For those of you just joining our Create & Cultivate x Weebly School of Side Hustle Series, where have you been? Missing out, that’s where.
Luckily, we love a recap.
In “Lesson One: Building a Brand Online,” we talked to Emily McDowell, founder of The Emily McDowell Studio about the basics of brand building.
In “Lesson Two: From Concept to Commerce,” we talked to illustrator and artist, Carly Kuhn (@theCartorialist) about her advice for selling online and what kind of websites she prefers.
In “Lesson Three: Don’t Just Build a Website, Build a Business,” Kelsey Kelley of KKelley Designs walks us through her hustle and flow.
Caught up? Good. Because it’s full steam ahead for “Lesson 4: From Market, To Marketing.”
At stage right, we’ve got @DazeyLA.
Dazey LA is a brand that stands out.
And yet it’s founder, Danielle Nagel, says she started off the same way so many businesses begin: with a side hustle. (Are you sensing a pattern here?!)
“I started off with odd jobs for friends, print shops, doctors offices, and slowly worked my way up,” Danielle shares. “Fast forward 6 years later and I was full-time designing apparel graphics for large companies like Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Forever 21, Macy's and Nordstrom to name a few! I had a great career as a young designer but all I really wanted was to start my own brand and design shirts that stood for something.”
The idea of standing for something and taking a stand against fast fashion was vital to Danielle’s success. From the start her brand has been about transparency-- this wasn’t only a marketing ploy.
But like so many others, even Danielle had the concept, she had to take “the leap” we talked about in Lesson 2. “I still always say my biggest challenge was actually gathering the courage to start Dazey. It took me years to finally do it. Self-doubt and other peoples negative opinions can so easily slip in. Of course, it wasn’t easy sailing after that, every season of my company presents new challenges. You just have to learn to take them one at a time. Believe in yourself.”
Photos by @Dazey_LA
Danielle adds that she had to work to be taken seriously. “It can be hard to be taken seriously, especially when I come skipping into a factory wearing pink shoes and spice girl buns. I may not look it but I can be a tough bitch when push comes to shove and I will stand my ground and protect my company. Ask for a better price and better product every single time! Find production people you trust and who respect you. It will save you some serious headaches. Never forget you are already endlessly brave for starting a company in the first place, use that power!”
This is something we talk about at C&C all the time: Your power tools. Standing your ground. Protecting your company. Walking into a warehouse and asking for exactly what you want.
But you also want tools on the backend to do the same. You want tools that work for you-- not against you. Tools that make your site searchable. Tools that make sure you are getting all of eyeballs on your product.
Katie Swett, Director of Product at Weebly knows all about this. When it comes to marketing 101, Katie says,
“Learn to use your tools! The big brands have huge marketing teams and budgets to power intelligent marketing. BUT a lot of that power is now available to small businesses."
Platforms like Weebly Promote can help you automate campaigns, personalize content, and market uniquely to different segments.
Katie also encourages those new to marketing to be sure to collect email addresses. “Don’t wait to get started with marketing! Even if you are not ready to sell your product, it’s always a great idea to create a Coming Soon Page that collects the email addresses of people interested in learning more about your business. This list of subscribers can start small with friends and family, but will be meaningful over time,” she says.
As Danielle has, Katie encourages new brands to get to know their customers. “Respond to them when they reach out on social media, ask them questions, listen to their complaints and use that information to build a community that reflects your brand.” More so, she says you need to, “Be your authentic self! You have a huge advantage when you’re starting, you can be real and authentic with your customers. That’s harder for bigger brands to do. Tell you story, be transparent, make them feel like they’re talking to a human. That’s the little guys secret weapon.”
It was certainly part of Danielle’s secret weapon.
So let’s fill up your arsenal a bit more.
We’ve touched a bit on marketing, but we want to dig a little deeper. In Lesson 4: From Market to Marketing, Jaclyn Johnson talks with Katie who is going to walk you through marketing tools and techniques, which include Weebly's latest product, Weebly Promote, an integrated marketing platform.
As discussed in Lesson 4's video, an essential part of marketing, is the kind of grassroots engagement you do with your followers. Because, once you’ve built your brand, your site, and your following, you need to keep said followers engaged. It’s an important part of the game. So we asked Katie Swett for some other pro-tips on how tools like "Weebly Marketing" and help you build and maintain your customer base." These automated tools allow you to work smarter, not harder.
With Weebly you can:
Build brand awareness and drive traffic to your site by creating Facebook ads right from the Weebly platform.
Use the benefits of Automation. Abandon Cart Emails allow you to automatically detect when a customer leaves a cart with products in it and sends them an email follow-up with their abandoned products. This lets you potentially win back customers you may have lost without doing any work.
Try different prices, sales, offers and messaging and see what works best for your audience. Weebly has an Insights dashboard that gives you analytics on your computer or phone so you know what's working (and what's not) right away.
Break your audience up into targeted groups. Then you can send different emails to people that visit you every week, than you do to people who have only visited one. Or, different emails to people who normally buy mens clothes, than you do to people how normally buy womens. This personalization helps you send more resonant emails to smaller groups, without overwhelming people with too many.
Build up a list of subscribers. Email marketing is still the most effective marketing tool to maximize your ROI (return on investment). It’s is how you start a relationship with your audience, and how you will ultimately turn visitors into customers.”
For Danielle, part of her marketing plan means connecting with her customers on a “deeply personal level” as well as “sharing what the day-to-day life of an entrepreneur really looks like.”
It’s all about connection.
Katie likewise encourages small businesses to connect with their customers on an intimate level. She says, “Social media has made it easier than ever to start communicating with potential customers. We always recommend heading out to farmers markets or craft fairs to have those face to face conversations with your customers. You will be amazed how grateful they are to speak with you and learn more about your story. In turn, you will get real feedback from customers that can dramatically shape how your grow and iterate.”
That doesn’t mean it’s the right direction for everyone, but for Danielle and Dazey LA, it gives her work meaning. “I noticed so many of the boss babes I looked up to didn’t share the nitty gritty or their biggest tips and tricks,” Danielle says. “Those were the things I was dying to see when I was still in my corporate design job daydreaming of starting a company. Being open has hands down been my biggest asset. So many small businesses feel the need to look more professional or bigger than they actually are. I choose to do to the opposite and embrace being a small one-gal company. People are so much more excited to support something small, real, and relatable. My suggestion to people is to be as true to yourself and your mission as possible. Align your beliefs with your company and then promote the hell out of it!”
Ahh. Promote the hell out of it. That’s part of your job as a small business. And you need to get comfortable with self-promotion, even if there are other parts of launching that scare you.
Danielle assures all her side-hustle people who are unsure of the next step that you don’t have to know “business” to create a successful business. “You don’t have to know anything!! You just need to find the people who do." I knew how to design shirts and that was basically it. You learn so much as you go and there is no rules to follow. Put yourself out there and you will figure it out. It’s the wild west baby! - Also Google is your best friend.” Shop Danielle's latest collection here.
And so is Weebly, we would add.
Have more questions, drop us a line below and we’ll get them answered!
Be sure to look back at Lesson One: Building a Brand Online, Lesson 2: From Concept to Commerce, and Lesson 3: Don’t Just Build a Website, Build a Business.
MORE FROM THE BLOG