Building an Online Retail Business 2021

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What are you sleeping on? You may not know it, but your choice of sheets is likely having an adverse effect on the environment.

Sheets & Giggles founder, Colin McIntosh, is on a mission to change the market. He’s using eucalyptus lyocell fabric so that your sleep experience can be as comfortable, sustainable, and eco-friendly as possible.

His sheets are the real deal, but that’s not what we are here to talk about today. His brand has exploded over the last three years. Sheets & Giggles went from $20,000 months in 2018 to a $250,000 day in November 2020.

He jumped on a recent episode of the eComm Growth Show to talk with Daniel and Robby about how he did it.

Have a Plan from the Beginning

One of the most common mistakes Colin sees with young online business owners is a lack of a forward-thinking plan. They’ll buy $10k worth of product before they have a plan for how to sell it all, or they won’t forecast their break-even points. They skip over their variable costs, and they don’t account for discounts or returns.

And past all of this, they often don’t consider how their goals align with their business model.

  • Do they want to grow a new, industry-leading brand?
  • Do they want to build a business quickly and sell it to a larger brand?
  • Do they want to develop a slow-growing, sustainable business?

These questions matter when you are mapping out your business plan!

One of Colin’s biggest successes came through his crowdfunding campaign. He set up a pre-order for his initial order of sheets, allowing him to pay for his first product order with customers’ money rather than his own.

Colin’s pre-order strategy freed up his initial funds to spend on marketing campaigns, acquiring customers rather than products.

“I always think about how many pre-sales could you get for your idea if you put that money, instead of inventory, into marketing…With marketing and sales, you’re actually buying a customer, which is more important than actually producing the product at that point, because you’re getting somebody to buy into what you’re building, and I think that’s more valuable than owning some portion of inventory.” (10:13)

Standing Out from the Competition

While laying the initial groundwork for Sheets & Giggles has been vital to the brand’s success, there is more to the story. One look at the company’s website or social channels, and you’ll notice that they’re different.

They’ve traded clean, aesthetically pleasing product shots for memes and other humor-based creative, separating themselves from other brands in the bedding industry.

Colin invested early in his creative team, knowing that it could be the differentiator between his brand and the rest.

“I think that content is probably the biggest differentiator for brands. I’ve always believed that, and for me, I invest heavily in content. I’ve got three full-time creatives on the team – copy, social, and brand – and we’re going to hire a visual designer.” (31:25)

His rule of thumb is to zig when others are zagging. Why follow the trend when you can catch consumers’ attention by doing what other brands aren’t?

“My golden rule is if you’ve seen this before, don’t shoot it for Sheets & Giggles.” (33:02)

By pairing memorable, attention-grabbing creative with highly effective marketing tactics such as paid social and search, Sheets & Giggles has established itself as one of the must-watch brands in the eCommerce space. Colin created a brand that consumers believe in and feel invested in, and he’s seeing the returns now.

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