We were recently featured in Startup Story on our decision to ditch our budget for organic sales. Are we crazy? Maybe. Here is the article from Startup Story below.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
We’re Local Laundry, Canada’s most caring clothing company. We’re on a mission to disrupt the fashion industry with our Canadian-made garments. Less than 5% of all clothing bought and sold in Canada is made here, before 1989 it used to be over 70%.
When clothing is made locally, it creates a diversified Canadian economy, reduces carbon footprint, and ensures clothing is being made adhering to strict Canadian labor and environmental laws. This equates to high quality products made from eco-friendly fabrics, like an eco-friendly hoodie.
We also want to donate over $1 Million to local charities by 2030 to showcase that just because we’re a small business, doesn’t mean we can’t have a big impact.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to. Has the business been growing?
The business has experienced growth in many different forms since our last interview. Previously all of our warehousing, fulfillment, and shipping took place in our manufacturing facility in Ontario.
Since then, we’ve taken over a warehouse in Calgary to work together in person as well as take care of our warehousing and fulfillment. It’s been a rewarding experience since now we can make our customer packages extra special, as well as offer local pickup, and have a place for in-person meetings, and customer interactions.
We’ve seen a 22% increase in online sales YoY since expanding our short-form video strategy and taking over our warehousing and fulfillment. Most importantly, we have a place to bring all of our dogs to play together during the day.
The power of TikTok has opened our eyes. We’re documenting, recording, and capturing everything we do in the business to help share our message with as many people as possible.
Our new warehouse, which we dub, the Wear-House has become a content studio for us as well. We weren’t seeing the return on our investment in digital ads so we cut all of our ad budgets and decided to focus solely on a short-form video content strategy.
We’ve gone all in on TikTok, YouTube, YouTube shorts as well as Instagram Reels. Sharing behind the scenes, stories of our clothing, as well as initiatives to build community through these platforms like our sticker wall, and map wall, and have hosted numerous events to bring people together. Here’s an example of one of our TikTok videos.
Just this past week, TikTok Canada flew us out to speak at the Toronto Global Forum on how the platform has grown our business. We’re starting to see orders come from all across the globe thanks to this new order strategy.
The best advice we can give for users who want to go on platforms like TikTok or YouTube shorts is to be authentic, be yourself, try new things, be consistent and post often.
It doesn’t have to be polished or perfect. The less polished and perfect, oftentimes the better it does. Share your story, your personality, your failures as well as your successes. Most importantly, have fun, it’s a great creative outlet and a way to connect with others
What have been your biggest challenges in the last year?
The biggest challenge for us will always be sales and cash flow. We’ve bootstrapped our business since day one, never taking on investors, long term debt and only ever putting in $1,000 of our own money. Determining predictable re-occurring revenue will always make growing our business that much more challenging.
Our custom program and e-commerce sides of the business are seeing consistent growth, however, our retail program expanded in the early parts of 2022 but will scale back as we close out the year.
We want to hire more people but making sure we have enough cash in the business to sustain is difficult to determine. This has left the three of us doing more than ever. We’re working in the business more often than working on the business. Something we’re aiming to fix soon with a new hire in the warehouse.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
The power of social media and sharing out your story. We’ve been solely focused on one platform and one platform only for far too long. We grew rapidly thanks to Instagram in our early years but what we’ve learned this year is that we have to grow our audience and community on multiple platforms.
The power of TikTok has opened our eyes to this. We’re documenting, recording, and capturing everything we do in the business to help share our message and mission with as many people as possible.
The biggest platform we’ve never fully given an effort to is YouTube. Talk to any mega content creator and they’ll tell you that YouTube is the most powerful platform of them all. We’re going to be diving into YouTube and YouTube shorts ASAP.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
Our growth is through people. We want to hire other people to help us delegate, automate and do more in our person to grow. Small batch manufacturing done right in Calgary is our dream.
Whether this is done through starting our manufacturing facility, partnering with an existing one, or even acquiring a facility that is looking to sell. We want to double down on the quality of our garments, the sustainability of our materials, and the extent of our customer service.
We want to build a retail location where consumers can come experience and feel the high quality of our garments and then step back into our facility and see how the garments are made.
It’s going to take some time to get there but we are committed to long, slow, and sustainable growth.
What’s the best thing you read in the last year?
We started a Business Book Club for those who enjoy reading business-related books together and discussing the topics together. The best book we’ve read in the last year would be Delivering Happiness by Tony Hseih.
The idea that you don’t have to spend anything on marketing if you treat your customers, suppliers, community, and most importantly your team members right is fascinating. We’ve even ‘retired’ two team members' jerseys up in the rafters of our warehouse to celebrate all the amazing things they have done to help grow our business.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
Get on platforms like TikTok, YouTube Shorts, and Instagram Reels, and start sharing your story. Stop being afraid to get out in front of the camera and tell your story.
If you can’t share it, why should anyone else? It’s not as hard or as scary as you think.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
We are! We are looking for help in our warehouse fulfilling orders, shipping, fulfillment, receiving, and customer service. If you know anyone in Calgary that fits the bill, let us know!
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, open up the chat!
Connor Curran, Founder of Local Laundry