A La C.A.R.T.E! – Critical Action Radical Thought Extractions!
Since the posts of Tee Shirt Guy 6.1 and Tee Shirt Guy 6.2 were written l had decided to take a different stance, to see how the new ‘Radical Colour Changes‘ sat with the shop, me, the collections and more importantly the buyer. In order to contemplate the proposed strategy to move the hobby business forward l also decided to change the way l advertised in my social marketing platforms for the same period of time.
Previously l had dedicated 5 adverts a day spread out for the UK and US market demograph over a period of 15 hours on the day highlighting the different collections. I took a different approach, and this meant for the month of February l planned to reduce the amount of advertising from 5 to maximum 3 platform adverts. I am an organic marketer so do not specifically rely on buying promoted or boosted slots.
I knew l would have to revise the way l advertised the product lines so to take a slower approach wasn’t going to kill me or the business, whilst l reviewed more pressing matters.
With so little ‘platform advertising’ l also wished to see if this made a significant difference. Prior to this time with a relatively heavy advertising campaign my sales from September 2017 – December 2017 as an example had been minimal. So what would happen if l stepped away from the platform advertising for a while?
The results were astonishing!!
Are you ready?
No difference at all, not in the slightest. The last sale l made for the shop was on the 19th December 2017 of a sticker from the Just Words Collection which l made a whopping 16p profit from. Two months on from that date, as in the 19th February 2018, l made another sale of another sticker from the exact same collection!
The only upbeat aspect is unlike the first sale of a sticker two months previously where l made 16 pence profit, this sale made me 24 pence profit, because of the price hike of three weeks ago!
Don’t get me wrong, 24p is still way better than 0p and way more better than a kick in the gonads with a pair of studded hob nail boots! So it is not that l am ungrateful.
But one sale in two months of a sticker – my buyer was from the States – so whoever you are – my genuine thanks for your confidence and belief in my product, is hardly motivational and if l wasn’t of particularly sound mind, l might decide to go on some kind of frustrated mental rampage!
The fact is that whilst this sale may appear to be tiny, the actuality is quite the opposite – it is mighty in so far as significant and telling. Two months, reduced advertising and it produced one sale, so in essence no real difference to two months’ worth of heavy advertising – one sticker, or now two stickers in four months.
This isn’t specifically a case of me doing something wrong, but more a verification of too high a postage on products heavier than a sticker put people off purchasing – perfectly logical.
Radical colour swatch changes made not the slightest iota of difference to the shop, people buy stickers and occasionally a Tote bag from me in Redbubble and that is it – so if that is what my buyer mostly wants – what the bloody hell am l doing with all the other collections and product ranges on display? People look at them, BUT they don’t buy them, they only buy stickers!
The sticker that sold is below[displayed on a Tote], and perhaps it served as a form of wake up and smell the coffee you muppet! Because l did wake up, and although l didn’t smell beans, l was certainly quite inspired by this small and tiny yet mighty sale!
“Asperger’s – The Thinking Person’s World”
For the three weeks of observing and doing very little advertising, l had been occupying myself with my other two blogs, and in truth having more fun! That was a sad realisation in itself, after all, l started the tee shirt business because l thought it would be not just challenging, but fun! So far all it has really gifted me is challenge and not even satisfying at that, just one big obstacle to try and hurdle! But taking the positive from the negative, the challenge is to improve it all!
24 pence profit – not huge by any means or margins, but quite richly rewarding in its ability to speak to me quite brutally and loudly! Something had to be done, strategized and implemented quickly, hence CARTE was born!
A La C.A.R.T.E! – Critical Action Radical Thought Extractions!
Sure, it’s a mouthful and sounds like something Thunderbirds’ Virgil Tracy would create, hence why l only use the term CARTE.
Things had to change dramatically and that included long range plans. So the following was instantly actioned over the last 24 hour period. If l thought l was being stylishly radical before, now l came to realise that l had to be powerfully radical, no more pussy footing around for this Tee Shirt Guy!
1] I may be crazy, but stupid, l‘m not!
Initially l was looking at a five year plan for this business, well not any more, now l have reduced that down drastically to a period of 18 months from this March, so if by September 2019 with all changes, including an increase in careful demographic advertising using social media, this blog and a host of other marketing goodies, tactical strategy and so on, l am no closer to anything remotely sexy then that’s is it, l am pulling the plug and calling it quits.
I briefly discussed the idea of migrating the designs into other stores last time l wrote in this series, but let’s be honest, what is THE point of running several stores if nothing is really selling in two existing ones? That needed to be examined.
So l have now decided to only have two stores, and these are the ones l already have, but to think smarter and think prime demography.
2] Redbubble store
If only stickers and totes sell in this store then that is all that needs to be displayed here.
This store has success with only one collection this being what was formerly known as Just Words, then changed to Think Aspergers and now renamed Just Words Collection. It comprises of the slogan designs like the one above, it is the mainstay seller – so this is OBVIOUSLY whether l like it or not, the best location to have this stock line displayed for the time being.
Redbubble is unforgiving on postage and packaging on its buying market, which is why l sell predominately stickers here. [They are lighter and therefore cheaper to send out] So, l needed to capitalise on that.
Sales strategies from this point onwards will only concentrate on stickers and totes and only from this collection. The last 14 months of trading confirm this to me in the sales figure percentages:
Tote Bags 18%
Tee Shirts 7%
At least with this decision finalised, l can now resume advertising on the social medium platforms with some frequency with regards this collection, knowing buyers are still going to be purchasing the Asperger’s slogans range which by all accounts is their favourite product range.
Now l have at least one collection that enjoys some kind of sales activity, albeit small for now.
3] Designs Extraction
The last time l wrote, Redbubble was carrying my entire collection of designs which numbered just over 200 which included the 68 slogan designs from the Just Words Collection. Now after 24 hours of cutting down, reducing and eliminating from Redbubble the following applies:
All designs with white text taken off collections, and discarded, these are not proving to be popular.
8 design collections reduced to 1 collection only – Just Words Collection.
All ‘illustrated’ designs to be migrated to TeeMill.
That’s it, one collection in Redbubble only, no more than that.
The end result is that it looks smoother, but more importantly easier to manage. It is beyond pointless displaying the full product range to buyers who are in the main only really interested in stickers from a certain collection.
4] Collection Extraction
Whilst Redbubble only has one collection on display, the other collections will be relocated into the TeeMill shop site. Where upon they will sit on 100% cotton, organic cotton and bamboo cottons.
There will be no totes on offer; it will purely be clothing merchandise lines.
5] TeeMill store
As they say you cannot speculate till you accumulate and you cannot accumulate till you speculate, so for the next 18 months l will speculate. I have decided to pay the £10 monthly fee to TeeMill to extend my design capability.
Currently under the free ‘user’ model l am allowed to display 15 products, with the monetary payment l can extend this to 500 products which means that l can display all my other collections: Taboo, Cruelty Free, Mental Health, Planet Earth, Pawtism, Naturally Simplistic, Think Bee and the now greatly reduced Autism awareness.
The current plan is ‘free’ and allows for this:
“Everything you need to successfully sell t-shirts online. You can build and customise an online store, add designs and start selling while we print and ship in real time. The essential features are free and always will be.”
• Create up to 15 products
• Web store, print on demand
• All the essential features
• Totally free
However the TeeMillpro @£10pcm allows for this:
“Advanced features that take stores to the next level in professionalism, or connect up to other apps and web services take time to code and integrate. Upgrade your account to access these features.”
• Create up to 500 products
• Custom pricing, custom packaging
• All the best features and apps
• Ship orders to customers same day
• Customised packaging
• Customer design studio
• Currency converters
• Set your own prices
• Create products with front and back prints
• Priority shipping
• Google translator/analytics
• Sell blank garments
So in essence quite a significant difference to Redbubble, and to boot all on totally ethically sourced garments which is kinder to the market which is why l originally decided to roll with TeeMill in 2015, but at the time they were launching the concept and there were quite a few teething problems, which have now been successfully ironed out.
So, from March 1st, l will be subscribing for this ‘pro’ service and come the end of March 2018, and once all designs are uploaded and titivated l will start to advertise heavily the organic store merchandise.
One excellent benefit to using TeeMill is that l am awarded a higher natural profit of between £2.50 – £5.00 per item sold, and this means that l will be finally able to offer buyers promotions and discounts, and run special codes. But l will also be able to donate 10% sales to my favourite charity should l make suitable sales. These are excellent features!
There are a few tiny flaws to using TeeMill:
Reduced colour ranges for available products:
But it does mean that l can choose which colours l have behind my designs which Redbubble axed as an option in 2017, making some designs look insipid.
Set and specific product descriptions:
This is quite possibly one of the hardest things to make work. In Redbubble, you can simply place in an ad hoc description for many products at once, whereas in TeeMill, they are quite pedantic about individual descriptions per product.
Men’s Bamboo Beetee
“Save the Bees from Extinction – Bee Happy or Bee Extinct – your choice, l know what l would rather it Bee! Remarkably comfortable, soft and sensitive to the skin. Bamboo casual tee for men. Bee proud to show your support.”
Women’s Bamboo Beetee
“What would you rather Bee Keeper or Bee Killer? We would rather Bee Happy than Bee Extinct! Bee Comfortable and look great at the same time in deliciously soft and beautifully crafted soft Bamboo fabric, the closest you can get to a second skin! “
As you can see, both designs are actually the same – BUT each description must be different, very different.
So that will really mean l will have to really put on my thinking cap!
But if l look at the positive element, it does mean that each advert is significantly uniquely advertised in its own right.
So, there l have it CARTE means seriously radical changes and rethinking of strategies.
From the first week of April l will be starting to properly advertise the full Classic Eggshell Moments collection and at least now l can resume the Just words advertising and more importantly start to relax again and write a few more posts for this blog.
In Part 8, l will be discussing ‘Product Descriptions’ so until then, thanks for reading all
The Tee Shirt Blogger
Classic Eggshell Moments