If you know me then chances are you saw that I launched my first ecommerce site last month in WankSock.com. We all know a wanker (if you don’t then you’re probably a wanker yourself) and I sought to capitalise on this by creating a novelty sock for the wanker in your life.
Some people know from a young age what they want to do with their life, whether that’s to become a policeman or nurse or doctor etc. I didn’t know I wanted to be a Wankerpreneur until the summer of this year, before then I was just a plain wanker.
Despite what many filthy minded people think, I came up with the idea after asking my followers on twitter what they thought of guys wearing white socks. The tweet was prompted after Frank Paul took the piss out of me after seeing a pic of me with white socks.
My friend Tony replied with this tweet.
@iamrofe wank sock? They're not fans.
— Tony Mogan (@TonyMogan) July 26, 2013
I laughed for a bit and then I had a trigger moment, what if you could actually buy a Wank Sock? I thought for sure that it had probably already been done, but after some quick research it appeared it hadn’t. The next day I registered the domain WankSock.com.
It wasn’t until the end of September when I started to think more about the idea. I’d always wanted to start my own ecommerce site, I was also getting bored with some of the things I was working on, and wanted to do something fun. So this seemed to fit the bill well, and I thought that maybe, just maybe I might be able to sell a few too.
The design and development of the site, product and packaging started in October and I launched the website on 14th November. I made my first sale within a few hours , and started to promote it via social media.
After about 5 days I was shitting it. I’d only made a handful of sales after generating thousands of visits. Part of me started to think that this wasn’t such a good idea after all. I’d spent literally thousands of pounds on this and at this rate I wasn’t even going to break even, but I carried on.
Thankfully sales did pick up, I sold out of the initial amount I ordered (which wasn’t a modest amount), and had to get more in, some days it wasn’t too dissimilar to this scene in Middle Men. My aim was to get the site going viral and although I didn’t achieve that, I did create a bit of a buzz on social media. I went out of my way to spread the news as much as I could. I even got papped on the train by some random girls that thought the whole thing was hilarious.
“A drunk man on the train was telling us about his wank sock business, pls buy one”- Link to tweet here.
Now that all the Christmas sales have come and gone I’m only just beginning to realise how well I’ve done here. To create a website that has literally had people in tears of laughter and a product that I know lots of people will be unwrapping on Christmas day is a great feeling. To have my largest investment to date turn around a profit in just 5 weeks is a feeling of relief and delight.
I’ve never laughed so much and had so much fun with something I’ve worked on before, and even if I had only broke even I’d do it all again as I’ve learnt so much.
I’d like to thank all my friends that shared it on facebook or twitter, and to those that bought some. I’d also like to say a big thanks to Frank, Kirstin, Josh & Trudy for encouraging me to run along with the idea. I may not have gone through with it if it wasn’t for you. I’d also like to thank my mum for letting me turn the house into a Wank Sock factory.
Getting It Into Retail
I think it could work well on the likes of IWOOT, Firebox & Menkind etc. My two routes for this are to either license out the product and take a royalty on each sale, or act as a wholesaler. At this moment in time I’m looking at the latter option, and would outsource the packaging of the product so I can work on my other projects and focus elsewhere.
Acquiring Intellectual Property Rights
Ideally I need to get some kind of IP rights on this, it’s not something I know much about (despite doing a module in it at uni), so if anyone is clued up on this then I’d love to hear from you.
Setting Up An Affiliate Program
I contacted a couple of affiliate networks before launch to see if I could get an affiliate program going but I ran into difficulty due to the adult nature of the product/domain name. I’m hoping now that I have proof of sales that this might improve my chances. If you can help with this let me know.
Getting Press Coverage
I spent a lot of money on PR and got no coverage, that’s all part and parcel of the game and I knew the risks when I did it. It felt it was something I would regret if I didn’t do. I’ll be trying again though, I’ve got an idea for an angle and I am pretty confident that it will work.
Other Products/ Ecommerce Sites
I’ve got one plan to set up another small ecommerce site, but it’s nowhere near as interesting. It’s also highly seasonal, and i’ll only be running it for about 4 weeks. It’s not something I can see myself doing more of in the future, I quite like the flexibility of being able to work wherever I want remotely and you lose this when you have to make a trip to the post office every day.
I don’t intend to think up ideas to create other products, I think when you sit down and try to think of ideas they are never as good as when you let the ideas come to you.
Selling The Business
I’ve had people enquire about this, and I wouldn’t say no to selling it if the price was right. I think from a learning perspective it would be more beneficial for me to carry on with it. If you would like to make me an offer, then let me know.