Entrepreneur, Getting Started

How to Create a One-on-One Experience When You Sell Physical Products Online with Jordan Ellis of Jordandené

How to Create a One-on-One Experience When You Sell Physical Products Online with Jordan Ellis of Jordandené

Episode 061: Show Notes

Today on the podcast, we have Jordan Ellis of Jordandené. Oh my gosh, this girl! She is so awesome. We have known Jordan for what feels like forever, but really it has only been two years. She was the first student ever for both of us, and since then, Jordan has gone on to grow a giant geek-chic business where she sells goods of all different types. She has shirts and aprons and the cutest little kids clothes ever and it just warms our hearts to see how much she has been able to accomplish in just two years, and she shares so much knowledge with us today, all about growing a product-based business online.

Today on the podcast, we have Jordan Ellis of Jordandené. Oh my gosh, this girl! She is so awesome. We have known Jordan for what feels like forever, but really it has only been two years. She was the first student ever for both of us, and since then, Jordan has gone on to grow a giant geek-chic business where she sells goods of all different types. She has shirts and aprons and the cutest little kids clothes ever and it just warms our hearts to see how much she has been able to accomplish in just two years, and she shares so much knowledge with us today, all about growing a product-based business online.  |  The Strategy Hour  |  Think Creative Collective

She talks to us about the changes that her business has made since she first started on Etsy way back in the day, how she is now on Squarespace, and how that works for her. She also shares the mission behind her business, how she creates an experience for her customers, a unique way for her to have scarcity in a product-based business, how blogging works for her, and all about hiring your first employee. She goes deep and gives some tips for those who are just getting started in the product world as well as those who are wanting to up-level what they already have.

Starting A Product-Based Business in 2015

In 2015, Jordan was pretty much only selling on Etsy, which was the only place that she could actually get sales to happen. At that point, she’d had her own site for about a year or two, but it just was not doing anything for her business. Along with Etsy sales, Jordan was doing events that were only just breaking even for her, if at all. Things were just NOT working. That was the sort of scary thing about being in business then, just relying purely on the ever-changing Etsy monster that was slowly working less and less, and constantly trying to figure it out every time they changed or updated their system. To make up for the lack of sales and business she was having, Jordan nannied for families in New York City just to get by.

The Recipe For Running a Profitable Business

We all know that there really is no true recipe for success because every business and opportunity is so unique. However, for Jordan, it really was a few “key ingredients” that truly enabled her to finally run a profitable business. Prior to starting her business, Jordan was a teacher, so she had no real business background to rely on. It all started with the first business course that she ever took, which was Marie Forleo’s B-School. Before that, she had no idea about any of the steps that it took to run a business. Her main strategies consisted of Googling everything and basically just making stuff up along the way. B-School helped push her towards realizing that she needed to transition her business from a hobby to a full-time business, and learn what things to keep track of and how to keep track of them.

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I’d almost rather not sell things, than sell things that just never get used.
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A Behind-the-Scenes Peek into the Eco-Friendly Jordandené

As far as the materials go, Jordan does everything possible to use materials that are the best quality and that also have the best impact on the environment. When she is screen printing, Jordan uses the most eco-friendly, water-based ink that she can get her hands on, and all of her packaging is from a sustainable company called EcoEnclose, which uses all recycled materials. For Jordan, she does not want a business that just throws more plastic and garbage out into the world. That is the most challenging aspect of sourcing the materials, especially because the easiest and most accessible options to choose are all made of plastic. Finding things that aren’t plastic takes a little more time and a little more effort.

Using Squarespace For a Physical, Product-Based Business

One thing that Jordan has found through working with Squarespace is that it’s not great if you want to add on other plugins. Whenever you hear of a really amazing new plugin, it almost never works on Squarespace yet. This is just something that Jordan has accepted. If you are a big business, you can do certain things, and if you are a small business you can do other things. Wherever you are, there are things that you can do super well. So own those, and do them really well. There are things that Squarespace is great at, so the key is to focus on those functionalities and not to worry about the things it cannot do well.

Creating a Memorable Experience for Your Customers

Because of the size of Jordan’s business, there were some things she just could not do because it was not big enough. However, there were also really cool things she could well do because it was so small. She kept thank you cards ready and whenever she had a break in business, she would just go through her orders and write thank you postcards a month or two later. This is something above and beyond that a lot of other product-based businesses are not doing, and it is not expensive. Another thing that Jordan likes to do is to send extra things inside of all her packages. She’s added everything from temporary tattoos with the designs, to stickers, to buttons. The extra costs are easily rolled into your prices, and it is a great way to retain customers and stand out in a memorable way.

Building In a Scarcity Within Your Product-Based Business

In Jordan’s business, she started this fun program called “T-shirt of the month club”. One of the main reasons for this was to create a scarcity and a limited time offer to use as a sales tactic to encourage her customers to buy. However, this was not only a clever sales tactic, but also created additional social media content, and a guarantee of a new product “launch” every month. This took a huge weight off of Jordan’s shoulders and gave here the ability to work around her physical space limitations while still bringing in new product cycles.

Highlights

  • Jordan shares what her business is like now compared to when she started, way back in 2015. [0:04:29.0]
  • Find out what allowed Jordan to finally run a successful business that actually made money. [0:06:32.7]
  • Take a look into the behind-the-scenes, day-to-day processes that Jordan implements in her company. [0:09:24.3]
  • Get the tips and insight into using a Squarespace site for running a product-based business.  [0:12:32.4]
  • Learn how to create a stand-out, memorable experience for your customers by doing something special. [0:17:19.7]
  • Find out how Jordan creates “scarcity” within her business, which encourages customers to buy. [0:21:03.2]

#TalkStrategyToMe [0:46:49.9]

  1. Just raise your prices — you are always worth more than your first price.

  2. Track your numbers.

  3. Add as much value related to your product, that is not your product, as you can.

Today’sGuest

Jordan Ellis

Jordandené

Website | Instagram | Facebook

Jordandené started as a fun way to put a nerdy twist on traditional handmade goods. Our first product, the geek chic apron, makes all mundane household tasks a little more tolerable. Even the worst chores (dishes!) get better when you do them as Batman or R2D2, right? Not wanting to be confined to the kitchen, we now make all kinds of subtly geeky products that stay true to our deepest nerdy selves, yet aren’t too extreme for everyday life. We focus on combining a few of our favorite things with good design and quality materials. No cheap plastic, comic sans, or boxy graphic tees here.

We’d be lying if we said settling in Brooklyn didn’t affect the way we do business. We try to keep our process as eco-friendly as possible — from the inks we choose to the way we package our products. And we've also adapted the strong community aspect of city living; we love working with other local businesses and strive to always take care of our partners and our customers.

KeyTopics

  • How business on Etsy has changed.

  • How to run a profitable business.

  • Day-to-day business processes.

  • Using Squarespace for a product-based business.

  • Creating the ideal customer experience.

  • Building scarcity in your product-based business.

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