One thing that we have found to be extremely valuable is the subtle art of testing out ideas. And not just the "hey, I have a really cool idea that will definitely work" idea but the "hey, I have a pretty regular idea - and it might work, but it can also blow up in our face a lead to nowhere" idea.
Such an idea was to sell candles, and we were completely shooketh that it actually worked. So here are some main take aways to help encourage you to turn your ideas into a game plan.
TAKE AWAY #1: TAKE NOTES FROM THE COMPETITION (aka competitive analysis)
As creatives, I think we can get intimidated (or down right petrified) of coming off as a "copy cat" when it comes to our personal creative ideas or taste. We want to believe that our creative content, whether photo, video, graphics, music or all of the above, is completely unique and 100% self-inspired, but the brutal and honest truth is that's just not the case, and to be completely frank, nobody cares. This was a big pill for us to swallow when we first came to this realization, and we still find ourselves struggling with this truth, but it has also relieved the (unnecessary) emotional pressure that we tend to place on ourselves. With these invisible barriers removed, we can focus on asking leading questions instead of dead end questions. Here's a quick example:
Let's say you come across some dope photographers who sell their own makeup. Now you have two options. You can either ask a dead end question like: "Dang! That's so smart. Why didn't I think of that?" OR you can ask a leading question like: "Dang! That's so smart. How can I possibly do that too?"
Notice how both questions start off exactly the same, but their ending are very different. As you can see, the dead end question ends the inner monologue with your self while the other leaves it open just enough for you to potentially "steal it" and put your own creative spin on it.
This is literally what we did with our candles. We saw some fellow photo and video peeps that were also selling their own candles. We took notes. Observed what we liked vs what we didn't like. Brainstormed ways to make it our own and true to who we were. Utilized our connections (shout out to Dennis at The Candle Pour for the candle advice and hook up). Then boom. Our very own Coconut Fire Candle. [obviously this is very simplified but just want to show case that the actual steps aren't too wild to do yourself].
TAKE AWAY #2: SYSTEMS ARE KEY! (get yo' steps in order)
Once we started getting sales in from our candles we needed to come up with a system, or a series of steps, in order to make sure that we got every candle to every buyer. You may be thinking, "well they buy a candle and then you give it to them" and to some extent you are correct. But when it comes to selling a product, the overall experience (packaging, little hand written notes, how the customer felt when first smelling their coconut fire candle) are all major factors that come into play. Knowing all of this before hand, Marissa and I got our flow on. This is the overall breakdown:
Film / Shoot + Edit all marketing content for Coconut Fire Candles
Create copy for each unique piece of content / website
Keep all online orders unfulfilled until either hand delivered or shipped
Package all candles for delivery the day prior (hand write notes, tie them on, place in bags / boxes, etc.)
Create delivery route via Google Maps the day prior
Ship all candles outside of Tampa area using Pirate Ship for best pricing
Hand deliver each candle in Tampa Area giving them a 20 minute heads up that their Coconut Fire Candle is on the way via Instagram
Repost and say thank you to all the peeps who share their candle on their IG story
Respond to any new peeps who are interested in purchasing their very own Coconut Fire Candle
Repeat steps 2 to 10
Basically what we are trying to say is, if you don't have systems for your creative schedule/ business, then you are making your life 10x more harder than it needs to be. By having a physical product to sell, it showed us that we could create a process to land more potential clients when it came to photo or video work, instead of trying to figure out what we should be doing on a day to day basis.
TAKE AWAY #3: LOSING IS UNDERRATED (learn from mistakes)
This take away has probably been our favorite so far in our "Dos Cocos Locos journey". And as cliche as it sounds, losing isn't that bad (and we actually recommend it from time to time).
Our first experience with buying things in bulk and trying to re-sell them was at our 3rd Coco Loco Pop Up [creative meet up where models, photographers + videographers come together and have a DOPE time] where we bought 50 shirts in hopes to help fund some of the expenses involved with this particular event that we were hosting. We are proud to say that we sold 2. One to our friend from church (shout out to you Steven) and one to Marissa's mom. It was a rough blow to our ego and quickly put us in check. So when we learned that we had to buy our first batch of 36 candles, it can go without saying that we were more than a little nervous.
BUT. We pulled the trigger. Used our stimulus check. And went for it!
And we sold out. Twice.
Like we said before. We were shooketh. The positive feedback that we got from our crazy candle idea made it all worth it. The L (loss) of having 48 of the same shirt in different sizes in our closet serves as a lesson on what works and what doesn't when trying to market a product to an audience. It proved to us that we actually did learn something from that major loss and that we do know some stuff when it comes to business. So please. If you are currently experiencing an L, know that you are in good company and that in the future you will be thankful for it (or at least it wasn't as bad as you thought it was when you were going through it).
We hope this blog post was able to encourage you to be bold when coming up with ideas and serves as an overall guide on how to break down that idea so you can make it a reality. Feel free to reach out to us via instagram @DosCocosLocos or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep being awesome!
The Dos Cocos Locos