Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
My girlfriend and I love going to music festivals and when we go, we like to wear clothing that really allows us to express ourselves. I was frustrated after returning from a festival in Orlando because multiple people had the same tank top as myself; all of the sudden my cool, outlandish tank was just the norm. So I went out and designed some art that I thought was unique and, admittedly, it was not my intent to sell the product. When I went out to the next festival with my new gear I was bombarded with "that's an amazing tank, where did you get it? I want one". This was the "aha" moment which motivated me to create Dem Vibes with those first few designs.
Our original suppliers were indeed found through Shopify; we looked through the app listings and determined who could print shirts for us on demand. We have since expanded our product lines and our suppliers, but it started with vendors who were using the Shopify API.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
Social media was the driving force behind our first month of sales. We just started to post our product images on our Facebook fan page and people started to share it like crazy. Pro tip: we thought a lot about what type of people were commenting on my first few designs in Orlando and we spent a little cash promoting our fan page to that exact audience. This helped us get our first sale quickly because our fans were relevant.
The most consistent group of buyers are the customers we already have. We do our very best to offer awesome customer service for the people who decide to spend their hard earned money on a Dem Vibes product. Given this, we have found remarketing and e-mail campaigns to be the best way to remind customers to come back.
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?
Outside of Shopify, which is the life force of Dem Vibes, we really like to use Mailchimp. The interface and user experience of Mailchimp is smooth and the service is reliable. I love how I can grab an individual product off of the Shopify admin page and turn it into an email with one click. They also have good support for email signup forms so you can grow your mailing list without writing any code.
We do the majority of our fulfillment in house with the help of a Shopify app called ShippingEasy. It integrates seamlessly with our store front and it automatically sends confirmation emails through Shopify. This is important because it gives customers a way to track their order. I wouldn't be sure how we would fulfill everything within 24 hours without Shipping Easy.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
The key to early success comes before you even launch your Shopify store; you need to pick a good product and define a specific niche that would be interested in that product. Ideally you are apart of that niche yourself. Spend your days and nights leading up to your launch date answering questions related to your end buyer, for example: Who is my target market? What age are they? Where do they live? How do they spend their free time? What do they *need* to buy everyday and how do they make these choices? How much disposable income do they have and how do they figure out what to buy with that left over cash? Why do they like the brands which they are loyal to?