PantyDrop Growth Stack Interview
Julie Arsenault: The PantyDrop Growth Stack
This week we went down the street to visit Julie Arsenault, at her office in Downtown Reno, to chat about the tools she uses to grow PantyDrop, a subscription intimates company for women of all shapes and sizes.
PantyDrop currently has a powerhouse team of 6 employees, augmented by numerous other agencies and freelancers. They have experienced rapid customer growth over the last two years, and now, PantyDrop is actively shipping products to several thousand customers.
Julie, CEO, who graduated from MIT with a degree in mechanical engineering, had the idea for PantyDrop in 2014 at a Startup Weekend. She built up the company on the side while working in enterprise software for a Bay Area company until 2017, when she dove in full time.
PantyDrop has done well to stay lean as they grow, choosing the software solutions that make the most impact on their bottom line in a “just-in-time” fashion.
Starting The Day
“Every Monday, coming in to work, I use a tool called Week Plan. It walks you through the process of thinking about your high impact tasks for the week.” What’s helpful about Week Plan is that you can think about it based on roles. One of my roles is CEO, one of my roles is Head of Marketing, and one of my roles is Head of Product. You can use Week Plan to allocate time to your priorities and objectives, according to the roles which matter most to you.” “Week Plan also syncs with google and outlook calendars, which is extremely useful in setting your schedule for maximum efficiency.”
Everyone who’s been in a leadership role at an early stage company can tell you how busy things get. As CEO, roles shift throughout the day, and it’s easy to get distracted, which is why a tool like Week Plan can be helpful for keeping things on track.
Team Communication and Management
15Five allows managers to focus on forward growth and stay on top of communicating priorities with the team. “It is a weekly status report tool and a good pulse check for the team.” It works top down, but also bottom up, helping team members to share what their priorities are for the week.
Being a leader can be difficult. Especially when that is just one of your many, many roles in an organization. 15Five helps Julie, and the whole PantyDrop team stay on track of individual goals and objectives.
Marketing Email Management
PantyDrop is transitioning their marketing email programs to Customer.io “It gave us a lot of event driven triggering capabilities.” We could pass it arrays of data and iterate through an array and use multi level arrays.” “there is a graphic interface where you can set up workflows and include logic.”
Matt- “how is the e-mail templating within customer.io?” “I found it to be really easy to work with. They have a drag and drop builder. You can also, of course, bring in coded templates or just do plain text.”
Having a solid system in place for ongoing customer communication is key in any startup, and while we’ve seen a lot of tools used for email management, the easy to use segmenting, logic-building, and design templating features of Customer.io are a big selling point.
“We’re using segment for event tracking and user analytics on our website. They have a client side solution where you can define events based on clicks. When someone makes a purchase, we fire a trigger based on that. Segment is what takes the events from our backend and sends them to customer.io. It’s the glue that connects customer data between all of our systems.”
We’ve seen Segment come up more and more in conversation, and for good reason. The customer data platform just works, and the integrations are an undeniable value add.
Zendesk is a support CRM that allows customer conversations to flow seamlessly across all channels, which means more productive agents and more satisfied customers.
As a company reliant on ongoing customers and repeat business, customer retention is critical to maintaining a high LTV. Zendesk helps the PantyDrop team manage, impress, and retain their growing customer base.
“Zapier was critical for us. We built so much of our backend using zapier and google sheets. Zapier and google sheets for database and a tool called knack which is basically fancy microsoft access in the cloud. An Order would come in through shopify and then we used zapier to send the data to knack”.
Julie is an expert in threading together readily available tools to meet her company’s needs. By using Zapier in combination with Segment, Google sheets, Knack, and Customer.io, she was make a low-code backend for Panty Drop that got them to where they are today, without the overhead of a full time developer. Now that the company is further along, Julie is shifting towards building infrastructure that will allow them to scale.
“I definitely find it easier to get to inbox zero with SuperHuman”
Shopify is the go-to e-commerce platform. Shopify’s solid foundation and flexibility makes it the perfect platform for many startup owners who want to build their digital storefront quickly and be ready to scale.
One of the key points that Julie wanted us to pass on is the importance of agility, and resourcefulness in a startup. What impresses us most about PantyDrop, was their ability to deliver a great UI and customer experience through easy to access and readily available tools. For example, how they used Zapier and Google Sheets to manage their onboarding flow and early backend.
“We actually built a very reliable and inexpensive backend with just a few tools, knowing, once we started growing we could invest in larger scale infrastructure.”
This kind of lean thinking, with the mindset of “build it as we need it”, is critical to success at any startup trying to go far with limited resources.
The Growth Stack Project is an initiative by TRU Venture Marketing with the intention of helping expert marketers by sharing the tools others use to be successful. Interested in being featured? Reach out to Matt@truvm.com.