• Blog / 
  • Case study

Patch: Building a best-in-class product, with a world-class brand

By

Partner, Product

@dhrmshr

Patch is now a well established brand with young professionals and urban gardeners, selling over 10,000 plants each month, predominately to house-proud Londoners. Off the back of its strong brand, platform efficiency and MoM growth, Freddie has raised a Series A investment round led by a leading venture capital fund and is well positioned to become the go-to player for buying plants and garden furniture online. In under two years, Patch has built a remarkably deep brand. In combination with a great product experience, this has enabled the company to attract and retain customers cost effectively, drive strong and consistent growth while turning the heads of some of the top late stage VC funds.

How we met

Our Head of Growth met Freddie at a networking event. They got chatting and Freddie was introduced to our investment team.

At the time, Freddie was working full-time as a brand manager. However, he had a vision of solving a pain point that he had experienced personally - specifically, the difficulty that urban gardeners had in finding suitable plants to transform their homes. He had a landing page and some suppliers but had no way of transacting with customers.

I was looking for a partner to help me, not just back the business but also really build it - Freddie, CEO

 

Patch is now a well established brand with young professionals and urban gardeners, selling over 10,000 plants each month, predominately to house-proud Londoners. Off the back of its strong brand, platform efficiency and MoM growth, Freddie has raised a Series A investment round led by a leading venture capital fund and is well positioned to become the go-to player for buying plants and garden furniture online.

In under two years, Patch has built a remarkably deep brand. In combination with a great product experience, this has enabled the company to attract and retain customers cost effectively, drive strong and consistent growth while turning the heads of some of the top late stage VC funds.

Building the MVP

As a senior consultant at BrandCap, Freddie, the founder and CEO of Patch, came to Forward Partners with a clear understanding of the importance of brand for consumer ecommerce and a good grasp of his target customer. Where Forward Partners made the difference was in providing expertise in customer development, to understand the target customer, and using that customer understanding to build a great product.

Freddie came to us with a strong vision of the product he wanted to build, but the first step of turning that vision into reality was validating it with users. We worked with Freddie to carry out 30 interviews with potential users in Patch’s target demographic. These user interviews showed the pain point of knowing which plants to buy was widespread and that users would transact online.

The next step was a design sprint, in which Freddie and our team evaluated the market and competitive offerings based on the needs expressed by users. Over the course of the five day sprint, we went from user research and a product vision to iterating designs for the site and testing them with users

On the strength of this design sprint, Patch was ready to move forward with an initial product built by our product team, which provided tailored plant recommendations based on a customer enquiry. The focus here was speed, in order to validate the willingness of customers to transact as quickly and cheaply as possible. Impressively, Freddie was able to drive paying customers six weeks after receiving investment.

I went full time in April and we wanted to launch on 1st May so the first four weeks was incredibly intense, but probably the most exciting four weeks - Freddie, CEO

Managing the pivot

The fact that Patch had paying customers within six weeks of receiving investment was great validation that there was real consumer demand, but initial attempts to scale revenues proved to be expensive. By analysing the user flow, the team realised that poor conversion due to the long buying flow of the enquiry led product was impacting the effectiveness of marketing spend.

Freddie and our team explored product improvements that could increase conversion and decided to test a pure ecommerce offering, with a simpler buying journey. As Christmas was approaching, Patch tested the new site with a single product line: christmas trees. The test was a massive success; the new site achieved a 5% conversion rate and Patch sold 1,000 christmas trees in just over a month.

On the strength of the christmas tree test, Freddie decided to move the entire Patch offering to an ecommerce proposition with the support of our product team. The switch to pure ecommerce was a success and the improved conversion rates on the site enabled the business to drive growth whilst sustaining strong unit economics.

The value we get, from not just the investment but the guys working in the business, I don’t think you can put a price on that - Freddie, CEO

Onwards and updwards

By combining Freddie’s understanding of brand with our expertise in understanding users and building great product Patch was able to build the foundations of a remarkable business. With the adoption of the new platform in early 2017, Patch entered a period of sustained growth that saw sale increase consistently at 30% per month. On the back of strong growth through the Summer, Patch raised a seed round in August 2017 before successfully closing a series A funding, led by Octopus Ventures in May 2018.

 

Case study

Snaptrip: A purpose driven rebrand

Matt Fox, (Founder of Snaptrip, a last minute cottage holiday rental site) asked Forward Partners to help him build a brand with more purpose. As part of a four week ...

By Seth Matisak

Design Lead

Read full article