What do you do when you lose your job to the pandemic? Well, you go out and find a way to make your own money. When Micheal Opalski and Chris MaCasland lost their income because of the pandemic, they started City Bonfires, a portable, reusable mini bonfire.
City Bonfires’ first sale came on August 15th, 2020. Since then, they have received over 75,000 orders through their website, and they have reportedly sold over 350,000 units in total (not just on their website).
August 2021 Ecommerce Sales
So far in August CityBonfires.com has received 2,198 orders. That is just about 100 orders per day (I have to imagine the summer is peak seasonality for this type of product).
I estimate their average order value to be around $30.
How did I come up with that number?
There are a few data points I use to estimate what their average order value is. First, I take a look at their price point for their most popular item. For City Bonfires, it is their flagship product, their Portable Fire Pit. This item starts at $19.95 plus $8 for shipping.
Second, I take a look at how they try to increase your cart size. For them, they have the options for a 2-pack, a 5-pack, and a 10-pack. The 2-pack is the same per unit price, but gets you free shipping. The 5-pack offers you a $1 discount per unit price. And the 10-pack provides you a $2 per unit discount price.
Next, I look at their other items on-site and see how popular those are. They offer a S’mores Night Pack for $35.95, and this item has 244 reviews. The S’mores Family Pack for $59.95 has 101 reviews. The City Bonfires + S’mores Kit for $27.95 has 470 reviews. And then they have accessories that have around 20-30 reviews. For comparison, their flagship product has 1,350 reviews.
Lastly, I take a look at their free shipping threshold. To qualify to get free shipping, you must spend $34 (odd number to pick). The rule of thumb typically is the threshold is used to try to increase your average cart size to above that number (meaning most likely their average cart size sits below that number).
After reviewing all of those data points, I feel reasonably confident that their average order value is approximately $30.
So far in August, City Bonfires has generated about $65K in revenue. I estimate they will end up doing about $90K in total for the month. If they were to keep up that same pace, they would be looking at generating just over $1M in revenue this year from their website.
Other Sources of Revenue
In July, it was reported that City Bonfires had sold over 350,000 units. Their website has processed just over 77,000-lifetime orders. Even if we say they averaged 2 units per order (I believe its closer to averaging 1.25 – 1.5 units per order), that means their website has only sold just under 150,000 units. Where did they sell the other 200,000+ units?
City Bonfires has customized their portable bonfire product to allow for a company to put their logo on the lid of the product. And they have sold these to some pretty big companies: Google, Viacom, NetFlix, IHeart Media, and more.
If I had to guess, I would think their cost of producing one unit of a portable bonfire is around $4 (rough guess). I would then think they are selling these customizable units in bulk to these companies for about $8-$10 per unit.
Good Morning America
Between 03/13/2021 to 03/13/2021, City Bonfires was featured on Good Morning America’s Deals and Steals. It is impossible for me to guess how many units they sold through this channel but I have had first-hand experience selling on Good Morning America’s Deals and Steals. And they move units. The shtick is that you must sell your product for 50% off retail through GMA. Then GMA takes a 25% commission on those sales. But the volume is almost always there (it’s crazy to watch the GMA Shopify site backend’s live feature to see it light up with users as soon as the segment airs). Note: These orders are processed through a joint GMA Shopify store, so they are not represented in their regular website sales numbers.
Between corporate gifts and Good Morning America, I estimate City Bonfire’s generated about $1.5M to $2M in revenue.
Total Company Revenue
City Bonfires has been in business for just over 1 year. I estimate their total revenue in their first year is between $3-$4M.
How they built the brand
Content is a big driver for City Bonfires. To start, they drove to a nearby town on the beach and started taking photos and videos themselves. They used these photos and videos to grow their social media presence. They have 47K followers on Instagram and 24K followers on Facebook.
City Bonfires also has been featured in many articles. They took their story of two people who lost their income due to the pandemic and started a business from nothing to provide income for their families and ran with it. It’s a story that gained interest by many publications such as Forbes, Today, CNBC, Yahoo News, Good Morning America, and many more.
I am shocked that 78% of their audience is Female. I thought for sure their audience would be majorly male (but this is why I use data rather than my opinions).
I first came across this company from this TikTok ad:
It has been viewed 164,000 times. Since then, I have seen 8 different ads for them on TikTok. The first ad I saw was on was posted on 7/26/2021. The most recent ad I saw was posted 1 week ago.
My general rule is if a company continues to advertise on a channel, that means that channel works for them (or they just like to waste money). Since City Bonfires has only been advertising for 1 month on TikTok, it is too soon to tell if this channel is working for them (they still may be in the testing phase).
City Bonfires has about 140 ads running on Facebook. 90% plus of these ads are video ads.
Google Search Advertising
Top 5 Paid Search Terms:
- smores kit
- s more in a jar
- tabletop smores
- bon bon fires
The search volume on all these terms are sub 500 average monthly searches.
It looks like City Bonfires drives most of their sales through their content (mainly videos) that they advertise on Facebook and TikTok, along with the PR they have received with their story. Stay tuned for future updates on City Bonfires.