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Learn how ocean safety equipment brand Sharkbanz found omnichannel fulfilment and secured inventory in time for BFCM with ShipBob.
Based in Santa Barbara, CA, Sharkbanz is on a mission to reduce the risk of shark attacks for beachgoers, marine professionals, and ocean athletes everywhere. Designed using patented shark deterrent technology, their products generate an electromagnetic field that is imperceptible to humans, but overwhelms a shark’s highly-sensitive electric perception to harmlessly repel it.
Their ergonomic silicone band can be worn around the wrist or ankle to deter sharks while swimming, and their fishing line accessory helps prevent sharks from eating catches before they’re reeled in. Both products are small, portable, and require no batteries, making them the perfect devices to keep you safe and stylish in your ocean adventures.
- 50% growth last year
- 50% faster ocean freight shipping through FreightBob
- 5 ShipBob fulfilment centres used
- 3 different fulfilment solutions tried before ShipBob
- Launched in 2014
Nathan Garrison wasn’t always conscious of danger in the ocean. Having grown up on the east coast of the US, he was very comfortable surfing, diving, and spearfishing, and spent most of his time in the water.
Then when he was 18, a close friend of his was badly attacked by a bull shark. For Nate, it was a wake-up call; a new awareness emerged, and along with it, a faint idea for a wearable safety device that someone could use to prevent these sorts of incidents.
Over the next few years, further shark attacks impacting acquaintances pushed Nate and his father to get serious about developing their idea into an actual product.
By that point, Nate’s role as project management liaison for a footwear company had equipped him with product design, marketing, manufacturing, and sales skills, and he was ready to take Sharkbanz from a dream on a drawing board to reality on shelves.
In collabouration with scientists, their team licensed the patent to a shark repellent technology that was small, required no batteries or charging, and wouldn’t impact performance — perfect for the wristband they envisioned.
Finally, after building prototypes and personally testing them in shark-filled waters, Sharkbanz launched in Fall of 2014 and shipped their first order in January 2015.
We sat down with Sharkbanz Co-Founder Nate Garrison to learn more about Sharkbanz’s fulfilment journey, their expansion into Australia, and how they utilised FreightBob to save their Black Friday Cyber Monday sales.
From mom-and-pop warehouses to ShipBob
As told to ShipBob by Nathan Garrison, Founder & CEO of Sharkbanz.
When we first started the company, we only sold direct-to-consumer through our Shopify store, so fulfiling orders wasn’t a huge issue — but once we started to gain traction and then expanded to selling through retailers, we realised that we needed to outsource fulfilment.
We initially partnered with a small mom-and-pop warehouse in Georgia, but they were also running their own sunscreen company at the same time and weren’t able to offer us nearly the level of support and dedication we needed.
We then tried using a larger, more established 3PL service, but their services and technology weren’t user-friendly at all.
Finally, we found ShipBob, which gave us the best of both worlds and offered a true fulfilment platform. Our Merchant Success Manager provides excellent customer service, and ShipBob’s merchant-facing software is really intuitive to navigate.
We can offer 2-day shipping across the US thanks to ShipBob’s fulfilment centre network and be consistent with our most important service levels: receiving times, fulfilment cutoffs, and shipping speeds.
We love that ShipBob integrates directly to our website and our other ecommerce software we use, and that it gives us real-time data on inventory, order volume, warehouse processes, and shipments. Discovering that one provider could deliver all of these capabilities was a game-changer!
Having one partner for both DTC and retail fulfilment
While we initially used ShipBob exclusively for our retail fulfilment, we quickly outsourced DTC fulfilment to them as well once we experienced how easy and effective it was.
ShipBob’s omnifulfilment solution could handle every sort of order we had, including retail, DTC, and B2B, and had no qualms whatsoever about facilitating our FBA prep orders for Amazon.
Multichannel fulfilment with ShipBob is affordable, too, as not having to do any shipping ourselves enables us to keep low overhead, and ShipBob’s transparent pricing across channels provides even more cost-savings.
We’re currently fulfiling 100% of our orders through three of ShipBob’s fulfilment centres, as we’ve done for the last couple of years.
With ShipBob, we can fulfil both DTC orders and orders for our retail partners (including Leisure Pro, Divers Direct, Swim Pro, and small surf shops in Hawaii) through a single solution.
It’s been a massive help to centralise and funnel everything through one reliable fulfilment partner, especially going into next year.
“Outsourcing both retail and DTC order fulfilment to ShipBob really just gave us the flexibility that we needed to effectively grow our business — not just the DTC segment, but the retail segment also. Honestly, it changed the game for us. So we were just thrilled that ShipBob has come to lead the way in providing fulfilment solutions for small to medium sized businesses like ours.”– Nathan Garrison, Co-Founder and CEO of Sharkbanz
To Australia and beyond
We’ve had operations in Australia for a while now and couldn’t be more excited when we found out that ShipBob opened a fulfilment location in Melbourne!
The only other similar company we could find that had operations in Australia was utterly terrible. They were too big to provide any sort of personalised attention or customer service to their clients, their services were too expensive, and they failed at pretty much everything they were trying to do.
Now that ShipBob is in Australia, we can manage both our local and international orders through one convenient, reliable platform, and receive quality fulfilment at a good price to boot.
“I can’t tell you how much of a godsend it was that ShipBob opened an Australia fulfilment centre. I hope it dominates that market — the alternatives are terrible. ShipBob truly empowers the world of small businesses.”
Nathan Garrison, Co-Founder and CEO of Sharkbanz
We’ve started storing inventory in ShipBob’s Melbourne fulfilment centre, and it’s been wonderful! We’ve also begun utilising their UK location as well, and will provide more volume there in the future as we continue our international expansion and complete the Amazon Launchpad Program in Germany.
Saving our BFCM sales with FreightBob
In preparation for Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM), we decided to try out ShipBob’s new freight program FreightBob, which is an exclusive program designed to help merchants get freight from China to the US faster, then distribute the inventory to the proper fulfilment centres to ship out quickly.
The time-savings achieved on the shipment using the dedicated freight service were incredible. We not only cut down our shipping time from Hong Kong to LA significantly, but even saved money doing it.
Thanks to ShipBob’s freight program, we had no stress and were super well-stocked for the rest of the year and into next, without any kind of inventory issues that have plagued us in the past.
Once picked up from the port, ShipBob cross-docked it from California to Pennsylvania, while keeping some inventory in California too.
As it turned out, our sales for BFCM exceeded expectations — so we were lucky that we had FreightBob to deliver extra inventory so quickly, including the ocean freight portion that they orchestrated with Flexport.
We were in a tough spot, and I don’t think we would have been able to fulfil all of our retail orders across every single SKU throughout the entire BFCM holiday period without it. It came at a really clutch moment!
“The first shipment that we had with FreightBob…I mean, it was amazing. We beat the average freight time it’s taken to move something from Asia to our warehouse in LA by at least 50% — and it was easier and cost us less money. What’s not to love about that?”– Nathan Garrison, Co-Founder and CEO of Sharkbanz
What’s next for Sharkbanz?
Sharkbanz has now hit an inflection point in our growth, and we’re scaling steadily, year over year.
To keep this growth going, we’re planning to move into a few new and exciting business divisions, including aquaculture and commercial fishing, and will continue to expand our product line.
Our latest innovation is a fishing line accessory that uses the same technology as our wristbands to deter sharks from baited hooks and caught fish.
Now that some sharks have learned to follow fishing boats and snatch hooked fish off of lines, overfishing has gotten worse — so hopefully this product, by repelling sharks from fishing lines, will help replenish fishing stocks in tropical and subtropical zones around the world.
We worked with the Western Australia government over the last year to do a big independent study on the effectiveness of this new lure deterrent, and the results look great. They’ll even be publishing a paper on it in the first quarter of next year, which is super exciting!
As we keep increasing volume and entering new markets, we know that ShipBob will be there to grow with us.
With ShipBob as our fulfilment partner, Sharkbanz’ opportunities are like the ocean itself: vast, exciting, and waiting to be explored.
Sharkbanz team at ShipBob
Mandira is a Merchant Success Manager who provides strategic guidance and assistance to Sharkbanz and other customers.
Jon is a Solutions Consulting Manager at ShipBob, and spearheaded our FreightBob program for merchants like Sharkbanz.
Anthony is on our Sales team at ShipBob and originally spoke to Sharkbanz about their fulfilment needs.
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