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Saddleback Leather Company Offers Lifestyle and Legacy with Heirloom Leather Products


10%21%81%
increase in revenueincrease in conversion ratedecrease in bounce rate



Performance metrics compare September 1–27, 2019 (pre-BigCommerce) to September 1–27, 2020 (post-BigCommerce).


The Future: It’s in the Bag

To say Dave Munson’s life is an adventure would be an understatement. He is best described as a modern-day Indiana Jones. Dave taught English in Central Mexico, and for three years he and his black labrador, Blue, slept on the floor of a little $100-a-month apartment in Juarez. He was clever enough to evade attempts on his life. And, of all things, Dave found the love of his life, Suzette, on Myspace.

When you take a closer look at Dave’s life, you’ll see a life of openness, discovery, and purpose. Amazingly, the catalyst to it all started with a need for a bag — but not just any bag, a specific leather bag. This leather bag would one day become the foundation on which Saddleback Leather Company would be built.

Designing of an Heirloom

As told to BigCommerce by Dave Munson, CEO & Founder, Saddleback Leather Company.

In 1999, I was teaching English in Central Mexico and needed a bag to carry my books. I had an idea in my head for what I wanted the bag to look like. It would be leather and something similar to what Indiana Jones would carry.  

I looked around and couldn't find anything I liked. However, I did find a guy making bags, so I drew out what I wanted. I told him I didn’t want any breakable parts, no zippers, snaps, or buttons and that I wanted it to be nice enough that my grandkids would fight over it when I'm gone. He did not disappoint. I got exactly what I asked for and everywhere I went, people were saying, “Oh my gosh, where did you get that bag? That is gorgeous. That is so cool.”

Today, people have really taken to our bags, backpacks, briefcases, luggage and other accessories for the quality and style. We set out to build them as heirlooms and it’s nice when customers tell us they have actually put their Saddleback piece in their will for a loved one.

From a Platform of Pain to One of Pleasure

As told to BigCommerce by Dave Munson, CEO & Founder, Saddleback Leather Company.

I first began selling online using eBay. This was in the early 2000s when Blue and I lived in Juarez, Mexico. The platform served its purpose for where I was at the time. But, as time passed and the business grew, it became apparent we needed our own website.

NetSuite was the first ecommerce platform we used and that turned out to be a horrible disaster. Magento 2 followed and that didn’t work well for us either. With Magento 2 we were spending way too much time trying to keep the platform and the plug-ins up to date. A lot of time was also spent putting out fires, which robbed us of the time we needed to make the site experience better and boost our conversion rate. We were just caught up doing stuff that didn’t add value to the company.

Also, with Magento we had to do a lot of customising, which slowed the website down and our load time started to tank to around 7-8 seconds. But, once we got onto BigCommerce, the time went down to 2-2.5 seconds, which is really fast and it helps us improve our conversion and bounce rates.

By this point we were using Acumatica, a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution. As we planned to leave Magento, it was critical for us to find an ecommerce platform that worked well with Acumatica. We also wanted a platform where customer support matched the level we give our customers. It was impossible to get any help from Magento even when the site went down completely. They just weren’t responsive.

So, we looked at WooCommerce, Shopify and BigCommerce. I don't know enough about WooCommerce or Shopify to say nope, they are worthless. However, we heard really good things about BigCommerce.

I talked to the CEO, Brent Bellm, myself, which is rare for someone to be able to do. That gave us a clue that BigCommerce really valued the relationship. We found the customer service to be fantastic and super responsive, and discovered BigCommerce has a direct integration with Acumatica.

The BigCommerce team we worked with was amazing. Brandon and Levi were great in the sales process of helping us see what the roadmap to going live was, and what we could look forward to in the future. Matt, our Implementation Project Manager, was fantastic. We had a 3.5-month timeline to go live and Matt really pushed our team and the BigCommerce team to ensure we were done before the deadline and that any and all issues were fixed prior to launch. He went above and beyond to ensure we had a smooth launch. This collective effort is why we gave BigCommerce a Net Promoter Score of 10, the highest rating, right after launch.

Also notable, BigCommerce provides its customers a roadmap for improvement rather than getting them on the platform and then leaving them to figure it out on their own. And, being headquartered in Ft. Worth, Texas, it’s nice to know BigCommerce is a US-based company and even better, a Texas-based company. So, with everything I just mentioned, we knew BigCommerce was the platform for us.

“But, once we got onto BigCommerce, the time went down to 2-2.5 seconds, which is really fast and it helps us improve our conversion and bounce rates.”Dave Munson, CEO & Founder, Saddleback Leather Company

“I talked to the CEO, Brent Bellm, myself, which is rare for someone to be able to do. That gave us a clue that BigCommerce really valued the relationship.”Dave Munson, CEO & Founder, Saddleback Leather Company
We no longer have to do double development for two sites. It boosts our SEO rankings to have Love 41’s content and products on our site, and allows more visibility of both brands than when they were on separate sites.Dave Munson, CEO & Founder, Saddleback Leather Company
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A Sweetheart Deal

As told to BigCommerce by Dave Munson, CEO & Founder, Saddleback Leather Company.

BigCommerce helped us bring over my wife’s women’s leather brand store, Love 41, to Saddleback. We no longer have to do double development for two sites. It boosts our SEO rankings to have Love 41’s content and products on our site, and allows more visibility of both brands than when they were on separate sites.

Love 41 came about when we were doing mission work in Africa. My wife wanted to do more to help. She thought about it and decided she could put her design and decorating talents to good use. So, she started Love 41 offering women's leather bags, wallets and jewelry with all of the proceeds going to causes that help orphans, widows and street kids in Africa and Mexico.


Apps Make a Good Thing Better

As told to BigCommerce by Dave Munson, CEO & Founder, Saddleback Leather Company.

I’d say hands down the Acumatica Cloud ERP is the best thing, integration-wise, going for us. Managing critical business processes is smooth and easy now. It’s just nice to have our inventory, financials, and other operational elements work smoothly. 

Yotpo is a really handy integration for us as well. Product reviews and image galleries are a real boost to our SEO rankings. People leave a lot of reviews. It allows the display of an Instagram feed on the website, where customers can see how other people are using our products. They scroll through the pictures to view something they like. It is actually helping our conversion rate.

Easy Upsell enables us to offer pop-up upsells when customers are checking out. During the height of the pandemic we made a ton of CDC-spec masks. Today, a pack of five is a product we upsell during checkout and people are buying them.

Growing the Business. Building Lives.

As told to BigCommerce by Dave Munson, CEO & Founder, Saddleback Leather Company.

As a business we are looking to continue boosting our conversion rate with the tools and apps available to us on BigCommerce. We finally have the time to put towards site improvements instead of site maintenance. The BigCommerce team gives us a look at upcoming features they plan to release as well, which gives us time to start planning how we will use those in the future.

We're going to be doing a lot more customer engagement stuff this year including a blog. With BigCommerce, the blog is built right in so we'll be doing a lot of writing.

And, we’re going to keep investing in the lives of people to ensure they have opportunities that their circumstances would say were impossible. That’s why we are proud to be a people business, cleverly disguised as a leather bag company.

“We're going to be doing a lot more customer engagement stuff this year including a blog. With BigCommerce, the blog is built right in so we'll be doing a lot of writing.”Dave Munson, CEO & Founder, Saddleback Leather Company

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