For business co-founders Jae and Katy Lee, success is in the bag—and on the internet. The husband-and-wife team started RuMe (short for “reuse me”) on Earth Day 2010, marketing one medium-sized reusable shopping bag.
“We wanted to bring a little fashion to the checkout line,” Jae says. “We wanted to create a product, a line, and a brand that was about function and style, incorporating sustainability into an on-the-go lifestyle.”
The business started as a brick-and-mortar operation, but the Lees soon found that showcasing their brand online let them test new products faster, rather than waiting months between trade shows.
“With online sales, the speed at which we can test and design concepts and target different consumers is far better than any other channel,” Jae says. “With Google tools, we can come up with a product concept on Monday and have it in the market on Friday.”
“Internet sales is our primary growth driver.”
Jae Lee, CEO and co-founder
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RuMe has expanded their designs and product lines to include customizable totes, travel bags and accessories such as luggage tags. Jae credits AdWords, Google’s advertising program, for making this accelerated growth possible. In particular, Google Shopping campaigns help consumers find their fashionable, eco-friendly designs. RuMe also uses Gmail, Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Drive to power the back office and keep staff, including salespeople, connected on the fly. “Google has helped us bootstrap ourselves over the hump from being a two-person startup to a 70-employee company that markets through multiple channels,” says President Dan Frailey. Google Analytics provides a constant stream of information that tells RuMe which marketing concepts and tactics are working and which need to be bagged.
RuMe has 70 employees.
In addition to marketing products on their own e-commerce website, the company sells wholesale and through major retailers. They’re now expanding into corporate sales and Asian markets. “We’ve grown about 500 percent in the last few years,” Jae says. “Ultimately, the online channel is our highway to rapid growth.”
For more information on the RuMe case study, visit https://economicimpact.
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