30 Shops In 30 Days" is our way of keeping a close eye on what's happening with retailers across the country. Over the course of a month, we'll feature a new in-depth shop profile every day. Is your shop interested in being profiled? Contact us at email@example.com.
By Agatha Wasilewska
We caught up with the girls from shreddingbetty.com to get the skinny on this East Coast based online retail shop. Founded in December 2006 by Kim Goldstein and Jan Kodadek, shreddingbetty.com is unique, not only due to its online only existence and all female ownership, but in its mission of changing the landscape of the retail market. All products are carefully selected and tested for women shredders everywhere, the aim being to educate the buyer and provide top rated gear and introduce up and coming brands. Purchases are judged by stoke on the sport, and the women who run this tiny online shop thrive off of getting girls on snow, one board at a time.
How did you get into retail?
(KG) I worked in retail sales throughout high school and college. After college, I traveled to New Zealand where I worked as a retail manager for a mountain resort. I also worked in several snowboard shops when I first moved to NYC four years ago.
Since those days, I have had a decent amount of experience working with startups. In college, I worked for a music PR firm in its startup phase. I also worked for a Sports- focused Interactive Media startup company, as well as a Mobile Technology startup company, both based out of New York City. These experiences really helped pave the way for me to start a snowboard shop.
(JK) Prior to joining shreddingbetty, my retail experience consisted of a few in-store promotions that I had created and/or executed for the brands I have done marketing for. My professional direction was never geared towards retail, but sometimes opportunities present themselves and they are too exciting not to be a part of.
I started my professional career in the music business doing international marketing for BMG. After 9/11, when the music industry started getting rocky, I had the opportunity to work for Nike. This was a pivotal experience for me, as I discovered a passion for lifestyle and event marketing. Since, I have worked in marketing and events positions for entertainment, sports and fashion brands.
So you only sell online?
[Yes,] but we do private appointments for customers in the New York City area.
What sells like hot cakes on your site?
Outerwear, Snowboards, Streetwear
What are the three best selling brands for outwear, snow, and street?
Outerwear: Burton, Airblaster, Betty Rides
Snowboards: GNU, Rome, Burton
Streetwear: Hellz Bellz, Married to the MOB, Nikita
The shreddingbetty's at their annual Betties Get On Board at Windham Mt, NY.
What are the pros and cons of being online only right now?
(JK) There are both strengths and weaknesses in being an online-only shop. To begin with, being online gives us the opportunity to run a very lean business. Our rent, staff and utilities cost much less than maintaining a physical location with regular hours. In addition, we are not married to being in a particular physical location. I am trying to convince Kim that we should take a trip to Zimbabwe – as long as we have an internet connection, we can handle our business on safari. We have a great staff located in various parts of the country, so our designer in Colorado might be working on a project while Kim and I are on a rail jam tour in Vermont.
Being online offers more marketing opportunities than a brick and mortar. We can take advantage of all the traditional marketing mediums, extending those with online marketing tactics. We can cast our marketing efforts pretty widely, given that we ship globally. Since we are not tied to a particular local market, we can show lots of love to all of our sisters. That being said, Online marketing is also a much more precise practice. The Internet offers unbelievably robust ROI measurement tools. Most online advertising is results based, so we know see the immediate and specific outcome of our efforts and marketing spend.
The downside of being online-only is that it is it is much more challenging to create a personalized customer experience online. in my opinion, even the more effective e-commerce stores, in and out of action sports, fall short . There's a constant balancing act between speaking to a wide and varied customer base, capitalizing on new technology offerings and keeping your site focused and user friendly. When a customer goes into a brick and mortar store, there's a lot of opportunity for staff to really cater to their needs. At this point, a brick and mortar store will always offer a more tangible, sensory experience for a customer – feeling the weight of a snowboard, the fabric on a jacket and/or being able to see the fit on a pair of pants.
Who are your top reps that help spread the word and sell for you?
We have a lot of great reps, although they don't usually come to our office the way they would traditionally visit a store. Once in a while, some reps will swing by the bat cave, but most of the support is given over the phone, text, and email. I would have to say that Agatha from eesa gets major bonus points because she sends us love letters all the time.
What's the single best-selling brand over the past six months?
GNU and Cilla both did really well for us this year.
Who is your target market? Has it shifted over the past six months?
Since we are online, we are accessible from anywhere and we ship all over the world, so it's really a mixed bag for us. Surprisingly, we've done really well with all of our higher priced items and are sitting on price point products.
Who is your biggest competitor?
Our online competition is the big boys like Backcountry, Evogear, and Proboardshop, but we have been able to set ourselves apart as a women's specific retailer.
The ShreddingBetty Interns: Julie Castillon, Sarah Burtis, and Kailey
What's the plan for the business over the next 6-12 months?
We have grown exponentially over the last year despite the down economy. We are keeping that our focus, while we do the most that we can to grow the business in this tough financial environment.
In your crystal ball, how does retail landscape look? Is it still tough, getting tougher, or is there a light at the end of the tunnel?
(KG) As a new business, we have gotten through the really tough part. We have grown exponentially over the last year and predict that even in this crazy economy the women's snowboard retail market will keep growing and we want to be an integral part in making that happen. We see a big light at the end of the tunnel, though these days the tunnel is just a little longer.
(JK) The retail landscape has definitely shifted slightly in this tough economy; more people are saving money and forgoing things that they don't need. However, as far as I am concerned, retailing will never die. As long as there are things people want, there will be stores to sell them, even as some of those stores transform from physical door fronts to online. Hopefully, the economic downturn will not cause the demise of some of the smaller, promising new brands that we've seen. Although it's probably not going to happen in the next few months, I think that the brands that are able to stick it out will see a turn around.
Are you altering the way you buy for 09? If so, how?
Yes. As a young company, we are still figuring out what brands will work for our customer and what brands won't. We are trying to build with companies that have strong sell-through, while trimming away anything that is just sitting around gathering dust. That said, we are also excited to provide an outlet for some emerging brands to get an opportunity for exposure.
Are you playing favorites and working closer with any particular brands?
Yes, since we are a female-specific snowboard shop, a fairly new concept in the retail landscape, many of the brands that we work with are excited to partner with us. Also, even though we are online, we do connect with our customers directly though the events that we produce, including female specific demos and contests. This gives our brands a chance to have meaningful interaction with female snowboarders at their point of passion.
The girls and boys line up at the annual Betties Get On Board at Windham Mt, NY.
Who else is included in the inner circle?
Although we are still in the lab working on partnership marketing initiatives for next season, we have been very successful working with Burton, Nikita, SoBe, Skullcandy, Luna Bar, and eesa. Our seasonal event, Betties Get On Board, has been extremely successful, growing by 25% each season and being met with incredible support from our brand partners.