Alison Scott is a UK based Creator who first signed up with Teespring in 2015. She currently focuses on selling within European niches and recently made the switch to full-time seller in June 2016. In the interview below Alison shares more insight on how she was able to go full-time, her thoughts on some of the recent T2 updates, and her plans for the future. Make sure to check out Alison’s insightful article titled “7 Steps to Successful Selling on Teespring” as well.
What inspired you to write the article listed above?
I was in a Facebook group for Teespring newbies, and people kept asking the same questions over and over. I don’t really have time to help individuals, but I’d learnt a lot from sellers like Ty Huls and Keegan Rush, and I wanted to do something for people who are just starting out.
You signed up with Teespring in 2015, but didn’t really start selling until later on, what changed?
I started in a very slow and part-time way, just doing the odd shirt as I felt like it. And then in June I had a running shirt and thought “maybe I could make a go of this”. And I quickly had two or three more designs that sold, you know, 20 or 30 shirts, and at that point I ran some numbers and thought it would definitely work. Christmas 2016 was better than I was expecting though.
When was the moment you decided to focus on selling full-time?
I think the tipping point was my first profitable Facebook ad that scaled. That was when I saw the power of the platform, that if you can just find your audience your sales are essentially unlimited. And that rang a bell, because I’d been looking to build a new career in an area where I could lever my work, so that I did something once and sold it many times.
Teespring recently announced some significant T2 updates which include flat-pricing, access to buyer emails, new storefronts, and much more. What is your favorite T2 update that Teespring has announced thus far and why?
For me the biggest thing is being able to predict profits on a shirt. Before T2, I had to price a shirt so that it was profitable even if I only sold one. And then if I happened to sell 100, well, I got massive windfall profits as the cost came down. And massive windfall profits are very nice, but not as nice as getting a steady, higher, profit shirt by shirt.
How will this T2 update (or updates) impact your business strategy?
Having a lot of designs that sell in small numbers forever was always part of my strategy, but T2 has vindicated that; I’m making a lot more on the random sales that come through. I’m pleased to get the emails but of course only a small portion of buyers tick the email box; I’d like Teespring to find a way to increase the proportion who do that.
In your article you said you aim to launch one design every day; can you give us a glimpse at what your typical work day looks like?
The great thing about working for yourself, and about Teespring, is that you can work when it suits you, so in one sense I don’t have a typical day, it’s very variable. But I normally start by clearing comments and queries that have come in overnight, checking my ads and tweaking any that are going well or badly, and checking relaunches in Teespring and doing any price adjustments (price adjustments are a fact of life in Teespring EU because my shirts are priced in round pounds but profit is in Euros). I try to set aside time every day for design, and I split that between quick designs and variants of existing designs that customers have asked for, and more elaborate ideas. Sometimes design takes the whole day, but normally I do an hour or two. Then I launch shirts, write posts about the shirts for my niche pages, and launch an ad for the shirt. And finally I research trends in my niches and possible new niches.
In your article you also mention starting off using an ad budget of $5 a day for paid ads; what ad types do you use when testing a new design?
I usually start by boosting a post about a shirt; you can normally get a very good idea of how it’s going to go from the shares and comments. And sometimes your readers will tell you right then what’s wrong with your item! After a couple of days I’ll either kill it or add a new ad with a conversion goal for the same design; I normally convert on ‘add to basket’. Normally I’ll stop the boosted post after a few days and just leave the conversion ad, but if it’s obviously driving sales I’ll keep it going. But I no longer kill designs completely, I just stop running ads to them. Only yesterday I had a random sale on a design I did last summer that had never sold a single shirt; but I left it running and it’s free money now.
Finally – the great pixel debate! At this moment – what’s your pixel approach? Do you use one for all niches or one per niche? Do you expect this strategy to change as your business continues to grow?
I’m all on one pixel, because I’m using my personal FB account. I get a lot of page likes by inviting people who’ve liked a post (over a thousand new likes this week for example); I go through and invite them all while watching TV in the evening. I think with a business account I can still invite people after running a PPE ad but I’m not quite sure and don’t want to lose that opportunity. I’m sure I’ll switch during 2017 but it feels like a big step.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with the community?
It’s mostly in the article; but like any other business, making money is about controlling costs, meeting demand, and being persistent. So don’t spend money on ads until you’ve sold a few shirts by free methods, pay attention to your customers, and don’t give up.