Interview: Prinstant Replays on Multiple Jobs, Balance, Traffic, and Sports
Prinstant Replays produces classic sports plays on t-shirts and posters.
Store’s age: 2 Christmas seasons old
Payment method: Stripe (Shopify Payments)
We spoke to Hunter Mize of Prinstant Replays about what it’s like running his profitable e-commerce store, while holding down a full-time job at the same time. What works, what doesn’t, and where to find additional traffic.
“E-commerce is all about finding ways to do things faster, cheaper, and easier. The fact that I can run a profitable business out of my home, with no office space, employees, or start-up costs is pretty phenomenal.” -Hunter Mize, Prinstant Replays
Tell us about the idea behind Prinstant Replays.
A little over a year ago, I had an idea.
Sports history has always been an interest of mine, and the detail of moments, or plays, how they happen, and who made the play. Sports fans create a memory from these moments, and these memories become feelings. They remember where they were watching, who they were with, and reliving that moment is something they never get tired of.
We are here to help fans relive those moments through prints and shirts.
How did you choose Shopify as your store platform?
We have used Shopify for 2+ years, and have always enjoyed it. The interface and order fulfillment process is clean and easy. The updates have been continuous and the app options are endless.
I compared two free and cheaper platforms. They didn’t have the functionality I was looking for. The combination of interface / ease + originally they connected to Stripe, which I had an account, and I knew I could grow into it as the shop grew. With the others, I didn’t feel I could.
How did you decide to go into the e-commerce business?
I like to be efficient. e-commerce is all about finding ways to do things faster, cheaper, and easier. The fact that I can run a profitable business out of my home, with no office space, employees, or start-up costs is pretty phenomenal.
How do people find out about your store?
Mostly through people sharing the plays they love on social media outlets. I get a lot of help from blogs that enjoy the content as well. Just a month after I started, I began seeing a lot of traffic from Sports Illustrated. I traced the traffic and realized I had been placed on their 2012 Holiday Gift Guide! Seems like things like this have happened fairly often since we started up, and we feel extremely blessed by that.
We have also done several deal sites like JackThreads, Huckberry and Fab. We have also seen great traffic from relationships with awesome blogs like Uncrate, Cool Material and Gear Patrol. These relationships work well for both ends. They get traffic from people sharing posts, and we get sales! (hopefully)
How did you decide to use Printful for your order fulfillment?
A developer at the software company I work for full time knew about this project I was working on, and somehow came across a blog post about Printful in the very early stages. The concept clicked immediately and I knew I would be interested. At first, when the Shopify App wasn’t available, I was planning to have a developer connect my shop to the API, but instead I waited for the App, and I think I connected the first day it was available.
The game-changer with Printful is this – I pay no expenses UNTIL I am paid for a product. I was buying 10-15 posters, or 60-75 shirts at a time, then hoping to make up those costs over a long period of time. Now with Printful, I get paid $xx, then I pay $x for my product. I never am at a loss.
How do you manage your time with a full-time job on top of the e-commerce store?
Lots of late nights and early morning. I typically work 9-6 or so at a software company – sometimes I’ll stay late and work on my Prinstant Replays stuff, and sometimes I’ll get up early and fill orders. Printful has helped tremendously with my time managment and work hours. I have begun connecting product to the Printful platform as i run out of stock. When those products are sold, I literally have to do nothing, just collect a payment!
I do think I could grow the business faster and more efficiently if I was working on this project full time, but there is a peace to knowing that I don’t HAVE to make sales each day to pay rent, buy groceries, etc. It is more of a fun side project that has done much better than expected! I enjoy doing multiple things at once, so this works for me.
What would be your advice for someone just starting out with e-commerce?
Just get it up and running. People think, strategize, and plan too much these days! Once you have your idea, get it mocked up, get it out there and see if people respond. If they do, figure out a way to get them their product. If they don’t, take it down with little money lost. I continue to see people so confident in their product that they buy bulk amounts of it, place it online and can’t sell it!
I recommend starting your shop with very clear messaging – letting the buyer know that your product will ship in 2-3 weeks. This will give you time to get products ordered, and for you to work out the kinks in starting a business. Just don’t assume you have to have it all set and ready – this isn’t the same as a brick and mortar shop, so take advantage of it.
Thanks to Hunter for taking the time to talk to us!
Prinstant Replays does a great job at taking advantage of everything technology has to offer. One perfect example is by using their Google Analytics stats. They identified that people were using searching “1 second shirt”, and were being re-directed to the Prinstant Replays page. To take advantag of these people who are obviously looking for a specific shirt, they went and created one, so that these people could buy what they’re looking for. That’s what we call listening to your audience.