A few times I’ve heard people say that my products are too expensive. I wonder if this is in comparison to the 2quid Primarni tee’s you can pick up which last about 3 washes and go bobbly just wearing them to do day-to-day things? I also heard MisGuided are doing a £1 bikini - SURELYYYYY that can’t be a quality garment? That is hellish cheap, I wonder how many corners were cut in the making of that??!! Buy cheap, buy twice and all that.
I like to think of my designs & products as timeless pieces that you can dress up or down: I wear them myself as samples to test out the quality and longevity. In fact one of the first t-shirts that I direct-to-garment printed a year ago is still going strong and it’s worn and washed on the reg.
So here’s what goes into that lovely personalised t-shirt by Squiffy Print:
- IT ALL STARTS with some research & development and then comes the design. It’s taken me about 3 seconds to write that, the process, however, is a lot lengthier. I can’t just design any old thing, the majority of my target market is Mums & their families. As i work on my own, I have to go in search of inspo: be that clothes shops, magazines, Instagram & Pinterest. The design process can take on the form of pencil sketches, iPad doodles and I also work in Adobe Illustrator & photoshop. The design then has to be sized correctly and look ok on the item of clothing.
- THE PRODUCT: once I have decided on a design, I like to research new products that my suppliers are bringing out. With the recent shift in consumers buying more ethically made & sourced products, I have started to switch my product offering to eco-friendly clothing and become a greener business. This part of the process can be quite lengthy: I like to order samples to wear and test to see how they fit & wash. The design then has to be applied to the garment to test also.
- ONCE I am happy with the product & design combo, I need to go about writing a punchy product description & take photos. I then need to upload it to all my platforms which includes my website, Not on The High Street and also Etsy.
- NOW the marketing part: I now need to get my products in front of customers, if I don’t make sales then I don’t bring any money in, and I have mouths to feed if you know what I mean! Over the past few months I have found a more ‘lifestyle’ and gentle approach to selling works better for Squiffy Print. I drive traffic to my website (which I have built and run myself on the Shopify platform) mostly from Instagram, however, this in itself can be a black art. There is no point me posting content to Insta when my audience aren’t online, and seeing as they are mostly mums, I find anytime from 8pm+ to have the most engagement for content on my grid, and then theres a window of time from 6am - probably when mums are having that first coffee and watching CeeBeebies. This bit also includes the emails, influencer marketing, blogs, more instagram which includes IGTV too, and any activity which will put my biz infront of new customers and keep the old ones coming back for more. Writing creative content is not my bag - hence the lack of blogs recently, so this can also take time, cups of coffee and motivation to get over my writers block.
- THE Squiffy website needs to be kept up to date and user friendly. I spend hours watching videos, doing courses and reading articles on user experience and use analytics to see where customers are going on my site, but most importantly where they exit: if its before they have bought a t-shirt I need to understand why! Are my photos not loading quick enough? Is my product description not detailed enough? Do I not offer the sizes they might want? And so on!
- ONCE the order is placed, it has to be physically taken care of. I have partnered up with a company who now prints, packs and posts my orders for me. This has taken away the ‘operations’ department so I can concentrate on ALLLL the other departments! The t-shirts will have been ordered and stocked up ready, they are then picked and printed (and if they are personalised, someone needs to do the artwork for this too) by someone who will need a wage paying, before they are printed with eco-friendly water based inks. I then have my own branded label attached before it is wrapped in branded tissue and packed and posted to the customer.
- AFTER CARE is a massive thing for me - I want to know what you think of your Squiffy product, and any constructive feedback is used to develop and make my products better. Each customer will receive an email a few weeks after purchase to ask them to spare a couple of minutes to write a review: all of which you can see on my website under each product. This now goes without saying as more & more people love the products and share away on social media - a fantastic tool to help grow my business!
- WHAT ELSE?? Let’s not forget I need paying too, this is my job where i derive an income, if I’m not making money then essentially it’s just a hobby. Out of each sale I put 20% in a savings account ready for that bloody tax man too, then there’s a book keeper to pay, internet connection, general office bills (yep, sellotape is one of them), then also profit to put back into the business to pay for things like a new laptop when it’s depreciated (This one isn’t going to last forever, and MacBooks and all their bells & whistles are.not.cheap!!!!)
*Phew* just reading that back makes me feel tired! Now on that note, I need to go have a coffee & some breakfast & write an email to send out to all you lovely people tomorrow! If you would like to receive "Squiffy Mail" every Friday, then you can sign up here (I’m not spammy and you can also unsubscribe if it’s not your bag, give it a go, you might like a dose of Squiffy in your inbox weekly!)