We’re putting our cards on the table. August 27 2015, 0 Comments

We are a small team running a startup on some seed investment, and we’re trying to hone our focus. We also want to help you get in touch with us if we’re an ideal partner, and in a way that makes sense for both of us. In this post you’ll read about the products and services we use, a little bit about what we think about each, and what we’re looking for (and not looking for). We hope this helps get more information in the open. 

Right now we’re focused on product development, customer service, and improving our ability to connect with existing and new customers so that we can deliver bamboo basics, apparel, home goods, and accessories that bring them the most happiness. We’re prioritizing our time for these efforts, so we rarely participate in calls or demos for new products. We also limit our involvement in trials that require a lot of setup to demonstrate success, and those that lock in the data generated. Please don't take this personally, or as a suggestion that we don't want to grow our business, try your product, or partner with your organization. We’re simply trying to optimize our time by staying focused on some planned priorities, rather than trying every new idea that comes up, and at the same time, optimize your time so that you can reach out to targeted prospects.

Please save yourself some time and frustration by considering these plans first before cold emailing or calling. We are honestly trying to be transparent and kind about it; our cards are on the table. We still do hope to hear from you, and now when you contact us you'll have a little more insight into our state of mind.

Here’s what we use

Manufacturer: We’re proud that we partner with manufacturers located in the United States to produce as many products sold on our site as possible. Our manufacturing partner in China is in the Zhejiang province. Please contact us at hello@bamboosupplyco.com for more information. We are actively pursuing opportunities to produce more of our bamboo products in the United States.

Shopify: Shopify powers our website and store. We’re happy with the product and with the support we’ve received. Shopify is unable to manage subscription products, which is a critical part of our business and operations.

Chargify: Chargify fills the void left by Shopify, and powers our available subscriptions. Chargify sufficiently handles almost all of the subscription features that we need, but still hope for more customization and options. Chargify is built for developers to use the API, and the features we have using their stock checkout forms are limited. Most importantly, we would like to offer more robust account management features to subscribers. In addition, we’re working hard to bring integrated referrals, subscription management emails, and more.

ShipStation: ShipStation manages all of our shipments and connects our online presence to our physical warehouse in Austin, Texas.

SumoMe provides analytics about the Bamboo Supply Co. website and allows customers and other interested people to subscribe to receive news and sales from Bamboo Supply Co. We think this product is easy to use and effective; we’ve made it easier to subscribe to our emails and doubled the number of people who signed up in a month (conversions increased by almost 20%).

FreshDesk: FreshDesk manages all of the customer support tickets we receive, and is a great help to ensure that we receive every request or question, and can track it until it reaches as successful resolution. We are especially appreciative of FreshDesk Sprout plan, which is perfect for our startup now, and which we hope to grow from in the future.

Olark powers the live chat feature on our website.

Slack is our internal live chat application that keeps our team in touch. It’s an amazingly powerful, useful, and even fun tool to use. Slack makes it easy to keep in touch by providing great apps for desktops and mobile phones, intelligently routing messages to those apps, and sending anything missed by email. Email is a great last resort, and Slack helps us reduce the email we use, keep conversations natural and progressing, and maintains an archive of everything we’ve said (we’ve used it more than once to settle a debate!).

Google Apps for Work manages our email, shared documents, and calendars. For the email that we do have to use, the ability to use Gmail is by far one of the greatest productivity tools available to businesses today. We also use Google display and text ads to promote Bamboo Supply Co. to Internet users on sites and on the search page where it can be useful to finding the desired products and information online.

We use Twitter, Twitter ads, Facebook, and Facebook ads to maintain an online presence, enable customers to contact us in the most convenient manner for them, and promote the product to people who might be interested in bamboo but don’t yet know about Bamboo Supply Co.

In the past we used Unbounce to design our website and A/B test content, WisePops to offer email subscriptions, and Wordpress (with WooCommerce) to run the website and store.

What we’re looking for

Despite our best intentions, we know that our plans are not perfect, and are always open to a new product, service, or partnership that will benefit our business and customers. We are looking for products that help promote Bamboo Supply Co. products and increase sales by helping people who would likely be happy to learn about bamboo products to find them and learn more about them. We are looking for more great bamboo products to offer for sale online, by subscription, and by text message. We’re currently focused on expanding our basic offerings, adding more apparel, and launching our home goods and accessories lines. Being bamboo isn’t enough. It has to be a great bamboo product.

What we’re not looking for

Ads that interrupt. We are not currently interested in products that put the Bamboo Supply Co brand between internet users and the media they are looking for. In our experience, we have found that these ads, even the relevant ads, are intrusive. We use advertising products that fit naturally into what we hope our customers are doing on the Internet. 

Sponsored content on our site. We are not currently accepting any paid placement on our site or in our shipments.

Ads as content. We are not currently seeking products that display blog posts or other media from or about Bamboo Supply Co as paid displayed media on networks of other sites. We will continue to do the best we can to accurately label all of our content as advertising when it is in fact an ad.

Analytics platforms without clear performance tasks. We are not seeking any apps that help us sort through data unless insights from the app lead directly to changes we can make. For example, we use A/B testing to compare designs, and these data lead directly to changes on our site.

Products that connect with paid influencers. We are very engaged with bloggers, writers, sellers, and curators to share our product for reviews and promotion. If you want to review Bamboo Supply Co. products, please take a look at the current options, and please let us know a little bit about why you’re interested in reviewing the item. We consider every request for free review products on a case-by-case basis. We certainly welcome anyone interested, especially those starting up their own blogs and review brands to purchase a product and let us and your readers know how you like it and the value you get for the price. We are not currently interested in paying for influencers to add Bamboo Supply Co products on social media or other platforms. Ok, if you're a celebrity and want to try them out, let us know. Some rules are meant to be broken.

Hiring apps or platforms. We are not currently hiring.

Mobile ecommerce apps. We are not currently planning on building a standalone app.

Sock or other textile manufacturers that can produce the same or similar products. We are always interested in better production opportunities, so please contact us if you have developed a more sustainable, efficient, or otherwise better bamboo production facility. We’re also interested in bamboo manufacturers located in the United States.

Thank you

Thank you for reading this, and considering our mental capacity and inbox, and your own. We sincerely hope this helps, either by saving you time if our product or opportunity is not a fit at this time, or helping you structure some information about your business for us. We'll be replying to emails from writers who skipped this with a polite message and a link to read this info. For those who do read and get in touch, we promise to reply with a thoughtful response about how to best proceed — you'll have our attention.

This exact text is permanently displayed on our Transparency page, linked from every page on our website. As the company, products, and technology change, we will keep that page updated. We'll post any major updates again to the blog, and smaller updates will live only on the new page.