Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Holly Sherman Back Beach Rd Interview

In this exclusive interview with Jesse Samberg, the host of the series, we delve into the fascinating business journey of Holly Sherman, the founder of Back Beach Rd. From the initial frustration that sparked the idea for her business to the challenges faced during the pandemic, Holly shares her insights on navigating the small business landscape. Join us as we explore the unique hurdles she has encountered in areas like sales, marketing, and adapting to changing customer trends.

Interviewee Name: Holly Sherman

Company: Back Beach Rd

Interview Host: Jesse Samberg

The Interview

Let’s get started. First, we’d like to know more about how you started your business journey

Holly Sherman : Back Beach Rd began out of frustration during the summer holidays when my eldest son and his mates were around 10 years old and in so much pain from chafe after a day at the beach.

After researching online it was clear there was a gap in the market for stylish board shorts that were truly comfortable (and would help prevent that painful ‘sand scratch’!).

So with an entrepreneurial background, a nature for problem solving, a passion for creativity and a love of sand and water, Back Beach Rd was born (and replaced the urge for baby number 5!)

Reflecting on your business history, what stands out as the single greatest challenge you’ve successfully navigated, and how did you overcome it?

Holly Sherman : Finding a manufacturer who could make the board shorts exactly as they needed to be made.

This was a difficult and long process with many samples going back and fourth. We were designing something innovative and new so we couldn’t simply send a sample of another brand to copy.

Starting the business just before the pandemic hit had it’s own challenges, and whilst that in itself could be considered our single greatest challenge, surprisingly it also brought a stroke of luck.

During the Covid 19 lock down of 2020, our Melbourne based family of 6 found themselves in NSW during the June/ July school holidays and when the Victorian government announced remote work and schooling for 6 weeks, we decided to base ourselves in Byron Bay!

A 6 week stint turned into a 2.5 year stay, and during the first 12 months of our time living in this holiday destination, my husband and sons were able to test and try the board shorts all year round. Byron Bay, known for its laid back lifestyle, beaches and surfing, became the perfect destination to be ‘stuck in’ when building our swimactive wear™ label.

Businesses often face ongoing challenges. What does your business consistently grapple with, and how do you tackle these challenges head-on?

Holly Sherman : Cash flow, brand building and time management, just to name a few! As a small business, we grapple with so many ongoing challenges it’s very hard to single out just one.

We bootstrap the business, and at this point everything we earn goes straight back into the business. Deciding where to spend our money is a day to day challenge. There are just so many areas that need attention! We ask ourselves, is it best spent on Google ads, social media ads, influencer marketing?

As a seasonal product, we are always looking for other revenue streams beyond our online sales. These include wholesaling and custom made.

Can you share with us the most unforgettable story involving a customer or client? What made it memorable, and what lessons did you draw from the experience?

Holly Sherman : Not often, but we have had a few customers who try to exchange product when it’s been worn. One customer in particular pretended the board shorts had not been used, however it was very obvious they had! As a start up business, positive word of mouth is crucial, so we have found it’s better to simply exchange the item no questions asked. Quite often the customer will leave a glowing review and/ or pass our details onto a friend who then makes a purchase.

Looking ahead, what are your current plans for your business when you retire?

Holly Sherman : I can’t see retirement in my plan ahead! I hope to continue growing the business and will strive for a better work life balance! We want to expand into women’s swimactive wear™ and improve our girls range.

Navigating the small business landscape can be both challenging and rewarding. Can you share a bit about the specific hurdles you’ve encountered in areas like sales, marketing, and adapting to changing customer trends?

Holly Sherman : Working out the right price point for our board shorts was initially a bit tricky as there simply wasn’t anything else like it on the market.
We needed to increase our price a couple of times over a short period when we first went online.

Getting our message across to the customer about why our board shorts cost what they do, is a hurdle we face.

We need to explain the unique features to an audience who may not even be aware they need/ or would like our product!

We often question whether we are using the right key words? Is our messaging clear enough? Do we want to be known as the most comfy board short going around or do we need to use the words anti-chafe design to really show our point of difference?

Men’s health is becoming an increasingly popular topic and we believe this is impacting men’s fashion too. For so many years women got around wearing an uncomfortable bra but they didn’t realise it until they were properly fitted. We see our board shorts as a similar story. We’ve created something that is superior in comfort to the average board short, and once blokes try them out there’s no going back. He realises, wow this is how comfy they’re meant to be!

Our board short range is not just for boys who suffer from chafe at the beach. Whilst that target market may have been our initial thinking, we soon learnt all Aussie boys and men needed an alternative to what was being offered. They needed to feel oh so comfy down there!

Leaders Perception magazine would like to thank Holly Sherman and “Back Beach Rd” for the time dedicated to completing this interview and sharing their valuable insights with our readers!

Interested in connecting with the host of this interview series? Feel free to reach out to Jesse Samberg on LinkedIn: Jesse Samberg’s LinkedIn Profile

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