Photo/dress by Minted Republic.
A “lifestyle business” is one that funds its owner’s ideal life without getting in the way of it.
In the online communities where the term “lifestyle business” is most used, it generally refers to a business that requires very little work and that is location-independent.
However, the personalities present in these communities are generally young, single, MBA-type males who aspire to travel full-time and take the party with them. Testosterone runneth over, if you get my meaning.
Now I’m just poking fun. ;) There’s nothing wrong with this profiled person nor his ideal way of living.
But to relate this idea to other groups of people… to an artisan, a lifestyle business might be better described as one that allows creative freedom and the ability to outsource monotony. Or, for a parent who prefers home ownership to continuous world travel, a lifestyle business might be one that’s simply manageable from home on a part-time schedule.
No matter what your ideal lifestyle looks like, I think we can agree that creating a business around the day-to-day life you desire is a smart strategy, right?
Recently I was intrigued by a guy named Jun Loayza and a lifestyle business he’s working on, an online clothing store called Minted Republic.
Jun is a serial entrepreneur with both failed and successful startups under his belt. Fairly recently he decided to launch an e-commerce site which he could pass off to his girlfriend once she left her corporate job, in hopes that the two of them could travel the world together. Minted Republic was born.
Here’s the rundown on how he was able to take this e-commerce business from 0 to $10k/month in the first 4 months.
- First off, he set the rules for his business in order to afford the lifestyle he wanted: It had to be something he could manage completely online. (That means no inventory to care for.) And it had to take up very little work time once established– an average of 5 hours per week.
- June chose his niche based on a couple factors. First, women’s apparel is one of the best-selling categories online. And second, his girlfriend already worked in the fashion industry so she knew a bit about it.
- Once his overall concept was set, Jun got several of his friends involved to manage tasks like styling, advertising, web development, and photography. (While we know these people were paid, it’s unclear how much. More on this later.)
- Finally, Jun personally met with a few clothing manufacturers in LA to negotiate a dropshopping arrangement. That is, Jun sells the clothes through his website, then the manufacturer ships the items to customers directly from the warehouse.
By the end of negotiations, the manufacturer was given a small percentage of ownership of the company in exchange for the desired wholesale prices, rights to sell any item from any of their collections, and the convenience of dropshipping.
- Jun chose Shopify as his e-commerce website platform because he found it very easy to use.
- After purchasing a premium Shopify theme, he had his web developer customize it to his liking, as well as add several Shopify plugins in order to get extra functionality.
- To get his products on the market right away, Jun’s strategy was simply to “copy what works,” shifting all initial focus onto the product photos. That meant a simple, sleek web design and a shipping and returns policy mimicked from another site.
- To get top-quality product photos, Jun (along with the hair/makeup stylist and photographer friend he rallied in the beginning) used Model Mayhem to find a model at $400/day. They shot on friends’ and public property, and their girl brought along some of her own accessories to wear in the photographs. (They also purchased accessories for the shoot which they returned the next day, but I don’t condone that anyone repeat this strategy.)
- A lot of money was spent on advertising to get Minted Republic off the ground. As a takeaway, Jun found that Facebook ads were frequently clicked but rarely accounted for sales.
- Ads on fashion blogs showed greater success than Facebook ads.
- Even still, getting fashion bloggers to wear Minted Republic clothes in photos on their blogs– sometimes accompanied by a giveaway– proved to be their most effective advertising.
- While the company has a sizable following on the popular social media channels, Jun is pushing to get more customer-submitted reviews and images to use for marketing on these networks.
- Finally, a Minted Republic “VIP” program (for customers who have made purchases of a certain amount or more) has been recently introduced to better encourage repeat business.
To be totally fair, “$10k/month” makes a great headline, but it’s hard to say exactly how well Minted Republic is doing so far. We don’t know how much of the $10k that’s coming in each month covers the cost of inventory. We also don’t know how the money is being divvied up among the various people involved. But all things considered, it looks like growth is happening quickly and steadily.
In case you were wondering, this business is definitely taking more time than a few hours per week. And should Jun ever reach his ultimate goal of 5 or less, it won’t be that way every single week. Updating inventory, for instance, is likely to take some time unless the business can afford a full-time team. But who knows where the business is headed yet.
Though Jun entered the process of building Minted Republic as a seasoned entrepreneur and spent a decent chunk of change upfront in advertising, much of the strategy and tools he used are highly accessible. For instance, the Shopify online store platform, Model Mayhem for finding local models and photographers, as well as the insight one can take from his marketing efforts. So I hope that you’ve picked up something you can use for yourself.
So, what do you think of all this anyway? Anything in particular stand out for you?
Would you like to see more posts like this one?
I’d love to know your thoughts!