Exclusive: Interview with David Mathews, founder and CEO of Billowby.com!
I had a chance very recently to pose a few questions to David Mathews, the motivated founder and CEO of the fantastic paraphernalia wonderland known as Billowby.com. They’ve been very busy collecting and offering a massive inventory of the best and most interesting items a smoker or vaper could hope for. He was kind enough to share with us some insight into his mission and the future of this quirky and incredibly well-stocked smoker supply depot.
1) Billowby has done an amazing job at recognizing and dominating a consumer base that was due for attention. At what point did you realize that the emerging market of marijuana technology was where you wanted to focus?
Thanks for the kind words. I started working on Billowby about a year ago when I realized that there wasn’t a dominant brand in the industry that appealed to the mainstream audience. Sure there are the typical Rasta-Snoop-Hippy counterculture fanbase that was critical to getting us to where we are today, but there wasn’t a brand out there that I felt truly represent the mainstream. After a year of hard work, I can proudly say that Billowby is slowly but surely becoming that brand.
2) Where did the name Billowby originate from? Is there a story there?
I really like the use of alliteration in names and I wanted our brand to be a bit more ambiguous than our competitors. “Billow” means “a large undulating mass of something, typically cloud, smoke, or steam” so I felt that was fitting giving the products we sell.
3) The Billowby Education Center (https://learn.billowby.com/) is a brilliant tie-in to the products sold on Billowby.com. Was it the precursor to the sales page?
Great question. If I’m completely honest, I’m very, very proud of the Billowby Education Center and believe it’s truly going to be the industry-standard going forward for education surrounding these products. Though its nascent right now, we have big plans for it in the future involving videos, a cleaner design, and more informative information. As for whether or not it was a precursor to the sales page, it absolutely was. I’m a huge fan of building great content and have been ruminating on the Billowby Education Center from the very beginning. I’m giddy just talking about it right now.
David Mathews, CEO and founder of Billowby
4) Did you notice a major uptick in sales to customers in Washington and Colorado after the recreational legalization?
Not particularly actually.
5) Billowby ships to close to 20 different countries. Are there any legal difficulties regarding the laws in those countries you ship to?
Aside from using discreet packaging for all of our products, we take great strides in assuring our consumers that our products are for legal uses only. Further, our customers must be over 18 to make a purchase and understand the laws of their countries. To date, we’ve had no such problems.
6) Customers are raving about the level of service from Billowby.com and especially the helpfulness of the live chat. Do you have a specific training protocol for customer service agents?
From day one we realized that delightful customer service would be a huge differentiator for our business and have built that into the ethos of our company. We’re proud to say that we have less than a 1% return rate and the vast majority of our customers come back and purchase 2 or more times from our site.
7) You received a major funding seed of $250,000 on the 15th of this month. What will this mean for the future of the Billowby site and brand?
We spent the first year building out our inventory and really getting a firm understanding of the business. Now that we feel comfortable with the foundation we’ve built, we are focused on scaling our operations to keep up with demand and continue to make our customers happy and coming back.
Billowby’s David Mathews searching high and low for the coolest smoking and vaping gear.
8) The Billowby Twitter feed is very active (over 2300 followers) and meshes well with the colorful and quirky aesthetics of the site. It makes most other vendors look a bit drab. How did you decide on this marketing approach that has been so successful?
It’s important to us to be as helpful as we can be, wherever that may be. Some customers prefer Twitter, so we assist them on Twitter. Other prefer Instagram or other channels, so we go there as well. At the end of the day, we’re dead-set on delighting our customers and providing them with the best experience possible.
9) It would be fun to have a map of which US states enjoy which methods of ingestion. Have you noticed any regional trends in the types of products that are most popular in certain areas? Do they use more stealth pipes and bongs in Washington D.C. for instance?
Great question. I don’t have an answer for you just now but we do plan on creating some infographics in the near future that hit on this topic. When we do this, you’ll be the first to know about it. ??
10) California has been at the forefront of legalization and production of marijuana for a long time. Did the prevalence of growers and dispensaries in California color your decision to base Billowby out of San Francisco?
I’m a hacker at heart and have started many tech companies prior to Billowby (my most recent one being Partnered which went through Y Combinator). Having said that, San Francisco – aside from being the most charming and beautiful city in the world — is filled with world-class, brilliant founders who I learn from every day. In short, San Francisco is a magical place and a perfect launching pad for Billowby.
11) At CannaHacker we big fans of the Billowby site. Are there any upcoming developments for Billowby that you would like to tell our readers about?
Thanks for asking! One of the initiatives I’m personally very excited about is video. Starting in May we will be launching a set of videos — in the Billowby aesthetic of course — that will live on the Billowby Education Center and will help people answer questions about our industry. People are still very curious about the industry and we see a great opportunity to step up and provide the best answer for their questions. Aside from the Education Center, we’re working hard one expanding our product catalog, redesigning our site, and actively engaging in the community through a variety of efforts.
In short, exciting times are ahead for Billowby!
We couldn’t agree more David! Big thanks to our friend at Billowby for sharing his time with our readers. If you haven’t had the pleasure, head on over and check out the amazing array of products, devices, and sweet gadgets on the website as well as the great guides on the Billowby Education Center site (https://learn.billowby.com/).
So many great things are there at such great prices and it’s a blast to peruse the vast variety of products with big glossy images. I’m guessing our readers are going to be spending a lot less money at Amazon once they see the online superstore that Mathew has created. Have a look !
(Answers are the opinion of David Mathews and not necessarily representative of the Billowby brand. Billowby doesn’t outright endorse the use of marijuana for their products. They sell products that are intended specifically for legal use only.)
Images courtesy of Billowby.com et al.