Day 23

Our three packaging samples all arrived on the same day, with some good and not so good results. The main one we wanted (a faux leather case with chain) was fantastic, so we’re really happy about that. We’re not sure how to properly brand it yet, but it’s definitely good enough as-is to get started with.

The tin was also good, but we’re not sure it fits with our branding.

The faux leather display box was actually better than expected, and it’s now something that we want as a premium upgrade. The problem is that the actual sample we received was not good enough quality to use as a premium upgrade. Something to look into for the future.

Fortunately, we have enough to launch our brand….once of course we get our product photos and descriptions…

Day 24

Just randomly did a google search for our primary keyword “pocket watches”, and found our “Contact Us” page on page 9. Top 100 without any products – that’s a great sign!

Day 29

Photographer is still going. With only one day to go, it’s coming down to the wire as to whether or not we’re going to have a ready-to-sell site by tomorrow. All because the photographer was delayed, and then an employee forgot to shop them. I guess this highlights how using a team can sometimes be a double-edged sword. If we had just done it all ourselves, we easily could have completed the site in three weeks from start to finish – but while this would be a good idea for someone starting out, it’s also important to remember that our team is also growing and running many other stores at the same time. Something that would be very difficult for Tess and I to do without a team supporting us.

Day 30

The photographer uploaded the photos before he went to work today (he’s also a paramedic), but unfortunately he only uploaded low resolution versions that we can’t use. Our product description guy is busy writing titles and descriptions though, which is great, but we can’t get the image editors to work because they need the higher resolution photos. Oh the drama…

Day 31

So we now have the titles and descriptions of all pocket watches, and all of the edited photos. Except that they forgot to cut out the watches so that they are on a pure white background. Sigh.

After much “to-ing and fro-ing”, we’ve started our product manager adding the products to the site without the images, with the intention that they can add the images afterwards. Unfortunately the images weren’t finished in time for the product person to add them, so I had to do them myself to meet my deadline.

First Month Summary

It’s easy to look back and say that if it wasn’t for the product photography hiccups, we could have had the site up and running (at a marketable level – it will take years to perfect the site and product range etc.) in two weeks, but in our experience there are always hiccups. Truth be told, we had it very easy when it came to the product side of things (I don’t think that part could have gone smoother), which normally takes a lot longer.

One of our biggest advantages to getting something like this up and running so quickly is our experience, and our team. Interestingly though, it was also our team that caused the biggest delays. If we had just done the photography ourselves, we could have finished the site in 2-3 weeks. We also have many other things going on in our lives however, and not using a team would make having multiple sites impossible. I also have to take ultimate responsibility here as well. I really should have checked at the end of the day to confirm that the watches had been shipped off to the photographer. The positives of having a team definitely outweigh the negatives. But a team needs good leadership too.

It would be easy for anyone new to this game to dismiss this entire project based on our experience, team, and the perhaps our level of finances. My response to that would be this. No matter what niche you enter, someone is going be your competition, and you have no idea what level they will be at. If you aren’t willing to get to this level (and beyond), you probably shouldn’t start. I don’t mean to be harsh, it’s just a logical progression of thought. Business is the ultimate competitive sport, and while you have to start at the beginning, you should strive to one day be the best at what you do in your niche.

One of the other reasons we were able to get to this level in a month is because we gave ourselves a month. I know that seems strange, but if you give yourself a set time-frame in which to do something, then tell others, you’ll end up moving heaven and earth to make it happen. You should have seen the emails flying around in the last few days just so I could get those products up. Ultimately having to put some products up myself late on the final night of the month. After our dinner guests left. While battling the flu.

Now would anybody have really cared whether or not I had finished the site one day later? Probably not, but I certainly would have.