In 2016, Patrick Hines founded Nomadik, the premier subscription box for outdoor adventurers. Nomadik delivers 3-5 high-end, unique, and multi-function outdoor- and adventure-related items per month. Boxes start at $26/month and are valued up to $50.
After listening to a podcast from serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, Hines got the idea to start a subscription box. In doing his research, Hines noticed subscription boxes that fit certain niches like Dollar Shave Club and Birchbox, but found no one had applied the model to the industries he knew best: action sports and the outdoors.
Determined to turn his idea into reality, Hines began to research which platforms to use to launch his subscription box, Nomadik.
Cratejoy’s Features: Perfect for the Small Business Owner
From his professional experiences working in e-commerce and digital marketing, Hines already had familiarity with Shopify, Magento, and WordPress, but needed something more comprehensive for his subscription box business.
After evaluating Cratejoy’s competitors, including Subbly, Hines decided to use Cratejoy as it tailored most to his needs as a small business owner.
“I tried out Cratejoy and I found the user interface to be super easy and intuitive. Cratejoy was the closest thing to a ‘plug and play’ without needing to do a ton of custom work.”
Nomadik’s Start and Supersonic Growth
During Nomadik’s alpha phase, Hines used our Prospurly case study as a blueprint for his business. The piece covers tips and trips for rocket-launching a subscription business to success and would serve as a regular resource for Hines.
After the alpha phase, Nomadik launched into their beta phase, where Hines got feedback from users on Nomadik’s product, pricing, and website. For the subscription entrepreneur, this feedback proved crucial for making tweaks and improving the overall box.
When Nomadik initially launched, the company saw a steady growth of 15-20% month over month (MoM). Little did Hines know that, by the end of the 2016 holiday season, that number would grow to 150% MoM, and would amount to a 12x increase in subscribers over a 6-month time period.
“The best feeling in the world is seeing your business grow 2-3x as much as you originally planned,” Hines said. “I did some projections in May, and I’m now more than double my initial projections. From a business standpoint, it’s been an emotional whirlwind and so awesome. I don’t know if I would be able to do it without the Cratejoy platform.”
Hines attributes his growth to a combination of factors, including holiday sales and understanding what marketing channels provide the best value. For him, he decided to focus heavily on the Cratejoy Marketplace, emails, and social media.
Seeing the value of Cratejoy, Hines redid his Cratejoy listing before Christmas in order to customize it for the holidays, which included adding photos and promos.
The Value of Cratejoy for Nomadik
Hines states that Cratejoy’s Marketplace has been one of the biggest contributors to Nomadik’s growth – not only in sales, but also in brand exposure and awareness. Marketplace generates more than 4,000 unique monthly impressions for Nomadik and accounts for a lofty percentage of all Nomadik subscribers.
For a startup owner who has to work on different aspects of the business, Marketplace takes a lot of the uncertainty out of running a subscription box – something that Hines appreciates greatly.
“The Cratejoy Marketplace helped get a lot of traffic and orders that are low-hanging fruit – ones that we wouldn’t normally have gotten,” Hines said. “This is super important because when you’re in that initial 50, 100, 200 subscriber count, you want to get as many orders and as many subscribers as you can. For Nomadik, that helped us get some working capital and cashflow coming in.”
For Hines, the biggest benefits from listing on the Marketplace came from Cratejoy featuring Nomadik in deals and collections, which helped generate traffic and sales. Additionally, listing on Marketplace allowed him to be featured in a Business Insider article that showcased some of Cratejoy’s premier sellers.
Reflection, Advice, and the Future of Nomadik
After getting into the swing of the subscription box business, Hines is now able to reflect on the entire process and what worked for him:
- Going for depth on social channels compared to width (focusing all efforts on Instagram)
- Thinking about long-term ROI (delivering great product even if it costs more; doing everything in his power to ensure customer satisfaction)
- Listening to the customer (product mix, content on social, etc.)
- Out-working and executing, learning as fast as possible
“Instagram definitely helped a ton for building trust and brand awareness,” he continues. “The free articles and webinars on Subscription School provided a lot of value to Nomadik; they helped me learn a lot really fast about the model and the hurdles. Use the data that you’re getting from your customers on what they like and don’t like, and you can continue to tailor your product offerings more and more.”
Though Nomadik started as a one-man show bootstrapped by Hines as a side project, with the help of Cratejoy, it has quickly expanded beyond that. Moving forward, Hines is focused on expansion and building out the team. “Our goal is to enhance your outdoor experience and we’ll continue to have a heavy emphasis on delivering unprecedented customer value with a focus on the best-in-class goods for the outdoor and adventure market,” Hines explains.
Want to launch your own subscription box like Nomadik? Cratejoy provides all the tools to run your subscription business.