Twenty-six-year-old Davie Fogerty is a self-taught entrepreneur responsible for some of the fastest-growing products sold online today.
Abandoning an engineering and mining degree to follow his entrepreneurial dreams, Fogerty has built up his business from a $500 investment to one that has sold over $86 million in products in 2021, alone.
You may have heard of some of his famous brands: The Oodie, Calming Blankets and Pupnaps. You’ve definitely seen them on social – and if you’ve yet to wrap yourself up inside an Oodie this winter… well.. can I just say, you’re missing out.
Despite creating a runaway online success story, Fogerty says to find the successful eCommerce formula he’s made a few mistakes along the way.
“I attempted multiple business ideas that didn’t take off, from a gym clothing line and an iPhone-case business, to personal training and food businesses. While I made a lot of mistakes, I also learned from them, and I’ve found that anyone can own a successful business, with the right guidance.”
“For us, content is king, especially video content. We’ve attracted a cult-like following, particularly for The Oodie, largely through videos. As a self-taught videographer, I’ve been able to train our in-house content team to produce fun, engaging video content across several platforms, including TikTok, which has really helped skyrocket our brands.”
Fogerty is also a big believer in adapting quickly and flipping the traditional business model on its head.
“Normally, a business or founder creates a vision and then goes into a long planning period, spending months creating a name, logo and product, and even planning an extravagant launch event. While this level of planning could have a place in large companies, it isn’t right for a small business owner. Aussies need only focus on four areas: content, social media, customer service and product development.”
Here are Davie Fogerty’s six steps to building a successful business
Never stop learning
Take every opportunity to learn and build an arsenal of skills, which will come in handy when starting your business. Books will provide the fundamentals of doing business, while podcasts and YouTube videos are great resources for up-to-the-minute information on evolving areas, such as social media. Davie found that the more widely he read, the more he was able to understand why his early businesses failed to grow, and he quickly realised he needed to upskill in areas such as direct response copywriting, basic graphic design, videography and media buying. To put new skills to the test, Davie shot video content, built websites and ran social media ads for small and family businesses for free. He says while you won’t be rewarded financially, you will be investing in experience and skills that you can build on.
2. Offer a product that people will love
A product idea can come from anywhere. Look to your friends and family to find out which products they love and see how you can improve them. The key is to find a product that offers a solution to a common problem. One of Davie’s most popular brands, Calming Blankets, a line of weighted blankets, helps solve troubled sleep, stress and sensory problems. Davie warns against cutting corners and sacrificing product quality for profit. Instead, focus on long-term customer satisfaction over short-term profit goals. “The reason our products are so successful is because the customer, and their happiness, always comes first,” he says.
3. Suppliers are your friend
Marketplaces, such as Alibaba, are a great way to source suppliers. You’ll be able to see the types of products that are available from different manufacturers. Build relationships with agents, not just manufacturers, as they can find new products on your behalf and send you product ideas from hundreds of manufacturers each week. If you’re overwhelmed by where to start, there are numerous podcasts and YouTube videos that offer guides on the sourcing process.
4. Use dropshipping to test your product
Dropshipping, where suppliers send products directly to your customers, is a useful tool when testing your product. You won’t need your own warehouse and can find out if your product is viable without the financial risk or commitment. However, Davie warns that dropshipping should only be used in the short term, as it brings with it longer shipping times, more margin for error, and therefore a lower rate of repeat purchases. “Use it only to test, improve and customise your product, before investing in a warehouse. To develop a relationship with your customer, over the long term you want to aim to ship items from your own warehouse.”
5. Content is your secret weapon
Don’t be afraid to build your business on the basics. Davie’s most popular brand, The Oodie, started from a simple, default Shopify website and basic product photos, modelled by his mum and girlfriend. He wrote the website copy based on direct marketing books and launched Facebook ads to attract customers, growing the brand from the simplest content. Now that the brand has skyrocketed, Davie has continued investing in his secret weapon: video content. “Each month we film about 100 simple, fun videos, usually around our own customers and their product testimonials. Video has been an effective tool for us, particularly on TikTok, where we attract millions of views, with no ad spend.”
6. Build a community
It is relatively easy to build a community in Australia, given the country’s small market. While engaging content is a great way to build community, influencer marketing is another powerful tool to gain a loyal following around your brand. The key is to target influencers who have a genuine and emotionally connected audience and a consistent engagement rate. This emotional connection is key to selling your product successfully.
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