Blog > Scaling a DTC Skincare Brand (and a 3PL on the side) | PalletSide Chat Ep. 1

Scaling a DTC Skincare Brand (and a 3PL on the side) | PalletSide Chat Ep. 1

Are you a DTC founder or eCommerce pro looking for insights on leveling your game? Then look no further than the inaugural episode of PalletSide Chat! In this episode, Co-Founder of Black Wolf Nation and One23 Fulfillment, Alex Lewkowict, takes us on his rollercoaster journey as a high-touch 3PL and DTC founder. He discusses everything from launching (and failing) his first product line to leveraging customer feedback for growth. Whether you’re just starting or have years of experience under your belt, this episode is chock-full of actionable advice that will take your brand to the next level. 

Launching, Failing and Re-Launching His First Product Line

Who knew that reselling baseball caps in high school could be the start of a successful entrepreneurship journey? But that’s precisely how it went for Alex and his brother Sam. Their credit card allowed them to provide a valuable service to their classmates and they quickly learned the satisfaction of solving other people’s problems. That business acumen only grew when they were presented with the opportunity to sell razor bump creams. Instead of looking at it as just another product, they saw the potential to solve a problem for their customers.

The old saying “If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again” really rings true for Alex and his brother.  They realized their inferior razor bump cream just wasn’t selling. Despite trying to rebrand and enlist a designer’s help, the associate they were selling for didn’t share in their vision. So, they ditched it all and decided to start their own skincare line. 

After launching their initial product to crickets, these brothers didn’t let a lack of initial success stop them from following their dreams and creating a successful grooming brand. Undeterred, they made it their mission to become more than just a “one-hit wonder” and diversified their offerings by developing new products and streamlining their systems.

After finally teaching himself how to navigate Facebook ads, Alex launched ten separate ads for Black Wolf Nation. While nine may not have performed as well as hoped, all it took was one successful ad to bring in those sales. This experience taught them the importance of analytics, testing, and setting small goals to reach big successes.

“We don’t need to change men’s grooming forever. We don’t need to revolutionize anything. Let’s get one sale every single day.” – Sam Lewkowict.

Expanding Revenue Streams by Launching a 3PL

Alex and Sam hit another roadblock – shipping and fulfillment. While BlackWolf Nation’s needs were tricky, they required a provider capable of handling their growing volume. Rather than settling for an inadequate third-party logistics company, they launched One23 Fulfillment. 

It’s always a gamble when starting a new business, but for Alex, the risk paid off big time. When he convinced his hesitant brother to rent a small warehouse for their 3PL company, One23 Fulfillment, he had no way of knowing how quickly they would outgrow it. But thanks to his passion for logistics, Alex could find creative solutions and make them work – even during the challenges of COVID. 

When the perfect opportunity came in the form of a 35,000 sq ft warehouse, he didn’t hesitate to snatch it up. The result was a significant boost in their shipping capabilities, going from 20,000 orders to almost 300,000 in eight months. It may be scary, but it’s clear that following his passion has led to success for Alex and One23 Fulfillment.

“35,000 square feet, we took a big risk. [It was] very scary, but the best decision I ever made.” – Alex Lewkowict

Leveraging Customer Feedback as a Growth Accelerator

Forget the adage about the customer always being right – their customers are essential when it comes to BlackWolf Nation. The personal care company credits its growth and product innovation to customer feedback. Imagine emailing that a particular face wash is drying, only for the company to promptly create a dry skin formula – now that’s impressive customer service!

And by continuously monitoring what products are flying off the shelves, BlackWolf Nation can consistently improve and expand its offerings. This close relationship with customers allows them room to grow and make mistakes, making every purchaser feel like they’re on this journey alongside the company. 

 “I think a big part of the success of Black Wolf Nation was how close we were to our customers.” – Alex Lewkowict. 

Learn From the Best in eCommerce Fulfillment

It’s been a wild ride for Alex Lewkowict, Co-Founder of Black Wolf Nation and One23 Fulfillment. In the inaugural episode of PalletSide Chat, we’ve unpacked his journey as a high-touch 3PL and DTC founder. If you’re curious about what it takes to make it in the world of eCommerce or just want a good laugh, check out the full episode here. 

Stay tuned for future episodes where we’ll bring other founders and people from within ShipHero to share their stories. And if there’s anything you want us to cover or if you have questions for Alex, feel free to reach out to us at podcast@shiphero.com. We’d love to hear your feedback!

Listen to PalletSide Chat HERE

About the Hosts:

As VP of marketing, Dan Van Meer is always on the go. From overseeing project management and data analytics, he has his hands in a little bit of everything. Most importantly, he ensures that all creative work – from graphic design to digital marketing – is high quality and on-brand. Co-host Alex Lewkowict is quite the renaissance man. He’s been an adolescent entrepreneur, successful CEO, and Founder of a men’s skincare line, and he created One23 Fulfillment. Did we mention he made the Forbes 30 under 30 list?

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