Sunday, June 23, 2013

Cat Pics All Day – Is It a Good Business Model?

So, in our earlier post, we went through how the business was started. Now it’s time to stay current, and let everyone know how it’s been going for the last few months. Which, unfortunately, has not been great. Far from it in fact. The complete opposite of how it was going to go in our heads. Within a few weeks, we had made ourselves business cards, started a Facebook page, and started posting in the Zazzle forums to try and get our name out there.

It worked! People had provided positive feedback in our comments section, we seemed to be getting a decent amount of traffic to our page, and we are now up to 41 likes on the Zazzle page! If that was our only measure of success, we would be saying were doing quite well for ourselves. But, like most businesses, profits do factor in there somewhere, and right now we have none. Zilch. Nada. A big fat goose egg in the sales department. What is going wrong? We have yet to figure that out. I know we aren’t professional graphic designers or anything. AND we didn’t go to school for business management, marketing, sales, etc. But come on, its cats! We even have a few designs made by a guest contributor (Quinn’s sister), and still nothing. These designs are super cute, and one has a unique vintage feel. If you’d like to see it on more products, let us know!
We definitely could use some constructive feedback, because we do want this to be successful and create cool designs that people enjoy. It’s not just about the money. It never was with this site, we just wanted to get out there and put our creative side of our brains to the test. Generally people have the “Oh, I could have done that” mentality, and we are guilty of that too, so instead of saying/thinking “We could have done that” we decided to change our attitude to “We did do that, we tried, we put ourselves out there”. Well, here we are. And we’d  like to think some of the stuff we have created is cute and fun. Granted, not everything is going to be purrfect, there is a learning curve after all, but without the sales letting us know which design style to go with, we are floating out there in Zazzle Limbo. And it is not a great feeling. So, if you’re a Zazzler, or a consumer, or both, if you like cats, or if you don’t like cats, please take a look at what we have and comment on our blog (Not the Zazzle page please). If you like what you see, letting us know by purchasing is even better!
Once we get established, we are hoping to get some different promotional ideas started.  One idea that we have tossed around is to have donations made to different animal foundations using the funds from the sales for a specific month or from a certain product. The donations would be made based on voting done right here on our blog! Unfortunately, we can’t start ideas like that yet without any money. And we don’t want to do something like that without getting an idea of what people would be happy purchasing. So, the dilemma continues. In the meantime, we are just continuing with the development of new designs in the hope that something eventually clicks, and we get out to the right audience.
To everyone who works hard and tries out their new ideas, we wish you the best of luck! Feel free to share your stories, we would love to hear them!

- Alice & Quinn

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Cat Pics All Day – The Beginning

Well, here it is.  This shall be our first discussion about the Zazzle business we started a couple of months ago.  It was one of those crazy evenings where you are in the right state of mind, eating nachos, and ideas just come to you.  Our meeting originally started off by discussing the algae oil business, you know, something smart and sciencey, and something that would make a difference in the world.  And we actually started coming up with some pretty good ideas to be tested for the extraction of oil from algae.  I think one idea involved a Ninja, but hey, we were trying.  (We will leave what type of Ninja up to your imagination.)  After, you know, 15 minutes, we were pretty sure we were on to something, and it sounded a heck of a lot better than what we do now.  And we decided, this was it, our golden ticket, and we would be “saving” the world in the process.  That is, of course, if the world was smart enough to listen.  This is still in debate.

The algae idea had been brewing with us for a couple of weeks at the point of meeting up for nachos.  We even bought a couple of books on entrepreneurship, the first step being “learning how to spell and pronounce entrepreneurship without using Google.”  (Spell check in Word wasn’t giving a correction option, we had spelled it so badly.)  So there we were with a couple of (brilliant) ideas in the bag for algae extraction, and no way to fund the ideas for small scale feasibility before going to investors.  AND that’s where we hit our first road bump.  Actually, it was more like the road had been torn in half and our little car couldn’t even pretend to attempt to get to the other side.  It was amidst this huge moment of crappy realization that we would never be able to afford to start a business when we had our next brilliant idea.  “Let’s fund our business by starting ANOTHER business!”  See, Quinn had already been working with Zazzle and designing shirts, and she made a WHOPPING $100 in the last couple of months of 2012, so that seemed like the perfect starting place.  But what kind of shirts could we possibly design that would afford us this great opportunity, one might ask?  Cat Shirts!  That’s right.  Grumpy Cat is so in right now, and people love the hilarious little creatures.  Plus, there’s like a 50/50 chance people will like cats, and the other 50% love their obvious indifference.  So, why not?

#Cat #Model

We started furiously writing down our shirt ideas immediately, and in between the writing, we were laughing (and probably sounded like mental patients to anyone remotely near us) because this idea is brilliant and there was no way it could fail.  Right?  Really guys, right?
Using Zazzle, there was no overhead cost to us, which was great, so everything we sold would automatically put us in the positives.  And so,* was born.  This was the beginning of our run of “Best Day EVER,” completely based on the ideas we came up with, and the immediate follow through of those ideas.  (The second idea came later after Quinn’s archery lesson where, over froyo, we decided we could totally turn archery into a profitable profession by being awesome and entering competitions.  HA.  Seriously though.)  We digress.

 About a week later, we had the site up and running with two pretty hilarious and awesome designs posted based on the evolution of species sequence.  For sure we couldn’t go wrong with this, right?  After all, that sequence of pictures is pretty popular and we were reinventing it with cats and funny catch phrases at the bottom.  Did we mention the cats?  See those designs here and let us know what you think (because we still haven’t sold a single one):

And, there it is folks.  The beginning of our business (Cat Pics All Day) created to fund our other business (Oil Extraction From Algae… We may need a better name) which is currently and indefinitely on hold until we actually get some decent funds (from CPAD).  Our fund is currently sitting steady at $0.00.  BUT we may even use the money to fund something else entirely! Who knows, we are kind of creative.  In any case, this is how it all started.  We still have faith though, and will continue to update with all the different approaches we take in our business ventures to grow and get our name out there!


-Alice & Quinn