Jon Kaweblum of Klipped Kippahs Has 5 E-Commerce Tips

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Jon Kaweblum Klipped Kippahs

Like most entrepreneurs, Klipped Kippahs began as Jon Kaweblum’s simple but creative solution to a difficult problem. He wasn’t even planning to become a businessman.

Believe it or not, before Klipped Kippahs, Jon Kaweblum was an architect and a basketball coach. He didn’t think about starting his own business if his team didn’t run into a problem. For years, the state of Florida had allowed the team to play while wearing yarmulkes clipped onto their head. However, one year, the state said no. Since the team didn’t want to play without their yarmulkes, Jon knew he had to do something.

After some thought, Jon Kaweblum invented a kippah with a built-in clip, and Klipped Kippahs was born. The team could play again without breaking any rules. After this success, Jon secured a US Patent, and his company went off right away.

In the first four months of Klipped Kippahs, Jon Kaweblum sold 1,500 of his kippahs. His sales reached these numbers even with “little marketing or publicity.” Currently, the company has also launched an online store that would drive up sales of the product even more.

Likewise, Jon Kaweblum and Klipped Kippahs have a global presence, which they sell in bulk or retail. Jon also holds four national and international patents, and manufactures the kippahs with licensed MLB and NBA logos. He has even managed to leverage his products to transform his company into a general custom event production firm.

Check out more interviews with inventive founders here.

No entrepreneur went to business school. Those who went to business school usually end up working in corporate America for some specific company. Jon Kaweblum, founder of Klipped Kippahs

Jerome Knyszewski: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Jon Kaweblum: I believe my company’s ability to adapt between systems makes us stand out. Creating systems that are easily adaptable to different situations, can make all the difference for a thriving business, especially during this current pandemic.

We used to meet with clients to do studio sessions where they could design custom goods for their events. Those were really great, but once the COVID pandemic hit we couldn’t do that anymore. We started doing these studio sessions online and not only were they more efficient, but we are also now able to offer that service to the whole country. Previously you had to be in Florida to come in and do one of these sessions and now anyone can schedule a session with us through our website. Because you can have the client actually see the screen in front of them as we design the product, we it ended up being more efficient.

Jerome Knyszewski: Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Jon Kaweblum: Try to be very clear and define exactly what you are great at and put all of your energy into that. Try not to do too many things often, it makes you a jack of all trades and master of none. Just push forward and make everything you do about that one thing will focus your team and focus all your efforts to get everybody rowing in the same direction. Without that, it can be hard for a team to row in the same direction.

For me, I have been doing some soul searching recently to try and figure out what my “thing” is. I thought it was one thing, but it turns out my efforts may be better spent elsewhere. But I believe it’s good to be constantly reevaluating that. For my company, our ability to create systems that allow for custom production at a good price and with a quick turnaround is “our thing”. We have this really strong back-end system that can produce at quantity, custom stuff. The point being the systems, not the channel. There are a lot of channels in a company that direct business. Events happen to be our biggest one, but it is just one channel. We are so much more than just that.

Jerome Knyszewski: None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Jon Kaweblum: No entrepreneur went to business school. Those who went to business school usually end up working in corporate America for some specific company. I believe that every entrepreneur is something else, learning whatever their trade is or not even going to college and figuring out some cool idea. Your education and MBA comes after.

Both of my partners are very successful businesspeople in major companies. Sitting in a room with them was like my MBA. Listening to their experiences, advice and how they approach things has helped me to get to where I am today. My biggest takeaway from them is that it doesn’t matter what you sell, it could be socks or airplanes, business is all the same. It really comes down to your business model and what your margins are. How efficiently you run your business processes is what it is all about.

I think the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated everything for us. We were able become leaner and trim fat by analyzing every expense to decide if it is really necessary. It has definitely made us more efficient.

Jerome Knyszewski: Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. The Pandemic has changed many aspects of all of our lives. One of them is the fact that so many of us have gotten used to shopping almost exclusively online. Can you share a few examples of different ideas that eCommerce businesses are implementing to adapt to the new realities created by the Pandemic?

Jon Kaweblum: In terms of what we do, since most of our business is not brick and mortar, I believe we were always built for that in a way. For instance, some other companies have shifted to doing curbside pickup or deliveries whereas we have always been delivering our products

Our big adaptation was starting to sell face masks, it just seemed like the right thing to do in order to do our due diligence. Our hope is that we can transform a safety precaution into a point of connection and a new way to celebrate. Face masks have now become a crucial element to party throwing, and now you can design one to match a theme and be sure everybody has one, whether or not they came prepared.

In the beginning of the pandemic, we would cater to virtual events by delivering customized goods to each attendee’s house the day prior. This way, everyone is able to wear the same shirt or have the same bag and feel connected during this new era of virtual festivities.

I think the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated everything for us. We were able become leaner and trim fat by analyzing every expense to decide if it is really necessary. It has definitely made us more efficient.

Jerome Knyszewski: Amazon, and even Walmart are going to exert pressure on all of retail for the foreseeable future. New Direct-To-Consumer companies based in China are emerging that offer prices that are much cheaper than US and European brands. What would you advise retail companies and eCommerce companies, for them to be successful in the face of such strong competition?

Jon Kaweblum: The internet has killed the idea of Chinese suppliers in a way. Before the pandemic, a lot of people’s advantage was having those connections to Chinese suppliers that they didn’t share. But now that Chinese suppliers have become more commonplace such as with Alibaba, anybody can go online and find someone who can make products for them.

The reason that people would still come to us instead of going directly to a Chinese supplier is all in our service and brand. Our customers know who we are and can trust that we are going to deliver on what is promised. Having a brand name and establishing that awareness and connection with consumers is what will set you apart. When you buy something from China, it’s generic. Having a brand name behind a product lets consumers know the quality of where their products are coming from.

Marketing is not really the place to save your money, you should have enough budget ready and prepared to strategize that aspect of business.

Jerome Knyszewski: What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start an eCommerce business? What can be done to avoid those errors?

Jon Kaweblum: One common mistake I have seen is not having the infrastructure behind your store. A lot of times people put their website up and figure the rest out later. Having a good back end system is so important to handle the type of demand that comes along with success.

Another mistake is not putting enough time, effort and money into digital advertising. You will have no chance at competing because that is what everyone else is doing. Marketing is not really the place to save your money, you should have enough budget ready and prepared to strategize that aspect of business.

Jerome Knyszewski: In your experience, which aspect of running an eCommerce brand tends to be most underestimated? Can you explain or give an example?

Jon Kaweblum: Consumers don’t usually understand or really appreciate what happens after they place their order. Now with big companies like Amazon and not having to pay for shipping, people are getting used to those luxuries. But a lot goes into having inventory to be able to ship quickly at a scalable level. What the client doesn’t see on the website is almost as big, or even more important than what they do see.

I think we should focus more time and energy into teaching people how to think rationally. A lot of times most people who run a successful business are rational, pragmatic and realistic thinkers. Jon Kaweblum

Jerome Knyszewski: One of the main benefits of shopping online is the ability to read reviews. Consumers love it! While good reviews are of course positive for a brand, poor reviews can be very damaging. In your experience what are a few things a brand should do to properly and effectively respond to poor reviews? How about other unfair things said online about a brand?

Jon Kaweblum: I think in general people can tolerate a certain amount of bad reviews, it is somewhat normal and could even look fake if you don’t have any. However, those should be the minority and the way in which you respond sends a big message to potentially future customers. Being sympathetic and attempting to remedy a bad situation will come across a lot better than not acknowledging the poor review at all.

Jerome Knyszewski: You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Jon Kaweblum: I think we should focus more time and energy into teaching people how to think rationally. A lot of times most people who run a successful business are rational, pragmatic and realistic thinkers. If they are not, then odds are they will not succeed. What’s funny is that many of these rational and successful businesspeople don’t apply the same amount of scrutiny to the rest of their lives as they do to their business lives. I always say, “if you wouldn’t do that in your business, why would you do that in your life”.

I would love some type of way to create a movement that teaches people the skill of using their mind in business, but also how to bring it out into every single part of their lives, whether it be political, family or religion, the same lessons are applicable.

Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?

Jon Kaweblum: You can follow Klipped Kippahs on Instagram and Facebook.

Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!

 

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