The production of the final artefact- the e-commerce website; required all of the research, branding, product and photography assets to be finished.
1) Product sourcing and design
To source the actual products that are going to be sold I had to find the right print-on-demand company for hoodies and t-shirts. Print-on-demand companies are great for starting a brand with a really low budget because there is no upfront cost. Once the customer pays you money for the product, the company takes a certain part of that amount, for example, they pick the hoodie from their warehouse, print your design on it, and then ship it directly to the customer. There are of course negative sides of this model like longer waiting time for your customers – it takes a few days for the product to be fulfilled and 5-15 days to be shipped, also there is no quality control since the product is directly shipped to your customer, not you.
After looking into a few companies that do print-on-demand like: Printify, InkThreadable, Printful and others, I have chosen Printful because they have the best reviews, best integration with your website option and a lot of products to choose from.
Product design in Printful is very simple to learn as well:
- You can choose colours and sizes that will be available in your store, the country from where the product will be shipped (USA or Europe) and easily put you deisgn on front, back, or as a small label on the back.
Here is an example of how was the logo positioned.
Except the logo I have created a few more designs that will represent the brand, all of the designs were made using the Adobe Illustrator software:
Inspired by Kanye west – Pablo design I have created a similar design using a different font and style:
Once created the design was imported in Printful on all of the products like hoodies sweatshirt and bags, combined with the logo chain on the top for branding.
Some of the t-shirts had an option to put the inside label, which is a great option for branding the products. The label was created in Adobe Illustrator:
Jewellery was sourced in a similar way – I have used a dropshipping model where the wholesaler ships the products directly to the customer. To do that I am using AliExpress.com integrated with the website. The products are simply picked out and then listed on the website: https://chainedyouth.shop/collections/jewelry
Pricing: Jewellery costs 3$ on average because it is directly from a wholesaler, so I had no problems with setting up the profit margins and sale discounts. Since clothing is processed by Printful and they take care of everything, they also charge a lot which leaves me with low profit-margin in the end.
I have figured out prices using the Excel spreadsheets and on average my profit margin is around 38%
The final process in product management was to order a samples to check the quality and to use it for photoshoots.
After recieving the products I was satisfied with the overall quality.
2) Website hosting and domain
My initial plan was choosing the WordPress platform and integrating the WooCommerce to enable actual selling on a WordPress website. I have bought a chainedyouth.com domain and hosting through one.com and then integrated it with WordPress and downloaded the WooCommerce plugin. After a few tests, I have Instantly regretted my decision of choosing a platform that is not as optimized for shopping as other e-commerce orientated platforms. This was a result of a poor and not detailed enough research. The website had a slow loading speed, and a lot of errors which could not be fixed without help from a coding expert.
Product page error example:
After further research, my choice was narrowed to e-commerce oriented platforms: Shopify, BigCommerce and Wix. The final choice was Shopify because it is easy to use with a lot of tools like easy integration and automatic order transfers to Printful and is trusted by a lot of big companies as well. The only problem is because I have already used www.chainedyouth.com domain for WordPress it can’t be transfered in the first 3 months after purchase so I’ve decided to use www.chainedyouth.shop domain. I have also decided to use the .com version of the domain for a new website in the future that will be more about community and content around entrepreneurial activities.
The photography is a very important to showcase the brand. I have done 3 photoshoots and 1 was completely done by collaborator Kallum Saleem on his trip in Brasil.
1st Photoshoot was done with a help of a 3rd year student Tamir Potokar, using 2 students as models as well. Tamir did an amazing job with taking photos and I have done the final touches and edited them using Adobe Lightroom.
2nd Photoshoot was done completely by me using 2 students as models.
3rd Photoshoot was done by me while filming a promotional video as well. The promotional video was a coursework of a 1st-year student Yassin Ismail who decided to use my brand for his coursework project. The video will be available at the end of March.
4th Photoshoot was done completely by a 2nd-year Digital marketing student Kallum Saleem on his trip in Brasil.
PHOTOS FROM ALL THE PHOTOSHOOTS CAN BE FOUND ON THIS LINK: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1DhmKV7SjZ4pnYH5MV_UbC1LF5amvR1jI
Editing in Adobe Lightroom examples:
3) Web design
Since I have never used Shopify I have tried to learn as much as I can in their 14-day free trial and tested all of the free themes. First, I have chosen this theme because it was closest to my initial wireframe:
I have chosen dark backgrounds with light-gold text matching the logo. Since Shopify is easy-to-use with 10 free themes, it is also not as customizable as WordPress themes which resulted to adapt the designs to templates given.
The chosen themes had some flaws because some of the products had the non-transparent background the product page looked a bit unprofessional and messy:
After careful consideration and testing, I have decided that this theme is not the right one and is looking slightly unprofessional.
The final theme that fulfilled my expectations for the website was this one:
Product page had an option to choose a white background for products so there was no problems with non-transparent product photos.
Shopify has an really easy to use website building tools:
The colours chosen were matching the wanted style – dark background with gold details and texts. Typograhpy style was keeping it simple and easy to read using capitalized letters on important sections like menu and titles.
Final version: http://www.chainedyouth.shop
4) Social Media
The main social media channel will be Instagram where I will be posting a lot of visual content from photoshoots as well as the competitions and creative stories.
Instagram profile can be found here:
The profile photo was done using Photoshop to make the circle outline:
This is how it looks like on Instagram:
To schedule the posts I have used Buffer app where I can schedule content and an app sends me a push notification when the content should be published and then copies everything to Instagram, which saves a lot of time.
Facebook page was done using the same content as for Instagram, withouth scheduling it too often. Because of its new alogrithm, Facebook is mostly suitable for viral content or Facebook ads.
I have tested a few ads to get familiar with Facebook ad tools: