Oak & Opal: How We Got Here and Where We're Going (we have no idea)

e-commerce podcast notes side hustle start a business t-shirts

This blog will be where I compile any notes, questions, thoughts and/or overthinking ruminations that arise from our conversations, and just to make a clear distinction between the voice you hear and see on our socials, which is fully Ashtyn, and the voice (Lacey's) you get here and also in some of the copy, writings, etc. I don't want to mess with, like, our insta aesthetic by posting these musings that you either care about or don't, but if you're forced to do the work of coming here to the read thing, at least you'll know its me. 😉

Aaaanyway, these two episodes meander through a marathon of a recording session that covers our evolution as Oak & Opal and as people, too. I think that one thing that I am proudest of in our partnership endeavors is that we have always attempted to be the best people and partners and business people we can be. I get that we aren't going to be your C.E.O. goals because we are winging it, but we try to stay as truthfully and honestly us as we can. That isn't to say that our path is everyone's and you should definitely do what you need to in growing your own business and I always feel like we are so worried about saying something that might be misinterpreted, but at the heart of this, and in our own hearts, we know that people are different and while we might disagree or feel differently we honor the space that you have created for yourself and we understand that you have to make that work for you, too. 

Additionally, we are ramblers (I’m the biggest pain in the ass for Ash when it comes to editing because we're supposed to stick to a theme and I fall away on side tangents all the time), but I find it helpful to see all those sides in order to make connections and gain understandings, because people can tell you things in one way and until you walk through the information you don't get it--you know, when the lightbulb goes off a few days later and you're like aha that's what they meant. So please excuse the tangents, though thematically the idea running through these episodes is that while our situations may be different than yours; you can definitely do this, or something like it, or whatever you want. It will probably be messy in the beginning, you might look back and cringe (we totally do), but that's all a part of the process and just going through the motions of Oak & Opal lead us here and while we may kinda suck at this (the jury is still out) we wouldn't have tried it without the confidence we gained forging our partnership in the first place.

Plus, wherever you are is right where you are supposed to be. 🖤✨

Kk, that's it, so on to the notes, links, whatever. 

First, Shopify is the site that houses our website. There are definitely other e-commerce sites, we didn't use them so you're on your own there, but we like Shopify. I have built sites (bodenconstructioninc.com) on Squarespace as well (and so has Ashtyn, AshtynSchae.com is also on Squarespace), so we definitely like it, we just haven't really used the e-commerce side, though it is also probably an option. I have also attempted to use Wordpress (thethirdforce.online), but I suck at it and find there's a bigger learning curve there. I've provided the links so you can kinda get a feel for what the different platforms look like. 

Printful- Without Printful none of this would have happened, so despite our cons re: shipping time and quality assurance lack of styles, we owe everything to Printful. If you want to start a store without inventory, on a shoestring, this is honestly the perfect way to get started. You can link to many different marketplaces like Etsy, we just never did because we wanted to keep things simple and only sell through our website, but there are a lot of options here and the help is great. 

I mentioned a few other marketplaces for wholesale goods. This was something we experimented with but never really worked for us. If you're looking to find some cool, high quality ethical goods for a store Faire is a really awesome place to start looking. Oberlo is another great place to start if you're looking at strictly drop shipping. We never expanded to other products beyond Printful, but have perused Oberlo and had we landed on widening our product line we likely would have tried a combination of both. 

Finally, the nuts and bolts. This document that I happened across on the State of SD website was the guiding document I used. We completely skipped the first pages and used this as a reference for deciding structure (Step 4). As we mentioned we did not write a business plan (Step 5), but there are definitely things that you need to discuss and work out with someone if you are skipping this step. We (sorta) knew our mission and what we wanted to do and be, but sitting down and mapping some of that stuff out likely would have been helpful. That said, don't let this section intimidate you. I know nearly everyone will "recommend" you start with writing a business plan, and I get it--it's probably great advice, but I think sometimes it encourages inaction or presents an intimidating hurdle. The point is, make this process your own. Do the things that fit for you and skip what you don't need. But one thing you will need to consider is the licensing information and insurance and it is necessary for you to understand how these things all fit together. We didn't mention it, but part of our startup costs included obtaining insurance. And lastly, I did not use this as a resource, but came across it as I was searching for the checklist and it looks like a helpful resource for women!

Finally, if you are looking for design assests, Creative Market is my absolute favorite place. Ensure you obtain the right license for whatever your intent is, but there is such cool stuff that you can use in your projects. 

Lastly, we used 99 Designs for the Plan(et) B shirt. 😂 Anyway, the process was a little bumpy but we ultimately landed on a design. If I had to choose I think I would simply work with the designers at Printful as that was our best experience, but 99 Designs is definitely also an option.

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