Homestead Brands continues to grow with help from Red Stag Fulfillment.
with a bed
Homestead Brands was built from the ground up by Brenden and Kyle Marquardt, brothers who share a passion for investing in and growing eCommerce businesses.
It began with a bed, but not just any bed — it all started with the best-value Murphy bed on the market, the Lori Wall Bed. In 2014, Brenden began searching for a new career opportunity, and had a friend mention that the Lori Wall Beds website was for sale. A woodworking enthusiast himself, Brenden was immediately drawn to the innovative design of the multi-functional wall bed launched by Lori Moore in 2008.
Brenden brought in Kyle, and the brothers knew they’d found a special product that they wanted to invest in. They wanted to share the affordable, easy-to-assemble bed with families looking to make the most of their floor plans and their time together — and that’s exactly what they did over the next 7 years.
The birth of
When the Marquardt brothers originally found Lori Wall Beds, they believed the products were a modern answer to all the other outdated, complicated, and expensive Murphy bed options on the market. Their goal upon buying the website was to invest in a product they believed in and help the company grow. They didn’t set out to create an umbrella brand for multi-functional furniture products — but in 2021, that’s what happened.
This one innovative product — the Lori Wall Bed — quickly captured do-it-yourself hobbyists across the United States and around the world. It inspired Brenden and Kyle to find other multi-functional pieces that they could invest in and grow. In March 2021, they identified and purchased the next brand for their eCommerce endeavors: Organic Swings, an inventive, futuristic porch swing that shifts and transforms to serve the purpose of any interaction.
“We're on a mission to help people experience authentic, organic connection in the relationships that matter most, and we believe that furniture with dual functionality does just that,” says Kyle Marquardt, Owner & Founder of Homestead Brands. “In the coming months and years, we plan to identify and add even more brands along the way.
With the Lori Wall Beds brand having grown more than 10x in the last 3 years and the addition of Organic Swings, Homestead Brands is certainly on the road to achieving its mission. But that road hasn’t always been so easy.
“We Needed a 3pl that had experience with big, heavy, bulky products like ours.”
“When we first began, we were essentially self-fulfilling just from my living room table for about 3 years,” says Brenden Marquardt, Owner & Founder of Homestead Brands. “We were mostly fulfilling orders for building plans or components. It was all small products, easy to handle. We would put together hardware kits and use USPS mailers — it was basically just a side job at that point. But then the business essentially doubled every 7 months.”
That growth led the brothers to expand beyond Brenden’s Houston, Texas, living room and into a small fulfillment provider in the area in 2016.
“They were a mom & pop operation, and they were great for small items, but they simply weren’t equipped to handle our fully assembled kits. We really started shopping for a better solution when we switched to large, flat-packed furniture. We needed a 3PL that had experience with big, heavy, bulky products like ours,” says Brenden.
All that glitters is not gold
In 2018, the Marquardt brothers believed they’d found exactly what they were looking for — a 3PL partner with expertise in products like theirs.
“We came across a ‘flashy’ 3PL that made all the promises we wanted to hear. They claimed they’d help with inventory management, to package and send our heavy products, handle our growing volume — everything we needed. But when we sent them products, it was just a disaster,” says Brenden. “Their main facility was in Chicago, where Kyle happened to be living at the time, and we thought it was perfect because he’d be able to visit if needed. Turns out he needed to almost immediately because they lost our product in their own warehouse. My brother had to go out there and find it.”
After all their searching, the 3PL they’d found didn’t have any better understanding of how to handle large, heavy products or multiple similar SKUs any better than the small “mom-and-pop” warehouse. Product was lost, SKUs were mislabeled, inventory sat on the dock — and all during peak season!
“Over the Black Friday holiday, it became unbearable. I received a test order and realized I’d gotten the wrong box. So, I tried another test and got the wrong product again! That’s when I realized I needed to just drive over there and find out what was going on,” says Kyle. “They were in the process of transferring to another warehouse, so our products were just sitting on the floor in between racks. Two of our products — which do look similar — had been combined into one big pile with a single barcode. That’s why I’d gotten the wrong box multiple times.”
“In a fit of frustration, I decided just to google ‘3PL big heavy packages’ and that’s when I came across the Red Stag website. It was almost unbelievable that there would be someone out there that knows how to do exactly what we need, that’s an expert in big, heavy, and all the areas where we were struggling. It seemed too good to be true after all this,” says Brenden.
Fortunately for Brenden, Kyle, and all of Homestead Brands, Red Stag Fulfillment really does specialize in eCommerce products just like their flat-pack furniture. And, we could offer tangible examples of how we’d help them improve their processes and continue to scale.
“Red Stag Fulfillment stood out to us, specifically for their customer service & transparent pricing.”
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“There were a few things about Red Stag Fulfillment that stood out to us immediately, specifically the customer service and transparent pricing model. When we worked with our former 3PL, if we had organizational and technical issues — and we had a lot — their customer support was hit or miss at best. We’d contact a rep who would open a ticket that would kick the request to an offshore team, and it would just circle the drain there and never be resolved. With Red Stag, we don’t have to worry about that,” says Kyle.
Brenden also stated that if he had to choose one thing about Red Stag to highlight, it would be our customer service. “The way that such an enormous operation can still feel so personal is amazing. The fact that my one package, which may barely make a ripple in your business on its own, can be so trackable, that someone can hold my hand and give me such intense attention when I need it — that’s just so important to a business owner.”
And it’s exactly that kind of statement we want to hear from our eCommerce partners — that they can count on our customer service being exceptional. Because, frankly, when it comes right down to it, that’s one of the cornerstones of our entire company. Red Stag was founded by eCommerce entrepreneurs fed up with the way their product was handled by 3PLs — not unlike Brenden and Kyle — and they were determined to create something better.
Danielle Gray, the Customer Experience Manager for Homestead Brands, echoed both Brenden and Kyle. “As the head of our Customer Experience department, we rely on RSF’s team to help solve customer issues and requests every day. I have so appreciated how much RSF values customer service themselves and puts their clients’ needs first. Their team responds quickly and with consideration to every interaction and request. If we ever want to explore how to be more efficient in our systems, they jump at the opportunity to find solutions for us and don’t shy away from hearing feedback to improve systems down the road. This is what makes them such a great partner!”
But our customer-centric focus isn’t the only thing Red Stag Fulfillment offers our partners — we have guarantees that back up everything we say. And it’s these guarantees that led Brenden and Kyle to trust that we weren’t just another “flashy” 3PL making exaggerated claims about our expertise.
“Red Stag Fulfillment’s high standard of excellence is ideal. If something does go wrong, those guarantees are in place. They’ll not only fix it but also pay us $50. And it’s not that I’m so much excited for the $50. It’s that Red Stag is making this cost them something, raising the stakes for the whole company. That’s how you know it really matters,” says Kyle.
Now, Homestead Brands and Red Stag Fulfillment have been a successful partnership for more than three years, and in that time, the company has grown more than 10X and expanded from a single brand to the umbrella group of Homestead Brands. Even more excitingly, the company was named #98 on Inc. Magazine’s list of 5000 Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America in 2021!
“Part of growing a business is finding the bottlenecks and being able to open up those flows so that when you 10X, you can do so without the operational bottlenecks. Having someone like Red Stag who has the team, the know-how, and the experience to help you remove those obstacles is crucial. I don’t think Red Stag alone is going to cause you to grow, but Red Stag will absolutely help you grow by adding capacity and removing those restrictions,” says Kyle.
The path forward
Over the coming years, Homestead Brands intends to continue finding more multi-functional furniture products they can share with the eCommerce market — and they are depending on Red Stag to help make that mission a reality.
“Red Stag Fulfillment is a partner that we will heavily depend on to be able to deliver this amazing customer service. We trust them to have the bandwidth, intellect, and systems in place to allow us to grow as much as we hope to! RSF will be an integral part of us being able to achieve continued success with our customers and fulfill orders quickly and with precision. They have always stepped up to the plate with anything we need, and we’re confident they will continue to do so,” says Danielle.
And we absolutely will. With Red Stag’s superior customer service and expertise in the packaging and handling of big, heavy products, the Homestead Brands crew can focus on continuing to grow, scale, and add even more exceptional products.
A Promise To You
We put our money where our business is. Red Stag Fulfillment offers a variety of industry-leading guarantees for receiving, accuracy, processing, and more. On the rare occasion we get something wrong, we fix it and pay you for the inconvenience.
The marketplace is growing more competitive by the day. As competition grows, so do your customers’ expectations. You can’t afford to have a certain percentage of your orders not ship on time. You and your customers expect more.
Red Stag Fulfillment stands alone in the industry when we say: 100% of your orders will be shipped according to your chosen service level (Next Business Day, 3:00 pm or 5:00 pm cutoff), or else you don’t pay for that shipment AND we’ll pay you $50 for the inconvenience.
No more inventory lag
In order to have them available to sell, you need to receive them into the system quickly and accurately when they arrive at our fulfillment center. Some fulfillment companies have a “we’ll receive it when we get to it” mentality when it comes to your products. That’s not us, we’ll get your inventory accurately unloaded right away.
Red Stag Fulfillment stands alone in the industry when we say: When your shipment is unloaded in our facility, we’ll receive it accurately within 2 days or we’ll pay you $50 for the inconvenience.
100% accurate inventory
A key component in making sure your customers get what they want, when they want it, is to make sure the product is ready to pick when it’s ordered. Unfortunately, the industry average for inventory accuracy is only 98%. Said another way, if you have $1 million worth of inventory, the average fulfillment company will lose $20,000 worth of your product. You shouldn’t have to lose money because of their mistakes
Red Stag Fulfillment stands alone in the industry when we say: If any of your inventory is damaged or missing after we receive it into our facility, we will pay you the wholesale cost of that item.
100% order accuracy
It should go without saying that you and your customers expect to receive what they ordered. Unfortunately, the average fulfillment company can have an order mis-pick rate of 4%, where one out of every 25 orders is wrong. Red Stag Fulfillment, on the other hand, has an error rate of less than 0.02%, or just 1 out of more than 5,000 orders. Even with that performance level, we take it one step further.
Red Stag Fulfillment stands alone in the industry when we say: If an order is shipped with the wrong item or wrong number of items, not only will we fix the mistake, but you don’t pay for that shipment AND we’ll pay you $50 for the inconvenience.