When MIT students Aman Advani, Gihan Amarasiriwardena, and Kit Hickey
saw a need for comfortable yet professional-looking business wear,
they launched a Kickstarter campaign to create their prototype men’s
Apollo dress shirt. Inspired by athletic wear and NASA fabrics, the
dress shirt was stretchy, breathable, moisture-wicking, and
temperature-regulating. "Success on Kickstarter proved that there was
demand for our product,” says Director of Marketing Dan Weisman. “So
we got to work figuring out how to actually manufacture the shirts
and developing additional products to go with them.” The culmination
of their work was Ministry of Supply, a high-performance business
wear fashion brand that launched in 2012. With a focus on the human
form, function, and urban style, the company then created pants,
socks, and a women's line. Business skyrocketed. They now have a
successful e-commerce operation as well as brick-and-mortar stores in
seven U.S. cities.
Google tools helped this stylish startup get off the ground. "We had to figure out how to go from being a Kickstarter with one product to a real company," Dan says. "Our goal was to double our sales every year." They soon started using AdWords, Google's advertising program, to reach their core audience of young professionals. Today, 80 percent of their advertising budget is spent online, and AdWords and organic search together account for nearly half of their sales. Google Analytics provides business intelligence, so the team can make smart, data-driven decisions. As Dan describes, “it’s the heart of how we look at and understand our marketing efforts.” G Suite tools, including Gmail, Hangouts, and Docs, keep the operation humming. "We might be a small company, but we have employees and business partners all over the world," Dan explains. "It's crucial that we're connected in real time." And YouTube videos educate consumers about the benefits of their products and how they function.
Ministry of Supply has sold to over 200,000 customers worldwide since their founding. They’ve shipped to 137 countries, with 12 percent of their business in international markets. Dan estimates that they’re growing 62 percent annually. While they've done some traditional advertising, "Google tools are at the core of the business,” says Dan. “It’s gratifying to see our creations come to life. And with access to a widespread audience, we hope Ministry of Supply can someday become a household name."
Ministry of Supply Boston, Massachusetts
Ministry of Supply
“The web has allowed us to be truly international.”Dan Weisman, Director of MarketingMinistry of Supply has 41 employees.link www.ministryofsupply.com
When MIT students Aman Advani, Gihan Amarasiriwardena, and Kit Hickey saw a need for comfortable yet professional-looking business wear, they launched a Kickstarter campaign to create their prototype men’s Apollo dress shirt. Inspired by athletic wear and NASA fabrics, the dress shirt was stretchy, breathable, moisture-wicking, and temperature-regulating. "Success on Kickstarter proved that there was demand for our product,” says Director of Marketing Dan Weisman. “So we got to work figuring out how to actually manufacture the shirts and developing additional products to go with them.” The culmination of their work was Ministry of Supply, a high-performance business wear fashion brand that launched in 2012. With a focus on the human form, function, and urban style, the company then created pants, socks, and a women's line. Business skyrocketed. They now have a successful e-commerce operation as well as brick-and-mortar stores in seven U.S. cities.Ministry of Supply has 41 employees.link www.ministryofsupply.com
NOBULL Boston, Massachusetts
“Our business has taken off exponentially with Google.”Marcus Wilson, FounderNOBULL has 10 employees.link www.nobullproject.com
NOBULL sells training shoes, apparel, and accessories targeting the Crossfit market. Founders Marcus Wilson and Michael Schaeffer had their brand story down before they even knew what products they would sell. "We wanted to create products that didn't promise you're going to run faster or jump higher or do more burpees, because in the end that's bull," Michael says. "We have a saying, ‘The only thing that will make you fitter is you.' That's really clicked with our customers." And clicked they have. Since launching their e-commerce website in May 2015, Marcus and Michael have seen business grow at a jaw-dropping pace.
They credit AdWords, Google's advertising program, with helping to fuel their exponential growth. "The great thing about AdWords is you can start small enough to get quantifiable data, then invest into that success," Marcus says. "If something doesn’t work, you learn from that, too. Our success with AdWords has blown us away." Their web marketing also promotes NOBULL at brick-and-mortar events as well as in pop-up shops. Google Analytics provides a depth of information so they can build on their successes, learn more about their customers, and make course adjustments where needed. Data from Google Analytics even helps predict future production runs by providing insight into growth rates, what’s driving sales, and from where.
With ten employees and counting, NOBULL is expanding into the broader functional fitness market and launching products in more global markets. About 70% of their web traffic comes from people using mobile devices, so they plan to create an even more mobile-friendly website. They also plan to develop a YouTube channel to further showcase the NOBULL brand experience. "We wouldn't be growing this fast without the insights and help provided by Google," Marcus says. "We've gone from a startup business to a hyper-growth business in less than one year. It's mind-boggling. We have confidence in our customer-acquisition process and will continue investing into success.”NOBULL has 10 employees.link www.nobullproject.com
1A Auto Pepperell, Massachusetts
“We're transforming an old mill town into a new economy with the help of the Internet.”Rick Green, Co-founder225 employeeslink www.1aauto.com
In 1998, the Internet was just starting to rev its e-commerce engines. That gave brothers Rick and Mike Green an idea. Their dad, a retired U.S. Air Force pilot, ran a business selling classic Pontiac auto parts. "Rick thought, let's take some of his vendors and put them on this new thing called the web," Mike says. They expanded their father's catalog-based business to market a much wider range of auto parts online for a variety of makes and models. That year, the 1A Auto website rolled out and connected with car enthusiasts from coast to coast. "We built this from nothing using Google and other Internet resources," Mike says.
They've relied on AdWords, Google's advertising program, since 2000 to help customers searching for automotive products. Google Analytics helps them fine-tune their marketing strategy. "One of the great things with the Internet is the ability to measure and leverage what works best," Rick says. 1A Auto is a Google Trusted Store, which boosts shopper confidence through customer ratings and reviews. Aiming to be more than an online auto parts store, the brothers produced 3,500 car repair videos on YouTube. "YouTube helps us convey solutions to people's problems and deliver our customer service message," says Marketing Director Pasha Gavrichev. Their social media, including Google+, provide other vehicles for engaging customers. Google Apps for Work helps the office run smoothly.
1A Auto has enjoyed double-digit, year-over-year growth, with no plans to slow down. Rick says they'll continue to try new Google products to help them grow. "We're still in the infancy of how the Internet can change things," he says. The brothers recently got the green light to renovate an old paper mill site in town for their new corporate headquarters—breathing new life into the small-town economy. They employ 225 people, with plans to add 150 more jobs over three years. Says Rick, "The great part of our story is we're creating an Internet-savvy employment base here, on an old industrial site."225 employeeslink www.1aauto.com
Our home in Massachusetts
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