While obviously essential, the design of a website can do more than just effectively shepherd users towards sales. Its very aesthetics can communicate company ideals, important characteristics of its products and its unique selling points.
With this in mind, we were intrigued by Chamberlain's Leather Milk's distinctive style, and so had a chat with them to find out more.
In this interview, we talk to Aaron Snow, director of sales and marketing at Chamberlain's Leather Milk.
He talks to us in depth about the reasons for their website's unique design, focusing on the relevance of design decisions in relation to their target audience.
He also delves into the company's sales strategy, some of the reasons for moving from Amazon to their current platform, and what they might have done differently knowing then what they know now about the logistics of this kind of website.
Can you tell us about Chamberlain's Leather Milk and your involvement in the company?
Leather Milk born from necessity. The founders also owned a boutique shipping company which handled fulfillment for high-end leather manufacturers where they also handled quality control for their clients.
They needed a care product to finish the leather items before shipping out to customers, and found nothing on the market that met their high expectations.
After countless formula variations and testing with top chemists in the industry, they arrived at their incomparable, all-natural formulas.
I am the Director of Sales and marketing for Chamberlain's Leather Milk, where I handle everything from our online retail sales & marketing to our growing network of wholesale dealers.
What kind of background did you come from going into this business?
My degree is in Business Management. I originally came from a tech startup in Austin, Tx where I managed the sales team. We sold digital advertising. I then transitioned to manufacturing where I spent several years learning the ins and outs of procurement, and production/supply chain management.
These two positions equipped me perfectly to step into my role here at Leather Milk where we are the manufacturer, but also have a strong retail and wholesale strategy.
Your current website is new, having moved over from using Amazon as your primary selling point. Can you talk a little about that and the reasons involved in that decision?
Amazon is wonderful. Our business has grown significantly through that sales channel. However, it's never wise to have ‘all your eggs in one basket'. We've also had a retail site and a handful of dealers, but have shifted much focus over to growing those two sides of the business in the coming years.
We now simply view Amazon as one of our wholesale accounts because, let's be honest, the margins are that of a wholesaler.
The website has a distinct look and recognisable character. What were you trying to convey with the overall aesthetics of the site?
We are a down-to-earth company that doesn't take ourselves too seriously (except when it comes to developing the finest leather care products in the world). We can say something that few leather care companies can say: our all-natural formulas have been tested on over a million pieces of leather & tweaked along the way to arrive where they are today.
We wanted to communicate through the website that we are experts in the leather care industry, handle ourselves with professionalism, deliver a quality product worth the price, but also, have a sense of humor our audience appreciates when seeking a solution to care for their fine leather products. For example, one of the instructions on the back of our bottles is: “Do not pour this product into your eyes, toss from a moving vehicle, nor drink or use as a dairy product”.
Were there any other main points you felt were important to address when you began the website design?
Absolutely. We had to find a creative firm who understood our company culture, brand, and witty sense of humor. That was key.
Of course, at the end of the day that had to translate to sales and revenue generated from the website. We believe we found that in Ride for the Brand out of Ft. Worth, Tx and are pleased with the result.
The site has some really interesting elements such as the illustrations that are animated by the user scrolling down. Can you talk us through how those ideas became part of the design?
We discovered Ride for the Brand when we stumbled across their own company website. It contains these various fun animations, and felt it matched our brand well. We reached out, and they ‘got us' from day one. They put a few designs together, our owners fell in love with the team, and we landed on the design you see on leathermilk.com today.
There are sections of the website that focus on the story behind your product as well as instructional videos. Do you think that is particularly important for Chamberlain's Leather Milk?
This is integral to the site, and our business. We need our potential customers to know who we are, how we got where we are, and why we feel confident we have the best leather care products on the market.
Next, we want to provide the resources necessary for the lover of fine leather goods to feel that same confidence. These resources are not only meant for our retail customers, but also our dealers.
Our dealers come to us because they need a solution for their customers for how to properly care for the fine leather goods they sell. Their customers rely upon them. We can provide not only the premium product, but also the leather care knowledge & education for them to pass along to their customers.
What has the response been to your new website and how has that affected your strategies?
We're only a couple months in, and we're seeing record website sales. We've also been featured on various website design sites, and have received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback around the look/feel of our new brand and site design.
Is there anything you would do differently if you were building the site from scratch tomorrow?
Yes, we would take a deeper look into the shopping cart platform used, and ‘order friendliness' of the site (ie. having a ‘cool' site with great back end reporting/management, and ultimately making it very easy for our customers to find what they need/purchase the products).
What's next for your company and where would you like to take it?
We are aggressively bringing on new online and ‘brick & mortar' dealers all over the world. We'd like to see every business that sells fine leather goods carry Leather Milk as their care solution.
As we say here at Leather Milk, “This product will save your hide!”
All images © Chamberlain's Leather Milk, 2016