Last month, I launched a little side project: The Oui In France shop! You can check out that announcement post here in case you missed it. Now just over one month in, I’ve had time to sit back, reflect and analyze how things went and where I want to go from here.
Observations 1 month after launching the Oui In France shop
I’m no stranger to selling things online and knew going in that it’s not an easy road. Some of my other endeavors include an Etsy and eBay and I’m a big online shopper myself. Designing Francophile t-shirts seemed like a natural move for me, and although I was scared to try something new, I just jumped in head first right before the holiday season. And I’m glad I did.
The shop is open for business in case you’re new here and features hand painted/drawn designs conceptualized by me and brought to life by a local French artist. I ship each and everyone one from France. Keep an eye on the shop for new items.
Tote bags are coming in about a week and I have two new designs for you!
Here’s what I learned:
The prep work is worth it
Here’s the short list of things that went into launching my shop: conceptualizing the designs, working with an artist, sourcing t-shirts, trying samples, finding and working with a local printer and getting samples made, researching shipping options and online store platforms, writing product descriptions and setting up the store, doing product photography, packaging design, coming up with a marketing plan and shipping the product. A lot of time and effort went into this endeavor behind the scenes and I was so scared only my mom would buy a shirt. Luckily, that was not the case but my mom did buy a shirt. 😉 Like anything new, it takes time to get off the ground, but building a strong foundation with a product(s) you’re proud of is super important. All the prep work will pay off. Don’t skip any steps.
People want to support you
I love seeing others happy and doing well and think that others feel the same way. That’s why when I thought about emailing a bunch of bloggers and other people in my social circle to help spread the word, I didn’t hesitate. If you don’t ask, you won’t receive. When people write me and ask for a simple favor, I do it. When I see someone in my circle embarking on something new, I leave them words of encouragement because I know how much a few simple words can mean. So long story short, I believe in being nice, karma and the importance of helping others out whenever I can. Every single blogger I emailed who replied (if I’m being honest, some didn’t reply at all) said they’d share my post announcing the shop either on their blog or social media. THANK YOU.
France-loving blog readers aren’t necessarily t-shirt buyers
The majority of my sales came from people I know outside of my blog and from my networking efforts — not regular Oui In France readers. This surprised me but I guess it shouldn’t have. Not all people who read niche blogs are t-shirt customers and vice versa. I figured most of my sales would come from clicks over from my blog and while there was some overlap, it didn’t account for the majority of my sales. I know for me personally as a t-shirt lover, if a blogger I liked sold shirts that fit their niche, I’d buy one, but not everyone is an online shopper or a lover of t-shirts. My personal outreach efforts seemed to be the most effective and they need to be ongoing. Seconded by paid Facebook ads that targeted a specific audience.
People bought more than 1 shirt
Now this might be because it’s the holidays and people were buying gifts, but I was REALLY surprised that half of my orders included more than 1 shirt! One customer bought 4! That means I’m doing something right. Please stay tuned because beautiful organic cotton tote bags are coming at the very end of the month!
Pricing is tricky
I knew when I priced my shirts at $24.99 before shipping that I’d be appealing to a certain type of consumer. It was a deliberate choice to print my designs on a high-quality t-shirt. I could have picked out a cheap shirt and priced them at $9.99 but I don’t want to be associated with some cheap shirt that will fall apart in the wash. To cut costs, I also could have had a third party print and ship my shirts or found a supplier and printer in the US. But getting a French shirt from the US wasn’t what I was going for. It was important to me to have my hand in everything and ship from France. I wanted to oversee the printing and pack/ship orders myself. Because of that, the shipping cost from France is a few bucks more than it would be domestically from within the US and I’m sure the price may have been prohibitive for some.
You can’t please everyone
All the surveying in the world won’t tell you what will sell ahead of time with 100% accuracy. People say one thing and sometimes do the exact opposite. If you have all v-neck shirts, someone will want a round collar and vice versa. If you have white shirts, someone will want black. If you sell only shirts and totes, someone will want a mug. It’s hard to please everyone and very costly to keep an inventory. So I went with my gut.
The most viewed and purchased design was the macarons
I had a feeling that this shirt would be the most popular. People like colors and macarons are super trendy.
All of my orders were to the USA except for 1
I offer worldwide shipping (same price everywhere outside of Europe) but I didn’t get much variety in shipping destinations. One order went out to Canada but the rest were to the USA! This is largely because I’m American and many people in my blogging network and beyond are as well. Either that or Americans love Francophile t-shirts more than anyone else. The jury is still out on that one.
Thanks for reading! Thank you for your support.
Really. Truly. I mean that. MERCI to everyone who helped get the word out about my shop and an advance merci to those of you who continue to help me promote.
Check out the shop here and please don’t be shy. Want to see something I’m not offering? Have feedback for me? Feel free to comment below or email me. I’d love to hear from you!