How Zahra Launched a Successful UK-Based Fashion Brand Using Printify

How Zahra Launched a Successful UK-Based Fashion Brand Using Printify

After completing higher education, most postgraduates arrive in the job market asking the same question – what’s next?

Zahra from the United Kingdom is seeking a career in marketing but was having a tough time finding a job, so she took matters into her own hands. She turned to Printify to start her own UK-based fashion brand.

Just six months later, this now successful first-time entrepreneur has carved herself a niche, gained a lot of real-world business experience, and of course generated herself some much needed income.

In our interview, Zahra reveals how she launched her fashion brand using TikTok and offers tips and tricks for fellow UK merchants getting started with POD.

Hi Zahra, What made you turn to Print on Demand??

“When I graduated, I wanted to get into the marketing space, but it was not easy. So, while looking for a job, I decided to start my own fashion brand not only to earn money but also to learn more about marketing. 

Print on Demand was ideal, as it allowed me to launch a business without taking any big risks or having to invest any money upfront.

I started by creating an Etsy store in September 2023, gave it a name, and began posting some simple designs to a new TikTok account I had created. 

I quickly got a lot of attention, and my sales skyrocketed over the holiday season, even though I was new to Print on Demand.

I think I ended up doing really well despite my lack of experience because I made sure I was tailoring all of my content toward Christmas themes and gift-giving. 

I’ve now added more designs and grown my TikTok account to nearly 12,000 followers.”

How Zahra Launched a Successful UK-Based Fashion Brand Using Printify

How Popular Is POD in the UK?

“There are plenty of entrepreneurs and brands leveraging Print on Demand in the UK, but it’s still a growing market. 

Compared to the United States, we don’t have nearly the same amount of influencers discussing POD as a way to make money online – but we’re getting there.”

As a UK Seller, Were There Any Difficulties Selling Across Borders?

“When I began getting orders from the US, Europe, Australia, and other places outside of the UK, I was unsure how to approach them at first. 

However, once I discovered Printify’s automatic Order Routing feature, I was able to make shipping faster and less expensive by choosing Print Providers in the countries where customers were based.”

Is It Easy to Find Print Providers in the UK?

“Printify’s network is really good in the UK. I have found Printify providers I trust, and I’ve been really happy with them so far. 

I have a Print Provider that prints and ships two of my main products in the UK, which are t-shirts and hoodies. 

Now that my business is expanding, I also have a main Print Provider for Europe because of shipping, which is much easier to send products into the UK from Europe than the other way around.

For US orders, I use Printify’s Order Routing feature, which connects me to the nearest Print Provider based on the customer’s location.

I also have a lot of customers in Australia and have made a separate section of my store that uses Australian Print Providers to keep the shipping costs and delivery times to a minimum.”

What Are the Differences When Marketing to the US vs the UK?

“The US is my biggest market outside of my home country of the UK. 

I’d say the biggest difference between UK and US customers is that people in my home market will buy a broad range of products. Whereas US shoppers only seem to find popular trending items in my store.

I think that in order to grow my business in the US, I’d need to have a significantly greater reach on social media and expand across multiple platforms and marketing channels.”

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What Marketing Channels Work Best for a UK-Based POD Business?

“I think Pinterest is the next thing I’d like to take a serious look at. Even without me posting anything on the platform, when I search for the name of my shop, it comes up with re-posts of my TikToks and people wearing my clothing. 

People don’t necessarily browse Pinterest with the intention of buying things, but if you can present an outfit in a certain way and it looks cool enough, people will end up buying from your store

Instagram is obviously a really good place to be as a fashion brand, too, but in my opinion, it’s a lot harder to gain followers and get clicks on the platform than TikTok. 

Both Pinterest and TikTok just seem to have a much greater reach and are accessible to a wider audience.”

Is That Why You Chose TikTok As Your Main Marketing Channel?

“I chose to launch my business using TikTok as I felt it was the best way to have an unlimited amount of people view my stuff without needing to have any followers

Platforms like Instagram require you to have a very well-established profile to achieve anywhere near the same kind of reach. 

I began my TikTok marketing campaign by creating content around things I’d already seen other people doing on various fashion accounts and brand websites. I would use similar video formats but feature my own designs and t-shirts, often posting multiple times per day. 

I believe that my consistent posting helped me lay solid foundations, and I quickly reached the point where I was able to get more creative with my video content.”

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You Recently Opened a Shopify Store. Are You Happy With the Platform?

Yes, there’s definitely a learning curve, but you don’t need to be an expert to get started, as it’s pretty easy to figure things out as you go along.

Going in, I knew Shopify would be something of a risk, as it’s aimed more at businesses with an existing customer base and more website activity. 

However, I decided I needed to make the jump if I wanted to keep selling and grow my business. I’m really glad I made the switch.”

It is important to note that my Etsy shop was only active for a week or two, and the rest of my success has been from Shopify

If You Were To Start Again From Scratch, What Would You Do Differently?

“If I could go back, I’d definitely have started out on Shopify rather than Etsy. I would also probably get more samples of my designs printed and use them to advertise on TikTok rather than relying on videos of mockups.

Reaching out to influencers would have also helped me in the early stages and could have dramatically accelerated the growth process. You’d be surprised how many people are willing to help out a small business. 

Every time I asked someone to promote my products, they said yes, so I definitely feel like that’s something I should have done much sooner.”

What Incentives Do You Use to Get the Attention of Big Influencers?

“It really depends. I’m still a small new business, so I don’t yet have the means to pay an influencer to promote my products directly. I offer them discounts or giveaway items instead. 

I’ve been lucky working with influencers so far – I’ve had those with 500,000 followers accept a free t-shirt and growing channels with 10,000 followers accept a 40% discount.

It can be nerve-wracking when you first reach out to an influencer, but it’s definitely worthwhile once you see the reach some of these big accounts have. 

For instance, I asked a certain fashion influencer to wear one of my t-shirts, and when she posted a video of herself styling it, I could see my sales increase in real-time throughout the day.”

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What Advice Would You Give Print-On-Demand Newcomers?

I think the most important thing to consider is what you want to achieve. I didn’t necessarily set out to make a lot of money – I wanted to build a brand, gain some marketing experience, and have a creative outlet. 

You need to be passionate about what you’re doing. It’s much easier to establish yourself in a niche on social media if you’re promoting your own interests rather than generic items with slogans or quotes.

I’ve always wanted to work in fashion or own a fashion business or brand. That makes marketing a lot easier because I’m my own target audience and look at things from my own perspective.”

And Lastly, Zahra, How Has Your Business Affected Your Career Trajectory?

“I’m still looking for a marketing job that will give me that little bit of extra security. However, my print-on-demand business is now my full-time occupation. 

Print on Demand has taken away a lot of stress and struggle while giving me a huge amount of experience that I wouldn’t have got anywhere else. 

I certainly don’t see myself stopping what I’m doing – even if I land a dream job in marketing.”

Make It Happen Today!

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