From cooking fries at McDonald’s to building $500K ecommerce brand: The Story

Do what scales right away, not later. • I’ve heard startup ‘experts’ recommend doing things that don’t scale at the beginning. There’s arguments to be made from both sides, but I recommend finding a strategy that works and 10x’ing it. ⚡️FAST. Here’s what worked for us:

Corey P
🤯 My e-commerce brand just passed the $500,000 in 2021 YTD revenue mark last week. No venture funding. Year one. And we’re profitable. I’d like to story tell a few huge learnings I’ve gained as a 20 year old dropout who formerly cooked fries at McDonald’s. 🧵Here we go
1/ Perfection is one of the worst words to exist. • When we launched this business in October 2020, we were going to take one of two routes: 1) Spend $3-5k on a custom content studio to get FB ads created, and build out a ‘perfect’ Shopify website with a bunch of cool features
Or 2) Spend $1k gifting micro-influencers on IG and build the website ourselves with a simple Shopify theme We took option 2, and I can’t be more glad. As we all have heard, your first launch will suck. Accept it. NOTE: The objective is to find product-market-fit. ⚡️FAST
2/ Do what scales right away, not later. • I’ve heard startup ‘experts’ recommend doing things that don’t scale at the beginning. There’s arguments to be made from both sides, but I recommend finding a strategy that works and 10x’ing it. ⚡️FAST. Here’s what worked for us:
We tested a few different styles of our shapewear at the beginning and luckily we were able to see clear data on what worked best. I wanted to target 30-45 year old females. My partner wanted to go the 21-35 route. His hypothesis looked more promising, so we jumped in. Easy!
One day, I filmed a quick video, made a BS narrative, and uploaded to TikTok. We got 2 million views and around $5k in free revenue. We kept doing that repeatedly, and suddenly, we had our first 500 customers and a super low CAC. YTD our CAC is $9, thanks to our TikTok focus.
We realized going viral organically was helpful, but you’re only as good as your last at-bat. Enter paid marketing. FB Ads, and TikTok influencers. That’s our main mix. And guess what? This whole time we’ve only been pushing that ONE same style that worked in the beginning.
Nice, so now you heard some of the good stuff. I didn’t talk about our retail because DTC is the wave 😉 @mrsharma @jspujji Here’s the bad stuff which was 10x more of a learning experience than the ‘success’…
We had 500+ orders go missing as some products were fulfilled straight from China. $30k in refunds. FB Ad account issues. Yikes. Never again. I learned everything I could about logistics/fulfillment and shipped all of our products to an awesome 3PL ran by @SLewkowict
3/ Mistake I made was becoming TOO much of a spreadsheet nerd. I overanalyzed inventory, micro-managed, and for a bit, I spent more time on that and not on growth. I splashed some cold water on my face, put trust in my 3PL + staff, and went back to work on my real role: Growth.
We now have a 3PL, 2 influencer employees, an email agency run by @DimondEmail , 2 VA’s, 1 CSM and 2 creators. Lesson: I realized I had to trust + engage my team if I wanted this to be a cash cow. So I screwed off a bit. Then things got BETTER and less STRESSFUL for me! Win-win
4/ Mental state is everything Another stereotypical one. Couldn’t be more true. I don’t know what gets you going, but do it every day. I start with a run and meditation, then I work. On days where I skip the run, I feel it for sure. Mental state comes first before outputs.
I’m running out of smart things to type. Recap: 1/ Perfection will kill you 2/ Do things that scale, fast. 3/ Build and trust your team. They’ll know if you don’t trust them & that sucks. 4/ Mental state determines your inputs which determines the quality of your outputs.
FB Ads still work. The secret is creative. We use services like Billo and all of our TikTok influencer videos and cycle a ton We’re struggling with repeat purchases but expect a good cohort to come back during BFCM in Q4. Prepping inventory PO’s now. Shopify capital helped us.
Hope this was a breath of fresh air for some of my DTC founders out there! By no means is this the route to success for your startup. Simply, these are some of the key learnings I hope I re-inforced 🙂
Found value in this tweet? 🌎Great. It means the world that you got value and I’d appreciate if you can interact with this tweet to help push it out to more people. Takes 2 secs. That’s all! ⚡️DM’s are open and good luck!
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