Student Story: How Sandy Created A Profitable Online Store Selling Kimono Robes

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This is a post written by Sandy, a student in my Create A Profitable Online Store Course. Sandy signed up for my class without knowing anything about website design or how to run an online business.

Profitable Online StoreBut despite her lack of experience, she managed to find her niche, source her products, create her website and launch www.GetUnrobed.com in a relatively short amount of time.

After getting to know Sandy this past year, she has become one of my favorite students. Why? It’s because she has a great attitude and she’s always willing to improve herself and try new things.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, an entrepreneur’s attitude is the most important aspect of starting any business. So it’s no wonder that her shop has been doing very well. In fact, she was nice enough to reveal some of her sales numbers at the end of her post.

GetUnrobed.com caters to the wedding industry and specializes in bridesmaid robes. Her site is hosted on Shopify, a fully hosted shopping cart platform that I highly recommend for those who don’t want to deal with tech.

Anyways, without further ado, here’s Sandy’s post on how to increase your chances for business success.

How I Started GetUnrobed.com And My Advice To New Entrepreneurs

getunrobed.com

For the past five years, I’ve worked in academics as a communication instructor. I teach college students how to prepare and deliver a solid speech. This class terrifies most 18 year olds, and some fully grown adults as well.

What is amazing is that most of the class can go from pretty terrible to giving powerful speeches in just a few weeks, provided they show up to class, do the work I assign and actually get up in front of the class to deliver the speech, despite their fears.

In fact, there are only two reasons students fail my class, and neither has to do with initial speaking ability. Either, a student doesn’t show up to class regularly, or they miss at least one speech.

Not because the weight of attendance or the weight of one speech alone devastates their grade, but because they just never seem to build the skills they should have at that point in the semester and it hurts them later on.

This formula for learning is pretty much the same throughout all of human history, in most any context. From the time we are born, we mimic our parents. We are essentially given personal mentors that we watch and copy.

The same happens in schools, sports, etc. Many corporations even have a mentor program set up to move junior executives through the ranks up to senior level. And it is always the same.

First you learn, then you do. And while you do, you get feedback, make adjustments and do again. The motto at the college I teach at is, “teach me, show me, let me try.” We need to complete all of these steps before we can truly become an expert.

This is why, when I decided to open a store selling kimono robe style bridesmaid robes, I sought out a mentor who has helped me every step of the way.

Steve’s class was a huge help, both through the content he provided and his personal interactions with students.

It was exactly what I needed to gain the knowledge and confidence it took to get my business off the ground.

This is why I suggest if you want to become an expert entrepreneur and get yourself a profitable online store; you need to start with two major tasks: get a mentor and take action.

Step 1: Get A Mentor

Create A Profitable Online Store

A common reason my students fail is because they simply do not show up. I’m not saying you can’t learn things on your own. Of course, we all learn things on our own every day. It just takes longer. A lot longer.

Before I got serious about opening my store, I was throwing around a few other business ideas. I would Google what I thought were relevant topics, research and read as much as I could and try to implement the lessons.

It wasn’t that I wasn’t finding good information, but information on the internet is incredibly fragmented. Entire chapters in books are broken down into 500 word blog posts. It takes a long time to piece those articles together to make an entire book.

Ok, so why not just buy a really good book about starting a store? This is a much better solution, but still not ideal for a few reasons. First, the book is still fragmented, to some extent. Someone, an expert, has taken years of experience and crammed it into a few hundred pages.

Second, the text is static. What is there is there and there is no more. Third, once you are ready to take action, you’ll miss out on valuable feedback that you can only get from a real live teacher.

That last reason is a big one.

Finding a mentor gets you to the source for interactions, stories and critiques that you can’t find via text.

This is why our nation doesn’t educate the young by sending them to the library.

Good Will Hunting style is only effective for a very small percentage of the population. Most of us need some guidance whether that be in what books to read, which examples to draw from, or simply getting feedback on our work.

There is something about asking for help that is intimidating for many of us. We have to admit that we don’t know something, or are having difficulty doing it ourselves.

However, talk to anyone who has mastered a task and they will likely have someone, paid or not, that they consulted on their journey to the top. It is simply the most efficient way of learning and humans model if from the time we are born.

It is a shame that it takes a back seat for many as we reach adulthood. If you’re not ready to hire a personal mentor, you can join a class.

If even that is too expensive for you, attend networking events or join an organization that focuses on your desired task and make friends with someone that can at least answer a few emails every now and then.

Step 2: Take Action

jump

Now that you’ve “shown up for class,” you need to put the lessons into practice. Not doing an assignment is the second reason my students just don’t pass the class. The lesson there is the same for them as it is us: we need to take action to master a task.

Many of my students are terrified of getting in front of an audience and delivering a speech that they wrote themselves. There is something about the public critique that adds an extra layer of fear.

For some of them, this is enough to keep them from ever becoming decent speakers, let alone good speakers. Entrepreneurship is exactly the same. By starting a business, you open yourself up to public scrutiny. This is especially true for an online business.

Putting your work out in front of the entire internet is scary! Your friends and family are going to want to know if you’re making sales, how often those sales are coming, how much you made per sale, etc. etc.

And, the sub text to all those questions is fairly simple: are you successful? And you’ll be forced to answer that one simple question every day.

Not only to friends and family, but every time someone comes to your site, they’ll be asking themselves that same question, judging, evaluating and critiquing.

You’ll even be forced to face feedback every time you interact with a customer or see a review. However, just like my students, would be entrepreneurs can’t improve on their skills if they don’t practice.

At some point, we all need to put ourselves out there and make the mistakes on our own. We need to get that feedback so that we can correct course.

Although Steve has been an incredible teacher since the first day I signed up for class, I find myself making the exact mistakes that he warned me about.

Sometimes, I just can’t keep up with everything I need to do and learn, so mistakes happen. Other times, I know I’m making a mistake but simply don’t know how to correct it.

However, if you’ve taken the time to set yourself up with a mentor, you will have the benefit of having someone who gives positive feedback and can direct you to the areas that will make the most dramatic impact on your business and your bottom line.

Although mistakes will still happen, this will greatly reduce the cost of mistakes and increase the chances you will learn the right lessons, the first time around.

The Impact Of Having A Mentor And Taking Action

growth

I’ve seen the impact of following Steve’s advice and learning the right lesson the first time around, and it is clearly affecting my numbers. For example, the first month my site was live, I sold a measly $1000 in products.

I really wasn’t sure which aspect of my store needed to change to see a significant improvement in sales. Without real live feedback, I would have had to resort to guesswork, trying to implement strategies without knowing where to start and what to work on first.

I didn’t have the experience yet (and still don’t) to see my mistakes clearly enough. Even if I did know something wasn’t quite right, I would have had little direction by simply searching through endless reading material to find the solution.

A mentor cut that part out, quickly pointed to the glaringly obvious (to an experienced online shop owner) mistakes, and referred me to material to find the solutions.

Implementing changes allowed me to more than triple my monthly sales numbers in only my third month open.

Today, in my fourth month live, I’ve sold about 60% of those first month’s sales in just one day. Do I still have a long way to go?

Yes, of course, but the method of learning is still in place and is working to greatly reduce my “study” time between mistake and action, allowing me to progress much faster than I otherwise would.

Update: Sandy’s website is now on the front page of search and she’s been doing 4 figures per month consistently.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you want to move forward. You wouldn’t follow it otherwise. Once you make that decision, follow the formula that humans have used to learn new skills and master tasks since the beginning of time.

Get a mentor, take action. It is scary, it is time consuming and it is work. But, like my students, the guaranteed way to fail is to not show up and not take action.

Click here to learn how to create a profitable online store

Sandy lives in Las Vegas, NV with her three year old son. She has a background in communication and has been a communication instructor for 5 years and was in a sales and marketing position before that. Sandy joined Steve’s “How to Create a Profitable Online Store” course in September 2012 and launched her store, Get Unrobed, in June 2013. The store sells a variety of kimono robes for women, including bridesmaid robes, getting ready robes and luxury spa robes.

photo credit: Éole Lucy Crosbie

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54 thoughts on “Student Story: How Sandy Created A Profitable Online Store Selling Kimono Robes”

  1. Viv says:

    Hi Steve,

    1-what do you mean by non-designers in “a fully hosted shopping cart platform that I highly recommend for non-designers.”?

    2-I’d like to know if your course is better suited for self-fulfillment or drop shipping?

    Thanks

    1. Hey Viv,

      I just changed around the verbiage. I recommend Shopify for people who want to design a good looking website without having to deal with a lot of tech. In terms of the course, I cover both topics pretty thoroughly

  2. I love these success stories. Following through on a simple idea can go a long way!

    1. Sandy says:

      Thanks for reading Donnie! :)

  3. Sofia says:

    That is so inspiring! Thank you Steve and Sandy for sharing that with us. I think 1000 dolars on your very first month is quite good actually! I’m at the verge of launching my store but before I do it I really want to join your class. I’m just gathering some money since I’m still a non working student :)

    Sofia

    1. Sandy says:

      Sofia – you’ll love the course. There is plenty of information and lots of support. Thanks for reading!

  4. I will read any article Sandy writes…and this one did not disappoint…woot woot!

    1. Hey John.

      I completely agree. As soon as I read her submission, I told her that she’s welcome to write for my blog anytime. Who would have thought that I had such a talented writer in my class?

      1. Sandy says:

        Comments like that make my day. :) Thanks Steve!

    2. Sandy says:

      Thanks for the support John!

  5. Linda says:

    What a great success story, Sandy! So inspiring! It’s so encouraging to read how someone with no technical background or website-building experience went from “idea” to “on-line store”, with a little mentoring of course :)
    Well done!

    Linda

    1. Sandy says:

      Thanks Linda! There of course were and are bumps along the way, but it is getting there! :)

  6. Sandy, such a powerful article, thank you!

    The principles you articulate are proven throughout the centuries, encapsulated in your writing style which is likely as comfortable as one of your Kimono robes from getunrobed.com!

    The teachings of something new is where life carries anyone to the next exciting stage as you point out. Those that believe are the ones that take to the learning and prosper in so many wonderful elements of their life.

    Thank you Sandy, I’m waiting for you to author books one day!

    Dean

    1. Sandy says:

      Thanks Dean! I’m glad you enjoyed it! I’ll keep you posted on that book… :)

  7. Great advise!! I totally agree that a mentor or a mastermind group is worth the investment when starting your business or even for an existing business. That support and accountability is important for success.

    1. Sandy says:

      Eric – totally. Otherwise you’re limited to your own knowledge. It’s nice to have others around who can contribute to brainstorming, support and to overall add value!

  8. People can read all about how to make money online, but your #2 states it all Sandy: Taking Action! To many people fall into analysis paralysis reading, studying and questioning verse taking action.

    And Bravo for Hiring a Mentor/Coach. 10 years online and I still have a coach that kicks my butt, but I’m so grateful for having her.

    You rock, love your site and I wish you great Entrepreneurial Successes!

    Mike

    1. Sandy says:

      Thanks Mike! Yes, action is an important part in any plan, for sure! Thanks for reading!! :)

  9. I can’t agree more. Having a mentor, or coach, or whatever you call it will save you so much time and money it’s ridiculous. You can struggle for months and years, or you can take the fast track to success. Sorry to sound cliche, but I’d rather pay for a mentor up front, than have that money sucked out of me lesson after lesson, year after year.

    Great article.

    1. Sandy says:

      Yup! And Steve’s class has been a huge help in that area. Thanks for reading!

  10. Great post, Sandy and Steve.

    Having a mentor decreases the learning curve immensely.

    1. Sandy says:

      For sure – Thanks Steve!

  11. Great story! Sandy knows her stuff and it a great mentor for any woman looking to make the leap into Entrepreneurship. Her steps are a great road map to success! Take Action Now!!

    1. Sandy says:

      Thanks Celest! Your support means a lot!

  12. Thanks, Sandy! Just the words I needed to hear. You have given me renewed focus on going “live” with my shop ASAP. When I was reading your blog, I realized I was stalling to go live because I did not want to face the possible negative comments from family and friends. The main purpose in starting an online business is to create income. How can I do that if I don’t take the steps to sell my products? I do want to learn and I also know one of the best ways to do that is by actually doing something. So thanks, again, for your inspiring words of wisdom

    1. Sandy says:

      Barbara – I completely know what you mean. It really is scary. My shop looked SO bad when I went live, but I’m glad I went live when I did because I would have just kept playing and tinkering with it over and over again, and I’m not sure I would have made any real progress. At least once I went live I could get that feedback from customers and everyone else. Something that I am slowly learning is that feedback is good, even when I don’t want it. :) It really does help you grow! Thanks for reading!

  13. I love this post, and I have to say I am also a fan of Sandy’s kimono robes. Got one for my girlfriend and she loves it!

    1. Sandy says:

      Thanks Andres! Glad she likes it! :)

  14. Sandy, thank you soo much for sharing your inspirational story! This is such a motivator for me as someone who just started a website! Looking forward to hearing more from you! :-)

    1. Sandy says:

      Thanks Justin! That means a lot. I was always searching for people who were just a little bit further along than I was to grab some inspiration from. I’m glad you found some here. Thanks for reading! Good luck with your site!

  15. Wow, what a great post Sandy! Along with Steve you have also been a great inspiration to my wife and I in the course. Everything in this post was spot on and your site looks amazing!!

    1. Sandy says:

      Wow, thanks Marin!! So nice to hear. How’s it coming along?

      1. It’s coming along pretty good. We have made a few sales with adwords. Really want to start ranking higher for our keywords so will be focussing on SEO now so we get some of that free traffic :-)

  16. toolika says:

    Hi Steve,

    I have been wondering for years to start my online business but I just can’t find out what & where to start.

    I am so much in need to start an online business as my job is just not enough.

    Looking for your guidance.

    1. toolika says:

      P.S.: I am really good at sketching but cant find ways to utilize this skill.

    2. You should first read all the posts on this blog, it covers almost everything about opening an online store! :-)

  17. Christine says:

    Thanks Sandy,

    Its always encouraging to hear stories of what is possible and good to be reminded of the importance of a mentor along the way.

    Christine.

    1. Sandy says:

      Thanks Christine! And thanks for reading!

  18. I love hearing awesome stories like this! Great post as well, thanks so much for sharing.

    And it’s so true that a mentor or a support system like a mastermind group is crucial to your success. It’s very important to surround yourself with like-minded people on a daily basis and of course take massive action in order to achieve your goals.

    You’re an inspiration Sandy, thanks!

    All the best,

    – Navid

  19. Sandy is crushing it as an entrepreneur and an inspiration for all of us. She is also proving the model that you can live your dream and grow a great business.

    Keep driving.

    Ray Pare

  20. Steve and Sandy,
    This is good stuff! I love that second point, “Take Action”. Is there any other way? How else does one get from point A to point Z? You have to move. It seems basic, but you just have to take some kind of action. You may only know how to do points A, F, H, and O but the rest are a complete mystery. Just start, do A, figure out B, then move on to C… But, with out the initial action, you know for sure that you’ll never figure out B or the rest.
    Congrats to Sandy for being an action taker. I love story.

  21. Very nice story on how to take action, and get to work. I have a question for Steve C or anyone else for that matter, I’m looking forward to buy the course in the very near future but right now i have too much on the table and the only thing that the course will do is gather dust in my hard drive.

    Is there a forum or place that the member use to interact or exchange ideas and feedback, and if so it’s that place accessible by the none members :-)

    Thanks in advance and keep the good work, this the one newsletter that I really look forward to get on my email.

    1. Hey Gerald,
      Unfortunately, the forums for the class are private and for students only but I’m looking forward to having you in the class. Just a quick heads up, I plan on raising the price of the class again sometime next year. Membership is lifetime so that might be something to consider.

      Take care.

      1. Thanks for the quick reply Steve, I love the fact that the students have networking tool to exchange info and learn from the source itself, must other courses they sell you genetic info and that is the end of that.

  22. Jennifer says:

    What an awesome post! I am going through the class right now and agree that Steve’s course makes for a great mentor – but it is up to me to take action. Very inspiring post Sandy and congrats on your store!!

  23. Subversive says:

    Hi Steve, great story. I’ve been mulling over signing up for your course for some time. I really like your content and style. My biggest fear is that I don’t have the proper amount of time to dedicate to it in order to make the most of it. I’ve got a busy family life (3 kids), am a full time IT consultant, and we also run a small publishing business. I’d really like to start to move away from the model of trading my hours for pay, however. So, my question for you is this: How many hours a week do you think a person needs to dedicate to your course in order to get the maximum benefit?

    1. Hey Subversive,

      I would say that you should be willing to devote at least 5 hours per week.

      1. Subversive says:

        Thanks for the quick response! I’ll consider this info as I move closer to a decision. :)

  24. Nice article……another example of “take action”…….there are a ton of good ideas out there when it comes to setting up your own online store.

  25. Just thought I would mention that I went to google to search for sandy’s store & when I typed in “bridal robes” I couldn’t find it. When I typed “bridesmaid” robes it did pop up on the first page.

  26. Jacy says:

    I have been trying to think of an online business and believe the course would be a great help. I just haven’t come up with an idea or product to sell. How have others come up with their product ideas? Do you need to have that in mind before you start the course?
    Awesome testimony, Sandy! You inspire us all. So proud of what you’ve accomplished!

  27. Kevin Keast says:

    I really like getting these success stories in my inbox!

  28. Shawn says:

    I just tried to click on Sandy’s website and it’s closed. Do you know what’s going on with her and the site? An update to this article would be nice.

  29. Sandy’s story is amazing. It’s cool to read about her as I work for a competitor of her company – The Paisley Box – http://thepaisleybox.com. As a young budding entrepreneur, it is inspiring to know that women can be successful with hard work. Colleen, the founder of The Paisley Box has also been an inspiration to me. I am truly lucky to be a part of this industry and seeing how newer niches are born out of it.

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