It all started with a viral TikTok video.
In the fall of 2020, Ryan Lubker decided to make himself a Beer Deer™—a deer head out of beer cases to mount on his wall. He filmed and edited the project, posted it on TikTok, and it went viral. To date, the video has amassed over 2.2 million views and 1,700 comments.
“The video took off, and everybody in the comments was saying, hey I would totally buy this. You gotta make one, you gotta sell them,” explains Chris Wood, Lubker’s friend and Beer Deer™ co-founder. “We can actually make this a business. I just thought to myself, wow I would buy one too. The fact that I can’t buy one tells me that I should probably figure out how to make one and mass produce it.”`
On September 20, 2020, Beer Deer™ was officially born. The business partners quickly began figuring out manufacturing and logistics to support the influx of orders they had coming in for the holiday season.
We recently sat down with Beer Deer™ co-founder Chris Wood to learn more about the company and how he and Ryan have used ShipCalm to establish Beer Deer™ as a reliable B2C ecommerce brand.**
What was the problem that initially led to you seeking ShipCalm as a solution?
Our first container delivery was supposed to be December 5th or 6th. I had guaranteed people Christmas delivery, so I absolutely needed a 3PL that was right next to the port so that the units can come in and go out the same day, basically.
I Googled 3PL in Southern California. I saw a number of options and their websites weren’t great. Then I saw ShipCalm. The website looked good, and it seemed straightforward. I based the decision on professional presence.
What was your initial conversation with ShipCalm like?
I called, and the first person I spoke to was Garret (Crispi, Sales Manager at ShipCalm). Garret answered quickly, and I explained to him the situation. I said, “Hey we have a container that’s coming in late, I guaranteed people Christmas delivery, what’s the receiving time? If you get a container on day one, would you be able to start sending out units day two, three, etcetera?” He said yes.
Garret was super professional. I talk to him and I’m like, this guy knows his stuff. I felt good, I felt comfortable, I had a good peace of mind. On our first phone call, I basically committed right then and there. I said, let me send you all the information, and he was on it, from day one.
Ultimately, the container was delayed roughly three weeks due to COVID-19 and the units didn’t arrive at port until December 23rd. What was the turnaround like once the units made it to port?
The container came on the 23rd and people started to receive their orders as soon as the 27th, 28th, and 29th. So the promise was honored—the promise that when the units came in, they would go out. That’s what happened. In three days, I believe it was, 7,000 units were shipped.
What was your process prior to using ShipCalm?
Before ShipCalm, my manufacturer sent me about 300 units to my house. Over the course of a week I shipped all 300 by myself. I printed labels through Shopify and dropped them off at UPS.
What were fulfillment costs like when you were shipping the units yourself?
When looking at a container, 7,000 units, the price was on average maybe $12.50 per unit. Now, it’s on average $9.50 per unit. A few dollars per unit, when you’re talking thousands and thousands of units, adds up. It’s better, and it saves me time and stress, so it’s a definite improvement over doing it myself.
You spent more than you wanted to ship out the units from your first container, because of the delays at the port. What was the experience with container number two like?
Container number two was way cheaper than I had originally anticipated for 7,000 units. because of the customer-oriented business model you have at ShipCalm. Garret basically said, “Only because of the time constraints, things were a little bit more expensive [for container one], but I figured out a way to get your costs down.” He tested all the combinations—whether we would do FedEx 2-day or FedEx Ground, using a pod mailer or box—and he found me the perfect combination and maximized our margin.
How did the shipping costs change?
Shipping costs went from $14 to $9.50 flat per order for the second container. For the second container, shipping costs were way, way lower. Other 3PLs, they’ll just throw the price at you, and that’s that. They’re not going to try to find you the best possible price. Garret really went out of his way to try to maximize profits. He found the perfect combination, lowered the shipping costs, and the second container was much more price-friendly.
Can you measure any additional cost savings with ShipCalm, other than the freight costs?
Other 3PLs have a lot more fees and up-charges. The cost for fulfillment with ShipCalm is very, very fair and economical. I’ve researched lots and lots of 3PLs, and the price to service ratio is really, really good. I think it would be really hard to find another 3PL that has as good a price to service ratio [as ShipCalm].
What are your favorite features of ShipCalm?
The same-day fulfillment and the customer service. Those are the two features I like the most.
When I send Garret or other team members information on an email thread, it gets done. I don’t have to waste a lot of time following up and circling back and saying, “Hey did this get done?” When I send something through, it gets taken care of.
Would you recommend ShipCalm to other eCommerce companies?
I don’t know anyone who does what I do, but if I did, I would recommend ShipCalm. Because of ShipCalm’s size, sales managers have time to spend working with you to find a custom-fitted solution. They have more time to allocate to you as a customer. As a business, that is really important.
**Our conversation has been condensed for clarity and brevity.