Building a Durable Business That Can Survive Long-Term
But being a brand that survives and thrives for the long haul is getting harder every year. Sean Frank explains what strategies he’s using to future-proof Ridge, and what he’s preparing for in the future.
If you ask Sean Frank, the future looks bleak. But if you go beyond that surface-level feeling of doom, you’ll actually find a guy who is thinking ahead and coming up with creative, innovative, and effective ways to build a business that can stand the test of time. Frank is the CEO of Ridge.com, a $100-million brand, which you might know for its popular Ridge Wallet, but it’s much more than that, and Frank has plans to keep the company growing.
“The only way to survive is to have the biggest boat possible,” Frank explained. “The only thing I can do is build a very durable business. So, when I’m thinking about the future, I talk to people when they’re thinking about retail expansion. I have a couple friends, one has 30 stores right now. One’s opening 50 stores in the next two years. Ridge isn’t going to do that. We’re not going to open stores, but we’ll be a partner for the store opening experience. I think that’s a good way to do it.”
Frank has a lot of strategies like this, that subvert some of the more traditional channels and puts Ridge into a position to stand out. He was able to do that especially well through influencer marketing, which brought in $50 million in sales in 2020 alone. Frank and his team don’t look to the most popular influencers, though. They’re more creative than that.
“One of our best performing channels is a guy who owns a farm, and he’s a veterinarian for horses, and he just posts content, and he just happens to have a Ridge Wallet in every one of his videos,” Frank said. “And it’s like, no one’s going to think about sponsoring that guy on YouTube, but YouTube is an everything platform. There’s content for everybody, so we’re just trying to sponsor as many people and be their first sponsor.”
Frank and Ridge are always looking for avenues like those where they can have a big impact. One area Frank is paying close attention to is the supply chain, which he anticipates will be an area all businesses will need to rethink in the coming years.
“I think in the next three years, the technology will be there where localized manufacturing could happen at scale,” Frank said. “So by 2025, I think we can have automated domestic manufacturing, and I think more people are going to do that. I think that’s the one big thing that’s going to come out of COVID. People think it’s really cheap to make stuff in China. It’s not, but the whole advantage is they just have machines set up, and they have people to do it. But as they get more automated, it just makes more sense to do more automated stuff here.”
To hear more of Frank’s ideas, tune into Up Next in Commerce.
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