In this post, I want to share with you my most successful product launch ever.
When I released this product for sale, I was able to bring in an additional $30,000 to my sales that year and it only kept growing from there. This year I made about $84,000 selling this product.
If you're curious to learn more, keep reading.
Hi! My name is Mei Pak and I help makers, artists and designers make a consistent income selling their handmade products online.
My experience teaching you comes from running my own handmade jewelry business for the last fourteen plus years. My shop is called Tiny Hands Online, and I sell hand-sculpted scented food jewelry made out of polymer clay.
I really want to tell you about my launch, but first I want to give you a little bit of back story.
First and foremost, I personally don't care about launches.
My launch formula is super simple when I release a new product. I don't make a huge thing about it because honestly, launches are exhausting and if you do them too often it can also exhaust your audience. They can start to tune you out, and you don't want that to happen.
My launch formula usually follows these steps:
- I make around 20 pieces of the new product. This is a good amount of product to get some feedback on.
- I send an email out to my list offering a small discount for the new product. Since I have an engaged email list, I usually am able to sell out of those initial pieces in the first couple of days.
That's about it! From this mini-launch I can get some feedback on the new products and build excitement for when I add that piece to my online shop.
To give you some perspective, I make $200,000 – $300,000 in sales selling my handmade jewelry online.
I say that to show you that you don't need to do launches or to over complicate things to make money.
The Most Successful Launch
Now, we fast forward to when I launch this product that is the topic of this post today.
Let's Get Real for a Minute…
At this point in my business, I had already been established for about 8 years. About 5 of those years were hobby years, meaning I wasn't running my business very seriously or doing it full time yet.
I don't want you to think that I came out of nowhere, set up my shop and the following week I was making $10,000.
A lot of people who talk about their launches make you feel like that's how it is. I think it's unfair and almost irresponsible that they're giving you false hope or misinformation about how business works.
It isn't an overnight thing. It isn't even something that happens in a month or over a year. At least not for me. I've always been a slow and steady kind of business.
What's the product?
I bet you're really curious as to what this product is.
This was my subscription product, the Necklace of the Month Club.
I was inspired and motivated to do this because I had become good friends with Stacey Trock.
Stacy used to own Fresh Stitches, an amigurumi pattern business. She also used to run something called a Kit Club.
If you joined the Kit Club, every month for around $16 she would mail you a package with a pattern and all of the supplies you would need to make a crocheted soft toy. You would get the yarn, plastic eyes, and anything else you might need for that month's project. I remember, every month she would make around 800 packages for that. It was super lucrative.
I decided, after a few months of planning, to create my own subscription.
The reason I figured this was a good idea was because I had already been in business for a few years and I knew I had quite a handful of repeat customers.
Remember, I told you about how when I made a new product design, I would tell my email subscribers about it? More often than not, the same people would be the first to grab that new design.
I kept seeing the same names come up over and over again throughout the years.
So I knew, my business model had this built-in sense of people wanting to collect my products.
You don't just stop at buying one necklace. You buy 8, 12, 20 of them.
I have some serious repeat buyers and some really big fans of my work. So I knew that a subscription would directly feed that desire that I knew a percentage of my customers had to collect my jewelry.
Creating the Process
I want you to know, creating this product wasn't a one-week process.
It took me months to figure everything out.
There were a lot of decisions I had to make, a lot of thinking about how to structure this product, and a lot of me making my best guesses on what I thought my customers wanted.
Beyond that, there was also a lot of logistical, operational, technical set up that needed to be done for taking recurring payments and shipping.
Once everything was ready, I went back to my tried and true launch formula. I told my email list about it and I posted it on social media, although at the time I didn't have nearly as many followers as I do today.
In less than a week, I was able to get 100 people to sign up for my Necklace of the Month Club.
Personally I think this is a really big feat because these sales weren't just one time sales.
They were recurring sales that would happen every month after someone signed up for the first time.
I priced my club at $25 plus shipping. If you do the math, that's $2,500 every month and $30,000 for the entire year.
That's like the entire annual income for a lot of people.
Making a Change
This product ran for about 2 years and I was having trouble scaling it up, so I decided to change a few things.
I made the price lower to $19.99. This change allowed me to quadruple the size of the customer base for this.
Currently it makes up almost 50% of my sales!
There are a few lessons that I took away from this experience that I wanted to share with you.
Lesson One: Keep it Sustainable
If it doesn't work out the first time, people automatically assume that customers didn't like your products or they thought your prices were too high.
I know it's easy to think that, but it's usually not the case.
By no means was my launch unsuccessful, but relative to when I changed things up, it pales in comparison. I had 100 customers in the first version of my club and 400, on average, in my updated version.
It wasn't the product that was the problem and what made the difference between 100 and 400 customers.
In the first version of the club, I was making an entirely new product design for my club members.
These designs weren't available anywhere else and you couldn't find them in my shop. If you wanted them, you had to be a part of the club.
It was also at a little bit of a higher price point.
The trouble with that was I eventually got burned out designing so many new products and having the pressure of needing to do that every month.
It wasn't sustainable and it wasn't scaleable.
I have production assistants that help me make jewelry, but they don't design new stuff. Only I do that.
When I redid the club, I changed it out to designs that you could get in my shop ala carte. This made it not as exclusive as it was before, and in exchange for that, I lowered the price.
I could afford to do this because now we were giving out designs that my team could make and I didn't have to make any new designs.
So you can see how it wasn't really the fault of the product itself. In some ways, you could argue that the club changes made it not as cool as the original version.
Lesson 2: Keep Expectations in Check
When it comes to launches, don't put pressure on yourself that the outcome needs to be perfect.
You might have certain goals with your launches and if you don't meet them, that's totally okay.
Part of running a business for the long term is making pivots, making changes over time, and making those improvements based on real feedback you're seeing from your customers.
So when you see other people's launches, don't compare yourself to them. You don't know if that's their tenth launch for that product and they've just got that process really honed in.
It could be that they've figured out exactly what their customer wants and they've tested a lot of different price points and positioning of their product to get to that point.
Don't expect your first launch to be a success right away.
If you do, that's great, more power to you, but if you don't, there is nothing wrong with that.
Lesson 3: Pay Attention to What Your Customers Want
Now, they won't always tell you what they want and they may not even know what they want. Because your customers aren't designers and they aren't the ones who know how to make your products, they don't know what's possible.
When I launched my Necklace of the Month Club, I was giving what I thought my customers wanted, and that was new designs they had never before seen in my shop.
What I didn't realize until a few years later was I was following the wrong scent.
It wasn't like my customers didn't want new products, it was just that it was a much smaller percentage of people who did.
Only 100 people in my audience cared about totally new designs because these were my top fans. They'd been following me for years and they've already got all my other necklaces.
But I wasn't paying attention to all the other people in my audience.
By shifting my Club to the new version and the new format it is, in essence, serving the majority of my audience and because of that, it was a better fit. That's why it was more successful than the first version of the club.
This is a mistake I see a lot of people make.
They just make what they want to make and they don't think for a second about what their customers want.
That is a huge mistake.
If you don't make any sales, it's very likely it's because you didn't think about what your customers wanted.
Lesson 4: Don't Overcomplicate Things
I think a lot of us feel the need to complicate things and create all these hoops to jump through, so that when we get to the finish line, we feel like we're worthy of the prize.
I made my life so hard when I first started my Necklace of the Month Club.
I had 100 club members, which was great, but I was slowly killing my soul inside because I was forced to be creative. I was forced to make new designs even though I didn't want to.
The new club is a lot simpler, it's a lot more streamlined, and surprise it works better than my previous club.
I hope you learned something from this. If you're launching a new product or business, I want you to know that it could be really great.
You could make a lot of money!
In my case, I made an entire person's annual income by selling just one product.
But also keep in mind all the other lessons I shared in this video.