Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
A labor of love, creativity, and expression. We loved making t-shirts, patches and beer koozies as far back as our teenage punk rock years. We combined our love of designing with our dislike of having 9-5 jobs. We started by screen printing our own apparel in our shop. We turned our entire home into a studio, living in the one bedroom upstairs while the rest of the place was dominated by t-shirts, etc. Everything we sell was made directly by us, and because of our dedication to the customers, we worked 18 hours a day, 7 days a week making sure we shipped out asap to give the essence of an operation fielded by numerous workers. Everything was done by just two guys.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
We attended music festivals, shows and local events to setup our booths. We quickly became noticed for our philosophical, intelligent, political themed t-shirts combined with drinking and partying. Amazon and Facebook are our best sources of traffic. It takes the patience of a deity to generate the targeted traffic online that leads to sales. My advice to other entrepreneurs is to read as much as possible, find niches, and be ready to accept countless days of testing with no orders at all before you find something that works.
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?
The Shopify apps we use, such as Pinterest and Google Shopping, as well as remarketing are huge, but what we really think helps is the testimonials from our satisfied customers. Customer service is paramount, and a sense of reliability is key to building a brand. If you do not build a brand, your chances of success are going to be short lived. Take the extra time, build a solid foundation, and always reward the loyal. We ship 6 days a week. We are known for our insanely fast processing and shipping times, and in order to do this, it does take grinding the gears and hard work, but if you do it intelligently and make smart adjustments, you can make sure everything is shipped on time without taking too much out of yourself. We collect all orders, type up spreadsheets so we know what to print each morning, and pack the orders and have them shipped the same day. Efficiency and cutting down on waste allows you to ship fast and keep costs lower for the customers.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
Love what you're doing. There's stress, there's hard times, there's hard work, but the thrill of the hunt and excitement of growing should be your primary motivation. Most people are not overnight success stories. You cannot rely on luck. You must have a thick skin and you must be prepared to revamp, reconstruct, and rebuild over and over. Don't get too frustrated. If you have dedication and perseverance, and most importantly a profound fondness for what you're doing, you WILL succeed. Always be willing to accept new ideas, new challenges, and be willing to change and evolve.