I’ve always dabbled with various online business ideas to compliment my core business. e-commerce has been a sector I’ve wanted to crack for as long as I can remember. I finally decided to give it a semi-proper crack in September of last year — right before I was off to Vegas on holiday.
I’d read all the blogs and listened to all the podcasts and had a rough idea of how I would make this thing work. I started thinking about what I wanted to sell, already having decided that I definitely did not want to dropship, I loved the idea of holding stock and adding my own packaging details, this would also prove to become important in my marketing efforts.
I decided I wanted something cheap enough to be an impulse purchase and something I could create a nice brand around. Here were some of the ideas that made the shortlist:
- Mens trainers
- Crossfit Gear
- Phone cases
- CCTV Systems
- Mens Boxers (subscription)
After much deliberation, I decided to stick with the leggings. AliExpress had a decent range, it was niche enough to nicely target people and I couldn’t see too many other people doing it.
I built up the Shopify store and got it looking quite nice and fairly safe (you can see the store here, it’s different now as the new owners have changed it just-leggings.co.uk)
I placed a fairly large order of around £800 worth of leggings, hundreds of different shapes and styles and some that would make nice banners etc. When you order from AliExpress it takes around 6–10 weeks for the order to arrive, this gave me enough time to build anticipation for my launch. I settled on a launch date of the 1st day of the month, just after the Leggings were due to arrive.
I announce the launch date on the Facebook Page I had already created and began to get people excited for 6 weeks, non stop. This is nowhere near enough time I would have been many x more successful had I been more patient.
I set about getting some influencers on board, I contacted models, gymnasts, fitness instructors and anyone that would be a good fit for my product and an audience to suit. I sent out about 10 pairs of free leggings to influencers with around 10,000 followers each, all I asked for in exchange was some photos of them wearing the leggings posted to their audience. Almost everyone did it without any worries, 1 or 2 people didn’t play ball — but that’s fine. Have some leggings on me.
By the time the delivery date rolled around I had gained around 4,000 Facebook followers and had maybe 30–40 people that were genuinely interested in the launch. I had also built an email list of around 150 people offering discount codes in exchange for them signing up.
Launch day comes and I email everyone and announce it on my social pages, not a huge success but I had 2 or 3 sales, it was something. I then knew I had to increase sales if I wanted to sell this so I went about contacting a great fitness group in my town led my a female personal instructor. I gave her a bunch of leggings for free, anything she wanted and gave her clients 20% off the store. Sales picked up a little and I was averaging 2 or 3 a day. It was at this point where I had to make the decision to put a lot more effort into this (remember, posting orders is hard work) or seek to sell the business.
I sold the business for £1,300 that week on eBay. Not a huge profit, but great fun and a super good learning experience.
Hope you enjoyed the read!