The OVer Company: From side hustle to success story

4 minute read

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic’s catastrophic impact on small and medium-sized businesses across the country, The OVer Company went from side project to success story with an annual sales increase of 100 per cent. Growth like that requires commitment, vision and the right partners.

How OVer came to be: The brainchild of a mother in need

It’s not unusual for a business to start because a creative person can’t find what they need. They figure out a way to make something for themselves that the market is missing and, in the process, discover they’re not alone – there’s demand for their creation. After Sabrina Maulucci brought her second child home from the hospital, she found herself in that position.

Her baby was premature and Maulucci couldn’t find the right protective gear the tiny girl needed. Inspiration struck and Maulucci created the “OVer” – a breathable, lightweight, fabric shield that covered her baby in her car seat and while she was nursing. Maulucci made the OVers herself. Friends and family started asking where she got them and if she could make them one too. The OVer Company was born.

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How OVer went from side hustle to successful small business

As a small business driven entirely by e-commerce, Maulucci signed up for Canada Post’s free program, Solutions for Small Business (SFSB). “When we brought our shipments to the post office, we felt guilty because we held up the line for so long,” Maulucci says.

After a few months of strong and mounting sales, Maulucci was ready to start working with dedicated Canada Post sales representatives to get strategic about shipping. “We realized we could get recurring scheduled pickups from our house, which honestly was a game changer,” says Maulucci. “We could prepare orders, put them at the door, and Canada Post put them in their truck. We were so happy.”

Five years into their partnership with Canada Post, they now ship 10 times as much per year. E-commerce is driving their business forward at an impressive clip and Maulucci’s products are available in over 200 stores in Canada and the U.S. With that kind of explosive growth, being able to lean on their shipping partner was critical. “We’ve been with Canada Post since day one,” says Maulucci. “And we really feel like they care about our business.”

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How Canada Post helps OVer keep customers happy

Canada Post representatives provide guidance on growth strategies for companies of all sizes. The Mauluccis and their Canada Post representative worked closely together to put small business growth strategies into place, enhancing the OVer Company’s returns policy and transitioning from a home-developed e-commerce platform to Shopify with the support of an e-commerce integration expert. This was all while they enjoyed access to exclusive industry insights, relevant whitepapers and digital events to keep their company on top of evolving customer needs.

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A positive delivery experience is as important as the quality of the company’s products. It’s an extension of their brand promise. The OVer Company fulfills and ships orders with Canada Post XpresspostTM and Expedited service on the same day that they’re received. “As a growing business, we’re proud of our fast turnaround,” says Maulucci.

Canada Post is the only delivery company with access to every address in Canada – which enhances customer convenience. Comprehensive digital delivery preferences give shoppers more choice and control throughout the delivery experience. “People know shopping with us means exceptional delivery and customer experience, which is a huge part of our business. It’s important for us to partner with a company like Canada Post that shares those values.”

How OVer pivoted their business in a crisis

For better or worse, COVID-19 threw a curveball at businesses of all sizes in 2020. When lockdown orders were imposed, Maulucci and her husband and co-owner, Michael Maulucci, had just hired a sixth employee. In a matter of days, they closed the store, retail orders stopped and their annual event – The Modern Mom Show – was cancelled. “Everything flashed before our eyes in March,” Maulucci says. “Like, what is happening and how do we keep going?”

Shifting focus from in-store to their e-commerce business

The retail store remained closed for six months, but online sales filled in the gap – there were more sales in May than in any month in the company’s history.

Meeting online demand required work. The Mauluccis added content to their website to enhance the customer experience. “We never had size guides, but we made them so you can measure yourself at home,” says Maulucci. Then they turned to social media. “We even connect with people who would never buy from us, because making real connections through social is important. From captions to customer responses, we became more intentional.”

With e-commerce booming, the Mauluccis have now closed their storefront permanently. They needed to shift some priorities, but they felt confident that Canada Post was invested in helping them execute their evolving e-commerce strategy. “When we think of Canada Post, we think how invested our sales reps have been in our business – especially during our growth and growing pains,” says Maulucci, “and we are so grateful.”

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How to learn from OVer’s example

Lessons from Maulucci’s experience can guide and inspire businesses of all sizes. Here are a few key insights to take away.

Find the right partners

It’s critical to be able to pivot your operations when necessary and to surround yourself with dependable partners that you can lean on when times are tough. Ascertaining who is, and isn’t, an ideal partner is challenging – you need to do your research and due diligence. Determine who can offer your business the best insights, solutions and services to enhance your online presence, help you operate more effectively and enable a positive customer experience.

Listen to your customers

If you pay attention to one thing in 2021, make it your customers. Stay up to date on evolving customer needs and online shopping behaviour. Use what you learn to inform your e-commerce strategy and drive your business forward.

Keep customers informed and happy

When you help your customers make informed purchase decisions, you generate fewer negative shopping experiences, encourage positive product reviews and build customer loyalty. Ensure that your product pages include detailed information. Feature precise descriptions, accurate measurements, and high-quality product imagery to offer customers a clear picture of the product and its uses in their daily lives.

Your returns policy should be easy to find, clear and concise so customers know the deal before they shop online with you.

Happy customers are more likely to shop with you again, and it usually costs a lot more to find new customers than to retain repeat customers. With a user-friendly website, a user-friendly returns policy, good customer service and the right partners by your side, you will keep customers coming back for more.

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