Full Service Growth
Bambu Earth is a clean-beauty brand that takes a holistic approach to skincare using all-natural products to restore skin to its natural state.
Amber Hawthorne founded the business over ten years ago, and in early 2019 was acquired by 4x400 — Common Thread Collective’s (CTC) in-house holding company that acquires and builds digitally native brands.
A win for everybody involved … until it wasn’t.
For the first few months, Bambu Earth struggled.
It was all the things you’d expect … low traffic and dismal conversion rate that no new creative or better-performing ad could fix.
And the reason was simple: they just weren’t converting enough customers (a 2.14% conversion rate at a $64 AOV just won’t cut it), which meant they couldn’t afford to drive more traffic.
To start, Bambu Earth needed a brand refresh, both visually and conceptually. So, the website was rebuilt to clarify the brand pillars that were true to the core of Amber’s long-held commitments to her customers.
Next, it needed advertising that reflected those pillars and ethos. New UGC and reshot product-focused imagery started to fuel real growth.
“Suddenly, it was on the cusp of rocketship growth,” says David Rekuc, President & COO of Bambu Earth “and we could feel it. We just needed that one big push to really get us over the edge.”
At the start-up stage in its business, increasing every lever for growth mattered: visitors, conversion rate, and average order value.
However, because it’s a consumable product, lifetime customer value (LTV) became the game.
The team knew that customers who converted stuck around. So they had to do two things: solve the conversion rate issue, then validate the LTV assumption.
“LTV is the thing that has and will continue to turn Bambu Earth into a huge player on the cosmetics scene,” says Rekuc. “At its core, we believe that’s possible because the product is so strong.”
Knowing its products’ strengths sets up the brand strategy to focus on increased spending of marketing dollars relative to its top-line revenue — and feel really good about the outcome.
It all starts with tracking LTV by first-product-purchased.
“If you don’t know what you’re trying to track, you will never get good,” says Rekuc. “I think this is a really underestimated step, is that you can’t really do a great job strategically without having the information on hand from the start.”
For example, if LTV on a moisturizer is strong yet costs the brand a significant amount to acquire that customer in the first place. Bambu Earth can’t front the cash flow over the long term for it to be worth it to the business.
On the other hand, if the LTV is not as strong on the toner, but Bambu can acquire that customer cheaply — there’s profit to be made earlier.
While LTV is the main variable at play, the lesson is that you have to do that relative to the cost of acquiring the customer in the first place. This prep work isn’t complete without factoring in the margin to determine where the cost value is.
An acquisition strategy emerged simultaneously anchored in retention: a skin quiz.
When visitors arrive, they’re kicked into a quiz on the homepage with questions about their skin health, lifestyle, and goals. After finishing the quiz, customers are then given a custom product recommendation based on their results.
Retention first and foremost is about having a great product that actually works for people.
“We want to make sure that we set people up for success,” says Rekuc. “We utilize the skin quiz as a way to serve our customers well by giving them a product they’ll love, which creates value for us because they want to keep coming back.”
Building on LTV doesn’t stop there. It means hammering away at every element:
The team has personalized things even further.
First, by adding customer service options relative to where visitors land. Second, by tracking what questions people ask about each kit and then putting those answers on each product page.
Ultimately, it’s about developing a full-funnel approach to acquisition and retention … as opposed to just an ad strategy. It allows Bambu Earth to walk people into the best product for them and then sets the brand up to address that.
With the skin quiz, multiple email sequences (all of which are personalized), powerhouse UGC, and insights from customers seeded throughout the funnel — Bambu Earth found its lifeline.
More importantly, it laid the foundation for sustainable growth as a volatile market loomed.
Sales soared when 2020 ushered in an ecommerce boom. But, the groundwork on building sustainable LTV in 2019 allowed for consistent growth through the bust markets of 2021 and 2022.
As for sales …
Like so many ecommerce businesses, Bambu Earth struggled to acquire customers profitably (due in large part to iOS 14.5) in the latter half of 2021.
After an account restructure focused on cost-control — and driving folks through the high LTV skin quiz — they've been able to grow revenue every single month in 2022.
A big part of this growth is attributed to repeat customer revenue. Keeping the brand both profitable and sustainable by providing a larger revenue foundation to build the next month's revenue.
The brand’s 49% lift in 60-day LTV across all products holds the key to both profitability and scale.
”For owners and operators who care about healthy growth, knowing that Bambu Earth can essentially count on another 49% revenue 60 days after each customer’s first purchase and 137% more after one year lets us work back and reengineer our paid funnels on factors far more meaningful than mere ROAS.”
After growing brands like Bambu Earth (and more) we pride ourselves on being growth experts in every stage of the online sales process.
From creative content to media buying, our solutions are specifically tailored to tweak the variables that create revenue.