Mission-driven E-Commerce

The E-Commerce Questions You Should Be Asking

The importance of a mission and the nuance of growth

In every episode of E-Commerce with Coffee?!, Nate and the team do their best to bring you insider scoops, tips, and tricks from e-commerce professionals who have found success along their paths. This time is no different! With serial entrepreneur and executive Kat Dey on the call, this interview is packed full of knowledge on the power of having a strong mission as well as the nuance of chasing growth, especially for smaller and newer brands.

First thing’s first, the title of the podcast. Nate asks Kat for her coffee drink of preference and — to our surprise, Kat is not a caffeine person! While Kat loves the smell of coffee, her hot beverage of choice is herbal tea, and a great cup of tea is certainly something we can get behind. That being said, being such a busy and successful person without a caffeinated pick-me-cup is quite the feat, and Kat has certainly managed to do quite a lot. Let’s dive deeper into some of the insights she offered.

Who is Kat?

Kat Dey is the Co-Founder and President of ettitude, a global textiles brand with a strong mission and a commitment to making its products 100% out of bamboo. Her journey didn’t start yesterday. As mentioned, Kat is a serial entrepreneur and was named both one of the “35 People to Watch in NY Tech” and “EY Entrepreneurial Winning Woman”.

Her commitment to sustainability is both important to her personally, and for the well-being of the brand. Kat mentions that she’s never worked at a place without a clear and strong mission to follow, which has helped her center on the importance of a strong mission or purpose wherever she works. Kat is a wealth of knowledge for DTC brands and really any brand that is selling online.

The power of a mission

The line between personal and professional is blurry at best, and when it comes to good values, it might not be there at all. Fortunately, Kat is a strongly principled individual, and this shines through in her professional career as well. As she says herself:

“I don’t have experience in running a brand that is not mission-driven [and] I can imagine that it’s not as motivating.”

Any founder, or anybody involved in a growing brand at any capacity, knows that there are a lot of rough patches to get through, especially at the beginning. For many people, the paychecks and benefits are enough to keep them committed to a job during rough times. For a growing brand, however, these kinds of payoffs aren’t always clearly guaranteed in the beginning. How can you push through and come out on the other end in one piece?

Arguably the best way to do so is by having a strong and clearly communicated mission. Especially while a brand is either starting out or even scaling, having a strong mission to believe in and work towards is one of the best ways to keep everybody engaged and committed — from founders to employees to investors.

Without this strong mission, what’s the point of getting out of bed in the morning during the rough patches?

The nuance of growth

Another reason for having an important mission to strive towards is that growth is complicated, and even when your brand is scaling healthily, the numbers can be nuanced. Sticking to the mission for a second, consider team morale and your workplace environment. Especially if you’re starting out with a small team, keeping the energy high and the chins up might be something you can pull off on your own on the daily.

As the brand starts to scale, you might not even see every team member every day — or ever. If you can’t bring the energy yourself, what keeps teams motivated through scaling? Commitment to a mission they can believe in.

Growth, of course, isn’t just about morale. Everybody knows that you have to spend money to make money, but not everybody talks about how some people are able to spend more money than others. Especially for a growing brand, and depending on where funding is coming from, “spending money” has to be strategic, and results are usually going to be — there’s that word again — nuanced.

In order to really stand out on a budget, Kat points out that differentiating is the key. Especially in the age of e-commerce, everybody has access to every brand at the click of a button, so what is your brand doing to stand out? What’s different about you?

Kat also mentions that, when getting lost in the sea of acronyms and modern market metrics, she puts lifetime value (LTV) on top. If your LTV is going up, you’re doing something right.

Ready to dive even deeper into the nuance of growth and the power of a mission? Pour yourself your favorite brew and check out the full episode with Kat Dey now! E-Commerce with Coffee?! Podcast also has loads of other episodes with other e-com experts ready to share some invaluable insights with a great community. Happy listening!

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