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 shortly 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.
Your complete 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 school, I created an Apple Watch band from a sock for a category mission. I spotted it was a stable product and pursued it into my junior yr. 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 varied prints and patterns. Early-era Apple colours and designs encourage the model. We needed our bands to be funky and impressed by the enduring Nineteen Eighties Apple look.
Bandholz: How was 2022?
Manley: It was good and dangerous, probably the most difficult yr but. Our income was at a degree I wouldn’t have thought potential 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 and marketing, which we introduced again in-house. We had been working with a number of companies and freelancers. We wanted to chill off and run issues like a cottage farm.
Electronic mail advertising and marketing was big for us, accounting for about 45% of our income. SMS was round 15%, and the steadiness got here from our personal natural channels.
Our electronic mail listing hasn’t grown a lot within the final yr. We’ve stayed at roughly 100,000 engaged subscribers throughout 2022. We’re attempting to broaden the listing, but it surely’s difficult with out spending 1000’s to amass site visitors. Then we have now to transform these subscribers to clients. We do this with electronic 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 carried out 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 at all times been fairly beneficiant with.
I’ve heard numerous chatter about Fondue and the way effectively it really works. It’s good from a branding perspective as a result of we’re not continually providing reductions.
Bandholz: What are some targets for Braxley?
Manley: We wish to enhance gross sales channels. Month-to-month income of $200,000 would clear up all of our issues — on paper. Apple sells round 40 million watches yearly. We have to promote 6,000 bands a month.
Now we have clients that acquire our bands. So we’re specializing in getting them to return again sooner. We now ship internationally and hope to arrange a warehouse within the U.Ok. Now we have an Amazon retailer and have began stepping into brick-and-mortar retailers. And we’re releasing new merchandise for the broader market.
Certainly one of our advertising and marketing challenges is discovering the precise viewers. Apple sells many watches, but it surely’s nonetheless a small share of complete customers. Most individuals don’t have one. Promoting on a podcast, a billboard, and even by means of influencers will attain only some prospects.
So we’re increasing our product line. We’re releasing a fanny pack produced from our signature recycled elastic used for the watch bands. It’s an excellent comfortable, stretchy belt with a magnetic sliding buckle.
I see myself having an organization — a household of manufacturers — centered on enhancing the world. I see Braxley changing into a way of life equipment model, working and innovating with sustainable textiles. There’s numerous greenwashing within the sustainable business, particularly with attire, which is very harsh on the setting. Loads will get wasted.
Our bands use 100% recycled PET polyester, which is mainly clear water bottle plastic. It’s simply repurposed.
I’m interested by working with different supplies which are 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?