Wolven, Unbundled

Top three hero tools for DTC Athletic brand Wolven are Slack, Shipstation, Matrixify

Wolven is a direct-to-consumer, eco-conscious brand founded in 2016. Wolven creates sustainable activewear and swimwear using recycled or natural fibers. Their leading tagline is "Make Sustainability Sexy". We had the pleasure to interview Will Ryan Co-Founder and COO of Wolven.

Wolven’s Tech Stack:  

If you could name 3 ‘Hero’ tools, from Wolven’s ecommerce tech stack which would you choose? In other words, which tools - if they broke - would put everyday operations on hold? 

I’d say the three hero tools for Wolven would be - Slack, Shipstation, Matrixify. I find that Slack is essential for staying connected with our remote-first team and for working with external third party partners. We even use Shopify flow to send automated updates into slack so our warehouse team can receive updates from customer service on exchanges and returns. 

Generally, how does Wolven evaluate a potential ecommerce technology solution? 

We always start by reading reviews and having discussions about potential products in various e-commerce communities, like Slack communities and facebook groups. One group that has a lot of expert info from enterprise-level merchants is the Shopify Plus community facebook group. 

Since Wolven is focused on “making sustainability sexy”, are there any hero technologies that you rely on that primarily ensure this promise of sustainable, high quality products to your customers? 

To fulfill our promise of sustainability, we rely on two tools: Climate Neutral and EcoCart to assist with our carbon footprint offsetting.  Wolven started using climate neutral in 2019, they have a simplified tool that estimates your carbon footprint based on your revenue and manufacturing data. It’s a really cool community. We’re currently working on adding the climate neutral badge to our hang tag on our garments. EcoCart communicates to the customer through the checkout process, and allows the customer to elect: 1% for the planet, CleanHub, or Treet for Circular Resale

How robust is your in-house engineering and product team? Why do you decide to build a feature or service vs buy it from an outside provider? 

Our team is very lean, but sometimes our developer can build things to avoid using another app. For one, many apps can slow down our store if they interact with the frontend. Load time is a concern when trying to boost conversion rate. I’m privacy conscious to protect our customers and our own data at Wolven. Third, when you have a lot of apps that interact with each other, if there is an update on one, and something breaks, other things are affected. Generally shopify plus does a good job limiting this, but it can still be an issue. 

Have you recently come across a category where the available tools were not meeting your needs? 

I’d love to have a tool that combines inventory forecasting with pre-order enablement. We have so many prints and many SKUs at Wolven that it is hard to forecast accurately which print will sell more. There are a number of apps that enable pre-orders but none that speak seamlessly with an order forecasting or inventory management tool. We have to go back and forth between a spreadsheet and purchase order tools, which is clunky. 

If you had $100k to spend on new ecommerce technology, what areas would you spend it in?

I'd explore the following: robots to run fulfillment, VR try-on for prints + size fitting tech, ambassador / affiliate incentivization tools, on-demand / to-demand manufacturing systems 

What advice would you give technology companies that are sending inbound sales messages to you? How can they stand out in your inbox? 

Lead with value and take a genuine interest in my brand. Be transparent about pricing upfront and don’t drag me into an hour demo before revealing pricing. In my opinion, mandatory annual contracts are the ultimate red flag that the product or service will underdeliver. Let me cancel anytime. And lastly, bet some portion of your fees on success metrics. If you’re so confident that your solution works so well like in your case study, then guarantee it. 

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