Throughout the last few years we haven't really been able to decide what would be the ultimate design for a tattoo — the result of this is that we are still without permanent ink underneath our skin. But then we remembered all the fun, gimmicky stickers we used to plaster ourselves with when we were kids, and we thought it would be great to relive these moments!
Elke and I are illustrators and graphic designers, and we have been selling our work in different formats and through different channels over the years: prints, postcards, sketches, all framed or raw... but nothing seemed easy enough to sell online.
Then we came across the idea to sell temporary tattoos from our illustrations — they are lightweight (read: easy-to-ship world-wide), small to store in our apartment, and cheap and fun for customers.
We were very careful when deciding on a printer for our tats, as we wanted only the very highest printing quality, and it needed to be fully safe for everyone to use. We finally decided to go with an eco-friendly printer from Salzburg, Austria, as they have vast experience with this product and we felt comfortable working with them from the start.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
We sold our first tats online through Shopify after advertising it to friends and family, and promoting them through an alternative flea market organised by the Fumbally community in Dublin.
Since then, we have been to a number of hipster flea markets, fashion and craft shows (like the famous Feschmarkt in Vienna) and we have sponsored a few fundraising and charity events.
Online, most of our traffic comes from Facebook (paid and unpaid) and organic Google search. We sell mainly in Europe, but we are looking at expanding our marketing efforts to overseas as well. We are a small project though, so we have to keep things simple and fun.
Tell us about the back-end of your business. What tools and apps do you use to run your store? How do you handle shipping and fulfillment?
Shopify already provides most of the functionality we need to sell online — there is no need for big add-ons. We use Stripe as a payment gateway and mailchimp to send out emails to our customers. The rest is done simply through Google documents, although we'd like to test out Xero for financial accounting.
Fulfilment is manual, and definitely a fun component of the project. We ship each order ourselves, and we customize the packaging for each one by hand. Having a tangible product in our hands before we ship it out is certainly one of the best feelings of this project, as our lives and jobs are otherwise very digital and abstract.
What are your top recommendations for new ecommerce entrepreneurs?
Keep things simple and don't think about scalability too much. If you get the basics right, you can focus on the present scale more than a potential future scale you may never actually reach.
Be personal, and give customers the feeling you will go to great lengths to help them in case they have a problem (returns, refunds etc.). This has proven to be a great source of customer satisfaction for us.
Also, and even more importantly, only sell stuff you love. To us, these illustrations mean a lot and all the work around it does not feel like a chore but rather we enjoy playing around with them, launching new designs, marketing them, and interacting with our customers through photos and stories. It's all gas, and as such the entire project feels right.