ShipDaddy is a one-stop-shop for clients that need more than your standard e-commerce fulfillment partner. Joe Spisak and Brady Ferrell founded the business to provide a superior fulfilment solution after experiencing nightmare situations when they started their first eCommerce venture, Dicey. The overall vision was to provide high quality fulfillment, extraordinary customer service, and top-notch branded content to set ShipDaddy apart from the competition.
Almost a year later, the business is generating nearly $400,000 a month and is generating more customers through word of mouth than ad spend because of their superior client support. They’re also on track to cross the five-million-dollar threshold in revenue this year. In their own words, “business could not be better,” so we chat with Joe to find out what’s gone so right for ShipDaddy.
Who are you and what brand did you start?
Hi, I’m Joe Spisak, and I’m one of the co-founders of ShipDaddy. ShipDaddy is an eCommerce warehousing and fulfillment company for customers who can no longer keep up with the volume of their online sales portals. Our headquarters is in Carlisle, PA, where we provide all imaginable services related to fulfillment. Beyond classic fulfillment functions, we also provide marketing, web-design, product-development, consulting, and print on-demand services among others.
The ShipDaddy customer is a business owner that can’t keep up with fulfillment and is interested in other services that can drive business growth. We offer customers more than just the standard e-commerce and fulfillment by integrating services such as print on-demand, digital-media creation, crowd-funding fulfillment, international shipping, and flexible solutions. We sincerely strive each day to provide quality client communication, which has helped us gain a ton of customers through word-of-mouth.
How did you come up with the idea, brand name and logo for ShipDaddy?
The idea for ShipDaddy came about due to nightmare experiences fulfilling products for our first collaboratively developed company, Dicey. As I was managing the fulfillment of Dicey orders through three different 3PLs, I experienced so many issues--I regularly saw things like unexpected and incorrect billing, lost or damaged inventory, and incomplete order fulfillment. The worst part was that I could never talk to a real person about any of these issues because customer service was virtually non-existent.
After being completely fed up, I asked my good friend and Marine Veteran, Brady Farrell, to help fulfill and ship the Dicey units. He agreed to help out and did an absolutely fantastic job. We quickly realized that this is what we should be doing--so we started signing new customers we worked with in the past and gathered some of our closest friends to form ShipDaddy. I think the fact that we started adding things like custom boxes, flexibility in billing, and personal touches to our fulfillment repertoire really set us apart early on.
The ShipDaddy logo and character was designed by our amazing and talented friends at Tubik Studios and is modeled off of the real-life Brady Farrell. Yes, the beard is real!
We picked Brady for our logo for a lot of reasons, but the fact that Brady was the first person to pack a box for this company and happens to be one of the hardest working and best guys you will ever meet played a huge role. Brady got the nickname ‘Dad’ in the Marines because he was always trying to take care of people. I think all of those factors came together in naming and branding the company in the way we have.
Describe the process of launching ShipDaddy?
Well, all entrepreneurs know that starting a business is difficult, but super rewarding. There are always unexpected challenges and hurdles that come up when you start a company that you don’t know how to solve, but I think we’ve gotten lucky to have a team of people that thrive on solving new problems since day one.
Speaking of day one, for ShipDaddy that was Brady packing boxes in a freezing garage with no heat in the middle of winter while I managed order flow and client-side issues. Once we started bringing on our business partners and signing more clients, we really kicked things into second gear and started to grow the business and brand. There were certainly some growing pains at the start, and we still experience some from time to time, but we have continued to grow quickly and efficiently. We just try and always be prepared so we can stay ahead of the curve without suffering any major setbacks.
Since launch, what has worked best to attract and retain customers?
We pride ourselves on delivering a truly exceptional fulfillment experience to our partners and firmly believe that instant communication and extreme flexibility are the keys to that. Offering the options and level of service we do is truly unheard of in the fulfillment space, which I believe has been the driving force behind our success.
In offering all-inclusive business services, we are able to attract more diverse customers and position ourselves at the forefront of our industry. If you are a company in need of a no bullsh*t shipping and fulfillment partner, ShipDaddy is an efficient and highly flexible solution that gives you access to the actual people boxing your product.
With regards to business growth, how have things changed from a digital, revenue, customer and sales perspective?
From all perspectives, we have grown every single day that the business has been open. By signing InkedUp Apparel (a large print-on-demand client) we extended our services to include top-of-the-line on-demand printing, which really opened our business up to new opportunity and growth. Gaining the ability to fulfill orders for high-end thermal printing as well as direct-to-garment printing provided us access to a client base we didn’t previously have.
How is the business doing today and what does the future look like?
Business could not be better--we haven’t lost a single client, we’re expanding into new sectors, and we’re actively hiring the passionate team members we are looking for. Our main goal for the future is to continue ShipDaddy’s upward trajectory while continuing to provide the best fulfillment service attainable while we just grow, and grow, and grow. We also strive to make sure we have team members that have a desire to learn and grow personally and professionally.
What’s been the biggest learning experience since starting your own brand?
Regardless of the industry you’re working in, your attitude and how you approach each day is everything. We have fostered an extremely positive, supportive, and contagious energy at ShipDaddy HQ. We come into work each day with the goal of being great in every aspect of our business, and we get to do this as part of a team that loves spending time with each other.
I think the biggest learning experience has been going from the mindset of wondering if this venture could fail, to the mindset of knowing there is no way we fail if we keep our culture, attitude, and work ethic intact.
What are your top 3 tips on how to setup an Ecom store for success?
1) We believe sticking with your dream and staying flexible in your industry is a must. If you do not keep up with new trends and technology, you will fall behind.
2) Forge. Personal. Relationships--do not sacrifice customer relationships or opportunities because the industry of eCommerce is online. I would go so far to say that maintaining personal, client-facing relationships is even more important in the eCom world because of the nature of the business.
3) Build a diverse team of individuals with different backgrounds that share a common goal of success. How you assemble your team is critical because you can’t perform every function of the business, and you need people you trust to fall back on.
What are some of your favorite online business tools you use to run ShipDaddy?
We have found some of the most powerful systems to be Slack and HubSpot. Both allow us to communicate with our clients, as well as trouble-shooting in real-time. The added benefits of HubSpot’s analytic tools allow us to dive deep into what is driving business growth, and what strategies need revised.
|Platform||Shopify, Walmart, Amazon, Big Commerce, Woo Commerce, Etsy, Magneto, Google Store|
|Project Management||HubSpot, Slack|
|Analytics||Google Analytics, HubSpot|
|Shipping||Shippo, USPS, UPS, DHL, Ascendia|
|Advertising||Facebook ads, Instagram ad, Google Ad Words, LinkedIn ads|
|Social Media Tools||HubSpot|
See what tools and platforms other founders are using.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts or other educational resources?
“Fish” by Stephen C. Lundin Ph.D., Harry Paul & John Christensen
Who have been the most influential people for you during this business journey?
Kim Spisak, my Mom, has been one of our biggest supporters and plays a role as a third-party consultant to assist with company policies, procedures and culture.
Our team members are also an enormous source of influence for me and one of the biggest proponents of our brand. The passion, dedication, and desire to learn has driven ShipDaddy to successes far beyond profit--we are able to do what we do because of the people we do it with. The ShipDaddy leadership team really strives to make sure everyone working with ShipDaddy (clients & team members) has a positive experience professionally & personally. With all that they are responsible for, we still find them packaging products, printing shirts, and staying available for the rest of the team 24/7.
Any other advice you’d like to share with other aspiring entrepreneurs?
We’ve made mistakes – we’re human. We’ve sent out bad orders, we’ve had a ceiling leak resulting in damage to a small amount of product, we poked a hole in a wall with our forklift while stacking pallets. . . these things happen! The only real remedy to these issues is immediately owning up to our mistakes and making them right. Take responsibility for your mistakes and your successes, because they play an equal role in achieving your goals.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now or open to new investors?
We are always hiring for all positions, but aren’t currently seeking investors.