Building a Fashion Brand with Miracle Wanzo

Building a fashion brand is hard. First of all, you need a lot of money and connections to be able to sell big brand name clothing. Secondly, it’s difficult to design and produce your own fashion line. Perhaps more importantly, it’s nearly impossible to break into the fashion scene and actually make any money.

Well, today I was proven wrong on all three counts.

eCommerceFuel forum member Miracle Wanzo joins me today to discuss the process of building a fashion brand. Miracle created her own line of lingerie and she tells us how she merged her own line with brand name fashions. Miracle also discusses the methods she found to harness Facebook ads to increase traffic to her site without spending tons of money.

Here’s What You’ll Learn

  • The pros and cons of creating a fashion brand.
  • How Miracle has harnessed Facebook to steer traffic to her site.
  • The biggest differences between male and female entrepreneurs.

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The Full Conversation

(With your hosts Andrew Youderian of eCommerceFuel.com and Miracle Wanzo of Hip Undies.)

Andrew: Thank you for tuning in with me today. As always, good to have you with me. Today on the show, I’ve got a long-standing forum member, one of our top contributors in the private community, Miracle Wanzo from HipUndies.com.

And Miracle has got a really cool story. It’s probably her knowledge about eCommerce in terms of just knowing a lot about a lot of different areas in eCommerce, it’s probably one of the broadest and deepest that I know. She’s got a ton of expertise there.

So we get into her story, how she started her business, made the move from the corporate world over into eCommerce, her evolution from drop shipping to stocking her own products to branding. And we talked about some of the amazingly cheap Facebook clicks she was able to generate, as well as women entrepreneurship and what it’s like being a woman in a sometimes very male-dominated, at least in the online sense, for online marketing and eCommerce. It tends to sometimes be the case. We’ll get her thoughts on that as well. So fun discussion, I’m excited to bring that to you today.

One quick announcement before we dive in though. IRCE, one of the biggest eCommerce conferences in the U.S. at least annually, is going on in early June in Chicago, I think it’s the 2nd through the 4th. And if you’ll be in Chicago, I haven’t been before, I will be going this time, looking forward to checking it out.

It’s traditionally been a conference that’ a little bit geared toward to larger retailers, bigger brands. We’re talking mid-seven or mid-eight, sometimes nine figures. Big, big companies online. But there’s a lot of independent merchants that on their own business as well that end up showing up a lot of applicable information, of course, great networking.

And we’re going to be having an event for private forum members who are out there. A limited capacity, it’s going to be a little bit smaller, a little more intimate open bar and appetizers on Wednesday evening, June 3rd. So if you’re in the forum, check out all the details there. We’d love to have you there. If you’re not and you’ve been interested, join up. We’d love to have you. It’ll be great to connect.

And even if you’re not in the forum, you’re going to be there. Ping me on Twitter, I’d love to hear from you, and potentially met up as well – @youderian. That’s why we all go out there is to meet up with other people doing cool stuff. So IRCE, June 2nd through the 6th should be a good time.

All right, let’s go ahead and dive into today’s discussion with Miracle Wanzo. Miracle, great to have you in the podcast. Thanks so much for coming on today.

Miracle: Thanks for having me on.

Andrew: I feel most embarrassed. You’ve been probably one, if not the most senior forum members. I know, you’re forum member of the year in 2014, you’ve added a ton. And it’s surprising, I haven’t had you on until now. Actually, I think it’s the first time we’ve actually had the chance to just talk, if I’m not mistaken. So it’s crazy. You think about online, you can have these relationships and feel like you know people really well over years and years without actually talking to them. It’s crazy.

Miracle: I know.

Andrew: But I’m excited to dive in to your life and your experience because you’ve got a ton. So just in a nutshell, can you give us a sense like what’s your back story? Obviously people know you for the couple of websites you have and eCommerce businesses. But how did you get started? How did you make the move into those and ultimately get to where you are today?

Getting Started in eCommerce

Miracle: I started selling on eBay and got to a point where I felt like . . . this is a long time ago. So I started selling on eBay in about ‘98. And maybe after a couple of years of that, I felt like the money that I was spending on eBay I can invest into having my own eCommerce website. So I did a few different things experimenting before I got into the lingerie business.

I started selling clothes and then I didn’t like the bulkiness but I like the industry. So I tried a couple of drop ship sites. And they actually did pretty okay and it let me really learn how to run an eCommerce store. And then when I felt like I wanted to get back into an inventory-based business, I went with lingerie because it’s still in the apparel industry but it’s not big and bulky and things are tiny and you can ship them easily.

Andrew: Yeah, very cool. So you were working in the corporate world before you got started, right?

Miracle: Yeah. I was working on a pharmaceutical company, and before then, a bank.

Andrew: Wow! Okay.

Miracle: So not in retail.

Andrew: And what was it? Was is it just you wanted to be your won boss? Was is it you always had the entrepreneurial bug? What was it that gave you the push to getting on online?

Miracle: It was both. I always wanted to be an entrepreneur. And then when I stated having children, I didn’t know beforehand that I wouldn’t want to go to work. I wanted to work from home. So it wasn’t something I planned for because I didn’t know that that’s what I was going to want to do. But once it happened and I decided I want to work from home, then that’s just the obvious choice.

Andrew: And today, you said you’ve come through from eBay to drop shipping to stocking your own stuff. And then you also have your own brand of lingerie as well, right?

Miracle: Yeah. I have a couple of brands. And I don’t really call them brands because when I started manufacturing the model that I looked at was the model that retail stores . . . A lot of people don’t realize it but when you go into a Macy’s or a Nordstrom, they probably have anywhere from six to a dozen brands that are “house brands,” that are just there private label brands, but a lot of people don’t know that those are privately label brands. So that’s what I was going after with having my own product lines.

Andrew: So in terms of the mix right now, what percentage of the stuff do you sell as your own brands that you’ve created and put your own name on? And what percentage is the existing brands that you’re reselling?

Miracle: I would say it’s getting close to 50-50 and I definitely want to get to a point where it’s probably like 90-10 or even 100% my own brands.

Selling Your Own Brand

Andrew: That’s cool. How did that migration work? I think I’m in that pace, needing to make that jump in the very near future in terms of starting to sell my own stuff and looking to do it alongside . . . I’m selling a lot of other brands right now. Was that something where it was harder than you’ve thought in terms of getting customers to buy your brands? Or did you see that just as a result of just having a decent product, print your name on it, and putting it alongside your catalog along other items, people just naturally bought it and it worked that way?

Miracle: It’s interesting because I think in apparel, it’s a little bit different because the niche brands occur frequently. It’s not like I’m trying to sell a tablet or a phone or something like that. So someone who shops in this market often will go in a retail store and pickup a product line that they’ve never heard of before. A lot of it’s brand-driven but still, there’s a lot of room for new brands or unique brands or quirky brands.

So I think to answer your question, it’s really a matter of making sure that you get enough eyeballs on the product. Because if someone is looking for, for example, a pair of pajamas, and you have a cute pair of pajamas with a cute print, and you can assure them that the quality is good, that they’re not going to get something that falls apart, then the reluctance to try it, even if they’ve never heard of the brand, in my opinion, isn’t that high in the clothing category.

Andrew: What I can see is maybe the visuals and the ascetics, great designs, of course, great photography to show that up, how do you convey quality of materials? Is it in the copy? Because I’m guessing, I could be wrong. I don’t buy a lot of lingerie, but I’m guessing most people probably aren’t super familiar with other different grades of fabric and silk and things that you use. So how do you convey that quality apart from the pictures in terms of the durability?

Miracle: Right. You reference it in terms of what they maybe expecting from another brand that you’re familiar with. So for a lot of women, in lingerie, it’s fit and comfort. And maybe, if depending upon the fabric, there are fabrics that have issues with being washed. Even if they’re hand-washed, a lot of them can really be fragile and fall apart. And so you can just explain that it’s durable, it’ll last through machine washing. If it that’s tough, it won’t snag, won’t run. Just little things like that that you learn to pickup what people have issues with with your product lines.

And then you also know yourself. Because there are products that I have, I’ve probably worn most of the brands that I carry so I know firsthand what has an issue with what. Even though I know people buy it, and they wear it, and it’s the brand that people love, I know what the issues are with that brand, or that fabric, or the fit or the quality.

Andrew: When you first branched out and started do your own brand, it’s a big leap for a lot of people, I think, mentally. Was that something where it was pretty easy for you to go and then make that leap, start making your own stuff, a lot easier that you thought? Or was it a lot more difficult than you thought it was going to be from the outset?

Miracle: It was so much more difficult than I thought it was going to be. And even to this day, I have a love-hate relationship with it. I was a bit naive. And what happens is when buy a bunch of lines, you see a lot of similarity in the styles and the fabrics. And I literally thought like, okay, there’s got to be a place in L.A. that’s like the generic lingerie manufacturer, and I could just go there and say, “I want this style and that style and these colors,” because I saw so much similarity across lines that I thought, surely, there’s some place down there that’s churning this out. So I was a little bit naive.

And then, when I got into it and had the manufacture, I don’t like the process. I still don’t like the process to this day. Because there were too many nuances that I wasn’t aware of that I didn’t like, I didn’t know. I mean, I’d give questions. I used a sewing contractor here in San Francisco and one in China. And the one in San Francisco will call and ask me like, “Your buttonholes are on the wrong side. Are you sure you want them on that side?” I’m like, “What? Buttonholes have a side?”

And there’s so many little things that I had to learn and I don’t like it. But on the flip side, it’s not all bad. And I think, apparel is probably easier than a lot of other categories because I don’t have to pay $80,000 for a mold or something like that. It’s pretty simple compared to manufacturing other things to get up and running. But I don’t like the process. And no, it wasn’t as easy as I thought it was going to be. And I may have been a bit naive with what I thought it would be like.

Logistics Behind Running a Brand

Andrew: Maybe that’s a good thing. It’s always good to be naive and get started as opposed to being scared away and never taking that plunge. What’s your infrastructure look like today. And by infrastructure, I mean, do have a team that’s working with you? Do you have a warehouse of your own that you keep a lot of the standard? Do you use like a 3PL if it’s little? What’s your infrastructure and your team look like?

Miracle: So I thought about that question and I guess it kind of technically could be a warehouse. I’m in a light industrial building. I call it an office but from the landlord’s perspective, it’s not an office because it doesn’t have exterior windows. But the building itself is about 90% warehouse, but I have maybe like 500 or 750 square feet of space because the items are really, really tiny. I guess you could say it’s an office but it’s in the light industrial area.

And then I work from home mostly. I don’t work out of the office mostly because it is light industrial, and I use that for small things. And I use Amazon also for larger things because they just have such huge advantages with their shipping lines. And then I have a few people outsourced to work from home.

Andrew: So if you have an order that comes in for something at the warehouse, do you ship out of the warehouse or do you use it just as a holding bay to get stuff to Amazon and back and forth?

Miracle: No, I ship small things. So if it’s a pair of underwear, a body shaper, or something small that can go in a poly mailer, then that comes out of there. If it’s something that needs to go in a box, like a robe or something probably laying about 2 pounds or more, that’s at Amazon.

Andrew: What’s working really well for you, Miracle, right now in terms of traffic generation, in terms of conversion in the business today?

Miracle: For the past year, I’ve been focusing on paid traffic because when I started . . . in the old days, SEO was . . . I don’t want to say that you can guarantee that you get something out of SEO but you almost could, like you knew if you did certain things with the SEO that you will get the traffic, and we all know it’s not like anymore.

So I started really focusing on paid traffic and understanding how to make sure that I have a well-setup website that’s easy navigate and really watching the funnel, the conversion funnel for paid traffic. Because once you get that nailed down and you know what to expect at each part of the process, then you can just go ahead and buy more traffic, and still have your organic SEO, but you don’t have as much control. And even this to this day, you don’t have as much influence over how much traffic you can get from organic search.

The Power of Facebook Ads

Andrew: So when you say paid traffic, is there a certain channel that’s working really well for you? Facebook or AdWords, or retargeting – what are you using?

Miracle: I’m using Facebook mostly, Google Shopping, retargeting which is weird because I think some forms of retargeting are better than others. And sometimes I feel like in some instances, retargeting for a product and site may need a little bit micromanagement than a lot of the retargeting providers have available. And I have had a Pinterest Ads account for probably 3 to 4 weeks by now, which is still in beta.

Andrew: Pinterest seems to be a perfect fit for your business.

Miracle: It is, but it’s so beta. And I’ve never used anything that was on beta before like this, like an app platform in beta. So it will be interesting to see how it evolves over time and how rapidly it evolves. But it’s cumbersome at this point because everything has to be done manually. It’s not like there are any APIs or any tools to do a bulk pin or bulk ads or something like that. So it’s a slow process to get everything up on Pinterest.

Andrew: So out of all those, you mentioned Facebook, you mentioned Google Shopping, retargeting, is there one that’s giving you a noticeably better return on your ad spend than the others?

Miracle: So I would say in terms of returns on ad spend, I think Google Shopping is the best in terms of percentages. But because it’s in temp phase, in my opinion, there tends to be a threshold on how much traffic you can get. Facebook doesn’t have as good of a return on ad spend as Google does but it does have a ton more traffic, in my opinion, for what I’m doing because there’s only so much search traffic you’ll get for things. But with Facebook, you can get so much more traffic depending upon how you can think to spend your targeting and your ad positioning.

Andrew: So you have the bandwidth on Google Shopping. You dump it all into there but Facebook gives you a lot more volume. Even if you’re not making as much per sale, you can drive so many more sales, in fact.

Miracle: Yeah. I really do believe that. And I think a lot of people in eCommerce have not really rolled up their sleeves and gotten into Facebook because it’s such a quirky platform and it’s a little tough and it’s always changing. But in terms of having they people, they definitely do. And they just recently had a developer conference last week and so they definitely understand the position that they’re in with regards to eCommerce merchants. So they’re adding a lot more features to their platform to make that transition from ad or organic post to purchase a lot smoother.

Andrew: How are you doing that? I was talking to Ezra actually yesterday. He has a really unique way of using where it’s not a hard sell, you know, post something on a timeline and hard sell product. You post an informational article which brings people to an opt-in, and then he upsells the product eventually. And I’ve heard a lot of merchants . . we’ve talked tons in the forums about this, too, like, it’s tough! I mean, there’s maybe handful of markets where Facebook and Facebook advertising works really well for peer eCommerce play but a lot merchants have trouble with it. So how are you structuring that? Are you sending people right to product pages or are you just trying build up a fan base? What’s your strategy for using paid traffic on Facebook to drive sales?

Miracle: That’s a really good question. So I have a few different things that I’m playing with. For the most part, most people go straight to product page or a modified product page that’s laid out, a little more like a landing page. What I sell is not really something that you really have to think about. It’s either you’re familiar with that brand or you wear this or you don’t. It’s not really a considered purchase or a researched purchase.

For the most part, these are people who are replenishing what they’ve already had because it wears out and you have to get new ones or they’re buying gifts. For this specifically, I don’t think the information opt-in funnel sequence is the right strategy so I don’t use that one for this specific product. But I do see with other products how that would be the way to go, but not for what I have. So yes, I do send them straight to the product page and I really monitor the conversion based on the ads, so forth and so on.

And then another strategy that I’ve been playing around with for opt-ins is to offer something for free and a giveaway to take opt-ins for that. And that has varied between about 12 and 22 cents per opt-in. Now, the strategy that I’ve used is to . . . and this one is a little tricky and I don’t know what I’m going to do with this one but I think it someone explained it to me and I think it’s an interesting way to go.

If you have something that doesn’t cost very much but has a high perceived value, what a few people are playing with in some of the Facebook groups that I’m in is offering that item for free with the customer only paying for the shipping and handling. And then, putting them into a funnel for either a continuity program or upselling them other items. So it would be similar to a loss leader but the goal is really to not completely lose, just find something that is inexpensive but has a high perceived value.

Andrew: Let’s just backtrack a little bit. You said you were getting opt-ins at like 22 cents or 12 cents an opt-in. And so I’m guessing you’re driving traffic to a landing page on your site where you’ve got an email address maybe for a guide or something like that to get people on your list. I’m guessing even if you did that, let’s say a third of people who landed on your page opt-in, which I don’t know what’s the rough estimate, that means if you’re getting 12 cents an opt-in, that’s like . . are you driving people to your website on Facebook for like 4 cents a click?

Miracle: Oh, I see where you’re going with that.

Andrew: I’m thinking conversation. I’m like, “Man, that was cheap!”

Miracle: You can actually get traffic pretty cheap if you’re doing something like a giveaway, you can actually get it pretty cheap. When you understand how Facebook works, then it makes a whole lot of sense. So just in a nutshell, this is how you have to think about Facebook, because I think a lot of people add in so much information that it gets convoluted. And to really get people to understand it at its core level, it’s really simple. But once you get it, you’re like, aha! And it can take a while to really get it because people are always using the wrong words and it drives me nuts.

So Facebook is pay-per-impression platform, no matter what. Because people will say, “Oh, you can bid for clicks. You can bid for conversions.” You pay for an impression. And that cost can be anywhere from a penny to a penny and a-penny-and-a-half on average. The more activity your ad gets, if it’s a newsfeed ad, it’s very, very complicated so there’s not like a straight path, but in general, if you can get an ad with a lot of activity, you get a better CPM price. So now, you know that, right? So let’s just say you can get an ad with really good activity going and your CPM is at $5 . . .

Andrew: And CPM is cost per a thousand impressions, right?

Miracle: Yes. Now, what you have to do is you have to make sure that your ad is good enough to get a high click-through rate. And in my experience, the biggest influence on your click-through rate is your photo. It’s not necessary that you have to have a great photo, and sometimes you have to play around it. And I don’t use scammy photos. It’s not like I’m selling diet pills or anything like that so I’m using those crazy, exaggerated photos. It’s not like that. But you really have to play around. And sometimes it’s a matter of having a product on a brightly colored background as opposed to white to really make sure that it pops out in the newsfeed. And you can always put multiple ads into one ad set and Facebook will optimize for the one that gets the highest click-through rate.

So it’s a little bit of a game. You know that you’re going to pay a certain amount for impressions. Let’s get the click-through rate and you can see early on where you’re at, like you can put something up on Facebook in the morning. Come back at noon or 2 o’clock and get a pretty good feel for whether or not you’re going to get a good click-through for the duration of that campaign. As long as you’re not on a day, like a Monday or something where it’s difficult, but if you’re like on a Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, so forth, you get a pretty good feel by noon or 2 o’clock if that’s working.

And if it’s not working, you swap it out for another photo, come back and look at that the next day. And if that’s not working, you just keep going until you find one that works. And if you do that, and you get enough activity and engagement coming through, then your CPM starts to drop over time as it optimizes. So you actually can get really cost-effective Facebook traffic when you understand how the system works and you can play to its trends.

Andrew: And now I know what I’m going to title this episode, 4-Cent Clicks on Facebook with Miracle Wanzo. You can tell I’ve dabbled on Facebook but haven’t delved nearly as deeply as you have, but if you’re thinking about using Facebook at a cost-per-click, you’re thinking about it wrong. You should be thinking about it as paying for a CPM, the impressions base as like banner ad and then making sure that your ad performs really, really, really well to maximize that CPM. And then you’re not paying for clicks, you’re just paying for the impressions and then making sure it just really performs at then top.

Miracle: And then there’s another thing that I’ve been doing that I think I like better, again, another strategy from these Facebook groups, is one of the things that I’ve tried that I really like is if you’re trying to do some content marketing is to put making ad for your content on Facebook, and then run that traffic because you can get that traffic really cheap. Like I said, great picture and content is definitely more headline-driven than something else like an opt-in. But using that retargeting audience now is your audience to run the ads to.

Andrew: Oh, so the people that have come to your site in the past, now you can market to them, market content specifically to them and it’s cheaper than it otherwise would be?

Miracle: Right. So you use the content to get them in. This is probably similar to what Ezra does. I just don’t have a “funnel” in place. But you use the content to get them to your site. And because that’s filtered, they click through your content, they read it, then now, you can run ads to them on retargeting.

Andrew: Oh, I see. Got you, okay. That makes sense. Because I had it backwards. So you don’t send content to the people that have been on your site . . .

Miracle: You use the content to get them there and then you send them the product.

Andrew: Got you. And then you can make the audience of just the people who have seen and retarget to them. Perfect.

Miracle: Yeah.

Life As A Female Entrepreneur

Andrew: Got you. Miracle, just curious a little bit. You’ve built this amazing business while being a mom, which is one of the reasons you got into eCommerce in the first place. Just speaking candidly being an entrepreneur on eCommerce space, I mean, at least it’s looking like a lot of the store owners that I interact with in the forum, the private forum membership, it’s predominantly male. I was talking with Laura, our community manager, about this, it’s probably like 5 or 6 to 1.

And got this message from someone recently running a business as a mom. She just wrote in and said, “In my entrepreneurial circles, I’m the only woman and the only mom. And I almost always feel out of the loop as I don’t really think anyone relates to my life even remotely at all.” It’s not something people talk about a lot and I’d love to hear, was this a struggle for you at all getting started? Or was it not an issue? And if it was, how did you deal with it?

Miracle: Yeah. So I ran this by a couple of my friends because I have two really good friends, we’re all women. Me and another friend both have a child or more, and the other one doesn’t have a child. And we generally, even me, myself, I don’t really like mom groups. I’m in one women entrepreneurs group and that’s the only one, and I don’t really like the mom groups, and I know this is a little bit not politically correct to say, but I don’t want to be necessarily around people who have my same background and my same experiences and who can relate to my life. Because then, I’m not getting the benefit of someone else’s experience and someone else’s path.

I actually like being in the groups with guys because my industry is very . . . it’s not even predominantly female because there are a lot of sales reps and people who are guys. But I find there are differences in perspective that guys have, especially because, in my opinion, I think men are socialized very, very differently than women. And you can see that when it comes to business. And I like having the benefit of the experience of others and the different perspective of others.

So it was never an issue for me because I felt like if I was in a group of a bunch of moms, and I do have friends who are moms and who have businesses, but in terms of when I go into these eCommerce groups that are very, very specific niche groups . . . I’ve been in a couple masterminds from the Dynamite Circle and usually the only woman and that’s fine with me because I don’t want to have the benefit of a bunch of experiences that are 50%, 60%, 70% some of it are mine. I want to get the experience of someone who has a totally completely different thing going on because I like that kind of diversity. So it’s never really been an issue for me.

Andrew: You mentioned that men and women are socialized differently. What did you mean by that?

Miracle: A good example of this is I think because women tend to manage household finances, we’re very, very, in most cases, thrifty when it comes to money. And so a lot of times, I notice especially when we talk about things like ads, and things like that, a lot of women are very, very tight with their budget on ads that I see even in the groups that I belong to, whereas guys are a little bit more loose and they’ll spend more money once they understand how much money they’re going to spend versus how much revenue they’re going to get.

And I had someone who’s coaching me on running the paid traffic. And I mentioned that to him that I think that it’s a difference in socialization since women tend to control household budgets, it’s a little scary to start spending a lot of money every single day on paid traffic. And he laughed because his assistant who sets up his campaigns is the same way. And he’s always having to tell her, “Spend more money, spend more money,” and sometimes she still doesn’t spend enough and he has to go in there and modify the budgets himself.

And I think that’s one of the ways that you see a difference on how we’re socialized and how that impacts you in business. And even when I look at the forum, you tend to see guys . . . I don’t want to say that they’re less risk averse but they’re definitely probably more willing to put more money at risk, so to speak, than a lot of women are, and they’re definitely willing to go bigger, for the most part.

Andrew: That’s maybe a net advantage if we’re taking broad stokes for some guys, be a little more willing to take risks. What’s something that maybe on entrepreneurship that us guys could really benefit from in terms of just our makeup and, again, speaking very generally here, but things that maybe a female entrepreneur does really well, that we could take some cues from that traditionally, we’re pretty terrible at?

Miracle: I think women are better at nuance, so to speak. And I think a lot of guys don’t see the nuance and I think there are a lot of cases where nuance can be really important. I’ve worked on projects with other guys and when they see something like a product or brand, sometimes, even if it’s something that they are more familiar with, like it’s not like a guy is trying to sell something that’s really a woman’s product and he doesn’t understand it, there’s a big picture focus, and sometimes a lot of lack of appreciation for the way that nuance makes a difference in a market or in building a brand. That’s a broad generality. But I think that’s one of the things that guys can pick up from women. I think because women are probably just more in tune with that.

Andrew: We may get some mail and some comments on this one, Miracle. You have to dive in with me and back the replies if we get them.

Miracle: Yeah, I’m sure.

Andrew: No, it’s good though. It’s something that doesn’t get talked about a lot but it’s an important issue. I wish we have more time to dive into it because . . . we could probably do a whole episode on it. But I want to ask quickly before we’re out of time here, what’s coming up for you in the future? Do you have plans to grow these two sites that you have now and just keep growing those or are you planning on branching out into anything differently? Is there anything that you’re looking to do differently in the future given the changes you’re seeing in eCommerce? What’s coming down the pipe for you?

Miracle: If there’s anything I would be looking to do differently, I think what I would be looking to do differently . . . when I got started, I was driven by the product, like this is what I sell. And I think at this point, I want to be driven more by the process, having the ability to setup a website with a really optimized conversion, with a really good funnel. Like I said, I don’t have that, because I know that Ezra has that kind of setup, so that if I have opportunities to either buy or make or private-label a product that I can just put that product into the pipeline and know that I can go from startup to revenue in a certain amount of time.

Andrew: So really, just get more systemized with bringing new products to market for you, it sounds like.

Miracle: Yeah, absolutely. Because I think that there are a lot of opportunities and I run across like a lot of opportunities and a lot of really great products to sell, but I don’t necessarily have the setup to get that up and running without, you know, a lot of just work and wasted time and wasted energy. But if the process was more streamlined, I’d be positioned to take advantage of those opportunities.

Andrew: Miracle, it’s been such a pleasure having you in the forum. Thank you. You’ve made so many contributions there. I really appreciate it and I appreciate you coming on and talking about your story and Facebook and female entrepreneurship. It’s been fun to dive into this. Thanks.

Miracle: Thank you.

Andrew: That’s going to do it for this week. But if you’re interested in launching your own eCommerce store, download my free 55-page e-book on niche selection and getting started. And if you’re a bit more experienced, look into the eCommerceFuel private forum. It’s a vetted community for store owners with at least $4,000 in monthly sales or industry professionals with at least a year or more experience in the eCommerce space. You can learn more about both the e-book and the forum at eCommerceFuel.com. Thanks so much for listening and I’m looking forward to seeing you again next Friday.

What Was Mentioned

Photo: Flickr/Henry Jose

Post tagged in: Entrepreneur Profiles, Podcast, Product Sourcing & Design, Starting a New Store

12 Comments

  1. Hey Miracle and Andrew! Great episode and one that really hits home for me. It’s rare to see a podcast talking about clothing production.

    I too run a clothing business where we design and sell 100% of our own products. Miracle’s thoughts on how difficult or challenging garment production is was spot on. I’m the production manager (one of many hats) for my biz while my wife handles customer service and many other things.

    Garment production is challenging. I came into the business and market with ZERO background in the garment game and learned it all very quickly with a few books and being taught by pattern makers and production vendors as we started out. There are a ton of moving parts in getting sewn products made from scheduling months in advance for the fashion seasons, ordering fabric and inputs, samples, markers, cutting, sewing, packaging, warehousing, and finally being able to sell on your channels. Just over two years in and I’m still learning important things every production run and improving my processes as well as improving my relationships with my suppliers and vendors.

    One book helped out tremendously in learning the technicals of production was “The Entrepreneurs Guide to Sewn Product Manufacturing”. Miracle have you read it? I saw a Amazon review that might have been by you.

    Miracle, two questions:

    1) Are you still in the DC? I looked around for you but couldn’t find your profile. I’d love to talk about fashion business and manufacturing some time with you.

    2) You spoke about paid advertising, specifically FB ads, and the importance of image testing. I’m just starting out and paying a firm to handle all my online ads. As we begin they are requesting images to become ads and I’m feeling overwhelmed where to start. There are so many variables on what could go right or wrong with ads, like the copy, headlines, and the images. Is getting the correct images for newsfeed ads an important place to start? Are you finding success with product images, or lifestyle images, or images with CTA buttons, or like you mentioned bold colored backgrounds? Any suggestions where to start?

    Thanks guys and really enjoyed listening in.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Jeremy! Thanks for listening! I’ll ping Miracle to make sure she knows about your questions, but I believe she’s in the SF Bay area now.

  2. Jeremy, Miracle has read “The Entrepreneurs Guide to Sewn Product Manufacturing”.

    Do a google search; she wrote some of the best content ever published on the web for the Fashion-Incubator.com site. You can also find her content in the F-I forum; search by author.

    Thanks for the kudos.

    Kathleen Fasanella
    (author of The Entrepreneurs Guide to Sewn Product Manufacturing)

  3. Great episode.For a successful business building a brand is an important thing.You raised some good points in the discussion especially the power of facebook. Promoting your business in a professional way is really an art.

  4. Very much enjoyed this episode. However, I have my doubts about Miracle’s idea of selling a garment at cost or below cost to gather email addresses. Although we’ve never done this specifically, we have experimented with giveaways and it usually attracts tons of people who want stuff for free… but not paying customers. I’d be curious to learn if Miracle has a similar problem with this proposal. Great interview!

  5. Thank you Miracle (and Andrew)-

    I enjoyed/learned from this podcast. Thank you again.