'It was scary': OrderMyGear got through pandemic challenges, ramped hiring – Dallas Business Journal – Dallas Business Journal






The difficult early days of the pandemic were especially dreary for Dallas’ OrderMyGear.
Sales crumbled by about 80% as clients pulled back, trying to figure out how to manage a once-in-a-generation challenge. OrderMyGear helps companies set up online stores for branded products without maintaining full websites.
“Our business got hit really hard, and it was scary,” said Dave Dutch, CEO of the Dallas company. At the time, it was “like, ‘Wow — is this one of those black swan events for our business?’”
OrderMyGear had to make employee cuts. Yet, the company’s technology and its products became more interesting to customers as they looked for online options to bolster their own businesses as the pandemic persisted. For OrderMyGear, sales would end up relatively flat for 2020.
That’s continued, and the digital features are racking up more demand — and Dutch expects sales to rise around 50% in 2021, he said.
“We survived a gut punch,” he said. “We figured out … a way to add value — and that even if … the economy in the market goes to a bad place again, I think we’re very well positioned. And we now understand how to help our clients through those moments.”
The company, which had around 115 prior to the pandemic, dropped down to about 70 people. Yet that number has been on the upswing. The company has added around 75 employees this year – and is likely to end the year with about 175.
A lot of the folks who were cut have returned. He had told them at the time of the cuts they would be first in line with a rebound in business.
“We doubled down at the end of last year and said we’re hiring back, and we’re investing in our engineering and development group,” Dutch said. “And that’s paying great dividends right now.”
Dutch spoke with the Dallas Business Journal about those early days of the pandemic and what has changed since.
What happened with the business in the early days of COVID?
Our business is predicated on people using online stores that are pop-up in nature or event-driven. So, it’s a holiday party; you have a new set of hires you want to get stuff for and be fulfilled. It’s spring football; it is winter basketball. We do very much event-driven online stores. Most of our clients do face-to-face, and then we supplement it.
But we said we’re going all-in on upgrading our platform. We believe we need to help our clients. We went through marketing campaigns; we did a lot of launches of new online stores and worked with our clients and helped them through it. Actually, it ended up forcing a lot of our clients to transition from selling swag and uniforms and customized gear face-to-face to doing it all via Zoom and online. A big chunk of our businesses are mom and pops. We have a lot of small and medium businesses. We helped a lot of them survive at first, and now we’re helping them thrive.
Can you talk more about what changed?
So let’s say a client would use us for 10% to 20% of their GMV (gross merchandise value) of their goods and services. So we do koozies and coolers and helmets. We do everything – hard goods and soft goods. It would be a significant portion of their business, but a minority of their business. That other 80% went away, in many ways, because there was no face-to-face. And so they transitioned from a face-to-face or sort of a bulk-purchasing mentality to on-demand, online pop-up stores.
So embrace it more for everything?
Yes, for everything. And we did a lot of fundraising – “Hey, let’s do our local fire department and have a custom thing to raise money” – and for restaurants that were going to go out of business, and for stores where people used to physically shop. It was a whole new range of use cases, same technology.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
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