Case Study: One of Us Apparel
November 24, 2013
One of Us Apparel first caught our attention in July of this year when they shot into the top ten stores in the Big Cartel directory on the day they launched. We spoke to Graham Frost, the creative force behind this UK brand, about the reasons for their success and to find out what advice he could offer people starting their own Big Cartel stores.
Can you tell us briefly about your product?
We sell alternative clothing and accessories. We’ve recently branched out to iPhones cases and art prints.
Who is involved in the business and what kind of backgrounds and experience do you have?
I started the company just over a year ago as I am an artist and graphic designer. People started to tell me to put my designs on t-shirts as they make very bold prints and are one colour, and we grew from there. Our first Big Cartel store had about 4 t-shirt designs and we started to add to the collection as we made profit – now our store has a variety of clothing and we ship our clothing literally all over the planet. We’re also stocked in four online retailers, so we’ve been pretty lucky really. We print and stitch our clothing through a family business so we have been able to spend time perfecting our perfect cut tees and make the most stand-out prints.
Where do you take inspiration?
We mostly take our inspiration from tattoo culture, alternative fashion, graffiti and cults.
How do you decide what makes a good product?
That”s a very good question. When you purchase a product online, the first thing you need is a very good product description and product photo. We flatpack our tees ready to wear in special packaging and we have our very own custom red mailing bags so our customers know exactly when our orders arrive. Our tees are cut and sewn in house so they have a movable fit with a bit of added length. We also visit all our wholesalers and check samples on each beanie and jacket so we know they’re the best quality. With the boom of Big Cartel and independent clothing store recently there is LOTS of competition – so you need to make sure your product is the best you can make it.
How do you market and promote your product? What do you think works best and why?
Marketing has been something that I’ve pretty much learned from scratch. The pearls of wisdom I can give anyone starting there own store are:
- Social media is paramount to making sales. By this I mean you can grow a large number of contacts and potential buyers of your products. I personally prefer Twitter and Instagram to Facebook because you can follow hundreds of people per day, most of which will check out your website/products and will probably follow you back. Once you have a large follow base you will get more and more views to your store and potential customers. Facebook is good but you mostly have to pay for ads to really reach people, so this can be costly.
- Get amazing product photos and links to your store and spread them all over the internet. Link your website address and put it EVERYWHERE. You need amazing product photos with interesting looking models wearing your garments, this instantly makes your products more desirable.
- This doesn’t have to be costly, there are plenty of models and photographers looking for experience and if you choose the right model and location then these can make your products look 100% more desirable. Social media (especially Instagram) has plenty of models who take pictures of themselves daily: send them free items, get them to take pictures of themselves and you have free pictures for your website.
- When you make sales, some people will take photos of themselves wearing the items they have bought from you – these are perfect marketing tools of real people wearing your clothing.
- If you have a Big Cartel store, get a custom domain. Buy a custom domain which is catchy and short. Our custom domain is www.oouastore.com but our actual big cartel address is www.oneofusapparel.bigcartel.com. The first domain is easy to remember and easy to add to photos for promo.
Why did you choose Big Cartel?
We chose Big Cartel because it’s very easy to use and if you find the right theme, you can pretty much do anything to your store that will accommodate your brand. I really feel that Catapult Themes had the best collection of themes that the internet has to offer. We used the SweetSpot theme which has given our brand the freedom to expand.
Why did you choose this theme?
This theme has a incredible interface so you can fully customize your store. It’s also totally reactive so if your customer shops from a iPhone or iPad, the store will fit every screen. We have found that more and more customers are shopping from iPhones which is all due to this feature.
Another amazing feature with this theme is the fact you can customize literally everything, from the colour to the background. You don’t need to be a web designer with a degree.
What advice can you give someone just starting out?
Work as hard as possible, constantly try to learn more about what you’re doing, and improve your designs. Make your website look as awesome as humanly possible!
Thanks to Graham for taking the time to answer our questions. There are some fantastic tips there for promoting your business – we especially love the idea of sending models free samples and getting them to post photos of themselves wearing your product on Instagram. You can check out the One of Us Apparel store here.