Three years ago, Aaron Roubitchek was looking for more. After cutting his teeth at big tech companies, he felt an entrepreneurial tug to create a product that was ethical, sustainable, and made a meaningful impact on the planet. “I really liked my job at Google, but I felt like I was looking for too much that wasn’t there,” Aaron said.
His idea? To create a two-in-one hybrid shoe that was stylish, comfortable, made almost entirely of recycled products, and produced in a way that was sustainable, scalable, and minimized their carbon footprint. Additionally, Aaron wanted to raise money and awareness for organizations who did work he believed in, such as The Ocean Cleanup Project.
Roubitchek launched Ponto in July 2018. Joey Marquis, an acquaintance since middle school, joined Ponto six months later. A former Silicon Valley engineer, Joey had also been exploring ways to start his own business before deciding to team up with Aaron.
By October 2020, Aaron and Joey were trying to figure out how they were going support storing and fulfilling 10,000 pairs of shoes they planned to sell in their first year after their successful Kickstarter campaign. They knew they needed a shipping and logistics partner to handle storage and shipment to allow them to focus on growing the business.
The problem? They knew very little about eCommerce fulfillment.
ShipCalm is a full-service eCommerce fulfillment company that provides everything from warehousing and assembly to customer service. By cultivating relationships with eCommerce, EDI, ERP, and shipping companies, ShipCalm provides everything that entrepreneurs need to streamline production and scale growing businesses.
We recently sat down with Ponto co-founders Aaron, CEO, and Joey, COO, who discussed how ShipCalm has freed up time and energy they could spend focusing on growing their business.
What are the most beneficial aspects to working with ShipCalm?
They really help to demystify an otherwise murky part of our business. Fulfillment and supply chain isn’t where we, as founders, want to be spending a ton of our time and energy, and it sounds daunting if you have never done it before.
ShipCalm has experience to help make everything easy for us to understand and is always just a call away if we have any questions or want to try something new. They can help explain things simply and put a personal touch to our fulfillment so it’s less of a black box and more something that we can easily understand and execute well.
How have the relationships ShipCalm has cultivated with other companies impacted your experience?
Obviously, ShipCalm and the people that work there are much more ingrained in the logistics and fulfillment sector than we are. Through ShipCalm, we’ve been introduced to awesome people that can help improve and grow our business. Whether this is new tech/software, retail partnerships, or just local legends around San Diego, ShipCalm has helped us cultivate some game-changing relationships.
How has ShipCalm’s commitment to tech-forward solutions impacted your experience?
As a new digital-first brand, part of our value-add is being tech-forward ourselves. In that regard, it has been super beneficial to us that our 3PL/Warehouse also focuses on technology. Not only did they help set up our warehousing and inventory systems (so we can always have a pulse on our inventory and what’s happening on the shelves), they’re also eager to help utilize new technology and service like Route or high-tech packaging.
Has working with ShipCalm freed up time to work on other aspects of Ponto?
Absolutely. It’s no surprise that as a start-up, we have to perform ten different roles on any given day. There’s simply too much to do for us to be spending too much time worrying about if our packages are actually being shipped out or counting inventory.
How has ShipCalm impacted your success?
I couldn’t even imagine trying to do fulfillment ourselves or without ShipCalm. ShipCalm has allowed us to take a back seat and know that everything is flowing and operating correctly so we can focus on improving and growing our company in other ways, such as working on marketing, business relationships, you name it.
They’ve really doubled down on customer success, they’re always willing to jump on a call, and we’ve been really pleased. It’s been a lot more headache-free than it could have been.
By using ShipCalm, can you measure any improvements in productivity or time savings?
The answer is undeniably yes. Fulfillment and storage is their wheelhouse. I can’t imagine spending hours per day packing up and shipping our products. They are efficient and set up to do this at scale, saving everyone’s time and money. We’ve been fortunate to enjoy steady growth since our launch, and we know a part of that is due to the fact that our 3PL runs smoothly enough to let us focus on other things.
How has your perception of ShipCalm changed since you’ve become a customer?
They’ve been able to educate us on a lot of things, including international shipping. They handhold us through giant question marks, like fulfillment. Plus, thanks to Greg’s background in engineering, they’re a tech-forward fulfillment center, which we like. They’ve been very adaptable. We’ve never dealt with the industry. I think we can be needy clients, but we expect everything to be perfect.
What is your advice to others who might be considering ShipCalm?
Relationships and flexibility are super important to us, and ShipCalm. It’s a luxury knowing that we have people in our warehouse that we can call to check in on things when we need to. Furthermore, they’re willing to work with you to set up new processes. As our needs and asks grow in complexity, ShipCalm steps up to the challenge. Whether it’s setting up automatons to use different shipping methods for different geographies, or working out a new process to handle returns and cleaning returned inventory, ShipCalm is there to help.