Atomix: Behind the Concept

Built from the ground up, out of a 100 sq. ft. spare office space, Atomix has rapidly ascended with hundreds of customers and continues to make eCommerce fulfillment as easy and affordable as possible for online sellers of all sizes.

Atomix partners with innovative eCommerce brands ready to scale. By creating an uncomplicated, high-touch customer experience, we enable founders and SMBs to focus on building their brands and keeping their customers close. By combining our multi-channel technology platform with our Nucleus Pod warehouse layout, brands have changed the way they handle eCommerce fulfillment.

Built from the ground up, the Nucleus Pod layout is an efficient, yet simple design that is revolutionizing the industry. Unlike a traditional fulfillment center with thousands of brands, millions of square feet, high employee turnover, and limited customer support, our model is, well, systematically different and less stressful. Our customers receive a dedicated “boots on the ground” Pod Manager enabling an in-house fulfillment experience with direct control and insight to brands’ operations. Further, our Nucleus Pods maximize space utilization resulting in lower storage costs and more efficient physical pick processes.

Guided by our three principles of adaptability, innovation, and long-term thinking, Atomix fulfills more than packages. We build brands to last.

Behind the Concept

At the request of friends and customers, we wanted to share our origins and where we’re headed in 2021.

Starting a business can be one of the most exciting and rewarding activities in the world, but it can also be one of the most unpredictable and challenging. One of the most critical parts of any startup is not only to solve a problem that you’ve experienced but to create a solution customers’ love — this means it’s a requirement to fundamentally understand the pains of your customers so you can see past the noise, be flexible in your solution, and create something original.

Growing up, I always told my father I wanted to do what he did. While I barely knew what he did at the time, his ability to start, build, and lead a last-mile logistics company captivated me.

Through entrepreneurship, he taught our family the importance of sacrifices, taking risks, and creating value. I’ve always held onto his ability to approach challenges as opportunities and to learn through experience. As a result, I naturally gravitated towards creating business ventures with my first successful (yet small scale) business in high school and later designing a software app at UPenn.

Prior to starting Atomix, I worked at an innovative eCommerce brand in NYC where I experienced first-hand some of the core problems Atomix solves. Prior to that, I left a high-paying job in finance because I believed eCommerce was radically changing the retail landscape and that this brand would make a serious impact on the direct-to-consumer market (which they continue to do so). After helping scale their 8-figure business and learning everything eCommerce-related, I had much bigger ambitions.

Seeing the logistics industry from the inside out at my father’s company, I noticed a huge gap in the market between DTC eCommerce brands and the traditional logistics industry.

More specifically, I noticed a few trends —

(i) Complexity: logistics is a “confusing” and ambiguous concept for most early-stage brands and easy to misunderstand,

(ii) Seems simple: order fulfillment and shipping is simple early on but this reaches a tipping point on the effective use of a founder’s time (it’s easy to use your garage as a warehouse and drive to the Post Office for the first few hundred shipments; but, in terms of scaling inventory management, optimizing business processes, focusing on higher returning activities (sales/marketing), or wanting to spend more time with family, the decision becomes more difficult),

(iii) Highly fragmented industry: ~10k incumbents with no clear market leader. Most “Mom and Pop” 3PLs (Third Party Logistics) have been around for a while and originally focused on B2B wholesale warehousing. On the other hand, some of the “technology-focused” fulfillment centers have massive marketing budgets which help attract thousands of customers but inevitably fail to provide the same high-quality customer experience to the smallest brands and businesses, and

(iv) A distinct language barrier exists between 3PLs and eCommerce brands: eCommerce brands and 3PLs fundamentally speak a different language and don’t really trust or understand each other.

So with this in mind, and our clear view of the underserved market, we immediately got to work.

After speaking with potential customers in my network, gathering data, and learning more about their pain points (which I also experienced first-hand), I knew how big the opportunity could be and how we would approach the problem.

I asked myself a simple question: Could we simplify the process and remove enough friction from the traditional experience to meet brands’ true needs? In practice, this meant we’d have to design a proprietary technology platform, own our warehouse, and create the same customer experience as top-tier DTC brands. We believed the combination of (a.) user-friendly technology and (b.) high-quality, personal service would be game-changing for the industry.

We launched in August 2020, and after a few months of working with several customers, we inevitably developed our innovative model. Instead of operating massive traditional fulfillment centers (think Amazon), which are organized around servicing thousands of brands, we structured our model with individual micro-warehouses tailored to each brand. These are easily scalable at significantly lower operating costs.

Here’s a high-level depiction of the difference:

Micro-warehouse within a fulfillment center

Standard fulfillment center

While this may seem simple enough, it’s incredible to see the reception among our early customers. (And several established companies have already balked at our mission and solution, which is expected, as most innovation seems impossible or improbable early on.)

We’re fortunate to have brands on board who believed in us early and to have them introduce us to new customers. Our top customers span the United States, with one in LA and another from NYC. While our model is unique, because each brand is truly unique, we are determined to continue to help brands build the best, most customizable fulfillment solution.

While we’ve grown substantially from our first windowless, 100 sq. ft. office (pictures to come), we are only just beginning. I’m fortunate to be surrounded by supportive family members, advisors, and a growing team (I couldn’t do it without my childhood best friends — one graduated with a CompSci. degree from Carnegie Mellon and the other was a Sergeant in the military.)

And on the growth point — it’s important to understand what our priorities are. We are incredibly focused on sustainable and high-quality operations. Too many times have we witnessed high-growth startups in operationally-intensive businesses employ a growth-at-all-costs model. We believe this can be detrimental to building a long-term business. Trade-offs of course exist (and investors have approached us), but we know one thing — working twice as hard, for twice less the pay will be imperative for our culture and incredibly rewarding in the long run. I believe the only way to do this is to care deeply about our team, our customers, and our vision while creating an inspiring place to work that people love.

We will continue to work tirelessly hard on creating a more sustainable supply chain for small businesses. One that is not only efficient but able to drive loyalty among brands’ customers.

Additionally, we remind every prospect that it might not be the right time for their brand. Our operations and their requirements may not be best suited for each other at the current moment. But since we plan on doing this for the next 32 years we bet the right time will happen in the future. We operate this way because our promise since Day 1 has been to give back control to brands. We can only accomplish that with high-quality execution and aligned interests.

Lastly, we’ll be launching a new website in the coming weeks, expanding to a much larger facility in Q3’21, and opening an additional facility in 2022 (West Coast) to continue to meet the growing needs of our customers.

If anyone ever has questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to our team.

P.S. We have internal SLAs (Service Level Agreements) on our teams’ response time in order to be the best and most responsive logistics technology company so feel free to see if we’re hitting our goals.

The best email to reach out to — Solutions@atomixlogistics.com

Or visit our site and let us know what you think— atomixlogistics.com.

Thank you for your time and if you’ve made it this far, it means so much to us and we can’t wait to build a better future for brands and small businesses…but now it’s time to get back to work!

Very Best,

Austin & the Atomix Team