Endicia: To start things off, can you tell us about Caden Lane? What led to the business idea?
Mimari: Caden Lane is a designer line of trendy baby bedding, nursery décor and baby gift items. I started the company in 2004 with just a small collection of diaper bags. When I was expecting my first child the following year, Caden Lane quickly grew to offer crib bedding and additional accessories. Since then, the brand has grown from 10 SKUs to more than 10,000 — and we make everything right here in the United States.
That’s incredible growth. What do you think led to your success?
I believe it all has to do with my love for design and anything “baby.” My passion for it has helped grow the company from my garage to a well-known and respected brand, including our flagship brick-and-mortar retail store, Nursery Couture.
We know you sell wholesale, as well as on your website. Can you describe the process for how you began selling wholesale?
When I first launched the company, it was solely wholesale. This meant we had to reach our retailers the old-school way, by mailers, phone calls and at tradeshows. Luckily, the challenges of printing seasonal catalogs and depending on direct mail to reach retailers have been replaced with websites and email. It makes things a lot easier and quicker.
So how did you make the transition to selling via a website?
We didn’t have our first website until over a year after the company launched. Then we had a company website for several years before we decided to add a shopping cart to it. In 2009, when the economy was struggling, a lot of manufacturers decided to add shopping cart platforms to their websites to help boost sales and margins.
Looking back now, considering a majority of our distribution is direct to consumer, I can’t imagine not having a website to connect with customers — it’s a critical element of our communication. It helps us learn so much about what they like about our brand, ways we can improve, and they keep us motivated to create new trends and products.
We agree that customer feedback and satisfaction is crucial to keeping your business functioning at its best. With wholesale selling, as well as an online store, how do you manage to keep your shipping and fulfillment running smoothly?
Luckily, our fulfillment runs pretty smoothly between our B2B and B2C customers. Inventory can be a huge battle in this business, and a lot of companies tend to find themselves in the “too much” or “not enough” category. We make a huge effort to stay right in the middle. We have a quick shipping turnaround, so manageability and efficiency are key. Bigcommerce and Endicia have completely streamlined the entire process for us.
That’s great to hear! To wrap things up, are there any challenges you faced while expanding from a small to medium-sized business? If so, how did you overcome them?
Absolutely! Growing pains are a part of any entrepreneurial experience. Caden Lane has completely changed and experienced record-breaking growth in the last few years. If there’s one thing we learned during the entire process, it’s to hold on tight and enjoy the ride. I always like to tell my employees and fellow business owners, if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life!
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