How We Got Started
During the 2017 Virginia Tech football season, I wanted something new and
trendy to wear to football games. I combined my love for crafting and Virginia
Tech by making my first ever acid dyed shirt. The original shirt was
purchased from a thrift store for $4, and I wasn’t sure how it would look but to my
surprise, it turned out amazing! After posting pictures with the shirt on Snapchat,
my friends encouraged me to make more and start selling them through social
media. So I made a handful of shirts and sold them to some of my fellow Hokies.
After football season ended, I had about 30 shirts left, so in January, I decided to
post them on my craft Instagram page for people who missed out on them in the
fall. To my surprise, the shirts sold out within an hour. From then on, orders kept
coming in and I just kept taking them! I figured it would blow over in a week or so
but it never seemed to die down – sometimes I would even turn my phone on “Do
Not Disturb” mode when I was trying to go to sleep because all of the
notifications were so overwhelming. It’s like one day; I woke up and had a
Word of Mouth - It's How We Grew!
After just two weeks of posting that initial post on @justvickythingz, I had sold
over 200 shirts and I realized I was outgoing my college apartment’s bathroom
that had been my workspace until then. When I realized my hobby was
turning into a business, I got a website and a business license. I worked on
outreach and spreading awareness about the brand through emails, messages
and cards to people all across the U.S. I am so thankful for my friends and family
who stepped up to help me on this journey by helping me make shirts (shoutout
to my mom), or sharing my posts on Facebook. I’ve learned a lot along the way
and I’m still learning! I was determined to succeed yet frightened by the unknown
and unfamiliar world of business.
Instagram Wasn't Enough
Just imagine, 200 shirt orders means responding to 200 instagram DMs. When I realized my “hobby” was turning into a business I got a website, justvickything.com, and a business license. I worked on outreach and spreading awareness about the brand. I sent tons of emails, text messages, and hand written post cards to friends and family members all over the US. My friends and families shared my posts and the orders kept coming in. I really had no idea how I had created a business, but I went with it. I learned along the way by watching TONS of youtube videos and reading lots of business articles. I had never taken a business class before so I was my own teacher. If I didn’t know something, I asked someone or I googled it. I was determined to succeed yet frightened by the unknowned and unfamliiar world of business. But I decided just to keep going and I did. I just kept working.
Expanding to Other Colleges
As people got their shirts, more orders started coming in from people who saw
other customers wearing my shirts around. It was amazing how much just word
of mouth expanded my reach! In the spring, I made shirts for students at Radford
University, James Madison University, Ohio University, George Mason
University, and a school in New Jersey (replace with name!). The news got
around fast and we grew faster than I could even think. It took me weeks to
realize I had accidentally created a business, doing exactly what I love to do in
my free time – crafting.