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A NSFW eCommerce Case Study, ft. The Horny Stoner (Rated R)

By February 4, 2021No Comments

*THIS ARTICLE IS NOT INTENDED FOR ANYONE UNDER THE AGE OF 21… OR IF YOU ARE EASILY OFFENDED...*

Give the young and prude a moment to leave… great. 

*cue retro adult film music — bom chicka wow wow*

On this featured NSFW customer story by ShipHero AfterDark, we deep-dive into our customer (not like that): The Horny Stoner, a brand that caters to empowered babes that aren’t afraid to express their individuality, or as Founder and CEO Ana Dee affectionately refers to them… Bud Sluts, discreetly providing novelty items from peace pipes to dildos, from grinders to butt plugs, and just about everything that goes in between. 

Ana Dee takes immense pride in authentically sharing her entrepreneurial journey, proving to up-and-comers that anything is possible. Working as a dancer at a local strip club, Ana Dee saved up $2,000 (“no regrets!”) to start the foundation for her brand. Her businesses took off rapidly, and she went from using a spare room in her house to owning and operating a North Carolina warehouse, powered by ShipHero WMS. 

“My team went with Shiphero because there isn’t any other software on the market that is the all-in-one package that easily integrates with Shopify. Not to mention the speed it has to cater to small businesses like our own, with the potential to grow with us when 10,000 SKUs grows to 100,000.”

Ana DeeFounder and CEO of Horny Stoner

Since the Horny Stoner has long been satisfied with ShipHero’s all-in-one package (or so she tells us), we just had to tie her down for an interview and study her case. Without a taxi cab in sight, Ana Dee confessed all the juicy details about how she started her successful business and why she chose ShipHero to fulfill her customer’s desires, and packages. ;)~

ShipHero: Ana Dee, tell us about your business.

Ana Dee: “I refer to my empire as ‘The Mothership.’ Alien Outfitters is my first brand, which led to the birth of my two new sister stores, The Horny Stoner and Blades For Babes. We sell a wide range of clothing/accessories, adult toys and tobacco products, and fashionable knives within our online web stores…

After shipping orders out of my upstairs rec room for three years, I ended up renting container units at a local fulfillment center. And within six months, we were busting at the seams and slowing down the fulfillment process with the number of orders we had. I knew in my gut it was time to handle the fulfillment ourselves. I am very hands-on with my customers’ entire unboxing experience*. I knew I had to get my own warehouse to truly keep our customer experience sustainable by having more control over our fulfillment process. Not only that, but I wanted to provide employment opportunities that diverse individuals don’t have.”

*Talking about her customized unboxing experience, every Horny Stoner order is jam-packed with pink stardust and shipped out of their North Carolina warehouse. 

Early on, Ana successfully identified her target market in the Bud Sluts, and the company was converting sales at a dizzying pace. However, she found that having to integrate multiple platforms just to ship a single order was making her fulfillment process much more complicated than necessary.

SH: What was your fulfillment process like before ShipHero?

Ana Dee: “Pre-Shiphero was honestly a shipping sh*t storm… Groovepacker was the system we used to ensure the correct items were picked. The process lagged, the backend was a mess, but it was the only option I could afford at the time. As far as label printing, Shipstation provided a lot for the price point. Still, as we grew, it lacked the automation our stores required, such as combining orders, removing drop-ship items, and packing slip customization. I grew more and more frustrated when the bulk of my time was manually doing things that the platforms couldn’t execute.

Our problems seemed like simple fixes, yet you would put in ticket request after ticket request to software companies who didn’t care about changing their systems. Most of the time, we wouldn’t get a response for weeks at a time, which just caused delay after delay. As the tiny problems stacked, I couldn’t grow my business because I simply didn’t have the time.”

SH: Naughty, naughty platforms. Did you… spank them?

Ana Dee: “If you call raising hell via email with the developers, then yes.”

SH: So when it comes to a fulfillment provider, what’s, like, your type? *twirls hair in fingers*

Ana Dee: “When searching for a fulfillment partner, it’s imperative to hop on a call and really see what the process looks like. As we got quotes from other companies, we noticed the lack of excitement they had or the lack of resources we needed. 

We saw that Shiphero cost a pretty penny for a small business, but let’s face it, you get what you pay for. Shiphero had in-depth videos that trained us before we even had the hardware in our hands.”

SH: Speaking of hardware in your hands, what was the integration process like with ShipHero? Was it… good? You enjoyed it too, right?

Ana Dee: Well with consent from both parties, our first time integrating with ShipHero was… a blast. [retelling the story] So it’s the peak of a pandemic, post-Black Friday, and we find the perfect warehouse that hasn’t hit the market yet. Miraculously, we purchased the building within 2 weeks and moved in within 48 hours. Now it was crunch time [to fulfill holiday sales].

Shiphero had a simple online document that provided us with EXACTLY what computers, scanners, and other accessories needed to make this happen. Being an entrepreneur, you are built to solve problems, so we made it happen with the natural ability to move fast. Within seven days, we had the process down and hired three more packers who had the pull and packing process down the same day they were hired. I still look back and can’t believe this was possible, but the reality is that Shiphero made it possible. Any other software would have hindered our success and ability to hit our numbers before the year was over.”

“Within seven days, we had the process down and hired three more packers who had the pull and packing process down the same day they were hired. I still look back and can’t believe this was possible, but the reality is that Shiphero made it possible.”

SH: Well, pulling packages is sort of our specialty. What would you say the biggest advantage and disadvantage of ShipHero has been for your business?

Ana Dee: “The advantage with Shiphero, hands down, is the accuracy for pulling and packing orders. There is a zero chance you will pull the wrong product in an order. Shipping the correct products removes human error, saves money, and creates happy returning customers. The speed of the barcode readers allows us to move efficiently, getting an order fulfilled within 60 seconds.

Thus far, the only disadvantage is that I haven’t dove into the system’s other capabilities, such as creating kits for our products and getting our returns portal set up.”

SH: Wait til you see our back end capabilities. Anyway, how has your business been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns?

Ana Dee: “It was pretty clear that everyone was staying home, had a lot of time on their hands, and felt stressed about the pandemic. I didn’t understand the power our products had until our customers needed them most.

It’s a no-brainer that adults were partaking in 18+ activities as time went by. We all certainly needed to take a load off. The Horny Stoner saw a 400% increase in sales. On the contrary, as sales went up, products were selling out.

There was no way I could keep up, because even our suppliers couldn’t. We were getting calls and emails about shipping delays and lack of resources left and right. 90% of international suppliers couldn’t even give us a date when they would be up and running again, let alone 50% of them closing down for good.

But, when things go south, I try to find the silver lining. In this case, I wanted to provide jobs for people who lost them. So I found smaller brands who had stock. I bargained with sellers I found on Etsy to purchase their whole supply, which helped them eliminate stale inventory and minimize their financial hardship during Covid. The other side, too of course, was ensuring our employees were safe to be in a space together.

SH: Amazing, and what’s next for you and the Horny Stoner?

Ana Dee: Purchasing a warehouse is not something everyone in their lifetime gets to do, and I want to make this experience memorable for myself, my employees, and our followers. They have been on this journey with me since day one and now they get to indulge in our next chapter here.

So now that I have this big hunk of space, it’s no surprise that it will be full of glitter and neon lights in no time.”

Follow Ana Dee and the Horny Stoner’s journey at their website and Instagram. 

https://hornystoner.com/

https://www.instagram.com/thehornystoner/?hl=en

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