How We Finally Sold Our First Graphic Tee

Nelly Bloom is the tiniest lifestyle brand in the world. Like Ant-Man tiny. We've got an abundance of passion, a handful of fans, and zero capital, so naturally things are... exciting. What we lack in budget, we must make up for with grit. Two months after shifting from wall art to focusing on clothing, we've finally sold our very first graphic tee....ever. And not to a friend or family member either. An actual human being from a far away land took a chance on us. I'm the happiest kid on the block because of what this means. Here's how we did it...

The dream of creating a unique line of graphic tees has now gone from an idea to a reality (yay!). But more importantly, it emphasizes that if you literally can't afford to be like anyone else, your strongest asset is in highlighting who you already are. Since Nelly Bloom is a brand about expression, individuality, and candor, as its founder, I have to live and breathe these mantras everyday. How? By banking on relationship marketing.

In the midst of all the social media traffic going on nowadays, around 80 people over the last 60 days stumbled upon some of our t-shirt designs in our Etsy shop. None of them bought anything, but of those people, around 20 of them liked what they saw enough to click 'favorite' on them. I interpreted these analytics as an opportunity to reach out to those 20 people for honest feedback on why they favorited those particular graphic tee designs.

Was it the messaging? Was it the colors? Was it the photography? I needed to know so that I could quickly iterate and do more of what works and less of what doesn't. (My goal was never to win them over as customers, but instead to gain valuable insight and strike up a dialog. Conversations lead to trust, which lead to relationships, which lead to communities, and if you're lucky, just maybe you will have customers.)

And then the unimaginable happened. A lovely mother of two children out in Arkansas was touched by the fact that I even cared enough to genuinely ask what she thought about the items she favorited. No sales pitching. No manipulative tactics. No filler. Just a sincere inquiry.

Not only did she answer my questions with specificity, she also provided helpful references on how Nelly Bloom is uniquely positioned with respect to competitors, journalists, and companies that have won her business in the past. Whoa. Her insight alone was worth more than a sale. That level of feedback was priceless. 

Shortly after, out of the blue, this superwoman placed an order with us after being notified that we were adding adult tees to our line-up as a response to some of her comments. I lost my mind. And it was at that moment that the vision I had for Nelly Bloom went from idea to reality. There's something I can nix off the bucket list.

We finally sold our first graphic tee by turning a disadvantage on its head and leveraging our resources. Without a marketing budget, we simply just can't compete with the big boys (yet). But what we have in spades is our ability to craft real relationships with people who are crazy enough to like what we do. This is a milestone. And to you who placed that first order, (you know who you are) we love you!