Ecommerce logistics is changing and evolving at a rapid pace in 2024.
The demand for innovative logistics solutions is reaching new heights.
At the forefront of this transformation is Mountainy, a company born out of the passion and expertise of three individuals who turned their vision into a reality.
Today, we dive into the journey of Ian Yount, Eric Dunion, and Josiah Lowe, the trailblazers who co-founded Mountainy, and explore the ingenuity behind their successful 3PL company.
Mountainy stands as a testament to their combined experience and dedication to excellence in e-commerce logistics.
Founded with the mission to deliver unparalleled fulfillment services, Mountainy has quickly risen to become a beacon for brands seeking a supportive and technologically adept fulfillment partner.
For further insights into their entrepreneurial saga and to connect with the minds behind the brand, you can follow their personal endeavors and Mountainy's corporate milestones through these links:
Mountainy's Corporate Presence
Background and Company Origin
From Varied Pathways to a Singular Vision
The inception of Mountainy is a classic tale of innovation, partnership, and transformation within the 3PL industry, inspired by the diverse backgrounds of its founders. This section peels back the layers of their individual journeys that converged at the creation of a company designed to redefine e-commerce logistics.
Ian Yount: Engineering the Future of Fulfillment
Ian's trajectory took a significant turn from his days as a Petroleum Engineer in the oil fields of West Texas. An opportunity to manage logistics for a friend's e-commerce brand was the catalyst for his shift into the 3PL sphere. Ian's strategic prowess was evident as he scaled operations to a 75-member team, processing over 10,000 orders daily. The decision to part ways with his previous partners led him to Eric and Josiah, forming a triumvirate poised to revolutionize fulfillment services.
Eric Dunion: A Leap of Faith into E-Commerce
Eric's venture into e-commerce began alongside Josiah, developing a brand that astonishingly hit the $1 million sales mark within six months. His decision to leave his position at a private equity real estate start-up to fully immerse himself in e-commerce was pivotal. Eric's experience with logistical bottlenecks and the desire for impeccable service quality spurred the trio to establish their own 3PL, blending in-house fulfillment with innovation.
Josiah Lowe: Surfing the E-Commerce Wave
Josiah's foray into e-commerce dates back to his high school years, starting with drop shipping t-shirts. Opting out of college to harness the burgeoning potential of e-commerce, he has since been instrumental in building teams and strategies to propel e-commerce brands to success. His partnership with Ian and Eric in 2022 marked the beginning of a logistics solution tailored for the D2C market's intricate needs.
The Foundational Vision and Mission
The impetus for Mountainy's birth was a shared dissatisfaction with the existing 3PL landscape, which often lacked the requisite technology or treated brands as mere entries in a spreadsheet. The founders envisioned Mountainy as a fulfillment oasis, providing the support and partnership brands need to flourish. This vision was crafted from their collective experiences, where they saw a gap in quality, technology, and customer-centric services in the logistics sector.
Navigating Entrepreneurial Challenges
The journey wasn't devoid of challenges. In 2022, as Eric and Josiah expanded their brand, customer complaints about product quality and delivery issues became a frequent hurdle. The decision to establish their own print on demand shop was both a solution and a step towards the creation of Mountainy. With Ian's operational expertise, they set up a facility equipped with the necessary printing and packaging tools, alongside a video documenting their initial steps.
The Story Behind the Name 'Mountainy'
As for the company's name, one might anticipate an allegorical reference to the daunting challenges of e-commerce logistics, akin to scaling towering mountains. Yet, the reality is charmingly straightforward. Mountainy is a creative play on Ian M. Yount's name, initially fashioned for his consulting venture in 2021. When the trio joined forces, the name stuck, its uniqueness now emblematic of their innovative approach.
Company Growth and Milestones
Ascending New Heights in E-Commerce Logistics
Mountainy’s narrative is not just one of inception but also of impressive growth and strategic expansion. Within a remarkably short period, the company has notched several significant milestones, painting a picture of a dynamic, rapidly evolving enterprise.
Remarkable Growth Metrics
- Decoration on Demand: A staggering 255,000 items printed and shipped, demonstrating the department's prolific capacity and versatility.
- 3PL Orders: Over 100,000 items shipped in nearly 50,000 orders, with a 35% increase in just the last quarter of 2023, all achieved without compromising on timely delivery.
- Shipping Efficiency: Mastery over cost-efficient shipping, particularly with USPS, achieving an average of $6.59 per label.
- Team Expansion: From a core group to 15 dedicated team members, Mountainy has not only grown in numbers but also in the provision of employee benefits, including a new healthcare plan.
- Warehouse Growth: The physical space has expanded from 7,500 to 22,000 square feet, accommodating increased operational capacity and innovation in product decoration.
- Operational Upgrades: Transitioning from cardboard to 5,500 corrugated plastic totes, enhancing SKU organization and protection.
A Defining Strategy for Scaling
The guiding light for Mountainy’s expansion has been a philosophy of transparency and true partnership. The founders’ strategy is simple yet profound: as their clients' brands grow, so does Mountainy. This belief is put into practice by extending support beyond logistics, including marketing funnel sharing, customer service, and vendor introductions. Such an approach has cultivated deep-rooted client relationships and driven mutual growth.
Competitive Adaptation in a Dynamic Industry
Mountainy’s adaptability in a competitive landscape is attributed to its founders' unwavering commitment to honesty and core values. The boutique nature of Mountainy, with its high-touch, personalized service, has positioned it as a formidable player in an industry where large, private equity-run firms often fail to pivot swiftly to address the evolving needs of e-commerce.
Distinctive Edge in the 3PL Market
What truly sets Mountainy apart is the seamless integration of decoration services with the fulfillment of inventoried items. This, coupled with the white-glove service ethos and competitive pricing, forms the cornerstone of Mountainy’s competitive advantage. The founders’ commitment to the brands they serve goes beyond the standard 3PL offerings, delving into marketing strategies and overall brand growth support.
Industry Insights and Advice
Navigating the Currents of Change in Logistics
The logistics and 3PL sector is one characterized by relentless change and the founders of Mountainy have had front row seats to this ever-shifting landscape. Their insights offer a window into the trends, challenges, and strategies that shape the future of logistics.
Emerging Trends and Enduring Challenges
The rise of micro boutique 3PLs is one trend that the Mountainy team has observed, reflecting a shift towards highly specialized and customer-focused fulfillment services. These nimble entities are countering the slower adaptation of larger, venture capital-backed logistics firms that often lag behind in meeting the dynamic demands of e-commerce.
One of the industry's most pressing challenges, as identified by the founders, lies in software. The hunt for a quality Warehouse Management System (WMS) that can keep pace with the rapid changes in e-commerce requirements is ongoing.
Despite the robustness of platforms like ShipHero, the quest for a system that caters to every conceivable need of their clientele continues.
Entrepreneurial Wisdom for Aspiring 3PL Innovators
For those looking to carve their own path in the 3PL industry, the founders of Mountainy share a piece of counterintuitive yet invaluable advice: start with a brand. Understanding the pain points from the perspective of a client first can provide the empathy and insight needed to build a successful logistics company.
Innovation as a Cornerstone of Success
The strategic choice of location has been pivotal for Mountainy. Nestled at 215 Beaver Drive, the site offers proximity to major shipping carriers and allows for gradual expansion. This foresight in infrastructure selection underscores the importance of location in logistics, a decision that has significantly contributed to their operational efficiency.
Tech Stack and Outsourced Services: The Backbone of Operations
Mountainy's technological ecosystem is a carefully curated mix of tools and services that empower their operations and communication:
- Shiphero (WMS): The backbone of their warehouse management, selected for its robust features.
- Communication: Slack for real-time collaboration, complemented by the formality of email.
- Tango: For creating help documents that guide their team through processes.
- Fireflies.ai: An AI-driven tool for capturing the essence of meetings in notes.
- Dropbox: Chosen for its reliability as a document repository.
- Notion: A versatile platform for onboarding, internal guidelines, and as a CRM system.
- Asana: Currently used for task management, though a future transition to Notion is planned.
- Marketing: A combination of purely Fulfill and the founders' personal posts.
The Heartbeat of Mountainy: Founders' Reflections
The founders of Mountainy have navigated through the complexities of establishing a 3PL company, each milestone and challenge shaping not just their business, but also their personal growth. Here, they share their most rewarding experiences and the ethos that drives their leadership.
Moments of Gratitude and Fulfillment
For Ian, Eric, and Josiah, the daily operations are more than transactions and logistics; they're opportunities to positively impact lives. The most rewarding aspect? Seeing their team thrive and aiding in the success of their clients' brands. It's this sense of community and collective achievement that fuels their commitment to Mountainy.
Inspiring Entrepreneurial Narratives
One particularly memorable night stands out in their journey. After an 18-hour shift of building custom packing stations, the trio stood in the quiet of their expanding facility, reflecting on their growth. The sight of pallets and packing stations was a tangible representation of their progress—from Ian's solo beginnings to a bustling 22,000 square foot operation.
Leadership Philosophy: Leading by Example
Mountainy's leadership philosophy is simple: lead from the front. Quality, excellence, and high standards are not just expectations for the team but are exemplified in the founders' actions and decisions. They believe in cultivating a culture where these values are absorbed naturally, creating a team that aspires to their level of commitment.
Striking the Entrepreneurial Work-Life Balance
In an industry that demands constant attention, finding balance can be challenging. Yet, the founders credit their incredible team, whose expertise and loyalty have been instrumental in allowing them to maintain this equilibrium. A testament to this is the low turnover rate at Mountainy, highlighting the strong internal community they've built.
Resources for Inspiration and Guidance
The founders draw inspiration from a variety of books and podcasts, each contributing to their business acumen and personal development:
- Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink
- Your Next Five Moves by Patrick Bet-David
- Unreasonable Hospitality by Will Guidara
- The End Of The World Is Just The Beginning by Peter Zeihan
- Endure by Cameron Hanes
- Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
- The E Myth by Michael E. Gerber
- The Joe Rogan Show Podcast
These resources have provided insights into leadership, strategy, and endurance, all of which have been integral to their success.
As Mountainy strides into 2024, the excitement is palpable. With plans to launch a comprehensive help site for clients, revolutionize billing management for greater transparency, and enhance storage facilities, the company is poised for another year of impactful growth.
The introduction of new decoration methods is set to broaden their service spectrum, demonstrating Mountainy's unwavering dedication to innovation and customer satisfaction.
The journey of Mountainy is not just a business case study; it's a narrative of passion, resilience, and entrepreneurial spirit. As they continue to scale new heights, the founders look forward to empowering more brands with their boutique approach to fulfillment and logistics.