Teemill Updates

Case Study: Startup brand Nocturnal Creature

Dave Moore found himself in the thick of London’s house and techno scene, and was inspired to start a brand. Whilst his idea was great, following through and making a success of it was tough. Then he found Teemill.

Nocturnal Creature is one of the leading underground labels in London’s techno scene. If you’re in a club on a night out, chances are the DJ, if not half the people at the bar and on the dance floor are wearing #NCLondon. Every one of those t-shirts was designed by Dave on his laptop, posted on Facebook on his phone on a night out, pictures shared the day after on Instagram and blogs written on the plane coming back from a mission to Ibiza. It’s his brand, they’re his customers, but you won’t see him working on all the logistics and admin.

We fulfill orders on demand, with your branding.

Dave is a 21st century entrepreneur and has plugged into our supply chain technology to increase profitability, save heaps of time and let him focus on making his brand epic – not wasting time running to the post office or hanging on to old stock. Whilst Dave runs a lightweight modern brand from his laptop, the competition are still trying to work out what to do with the tees they have behind the sofa from last season.

Teemill has allowed me to focus on building the brand – and it’s a massive success. Knowing that my orders will get shipped and my customers sorted is massive for me. I’m making money even when I’m asleep.

Dave doesn’t worry about customer service because Teemill sorts it for him. Equally, there’s no worries to find cash and print some t-shirts up, painstakingly photograph them and upload them to his website: Teemill does this all for free.

At the Teemill factory, his stuff is printed to his specification, one at a time, on demand and shipped to his customer in his packaging. He’s never charged for a t-shirt unless he’s bought one, and his share of the profit, he keeps. There’s no paperwork: All the billing and payments happen in the cloud, with cash going direct to his account.

People don’t know #NC is powered by Teemill. Or care.

One of the reasons why people often try and do it all themselves with clothing supply chains is pride – Afraid that their brand might not seem quite as good if it doesn’t have a branded bag or fancy neck label. We understand that and that’s why brands can customise their own paperwork, packaging and even design custom flyers and inserts to give the customer a rounded brand experience – as if it came direct from you. Every product comes with a plain size label – no branding. Everything including the ecommerce store is white-label and customisable.


In conversations with Dave, one of the most common subjects is about how many lessons have been learned since deciding to pursue NC. From having too many ideas and getting distracted, to learning about what’s working and what’s not, there’s a reminder at every mistake how Teemill was a great choice.

That t-shirt design that I tried, that didn’t work: With Teemill, I just deleted it and tried another one. It makes me feel sick thinking about what would’ve happened if I’d done it the hard way and invested money in that stock.

One of our real motivations is to prevent amazing dreams ending up as dead stock in an attic. This flexibility, coupled with our print on demand factory, means that Dave can still keep his day job working in finance in London. There’s so many hours saved with Teemill that the business is profitable, running and growing – without needing to invest any more time in it.


The original plan was to fund the venture from cash reserves and maybe a small loan, and get a few thousand pounds of stock and a professional website. Instead, Dave got all that for zero, and kept the money for marketing. He was in the black from day one, and through clever use of photography, managed to make his brand look amazing for the cost of a couple of samples.

There’s no financial pressure at Nocturnal Creature. The business is in profit, and very profitable already – in it’s second year – with a valuable database of customers.


One of Dave’s top tips is scheduling. He writes his content on the train to work all in one go, and schedules the posts to drop at the best times for his customers.

As there’s no real limits to our ability in fulfilling orders, with 93% of NC items shipped the same day, the business is set up to scale up as large as Dave can grow it.

We’re super proud to have been able to help this amazing brand get established – it was exactly what Teemill was built for.


Build your startup on Teemill



Case Study: Junior Doctors Campaign

The campaign to support Junior Doctors in their fight against imposed contract changes has the benefit of the passionate, well-organised and genuine team at @wearyournhs, plus a little magic from Teemill to make t-shirts happen and the campaign with vital funds.

This case study examines the success story of a 21st century campaign, using the latest print on demand fundraising technology, social media and user generated content to finance, sustain and win an issue. This campaign in support of Junior Doctors used Teemill to build a free campaign t-shirt shop in 24 hours, which took and shipped 2000 orders a day at the height of the 6 month campaign.

Embracing new Technology

The campaign team understood that in order to sustain their activities, they would need some finance. Relying on donations was considered unattractive, and sure to be outgunned by the deep pockets of adversaries.

The forward-thinking team also wanted to have some community, continuity and visual identity to allow supporters to show clearly how their values aligned. They knew their strengths were in their authenticity, their grasp of the main issues and their ability to communicate – They were unafraid to embrace new technology for the rest of it.

Teemill came recommended from young charity fundraising contacts as a way to get the whole supply chain from website, ecommerce system, t-shirt printing and shipping in a day – without any cost.

The campaign team immediately recognised the advantage of raising funds through Teemill and sorting their entire t-shirt supply issue out, without having to do any work. It took 24 hours from decision point to launch, and the first sale.

The team identified that a print on a white t-shirt would result in double the royalty payments for their campaign, and took a design by Dame Vivienne Westwood and applied it to our unisex tee in white. The t-shirt is made from organic cotton in a wind-powered, ethically accredited factory. The team could immediately see the benefit of Rapanui’s award-winning supply chain traceability and how it protected them from an attempt to undermine the campaign.

Communication, celebrities and pictures.

The campaign team has a really genuine, authentic message on an issue we can all relate to. But that didn’t guarantee them success: The dedication to communicating with supporters every day, and scheduling meant that lots of posts were seen on a hashtag at the right time.

Active PR included requests for celebrities to add their voice – this built momentum and made the message travel. The campaign team also recognise that a picture speaks a thousand words and make sure they post lots of great photography

Including followers

One of the great things about the Junior Doctors campaign is its longevity, and continuity – the clever use of fan-generated photos on a hashtag. The campaign has built-in momentum. Someone who really cares about supporting Junior Doctors will get a t-shirt, then post a selfie in support – both generating great content for the campaign but also making other like-minded people aware of its existence.


Not afraid to repeat an important point.

The campaign team recognised that on social media, the message can get lost quickly in the noise. Rather than be held back by fear of bombarding supporters, the team fearlessly post a lot of stuff each day and regularly repost or repeat important points, automating the message across multiple social media profiles and scheduling for key times.

Mix of media

The campaign uses social media to spread the campaign by empowering the fans to buy a t-shirt on Teemill and share a picture showing their support for the cause. In this way, Teemill allows that powerful, visual link between each photo to happen – by producing and shipping the t-shirts for the campaign.

The team also use PR, press releases and other 21st century sites like Buzzfeed to get their message across and find new supporters.

How did Teemill handle it?

Teemill was designed to enable charities, good causes, startups or anyone with good intentions the access and tools to connect to our on-demand supply chain. As well as shipping goods globally under the Rapanui brand, our factory technology is used by some of Europe’s biggest organisations to fulfill their orders: From the first trickle of one or two items for @wearyournhs, to the surge of thousands during our busiest period in December the supply chain shipped 93% of orders next day, and continues to generate overwhelmingly positive reviews from customers.


  • Launch your own campaign t-shirt

How to write a Press Release

One of the most powerful ways to boost your sales is to get some editorial – ideally in an online article, news site or blog. Online is great as links to your store, helps your SEO and is more flexible. The endorsement of a respected voice can build trust with existing and new audiences. Getting features can be daunting – how do we get our foot in the door?

Even if your post goes viral, it has far less reach and impact on your SEO score over the long term. But it’s familiar and easy, and journalists seem scary and inaccessible. Perhaps that’s why most people go to facebook to promote their business, and stop there. The successful brands break through that and keep getting write ups, time and time again. Those articles don’t just magically come and find them. Let’s think it through first.

Your average feature writer or journalist is probably in an office, sat at a computer and facing regular deadlines. They need to come up with fresh, new content for their publication and ideally relate it back to the main talking points of the week. They’re also most likely stressed, tired and under pressure.

If you email a journalist, you will be one of two people: The saviour of their week, dropping a neat, ready-to-publish scoop on their lap, or the irritating spammer that wastes their time. It depends on what you send.

PR is a double edged sword – journalists are smart, and you should structure your plan around what helps them and makes their life easier. If you can give them what they need, many journalists will literally copy and paste a great press release onto their PC and build their article around it. That means it’s easy to get features, for free, if you know how.

Even for those that give it a go, the vast majority of stories get rejected because it’s not what they want. How do we know what a journalist wants?

Make sure it’s relevant

Not just to the magazine, but also the journalist themselves. It’s no good sending a product feature to the opinion column, or a fashion piece to a sports rag.

Make sure it’s newsworthy.

Journalists like to relate stories they produce with talking points in the wider news – even if they’re in a niche publication. For example, a horse journal might be interested in a press release on how Climate Change will affect horses, as it gives them a niche angle on a national story. Make sure whatever story you send, it’s interesting, thought provoking and newsworthy.

Example: Michael Fish Base Jump

Here’s a successful feature promoting Rapanui. The story was distributed by Press Release, with accompanying pictures and video.

This story was featured in most of the national newspaper’s online edition. You don’t need a video, a few photos and a great story will always trump an amazing, but irrelevant video – no matter how slick the production.

Be a professional, typos will kill it

If your press release has typos or grammatical mistakes, has a waffly script or opinionated statements – it’s not news, it’s in the bin. Make sure you understand how to write for online PR. Good journalists deal in facts – stick to stats, quotes and amazing photography.

Make life easy for them

Write your press release in short, punchy sentences. Add some stats, a couple of quotes and get the headline right. It’s important to choose a headline that doesn’t include the brand name or any information that only people familiar with the story already would understand. Instead of “Rapanui launches Teemill”, the headline should be written as though it is kept in a public record, i.e. “Eco brand creates real-time supply chain.” The story is first, the brand gets a mention later.

Don’t spam, lead the email.

Writers are real people. If you just spam them, they will know and they will delete your email without reading it. When you do your research, find out who the best writer in the publication is, and get their name. Then write them a personal email. What human wouldn’t like to know that someone has noticed their work? Write about how the articles of theirs that you have read inspired you to contact them with a feature they might want a look at. Attach the story and two good photos, and copy the press release under your message in the body of the email.

Tip: Don’t bother a journalist near a deadline. Send your press release earlier in the week, mid morning.

Let them add their magic

Back in the day, a manufacturer looked at housewives and found they spent ages on pudding mix when they could just have it in a packet, saving them time. But they didn’t buy into it. Bernays came up with a scheme where he advised the manufacturer to remove the egg, and then marketed the puddings as “just add an egg” – the feeling of cracking and mixing the egg made the buyer feel like they were doing something.

Don’t send a finished article. The journalist is there to do a job and if you stop them adding to your framework, you’ll shut the feature down. Send a concise, factual summary of the story and they will work their magic and add more words, to shape the piece into whatever they feel is appropriate for their publication. The worst thing would be to send too much spiel, they’re not your editor!

Keep a press release at max to one side of A4.

How to find contacts

Like your customer database, your list of journalists is an asset – the value depends what is in it. If you have build a relationship with a small number of writers who trust your content, they may even start asking you for a comment on a relevant story. That’s really valuable: Worth much more than 1000 email addresses for reporters who have blocked you.

There’s no shortcut to this part, you just have to roll up your sleeves and put in the time.

Finding names is easy: Buy their publication, read it and look at the top of the article. In magazines, there’s often an “editorial” email address inside the front cover. And if you have a reporters name, most have twitter: Write up the story on your blog and post regularly about it on a hashtag, and tweet it to journalists.

Dealing with criticism

If you get a bad write up or a criticism, don’t worry. Sometimes there are some characters like that: This happens especially if you’ve got a lot of features, one or two might choose to offer the “alternative angle” of criticizing the story: It’s their job. The worst thing you could do is let it get to you: Remember that at least you got a feature and it’s normally best to keep your dignity and not to respond. Be like the queen. You’ll laugh about it in time. If you feel like you really must respond, do it on their site – not yours. And less is more, don’t rant.

Get started!

Write a press release, build a database and start sending introductions. And remember, you will not hear back from the vast majority of emails you send. Don’t be put off: These guys don’t owe you a reply or feedback. It’s more than likely that they thought your stuff was okay but didn’t fit this time round. Remember the marketing rule of seven: If they really hate your stuff, they’ll tell you. Otherwise, keep sending till you get a bite.


3 Fast Actions to get Sales in 30 minutes

If you’re short on time and stuck for inspiration, it can be tough to come up with really great ideas for promoting your online business. Deep down, you know that if you don’t take action, the sales won’t change. How can you win through?

The answer is in keeping it simple and sticking to fast, proven ways to keep the orders flowing in and those dormant customers interested until you’re in a position to really have a go at a marketing campaign. What are the fastest three things that get results that you can do now, inside 30 minutes?

1. Social Scheduling

The marketing rule of seven says that the most common reason people don’t shop from you is because they aren’t aware of you. Marketing on social media can be time consuming – make the most of limited hours and multiply your reach by scheduling your posts all in one go. With social scheduling, you can write hundreds of posts in one hour and set them to automatically go out at the optimum times over any time period, meaning your social accounts are working for you even when you’re working on other things.

2. Newsletter

If your Teemill store has been active for some time, or if you have built a database through a signup form or elsewhere, like on mailchimp, the most sure-fire way to increase sales is to work your existing database of customers. It’s 8 times easier to get a sale from an existing customer than a new one, and we work exceptionally hard to make sure your customers get rapid service and high product quality when they order from you. Remember your customers love what you do, that’s why they shopped. Reach out to them with a newsletter, a product feature, a new blog or some great photos – give them a reason to visit your store and shop again.

3. Photography

Not especially fast, but fast to understand: If we assume that all Teemillers work hard on promoting their store and have average or above designs, the single biggest factor that influences the ease of success is the quality of the photography. Brands are made on their photographs, and the great news is that there’s no reason you can’t excel at that, without anything more than a smartphone.


Marketing Launch Checklist

You’re ready to go – you’ve designed some shirts, customised your store and are set to start making money selling t-shirts online with Teemill. What now? Here’s 5 things that every top Teemiller did on their launch day to set up for success.

Firstly, it’s all about awareness. The reason why people shop elsewhere instead of buying your products is not because there’s some other magic trick that big businesses have.

The top reason people won’t shop at your store will be because they don’t know about it. The goal is simple: We need to make people aware of your products, and often.

This blog contains the first key ingredients to make sure that those customers don’t have any obstacles on their journey to your checkout.

1. Add to twitter

Make sure you add your URL to all the places your fans interact with you.

The most common reason your customers will not buy your product is because they don’t know it exists, or they can’t find it.

Make sure you set your Teemill shop as your primary URL in your Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube and Instagram profile – and create a banner for these profiles that advertises your shop’s location.

2. Post regularly… MORE regularly!

The most financially successful Teemill users regularly post great images and amazing descriptions of their products. You might want to invest in some samples and get a shoot together so that you have some content to share with your audience. At Rapanui, we realised that the quality of our photography is directly linked to the volume of sales, and every month we do a shoot.

The best way to increase the volume of your posts is to think of some good post ideas, then sit down and schedule loads of them at once. If you link your accounts for automated syncing, it’ll all happen automatically. Be brave and post a lot, over a long period of time – the marketing rule of 7 shows it works.

3. If you have a main site, then link it in fully

If you have a separate website, this means adding a link to your store in the menu, as well as large clear banners. Teemill has a blog, Instagram gallery, page publishing and loads of plugins for major web services like YouTube, soundcloud and WordPress. Plus, the hosting is free. Consider changing to use Teemill as your main website to increase revenue and reduce cost.

4. Get some features, and keep pushing

One of the most powerful ways to help your brand break through and beyond the immediate circle of followers is to get some editorial features. If you’ve got a great story, write a press release and send it to journalists. You’ll reach new customers and build your SEO score.

5. Build your Database

Once you’re ready to launch, make sure you ask people to share your post. You might encourage them to sign up to your marketing database. Building an email database is like nurturing a plant. It takes a long time and is a delicate process. You must keep your database alive by regularly sending great photos and written content, and keep building new signups. It pays off in the long run, as you will be able to rely on your database for regular income and word-of-mouth growth.


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