Building a DTC Brand through COVID: Wk 10 Sales through COVID

Week 10: Sales through COVID Pt 2

“Building a DTC Brand During COVID” is a series written by Farah Azmi to serve as a discussion for starting a company amid a pandemic. The stories are meant to share personal experiences and is not in any way meant to promote a “correct” methodology. We hope readers find this informative and amusing and we welcome informed advice and active discussion.

Last time I wrote about planning to do sales – so today I wanted to drop in for a quick update. Lots of people are asking, “how is IXORA doing post-launch?” More likely than not, people are genuinely asking to see how I’m personally surviving doing classes and working on IXORA. However, a part of me feels paranoid if they’re checking in about sales. Do they expect me to announce that I hit 7 figures in sales already? Do they expect for me to have major PR news? I fully recognize this is all in my head, but it still gets to me.

So here’s my update: I launched on February 18th. Since then, I’ve gotten a decent amount of sales. I won’t say how much but its on par with what I was expecting. However, what I was not expecting is how much work everything would be. Before, I was finally starting to master how to do coursework, social media, writing, and starting to even do paid marketing ads. Now, with sales, I have to plan events, execute the events, organize and sort through orders, order shipping materials, schedule appointments for measurements, and the list goes on and on and on. There is never a day that I actually finish everything that I’m supposed to do.

I’ve mentioned before that entrepreneurship is a mental feat – and I truly felt it these past few weeks. Here are some of my reflections on mental resiliency for an entrepreneur.

Recognize that not all your friends will purchase 

Yes it’s a bit disappointing when all of your friends who said they LOVED your product don’t purchase it. However, I also have to recognize that even with the discount $250 is a lot. I mean I have dozens of things on my wish list that cost far less and I still hesitate to press the purchase button. However, your friends’ purchases are not the only ways they can support. I appreciate all my friends who have helped me set-up and clean-up for my events. I love the ones that are sharing on Instagram and talking about it to their friends. Even if they like my Instagram posts I’m happy enough. There are many ways your friends can show support, so don’t feel scorned if they don’t buy.

Don’t Compare

Don’t play the compare game. This has been the death of me. I look at other friends who have startups, and I start thinking about how they received more PR than me, more recognition than me, or how they may even have gone viral. I wonder how they’re able to be confident in pursuing this full-time and I don’t know what will happen post-May. I constantly wonder why I haven’t “succeeded” that much. There must be something wrong with my start-up. That’s when I have to remind myself: for one, I’m a one woman show. I simply am not capable in fulfilling thousands of orders right now. Two, my digital measurement tool isn’t ready – so how am I able to fulfill orders outside of Boston? Lastly, why rush? Made-to-measure is such a risky concept. I’m not only promising things that will look cute; I’m promising things that will fit PERFECTLY well. While I’ve done test runs, it’s no guarantee that every person will be satisfied, so why rush to try to get thousands of orders now?

Celebrate your Successes

Lastly, celebrate all of your wins! I forget that even if I haven’t hit thousands of units sold, I sold product. I created product. A year ago today, I had nothing but an idea. I still get so excited for every purchase someone makes. I celebrate those wins. It’s hard to feel proud of such small moments, but it’s important that you do so. It’s a good reminder as to why I went down this entrepreneurial path in the first place. When I see customers who wear their IXORA jacket, I feel so excited and proud that I created something. Even if it’s a small number of people, it’s more than what I had a year ago.

Being an entrepreneur is a tough road. There are many up’s and down’s. I’m still working on my mental resilience to work through the high’s and low’s. However, through it all, I’m still excited to continue this journey.

IXORA Apparel is an early stage start-up fashion brand founded by a Harvard Business School student. Our mission is to support women in their lives through the way she dresses while providing resources to support her in the workplace.  We aim to provide made-to-measure trend-driven apparel for women, where everything is made-for-her and not made-to-stock.


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