How did Max Anderson sell $60k worth of urban streetwear themed rugs online?
In an informative article on Medium, Max explains how he and his partners created an streetwear-themed home furnishings business, Spilled.co, then used specific tactical hacks to attain sales.
First, they figured out their market: Guys in their mid 20’s who were into streetwear style sneakers and clothing. Why them?
1) extreme consumerism (our typical customer already buys lots of stuff online)
2) concentrated, highly engaged online communities for easy viral distribution
3) co-founder, Pedram, is part of the community and deeply understands the market.
They knew that this group didn’t have much choice when it came to stylish home furnishings that were affordable.
Max says you shouldn’t worry about the business formalities.
“Business licenses, incorporation, founder roles, etc, these are all bullshit. Until you’ve started selling product, none of it matters.”
Instead, figure out the minimum number of tasks that will generate sales for your business.
Following are the steps they took to produce the product.
1) They used thomasnet.com, finding a manufacturer that could produce an affordable product.
2) Then sourced two designs from designspiration.net which kept their investment numbers low.
3) They got themselves a domain name and website to sell their rugs.
How much was their total startup costs? $300.
“Your niche should define your product, not the other way around.”
Hacking To Scale
Max and his crew used some great tactics to get their products in front of potential customers. With limited funds for paid ads, they hustled.
On Craigslist, they scraped sneaker offer listings and directly emailed those sellers, offering up a trade with a link to their rugs.
Second, they established and grew relationships with influential bloggers. How did they do that?
“Send them free product, share all their articles, whatever it takes.”
Last, they focused on “viral distribution.”
“The key thread across all is to really over-deliver and wow your early customers so they can’t help but talk about it. For Spilled, this played out in extreme attention to detail with our products, hand numbering and signing every piece, answering customer emails in the wee hours of the morning, and going above and beyond to make it right in cases where we didn’t deliver.”
One of the biggest obstacles to selling consumer goods is being able to pay the manufacturer for the products upfront. It takes a lot of money to order large quantities of goods, which you’re stuck with if you don’t sell them off.
Spilled.co avoided this by “setting expectations with our customers up front that we don’t ship product until 2–3 weeks after it’s sold.”
This allowed them to pay manufacturers with revenue and not investment capital, which they didn’t have.
Overall, Max’s story is a great lesson on how to find and provide a niche market with a product tailored to them when you’re limited in funds. The tactics they used are beneficial to all of us.