DTC 47: 📦 Dangerous instincts
May 21, 2023
Content Tag



Saturday, April 17th, 2021

In a Wednesday blog post, CEO Tobi Lutke announced that three of Shopify’s top seven executives would be leaving the Canadian eCommerce company in the coming months.

The sudden news caused Shopify’s stock to… rise a few basis points.

Looks like this elevator only goes up. 📈

Our embedded sources at Shopify didn’t have any juicy details to report, so we’ll just assume it means that a few lifers are moving on to new challenges (or buying yachts with their stock options).

In this weekend edition of DTC Newsletter you’ll find:

📦 A breakdown of our convo with Brunt Workwear’s Eric Girouard (including a pre-launch strategy you can steal).

📦 Your invite to an expert-lead SMS Marketing webinar.

📦 "Yo! It's me, it's me, it's DDP!" We dive deep into Diamond Dallas Page’s DTC yoga empire. 

📦 Have you heard of cross-store selling yet? Carro is here to introduce you to this collaborative marketing strategy. 

In other news – should our new catchphrase be Yo! It’s me, it’s me, it’s DTC!? Feedback welcome. 😜

➡️ If a pal forwarded this to you, subscribe so you never miss another

➡️ And be sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram. 

🎙 Podcast

This week on the pod we have Brunt Workwear founder and eCommerce veteran Eric Girouard. 

Since launching in 2020 Brunt has absolutely crushed, regularly selling out of their product and wisely honing in on the often overlooked DTC demographic of trades professionals. 👷

Here’s how Eric did it:

⭐️ A dialed-in pre-launch strategy 

Three months before Brunt had a product to sell, they launched a pre-marketing campaign to build momentum. 

The brand developed a referral program that succeeded in building a 10,000-person email list before their products even existed. 

As people referred friends, they could claim prizes and be rewarded with branded merchandise. One referral got you a hard hat sticker, three a beanie, ten a hat, and twenty five a t-shirt. 

Eric also reached out to influencers in the community to personally build relationships and share the Brunt story.

Come launch, Brunt sold out of their marquee boot, brought it back, sold it out, brought it back again, then sold out AGAIN!

👀 Keep a laser focus on your customers 

Having a product that frequently goes out of stock results in a Facebook Ads logistical nightmare.

Brunt has upwards of twenty five campaigns running at a given time, all of which have to be shut down when the product goes out of stock, then turned back on and ramped up when the product is available again. 

Starting and stopping is heavily penalized on platforms like Facebook. 

💪 How did Brunt handle this setback? 

“We’ve been able to navigate it only because we are maniacally focused on every single customer that comes in the door, even as we scale.”

“Every single day the first thing I do is look at detailed customer performance from the day before – it’s all I care about. 

Who are we getting, where are we getting them from? Was it first click? Was it last click? Was it someone off our email list that maybe didn’t need to buy a pair of boots last month or two months ago but they bought? 

That’s our oxygen. And you have to because that’s where things can go upside down pretty fast.”

Do 👏 Your 👏 Research 👏

Product development for Brunt was an intensive two-year process. 

“I had anecdotal feedback from my friends which gave me some instinct. But then we hired an agency to do real qualitative research.”

The agency talked to people within Brunt’s target demographic, as well as explored potential customers outside that target. The research helped establish a thesis for what kind of boot they should create. 

Brunt employed high-volume Google surveys to solidify the findings from the original study. They also completed in-person research on construction job sites asking workers what problems needed to be solved with their work boots.

“I had a lot of instinct, but instinct is very dangerous. A lot of people will tell you answers you want to hear, not what you need to know.”

Bottom line? Get that data. 

🔨 Maintain brand authenticity and integrity 

Brunt carefully curates their products to fit the work lifestyle of their audience.

“The brand is incredibly powerful. With that power comes a lot of responsibility… We could slap our logo on almost anything and sell it and that’s a dangerous place to be because then you don’t stand for anything.” 

Their team spent a lot of time and energy to make the Brunt brand authentic, and maintaining the authenticity of the brand depends on mindful expansion to products that actually fit within their core consumers’ lifestyles.

🤝 Protect your lists

There is a trust factor you need to protect when customers share their contact info with you.

“If you send one email, let alone an SMS, that isn’t right for them – you’re done” 

If you want to maintain trust and build an authentic relationship, you can’t pummel your list. Make sure you have a good reason to reach out. 

👷 Construction Instagram is lit! 

No, seriously. If your target demographic is in the construction space, you’ll want to expand your presence on Instagram and TikTok. 

While this community was late to the social media game, they’re now fully caught up and are highly engaged. They comment more, and banter more than your typical social audiences – get in there!

In Eric’s experience, micro influencers are the way to go for reaching his clientele. The bigger they get the less potent they have – you want that highly niched audience. 

Micro influencers are his secret sauce.  

Listen to the full podcast for Eric’s thoughts on harnessing the power of pre-order and Brunt’s secret to multi-sized shoes. 🥾


Learn firsthand how top brands use SMS marketing to drive sales and create the experiences that mobile shoppers crave.

As consumers spend more and more time on their phones, SMS marketing has become an increasingly important channel for brands looking to unlock new revenue opportunities. 

Shoppers demand immediacy, personalized experiences, and the convenience of everything at their fingertips — and brands need to deliver.  

Join SMS experts Steve Hutt from Shopify and Kim Winter from Yotpo as they share exclusive data and insights about Mobile Consumers – and the experiences SMS marketing creates for them.


As Shopify’s Senior Merchant Success manager, Steve uses his 20+ years of eCommerce experience to help Shopify direct-to-consumer brands drive positive business outcomes through efficiencies, revenue, and lifetime customer loyalty. 

Kim leads product marketing activities for Yotpo’s SMS Marketing solution, and she’s passionate about the power of creating unique experiences for shoppers and more personalized buyer journeys.

Join Steve and Kim on April 21st to learn the real-life SMS strategies of brands like Volcom, VICI, Soludos, and Princess Polly.

Steal their ideas – grow your brand.

DTC x Celebrities 

DDP Goes DTC: “It Ain’t Your Mama’s Yoga”

Did you watch pro-wrestling growing up? It’s the soap opera of sports: bigger-than-life personalities, ridiculous outfits, truly bonkers storylines, and back-breaking moves. While the storylines are fake, being a pro-wrestler is not easy. 

While some wrestlers can leave and pursue new careers like Dwayne Johnson, many of them are left with broken bodies, substance abuse issues, or brain injuries.

What's worse is that the WWE provides little support for these athletes, despite contributing to their injuries.

Diamond Dallas Page, a three-time WCW Champion pro-wrestler, was one of those athletes whose body and career was nearly destroyed from pro-wrestling. But he managed to avoid it through… yoga. 

Page is the founder of DDP Yoga (DDPY), a direct-to-consumer at-home fitness program that takes the principles of yoga and mixes them with calisthenics, core stability training, and isometric and dynamic resistance training. 

According to Page, DDP Yoga is for every age and skill level, and leads to body fat loss, lean muscle growth, and improved cardio without stressing the joints.

Page created DDPY after rupturing his L4 and L5 discs in 1998. At the peak of his career, doctors concluded that Page would no longer wrestle. 

He started practicing yoga after his wife suggested that it might help. He ended up loving it, practicing every day, and returning to the ring the same year. 

While Page loved yoga’s benefits, he wanted something more intense. 

He began looking into other exercise techniques and consulted with trainers, nutritionists, and kinesthesiologists, and developed a program and book called Yoga for Regular Guys (YRG). 

Page eventually rebranded YRG into DDP Yoga, developing the book into a series of workout DVDs sold through the website.

DDP Yoga first gained notice after a video about Arthur Boorman went viral in 2012. Boorman was a disabled veteran who was told that he would never walk on his own again. 

He began DDP Yoga, following the plan for ten months and documented his journey. 

Overtime, Boorman not only regained his strength and ability to walk, but also lost 140 pounds. His story got picked up by various mainstream media. 

Page used this momentum and began using television as his primary mode to advertise his program, making regular tv appearances. 

In 2014, DDP Yoga made its big break after its appearance on Shark Tank. 

The deal didn’t go through, but the appearance exposed DDP Yoga to an audience of nearly five million viewers. According to Page, the fitness company made over $6 million in sales six days after their episode aired. 

Today, DDP Yoga has become a full-fledged DTC brand. Along with the DVDs, they launched an interactive app with a paid subscription, on-demand workouts, a yoga studio, and an online store selling yoga gear and merchandise.

Along with its everyday users professional football players, amateur and pro wrestlers, MMA fighters, and celebrities have used DDP Yoga to stay in shape. Their Instagram is filled with dramatic before and after transformations.

DDP Yoga may appear to be another alpha-male fitness program, but if you look beyond the leather jacket, platinum blonde hair, and muscles, its mission and products are genuine and effective. 

DDP Yoga stands out in an industry where most yoga users are young, already in shape, and can afford to wear Lululemon gear. 

Instead, DDP Yoga is for the everyday person and seeks to make fitness accessible: You can do it at home, there is no equipment required, and the programs cover all ages and skill sets. 

There’s even a beginner’s program that starts in the bed. But further even, DDP Yoga is carving a space for itself as a fitness company that seeks to help rehabilitate injured people from sports or the military, many of whom have also been neglected and left behind. 

DDP Yoga offers a 50% discount for military veterans and partnered with the NFL Alumni to provide memberships for their athletes. Page knows first-hand what it’s like to face a life-changing injury, and to offer resources to help others is commendable.

He created DDP Yoga to heal and avoid the fate that many wrestlers face, but in doing so, he has created something bigger – a product and community where anyone can better themselves.

A DTC OG, Diamond Dallas Page was well ahead of the curve with his accessibility minded at-home wellness offering that meets consumers where they’re at, and celebrates their journey. You’ll want to keep an eye on DDP Yoga to see what’s coming up next for the at home wellness space. 

Tool Spotlight

Want to sell your products directly on other Shopify stores?

Increase Customer LTV + AOV with Risk-Free Merchandising!

Carro is a two-sided DTC network and cross-store sales platform that unlocks limitless merchandising by facilitating brand pairings of complementary retailers and suppliers to seamlessly sell products directly on partner stores without a traditional wholesale relationship or any inventory commitments.

Here’s how some of the fastest-growing DTC brands have thrived thanks to cross-store selling with Carro: 

State Bicycle Co.

DTC performance-focused city bicycle brand State Bicycle Co. uses Carro to expand their product catalog with helmets, gloves, locks, gears, and other bicycle accessories without any upfront costs or inventory commitment.

Vanity Planet

DTC modern beauty tool brand Vanity Planet uses Carro to increase their AOV and LTV by up-selling complementary partner products during checkout, such as Kyle Jenner's Teeth Whitening Pen by her brand Moon Oral Care.


DTC plant-based milk alternative brand JOI uses Carro to power its "Friends of JOI Marketplace" with products they love from brands such as BlendJet, 22 Days, and others that share their commitment to creating high-quality, delicious, and environmentally conscious products.

Ready to Sell More, Together? – Try Carro for Free!

DTC Newsletter readers get an extended 60 day trial – just mention this ad. Get started by joining the Carro Network or schedule a free intro/strategy call.

iOS 14 Update

This is not a drill folks. The thing, the big one, the moment we’ve been bracing ourselves for these past months, is finally upon us. 

iOS 14. 

Word came down from our Facebook rep that “the prompt” that makes users choose to opt-in to sharing data with advertisers will be rolled out in the next two weeks. 

No one, not even Zuckerberg himself, can say exactly how this will impact your campaigns. 

It all comes down to what percentage of users in your audience opt-out and how long they stay that way. 

Results will vary from brand to brand and audience to audience. 

For a primer on how to prepare for this potentially seismic shift in the industry, we recommend you review our podcasts with Dee Deng, and Wicked Reports Founder Scott Degrosseilliers.

Amazon Course

Are you signed up for the FREE DTC+ Amazon Growth Guide Workshop?

This free three-day workshop is powered by DTC+ & Pilothouse LLC.

April 28th, 29th, and 30th from 1pm to 2pm PST.

Day Two of the workshop features none other than Michael Erickson himself.

Michael Erickson is the CEO of Ad Badger, where he has hosted The PPC Den, an Amazon Ad Strategy podcast, for over 150 episodes. Ad Badger's tool helps marketers automate and optimize their Amazon ad campaigns with the speed and intensity of the mighty badger.

On Day Two Michael will take you through everything you need to know about managing your Amazon PPC campaigns.

Don’t miss your chance to get the real-world tips, tricks, and strategies you need to earn consistently bigger profits with your DTC products on Amazon in 2021.

M & A

🏢 “Co-warehousing” start-up Saltbox raises $10.6M to help eCommerce businesses store and ship their goods.

🤑 GumGum Raises $75 Million From Goldman Sachs.

🖼  A collection of NFTs from the digital artist Pak sold for more than $17M at the auction house Sotheby’s.

💄 Private equity firm The Carlyle Group acquired majority stake in clean beauty company Beautycounter, valuing it at $1B.

🤑 eCommerce investor Upper90 raises $55M for equity investments.

💰 Amazon announced $250M venture fund for Indian startups.

💵 Mastercard, UBS, and JPMorgan pour $65M into Ethereum startup studio ConsenSys.

📺 Amazon spent $11 billion on Prime Video and Music content in 2020, up 41% from year prior.

🤑 Goldman Sachs leads $24M in funding for Braziian eCommerce marketplace integrator Olist.

💻 Dell is spinning out VMware, the enterprise software maker, to pay down its debt. Shares jumped 9% after hours.

🏠 Casa Blanca raises $2.6M to build “Bumble for real estate.”

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