Launching an Art Brand, After Accidentally Going Viral on TikTok
"If you listen to what your audience says they want, you can meet their needs and find a path to success."
Who are you and what do you do?
I am Ryan Lubker and I am the co-owner at Beer Deer, alongside Chris Wood. Beer Deer is a team of 2 so between Chris and I, we do everything involved in running the business.
What is Beer Deer?
Beer Deer makes and sells a collection of 3D decorative animal mounts out of alcohol packaging.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
Sophomore year of college I had an idea to make a deer head out of cardboard as a fun and creative project. I had an enormous amount of beer boxes laying around so I thought it would be even cooler to use those instead of plain old cardboard. From there the concept was born
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
The very first Beer Deer was handmade by me and used a lot of glue, modeling software and a laser cutter to get the job done. Once the demand was there for the product, we had to refine the process for mass production and figure out how to get a consistent, high quality product made. Our manufacturer handled most of the trial and error of prototyping until they were able to present a product we were happy to put our name on.
Describe the process of launching the business.
The business was actually launched by mistake. I made the very first Beer Deer for myself as a decoration and never intended to sell them. I posted it on TikTok and it went viral with millions of views and thousands of comments asking to buy one within a few hours. Chris saw the video, and reached out to me about turning my art project into a prosperous business and within a day or two we were accepting preorders.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
We rely heavily on Facebook Ads and social media to drive sales and reach new customers. We have a Facebook group of highly engaged and passionate customers so when used in conjunction with our email lists we are able to capture repeat sales effectively by launching new products and variants.
What's the reason customers pick Beer Deer over your competitors?
Beer Deer simply has a “cool factor” that you don’t get out of other decorative products. We don’t have any direct competitors making animal mounts out of packaging so that also helps, as we are the only place to get any product remotely similar to our own.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
We are very happy with our growth and sales volume and looking ahead we have a lot of cool new products in the pipeline to expand our offerings and cater to the desires of our customers.
Since starting the business, what's the number 1 thing you have learned?
To say that I’ve learned a lot from this business is an understatement. Having a hand in a rapidly growing business while still in college is an experience that most people don’t get. The most important thing I like to keep in mind is to always cater to the customer. If you listen to what your audience says they want, you can meet their needs and find a path to success.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
Shopify has a lot of great features that allow us to optimize how we do business. We have also recently started using Shopify Fulfillment Network to handle our distribution, which has been a really powerful tool for us.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
I am not a big consumer of business books and podcasts, but being a business major at The University of Mississippi, I am constantly learning and being influenced by the content and materials presented in the classroom, and I am also able to lean on the experience and knowledge of professors outside of the lectures.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
Persistence is key, and having a strong network of people to rely on to help out in any way necessary is incredibly important as well in my experience.
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Frequently Asked Questions about Beer Deer
Is It Easy to Put Together Beer Deer Parts?
Beer Deer is built like a 3D puzzle, and only takes a few minutes to assemble.
How Long Does Beer Deer Take to Ship?
All orders are shipped the day after they are placed to allow time to make order adjustments.
How Long Does Beer Deer Take to Deliver?
Through the Shopify Fulfillment Network we are soon going to be able to offer free 2 day shipping on all orders.
Where Is Beer Deer Store Located?
Beer Deer is run remotely, without a physical HQ. Chris is on the West Coast and I am in Mississippi.
Beer Deer - Customer Reviews
Beer Deer has a rating of 4.9 out of 5.0 based on 262 customer reviews.
Customer support was personal and very helpful when I requested delivery in time for a birthday. The Beer Deer itself was a huge hit with the birthday boy...he absolutely loved it!
A really great company, fast responses and crazy fast shipping. Definitely recommend them and this awesome piece!!
This company is great We always do Christmas early because of the little kids. I had ordered before Thanksgiving and was worried it would not be here in time called them and it was delivered before we had Christmas he loves it!
Awesome product.. well made.. bought it for a gift for my son . He is constantly getting compliments on it.
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