Episode 246: Show Notes
On today’s episode we welcome wonder woman, super biz lady and all round badass Kit Cronk! Kit is part of our Think Creative Collective family and we love her entrepreneurial spirit as well. She is here today to tell us all about how she uses Redbubble and drop shipping for her business and how you might be able to do the same. Some of you may have heard of drop shipping but if you haven’t do not fear, all will be explained and become clear shortly! Kit has managed to come up with a great model for her particular artistic business and we cannot wait to have her share her expertise with you!
During our discussion we cover what the current creative entrepreneur’s landscape looks like and touch on the not too distant fantasy of the business that can be run from the road. We also thoroughly break down Redbubble, the platform with which Kit has had such success, comparing it to other similar ones and looking at its benefits. Kit is kind enough to really unpack the strengths and weakness of the these platforms before laying out the technical details of how she makes them work for her. From there we traverse the world of Instagram and we all know important this can be to your success. Kit offers some great advice for growing a following, increasing the quality of your feed and giving your business the boost it deserves. So for an inspiring and purposeful masterclass in utilizing available technologies, platforms and networks be sure to tune in as we talk strategy!
What is Drop Shipping and How Does Kit Use It?
Our fabulous guest thought she may have invented the art of drop shipping, purely because no one actually taught her the method! Bless her! And top points for coming up with something so inventive without any assistance. Drop shipping, for those less familiar is a way of selling a product directly from the manufacturer to the customer without actually having to handle the product or store any surplus stock. This way you save money on the production and stockpiling of material and it takes less money to get things started in the early stages of your business! Great strategy! This idea really gives a creative the resources and opportunity to create practical and artistic products without many of the limiting factors that commonly stand in their way. Not having to keep mountains of stock on hand just in case people start ordering it can really be a lifesaver for a young business. Drop shipping makes reproduction and distribution so easy that you could easily be running this kind of business, just like Kit, from anywhere in the world or while you travel around it! Imagine that!
Kit’s Experience with Redbubble and Why She Would Recommend It
Since embracing her favored Redbubble, Kit has been telling most people she comes into contact with to start using it too and we can see why. They have international service outlets and print whatever you need on demand. Some comparable companies only have US outlets and factories and for Kit, based in Australia, this means that shipping costs are just way too high. Society6 has a similar business model but their locations would not suit Kit as well as Redbubble, hence her preference. As it stands currently Kit has sold over 16 thousand separate items! Isn’t that crazy and incredible? There are literally bedspreads all over the world that Kit has designed. You go girl!
A Few Drawbacks from Working on Redbubble
Kit’s belief and championing of Redbubble does not mean she is blind to some of the limitations of the platform. Even while it serves her so well there are areas she is aware of that could be better. Using a third party manufacturer and distributor does inevitably lead to smaller profit margins as she is not able to ship en masse. However this would probably suit smaller businesses as they are starting out and come back to the point of low inputs. There is also the small speed bump of integration with a personal website. This will almost always occur when using a service such as Redbubble and is a bit of a double edged sword. The linking between your own platforms and the boost that a third party website will usually have to be done manually and this is exactly what Kit does. It works out fine for her but is definitely worth bearing in mind. Another concern that Kit found was her inability to customize things like packaging, as she is not actually doing the distribution she cannot oversee this process. Again, not the end of the world but we know how much some of you out there like seal your products with love and care. As we have said none of these concerns are necessarily deal breakers and with the host of positives already mentioned it is just a matter of weighing up the pros and cons. For Kit the positives far outweigh the negatives.
Quality Control and Invoicing Details
Kit highly recommends ordering some samples from any prospective manufacturers to get first hand experience with what their production is like. This way you can be confident in what your customers will receive when they make an order. Kit also informs us that Redbubble has been great with replacing any lost of broken items without any fuss at all. On the infrequent occasion that mugs have arrived cracked or something might have got lost in the post, Redbubble seems to have been more than happy to send a new item to Kit’s customer. This is another great plus side to working with a company like Redbubble, you are basically outsourcing your customer service to a bigger company with a whole team dedicated to helping you and your customer base! And when you are so closely linked to another platform there are always ways in which you can find added value. Kit has found that she can use Redbubble’s Monday discounts to her great advantage when placing orders that have come directly through her. She is then able to save on the placing of the orders and everyone still wins! There are different profit outcomes whether the business comes through her website or a customer goes straight to Redbubble, but at this point she does not actually mind as she is getting paid either way!
Technical Know How and Uploading to Redbubble
We all know getting familiar with a new platform and the processes that are necessary for it can be a little bit daunting at first! Kit did what we could all do a little more and just learned what was most important on the fly and made it work. She even used to do some image editing on MS Paint! We know! In fact she only really became a graphic designer after starting her business and taught herself all the essentials before taking any real courses. There are loads of funny tips and tricks that one learns along the way and Kit is a great example of this. You can definitely hack it until you crack it, so just get going already! All you really have to do is put in the work to ensure that you are making a profit at the end of the day and to do this Kit created a big Excel spreadsheet with all the different margins and made sure everything was clear to her.
Instagram Strategies and Using Product Reps to Your Advantage
Another really important side of Kit’s work is run through her Instagram page. It is definitely the most relevant social media site for her and she has been able to grow her business and following steadily and impressively since signing up. Her number one piece of advice with regards to Instagram promotion is to find appropriate product reps with which to collaborate. For Kit, this meant combing through ‘bookstagram’ and finding great photographers to send her products. She really went out of her way to give them a great experience of what she has to offer, giving them choices and a wonderful all round service, which is what has led to the relationships she has built with them. Kit believes it is way more important to focus on the quality of an Instagram account than the number of followers it has! If you like the style of photographs and the person’s taste rather trust that than thinking of how much exposure tens of thousands of followers will get you.
The Value of Growing a Natural and Dedicated Following
Offering discounts is a great way to propel your promotion and get people buying. When you are able to get your product in front of the right audience, people who will love and connect with what you do, you are able to create a base from which you can grow and grow. With the above mentioned collaboration with product reps, Kit has been able to organically build her customer base, and has found that sending out free stuff to the right people was a way better move than paying a professional photographer to do some work for her. Apart from the skills that these product reps offer, if handled correctly, the relationship can create an abundance of exposure and natural word of mouth recommendations. It was with this in mind that Kit was able to double her Instagram following this year! And the best part about that is that her new following is made up of people that really get her and are invested in her craft. We can’t endorse this point enough, finding the right people to take your products to the next level is invaluable! And you might only have to send them some free stuff to get thing going. How great is that? Kit used some simple questions and research to find who the right product reps were and it was easy enough to quickly see who was on the same page as her. Once you can identify your tribe of reps you really are on the right track to creating some special and mutually beneficial relationships, so get out there and find your people!
- What is Drop Shipping and How Does Kit Use It? [0:04:41.2]
- The Recent Minimalist Trend and What It Means for Entrepreneurs. [0:09:41.2]
- Kit’s Experience with Redbubble and Why She Would Recommend It. [0:13:35.1]
- A Few Drawbacks from Working on Redbubble. [0:17:59.2]
- Quality Control and Invoicing Details. [0:24:03.9]
- Comparing Redbubble and Society6. [0:28:35.9]
- Technical Know-How and Uploading to Redbubble. [0:35:12.3]
- Instagram Strategies and Using Product Reps to Your Advantage. [0:41:06.2]
- The Value of Growing a Natural and Dedicated Following. [0:48:27.2]
- Just Start!
- Run the Numbers.
- Order Samples.
- Use Product Reps.