#202 - Nishant Samantray: Building Arrae Into an 8 Figure Brand, FAST

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On this episode of DTC Pod, Nish joins Blaine to talk about how he started Arrae with his wife, Siffat Haider. They discuss how to build a DTC brand with a product lens, what it took to get to the first 17K orders, personal touches to drive early sales, how they transitioned into scaling, how they got Hailey Beiber as a mega fan of Arrae, the tech stack that powers their growth, how they think about subscription experience, timing their retail strategy, and how they got into 13 Erewhon locations.

23:01 -23:58
Never Underestimate the Power of a Selfie
We wanted people to know that they were buying the product from us. And so everything was hand packaged we never use a fulfillment center in the early days. And every single thing like we would buy custom, tissue wrapping paper, we’d wrap up the products, we would write a handwritten note. And then me and my wife used to take a Polaroid selfie. Every Polaroid would be an authentic one, because we would be taking it ourselves with a Polaroid camera. And so it would it would take about 10-15 seconds per photo. And so we would do that for like 1000s of orders. We didn’t get a fulfillment center until after our first million dollars in sales. And so that all of that was just pure I guess sweat, sweat equity that we put in everything. And that really, really helped because people used to post with it all the time to like who are these people? And why is there a photo of them in the package. And it was actually like kind of cute, like people really, really liked it.

12:36 - 13:04
Before Creating a Subscription Program, Ask Yourself This.
I actually still think that subscription, as great as a business model is, it’s really annoying from a customer perspective, if it’s not a good experience. And so what we try to do is like we first have to find, okay, natively, how are people using the product? How are they like consuming? What’s the frequency on which they’re consuming it? What kind of person is that that requires us this product on subscription? And then we very specifically cater our subscription offers to those kinds of customers.

27:10 - 28:00
When Hailey Bieber Loves Your Product
I saw the PayPal notification pop up. And then I was like oh wow is this really her? And so I looked it up and I was like, Oh wow that’s really her. So we sent her some product. And we wrote a handwritten note or whatever. And then five days later she orders like five more. And so I was like Oh wow she really likes her product. And then basically, we shipped it out to her. And then her assistant at the very end of it sent me a message being like Hey, I know you shipped the product, but it’s not getting here fast enough because Hailey’s gone tomorrow, and she needs the product today. And so I was in LA at the time. So I was like You know what can I just come and drop it off? And she’s like Yeah you can come up drop it off. Just come to Justin Bieber’s house. I was like Yep I’m on my way there. So me Siff and literally like Siff’s brother and one of our team members, we all loaded up in my car and we just drove over to Justin Bieber’s house to go and hand deliver this product.

This episode is brought to you by OpenStore:

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Nishant Samantray- Co-founder of Arrae

Ramon Berrios - CEO of Trend.io

Blaine Bolus - COO of OmniPanel

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