How to unlock your first sales

Establishing a brand doesn’t happen overnight –  it’s a learning process, so getting your sales going can take a little while. In fact it’s normal not to get any sales at all for a while you figure out what works for you. In this blog, we try to accelerate that process and you can check out a few tactics that successful brands used to get their sales started. We talked to the hottest brands on Teemill and asked: “When looking back, what things do you wish you had done at the start to get your first sales?”

Pic Roman Joe c/o Unsplash

It’s worth saying to start with that you’ll probably overestimate what you’ll achieve in the short term but if you persevere, you’ll almost certainly surprise yourself with how much you can grow your store over a few years. Most people give up before getting their first 10 sales, but those that push themselves to get 100 sales normally have learned enough by that point to make a real success of growing an online business. So our first tip on getting your sales off to a great start is a really simple one – just don’t give up.

These are the things we look for in a good Teemill store that tells us that it will probably be successful.


The standard of startups is higher online these days, but that’s not something to feel downbeat about. The best way to approach the competitive nature of online stores is to focus on little steps forward, and when you step back you’ll have built something awesome. When it comes to your products, make sure you have simple, thoughtful and high-quality design ideas that people will love. Clear messages or cool graphics and with a continuity of style – the products should go together and your collections should have themes and consistency.

If you’re stuck for ideas you can use the tools and resources we provide like our slogan template or use online tools like pun generators to come up with design ideas.

When you look back over your collection and want to make it high quality, one of the fastest ways is to delete stuff that is a bit naff. If you don’t want to buy your own stuff, it’s unlikely others will – whether or not you’ve bought and wear your own products is a real acid test. Make stuff that’s so good you actually buy them and then you’ve got some products that are ready.


Customers start out browsing. Converting them into sales means laying out your products in an easy to navigate, attractive and stimulating way. Make sure your designs work together and that your navigation is obvious and descriptive. When you build collections, experiment with the sort order so that the customer sees stuff that works together – they will buy them together.

One of the single best ways to get your store merchandising up a level is with photography.

You can use the images we provide, but there’s no substitute for ordering up some samples and doing your own shoot. And it’s one of the most fun experiences about building a brand. You don’t need pro models or a posh camera – authenticity is priceless, so gather up some people like you and go try a shoot.

Lastly, the most underrated part of merchandising is the product description. People actually read that stuff, and normally just at the point, they’re about to buy things. If you’ve rushed that, it could be holding you back.


Visibility is number one reason why people don’t get off to a start selling. Some of the most successful startups using Teemill have been the ones that have used social media and PR to best advantage. After all, you can have a beautiful store and brand but if people are not aware of it, you cannot make a sale. So this part, the shouting from the rooftops, is key.

Sometimes it can be hard to muster up the courage to really promote your brand. That fear holds a lot of people back.

To get your first sales, you can post heaps on social media using hashtags your customer will use with really great quality stuff. It doesn’t all have to be product and ads. In fact, content marketing is based on the idea that people will just follow your feed for the interesting stuff you will post, and you can advertise your product too from time to time. There’s an almost infinite number of ways you can market your brand from SEO to cost per click, guerilla marketing to billboards, press releases to megaphones. The main thing is that the effort and energy you put into increasing the number of people you reach is linked to the number of sales you make. So whatever you decide to do, do more.


Ads are the fastest way to turn on traffic. You can advertise through Google Adwords to target people searching for the kind of products you are selling, or target people who match what you believe is your perfect target market through Facebook and Instagram targeting. Your ads will show in their feeds leading to awareness, follows, clicks and sales. This is the last check on the list because it only works if you’ve got a great store, great product and your sales are a little underwhelming. If you’re confident your product is awesome but you just need to get it in front of the right people, it might be time to ramp up and launch some targeted marketing campaigns.

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