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TeeCon Barcelona: Luuk Olde Bijvank

Luuk from the netherlands

Meet Luuk, a Springer from the Netherlands who will shine amongst the star studded lineup presenting at TeeCon Barcelona!

Teecon Barcelona is the only place to be this year if you want to take your business to the next level – there’s no other place where you will have the ability to gain invaluable insights and get advice directly from industry leaders like Luuk! Read on to discover a little bit more about his Springing history so far, but be sure to grab your TeeCon ticket HERE to meet him in person this June!

What was your first large successful campaign?

My First big success was in the Hairdresser niche. To be a bit more particular the “gay hairdresser scene.” I found an ambiguous quote that I turned into a Tee and simply ran an ad to it. I had no clue how to run ads back in the day so I went with Job title: Hairstylist – Target: Men – Who like: Men. This was my first success and made me hungry for more. Looking back at it now I find the design horrible, but hey it made me some bucks and more importantly it showed me that this “Teespring thingy” can work. My actual design was a little too racy to share on the Teespring blog, but find me on FB if you’d like to see my original tee.

Is anything about Internet marketing or selling t-shirts that still surprises you after all this time?

Every single day I am surprised. Sometimes it takes me 3 hours to create a design I absolutely love and think it is going to sell heaps. Then, when ads are set up and the campaign is live….. crickets…. no sales, nothing. I am left with 3 hours of my life lost on a design that I love, but my audience doesn’t. On the other hand sometimes I design things where the thought is “Ah f*ck it… I don’t think this design will do well, but let’s just try it”. I quickly ramp up a design in 15 minutes and wake up the next morning to dozens of sales. I have now learned not to fall in love with my own ideas (don’t get high on your own supply). Try to turn “I think” into “I know” by testing – that way you’ll generate the data you are looking for. Roughly 60% will fail, but the 40% will make up for it. I often get the question “Can I run an idea by you and can you tell me if you think that will work?” My answer will always be “Yes I can, but it doesn’t matter what I think, what your audience thinks is what matters.” So long story short: what sells and what doesn’t sell still surprises me on a daily basis.

How are Dutch buyers different than buyers from other countries around the world?

Aside from the letter G that only the Dutch can pronounce correctly you mean? The Dutch are picky. Picky about quality, picky about design. The Dutch like more subtle things. The big and bold prints that I design for the US simply won’t do well in Holland (this goes for the most of Europe btw).

In which countries are most of your sales happening at the moment?

At this moment: the UK, Germany and US. The fun part is that we run the same designs to them. Some do better in the US, some do better in EU.

How did you first team up with your partner, Dan?

Oh boy… Remember this theme song “Now this is a story all about how, my life got flipped-turned upside down?” That’s exactly how it feels for me.

We first met when Dan posted that his account got banned and he was looking for someone who was willing to let him run ads off their account. Back in those days I didn’t know a lot about ads and I thought “I’ll help him out and maybe I can learn a thing or two”. One thing lead to another and within no-time we were full-time partners. Partners… even though I have only met the guy once, he is now one of my best mates.

Bridget, Dan & Luuk Bridget, Dan & Luuk

What do you think the main benefits of having a teammate to work with are?

Dan loves doing what I don’t and vice versa. That is what makes us a good team. He is very analytic and loves to dig deep in data. I, on the other hand, am more of a creative person. I enjoy coming up with new ideas and turning them into designs. A perfect match in my opinion. The other good thing in this case is we are both in different time zones. This is what enables us to keep our business running almost 24/7. So the main benefit of having a partner is that you can both focus on the things we are good at and enjoy the most.

When you look back on your early days of selling tees, is there any key advice you wish someone had given you?

Research and Test. That’s it. I wish I knew back in the days what I know now. Back then I suffered from what I call the “that’s cool syndrome”. What I mean with that is I simply browsed the interwebs for something “cool” and slapped it on a t-shirt, because >> I << thought it was cool. Nowadays my research is a lot better, making me more capable of finding winning ideas because I understand my audience a lot better. E.g. the all-father of gods in the Norse mythology is Odin, Odin has 2 ravens: Huginn and Muninn. Their names mean “thought and memory”. Odin comes from the Midgard realm (one of the 9 worlds in the Norse mythology). I know all of this because of digging deep and learning about my potential audience. I have no interest in the Norse Mythology (I hated history in school. In fact…. I hated school), but nowadays I know there is a niche audience that is passionate about it. When you know what people are passionate about, what moves people, it is easier to come up with idea after idea. Some ideas will fail, some will succeed. But I always learn from them. Doing good research makes you more likely to succeed.

What information are you looking forward to sharing with fellow Springers at TeeCon Barcelona?

I think the psychology aspect of the game is underrated. Everybody always talks about targeting and finding a good audience. I want to show everybody that presenting that audience the right message/design is equally important. You can find the right audience but if you show them the wrong design/message you won’t make any sales. I want to share my process when I research and design things. Show them “how” to understand your audience.

What are you most excited about for TeeCon Barcelona?

The belly dance act of Craig and Bridget to be honest. I heard they won medals as a couple so I am pretty excited for that! Jokes aside: I am most excited about meeting new people (and catching up with others I already know), see the faces behind the FB profiles and sharing drinks. Every time I hosted or attended a meeting of Teespring I walked away with new contacts to spar with and share strategies/ideas. That is the most valuable thing I am getting out of Teecon Barcelona.


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