(Image courtesy of Echo Valley Meats)
Echo Valley Meats sells award winning smoked sausages, hams, beef, and other gourmet premium products. The company is quickly becoming a household name after being featured on Season 4 and Season 5 of the popular ABC’s Shark Tank.
We had a chance to talk with the founder, Dave Alwan, and learn more about Echo Valley Meats and how he is satisfying American’s appetite with his quality meats.
Tell us a little about your business.
“I grew up learning my trade. I’m third-generation in a family-owned meat business, and a cattleman and farmer. I was originally part of the family business, and then I decided to strike out on my own. I had my own vision of what a successful meat business could do.
“My family thought I was crazy to leave the family business, but I was determined to learn how to make the best sausage ever. I studied in Germany and Denmark, and brought those skills with me back to Illinois. I entered my summer sausage recipe into competitions, and it won numerous awards, including “Grand Champion.” Our beef brisket recipe also won an award at the Illinois Association of Meat Processors annual competition.
“Today, the business has expanded into other items such as hickory smoked ham, premium beef, mouthwatering beef brisket and our delicious sausage and cheese boxes that are always the perfect gift. Our products are the best-quality and price around.”
You’ve been featured on Shark Tank twice – in Season 4 and a recap in Season 5. What has life been like since going on Shark Tank?
“The show first aired in April 2013, and we were slammed with orders after the show. At that time, we were hand-entering all shipping labels. It was an inefficient time consuming task that created room for possible errors.
“We had several technical glitches with our old website and shipping software that created duplicate orders and incorrect shipping labels. Those errors cut in to profitability margins. I was determined to not let that happen again.
“We began to make changes to our site quickly. In a seven-week period, we went through three different versions of our ecommerce site. Our current site is on Magento, and it was created over a weekend.
“Originally, we used Magento’s shipping integration with FedEx, but we needed to expand to have more shipping features. We did a great deal of research on other shipping integration software before we decided to go with ShipWorks. We determined ShipWorks had exactly what we needed for our business to get to the next level of professionalism and profitability.”
How has ShipWorks helped you with your business?
“We’ve increased productivity 3.7 times in the last month alone. It’s amazing the information that is available at our finger tips. Not only are we very happy with ShipWorks, we believe that without it we could not manage the volume of packages we shipped this past season.
“We also handle the shipping and fulfilment for some other food products that appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank. Adding this to our shipping and inventory process was easy to do with the capabilities and tools provided in ShipWorks.”
New ecommerce stores sometimes struggle with what type of shipping to offer. You use flat rate. Why did you decide to go with that option?
“Our customers want flat rate. We tried variable rate at the beginning, but customers don’t want to have to do math to figure out the final price of an item. Our shipping prices are very straight-forward and customers like it.”
Learn more and order delicious meat at EchoValleyMeats.com