Starting my business with zero experience WEEK 3

Hey everybody! My name is Alfred, I’ve been posting about my progress on my startup. This forum has been a great motivator over the years, and was one of causes for me getting the confidence for starting this company.

The business is decorative pillows on e-commerce. I know, sounds ridiculous but I think it’s a cool niche that isn’t really over flooded. We wanted to make something different than t-shirts, which most people sell online. That’s why we settled for making cushions for the sofa.

The problem was we can’t design. Therefore we needed to find people who can do it for us.

In this post I’m going to tell the story of how we got 20 designers to make cushions for us for free, all in one week.

PART 1 WHERE DO WE FIND DESIGNERS

It’s not just that we can’t design, we don’t know any designers as well. Therefore, we needed to come up with places where we can find these wonderful designers. This turned out to be really hard.

First we asked friends if they knew anyone. We got a few answers but none of them were any good… Then googled for textile designers, but the only once that came up were super established and would be too expensive. After the first day, we were dry. There was no leads and things felt pretty sucky.

Next morning while taking a walk, it hit me. The perfect place to find good and cheap designers. DESIGN SCHOOLS. This may sound obvious but when I came up with it I was very happy.

I found a website with all the students master projects and emailed every single person I could find. It ended up being around 300 people. That night my fingers really hurt, haha.

PART 2 COLD CALLING 21 PEOPLE

After 300 emails, what happened? People started to actually respond, and most were interested! Though we didn’t get that many replies, we had some interested. After emails alone we got around 20 prints that we could use for making cushions. Still, I wasn’t satisfied.

Designing is hard and we needed to see a lot of different designs before we would find something that was good. Therefore, I started to look for phone numbers. In Sweden, all phone numbers are available to the public. So, you can search for a name and their phone number is there. Americans are probably freaking out, but this is wonderful for what I was doing. I went back to my list of 300 people and the calling began.

Most people didn’t answer the phone of course, but the ones who did were very interested. Nearly all of them sent 10 designs each. And I called 21 people which resulted in getting over 190 designs. I was amazed to how helpful were and I really learned a lesson.

People love to say yes.

Part 3 SELECTION

To be honest, most designs were really bad. But some were brilliant, in my opinion at least, Here are some samples. Tell me what you think in the comments below.

Also, I was vlogging about this whole week as well.

/Alfred

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