Olaf Jacobson

How Beernami is growing its beer subscription service without code

Beernami

A monthly Dutch craft beer subscription service focused on seasonals, specials and limited editions.

Part-Time Income

Monthly Revenue

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 What's your personal background? What motivated you to start your own company? 

My background (Olaf) is with Soon (soon.works) - a workforce management software. There we have a strong focus on the technical aspects of the product. So at Beernami I wanted to take the opposite approach, which is also possible cause it’s not about the website or any software that we use but a physical product.

Together with J., Stef and Keith - the three other founders at Beernami - we all liked this beer-box idea but have our own ‘day jobs’, so we need to be very efficient and make it work in the evenings and weekends.

(Keith’s background)

Keith for instance runs, KES Visa & Legalization (kesvisum.nl & keslegalisatie.nl). They provide a range of embassy services to individuals and businesses in The Netherlands. 

We take care of travel visa applications that are required to reach various destinations around the globe. Additionally we assist clients with the embassy legalizations of documents. 

“I always wanted to start a business where I could use my experience gained from running a service focussed business. With Beernami our clients are really happy with the customer focus, and the customer service we provide. But they also get an amazing fresh and unique product that makes the experience stand out a lot more than a standard travel visa or document legalisation… Beernami gives me the opportunity to experience the product side of business/customer happiness that I don't get to see at KES.”      

  

What no code tool(s) did you use to build Beernami and what purpose did each play in the final product?

Wix - for the website, as an ecommerce platform and inventory management tool

Subbly - for the subscription management and referral tool

Stripe - to handle the payments (we also used Wix payments for a little while and got suspended for selling alcohol)

Paypal - to offer it as a payment option as well. Credit cards are not so common in the Netherlands. 

Canva & Figma - to produce visuals

Worth mentioning - we like Webflow more to edit the website so we might switch to it. So far however, there are a few things in Wix that made us stay there.

 

What were the initial costs to get Beernami off the ground?

About €2500
 

What was the process of building your product from idea to launching?

It started with a thought, explored possibilities in the far east, then went back to the Low lands.

How do you attract customers?

Mostly through word-of-mouth by maintaining a high quality in beer selection and customer service. Our customers also share pictures on Instagram which helps reach new people. Some advertisements via Google ads. 

 

What are the biggest challenges you've overcome building Beernami?

Since we’re dealing with physical products as well, the logistics has been the most challenging. Especially now in summer this is very important with the heatwave. Sunlight and heat are really bad for beers and we took extra steps to protect our beers in storage and transportation. We have also had some bad luck with general delivery service providers and had bottles or boxes break in transit. To solve this we started planning and optimising our marketing strategies for self-deliveries. Also a cool opportunity to meet our subscribers! 

How much money is Beernami making per month?

We are pretty much a non-profit at this moment though count ourselves lucky to have broken even early on. This is completely fine as we do it as a side-hustle. Also, all revenue is used to cover the costs, and profits reinvested into buying even better beers and growth. Compared to a digital product, the operating costs are very high as we have to purchase the beers, packaging (surprisingly expensive), transportation, rent etc. 

 

What's your advice for non-technical people who want to start a company?

I’d say it really depends on what you want to do as a company. Beernami is a non-technical service so any tools we use are means to an end.

Also, there are a lot of great free tools out there. Explore and try on a few for size. You may end up upgrading to the paid versions but we have been able to get a lot done with free resources.

 

What are your future plans for Beernami?

Right now we can serve customers in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. We aim to expand internationally with the same concept. For now, we are focussed on growing more in our current location. 

 

How do you think the rise of no code tools will impact entrepreneurship? 

Entrepreneurship existed long before no code tools or even computers. Computers have made it easier to get things done in general. Regarding entrepreneurship these tools allow you to do much more with fewer people. No-code tools empower you to do things where you normally would need to develop something or hire someone to do this for you, thereby keeping costs low. Even if you could theoretically build everything yourself or with your team, it might not be the best investment of your time. It’s pretty obvious now that nobody is coding their own payment gateway, but actually you should ask yourself with any aspect of the business if it is worth to develop something yourself or just find a solution that’s already made, and more importantly continuously improved by a team working on just that.

In short, no-code tools have made entrepreneurship much more accessible. Hopefully this means more will venture out to create valuable products and services where knowledge of code has stopped them before.

 

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

One of our co-founders was really risk-averse but having found this myriad of no-code tools, have really come to embrace entrepreneurship with the low stake environment - they require little time and resource investment, not much can go wrong and when they do, you notice them immediately.

🍻 Cheers!

Team Beernami


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