From Nothing to Profit: Behind the scenes of launching our first collection
In our last behind-the-scenes post, I shared why Little Goat Supplies came into existence. This post is going to delve a bit more into the how.
Read on to find out how I went from nothing to selling Valentine’s Cards within three months!
☔️ On a rainy weekend in November
After making the decision to pursue this dream, there was only a small matter of figuring out where to begin. The first step, logically, felt like it had to be starting to design. If the creative juices weren’t flowing, and if I wasn't able to produce designs that I felt really proud of, the rest of the business would fail before it had even properly begun! No designs, no business! 😅
I decided to begin by defining a colour palette. Valentine’s Day is pretty easy in terms of colour stories, but deciding the exact shades is where the fun happens. Pretty quickly, I landed on a pink and orange gradient that felt like it simultaneously gave a nod to romance and love, while still keeping it fresh and fly with the added orange accent.
With a colour palette sorted, I got to work getting some ideas down, using familiar Valentine’s motifs: hearts, declarations of love, and flowers.
An important aspect of this collection was that it should feel cohesive, so reusing some of these motifs across multiple cards, was something that I spent time focusing on.
🔁 Refining, refining, refining
After I’d got some rough ideas down, the next step was to just make them better. There was a couple of weeks after the first initial designs had been created that I spent most evenings tweaking and iterating. The first ideas never stick for long, and so every design went through some changes (some more drastic than others)
I think this process of leaving your designs for a little bit and then coming back to them with a fresh eye helps you make more critical decisions. If you just stare at the same thing for hours, it tends to inhibit you being able to really see your design and can mean you get too in your head.
💻 Getting busy with business
In the meantime, between design stints, I was busy on the logistical side. As this was my very first print run, there was lots of work to do to make sure that I had sourced a high-quality printer for the cards.
I ordered samples and even test runs from a number of printers to check how the paper stock felt, looked and performed. I had a very clear idea of the quality level of the card that needed to be used, so this step was crucial in ensuring I would be able to deliver on my quality promise.
At the same time, I had to start thinking about all the extra things I would need to make this successful. Testing out and making decisions about packaging for the cards, figuring out how I was going to take product shots of the cards when they were finally printed, and setting up this website so I actually had somewhere to sell on! All of these tasks were done in between the crucial task of just getting the cards designed!
🌤 Ready to print for real!
After way too much testing, I finally settled on a paper stock and a printer supplier. This was a huge milestone for me as until I had figured this bit out, there was no way I could move forward. At this point, it was about 6 weeks until Valentine’s Day and I wanted to be selling cards in 2 weeks 😅 No pressure at all!
It was now or never. I pressed the big red button (okay there’s not actually a big red button) on the printer’s website, and that was that - my little Valentine’s card collection was off to be printed for real!
The tension waiting for these cards to be delivered was REAL. You’re panicking that the cards aren’t going to be perfect, but there’s literally nothing you can do but wait.
😩 The unthinkable happens
Finally, the cards arrived, and I eagerly unpacked them. There was now a mega time crunch because of course, having never having done this before, I had messed up all our timings and I was now late. I had forgotten to factor in the time I would need to photograph all the cards for the website, and edit them so they were perfect for the store. And of course, until I had photographs up on the website of the cards, I would be unable to sell any of them!
However, I was to be tested again. On unpacking the cards, I discovered that each one had a white mark in exactly the same place on the front of the card 🙈. Because they were all marked, I decided to take the decision to send them all back and get them reprinted - even though this would push my timelines back even further.
Luckily, our printer agreed to reprint, and as a rush job too. Thank you printers!! 🙏🏽 But still, it was back to the waiting game all over again.
🙌🏽 The cards arrive, and this time, they are perfect!
A week later, all is right again. I received a new shipment of cards that were absolutely PERFECT, and it became all hands on deck as I raced to photograph them and get them up on the site.
In the meantime, I hadn’t been wasting time. I had been busy putting all the names of all the cards, as well as their custom descriptions that tell our customers about the intent behind each card, into our website system. This work was crucial to ensuring the product listings really showed off the personality of Little Goat Supplies, and to help make our cards feel even more unique.
🚀 Launch day
Fiiiiinally, and miraculously only a little bit behind schedule, everything was finally ready. I had spent the last few weeks in a frenzy, trying to make sure everything was absolutely perfect for this one moment. And now here it was. Pressing the launch button felt like I had the nuclear missile codes or something 🤣
Once the button was pressed and the website was live, there was a definite sense of anticipation. Somewhere within my subconscious, I was definitely secretly hoping for the analytics dashboard to start lighting up and then seeing all the product rushing off the shelves..
But in reality, I pressed the launch button, aaaaaaaand…. nothing really happened 🤣 There were no waiting customers, hordes of eager buyers, just me, in my office getting all excited by myself 😅 This was unsurprising as I had done minimal marketing to our family and friends, and so barely anyone even knew about us.
🤷🏻♀️ After launch
The first week or so after launching was pretty rough. Aside from family, nobody bought a card. It can feel like a huge letdown after all your hard work when nothing in particular happens.
So, in an effort to drum up business, I started to experiment with ads.
I ran a few and whilst the ads themselves got engagement, they didn’t translate into sales. At this point, I wasn't really sure if it was the ads that were the problem or the actual products themselves.
Maybe nobody liked my designs? 😢
💕 Valentine’s week
Another week went by with very few sales, but as it drew closer and closer to Valentine’s Day, traffic to the site from my ads increased. And the sales started to slowly pick up from supportive family and friends who hadn’t yet bought.
Finally, the day before Valentine’s Day, I made more money than in the entire two weeks previous, and I started to relax a little bit. It wasn’t that people didn’t like the cards, but that most people only think about purchase decisions very close to the event, and that I needed to learn a lot more about ad targeting.
And it got even better! On Valentine’s Day itself, I made more money than the previous day, and most importantly, the compliments about the cards themselves really started to roll in 🥰
💕 So, was it a success?
So, I didn’t quite sell out all our Valentine’s Cards. But I am really really proud of how many cards I ended up selling, and in such short timeframes too. It feels really incredible to go from having a dream inside your head to making it a reality to actually seeing people enjoying your products in their real lives.
Getting glowing reviews from my customers meant everything and has definitely made all the stress feel worth it.
More than anything, this has really encouraged me to go on. I’ve been getting super excited thinking about what collection should come next, and, in honour of my birthday in March, have been hard at work designing Birthdays! 🥳 You can get a sneak peek at some of what’s to come on our Instagram!
Finally, a big thank you to all my supporters and customers so far - your support has been hugely appreciated! I can’t wait to show you what’s next!