Wednesday, March 9, 2011
I'm starting to doubt myself.
The launch of Evil Valentine wasn't exactly an easy one, especially with loads of hiccups in between. Firstly, the problems with the models. The first model had a conflict with us, wherelse the second model was sick on the day of the shoot. So it ended up with me and my friend/partner being the models. Think we're ugly/not pretty enough? We know it too.
I am bummed to see that the sales of EV is... drastically below what we've expected. Nope, I didn't even expect to sell out everything, but I just hoped to break even, e.g. just getting enough to cover for our capital/base cost, or just somewhere near there would be fine. Even just selling 50% of what we currently have would make us happy too. We didn't even want to profit off this, we just wanted to get back the money that we put in so that we can invest it into Collection 2. We harboured so much hopes, dreams and ambitions for EV, but guess what? Not gonna happen.
I've tried to dissected what are the problems, and how to solve them.
I know loads of blogshops advertise their stuff on SGFLEA and I did the same thing too. The funny thing is, I did it the same way for SHOPOHGALAXY and SOG is garnering way more buyers/people who dished enquiries in than EV, when EV is 'supposed' to be the more popular one.
Come on, SOG is meant for preloveds but EV is a webstore. EV should be the popular one. Call me unlucky or what, but whenever I try to submit my post in for EV, the moderation queue is always full. Other than that, whenever I get to submit it in after the moderation queue is cleared, loads of posts get submitted in, cleared and posted too, so my advertising/selling post gets pushed off the first page. I know most people only browse through the first place because of... obvious reasons, so yeah. That's it.
As a way to promote EV further, I've already cross-posted the advertising/selling post to various other LJ communities. I do not want to resort to using the e-mail/spam method because that's just nasty. The tagboard advertising method is tacky as well. :/
The second way to advertise the blogshop properly, is to, well, hire famous bloggers to post advertorials for ya. But this definitely doesn't comes cheap. A post by them can easily costs up to a hundred, even though viewership and potential buyers does increase as well. The thing is... the money in itself is a big problem.
The third way (one of our last resorts), is to sell the products at a flea market, which means we've to price the clothes EVEN cheaper, but we'll do advertising for it at the same time. E.g. putting up a banner, jio-ing people to join our mailing list, slotting our namecards and etc inside the shopping bags when we pass it to them. But... pricing the clothes cheaper is a relatively big problem as well, because No.1: our base cost isn't exactly cheap, because stocks are retrieved from Singapore and not BKK. No.2: The profits HAVE to be shared between two people. If prices go down, the profits goes down too, and the cut of it will be halved as well.
The last way (definitely something I'd not want to attempt) is to add random friends on Facebook and upload our product pictures, while tagging them in it. I find this a highly iritating move though. So, no-no. I despise blogshop owners who does this, but really, does this method gain them more buyers... hmm?
How now brown cow?
Money money money $___$
No. 2: Lack of variety/designs and 'unique-ness'
I know, designs are really limited over at EV. I do wish I could introduce more products/designs (I saw loads more that I liked as well). And nothing special. Especially in this overly saturated market, nobody gives a fuck if you've "normal" stuff. We've limited capital, hence the limited designs. I was half-hesitant on whether we should 'push' it and cater to the 'non-mainstream' people. E.g., having pieces that are vastly different from other blogshops. We had this option, but I didn't dare to go ahead and do it because I am afraid that the public might not be so receptive towards that idea.
I've reviewed the pricings and compared it with other blogshops as well. Our prices are somewhat competitive (e.g. the usual pricings that blogshops dish out), nothing too expensive on our side. I admit that the bags are pretty expensive out of everything, but the base cost is remarkably high too. I tried to make the first collection as affordable as possible so that we can establish EV as a branding first instead of lunging profits off it.
The base cost of our products are pretty high in the first place because we didn't get our goods from Bangkok, but in Singapore. Naturally, prices/base costs are much higher than usual.
No. 3: Lack of a pretty model/ambassador:
Come on, admit it, you want a eyecandy to look at when you're browsing through blogshops too, don't you? Don't you just love it when a certain blogshop has a super pretty model that you can't help but eyecandy-over? As an example, I love the model of AshInCans, and besides the fact that AIC's clothes are really good (see, I'm advertising for other blogshops right now. Completely FOC. What the hell am I doing?!), the model is really pretty and can pull off the clothes really well. Which accounts for a 2-in-1 visual appeal, thus enticing buyers to buy the products.
But here at EV, we've a gross-looking (main) model, a.k.a me. Do you know how much I hated being the model? I didn't want to put my face or plant it in EV at all. I wanted to see pretty faces on my blogshop too. :( But professional blogshop models don't come cheap. Probably at $50/hr and that can certainly kills my pockets. And my unphotogenic friend (SHE'S NOT UGLY AND FAT BUT SHE KEEPS TELLING ME THAT OMG) is also a model at EV as well. She's much prettier in real life but the photos just can't showcase that well.
:( And meh, I'm worse. I am not even pretty in real life, and neither am I photogenic.
I'm already cui-looking in real life. So add being unphotogenic to that and you get a super ugly-looking model. I apologize to anybody who was disgusted by my face on EV, tbh. Not that I wanted it to be like this. I can't pull most of the clothes well. Maybe I won't call myself incredibly ugly, but really, I'm nowhere near the standards of those established models.
FML moment right tharrrr.
The above paragraphs aren't meant to fish for compliments, jsyk. I really think I am fucking unattractive (thou shalt not use the word 'ugly' to kill my self-esteem further, unattractive doesn't have any disgusting/negative connotations, i hope. it's a 'neutral word), with or without make-up. That's the sad part - I know some girls look gorgoeus with make-up on but I still look like sai with make-up applied on.
The only redeeming part is the visual design of EV. We went to the studio to take product photos, and the website/design itself is done by me. The editting/collaging of photos is also done by me, so we did cut a few costs around there. It sorta pays to be a (soon-to-be-retired) web-designer HAHAHA.
All in all, I'm starting to doubt myself.
Me and my taste in fashion, me and the merchandise I selected/picked for the public, me and my theories of managing a business. Me and my advertising methods. Me and my... everything. I just feel like I'm living in denial.
My parents doubted me, claiming that the stuff I brought in are rubbish. I took those as naysaying words, because they're conventional old folks who claimed that online ventures are 'dangerous' and 'risky'. To which, I ignored, of course. Add that on to the fact that they're unappreciative of fashion and ignorant of current trends, and therefore, I just shuted them up by saying I'll go ahead anyway.
And that's why I couldn't put in too much capital into it. Because I'm relying solely on my own savings, I didn't ask a single cents from them. Right from the purchase of those goods, studio, and etc, everything came out of me and my friends' pockets. Never did we ask anything from our parents, because we wanted the success to be solely ours.
And if this ends up as a flop (which i think it is somewhat near there as well), then at least I won't lose too much money.
They also warned me having a 'business' isn't as easy as it seems and there's loads of hard work, obstacles and challenges involved, but I really want to make my interest/hobby a lucrative one, but guess what? You don't always get what you wished for. I wanted to dabble in Apparel Design and Fashion Merchandizing in Poly, actually. But they didn't wanted to let me pursuit that at all, because they think it is a 'dead path' - signalling that the course doesn't have a future.
When O Levels Results came out, I was eligible for Mass Comm (to my utter surprise) so I gave up in chasing after AD&FM. Okay, digression.
You know what? I had great dreams for EV. I even planned what to bring in for C02 and C03 even before launching C01. Think, cute rompers, high-waisted shorts, hearts-printed cardigans, ponchos, flag print cardigans. Those things are amazing (at least, imo) but I am hesitating really hard right now.
But now that C01 is launched and that the results are not showing any shit, I don't know what to feel anymore. To continue or not to, that is a question.
I am thinking really hard, having another theory of pulling in all of my savings into C02 to make it a big one, and maybe hire a pretty-as-hell model (who preferably has a blog - haha, i already have one in mind) to help us be the 'ambassador'... but if at the end of the day, nothing gets bought... then the ones who truly suffers is, us.