How House of Hannie Is Building a Profitable Instagram Following

How House of Hannie Is Building a Profitable Instagram Following

house of hannie

Ever wonder how some brands manage to turn Instagram into such a profitable channel with an active and rapidly growing following?   

Chris Jones is the entrepreneur behind House of Hannie, a collaboration between him and a designer to make and sell casual womenswear, which generates sales almost exclusively from Instagram. 

Hear Jones' story of how he built his Instagram following from scratch and sold 60 products within 2 months.

In this episode, you'll learn:

  • What to do when you get your first products from an overseas manufacturer and it doesn’t match what you envisioned.
  • Is it ethical and is it safe to automate your social media, particularly Instagram? 
  • How to create a year’s worth of Instagram content in 1 afternoon.

Disclaimer: While the tactics discussed in this episode can be effective, some of them run against Instagram’s Terms of Service. They may not make sense for every business and using them too aggressively may even result in your account being banned by Instagram. Automation of any kind is not a replacement for real, authentic, 1:1 engagement with your fans and followers.

Listen to Shopify Masters below…

Show notes:


Transcript:

Chris: Today I’m joined by Chris Jones from BecSport.com, that’s B-E-C-S-P-O-R-T.com, and HouseOfHannie.com, H-O-U-S-E-O-F-H-A-N-N-I-E.com. Bec Sport is activewear designed and committed to creating functional, comfortable, and stylish clothing for athletes, and House of Hannie is a collaboration with a designer friend, and makes and sells casual woman’s wear. Bec Sport started in 2014 and House of Hannie was just started recently and are based out of Fayetteville, North Carolina. Welcome, Chris.

Chris: Hey, thanks for having me here.

Felix: Yeah, excited to have you on. The reason why I reached out to you is, I think I saw, it might have been on a forum, or a Facebook group, that you were able to launch an activewear company, Bec Sport, with nothing but a phone and an Instagram account. Can you tell us a little bit more about … Well, let’s start from here. Can you tell us a little more about the two stores that you’ve launched? One that just recently launched, and the one that you’ve had for a couple years now. What are they, and what are you selling?

Chris: Yeah, so my first store, and what I would call my main focus right now is BecSport.com. Bec Sport is … You could check us out on Instagram, but I consider it like a minimalist activewear company, so obviously you go to the gym and you see logos on everything, and you’ve got fancy supplements, and fancy gear, and everyone’s using machines. Bec Sport is kind of like, you know, there’s a resurgence of going and training in a really simple gym with just a few barbells and a few basic weights. Bec Sport is like, clothes that don’t necessarily have all the logos, and sort of have a vintage feel to them.

We sell a really successful pair of men’s joggers made out of a specialty … It’s really top quality fabrics that we use, but all of the designs, and the look, and style of everything is really basic and minimal. That’s what Bec Sport does. I could give you the whole sorted story of how I got started. Is that what you’re looking for?

Felix: Yeah, well, tell us about what you were doing before starting this, and what inspired you to try and create an e-commerce business.

Chris: Yeah, so I think I wanted to start some kind of business on the side of my day job, I think for the same reasons why most people do, is greater financial independence. I’m guessing everybody who’s listening to this has probably read The 4-Hour Workweek.

Felix: Yeah.

Chris: It’s not that they’re lazy and only want to work four hours a week, but they love the idea of having greater independence where they can travel when they want to, and they can live where they want to, and do whatever else they want to. I think that was the main goal, was just greater flexibility in my life to do some of the things that I’d dreamed about, but specifically e-commerce, the idea actually came from, it was a podcast I listened to. I read books and listen to podcasts basically like every spare minute that I get; even when I’m working out at the gym. If you were lifting weights you might take a two or three minute rest between sets, and I’ve always got some book on my Kindle app on my iPhone that I read for the three minutes in between sets.

Felix: Nice.

Chris: I listen to a lot of podcasts and read a lot of books, but there was this podcast that I heard. It was actually an interview with Pat Flynn. I’m not sure if you know who that is. He’s a guy that talks about passive income.

Felix: Right.

Chris: He seems like a really great guy, but he had this, I don’t even remember their name, but he had this guest on who talked about building a fulfillment-by-Amazon business. Probably everyone listening to this is like, “Yeah, duh. I heard of that like five years ago.” But this was actually like in August of 2014. Whenever I listened to this podcast my mind was completely blown, like, “I’ve never heard of something like that before. I didn’t eve know people could do that.” I probably … Everyone’s like, “Well, this guy’s an idiot. I’m turning the podcast off.” But, anyway, it completely blew my mind, and I thought, “That’s exactly what I want to do.” I explored lots of different side business options, but as soon as I heard that interview with that guest I was like, “I could do that. I want to do that.” My original goal wasn’t to have my own e-commerce store, it was actually to private label products that I wanted to sell on Amazon.

I spent some time thinking about what it was that I could sell, and I actually probably picked the hardest of all markets to enter, and that’s the apparel. But, sort of my thought process, and it was a fortunate decision, and I didn’t know it at the time, but looking back I know that it was a very important process that I went through, and I would recommend everybody go through the same process. Instead of thinking like, “Okay, what would be the most profitable product that I could sell.” Or reading a guide that was like, one of those drop-shipper guides. You know, “Here’s the niches that have the most profit that have the least fulfillment issues.” And basically just making a really cold calculation or a spreadsheet to make your decision of what you’re going to sell.

I spent some time thinking about like, “What do I know about, and what would I be good at selling?” I didn’t know it at the time, but that’s a very important process that one day I want to write an article about. I spend a lot of time in the gym. I’m into power lifting. I had some big power lifting goals. I’m a small guy, so I rely on power-to-weight. Anyways, I noticed at the time that you go to the gym, and basically every single guy in the gym, it was the winter at the time, it was like December by the time that I was really getting into what I was going to sell, and every single guy in the gym is wearing like, the ugliest pair pants, and they didn’t fit, and they’re made out of material that if you were to do a squat … I don’t know if you go to the gym, or you’re into weightlifting or anything, but the squat is like the king of all lifts. You load the barbell on your back, and you do a really deep squat. If you were to do that in a regular pair of gym pants, you’d probably end up with a bad case of plumber’s crack. It just makes it, overall, really uncomfortable to work out, because it’s all this nylon material that has no stretch.

Of course, like I mentioned, they look horrible. This is what I’m noticing at the gym and I thought, “You know? I think that I could take this current design trend”, joggers that have become really fashionable, and I said, “I think those would be perfect for men in the gym, because they don’t have the wide legs at the bottom, and they would keep the material out of the way, and I think they could be made out of a specialty stretch fabric like a company like Lululemon might use. I think that they would be absolutely perfect for men in the gym, and I think they’d be really popular in power lifting circles, or Olympic lifting, or even cross-fitters. I happen to know that all of those markets spent lots of money on their gear.” So I thought, “That’s what I’m going to do.”

I went the traditional … I say the traditional route. I went the route that everybody recommends that you do. I got on Alibaba and I just posted a request and said, “Hey, this is what I’m looking to create. Can anybody help?” And of course I got dozens and dozens of responses, and I settle on one supplier in Pakistan, and within a couple of weeks they had made a sample. It cost me a little bit of money to get the first sample delivered, but I took that sample and I did a photo shoot with it and set up a website that was basically ready to sell the pair of pants. Then, I started growing my Instagram, which is probably where you want to start asking other questions.

Felix: Yeah, no, this is … I definitely want to talk about your Instagram strategy. Before we get there, so you came up with the idea of what you wanted to make, and you reached out to someone on Alibaba to get a manufacturer. What kind of information do you need to have ready for them to make sure they have everything they need to basically create exactly what you want?

Chris: Well, you probably don’t need that much. I was a total amateur, so like, I didn’t know anything about fabric or designing clothes or anything. I didn’t go to them with a very specific pattern, and a fabric, and a fabric supplier, and all the things that a regular designer would probably go to them with.

Felix: Yeah.

Chris: I just basically said, “Hey, this is what I want to create. Can somebody help me?” It turned out that I got hooked up with a supplier who could do all those things, and so he basically gave me a bunch of different fabrics to select from and I said, “Well, I know that I want it to have four-way stretch. I know that I want it to be thick and luxurious premium-feeling.” And he said, “Well, that’s going to be your fabric weight.” That’s when I learned about grams per square meter, or ounces per square yard if you’re on the imperial system. If you’re in the apparel business and you see things like 300 gsm, well, that’s the fabric weight.

I started learning about all these things, and just doing basic research on Google I was able to figure out just about exactly what I wanted. I went back to the supplier that I had connected with and I said, “Okay, so this is the fabric I want, and this is the weight that I want, and here are the basic measurements.” And I showed him some pictures of other pants that were sort of the style that I wanted. He came up with a sample, and the sample, of course, had a few issues with it. We took pictures of the samples for my photo shoot to get it ready to sell, but those pictures were actually pinned up a little bit. He was able to make some minor adjustments, and then actually create a pattern from that first sample.

Felix: Yeah, I think this is a common issue that people go through when they’re first manufacturing, or maybe not even the first time, but when they’re manufacturing new product, this and that. You get samples made and it comes back, and best-case scenario it’s not exactly what you want. Worst-case scenario, it’s not what you want at all. Once you know that there are these changes you want, what’s the process? Do you take pictures? How do you make sure that you can refine it to exactly what you want?

Chris: Well, with this supplier it was just a bunch of emails. They were located in Pakistan, and so there was a bit of a language barrier, but we communicated by email, and by WhatsApp, and we actually spoke on Skype a couple of times, but he was much more able to understand me when we did it by text, because I think he could kind of load my comments into Google translate, and it probably would make a lot more sense to him. I actually wouldn’t recommend that people end up in Pakistan; it’s just kind of where I ended up because I didn’t have any experience. Since then, I’ve moved to a supplier in Singapore, which is a much more westernized area. My supplier there speaks better English than I do. I wouldn’t recommend Pakistan, but I would recommend that if you end up a place where the language barrier is a bit of an issue, that you be willing to spend a lot of time writing out specifically what you want by email and using an app like WhatsApp to communicate with them.

It was just a lot of emails of, “I want this, not this.” And he would say, “Do you want this, not that?” And I would say, “Yes.” Or, “No.” Eventually we were able to create exactly what it was that I wanted, and that’s what we did.

Felix: Cool, so what was the timeline between when you decided that you wanted to make this … Well, let’s say, what was the timeline between when you first got the samples, and then when you finally got the shipment that you were ready to sell that had products that you actually wanted?

Chris: Yeah, so I don’t know if this is the case with everybody who’s private labeling products, but in my case, it’s actually a really long, drawn out process. I first had the idea of what I wanted to sell like, I guess it was like November, December of 2014 is when I finally settled on what I wanted to do. I got the samples pretty quickly. By the end of December I had samples, and we scheduled a photo shoot in January. Then, from there, the going back and the forth, and him sourcing the correct fabric, and doing everything, it took until the end of May before I actually got the product. Actually, this is boring, I don’t know if your listeners are interested, but the first order I got had some major issues with it, and so we went back and forth, and I got him to ship me it correctly. There are definitely some pitfalls that you can fall into.

Felix: Were you able to get those corrections for free, or did you have to pay for them?

Chris: No, I didn’t get them for free, because there were some issues with the … I got the first product, and I had no … Obviously freight from Pakistan’s really expensive, and I didn’t want to just ship them back and say, “Here, keep these. I want something different.”

Felix: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris: I negotiated back and forth. They originally wanted me to pay full price for a second order, and I was able to negotiate basically where I just covered their material cost. I think the second order was like 20%. The truth is, I could have shipped out the first order to all of my customers who had already pre-ordered, but it just wasn’t 100% of what I wanted. There was a couple issues with the waistband and some other things that it wasn’t the premium product … If you go to my website you can see the different price ranges; that what I’m selling is a premium piece of clothing. I didn’t want to send out something that was subpar, so I let all of my customers know at the time, “Hey, we experienced some issues with our supplier. There were some things that weren’t quite right about your pants, and so we are going to have some more remade to your exact specifications.”

I was able to … It did cost me extra, but we were able to finally get them, and I think it ended up costing me like 20% to 25% of the original thing. Ultimately, it was just something I wanted to do to make sure that I was sending out what everyone had ordered, and what I wanted to sell.

Felix: Yeah, I mean, if you want to have repeat customers you can’t just send them the things that you don’t actually think they really want, so I think that’s the right approach there. Once you had these manufactured, this is probably a good segway into your Instagram strategy, how did you know people would be interested in buying this product? Because, you were saying you were at the gym and you noticed all these issues with gym clothing, and you thought of a better way to do it, but how did you know that other people wanted, or had the same desires, or wanted the same kind of clothing that you wanted?

Chris: That’s a good question. I think that’s something that every e-commerce entrepreneur struggles with at some point. I think we all have a crisis of confidence sometimes.

Felix: Yeah.

Chris: When we think of what our product is, we’re like, “Oh yeah, this is going to make $1 million! Everyone’s going to want this!” Then, somewhere along the line, like right before launch we’re like, “Aw, man. No one’s going to buy this. No one’s going to want my product.”

Felix: Yeah.

Chris: It’s like an emotional rollercoaster. I think that everyone, no matter how confident you are, at some point some doubt creeps in and you’re like, “Aw, man. No one’s going to want this.” Once I got the sample in, I actually started wearing them to the gym every day, mainly just because I wanted to test them out, and take them to their limits, and wash them a million times, and just see how they would hold up, so that I could actually sell them effectively. When I was at the gym, I actually got comments from people routinely like, “Hey, where’d you get those joggers? What do you think about squatting in them?” Things like that. I just told them, “Hey, I actually started a company and made them, and they’ll be for sale in a couple of months. You can go to my website.”

That was good validation, that just random people at my gym liked them and wanted to buy a pair, or wanted to know where to get them. That was good validation. Then, the second validation came when I started the Instagram. Once I started the Instagram and started posting pictures, I started getting comments like, “Hey, sick pants!”, “Hey, where can I get a pair of those?”, “Hey, when do you guys launch?” Things like that, and that was good validation. But, no matter how much validation you get, I promise every e-commerce entrepreneur will go through some point, some low where they’re like, “Aw, man. This isn’t going to make any money. No one’s going to buy this. No one’s going to want it.” Just expect that. I would tell people, “Just expect that.”

Felix: Yeah, so I think I was saying this a little bit earlier in the podcast, but one of the reasons why I found out about you was based on a blog post that you wrote about your Instagram strategy. I think one of the things you were saying in your blog post was how if you want to get traction early … or not early, but you want to get traction at all, you have to spend a lot of money on pay-per-click, or PPC ads, or wait several months and then see if your SEO’s going to kick in and move you up in the organic search results.

You didn’t necessarily take this approach, and it’s something that I guess I’ve heard other entrepreneurs take which is that, if you want to get traction early you’ve got to buy ads, and see if people are going to react to your product based on them clicking your ad, and seeing if they go and end up buying your products from there. Did you focus on, or did you try PPC or SEO at all before your success with Instagram, which we’ll get into in a bit?

Chris: Actually, no, I didn’t. Bec Sport was completely bootstrap, so I didn’t have anybody investing in the business. I didn’t borrow any money from my parents or anything like that. I’m not independently wealthy. Actually, the first purchase order was straight out of pocket. I didn’t have thousands and thousands of dollars sitting around to spend on ads to try to generate a real following. I knew that I was … My day job is actually email marketing, and I feel like one of my skills is in what I call guerrilla marketing; free, or non-conventional methods, so I have some experience with this. I knew that I wanted to do something that was free, but the truth is, when I started my Instagram account, it was an accident that it was successful, because I originally just set up an Instagram account because I thought, “Well … ” If you remember, my original plan was to sell on Amazon. I think I mentioned that before.

Felix: Yeah.

Chris: When you’re setting up an account with Amazon … I was going through all the hoops to prove that I was a real company, and that I had a real product, and that I had all these UPCs. I actually wasted a ton of effort and energy early on trying to get qualified to sell on Amazon. One of the things that Amazon wanted to see was that this product was sold somewhere else on the internet, and so I was like, “Well, I guess I’ve got to set up a website.” I set up my e-commerce website BecSport.com, and I put a couple of products … Now, the truth is, I was only selling one product, but I put a couple of other products, and this is cheesy, but I just marked them as sold out. I wanted Amazon to see, “Oh, this guy’s got multiple products.” Because that was one of the requirements that they had early on. Then I thought, “Well, I want to set up an Instagram account, because other companies have it, and I want to look like I’m somebody substantial, and so I want to set up an Instagram account.”

Felix: Right.

Chris: That was the original reason I set up one, but then when I started actually spending time on Instagram I thought, “Well, there’s so many people who post pictures going to the gym. There’s so many people posting pictures of them lifting weights. All of my customers are here on Instagram.” And I just needed to find a way to reach them.

My first method, and I actually mentioned this in the article that I wrote, but my first method was really primitive. I basically got on Instagram, and I would go through a hashtag like “back squats”. Okay? It would just be pictures and videos of people back squatting. What I would do is, I would just go like every single picture. Then, if I saw a guy who was wearing ugly gym pants, I would comment back. I would say, “Hey, don’t you think it’s time for some more gym pants, or some new gym pants?” Okay? It would just be a funny thing, like, I would put a winky face, so it wasn’t rude.

Felix: Right.

Chris: I would basically devote like two hours every night to do this after work; where I was just going through and liking everybody’s picture in that hashtag, and commenting back on people who were wearing ugly gym pants, who I felt like were my target market, “Hey, don’t you think that you could use some new gym pants?” Then they would click back over and they would see some of my pictures and they would be like, “Yeah, actually. I totally think it’s time for new gym pants. I really like your product.”

Well, I think that I did that for like three days total, and I was like, “Well, this is a lot of work.” Okay? I was getting a lot of activity from it. I would get comments back, and I would get people to like my pictures, and I would even get some followers, but I thought, “I’m only able to do this for two hours a day, and it’s very monotonous.” I never thought of myself as being in a data entry job. Like, “I’m a smart guy. I can figure out a way to do this.” I just did some research and I tried to find out, “How do you automate your … ” And I knew it was possible, because everyone’s gotten spam comments on their own Instagram account before, “Nice. Awesome. Love your pic. Check out my account.” Okay? Everyone’s gotten a comment like that, so I knew that it was possible.

I just did some research, and the company that I found that I liked the best was called Instagress. You can find them at Instagress.com, and I actually mention them in my article too. By the way, I don’t get paid to mention them. They realized after the fact that I referred people to them in my article, and they gave me like 10 free days of their service, so thanks Instagress, but it wasn’t like an affiliate thing where I get paid a commission if you sign up. I just really like them.

Instagress allowed me to automate essentially what I was already doing. I was liking a bunch of comments in a specific hashtag, and then I was leaving a comment. Now, Instagress can’t see who has ugly gym pants, so I had do make the comment a bit more general. I knew from my experience of getting spam comments that I don’t like spam comments, so I thought, “How can I create a comment that’s not spam? That is really just a bulk message that I’m sending out to Instagrammers in my hashtag?” One, I made sure that my hashtags were extremely targeted. I didn’t use hashtags like “fitness” or “gym”, which, that’s going to be a lot of my market, but it’s also going to be a lot of people that … You know, gymnastics. Some guy doing gymnastics might hashtag “gym”. Okay? I wanted to make sure that my hashtags were very specific, things like: power lifting, back squat, Olympic lifting, power snatch, things like that. Are you following me?

Felix: Yeah, definitely much more specific. Before we go any further, I wanted to-

Chris: Sure.

Felix: This is something we were talking about before we got on and hit record, was that we’re going down this path where you were first doing it manually, and people don’t have any problem at all when you do things manually, right? Even if you’re doing it at a crazy scale, like spending two hours, three hours, four hours a day commenting, liking, and following all these people. Nobody seems to have a problem with that, but once this idea of automation comes in then there are, maybe it’s a vocal minority, or I’m not sure what the split is, but there’s definitely a portion of people that are totally against it, and a portion of people that are looking at this as an opportunity that they want to get into.

Obviously there are risks involved with automation. Maybe we can start there. Maybe talk about that. Are there real risks of doing this? What do you have to kind of be concerned about if you are going down this path of automating what you were previously doing manually?

Chris: Yeah. No, I’m glad you asked that, because I think there’s two sides to the ethics question. There’s one side of, “I totally want to do it, but is it safe?” Then there’s the other question of, “Well, is it even ethical to begin with?”

Felix: Right.

Chris: “Is it ethical to begin with?” I want to answer that first, because I feel like it’s something that just hasn’t been around long enough for people to have a decided feeling on it, but for me, it grew organically. I went from basically doing this manually, like I was the bot, to, “Can I hire a service that will do exactly what I’m already doing, but just do it a lot more hours of the day, and will free me up to focus on other things?” I didn’t have any problem with it ethically. I think it’s like … Most e-commerce entrepreneurs have an automated email service, so when somebody signs up for a discount code, are you going to manually send them an email back?

Felix: Right.

Chris: No, you’re going to get on MailChimp and you’re going to be like, “Okay, so when somebody triggers this action, then I want you to send them an email with a discount code, okay?” Of course that’s not unethical. It would only be unethical if you were scraping emails illegally and sending emails to people that didn’t ever want to hear from you. Ultimately, “Are you treating people the way that you want to be treated?”

Felix: Yeah. That’s a great analogy, comparing it to email marketing. I wasn’t around in the early days of email marketing, but I can imagine obviously at a certain point people were manually sending out emails, and then it got to a point where they started automating it. There was probably a fraction of people saying, “Hey, you can’t automate this because it’s unethical, or it’s just not personalized enough.” But, nowadays, if you’re not doing that it’s almost like poor business practice, like a waste of your time essentially.

Chris: Yeah, you can only serve so many people if you’re not willing to automate certain parts of your business.

Felix: Yeah. I think, at the end of the day if you are offering some kind of value, whether it means a product that people might not know about that they now can discover because of your outreach, then I think that kind of almost counterbalances the whole “is it ethical or not” dilemma, because if someone follows me and I’ve never heard of them before, and I check out their Instagram profile and they have a lot of great content that I never knew existed, I feel like I got something out of it, and not necessarily that they spammed me. I think as long as you’re providing content or value while you’re doing this, then I don’t necessarily see that there’s anything wrong with it.

Chris: Totally agree. The second question is, “Yeah, I’m totally fine with it ethically, but is it safe? Am I going to get my account banned? I heard a story of somebody who got their account banned once, and I don’t want to lose my account.” I have a couple of different takes on this. The first is, I always tell people, straight up, up front, “No, it’s not 100% safe.” But, the truth is, and this is going to blow many of your minds, but your Instagram account is never 100% safe. There’s a myriad of reasons why your Instagram account could get taken away, or blocked, or banned, or whatever. Some of them are as benign as inappropriate content; so somebody flags you for inappropriate content, and when Instagram reviews it they’re like, “Yeah, that’s inappropriate.” And bam, your account’s gone. Okay?

Your Instagram account, the truth is, it’s never 100% safe. Okay? I think that if you follow the basic method that I lay out in the article that you read, that I would consider it 99% safe. I would issue one more caveat before I get into why I think that it’s 99% safe. That caveat is, never be too attached to any one social media account. I think this is really conventional wisdom, but, if you have all of your followers on Facebook, or all of your followers on Instagram, and then your account gets shut down for reasons beyond your control, well then you’re up a creek.

I would say never be too attached to any one social media account, because it could always be taken away. Instead, I would recommend that people focus on building an email list, because that can’t be taken away. You can always take that to another service, and you can always reach out to your customers if you have an email list. But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t use social media accounts to your advantage, and it doesn’t mean that you can’t use them safely. It just means that if your business would implode tomorrow if you lost this account, then you should probably change your business.

Felix: Right. Yeah, I want to get into the details of the actual process if someone wants to replicate it, or follow in your footsteps. Before we get there, can you give us an idea of, using this strategy; this Instagram strategy, and basically focusing on Instagram as your key sales channel, how successfully have you been able to grow your business just based off of the back of Instagram promotions?

Chris: Yeah, so I’ll just start where we left off. I found a way to automate what I was already doing manually, so now, instead of doing it two hours a day, I was doing it 24 hours a day, and I was reaching a ton more people. Suddenly I was getting like, instead of my onesie, twosie extra followers per day, suddenly I was getting like 50, 75, or even some days I would get like 100 new followers. Of course, I was blown away because I wasn’t some kind of Instagram ninja. I was just some dude that set up an Instagram account because I thought it would look good to Amazon.

My following started growing really quickly, and then I noticed in my Google Analytics that I started getting tons of traffic from Instagram. Pretty soon after that, within a week, I actually got a sale overnight. The funny thing is that I didn’t have product in hand at the time. On my website it said, “For pre-order only. Ships out on a specified date.” This guy who ordered the pants, I sent him a follow-up email, because I got this order overnight one time, and I wanted to be extra sure. I said, “Hey, I just wanted to let you know that the pants aren’t in yet, and they’ll ship out on whatever date. Are you sure you still want them?” He was like, “Oh yeah. I’m happy to wait.” Okay? That was another nice little validation that people really wanted what I was selling.

Now I was getting dozens of comments a day of like, “Hey, I love your apparel.” Then, the next thing that happened was I started getting direct messages on Instagram of people who wanted to rep my product, which really, that’s just code for, “Hey, give me your product for free.” Okay?

Felix: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris: I ignored most of those, but it was cool, because I was making lots of connections, and suddenly I was having an insane amount of activity on my Instagram so that I was spending like … That two hours a day that I was spending liking and commenting on people, now I was spending that just answering people who had questions, and people who wanted to buy, and people who were on my website, et cetera, et cetera. Within two months, I completely sold out of that first order. In fact, by the time that the order finally came in in May, I maybe only had like 10 pairs of pants that hadn’t already been sold. At that point, my job was just shipping out stuff that had already been sold on the website.

Felix: Just to make sure I’ve got the timeline correct, you built up a following even before you had any products to sell, but you were pre-selling at that time?

Chris: Yeah, so remember, way back then, my original goal was to eventually sell on Amazon, but I thought, “Hey, it can’t hurt to just leave this website open where people can buy if they want to.” Like I said, within a week on Instagram somebody had already purchased. I just thought, “Man, I wasn’t even planing on that.” I hadn’t planned on selling anything on my website. It was just there because Amazon wanted to see a website. But, within a couple of weeks I’d made like four or five orders. At that point, that’s when I sat down with a spreadsheet and you know the deal with Fulfillment by Amazon: they charge a commission, they charge a shipping fee, they charge an FBA fee. Although I had a really good profit margin on this product, I started doing the math and I thought, “I actually don’t mind doing fulfillment, and if I ever get really huge, I can hire somebody to do fulfillment cheaper than I can pay Amazon to do it.”

Felix: Fulfillment through your own site?

Chris: Correct. And so I thought, “At this point, I want to go it alone. I just want to go BecSport.com; e-commerce website all the way. I don’t want to sell it through Amazon.” In that couple of months when I was making lots of presale orders, I made the decision that I didn’t want to be on Amazon; that I wanted to be all in on my own e-commerce website. Basically, on the product description, it wasn’t a pre-order button, it was a buy now button, or add to cart button, but on the item description I just made a little image that says, “Hey, this is for pre-order only, and it will ship out on such-and-such date.” People were totally fine with it. They kept buying them.

Felix: Yeah, definitely very straight forward. Just to kind of give the audience some context, do you remember how many followers you had around this time? You said in two months you sold out of everything. Could you also, if you can, share how many orders are we talking about within those couple of months?

Chris: Within those couple of months we’re talking about 60 orders. We’re not talking about, like, setting the world on fire. In fact, I’m at a point now where I’m getting close to being able to quit my day job, but I haven’t gone all in on Bec Sport yet. There was about 60 orders, so anybody who goes to my website and looks at my prices can get an idea of what the revenue was like. What was the question again?

Felix: For someone out there that may be starting from zero followers, just to give them an idea of, “How many followers do you need before you can get this kind of traction?”

Chris: Yeah, so within a month … I only remember writing down … Unfortunately, Instagram doesn’t have a really great analytics program for you to see what your … But, I remember I wrote down a couple of landmark occasions for myself. So, within a month I had 1,000 followers. Within a week I had a sale. I’m guessing that I got my first sale around the 300 or 400 follower mark. You don’t have to have thousands of followers to get a sale. But, like I said, within a month I was at 1,000. I think within two months I was at 2,000, and I was humming along pretty steadily for several months. It hasn’t quite been a year since I started the Instagram. I think it’s been a month short, so it’s been like 11 months. Currently, last night I just hit 9,000 followers.

Felix: Yeah, that’s awesome, man. Let’s get into it. Let’s get into how you actually do this. I think that we’ve talked about the results of it and all that. If someone out there has an Instagram profile, and they maybe update it once in a while, but aren’t really using it as a true sales channel … Tell us, what is your set up, basically? Let’s start with the content itself. How are you creating the content, and how frequently are you posting it, and just your content creation process?

Chris: Good question. I actually cover this in a couple of articles that I wrote and published just for free online, just for anybody else who’s in a similar position that I was. For Instagram, there’s basically only a handful of pictures that I post. Ultimately, I want all of the pictures to point back to my website and my products, so that people want to buy it. Okay? But, at the same time, I don’t want to be just like a … Have you ever been to those Instagram accounts where every photo, when you scan their entire page, every photo has a big red banner across that’s like, “20% off, free shipping today, buy, buy, buy!” I’m sure you’ve seen them?

Felix: Yeah, it’s all like pitching, or trying to get the sale immediately?

Chris: Yeah, so one of the things that I figured out, and I didn’t figure it out because I’m a genius, I just figured it out by looking at people who had really successful Instagrams, is that, an Instagram page should look cool. When you scan through the pictures, it should be like a lifestyle page. It should be like pictures from life. Okay? Here’s basically what I came up with. I came up with four different photo categories that I wanted to post, and I would just do an even rotation. Okay?

One would be the manicured product photo, and that’s where you’re like, it’s your product on a white background, and you say something about how great the product is in the caption. Okay? That would be one out of four posts. Then, the second kind would be an action shot. This would be an action shot of somebody preferably using your product, but it would be a candid shot. I made sure that when we did our photo shot that I got them to take lots of pictures of not just a model wearing the pants on a white background, but also of the model lifting weights, or running. Whenever you’re planning your photo shoot for your product, I highly recommend that you get the manicured product photo first, but they you say, “Hey, I need a bunch of action shots too.”

Felix: I’m sorry. Are you taking the photos yourself, or did you hire a photographer for this?

Chris: Yeah, so actually, I don’t know if you saw this, but I addressed that in a second article, like a follow-up article to the article I wrote on Instagram. It got shared around a bunch, and I got a bunch of questions of how I generated my Instagram content, and the truth is, I generated an entire year’s worth of Instagram content in a single afternoon with that first photo shoot that I did.

Felix: Wow.

Chris: I describe exactly how I did it, so if you want to point people to the articles in the show notes.

Felix: Yeah.

Chris: That’ll be totally fine.

Felix: Yeah, we’ll link to all of that just in case … We mention a lot of articles on here. We’ll link to all of that, for folks that want to check it out, in the show notes after the podcast.

Chris: I’m actually a decent photographer, but I’m not the best. I knew that I wanted this to be a serious company, and so I didn’t want to just DIY; ham together some photos and hope that it went good. I asked around like, “Who’s the best amateur photographer that anybody knows around town? I’m just going to email him and ask him if he wants to be involved.” I got a name from a friend of mine who was actually going to be a model for me, and I just sent him an email and said, “Hey. I need somebody who’s really good to take a $2,000 photo shoot, but I don’t have any budget. I can’t spend any money on photos.” It just turned out that he just really enjoyed doing this type of stuff, and so he said, “Well, maybe we can just do a trade out for product. Maybe you give me a couple of pairs of pants, and maybe if you create any other products maybe you can hook me up, and I’d be happy to take some photos for you.”

We designed and executed a photo shoot, and like I said, I describe exactly how I did it, down to the tiniest detail in that article. But, I was able to generate enough pictures that I had Instagram content for an entire year. Now, people are like, “You took over 360 awesome pictures in one afternoon?” Well, no. I actually believe strongly in running reruns on your Instagram account every so often. You really don’t need 300+ pictures. The truth is, you could probably get away with 100 great pictures; could probably last you all year.

Felix: Yeah, that’s a good point about reposting older photos. This is a common strategy with Twitter for sure, because the visibility’s not always there. I think only 1% of your followers typically see any given tweet, because they’re not paying attention all the time.

Chris: Exactly, yeah.

Felix: Of course, you also have all those people that are joining six months into the year, and they didn’t see anything in the previous six months, so I think it makes a lot of sense to consider reposting. I like that strategy.

Chris: Those are the first two: the manicured product photo, the action shot. Then, a random cool picture. It wouldn’t even have to have anything to do with your product. It could just be a picture of somebody in the gym, or maybe you post an inspirational quote, or just whatever fits your brand, as long as it is congruent with the rest of your page. You can even steal photos from other people as long as you give them credit. Instagram is really cool that way. Then the last category would be a meme. I actually had really great success with one particular meme that I designed. It was a picture of a shirtless guy who’s got six-pack abs wearing my pants, and he’s turned to the side, and it’s on a white background, but the meme says, “Tag a friend who wears ugly gym pants.” The cool thing is that everybody recognizes this instantly, so it’s funny right off the bat, because everybody has at least one friend who has the most hideous pair of pants from the 10th grade that’s got like bleach stains on it that they wear to the gym.

What I would get is, I would get like over 200 or 300 likes on this one picture, even when I only had 1,000 or so followers, and people would tag all their friends. I’ve got one of these that has like 70 or 80 comments on it, which is really awesome considering that I only had a few thousand followers at the time. It would always be people like, “Hey, I’m sorry to do this to you, but … ” And then they would tag their friend. Then, their friend would tag back, “Ha ha ha” or, “No way. My pants are awesome.” Et cetera, et cetera. But, the point is, it would get a conversation going, and it would subtly position Bec Sport as somebody who sells really stylish gym pants. I had a lot of success with that meme, and I ran it at least once or twice a month, and it would get lots of comments every single time.

Felix: Yeah. You mentioned something that I think probably a lot of the audience wants to know about as well which is, how do you determine if it’s a successful post or not? Because you’re saying that you had X number of comments or likes, but you only had this many followers. Is there a ratio that is ideal to hit from how many followers you have to how many likes you can get on a post, and how many followers you have to how many comments you can get on a post?

Chris: Yeah, so that actually touches on a big pet peeve of mine, is, I mentioned that I used to get approached by a lot of people that were like, “Hey, I would love to be an ambassador. I would love to wear your pants on my Instagram. I’ve got 10,000 followers.” I would click through and I would see that they have 10,000 followers, but their last post only had 50 likes.

Felix: No engagement.

Chris: I would think, “Huh, that’s really weird, because I only have 2,000 followers, but my last post had 200 likes.” Yeah, I do recommend that everybody do that kind of analysis on their page. It’s really simple. Take the number of likes that you got, like the average number of likes on your last five pictures, and divide it by your total number of followers, and that will give you a basic engagement rate. I think I actually calculated this a couple of weeks ago because I was interested in comparing my account with a potential influencer that I was talking to.

Felix: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris: I’ve got about 3.5% engagement, which, I guess that sounds really low, but for a commercial company, I actually feel like it’s pretty good. Then, I went to that influencer that I was basically discussing terms with, and they had like 50,000 followers, but they only had like 800 likes. Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t have a lot of pictures that … I think my best picture ever has like 600 likes, so obviously their pictures have more likes. But, as an engagement rate, once you do the math, I forget what it was, but they ended up being a lot lower than my engagement. And so I thought, “Well, here’s somebody who either, his people who follow him don’t really like him, or maybe he just bought the followers.” Because that is possible. There are services out there where you can say, “I just want to buy a bunch of fake followers to pad my account.”

Yeah, it’s definitely an analysis that you should do on your own Instagram, and then, if you ever do get to the point where you’re discussing terms with influencers and you want to know what they’re worth, or what type of engagement you’re going to get from that influencer, you can just do the math. Divide the average number of likes on their last five pictures by how many followers they have, and whatever that percentage is, hopefully it’s at least as high as yours, or even higher.

Felix: Cool, yeah, definitely easy to do, and you should have that kind of data. Once you have these posts; the whole year’s worth of photos, is it possible to automate that as well, or how do you get those posted every day?

Chris: No. So this is the part that you actually still have to do yourself. Instagram only allows you … They don’t allow you to post from the API, they only allow you to post from an actual mobile device. The reason why, they actually have published their rationale, they want it to be like an on-the-go, like this is actual photos from your life. Of course, people post pictures that weren’t from everyday, and they post marketing stuff, but I actually agree with Instagram in that sense. It keeps it a lot less commercial. Obviously, there are lots of businesses who make lots of money from Instagram, and I’ve made plenty of money from Instagram myself, but it does keep it more engaging. The pictures that I see, for the most part, they’re pictures from everyday life. That makes Instagram really cool.

You can’t post pictures through the API. You can’t automate it. There is a company called Hootsuite, I’m sure you’ve heard of them before. They actually have different programs for every different social media platform: Twitter, Instagram, whatever. I don’t use them because they cost money and I’m a cheapskate, but they have a deal where, in advance, you can basically edit your photo down so that it fits, and you can actually write the caption in advance, and then you can schedule it. On that day, it will send you an email so you can basically just copy and paste directly in.

It streamlines it, but then again, it also costs money. What I would do is, I just made it a part of my morning or nightly routine. Once a day, I would go pick up a photo that seemed to fit the day’s mood or whatever, and then I would write a really short caption, and then I would write a bunch of hashtags and I would post it. It only takes about a minute or two of thought, and then occasionally when you’re really busy and you’re running a rerun, you just copy and paste the old hashtags and the old caption and just post it with the same picture. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time, but, unfortunately, no, there’s no way to completely automate the whole Instagram process, no.

Felix: Got you. Just to recap the entire process, and correct me if I’m wrong anywhere here. You create all these photos in advance for a whole year’s worth, and you’re posting photos, it looks like about two times a day, and you’re reposting sometimes as well. You’re then following, commenting, or liking people that are … Is it hashtagging; specific hashtags?

Chris: Yeah, so there’s basically two different things that I do. I like and comment on people within a specific hashtag, and that will get you a ton of growth, but at some point, I’ve noticed with both accounts that I’ve set up now because you mentioned House of Hannie before, maybe we’ll talk about that later, but with both accounts that I’ve set up, at some point that will level off. I don’t know if it’s because it runs out of pictures for people to like, or that your potential audience is only so big.

At first I was gaining like 50, 75, 100 followers a day, but then at some point it got down to where I was only gaining like 20, or 25 followers a day. Not that that’s anything to snub your nose at, but I thought, “You know, that’s not enough. I want to continue growing at a really aggressive rate.” That was the first time that I used the follow feature. The follow feature is where you can automate who you follow, and then hope that when you follow that person, they’ll notice your account, they’ll click through, and then you have the opportunity to capture them and let them follow you. Okay?

Here’s what I recommend. I don’t recommend following within a hashtag, because it just won’t be as specific as you want it to be. Okay? About six months after I started the Instagram account, when my number of followers was beginning to level off, I turned on the follow feature of the first time, but what I did is, instead of following within a hashtag, you’re able to set it up to follow followers of your competitors. I chose a very specific couple of competitors whose audience I really wanted to target, and I just set it to follow them automatically. I was getting maybe like … If you’re doing things right and your Instagram is really nice, and people like it, you have the opportunity to have a 20% or 30% follow-back rate. If you follow 10 people, two or three people will follow you back. Okay?

Now, personally, I don’t want to have an account where I have 9,000 followers and I also follow 9,000 people; especially when you’re selling clothes. The truth is, it’s a popularity contest. It’s all about looking cool, and it’s about posture, and all that, and so I prefer to have an account where I only follow a handful of people, but I have 9,000 followers. Okay? Everybody’s aware of this ratio.

What I do is, I will run cycles where I cycle on; where I follow a bunch of people. Then, after it gets to where I’ve followed 1,000 or 2,000 people, then I will reverse the program and have it unfollow people. Okay? Now, here’s something that you need to be careful about, because a lot of people who read my article, they said, “Well, there’s other services that do this, and I could pay $60 for lifetime access to this program, and it’s a lot cheaper than Instagress.” Which is $10 a month.

Well, those other programs, I’m not talking about anybody specific, but somebody exchanged emails with me and they said, “I can follow a bunch of people, and then I can unfollow them all at once, so I don’t have to wait for it to slowly unfollow people.” Here’s the problem with that, and here’s why I recommend that automation is only 99% safe if you follow the guidelines that I set out in my article. If you do anything too much; any kind of activity too much, then Instagram sees it as abuse, and they can very easily ban your account. Let’s say that you’ve gotten your followers up to … Let’s say you’ve followed 2,000 people in the last couple of weeks, and then you go on this other program and you unfollow everybody all at once. Well, that could very easily get you banned. Instagress is going to have you unfollow them very slowly over the next few days. Does that make sense?

Felix: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris: Okay. That’s one of the things, is that there’s a daily activity limit on every type of activity that you can do on Instagram, and Instagress is aware of it, and so they keep your activity to a certain level so that you’re not seen as abusing the process. If you were to use one of those other services that does it all at once, yeah, it would be faster, you wouldn’t have to be as patient, but you could also very easily get banned, so personally I wouldn’t recommend it. It seems too risky.

Felix: Right. Makes sense. Cool. So again, posting those photos, and then you have a whole strategy we just talked about about how to get people to check out your page; to follow your page. Once they land on your Instagram profile; Instagram page, what happens then? How do you get them to follow you, or to check out your site, or, hopefully, buy a product? What’s kind of the next progression of reaching your page, to actually becoming a customer?

Chris: Well, that’s a good question. I can only tell you what has worked for me. I haven’t done a lot of what you might call A/B testing, because I have only run two Instagram accounts in my whole life. One is for Bec Sport, and then one more recently with House of Hannie, which we’re getting ready to launch. With Bec Sport I just made sure that I designed a really nice looking bio that said exactly what we do. Actually, I could probably read it to you, but I don’t remember. I think it says … Well, let me just read it to you so I don’t get it wrong. Okay, so Bec Sport, the bio says, “Minimalist activewear for heavy sport now shipping worldwide.” Then it’s got those cute little emojicons like the airplane around the globe. Then, it’s got my URL, it’s BecSport.com/shop.

As a side note, I’ll put this out there, send people directly to your products. Don’t send them to an intermediate page that’s got a really nice splash image or whatever. You want to minimize the number of steps that somebody has to take from your Instagram to your checkout page. If you could skip over any pages in between, definitely do it. In the early days when I only had one product on Bec Sport; the pants, I actually sent people directly to the product page for the pants. I just set up a little URL forwarding to BecSport.com/pants, and I just sent people directly to the product page so that they could hit add to cart, and checkout. It was really fast. Now I have like four or five products on the website, and so I send them to the shop page. They can see all five products all at once. Make sense?

Felix: Yeah, it makes sense. Cool, so let’s talk about your new store, House of Hannie. This is, at least as of this recording, it’s not live yet. You’re planning on launching it very soon, but you’ve already launched an Instagram profile for it. I’m taking a look right now; already 3,500 followers on there. How did you build up a following even before you had, I guess you’ve already done this before, but how did you build up a following for House of Hannie even though there’s no actual site, there are no actual products yet?

Chris: Yeah, that’s a good question. I started House of Hannie, or at least I had the germ of the idea last August; over the summer. This is actually a collaboration. People listening think, “Wow, this guy designs activewear and women’s clothes? Great.”

Felix: Yeah.

Chris: It’s a collaboration with a friend. My friend’s name is Hanna, so the store’s named after her. It’s a collaboration, and basically she had some ideas for some different casual women’s wear looks, and we sort of went in together. I had the logistical expertise of how to source clothing and things like that, and she has the design eye. She actually is sort of a person stylist, and so she has the design eye.

The collaboration went really well. We came up with some designs, and right now we’re working on getting the designs actually created. While we waited, I knew that this time around I didn’t want to wait until I had the product in hand, or the product ready to sell, or pre-order before I started the Instagram. I wanted to get things going as soon as possible.

Felix: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris: Okay? Everybody’s heard the stories of a store doing an effective pre-launch where they actually capture a bunch of email addresses before the store goes live, and then they send out an email blast letting everybody know, “Hey, the store’s live, go shop.” And they have an outstanding first day, launch, opening, whatever you want to call it.

Felix: Yeah.

Chris: Here’s what I did for House of Hannie, and I wondered, I actually had some … You know, I told you about the highs and lows of being an e-commerce entrepreneur, so you’re like, “Oh, this is going to be so successful. Oh, this is going to suck. No one’s going to buy it.” I actually wondered if Bec Sport was sort of an anomaly. I was really proud of my 8,000 or 9,000 followers, but I wondered if I could actually duplicate it, or if I just got lucky with the niche that I chose.

With house of Hannie, that’s my second store, I set up an Instagram account, and I followed exactly the same method. I thought, “No, I think that Bec Sport really was an anomaly. I don’t know if this is going to go as good.” But, what I did is, I set up the Instagram account, I followed the same method exactly. This time I don’t have as many products photos, so I was posting a lot more of the interesting lifestyle type photos taken from other accounts, and I always give credit, but I was posting a lot more of that type of stuff. But, they would appeal to people who would also like my product. Then, I actually have some really nice photoshopped images of what the products will look like, and so I post those too, even though I don’t have any of the actual product in hand yet.

Now, if anybody listening to this is thinking, “Well, I can’t do that.” You don’t have to be an expert at Photoshop. You can actually go on a website like UpWork and hire somebody for really cheap; like hire somebody in India or somewhere overseas for really cheap, I’m talking like $25 or $50, and you say, “Hey, here’s a series of photos. This is what my … ” Let’s say you’re selling t-shirts, or sweatshirts, or a dress, or whatever. “This is what it looks like, but it’s going to have this design screen-printed on it. Can you Photoshop that? Can you create that in Photoshop?” And they can do this very easily for very little money.

Even if you’re not a Photoshop expert yourself, you can have that done for you, and I’m a big proponent of outsourcing as much as humanly possible. I don’t recommend investing a whole lot of money in overhead before your business even starts, but anything you can outsource for $20 or $30, I highly recommend it.

Felix: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris: Okay, so those are the type of photos that I’m posting on the Instagram, and I started getting followers immediately. I decided, I have to have some way to capitalize. I don’t want to just have a following, because I mentioned earlier that if you just have a following on Instagram, well, that means nothing because they can always take it away at any time. I decided, what I really want to do is begin growing an email list for House of Hannie so that when I launch, I can send out an email and have hundreds of people in my store all at once, ready to buy. All I did is, everyone knows the default Shopify theme is called “Simple”, and before your store launches, it has a password protected page. Do you know what I’m talking about?

Felix: Yeah. I’m looking at yours right now.

Chris: Okay. Yeah, so the default page actually looks pretty nice, and what it says is, “Hey, we’re not ready to launch yet, but put in your email address here and we’ll let you know when we do.” Well, the page looks great, but, unfortunately, that message isn’t going to get a lot of email captures; it’s just not. Okay?

I got into the Liquid files, and again, if you don’t know how to do this, you could probably hire someone to do it for very cheap, or ask for help on the Shopify forums, but I got into the Liquid files and I put my logo on the page; that was important so that I was actually branding. Then, I put a little offer above the email form, so instead of just like, “Hey, we’ll let you know when we’ll open.” Which is not very exciting, I said, “We’re giving away $25 gift cards to the first 500 subscribers.” Okay? “Enter your email below and we’ll send your gift card right over.” It says something like that. I can’t remember. It’s been awhile since I’ve been there.

Instantly, instead of just getting traffic that meant nothing to me, now when people were clicking over to the website I was getting like two to three subscribes per day. Okay? Now it’s been several months, and last time I checked, I think it was yesterday, I had … Actually, I’ll just tell you right now. I’ve got MailChimp open. House of Hannie has 364 subscribers, and not only are they subscribers waiting to hear when you launch, but they’re also people who have a $25 gift card burning a hole in their pocket, who are ready to spend it the moment that I open.

Now, not everybody has the kind of margins that I have. Not everyone can afford to give away $25. I don’t recommend that you go negative on your first day just to have a successful launch, but I have a higher than $25 profit margin on literally everything that we’re making, so it won’t really be an issue for me.

Felix: Yeah, that’s an awesome strategy. Like you were saying, you really have to incentivize people to sign up. Sometimes it’s not enough to say, “Hey, put an email address in to be notified when we launch.” That’s not a good enough reason.

Cool, so I think this was super helpful for anybody out there that wants to use Instagram as a sales market channel. Thanks so much for coming on, Chris, and telling us how you’re doing it. Bec Sport, B-E-C-S-P-O-R-T.com and then HouseOfHannie.com, H-O-U-S-E-O-F-H-A-N-N-I-E.com. Instagram are both the same; Instagram.com/BecSport and Instagram.com/HouseOfHannie.

Do you want to tell them anywhere else they should go if they want to check out your articles or check out, and follow along with what you’re doing, and just your brand?

Chris: Yeah, so the Bec Sport and House of Hannie are like my current babies. That’s what I spend all my time on. But, recently, and maybe anybody listening to this already recognizes the articles, because they did get shared around the Shopify circles, but I set up this website called ProfitFromInstagram.com, and, come to think of it, I’m probably infringing on Instagram’s copyright. I might get a letter from them any day. But, that’s okay.

I published a couple of articles, and I have plans for at least one more article. It’s basically just the stuff that I wished that I had had when I started out so that it wasn’t as much guesswork and trial and error, but, I published an article that describes my Instagram strategy, and exactly how I did it, and a link to Instagress. It’s got screenshots and everything, so you mentioned earlier, it’s like, “How I Started My Athletic Apparel Company With An iPhone And An Instagram Account”. That article got shared around a bunch, but you can find it. It’s ProfitFromInstagram.com. There’s nothing for sale there. It’s just some free articles.

Then, my second article, once I published that first one people were like, “Well, how did you generate so much Instagram content without constantly re-shooting your products?” So I described the method that I used there. Both articles are available on ProfitFromInstagram.com, and I hope that they’re helpful.

Felix: Yeah, I highly recommend folks check it out, because everything that we talked about in this podcast is pretty much written out, and you can follow it at your own pace with the screenshots and everything on how Chris launched this business using Instagram.

Again, thanks so much for coming on, Chris!

Chris: Yeah, thanks for having me! I appreciate it!

Felix: Thanks for listening to Shopify Masters, the e-commerce marketing podcast for ambitious entrepreneurs. To start your store today, visit Shopify.com for a free 14-day trial.


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shopify-author Felix Thea

About The Author

Felix Thea is the host of the Shopify Masters podcast, the ecommerce marketing podcast for ambitious entrepreneurs, and founder of TrafficAndSales.com where you can get actionable tips to grow your store’s traffic and sales.

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