On a mission to build sun safety awareness and end skin cancer, in 2020 founder Michael Huffstetler launched Bask, a sunscreen brand made with clean ingredients. Bask’s formula is free from toxic chemicals, and also feels good to re-apply. For his launch, he quickly realized he wanted to avoid the time-grueling and painful process of self-fulfillment and found himself in need of a reliable logistics partner.
Here’s his story.
Shortly after deciding to start Bask, I spoke with a lot of founders about their experience with fulfillment. Many people started out by fulfilling orders themselves, but they quickly told me about the significant personal time, cost, and energy it takes to pull self-fulfillment off—and I told myself I wasn’t going to go that route. Shipping aside, our manufacturer also had high minimum order quantities (MOQs), so there was no way I wanted to store everything in my house. While I did personally fulfill some sample PR orders, packing and lugging things to FedEx, I knew that I needed a legitimate operation for Bask’s official launch.
I took others’ advice while searching for a 3PL. Their lessons: get flexible terms, understand how support works so it’s not difficult to reach out when you need help, and really evaluate fulfillment quality and how hands-on you’ll need to be day-to-day.
I started a broad search and narrowed it down to six potential partners. I was really intrigued by Airhouse because they were taking a new approach to a staid, but crucial industry for ecommerce. The founders’ background made it clear that they understood the landscape. The team knows both logistics and technology inside and out and, unlike a lot of warehouses, spoke my language.
For all of these reasons, Airhouse came out on top.
“Airhouse’s fulfillment turnaround time always outperforms our expectations. It feels like magic.”
Since joining Airhouse, everything has been seamless. Getting set up was so easy. I didn’t have to export any data or fill out any spreadsheets to send to a warehouse, or even manage anything with implementation beyond light setup. I’m not very technical, so the fact that you integrate Airhouse by just adding their Shopify app makes it very easy to use.
Airhouse automates our entire fulfillment workflow without me needing to check in. As soon as a customer places an order, for us, it feels like magic. Airhouse pulls the order from Shopify, ships it, sends tracking back to Shopify, updates inventory, and triggers fulfillment notifications to our customers automatically. I don’t ever even think about our fulfillment.
Airhouse’s flexibility and network of facilities are also key for us as we grow. When I first signed, I wasn’t sure if we wanted an east coast location to be close to our manufacturer, or a west coast location to be closer to the majority of our customers. We ultimately decided to have a centralized location in Texas, but because we have the option to grow into multiple warehouses, I know that Airhouse will be able to grow with us.
Airhouse’s customer service is also phenomenal. There are lots of things I don’t know about logistics, but the team is patient and has the expertise to guide me through different tasks that are typically very frustrating to navigate. For example, I had never booked freight shipping before, and Airhouse was able to not only coordinate it for us, but they even recommended how to get it for a lot cheaper than we had initially thought. This type of attention and care isn’t something I would have expected to receive from any other 3PL. They really go the extra mile.
In terms of speed, Airhouse’s fulfillment time always outperforms what we have listed on our website. Talk to anyone that works in ecommerce customer service and you’ll hear that up to 80% of the messages are customers asking, “Hey, where’s my order?” We don’t ever get that. I was shocked when we saw customers commenting instead on how quickly they received theirs.
The one thing I always hear from other D2C founders is how much they hate their 3PL. I know Airhouse is unique because I love mine, and have the peace of mind I need to grow.
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Superculture made their way through several small warehouses before realizing they needed a more modern, streamlined solution if they wanted to scale. With Airhouse, they now have a centralized, efficient fulfillment operation.