I first spoke with Braxton Manley for this podcast in early 2021. He had launched Braxley Bands, a maker of Apple Watch bands, 4 years earlier whereas a university pupil in Texas. The enterprise rapidly scaled.
He and I not too long ago caught up. We mentioned the evolution of his firm, successes and challenges in 2022, and plans for increasing the product line.
The whole audio of our dialog is embedded beneath. The transcript is edited for readability and size.
Eric Bandholz: Give us a background on Braxley Bands.
Braxton Manley: About six years in the past, in faculty, I created an Apple Watch band from a sock for a category undertaking. I noticed it was a stable product and pursued it into my junior 12 months. By the point I graduated, it was a full-fledged enterprise. I’ve been constructing it ever since.
We make stretchy Apple Watch bands in numerous prints and patterns. Early-era Apple colours and designs encourage the type. We needed our bands to be funky and impressed by the long-lasting Nineteen Eighties Apple look.
Bandholz: How was 2022?
Manley: It was good and dangerous, essentially the most difficult 12 months but. Our income was at a stage I wouldn’t have thought attainable three years in the past. That’s the nice half. We offered about 60,000 watch bands.
However the dangerous half was our overhead. It was extreme. We considerably pulled again on bills, together with our advertising, which we introduced again in-house. We had been working with a number of businesses and freelancers. We would have liked to chill off and run issues like a cottage farm.
E-mail advertising was large for us, accounting for about 45% of our income. SMS was round 15%, and about 60% of income got here from our personal natural channels.
Our e-mail checklist hasn’t grown a lot within the final 12 months. We’ve stayed at roughly 100,000 engaged subscribers throughout 2022. We’re attempting to broaden the checklist, nevertheless it’s tough with out spending 1000’s to amass site visitors. Then now we have to transform these subscribers to prospects. We try this with e-mail, textual content, and flows.
Bandholz: How do you get the guests to subscribe?
Manley: We’re utilizing Justuno for cool pop-ups. We labored with an company to construct them, and we’ve since finished A/B testing. I’m excited to launch the Fondue app, which affords money and rebates to new subscribers as an alternative of reductions. We’re going to step away from a discount-heavy mannequin, which we’ve all the time been fairly beneficiant with.
I’ve heard lots of chatter about Fondue and the way nicely it really works. It’s good from a branding perspective as a result of we’re not consistently providing reductions.
Bandholz: What are some targets for Braxley?
Manley: We need to improve gross sales channels. Month-to-month income of $200,000 would resolve all of our issues — on paper. Apple sells round 40 million watches yearly. We have to promote 6,000 bands a month.
We’ve got prospects that accumulate our bands. So we’re specializing in getting them to come back again sooner. We now ship internationally and hope to arrange a warehouse within the U.Okay. We’ve got an Amazon retailer and have began entering into brick-and-mortar retailers. And we’re releasing new merchandise for the broader market.
One in every of our advertising challenges is discovering the proper viewers. Apple sells many watches, nevertheless it’s nonetheless a small proportion of whole shoppers. Most individuals don’t have one. Promoting on a podcast, a billboard, and even by influencers will attain just a few prospects.
So we’re increasing our product line. We’re releasing a fanny pack constituted of our signature recycled elastic used for the watch bands. It’s an excellent cozy, stretchy belt with a magnetic sliding buckle.
I see myself having an organization — a household of manufacturers — targeted on enhancing the world. I see Braxley turning into a way of life equipment model, working and innovating with sustainable textiles. There’s lots of greenwashing within the sustainable business, particularly with attire, which is very harsh on the setting. Rather a lot will get wasted.
Our bands use 100% recycled PET polyester, which is principally clear water bottle plastic. It’s simply repurposed.
I’m fascinated about working with different supplies which can be stretchy and recyclable. I see us making bungee chairs, shorts, and boxers. We’re contemplating a yoga mat strap and canine collars and leashes.
Bandholz: How can listeners attain out and purchase your stuff?
Manley: I’m @Braxtonmanley on Twitter. Our web site is BraxleyBands.com — quickly to be Braxley.co. Of us can test us out on Amazon, too.