Look -- when you're the bride (or groom), it's everyone's job to make sure that you get everything you need on your big day. I actually find this job very easy. You do what you have to do to get things done, and everyone gets it. You want to get married on a Wednesday afternoon? Cool. You want your bride's maids to get up at 6 to watch you get your hair done? Fantastic. You want everyone attending your bachelorette party to wear matching shirts? Hmm. Fine, but I'm designing them.
When the above scenario actually happened to me, I had no idea what I wanted to put on "matching" shirts for 20 girls at a destination bachelorette party. I only knew that I wanted to be in control of what was on my shirt.
After a quick Google and some Etsy browsing, I decided a text-based design had the highest chance of success. When I first started brainstorming, I limited myself to copy that was obviously bachelorette themed. Once I had 25ish designs (approved by the bride), I sent them out to the party just asking them to claim the one they wanted. Luckily, no two ladies claimed the same design; everyone got their first choice.
When the party was over, the entrepreneur (and hustler) in me decided it was worth the $0.20/listing on Etsy to try to get some return on the time I'd invested making these shirts. I created my first digital download, listed the design for $1.75, and uploaded a file both with and without crop marks around the text. I made the shirts for the bachelorette party with iron-on inkjet paper and figured others on Etsy could do that, too.
A crazy thing happened -- my Etsy traffic sky-rocketed (Okay, it wasn't breaking any site records, but saying it was a significant increase doesn't cut it.). Here's what happened after I posted the shirt downloads in May 2014:
You have my attention.
Reinventing the Wheel
While posting to Etsy, I started thinking about all the bachelorette-appropriate innuendo that's sprinkled throughout pop culture. I realized I didn't need to make anything up here. I just needed to take popular or well-known phrases and drop them into a new arena.
Music and movies were dropping inspiration quicker than I could note it. I actually had to limit the hours I put into this side project. The $20-$50/month I was making on downloads did not justify the rabbit hole I would happily jump into.
- I started adding custom hashtags by request. $4/custom download.
- If I'm adding a hashtag anyway, might as well customize the color.
- If I was driving and stumbled on to a particularly inspirational station, I'd ask my passenger to text me notes.
- There's an odd satisfaction that comes from a notification that a stranger favorited "Do I Make You Horny Baby."
As I added more and more designs, the traffic to my shop became fairly steady.