Neither of us wanted to get proper jobs. I’ve never had one of those and I wasn’t about to start. So, we started throwing some ideas around when I remembered some T-Shirt designs I had come up with. It seemed the ideal solution: print and sell sweary T-Shirts to the very same kinds of people that might be interested in our band.
2002 we launched the website. It was very different back then. Remember, eCommerce wasn’t around so much and it was much harder for an unestablished business to get a merchant account and we relied on PayPal and cheques. Remember those?!
There were only six designs to begin with. We did some crazy guerrilla marketing in those days and had an army of people around the world that was spreading our filthy message far and wide. Sales started coming in and we soon realised that the initial six designs wouldn’t be enough.
Vikki decided to learn to screen print. This would take the problem (and expense) of pre-guessing which designs would be popular in what sizes. She was soon proficient enough for us to massively expand our range.
The company from that point grew fast and we invested every spare penny into the band. Our theory that the T-Shirt audience and band audience were similar was spot-on: both fueled the popularity of the other.
And so it went on. In 2004 we were finally allowed a proper, grown-up merchant account with the bank. Things really exploded at that point so we diversified into other garments, like hoodies, vests etc. We also introduced cards and tried other items with varying degrees of success. In 2008, we started selling our items at tattoo conventions and comiccons around the country, expanding our audience even further.
Of course, all of this is easy to write in a few paragraphs, much harder to do on a day-to-day basis. The support we received from our customers was amazing. It was Kickstarter before such a thing existed.
The most recent change was in 2016 when we moved lock, stock and barrel over to a Shopify platform. In all the years we have been selling, we have NEVER increased our prices, even though we have unavoidable expenses yearly (ie, postage costs, blank t-shirt costs) which keep increasing. Moving from our own, expensive server to the much cheaper Shopify platform cut our monthly internet costs dramatically, allowing us to keep our prices the same.
What is the future? At this point, it is hard to say. Writing is becoming more and more important to me and a lot of our focus is currently on building Vikki’s Buck You business. At some point, something has to give. But we are so proud of what we have achieved with SMELLYOURMUM.COM – it has become one of the most well-known alternative brands out there – that we are reluctant to just let it whither and die. Ideally, we will find some like-minded people that can buy the business from us. There is so much room for expansion, but we just don’t have the time.
At the moment, however, it still feeds us and our ever-growing menagerie. So, please feel free to make yourself a purchase or two. Use the code BLOG to get 20% off your first order!
It was several years ago that I started buying antiques. As my tastes and knowledge expanded, my collection became more and more eclectic. I also didn’t only stick to antiques and would buy items from the 20th century, right up to the 1990s. I was trying to coin a phrase for my quirky collection and then it struck me: Quirkabilia.
After a while, I took the procuring of items a bit more seriously and started to sell them on eBay. Quirkabilia.com points to the eBay store which now has hundreds of hard-to-find, rare and unusual items for sale.
I enjoy tracking down old items. There is something about the marks left by the passage of time that I love. These objects that had such meaning to someone once, it is nice to find a new custodian for them. My favourite items are from the Art Deco period, both world wars, mid century kitsch and art.
If I can keep an eye out for anything for you, drop me a line. Furthermore, if you have items for sale you think I might be interested in, get in touch.
Obviously, horses need stuff and I noted that Vikki had no problem offloading that stuff when she acquired new stuff. So I suggested that maybe she should look for job lots to buy and sell. This she did and it flew out.
More recently, she has designed her own bridles and saddles, moving away from the traditional equipment to gear that is aligned more with her ethical training methods. To achieve this required some capital, which is where I come in! Although not at all anything to do with the day-to-day running of her business, I may throw out the odd suggestion or two. Apart from that, it is simply a really nice feeling to be able to fund her start-up and help her realise the dream of being able to make a living from the world of horses. The way things are going, she is on to a winner.
Not only is she designing her own tack (I knew there was a word for it), she is an official Positive Reinforcement Trainer and part of the Horse Charming Worldwide Collective, motto: “Science-based, force free, education and training for people and horses”. Her student base is building and she has clients all over the world who are discovering a new – and better – way of training their horses. Some have lessons in person, most is done over the internet.
Anyway, I am not the person to tell you all about this. If you have the need for tack or horse training, please contact Vikki direct. I stuck this up on my site because I am doing a good boyfriend deed 🙂
email@example.com To email Vikki directly for a lesson.