Last October, Portland’s Grovemade made a big move, from their rented 5,000 square foot space in southeast Portland to their own 8,000 square foot building near Peninsula Park. The company has enjoyed rapid growth over the past decade, due in part to their willingness to diversify their offerings as competitors replicated their original product, hardwood iPhone cases.

Another element to that growth is the company’s savvy email marketing game, which is why Portland Made asked Grovemade’s marketing manager, Nick LaPlante, to teach us some of his tricks.  

grovemade iphone cases

The first question LaPlante tackled was why email marketing is one of the more effective mediums for promoting a brand. Put simply, when you utilize email marketing, you’re building an audience, not traffic. An audience is something that you control; you don’t have to worry about changing algorithms, and you can continue to grow.

Small business help

Of course, you do have to focus on traffic before the audience, and LaPlante offered up several ways to do this. Popups on a website homepage can be customized with promotional offers and optimally timed delays. Collaborations with complementary brands can also help build your list; Grovemade teamed up with Tanner Goods, a leather goods manufacturer, for a contest just under two years ago, and it yielded more names for both brands’ lists.

small business workshop, makers


LaPlante’s sense of humor came through early in the presentation, with him telling the audience that one way to ensure a great email list was to utilize a cheat code: 

Start with a big list, which he arguably did when he came to Grovemade two years ago. 

small business workshop

That being said, he’s invested a lot time and energy into perfecting strategy, by writing everything down, running tests, and measuring the impact with the help of an email management system (Grovemade uses HubSpot, for example). A lot of the email marketing game is measurement and attribution, so LaPlante strongly suggests using this software, which can help you track down where the traffic (read: money) came from, and he even gave us a handy infographic illustrating why this is so helpful:

small business workshop, makers

Overall, LaPlante’s tips supported his argument for simplifying your approach to reaching people. Email might seem complicated when you look at the data, but when you learn how to use that data? So much simpler than being at the mercy of social media algorithms. Some might say it’s even as simple as life on Walden Pond.

small business workshop, makers
small business workshop, makers

Want to tour Grovemade?
They welcome you to simply drop in (9am-3pm Monday through Friday) to their new location.

Written by: Katey Trnka  //  Photography: Sarah Toor


Keep an eye out for more Portland Made events.



Host: Grovemade

Speaker: Nick LaPlante, Grovemade
Sponsor: MadeHere PDX

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