I’m an open book and I wanted to share my journey with you. I am a one person shop. As of April 18th I have officially been open for 3 months. It feels like I’ve been doing this for a while now. That is probably because I had been thinking about doing Deli Fresh Threads for so long (over a year and half).
Starting a business is exciting and awesome but it can also be tough and painful. You are excited about what you have accomplished but now you want people to notice and most of all like and buy it. Getting noticed is even tougher if you are starting from scratch. I at least had somewhat of a presence on Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram to get the word out. However I am nowhere near where I need to be to reach my goals or to be known.
What I personally learned is this is a long journey, but I am having fun along the way. I am excited to be finally open and operational and I am already working on some smaller releases and looking ahead to the future. My goal is for my sales to pay for future designs and shirts and having the brand invest in itself, but until then I keep moving forward.
So what have I learned in these few months?
Sales You may get a flood of sales in the beginning and then it may slow down. Don’t get discouraged. Just keep introducing the brand to others and don’t stop plugging away. There are a lot of people out there- you just need to find them. Sooner or later strangers will be buying your shirts and it won’t just be family and friends. I love the support my family and friends have given me throughout this but it’s a pretty cool feeling having a complete stranger buy your merchandise.
Don’t obsess over the numbers: Should you look at your sites analytics? Yes. Should you obsess over them? No. Use the information to help you see what you can do and see where people are coming from. Remember you are only a few months old. Unless you have a huge following already online- guess what? people don’t know you yet. I tell myself this over and over and yes I’ve become very good at staring at my Big Cartel stats or Google Analytics.
Whatever medium you are using- don’t stop. I am blogging and it’s taking some time to get a following. I’ve looked and some people are looking at the site. I also use Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Tumblr, Facebook, and Foodspotting, etc. Make sure not to constantly spam everyone all the time. If you are maybe every 8 hours- spread/scatter that message. Provide people information they would want to read- share with others. Interact with them. Search on topics and maybe help provide some insight or comment on a photo. I try not to put the same things on all my social media- however not everyone is using all of them. So pick and choose what you use. Also try the medium you are most comfortable. You may like doing videos or podcasts.
Patience– I know everyone wants immediate success (some get it) but it is not the usual. Learn and appreciate from your humble beginnings- it will help you understand and enjoy your constant hard work. There will be times you may second guess yourself. Just remember you love what you do- so keep doing it! I wrote about this in the very beginning when I first started and it holds true.
Believe- I know that you may have doubts if things are very quiet and sales are very slow coming in. If you believe you have a good product, concept and branding keep pushing forward. Why would someone believe in your brand if you are not behind it 100%. Don’t get discouraged.
Don’t stop building…. Always do something for your brand. Thinking of new ideas, networking with others, thinking of things that are different than what everyone else is doing. Also don’t stop learning and building that knowledge. There are so many others people/brands out there that have walked the same path – why not learn from them and pick their brain. Now that I am open – I’ve accomplished one goal and now I just have to keep climbing.
You are part of a community– there are so many brands out there all trying to make it big. Yes, you may be competing for customer’s money but try not to look at it that way, especially if you build a friendship with those brands- you can help promote each other and help each other along the way. I have met so many great brands while trying to start. I value their opinions and also use their success to either motivate me or learn from. Don’t look at other brands as your enemy, but also understand they are trying to build something to and won’t just give you information.