As a busy entrepreneur, you already have a lot on your plate. At Launch Grow Joy you’ll find tips and resources to get your product line in front of your customers through social media, publicity, retail, product marketing strategies and more.
About Andreea Ayers
As the founder of LaunchGrowJoy.com and, most recently, Soaps to Live By, I love to inspire and share! I love to help other entrepreneurs succeed, whether it’s through online courses, speaking at events across the country, leading webinars or writing guest articles (scroll to the bottom of the page to see some organizations that I am involved with or have presented for). If you’d like me to speak at your event, use the contact form here to reach out.
How it all started
I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit, but somewhere between high school and college I convinced myself that life would be ‘safer’ and I would be ‘better off’ if I went on to work for a prestigious company. After graduating with a degree in Business and Marketing from Cornell University, I spent the next few years working for many prestigious companies and organizations in NYC, including McKinsey & Company, Citibank, W Hotels and New York University.
Even though I worked for some great companies and learned a lot, I had always wanted to start my own business. I had dabbled in running my own business (including knitting hats and selling them in college or setting up candy machines around the water cooler at one of my corporate jobs) and there was something about it that I really enjoyed. Whether it was actually knitting the hats or buying the candy, I felt like I had actually created something from nothing – simply because I had an idea that I wanted to try out.
Soon, I realized that I had to start my own business, so I did what I knew best – marketing and market research. I set up a consulting business and started working with clients to help them with their online marketing (some of my clients included SpaFinder, The Leading Hotels of the World and Ideal Bite). I really enjoyed what I was doing and felt that I was really pursuing my dreams. But…
I realized that I had to start my own business!
Then in 2006 I became pregnant with my first baby. While I was taking a prenatal yoga class at a local studio in Boulder, CO, I felt inspired to start a new business. But this time, it would be a product-based business (t-shirts), rather than a service-based business (marketing). I knew nothing about the apparel or t-shirt industry, how to manufacture a t-shirt, how to print one, how to sell to stores or even how to set up an online store to sell a product.
I started to research and learn as much as I could, ordering t-shirt samples and coming up with design ideas. Well, since I was really not a designer, I decided to do t-shirts with only words, not graphics. That way I could still have control over every aspect of running my business and do it all myself (which was not such a good idea, as I soon learned).
So, about a month before my son was born, Tees For Change, a line of inspirational and eco-friendly tees, was also born. I was slowly learning about the t-shirt industry and reached out to a lot of already-successful t-shirt entrepreneurs to ask them for advice. Most were very generous with their time and with sharing their knowledge, which I definitely appreciated. I felt like I had so many mentors to guide me along the way.
To make a long story short, I’ve come a long way since that day in 2007 when I started with 96 t-shirts (and sold out of them within a month, to my surprise!). After four years of running Tees for Change, I’ve sold over 20,000 t-shirts in over 300 stores in the United States and internationally and have had six figure sales after only eighteen months of running my business.
My t-shirts have appeared in over 200 magazines, newspapers and TV shows, including ABC, NBC, Fox, The Bonnie Hunt Show, Redbook, The Chicago Tribune, USA Today Magazine, Ladies’ Home Journal, Self, Shape, The Nest and many more. And I even got Tori Spelling, Ed Begley, Denise Richards, Sarah Jessica Parker and Sarah Michelle Gellar to wear my tees!
Of course I made a lot of mistakes along the way! Like the time I spent $6,000 on a PR company hoping that they would help me get tons of press. I got some press, but definitely not enough to cover my $6,000 investment. Or the time I spent $1,000 on advertising in a local magazine, only to get zero sales from it. Or the time I signed up for a booth at a trade show that was definitely not for my target market – and had only three orders in two days. And what about the time that I trusted that my manufacturer would get my order right, so I didn’t bother to ask for samples before ok’ing the full production run of over 5,000 shirts? Well, half of the shirts came back the wrong color, ALL of them came back with the wrong neck label and another half came back a size too small!
Needless to say, I could have done things better, but I was grateful to have learned all the lessons that I did (even though some were very expensive and time-consuming lessons).
And that’s how it all started…
As I was growing my company, I started to receive a lot of phone calls and emails from aspiring t-shirt entrepreneurs asking, “How did you do it and can you share your secrets with me?” I remembered all of those ‘mentors’ I had when I first started and how helpful and giving they were. So, in 2009, I wrote T-Shirt Profits: The Complete Guide to Starting Your Own Successful T-shirt Business. In this book I cover everything you need to know to set up and run a successful t-shirt business like mine.
And in 2010 I launched the T-shirt Profits Coaching Program, which includes private and group coaching on how to set up and run your own successful t-shirt business. Through this program, I have helped many entrepreneurs through the different stages of their t-shirt business, whether they were just starting out, looking for a manufacturer, selling their shirts to retail stores, setting up their website or wanting to get their shirts on celebrities or in the media.
But I didn’t stop there!
I kept getting emails from other entrepreneurs (who had products other than t-shirts) and who wanted to get them into stores and wanted to know how I did it all. So I started to focus more on working with other entrepreneurs and helping them increase sales for their product-based business. So, in 2011, I sold Tees for Change and now my main focus is on working with entrepreneurs and teaching them everything I know about getting their products into stores, in the media and increasing their online exposure and sales.
I’ve worked with entrepreneurs who sell bath and beauty products, products for babies and kids, food, gifts, yoga products, eco-friendly and green goods, handmade and one of a kind items, accessories, greeting cards and stationery products and a lot more! I love seeing other entrepreneurs succeed while pursuing their passion!
And in early 2012, I discovered Pinterest! I started using it for Launch Grow Joy (and I wish I had known about it when I had Tees for Change) and pretty soon Pinterest was driving more traffic to my website than any other site! So I began to share my Pinterest marketing strategies in my Pinterest Advantage ebook and online training course.
I frequently speak at local and national events about growing your business with Pinterest and contribute my marketing expertise to many online and offline publications.
Here are some organizations that I’ve spoken at, have been involved with, have written for or been interviewed by:
- Emerging Women
- Craftcation Conference
- The Founding Moms
- Savor the Success
- Breakthrough Directions
- Mom Gets a Business Conference
- NEXT Accelerator
- Social Media Marketing Tribe
- Entrepreneur on Fire
- Ambitious Entrepreneur
- Social Media Superhero Summit
- Unscripted with Yifat Cohen
- Thriving Artist Summit
- Pivot Guild
- DaVinci Institute
- Beth Hayden’s Pinterest Marketing Course
- Front Range New Product Meetup
- and more…
If you’d like me to speak at your event or do a webinar for your audience, please contact me. I love sharing my tips and strategies with entrepreneurs all over the world!
And I look forward to helping you grow your product-based business.
Here’s to your success!
P.S. If you liked what you read, please join me on Facebook by clicking the Like button below!
A FEW MORE THINGS ABOUT THIS SITE
I often get emails from entrepreneurs like you asking me to recommend other sites or resources for their business. I have used so many tools and resources over the years and I am happy to make recommendations. Some of my recommendations use affiliate links, which means that if you click on the link and make a purchase or sign up, I might get a commission. However, rest assured that I only recommend products that I’ve either personally used and love or products that came highly recommended from other entrepreneurs. I would recommend these products even if there was no affiliate commission involved!