This is the story of how Inwallstore.com came together and works as it does today.
We’re a pure e-commerce business. Meaning we don’t have a storefront. It’s not that unique. With a niche business such as inwall speakers, it makes a lot of sense. Most audio stores don’t have the floor space to dedicate to this type of product as it’s a pretty small slice of the consumer electronics industry. So a company like us steps in to fill the need out there with some variety and as a by-product of e-comm efficiency, offer a great product at lower pricing.
Here’s how it works! ( You can do it too for anything you have a market for )
We started selling a new brand of speakers called JA Audio back in 2003. They were great. They were just starting out and had reached out to us to sell their stuff. They didn’t have great pictures or a stellar website, so we started promoting the heck out of them and found there was a market for inwall speakers. Over time they got bigger and tried to scale up. They started offering their product to other sites and those sites started undercutting the prices and began to slow down the brand for us. Around this same time companies like JBL, Parasound, NXG, Russound and more began to cut off the distributors who were selling to online retailers to protect larger retailers and implementing Minimum Selling Price agreements to maximize their dealers profit. We were selling fewer and fewer brands.
In 2007, we started to figure out we could make our own brand, much like JA Audio, so InwallTech was born. In fact, the first deposit for the brand was made the week of the beginning of The Great Recession of 2008. And probably the best decision we ever made!
Derek turned out to have some great products already in form with basic tools available in China. We had an idea of what we wanted in a speaker based on performance and price point. That product line was the ProGold Series. Since then we’ve produced the High Definition Series and the latest ProTrim Series. We rounded out the line with a volume control and speaker selectors. Our newest offering will ship in Feb ’16, it’s a Bluetooth Amplified Volume Control! We’re kind of excited about the possibilities of this little guy. We get asked for wireless inwall speakers all the time and this will make it possible!
In addition to selling our own brand of speakers, we resell quite a few speakers and accessories from OEM Systems. They produce the Architech brand of speakers that fill in nicely below our Inwalltech. Tony is much like myself, except he’s been through a few more rodeos! You can read about Tony here.
We use sub contractors in all categories of the rest of the company. No marketing department, no shipping department, no web team, no operators. And we’re a world-wide multinational!
The product comes into Beaverton, OR, a suburb of Portland, OR. Source Logistics warehouses all of our product. We pay a storage fee that’s much less than renting a warehouse of our own. They charge us a flat fee for each shipment and handle all the logistics around getting the order right. They even weigh our products down to the THOUSANDTH of a pound so that each package is nearly 100% certain of being correct based on overall weight on the scale. And in over a years time since we began using them, I can’t remember a single shortage that was their fault. Amazing company.
Emery is new to us this last year. He’s starting his own Marketing agency called Brilliance HQ. He used to work for a big ole corporate agency and grew tired of the lack of autonomy and freedom. His goals are to be location independent (meaning travel the world while working full time as well). We’ve Skyped while he was in the Virgin Islands and there’s no drop off. I believe the happier the workers the better and fresher the work. And it shows.
Irfan, our web guy lives in Pakistan. We found him on the Elance platform when we put a bid out for some custom coding work within our shopping cart software. He just turns out to be a polished gem among the sea of freelancers out there. It’s kind of nice working with someone 13 time zones away, as we can go about our business during our day and let him do his work in our evening. Kinda perfect.
Rob, our Amazon.com specialist lives in Great Britain. I met him through a conference of like minded entrepreneurs called WDS. He’s just getting started, but he really knows his way around the little bits of that world.
Our phone voice is that of The Answer Network out of Virginia. Mandi is our lead person there and in charge of keeping the operators up to date with how our back end system works to look up tracking numbers and other order details. We don’t put too much of a load on these folks in terms of product info as they aren’t experts and we’re not going to try to kid you that they are what they are not. We handle all the technical calls ourselves via Calend.ly via scheduling an exact time to expect your call to arrive. Try it out if you have a question about system planning here. Inwallstore scheduled calls.
And for fun!
25 Random Things about us:
1. We have shipping locations in each lower 48 state’s 4 time zones.
2. We have our first dollar made on display.
3. We have 2 “That was Easy” Staples buttons.
4. We use mostly Apple computers.
5. Our wall plates originate in Shanghai Mainland China.
6. We don’t keep credit card numbers written down for more than a day (security shredded after that).
7. Everybody in the company sees all our emails.
8. Brian has been doing this in his spare time: http://www.briankruse.com
9. We use Voice Over Internet type phones.
10. We use a fulfillment warehouse for all our storage and shipping.
11. We celebrate “Maple Bar” Thursdays.
12. Two of us went to the same High School.
13. We use colored paperclips.
14. During the summer, the whole office might take a waterskiing lunch.
15. In 2005 the whole company went on vacation in Puerto Vallarta and we did business from there!
16. Our first order from the website came in while the owner was on vacation….again in Mexico.
17. We keep cute animal day calendars and tape the cutest ones up on a wall.
18. We have casual Fridays…and Thursdays…and Wednesdays…and well you get it.
19. We own a Prius for company errands. It’s red. It has a license frame that says “…ya it’s got a Hemi”.
20. The current website is the 6th version of redesigns in 10 years.
21. We take most of our own pictures of products with a photo box called PhotoSimile
22. We’ve wired 12,000 square foot houses in the past.
23. We still have pictures of most our installation pre-wires.
24. We have a live person ALWAYS answer the phones after the first prompt and we use a live person message taker service if we can’t answer ourselves.
25. We take it personal to get it right.