We are a small group of people with a deep love for the creative process and an obsession with the tools people use to create.
Our first product, IDRAW CARS Sketchbook Reference Guide was born out of a sincere desire to personally become better at drawing cars and finding no tool that was exactly what I wanted. After chatting about the idea with a car designer college buddy I began scouring the pages of Alibaba for manufacturers. After several samples, prototypes, trials and tweaks, we had our first product!
I planned to Kickstart the book from the very beginning, so once we had a great looking prototype we were ready to launch. Our product resonated with the people as we raised over 500% of our goal. Such a great beginning to a new business!
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
We earned our first sales and buzz all from Kickstarter. Our first book was a great business launching tool; after Kickstarting our second book and truly crushing our goal at over 2000% funding we knew we had something good.
We do not pay for marketing, so our sales continue to be from word of mouth, social channels and email marketing. We continue to build a strong customer base while learning the ins and outs of how to run a business. (sometimes the hard way).
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?
Along with Shopify we use a few apps that are essential for our business to run smoothly. The most important app is Shipstation. My wife is our fulfillment/distribution/customer service rep so having a simple interface to manage all outgoing product was huge for her.
We use SumAll for insights into our social channels and customer engagement to see what works and where we can make tweaks to our strategy. Another great app is Blogfeeder, enabling us to use tumblr and integrate seamlessly into our store. I am pretty entrenched in tumblr with a handful of blogs already so using that platform just felt more natural. Being able to provide great content on our website coming from tumblr is pretty valuable for us.
We also use Mailchimp for our email marketing, as well as the Chimpified app in our store.
What are your top recommendations for new ecommerce entrepreneurs?
Dive in, get your hands dirty, try stuff and make mistakes. Platforms like Shopify are perfect for the small business upstarts (like us) with a vision, a little bit of know-how and tireless work ethic to work at it until we get it right.
The most rewarding moment is that first sale that doesn't come from a friend or a loved one, but from a total stranger who's buying what you're selling. Totally rewarding, and easier than you think.