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Discussion Starter #6
I am most curious about the way he gets the word out about himself.

There aren't a whole lot of press links. Mind you, NPR and WSJ, are good...but are they enough to keep it going for 1.2 mil a year? My own experience is that when there is press, my sales go way up. When there isn't, it slows. I have a little niche market, but do people go online and search for "cupcake t-shirts?''

The NPR link:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5618417


Fabulous fodder, I think.
 

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I am most curious about the way he gets the word out about himself.
It's possible that he does a lot of tradeshows, gets word of mouth from there. Maybe offline advertising to build the brand.

It would be neat if he joined the forum and shared some of his tips for success :)
 

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jdr8271 said:
Im actually disapointed after reading that article, that johnny cupcakes isnt as successfull as I though. His projected sales at 1.2 million is much lower than I thought especially with his high prices.
Now that's great marketing strategy, making your brand a lot bigger than it is and creating a trend.
 

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I really can't believe this guy made it so big - it really is like "the Emperor's New Clothes" like the person NPR said. Oh well, all the more reason any other T-shirt company should also be able to make it!
 

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It's possible that he does a lot of tradeshows, gets word of mouth from there. Maybe offline advertising to build the brand.

It would be neat if he joined the forum and shared some of his tips for success
Yea, I think we should recruit him...That would be awesome to have him on here. He's an even bigger star than you Rodney ;)
 

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Vtec44 said:
Now that's great marketing strategy, making your brand a lot bigger than it is and creating a trend.
That's essentially what he did. Johnny Cupcakes was somewhat cool, but not really big enough to justify his Newbury St address. He did it anyway, and the mere fact that he was there justified him being there :)
 

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I don't know how he got his store on Newbury St. in the first place, but it is the #1 street for shopping, strolling, and people watching in all of Boston. There are a lot of high end Armani places, as well as hipper individual boutiques, lots of sidewalk cafes, fancy restaurants, beautiful fashionable girls always walking around (WITH daddy's credit card). It is very high trafffic, hip (in the wealthy sense) and extremely high profile. The street is packed all day long and well into the night, and it's packed with people who are actively spending money. Once there all the people that you WANT to see you WILL see you and spread the word. You're pretty much automatically hip and known if you're on that street. He must have made a TON of money beforehand to get a store there. I have no doubt that if some donor paid for me to have a storefront there, I could make an absolute mint.:D
 

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Swing Easy said:
He must have made a TON of money beforehand to get a store there.
I don't think he did. I mean sure he was doing well, but not that well. I think more than anything he had the kind of business plan that makes a bank pay attention. I imagine lots of comparisons to Paul Frank were made ;)

According to the WSJ he only made $53,500 in 2004, and in 2005 his expenses exceeded his sales.

That said, the growth is pretty considerable for a two to three year period, so I can see why an investor would take notice.
 

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What I find interesting about this is that exponential growth can be achieved through viral and word of mouth marketing. I've loads of books on the subject and have just started re-reading Malcolm Gladwell's Tipping Point. Gladwell demonstates how a handful of kids in the ghetto can spark off a fashion epidemic. There's hope for us all, Johnny Cupcake is a prime example of how thinking outside the box can bring substantial rewards. He has also created an experience around his product and I believe this is all important. Take the example of Maxine Clark's Build-a-Bear. There are thousands upon thousands of T-shirt brands out there all competing for the same dollar, what makes yours stand out in a crowded market place and what do you offer that your competition doesn't? Take this story from the Imaginary Foundation:
The Imaginary Foundation is a think tank from Switzerland that does experimental research on new ways of thinking and the power of the imagination. They hold dear a belief in human potential and seek progress in all directions. The small clandestine team is headed up by the mysterious "Director" a 70 something uber intellectual who's farther founded the Dadaist movement. Avoiding direct publicity the team has sought streetwear as an unlikely vehicle for bringing their ideas beyond the academic realm and into popular culturedation:
True or False is doesn't really matter it has instilled curiousity into the Brand by using a back story much the same way Hello Kitty did.
What's your story? and what experience are you building around your offering?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
So much of what makes one popular, or makes one front page news, is definitely The Story behind the product. I speak as a former journalist. So, you've got a cute little product. Good for you. Does it sell like hotcakes in a store near me? Then not really interested. Oh, you're a juggler on weekends, you raise iguanas, and you have a line of tees with cupcake designs? Wow. Let me get my pen and pad.

If you're building a brand, then you are the story just as much as your product. Consumers want to buy in, they want to invest in you as much as your product. And reporters prefer to tell the human story, not the product story, especially if you're a little, tiny business.

Here's a guy who got famous selling feminine product cases word-of-mouth and handing them out free:
http://www.tamponcase.com/cyn/index.html

Definitely tell your story.
 

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Hi Carrie,
Keep those articles comming. I'm a great beliver in Word of Mouth and giving out free samples. My main business is Personalised Teddy Bears and we send out free samples on a daily basis it's our only form of Marketing/Advertising and works very well. When we opened our Shop in Benidorm Spain I did samples for all the Bars and Cafes in the surrounding area and this generated excellent sales. T-Shirts act as walking, talking Billboards never be afraid to give a few away!
 

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Rodney...any possibility of wangling an interview with him?
I can always try (and do). Usually the folks are gung ho about it at first, but then they back off. Maybe for fear of sharing too much with the (potential) competition?

I'll keep trying to get decent interviews though :) Lots of times, folks just find us and end up joining and sharing (which is very cool as well).
 
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