Quinn Porter, 16, continues his account of starting a business with school friends. Read part one here
I was tasked with marketing a new clothing brand on a minuscule budget. I spent hours designing a website on wix that didn’t give off a “we’re only 16” vibe, and began to advertise on social media platforms including Instagram, Tiktok, Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit.
I opened countless Reddit chains to increase our SEO. The idea was to get our photos all over the internet. We uploaded around 50 pictures and text chains in the hope that it would increase website traffic, and it worked, allowing us to get way more views to our site as, whenever someone looked up Nova, we were on the first page. We made it easy for people to find us.
We got 100,000 views on a Tiktok video, and 50,000 views on an Instagram post, and within the month we saw our first 1,000 clicks on our site. For us, it was a huge success.
Tiktok is wonderful because it allows people to discover your company even if they have never heard of you, and it automatically shows it to people who share an interest.
It’s also a relatively new app but is already one of the most popular, especially among young people. So we took advantage of this free advertisement platform and began to upload as often as we could, gaining another 50,000 views on our next video – people thought our struggle of a story was hilarious!
But even after all this work, we still weren’t getting our brand out there enough. I realised we were going to have to find social media influencers to do that. I messaged hundreds of them who I believed had potential.
I monitored their growth and view counts, kept tabs on the ones I thought had potential and left comments on quite literally hundreds of creators videos, until one finally responded; one whose account was growing fast. I found his channel when he had 6,000 followers, and by the time he started wearing Nova, he had hit 100,000.
We priced our clothes using the penetration method, keeping low to try to infiltrate the market, with plans to gradually raise and then skim our prices in the future
We agreed to send him our branded hoodie and bestselling T-shirt, on the condition that he would post our brand. We even gave him his own promo code, so every sale he made would earn him a commission.
His account, Barre32 on Tiktok, included links to our website, and we officially had our first influencer. We then spent even more time trying to find influencers, which led us to CNN news anchor Max Foster, who has 150,000 followers on Tiktok.
We decided to go with him as he is one of the few adults who we saw as having really mastered the art of social media, and he has an audience of thousands, who may be looking to buy presents for their children and grandchildren.
We found out that we actually had a very distant connection, and we managed to get word to him via email about our aspirations to have him wear our brand. He agreed, and we sent him a Nova hoodie in the hope that he might wear one in a viral video.
We priced our clothes using the penetration method, keeping low to try to infiltrate the market, with plans to gradually raise and then skim our prices in the future, based on how much demand we can raise. We understood that nobody would want to buy clothes from a new brand if it was too expensive, so we settled on £20 for T-shirts, £35 for hoodies and sweaters, and £15 for beanies, and we are constantly putting out sales and discount codes in the hope that it will attract more sales.
As I stated before, we wanted to have a positive impact on the world, and so decided to donate 10 per cent of the profits from our first quarter to the Ocean Cleanup, to mitigate any accidental environmental costs we were incurring. The next quarter’s profits are going to Young Enterprise, to allow other young entrepreneurs to have the same opportunity that we had.
forecastING – We read blogs, articles and tutorials, and also consulted our business mentor before coming to what we thought was a reasonable number
To ship our clothes, we settled on Hermes as we could send them door-to-door, and they charge roughly £3.50 for door-to-door delivery within the UK. Furthermore, Good customer service was central to what we wanted and Hermes let us get an order out within 24 hours and send it straight to the customers’ door, this was a complete necessity for us, as our customers were in isolation.
One of the most interesting parts was trying to forecast finances. We read blogs, articles and tutorials, and also consulted our business mentor before coming to what we thought was a reasonable number.
We predicted that we would be into small numbers of profit by the end of the year, around £1,500. We were conscious that just over £1,000 was not enough investment to start a large brand, no matter how much we hustled, so we predicted modest numbers that were realistic to meet, and aimed to grow to real numbers.
We are currently six months ahead of schedule, and we outsold our predicted quarterly prediction in the first week! Within our first few days of selling we had received £270 in revenue, which doubled within the first month. We then released another collection in quick succession, and our small following took to it.
This new summer themed collection featured lightweight, breathable T-shirts with an anchor design, as well as swim shorts. Currently, we are evolving our designs and creating a warmer, more intricate collection of winter clothing, as seasonal demand is very prominent in this Industry.
Our whole design process consists of an initial ideas chart and discussion, followed by creation of the design on paper, before we send it to a professional to refine and create digital copies, and then onto the clothing. We are currently in this process to release a stylish winter wear collection.
They may be small numbers but they are way better than we expected. We have got some luck along the way, but also put in some hard work. We hope that our hobby of business can evolve, as we have great dreams to build a franchise and start something meaningful and entertaining.
Our next steps will be to find new youthful designs, and form partnerships in the Industry to boost our brand recognition and learning experience. We are determined to make this work.
Even if countless heat presses blow up.