Being a founder and owner of a successful social commerce business is never an easy and leisured venture, especially when you do it solo in the first place.
But Te’vin Strong, a very young man with a great entrepreneurial spirit has begun to chase his dream of starting a business on his own, and eventually, he did it with flying colors.
At the age of 26, Te’vin Strong is the owner and founder of Brands By Sag – a successful social commerce brand for men’s clothing specifically urban wear. With 11 different product categories including jackets & coats, shirts, underwear, pants, socks, sleepwear, footwear, headgear, eyewear, accessories; Brands By Sag is selling its products all over the world.
Brands By Sag is currently available on multiple social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and its website to widely engage with more customers. Till now, Brands By Sag of Te’vin has built a stable customer base, and most of his frequent customers are from different areas of the U.S especially in Georgia, California, New York, Texas, etc.
After the period of establishment and growth, Te’vin is planning to expand his markets to more oversea countries besides the United States. Typically, he shared that he was extremely excited about getting some of his first orders from Australia recently.
In addition, like most social commerce businesses boosted by the Covid-19 pandemic effects, Brands By Sag of Te’vin has managed to increase up to quadruple in sales and revenues, this has helped Te’vin scale up his brand considerably. Now, as a successful social commerce business owner, Te’vin continuously grows his brand to a higher state of success.
Of course, there will be no overnight success, that’s why we are so lucky to have Te’vin Strong sit down and share with us and all social commerce merchants worldwide out there his advice and all the valuable first-hand experiences to go from zero to hero.
The very first days of doing a business solo
Not every successful merchant knew exactly what they were going to do and where they were going to start in the first place, and so did Te’vin.
“One of the big things that I would say is when I first started, I didn’t really have a good idea as far as what I wanted to do”, said Te’vin.
Accordingly, he began with the closest and most familiar things – his personal preference.
After careful consideration, Te’vin came up with the plan to sell men’s urban wear online.
“So originally, the reason I kind of started doing urban wear is kind of like a personal preference for myself” he shared.
Knowing what to do with the idea, then Te’vin began to establish and run his online store – Brands By Sag while still having a nine-to-five job.
A little realistic tip from Te’vin for all social commerce newbies is that you really need to come up with a good idea first if you want to shape a successful business.
Having such a firm base, you will be able to draw a bigger picture of what your business will be like, what you will sell, who will purchase your product, and else.
Don’t rush in business because every step of the way must be calculated and considered with caution especially when you do it solo. The more well-prepared you are, the easier it will be for your business to grow.
How Te’vin empowers the business with social media.
When being asked about the role of social media, Te’vin strongly emphasized its great influence on every online business.
He said, “So I’d say social media is obviously one of the biggest pieces of the business”.
He was absolutely right.
Obviously, you can instantly stumble upon a thousand benefits that social media can offer your business on the internet, but not all merchants know how to take full advantage of social media.
According to what Te’vin shared, he leveraged social media to the fullest to grow his brand awareness by getting his Brands By Sag on multiple platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and more.
This not only helped Te’vin drive more traffic from social to his brand but also centralized all audiences in his brand channels so that the customers could interact with his business or products seamlessly.
More than that, Te’vin also shared that he could hold marketing activities online for his brand such as product promotion events, sales, giveaway, etc to continuously keep customers engaged and make sales at the same time.
As a result, Te’vin had finally made his first sales through social media, and this motivated him a lot to keep growing the business and overcome the first period before stabilizing and scaling up the business.
Personal tips for running ads on social media.
Eager to start earning more customers and orders, Te’vin gave his business a boost by running ads on social media.
Specifically, Te’vin ran the Facebook advertising campaign for the first time, and he was seriously nervous and confused about everything.
He had no idea of how the ads running would be like or how to optimize the ads and many other things. What he did was try, take notes, and learn from the failures.
Do risk assessments for ad budgets.
Because according to Te’vin, “The best tip is when you’re dealing with social media ads, you can’t be afraid. Just dive into it. And it just seems like a lot at first” he shared. No faster way to learn and master running ads by really experiencing it yourself.
Since success was not easy at all, so Te’vin made some essential monetary sacrifices to withdraw his self-experience. Besides experience and hone in the skills of social media advertising, Te’vin spent time researching his ideal customers, where they are so that he would exactly target and get to them on social media through ads.
One of the biggest all-time concerns, when people run ads on social media, is cost. Therefore, Te’vin also shared his first good tip for running ads “safely” and least risky is ‘Never spend more than you are willing to lose’.
Te’vin considered ads as a gamble where both opportunities and risks existed, and he did not expect to win everything.
“Maybe one hundred dollars for an ad and I only make twenty dollars for me. That’s acceptable because I already put it in my mindset that I’m OK with spending this hundred dollars and not making anything back” he claimed.
Therefore, Te’vin always planned his ad campaigns as well as set the budget carefully and speculated on the risks he might take. In brief, Te’vin had done some kind of risk assessment on the budget himself when running ads.
Optimize ads with geolocation.
Since Te’vin has been selling urban wear or fashion in general, he had multiple decisive factors to focus on if he wanted his ads to approach and convert as many customers as possible. This young man figured out an efficient way to optimize his Facebook ads to the fullest by using ‘geolocation’.
(If you don’t know, the geolocation API allows the user to provide their location to web applications if they so desire. For privacy reasons, the user is asked for permission to report location information. With this tool, business owners can collect the locations of web browsers easily for marketing purposes).
In Te’vin’s case, he used geolocation to identify exactly where his web audiences came from. Based on very specific events going on in that area at that time, he would collect quite useful customer insights.
Then Te’vin created a map with locations and took notes including seasons, events, dates, and proper potential products.
With clear and detailed information, he could plan Facebook ads with efficient budgets, suitable products to target the right customers and increase conversion rate and ROI whenever he ran ads on social media.
Once, Te’vin was selling coats and scarves on his websites. He used geolocation and found out most of the recent audiences who look for coats on his website are from Michigan. Then he researched and figured out that the weather was getting cold due to the transition from the end of summer to fall in Michigan.
Based on the information, he created a Facebook ad campaign to promote his coats and scarves to Michigan residents directly and increased conversion rate faster eventually.
Make quadruple sales during the Covid-19 pandemic.
When we mentioned the impact of the global pandemic upon the world businesses, Te’vin blew our mind when he shared his business earned quadruple sales during the Covid-19 explosion period. This was such a huge success for online business.
It was understandable since the pandemic had shut the whole world down and put worldwide shoppers home for a long period of time. People were more prone to shopping online more than ever before.
Therefore, Te’vin’s business had more online traffic and more selling opportunities, and as a result, he made quadruple sales and revenues compared to the period before COVID.
Looks like the Covid-19 pandemic has been a positive opportunity for online businesses such as Te’vin’s one to grow and make profits.
However, he gained this impressive achievement not only by good luck but also by his business strategy.
Being aware of the world situation during the pandemic as well as the global consumers’ needs, Te’vin prioritized selling the health protection products such as facial masks along with seasonal products. This helped Te’vin to leverage the advantages to generate sales and revenues efficiently.
Besides optimizing products and ads for greater results, Te’vin also had the affiliate program which allowed him to help people make 20% commission or receive free products while they helped him to find more orders.
Obviously, Te’vin was rewarded with great prizes for catching the opportunity in time and having the right strategy for his business growth.
Automate everything for a successful business.
Starting a business all by himself and even having a nine-to-five job, how did Te’vin manage to do everything alone?
“Honestly, the biggest thing that has helped me is automating everything” he answered with a smile.
Te’vin claimed that the biggest tip to do a business solo is automating everything he could or at least the tasks that he did not need to do personally. By automating his less prioritized tasks, Te’vin had more time to focus on other fundamental things such as marketing and promotion.
With the stunning functions from 4 big apps – Socialpublish, Socialshop, Socialreply, Socialwidget included in the Socialhead package, Te’vin was enabled to do that. Socialhead has all the worth-paying factors to support all social commerce sellers like Te’vin. Or merchants can also try some top Shopify apps to find out the right tool for their own businesses.
According to what Te’vin shared, he seriously struggled with the heavy workload from both his online business and his full-time job at the same time until he had Socialhead’s apps automate most of his repeated tasks.
He shared with enthusiasm “With me finding you guys’ apps really helped a lot because it took so much time off of my hands”.
Now, as a successful business owner, Te’vin still strongly recommends that all social commerce newbies should automate their tasks to not only save time, money, and effort but also optimize and grow the online business fast and steady with less human resources.
The social commerce business has changed Te’vin’s life.
Having a successful online business and a stable day job, Te’vin admitted that his life had turned into a brand new better chapter with several new things to adapt.
Being more financially independent.
Obviously, a successful business had granted Te’vin better and more stable financial conditions than before so that he was more independent in his life. “I don’t feel like I have to rely on my day job just to know, make ends meet, or just to make it through the day or to get my bills paid”.
“It gives me kind of like a peace of mind because now I know that, OK, you know, maybe I don’t want to work or maybe if I need to be off work for a little while, I have this back. I can just work on my business and then I can kind of thrive, still thrive there” he said.
Learn to balance between business & life.
However, a busy and scaling business also kept Te’vin occupied more than before. Therefore, he had to learn how to balance things in his life as a business owner now. He got less free time for himself, so he really considered the time spent on social relationships in order to put his time to best use.
“It really changed me. It’s taken me a lot of time, kind of like in my free time, so I used to like hanging out with friends, like going out on weekends a lot. I really have to kind of slow that down and really look at the bigger picture” he shared.
It did not mean that he didn’t need friends or social relationships.
“You know, friends are amazing to have, but in the end, as we’re progressing, we’re going to be friends that are going out, but you have to learn how to prioritize”.
Running a business alone was challenging, but managing and growing a successful business was even harder, so Te’vin said he sooner or later had to get used to it and figure out how to balance between his business and his friends.
In brief, a new life as a business owner was not easy for anyone including Te’vin. He was not unhappy with the changes in his life; on the other hand, he really enjoyed it.
He has traveled a long way with the effort to finally build a successful business, and he was still enthusiastic and passionate about his next period of the business.
Future goals for his business.
Being asked about young retirement when owning a successful online business, Te’vin was happy to share that he had planned to grow his business to the point where he would not have to work from nine to five anymore. He would quit his job someday and spend all his time on the online business.
In addition, Te’vin shared that he intended to have kids when he turned 30 years old. Therefore; until then, he would work really hard to offer his children a good future and inspire them with his entrepreneurial spirit.
The vision of building an eCommerce platform.
In addition, Te’vin had a bigger picture of his business.
“What I really want to do is I don’t mind drop shipping, but I want to kind of turn it into something similar to a marketplace like Amazon”.
“I want to make it a marketplace for younger and more entrepreneurs to start off on and then somewhere that they can kind of build off and then transition into like their own independent business” Te’vin shared his vision.
Someday, he wanted to build his online business from dropshipping into an e-commerce platform like Amazon. By that, he could create more opportunities for young entrepreneurs as well.
It was so lucky for us to finally have an opportunity to sit down and listen to Te’vin’s success story. Even the conversation lasted until midnight, Te’vin was still willing to share with us his self-experience and business journey.
Thank you Te’vin Strong for inspiring all of us about the great entrepreneurial spirit to chase, to grow, and to scale a social commerce business successfully. Wish you all the best.