New Jersey based Scotch Porter is one of the most popular and successful brands in the world of men’s grooming. Founder and CEO, Calvin Quallis started the company in 2015 and named the line after his favorite drink (scotch) and his favorite musician (Gregory Porter).
Within the first 12 months of operation, Scotch Porter generated more than a million dollars in sales and has been growing rapidly ever since with distribution in major retailers such as Target and Walmart.
We caught up with Calvin to find out more about the company and his keys to success.
What inspired you to start your business?
I’ve always been passionate about solving problems. My passion for helping men to feel their best was born out of observation and my firsthand experience as a barbershop owner and a kid in my mom’s beauty/barbershop.
There I watched my mom and the other stylists transform the customers that walked into the shop. The customers would walk out as a different person. The barbers and stylists had this unique ability to help people feel better about themselves. That experience really stuck with me.
Also, when I owned my own barbershop, a lot of men would complain about grooming issues like dry, brittle and thin hair. So, I went home and began experimenting from the kitchen of my home, with natural ingredients, to alleviate their concerns and Scotch Porter was born.
What particular growth strategies have you implemented (or still implement) that have been most effective?
We operate in many of the traditional digital marketing channels that everyone plays in: PPC, Paid Social, Email, Influencer, Affiliate, etc. We have found email or retention marketing to be the most profitable and lucrative channel for us.
We see about an 83x return on every dollar that we invest in our email marketing efforts. Also, the channel is a great way to build customer loyalty and launch new products.
Where do you see the business in the next 5 years?
Our mission is to promote internal and external wellness while arming men with the tools needed to live their best, most fulfilled lives. In recent years, men have become much more interested in wellness and personal care.
We feed that interest by educating and providing experiences that showcase how health, wellness, and taking care of oneself shifts how one feels and performs in their personal and professional lives.
Scotch Porter is in a unique position to continue to educate and arm our customers with information and products that are aligned with internal and external wellness. Just like beauty isn’t just lipstick and makeup, grooming isn’t just a haircut and shave. You can expect a diverse product assortment from us in the near future.
What advice do you have for the entrepreneur who would like to see his/her products on the shelves of major retailers?
I have three key pieces of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.
1) Do your research.
If you are thinking of entering a market where there are no competitors, you better have a lot of money, as it will take boat loads of it to open up a new market. Thinking that you can create a new market with very little capital and resources is an uphill battle that most new entrepreneurs will lose. Competition is a sign that you are entering a healthy market and that customers are buying your offering.
2) Identify and/or cultivate a USP (Unique Selling Point) or Niche Market.
Being able to clearly communicate to a customer why they should buy from you instead of the competition is the only way to survive in a marketplace where there are hundreds, sometimes tens of thousands of companies that are technically offering the same product or service.
Even better is identifying a niche market. Find a market that is big enough and has enough potential customers but is being underserved or ignored. Study that customer and identify the best ways to serve them. You can grow a very substantial business, by identifying and properly serving a niche market.
3) Investigate the real costs of doing business with a major retailer and ask yourself if you’re truly ready.
First, having a tight grip on the business’ finances and having the appropriate product margin to sell to a mass retailer is crucial to the sustainability of your business. Does your current product margins support giving 50% or more of your retail costs to a retailer, plus another 10-15% to support marketing/sales efforts?
Second, getting on a retailer’s shelf is no easy feat, but it’s much easier than moving product off that retailer’s shelf. You must have customer loyalty and/or the marketing/sales capability to sell through. Landing on a retailer’s shelf, but not being able to move product off the shelf can be devastating to a small business, as you can accumulate massive fees from the retailer, have your products removed from shelves, and mar your reputation with the retailer.
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