DUDE Products keeps lean and mean with scalable technology stack
DUDE Products develops and sells men’s hygiene products and is fast becoming the ‘go to’ male hygiene brand in the US.
Revenue growth rate (16/17)
Shopify & Amazon Direct
7,000+ retail stores
CTL Global Solutions
Third party logistics (3PL)
DUDE Products started out as a company selling butt wipes branded for guys; now they are growing into the ‘go to’ male hygiene brand in the US. Founded by four college postgraduate friends sharing an apartment, DUDE Products are in the business of developing men's hygiene products. Sean Riley, Brian Wilkin, Jeff Klimkowsi and Ryan Meegan started the Chicago-based business back in 2011.
The first product from the company is called DUDE Wipes, created as an alternative to toilet paper and baby wipes. Having bought baby wipes throughout college, and whilst living together, they saw a gap in the market for an ‘on the go’ flushable wipe and thus, the DUDE Products story began.
The DUDEs have created a brand and found a way to make hygiene and cleanliness highly marketable; in 2013, they received an award for the most innovative consumer product of the year at the Visionary Awards. The DUDE journey has continued to pick up momentum and in 2015, they appeared on Shark Tank where they secured investment, giving them the confidence to expand the brand even further.
We spoke to Brian Wilkin, Co-Founder, to find out how DUDE manage their growing operations.
DUDE sells through its Shopify webstore, to Amazon direct, and over 7,000 retail stores are also selling DUDE products. Before choosing Brightpearl as its retail operations system, managing all these sales channels were manual as the business ran on a combination of spreadsheets and QuickBooks.
Brian says: “Brightpearl came recommended to us by Spikeball as they were utilizing the system and the goal for us was to get more streamlined. We got to the point where we needed to create efficiencies in terms of operations and logistics. Prior to that, we were manually submitting spreadsheets with orders to our warehouse, and there was another manual layer for our accounting with QuickBooks.”
Managing inventory levels across the warehouse
Seamlessly working with EDI connections
Syncing Shopify orders
Obtaining reliable performance metrics
Brian and the team knew they had to deploy technology to help scale their business plans. The DUDE team remains lean with three in-house employees as they’ve made the strategic decision to outsource other business activities.
They work with third party logistics (3PL) provider, CTL Global Solutions in Chicago, where they have a dedicated fulfillment team, and they also work with B2BGateway, an EDI provider to support direct retail customer orders. The team also works with advertising agencies and an accountancy firm to help fuel their growth, profitably.
There are lots of different variables driving DUDE Products’ growth; increased brand awareness, more investment in advertising, which in turn creates even more brand awareness, and with every retailer they bring on board, awareness expands again.
“We can now prove ourselves on retail shelves with reliable data from Brightpearl - whether we’ve had a meeting with the buyer before, or if they are new, we’ve got numbers to back up our products’ success. We can show product performance, which has helped secure more retail customers - buyers are data-driven and so are we,” explains Brian.
DUDE Products has a lean and mean team powering their success, their differentiation in the market sets them apart and their brand awareness across the US is spreading widely. This year, they’re expecting to see a further 100% growth rate.
Brian tells us: “With Brightpearl and the other technology partners we work with [Shopify, ReCharge, CTL Global Solutions and B2BGateway], we’re empowered to work much smarter by automating a lot of admin tasks, allowing us to strategically have fewer people growing the business. We can focus on developing products, the brand and securing new buyers. Brightpearl has created a stable platform for us to be able to take growth steps, seamlessly.”