Scalable Technology Stack Drives DUDE Products’ Growth
DUDE Products, an online retailer of disposable wipes and other personal care products for men, was founded by four long-time friends from Chicago. The group appeared on the TV show "Shark Tank" and successfully received funding. DUDE Products sells flushable wipes for guys on Amazon.com, Shopify, and in 7, 000 retail stores. The idea for the business came about from the diets that these four roommates shared after college, which consisted in their words "of 95 percent burritos and beer." Daily conversations about their toilet habits led them to start using baby wipes instead of toilet paper, and they soon noticed that there were no flushable wipe products on the market geared towards people on-the-go. The idea was born and DUDE Products was founded.
DUDE Products recorded 100 percent revenue growth in the last year, while still keeping its operations streamlined with a scalable technology stack that supports the business. In this interview, Brian Wilkin, co-founder of DUDE Products, discusses how the brand's rapid growth has been made possible through partnerships with technology service providers, including Brightpearl, an omnichannel retail management system.
Total Retail: Tell us about DUDE Products? When was the company founded, what does it sell, what channels are its products sold, who are its customers, etc.?
Brian Wilkin: DUDE Products’ first year of sales was 2013. It's primarily a male hygiene company, but also sells some DUDE apparel. The four co-founders are lifelong friends who wanted to create a fun, authentic brand and company. The DUDE brand resonates with our customers, and we work hard to create high-quality products that DUDEs can use to make their daily lives a bit more comfortable and satisfying.
TR: What challenges was DUDE Products dealing with as the business grew, particularly around streamlining operations?
BW: The biggest challenges we've run into have probably been automating and streamlining processes to allow for continued rapid growth. We've learned that finding key partners to help manage different aspects of our business allows us to focus on executing our growth vision for the company and brand.
TR: How has working with Brightpearl helped to address those challenges?
BW: Brightpearl allowed DUDE to shift from running an extremely manual business with our order processing, fulfillment, inventory management and accounting, to managing a more automated and streamlined business operation. The partnership with Brightpearl has allowed us to focus on growth opportunities rather than making sure spreadsheets for order processing were accurate.
TR: What are the business benefits that DUDE Products has realized since it started using Brightpearl's platform?
BW: Brightpearl has allowed us to have real-time insight into business performance and inventory management, which in turn has allowed for more accurate supply and demand forecasting. As such, we as co-founders can now focus on more strategic growth aspects of the business. We've been able to roll out more products at an accelerated pace, and manage that growth with confidence, knowing our data and information systems are accurate.
TR: Can you give an example of a business function that has been simplified/streamlined as a result of working with Brightpearl?
BW: The most drastic change was the automation of our order processing and fulfillment. We used to work very manually, receiving purchase orders via email, putting together spreadsheets with the order detail, supplying that to our 3PL for processing, and then making the necessary accounting entries to capture the sales and financial aspects of the transactions. Removing the time it took for that manual process to flow through has really allowed the overall business to become more efficient in a lot of different areas.
TR: What are the plans to grow DUDE Products going forward?
BW: DUDE wants to just keep working with our partners to accelerate the pace of introducing new and innovative products to the market. Having real-time insight into inventory, cash, etc., gives us confidence to keep rolling forward and making great products for our customers.
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