How Ali von Paris of Route One Apparel Rode Maryland Pride to eCommerce Success - EP 001
Meeting Ali von Paris of Route One Apparel
Ethan Giffin talks with Ali von Paris of Route 1 Apparel about transforming a viral college project into a thriving Maryland pride brand. Launching with a single t-shirt tribute to a closed bar, Route 1 Apparel has grown into a diverse product line embodying state pride, from university gear to Maryland flag designs and innovative items like the Old Bay Travel Tin.
They touch on the pivotal COVID-19 response, where Ali's quick pivot to producing face masks resulted in a tenfold business growth and significant community support, marking a memorable moment when the governor publicly endorsed their masks. Ali shares insights into the eCommerce tech stack critical to her success, highlighting the synergy between Shopify, Klaviyo, and ShipStation in streamlining operations and enhancing customer engagement.
This conversation sheds light on the challenges of entrepreneurship, the importance of community, and the strategic decisions that drive eCommerce growth.
Quotes From The Show
"I started the business when I was 19 by accident... I was paying my way through school and working at the Thirsty Turtle... it was forced to shut down and I was pretty devastated."
-Ali von Paris, 00:01:37
"I launched [the design] on my Facebook page and it went viral... initially it was just a t-shirt design, but I very quickly realized I was making a business out of it."
-Ali von Paris, 00:02:10
"A few weeks before it was mandated federally to wear face masks, I started seeing an influx and people buying bandanas, surgical caps. Fanny packs... And I was stuck thinking I didn't want to sell water during a fire."
-Ali von Paris, 00:07:03
"The governor wore a mask on a national press conference and name-dropped us... It was the first time in history our Shopify website actually crashed."
-Ali von Paris, 00:08:13
"My first licensing deal... was with my alma mater University of Maryland... I was making off-brand collegiate clothing... and Joe [the licensing director] reached out to me very kindly and said, 'Hey, I love the designs you're doing, let's get you a license legally.'"
-Ali von Paris, 00:17:48
00:05 - Introductions
01:35 - Ali's start as an "accidental entrepreneur"
05:35 - Route One's COVID-19 challenges
09:35 - The famed Maryland flag Sequined Jacket
17:14 - Getting her first licensing agreement
24:47 - What's next for Ali?
Route One Website: https://www.routeoneapparel.com/
Route One On Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/routeoneapparel/
Ali on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alivonparis
Ali on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexandravonparis/
Ship Station: https://www.shipstation.com/
About our Guest, Ali von Paris
Ali von Paris is the owner and founder of Route One Apparel, originally created in 2010 from within her dorm room while still an undergraduate student at the University of Maryland. Beyond her business, she serves on many boards, volunteers her time at speaking events, and in her spare time, loves to travel & spend time with her family and fur babies.
Connect on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexandravonparis/
About Our Host, Ethan Giffin
Ethan Giffin is the founder and CEO of Baltimore-based Groove Commerce, a premier eCommerce agency that helps mid-market brands design, build and grow their eCommerce sites.
Ethan is an industry expert in eCommerce, e-marketing, and the dynamic technologies behind them. For years, Ethan has lived and breathed conversion rates, search engine visibility, and web analytics.
When Ethan isn’t obsessing over SEO, conversion rates and eCommerce architecture at Groove Commerce, he can be found speaking as an industry authority, both nationally and internationally. In his free time, he enjoys cooking, traveling, DJing, and the pursuit of rare pocket squares.
Connect on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ethangiffin/