How TikTok, Shopify, and Product Drops Led to $10,600 a Day in Gross sales
- Hannah England, 20, is a small business owner whose sales have grown thanks to TikTok viral videos.
- She now has more than 696,000 followers on TikTok after less than a year on the platform.
- That’s how she built her candle and soap business on Etsy and then Shopify.
This essay is based on a transcribed conversation I had with Hannah England, a 20-year-old small business owner in Nashville, Tennessee, about increasing her sales with TikTok. It has been edited for length and clarity.
I wanted to change something late in the fall of 2020.
At the time, I was a sophomore at Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville studying Worship, and I knew I wasn’t passionate about it. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to graduate at all. I was going to Colorado for Thanksgiving and my parents and I decided to drop out of school for the next semester.
Then, one day in December 2020, the idea of starting my own soap and candle business occurred to me seemingly out of nowhere.
First, I had to quickly learn how to make soaps and candles from all-natural materials. I then went to work selling them with the aim of making some extra cash on Christmas gifts. For that first month, I sold my products solely through a Google Doc and made about $ 400 in revenue.
But after the holidays, I decided to get my new project more serious, opening a shop on Etsy and opening an Instagram account to promote the business.
I decided to call it “Aspen Essence” because aspens were my favorite trees and I was intrigued by the way their roots connect underground. It felt like a symbol of community. For a few months I was making two to three sales a week, mostly from family and friends.
But then in mid-February I decided to open a TikTok account to promote my business. That decision changed my life. My first semi-viral video was in late February and resulted in 13 orders over a weekend. For the next several months, I studied what other small business owners were doing to thrive on TikTok and started posting content there two to three times a day.
My first five-digit month of sales was in May when I was selling special gift boxes for Mother’s Day.
I left Etsy for Shopify so I could have more control over my business
My first really viral video came out in late June. The video that showed how I make my oatmeal and honey soap bars currently has more than 18 million views on TikTok.
At that point, I was often working up to 18 hours a day making products, processing orders on Etsy, and creating content for TikTok. I was exhausted. Etsy even temporarily closed my shop because I had too many orders in my queue waiting to be processed.
In August I decided to start my own website with Shopify. I liked that using Shopify allows me to own my domain name, design my website, and market it directly to customers via email. I still post some products for sale on Etsy from time to time, but my focus is on my personal website.
I started selling my products in monthly drops, which helps me control when products are available. I spend the two to three weeks after each drop making the products and the week after packaging and shipping them. My first drop of product sold out in about 15 minutes. My October supply, which was a much larger drop of about 2,500 bars of soap, sold out in about an hour.
I earn the majority of my income on product drop days. On October 23, a drop day, I generated more than $ 10,600 in total sales on Shopify. On November 13, a minor product drop-off day, I had total sales of over $ 7,800. Shipping typically costs me a few thousand dollars a month, and I invest between $ 1,000 and $ 2,000 in materials every month.
Staying consistent has helped me get over 696,000 followers on TikTok
There is a really supportive community for small business owners on TikTok.
When I first got to TikTok there was a trend that small business owners said that if another business owner commented on their videos with what they were selling, they would follow them and show their support. This is how I got my first 10,000 followers.
But it took me a couple of months to really define my aesthetic as a creator on TikTok. I try to post at least once a day because I’ve found that consistency helps get your content noticed by TikTok’s algorithm.
I also noticed that my soap making videos are very popular – they get millions of views every time I post them. They’re also the most time consuming to make, so I want to post a month or two of them. I now have 696,000+ followers on TikTok.
Nowadays, I usually work between 9am and 8pm, completing orders and making new products. I will spend some time every other day answering emails and recording content for TikTok.
I started my business as a hobby, but it has grown into a full-fledged business. In October I decided to drop out of college and focus entirely on Aspen Essence. I hope to be able to further increase sales so that I can afford storage space and even hire some employees.