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Anthony Ciavirella ManMade

117. Growing a D2C Brand by Focusing on the Customer

 June 24, 2022

By  Will

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In episode 117 of the Customers Who Click podcast I spoke with Anthony Ciavirella, one of the Co-Founders at ManMade, a new men's products brand based in Canada.

They place a huge focus on the quality of their product and speaking with their customers to make sure they continue to provide the best for them.

Impressively, they’ve managed to put together a team of four friends who not only get along fantastically, but also complement each other's ability

It’s myself and my three best friends, our tightest and more compatible friends.

They spent 10 months in R&D putting together, going through about 34 iterations to come up with their hero product. There’s no cutting corners for these guys, they’re serious about their stuff (and I can confirm, its great!).

Anthony is the Co-Founder at ManMade, a mens products brand based in Canada. You can connect with him on LinkedIn or head over to https://manmadebrand.com/.


Key highlights:

01:02 - 11:41 - How Did ManMade Come About? - They all had that entrepreneurial itch, wanted to do something themselves and wanted it to be ecommerce. They got together in a cabin in Canada for a few days and just brainstormed different product ideas. Eventually underwear came about because everyone was unhappy with their underwear. None of them put any thought into underwear, normally its just something that gets picked off the shelf, so they saw an opportunity to make something that was really tailored to mens requirements, not simply just a ‘comfier fit’.

They were determined not to white label the product. They had to find the right material, the right suppliers to work with. They wanted to do this properly, and build something quality, rather than quickly.

12:11 - 16:33 - How Do They Make the Team Dynamic Work? - They’ve known each other for years now, the youngest relationship is about 16-17 years so its a while. They’re a close bunch, over time friend groups shink and you stay close to a smaller group, this is that smaller group. They’re all kinda similar in personality, they all have similar drive and responsibility. To top it off, they all have complementary skills. They have a logistics person, marketing, tech, that they all individually focus on, but of course support each other. 

17:50 - 37:20 - Why They Build Their Own SMS Tool - They wanted something that would allow customers to order products whenever they wanted. It’s called the ManMade Concierge Tech Service. Customers can text in and place their order just with a few SMS messages, confirming the order, payment details and delivery. Once a customer has their account and has made that first purchase, they can opt-in to this service allowing ManMade to place future orders for them. Think of a subscription setup in terms of how payment etc is all there, but on-demand rather than at set periods.

43:53 - 46:56 -  What’s ManMade’s Biggest Challenge Right Now? - Logistics around manufacturing and costs is a problem and might also be. They work with a manufacturer overseas so sometimes they’re up until 1am because they need to have a call with the manufacturer to iron out some details.  Order stock is a challenge because they need to invest enough to be able to avoid any potential delays further down the line, but not so much that it just bankrupts the company and puts a hold on advertising and acquisition.

59:03 - 01:03:44 -  How Do They Continue to Improve? - The founders meet twice a week to go over whats happening and keep everything updated. They look back at their KPIs, whether they’ve been profitable etc. They go over responsibilities, work with VAs who support them, and generally constantly keep an eye on the workings of the business to make sure everything is OK. He’ll also speak to customers all the time. Sometimes for 1 or 2 days just calling customers, asking for feedback.

01:03:56 - Who Would Anthony Like to Take For Lunch in the D2C Marketing World?

Gary Vaynerchuk, he’s the Lebron of entrepreneurship.

01:06:35 - Anthony’s Must-Have Ecommerce Tools:

  • Google Analytics

  • Klavijo

  • Organic social generally

If you’d like to hear more from Anthony, you can connect with him on LinkedIn or head over to https://manmadebrand.com/

Will


Will is a Customer Journey Marketing consultant, specialising in CRO, CRM and Customer Experience. Will has over 7 years experience working across a range of consumer facing businesses and has worked for huge brands such as MyVoucherCodes, Europcar, JackpotJoy, Virgin Games and Virgin Bet.

W.Laurenson

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