When starting a company, it’s crucial to have a system that shows you what works and what doesn’t work for your brand. Running a successful business is more than just taking a shot in the dark and hoping it lands. Unless you’re receiving measurable results, you can’t expect your business to consistently perform well in the long term.
Year-over-year (YoY) calculations give business leaders the ability to assess their performances so they can spot weak areas, as well as strong points. This measure essentially serves as a tool to improve their brand over time.
For Origen RV Accessories, utilizing YoY calculations allowed their business to become one of the fastest-growing startups in 2019. Now, the company boasts more than 125% YoY growth since launching in 2015.
But what’s the secret to achieving this level of hyper-growth?
Re-Inventing the Family Business
As unique as Origen RV Accessories is, its journey began more than 30 years ago. Founder Kent Wilson first got the idea from his father, Gordon Wilson, who conceived and launched an RV accessory product. Back then, e-commerce and direct-to-consumer business weren’t as common, so Gordon and his business partner had to raise funds to transform their prototype into an industry-approved product.
Once the product was released, it was a massive hit among distributors and dealerships. Unfortunately, due to a corrupt lawyer, Kent’s father and his co-founder were pushed out of an ownership position — forcing the duo to leave the company.
Fast-forward to 2015, Gordon approached Kent and his two brothers about creating another revolutionary RV product: a permanent jack pad for RVs. The brothers agreed, got to work, found a US-based manufacturer, and several prototypes later, launched their flagship product in the fall of 2015. The day after launching, they received their first order. By the end of the year, the family-run company had grossed over $10,000.
Grappling With the Pandemic
For the next five years, Origen RV Accessories was making headway, achieving high SEO rankings, growing their marketing campaigns, and generating consistent sales.
In 2018, Kent, together with his father and brothers, switched from a direct-to-consumer brand to omnichannel, selling across other online re-sellers as well as RV retailers and dealers. Then, in 2020, the pandemic hit. Supply chain disruptions and resource shortages severely impacted the company’s manufacturing operations.
In an interview with Starter Story, Kent goes on to discuss how the business had to make changes to survive. “Our biggest mistake, and our biggest learning opportunity, was not fully understanding more of our manufacturing and supply chain…We had to completely reform our supply chain by adding four new U.S. manufacturers, as well as spinning up with a new 3PL (distribution) partner.”
By late 2020, the company saw a reduction in sales — but not due to a lack of demand, says Kent. “In fact, demand spiked due to the pandemic, but our manufacturing and supply chains were severely hampered. By September 2020, we were back-ordered by 30,000 pads, despite turning off all marketing and B2C sales on our site in May of that same year.”
Enter 2021, and despite their many supply struggles, Kent saw the business get back on track. The company scaled its online marketing efforts and launched new products. In October, Origen RV Accessories’ YoY growth rate reached 130%.
Returning to Rapid Year-Over-Year (YoY) Growth
Since the pandemic has subsided over the past year, Kent says the business has been able to return to pre-pandemic norms — now, with a greater focus on boosting YoY growth. For Wilson’s business, one of the biggest tools that helped them get back on their feet was re-purposing UGC (user-generating content) and generating influencer review content via Facebook and Instagram.
As one of the best marketing strategies available to brands, UGC helps customers connect and engage with brand content through various channels. By repurposing content, businesses not only drive sales but build customer loyalty through a greater sense of authenticity.
According to Adweek, 76% of those surveyed believe that UGC is more trustworthy than branded advertising. Another study shows that customers are 97% more likely to purchase from a brand after engaging with UGC. With Facebook, Origen RV Accessories witnessed first-hand the benefits of repurposing UGC, stating this marketing strategy as one of their most valuable.
Additionally, Kent attributed much of their YoY growth to influencer review content.
“By having a strong base of social proof from your early users and social content from well-known members of your (markets) community, you build things you simply can’t ‘buy’ through straight-up marketing spend,” comments Kent.
He continues, “In our partnerships, we strive for authenticity and fit to ensure the content they create around the product is honest and accessible … Good relationships with influencers can lead to insights into your audience and industry, ongoing user-generated content creation, as well as straight-up sales and brand lift.” Using these marketing strategies, Kent says the company is on track to reach over 300% YoY growth by next year.
The Ingredients to Success
Starting with a father and his three sons, Origen RV Accessories went from launching an RV product out of a garage back in 2015, to partnering with major distributors and RV dealers.
Though they faced a unique set of challenges, Wilson’s business was built with a revolutionary new product and a formidable family bond. Now, the company’s return to hyper-growth has allowed them to double its team, accelerate B2C online sales, and introduce new product lines.
From there, Wilson’s looks forward to growing their business internationally and offering a full range of products in Europe and Australia, eventually expanding into other markets.