November 24, 2020 — When Curtis Wilson plots a course, he’s all in. After a decade with E & J Gallo Winery as a sales representative and several years of helping his wife Ashley sell boutique clothing online, the couple has pivoted to an entirely new venture.
Last January, they launched Pink a la Mode, an e-commerce site offering pop culture collectibles, gifts and apparel. According to Curtis, their sales numbers have been explosive, largely because he’s taken aggressive steps to grow the business.
“Ever since we started the company, we doubled business month over month. Now we’re getting 300 to 600 orders per day on weekdays and 1,200 to 1,300 orders per day on weekends,” says Curtis. Pink a la Mode’s warehouse and fulfillment center in Placentia, California was so overwhelmed by the volume, that it underwent an overhaul of the picking and packing process in June to increase efficiency.
Disney products are big at Pink a la mode. Says Curtis, “We love Disney as a family. My two little girls love it and so do our customers.” He looks for quality in everything he sells, which is what attracts him to Q-Figs. “I like the way they look,” he says. “They’re definitely uniquely designed. There’s nothing else like them on the market. A lot of companies do statues. None of them have the element of storytelling that Q-Figs have embedded in them.”
Promotion plays a major role in Pink a la Mode’s success. In addition to Facebook and Instagram ads and email campaigns, the company has an app for ordering and customer inquiries that also livestreams sales. Curtis says, “It brings a sense of community and a personal touch to the transaction. We do [video streams] five times a week. It’s a very neat way of selling.” And a highly effective one. According to Curtis, app sales make up 95% of their business.
Curtis, Ashley and two partners (both family members) have scaled up fearlessly, without outside funding. After launching with a 1,200 sq. ft. warehouse, they moved to a 4,600 sq. ft. space a few months later. When that proved to be too small, they added the space next door for a total of 12,000 sq. ft.
They now use ShipHero, a cloud-based service, to manage inventory, orders and shipping. It’s expensive, but Curtis says their operation, which includes 14 full-time employees, is much more streamlined.
The novel coronavirus pandemic hasn’t hurt business, but it has created delays in getting merchandise. Still, Curtis is optimistic about the holiday season. “People are looking for an outlet that brings them joy. We try to fill that need,” he says.
Curtis describes himself as a dreamer and a daredevil. He says, “I just grind out the day and work really hard. I don’t waste any time. I try to find ways to add value for customers. We’re good at finding products that people haven’t heard of.”
Next year, Curtis wants to feature exclusive items that can be found only at Pink a la Mode. With his level of determination, it’s a fairly safe bet he’ll make it happen.