In the October edition of our London founder interview series, we chatted to James Berry. He built Sales Bot Depop to 1,000 users and quit his full-time job. Sales Bot Depop is a Chrome extension for vintage clothing sellers to increase their Depop sales.
Hey James, can you tell us a little about your background and how you got into building products?
My background is the Atlas Mountains… (kudos to Lucy for this gag).
I’ve always built things, whether it was creating furniture from recycled pallet wood or hustling for a bit of AdSense cash from uploading songs to a music promotion YouTube channel I’d created. The first product I really invested myself into was founding a clothing brand & making sales from my Tumblr page. I graduated from university with a degree in CS and have been balancing full-time work & side-projects since. Recently I made the decision to go full-time with Sales Bot.
Where did the idea for Sales Bot come from, and how did you validate it?
Sales Bot came about accidentally whilst I was attempting to reverse-engineer mobile APIs for popular apps when I stumbled across the Depop API. At the time, there was no Depop platform for the web, hence no API in public knowledge. I realised there was a demand that wasn’t being fulfilled for a “Depop Bot”, so Sales Bot was born.
Can you tell us about your business model?
Sales Bot operates as a pure-play SaaS company. We charge users on a monthly or annual basis for access to our tools. We have a single-tier & a free offering planned for the coming months. Sales Bot also supports Parity Purchasing Power (PPP).
What’s your tech stack?
Frontend: React, Redux
DevOps: GitHub, Render & DigitalOcean
The end-user or client of your product does not care what tech stack you used. They care that your product works, it is reliable & fulfils their needs. My advice is to stop procrastinating, pick a language and stick with it - and get shipping!
What growth tactics did and didn’t work for you?
Sales Bot is at a very early stage so we have only experimented with a few growth tactics thus far. We can say that SEO has played a huge role in enabling our users to discover us. We have also found success being active in discussions of subreddits and various Facebook communities where vintage clothing sellers seem to congregate.
What has been the hardest part of building Sales Bot?
I have found my transition to a CEO role quite challenging. As a developer, I have a constant desire to spend my time improving and iterating on our product. However, I am learning, in order to achieve MoM growth, our time is better spent talking to customers, exploring new SEO and marketing opportunities and engaging in customer support & direct sales.
What are the most common mistakes you see Indie Hackers make early on?
“If you build it they will come” - this is the cardinal sin of nearly all Indie Hackers at some stage in their founding journey. I often observe founders spending many months developing their products without validating that they have a product-market fit, only to discover post-launch that this statement couldn’t be further from the truth. Ship early and if you haven’t got an audience yet, give it away for free.
What else have you built before Sales Bot, and what were the biggest lessons from those experiences?
Before Sales Bot I was involved in numerous projects, one of which was a Facebook app that found the degrees of separation between any two users; this was my first notable success. I also developed Climate365, this was a digital protesting app that connected to your Gmail account and sent daily emails to leaders of organisations damaging the environment. Climate365 won Fixathon & was nominated for ProductHunt’s Golden Kitty award. Additionally I built a sales lead generation platform, however I discovered there was no demonstrable demand for the product and it couldn’t scale up into a profitable business.
Favourite indie products?
- Control Space
- Weekend Club
Favourite apps on your home screen?
- Nathan Latka
- Indie Bites
- Anything featuring Harry Dry
Where can people stay updated on you and your projects?
Check out Depop Sales Bot here.