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Comment-Selling on Facebook: Smocked Auctions Founders Amy Laws and Nicole Brewer (Part 3)

Posted on Friday, Jun 6th 2014

Sramana: What volume of merchandise were you able to push during that first sale?

Nicole Brewer: We sold 700 units during our first sample sale. That amounted to around $20,000 of business. Once that sale was over we realized we had a lot of fun and we wanted to do it again, but without having everyone over at my home.

We still had some clothes left over after the first sample sale. Some of our friends who did not live in Dallas were not able to attend the first sample sale. We started taking pictures of the clothes and emailed them out to people. We then started posting them on our personal Facebook pages. One of our friends had boy girl twins and we found several outfits that were matching, so we posted those on our Facebook page.

Within hours of doing this, we had people we did not know started asking us to be friends on Facebook. We were nervous about accepting friend requests from people we did not know personally so that is when we started a company page. About 2 weeks later, we had our first sale on Facebook. We only had one size of each item and we did not have any multiples.

During our first auction, we sold 30 items. We posted 1 item a minute. From our first auction, we had 300 fans on our Facebook page. After that, we grew organically. We did not do any advertising on Facebook our first year, we just built our business from word of mouth. They would talk about us at the park with their friends.

Sramana: Were you completing the transactions on Facebook, or were you displaying on Facebook and send people to a separate auction site?

Amy Laws: From an auction standpoint, what is interesting about what we do is that it is a cross between an eBay and a Craigslist. The price does not increase during the auction. You are not outbidding other customers. The reason for the auction is that we have limited quantities. The first person to comment for that size gets to buy that item. It’s like Craigslist in that regard, if you get there first, then it is yours.

One of the things people liked about what we were doing was that the price point was great and the garment quality was fantastic. We were selling clothes from the best manufacturers in the business. After we would use Facebook as a picture posting mechanism, we would manually invoice them from PayPal. It was a completely manual process.

Sramana: At what point did you switch out of that manual process to something more automated?

Amy Laws: We moved the business out of my house in August of 2011 and moved into a real office.

Nicole Brewer: It took us another year to move to an automated buying process. We shifted that over in August 2012.

Sramana: How much volume and revenue were you able to generate in the early days when you had the manual invoicing process and were working out of your homes?

Nicole Brewer: We did a million dollars our first full year of business.

Sramana: Was that all consignment?

Nicole Brewer: After about three weeks of our auctions, we sold out of the samples that we had. We went back and purchased the overstock from those locations. About 6 weeks after that, we ended up private labeling our own items, and designing our own items because there was no more overstock to buy.

This segment is part 3 in the series : Comment-Selling on Facebook: Smocked Auctions Founders Amy Laws and Nicole Brewer
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