Q & A With Steve Kruse

Written by: Brady Drake

Photos by J. Alan Paul Photography and Hillary Ehlen

In 2013, our Owner of Spotlight Media, Mike Dragosavich, founded One Herd with a mission of creating a community around the clothing brand. The former NDSU punter did so by donating a portion of revenue to area charities for every purchased product.

In the fall of 2019, Steve Kruse took over the business, giving him a unique perspective on what it’s like to run a business that he acquired.

What is it like taking over a company?

Taking over an existing business will save you money because it’s already established and people already know about the business. also, you don’t have all the startup costs associated with starting your own business from the ground up.

How did you work to make that transition as smooth as possible?

Mike, the previous owner, was there for guidance and support during the first couple of critical months in case anything went wrong.

If you could give advice to anyone planning on doing something similar,
what would you tell them?

Do your homework before making a purchase on an existing business. You don’t want to purchase a business that is running in the negative or that doesn’t sell what customers want to buy. Develop a plan. See where the current business’ strengths and weaknesses are to find out what changes need to be made. Ask for a transition period. Asking for a transition period will ensure that you learn all you can from the current owner.

What is One Herd’s mission?

Our mission is to extend the spirit of the North Dakota State Bison on to anyone who wants to be a part of the great tradition, eaning people all over the country! The name “One Herd” isn’t just a catchphrase, it’s a symbol. What it symbolizes is the fact that we are all in it together. No one is alone. Especially in Bison Nation. We want everyone who is associated with One Herd to adopt a teamwork and family mentality. We encourage all to find a way to help someone out that needs a hand.

What percentage of your revenue is derived from online sales?

Currently, it is 98 percent. That would be different, in normal times. What I mean by that is that I also operate a mobile retail trailer that we weren’t able to utilize much as I would like because most events I would like to bring it to were canceled.

What platform do you use for e-commerce?

Shopify. It is a platform that makes it fairly simple for even a novice like me to update and make changes to the site.

What tips do you have for people trying to better their e-commerce business?

Get an expert opinion on what changes and updates should be made. They can also help you out by highlighting anything critical that might be missing on your website. If you don’t feel comfortable making the changes, hire an expert. Find companies that fit your business model for dropshipping. The less inventory you have to physically handle and carry yourself means less of cash investment in inventory. Find your niche and differentiate yourself from your competition.

How do you drive people to your website?

Mainly through social media posts, print, and also by sending emails to our

I know that you maintain an in-person shopping location, do you think that’s important for your brand?

As I mentioned earlier, we do have a pop-up shop that we were able to have on Broadway in Downtown Fargo for about three weeks this Fall. I wish it could have been longer, but in 2020 we’ve all needed to make adjustments to our business model. The pop-up shop is very important to building our brand. It allows our customers to put a face with One Herd and also shows that we truly are a local business.

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Brady is the Editorial Director at Spotlight Media in Fargo, ND.