Ever wonder how you can make your business more about fun and less about work? Join me as I talk with Sarah Netjek, Elope’s business analyst, and Elisa Rustenbach, their strategic analysis team lead, about how they brighten things up in the workplace, market with social media, and use tech to make more time for fun!
Elope is a company that’s all about bringing happiness and joy into every aspect of life, including the workplace. Drawing on this positivity, Elope creates whimsical wearables and crazy costume accessories that cater to people who want to have a bit more fun in their life.
“Fun translates to a lot of different aspects of one’s life and we instill fun in everything we do, not just with the whimsical wearables and the super fun costume accessories, but we also inspire that joy and the laughter and the happiness in our employees.” –Sarah Nejtek
Elope originally started as two brothers in a basement who started selling hats in their local mall and noticed that the crazy ones were a huge hit! After that, they hit the ground running–Elope is now a company with 45 employees, a warehouse, and their own distribution company.
Even after their impressive expansion, however, they’ve stayed true to their original value that their company should be about spreading love to others.
“It’s about support and that sense of community and family and coming together and being there for one another, not just as a work family, but as human beings and that’s how we view our general community and the whole world.” –Sarah Netjek
By making fun and happiness a central part of their business plan, Elope is able to transfer that positivity not only to their own employees but also to their fanbase and it’s paid off in spades. Their fans are so enthusiastic about the brand that they’ve taken it upon themselves to spread the word like wildfire!
“I would say the top thing is that you have to be your brand… We are our costumes, you know, we enjoy our costumes. We love designing them, we love wearing them, we love testing them, and we love participating with the community and their reactions.” -Elisa Rustenbach
The secret to their success? A brand that radiates authenticity.
By focusing their brand on what they love to do, Elope takes their passion and uses it to create products that are so genuine they embody their fanbase, something that in turn inspires Elope’s business model.
“A lot of what we design, we do get ideas from our community. It’s a very interactive fanbase.” -Elisa Rustenbach
By paying attention to what their fanbase is saying and incorporating that feedback into their business, Elope is able to connect with them on a deeply intimate level.
“Leveraging social media is a huge, huge thing. We have tapped into what we call our super fans, Facebook influencers and huge Instagram personalities, to partner with, and they talk about our product in a very relatable way to their followers. It really helps us build our brand because they are very much part of what our brand is.” –Sarah Netjek
“You need to know they’re a fit to the family.” -Elisa Rustenbach
Because Elope has such a well-defined brand personality, they’re very selective about who they choose to work with and it shows in their hiring process. Sarah had to go through 5 interviews before getting the job!
“Personality may be more important than skills. Skills can be learned, personality is difficult sometimes to change.” -Elisa Rustenbach
This is another reason why it’s so important to have a clearly defined brand personality–without it, you won’t know what people to hire!
“Another aspect that really has helped us immensely with switching to NetSuite is all of the possible automation and simplifying the processes and cutting out all of the stuff we were doing with the other CRM we were using, taking out a lot of the manual work.” -Sarah Netjek
Elope went live with NetSuite, an Enterprise Resource Planning software (ERP), a year and a half ago and the difference has been astronomical. Just recently, Elope’s finance team has started automating sending out past due invoices and freed up hours and hours of manpower for the team, effectively saving them money and increasing productivity.
“Everything goes through NetSuite. I would say the biggest reason we switched to it and the best thing it’s done for us is integration. It talks to Amazon, it talks to Walmart, it talks to our website. Everything is in one place.” -Elisa Rustenbach
Not only did NetSuite allow them to streamline time-consuming processes, but it also brought everything onto one integrated platform. Now, they can do everything from a single platform, enhancing productivity and communication between teams.
Oh, and another little known benefit of NetSuite…
“It’s pretty. You know, some of these other systems are kind of painful to look at.”-Elisa Rustenbach