This is the story of a truly unique business here on Flippa. Founded by a young entrepreneur a few years back, this business has found incredible success through their unique use of Instagram both for organic marketing and an auction style sales model that has generated sales north of $36,000 a month with a net profit around $15,000. Fantastic!
You’re a young entrepreneur and a great success story! Tell us a bit about yourself and how you developed your business?
In January of 2017, after purchasing my first glass pendant, I noticed a niche of people with a huge passion for glass artwork. Most of them were congregating on Instagram. Unfortunately, mainly only brick & mortar shops were acting as suppliers, so I wanted to make it easier for glass lovers to get the glass art they wanted without leaving their home. I tackled Instagram head on and learned the skills and strategies which have helped position us as a premiere brand with an enormous social reach, and as a dominant player in the glass art industry.
From the looks of it, each piece sold is a unique work of art. How and where are you obtaining your inventory? How is it shipped to the buyer? Do you hold the inventory or is it coming from elsewhere?
Each piece is technically unique given the fact it’s artist made which is a huge plus in our customers eyes. But there are several bread & butter styles of best sellers that we’ve supplied for years and continue to make over and over again because of their popularity. We place wholesale orders with the individual artists, they ship the order to us in our inventory, then we list it for sale, and ship to customer once it’s sold.
As your product is artistic, what sort of deal do you have in place with the makers? Is this commission based? Are you negotiating for each piece as they are available? Do you have a flat rate contract?
We buy our products at wholesale rate which is typically a 2X margin. But it’s pretty common we’ll get up to even a 3X or 4X margin on specific products because of our enormous influence on retail pricing within the market. Being one of the most influential brands in our growing niche means we have the opportunity to set the standards including price.
Your sales model is truly unique. Are the majority of your sales coming through instagram auctions? Do you have issues with people completing the purchase after winning the auction? How are you proving their identity during the sale process?
The majority of our sales are through daily Instagram auctions. Why? Because they’ve proven to be highly & reliably profitable. In contrast to auctioneers in separate industries, 99% of all of our auctions are profitable from the very first bid. We take a photo of the designated auction piece (takes less than 1 minute in many cases) then we copy & paste our auction template. After 24 hours the auction is announced by our customer support virtual assistant. The vast majority of our winners pay immediately through a designated link to checkout their order on our website which automatically saves all of their needed personal information. In the unlikely event that a customer doesn’t pay, it’s offered up to one of the other bidders and sold to another person. There’s also many other complimentary ways to sell products and drive traffic on Instagram. For example a single IG post with call to action can drive thousands of people to our website on demand.
Presumably the majority of your marketing is driven through Instagram. Assuming so, are you running paid campaigns or generating leads via organic channels? If marketing through non-Instagram mediums, what are those?
Our traffic is entirely organic on Instagram meaning no time and money wasted on hoping and praying for paid campaigns to be profitable. The value of our organic reach is worth hundreds to thousands of dollars daily, but we pay nothing for it, and it’s growing faster than ever literally automatically. From the birth of this company we’ve been focused on long-term growth meaning even though we haven’t yet expanded into other social media sources, we’ve already planted the seeds. We have Pinterest, Twitter, Tik-Tok, & Facebook accounts with growth strategies already developed ready to be utilized. Also a severely underutilized email list of over 4,000 paid customers which we’ve blasted no more than a handful of times.
How many people are involved in the business? How much time do you spend running things on a weekly basis?
3 key positions make this business run efficiently. A super low-pay virtual assistant in the philippines who supports customers, answers inquiries, and collects payments. A person who packages and ships our orders 1-2 days per week. And a third person who takes all the product photos and posts the sales. I’m currently acting as this third position because of my recent decision to sell the business. Right now I spend about 2 hours – 2.5 hours total daily including fulfilling this role. In the past, when the position was filled I spent less than 1 hour daily.
Given your unique selling model, what knowledge might a new owner need to continue operations as is? Are you able to spend time with the new owner to teach your trade?
There aren’t many businesses that don’t require much pre-existing experience or fine tuned skill-set that are positioned to be extremely successful in generating consistent profit. This one is dead simple. The important knowledge that you need to continue operations isn’t complex. It will all be included along with direct instruction from myself. I’m smiling with excitement at the opportunity to spend as much time as is needed to impart all of the knowledge a new owner needs because of how passionately invested I am in the wildly successful future of this business.