Written by: Kate Durocher
Meet Andreea Ayers
Andreea Ayers is the founder of Launch Grow Joy, a service that helps brands and designers get noticed by magazines and news outlets in order to garner publicity for their products. For Ayers, “just going for it” was the first step towards her success. Her passion lies in helping others. Her expertise comes from already walking in their shoes.
Ayers’ journey started as she was stretching in a prenatal yoga class, where an unexpected lightbulb went off and she came up with the idea to start a t-shirt business. After investing a portion of her savings into the shirts, she was surprised to sell out within the first month of being in business. The rest, as they say, is history.
Tees for Change, Ayers first brainchild, sold more than 20,000 t-shirts in 300 stores, gaining her six-figure sales only a year and a half after starting.
Optimizing publicity and driving web traffic
So how did this Cornell grad turn her mid-yoga brainstorm into a six figure company? Andrea says getting your product noticed, through tools such as SEO and ads, are of the utmost importance.
“SEO has been a huge traffic driver to my online stores. Most ecommerce websites don’t focus on SEO because it seems very intimidating, but once you learn the basics and apply them to your online store, you’ll start seeing results,” Ayers wrote me in an email.
“Another great traffic source is publicity, whether it’s in a print magazine or on an influential website. Many entrepreneurs think that print media, especially, is no longer effective because everything is online now, but for me and my clients it has worked really well. Facebook ads have also been really effective for driving targeted traffic – there are so many ways to find your ideal customer on Facebook, whether it’s through interests, lookalike audiences or demographics,” she continued.
Owning the hustle when resources are short
But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, Ayers didn’t learn these tricks overnight. Instead, she developed her brand through trial and error to get her to where she is today. When Ayers was first starting out, she quickly learned to focus on one task at a time. Otherwise, the work was daunting.
“I learned early on that there was so much to do when it came to running my business, but I couldn’t possibly do it all at the same time. I learned to be patient and focus on one thing at a time, so I spent my Mondays doing PR, Tuesdays doing wholesale outreach, Wednesdays writing content, etc,” Ayers said.
Even with proper time management, starting a company was no easy feat.
“Time and resources were my biggest challenges. I had so many ideas and wanted to do everything on my own, but I just didn’t have the time to do it all. I had to learn everything from email marketing to pitching to blogging to setting up my online store and there was only so much time in a day! I also didn’t have the budget to hire a PR firm, or a web designer or a catalog designer, for example, so I ended up doing everything myself. It took me a few years to finally invest in hiring other people to help me,” Ayers said.
Mentoring other brands and the joy of success
Since selling Tees for Change in 2011, Ayers launched a second brand, Soaps to Live By, through which she developed her new passion – guiding and mentoring other brands.
“I love sharing what I know with others, especially because when I first started out I didn’t really have any mentors in the online ecommerce space. I spent so much time trying things out and learning the hard way and I wish I had someone whose mistakes I could learn from, so when other entrepreneurs started coming to me for advice, I knew I couldn’t say no!” Ayers said.
In only nine months, Ayers’ soaps were featured in more than 50 media outlets, giving the entrepreneur a deeper understanding of the importance of publicity and leading her to create Launch Grow Joy. Now, Ayers works closely with brands, especially those in her Media Leads program, reviewing their pitches, giving them recommendations on who to contact or even taking over a brand’s PR efforts.
Through Launch Grow Joy, Ayers has been able to get her client’s products featured in hundreds of outlets. From Glamour to Cosmopolitan, brands are growing their reach thanks to Ayers’ services.
“One of my favorite success stories is from a Media Leads client who pitched Oprah Magazine for their annual Holiday Gift guide and his products were featured, which resulted in more than $2 million in sales and numerous speaking engagements!” Ayers remembers.
Ayers took an unexpected, winding road in her path from new entrepreneur to successful designer and then rerouting to the role of coach. This path, taught Ayers what it takes to make it as a creator and now she has set out to help you learn the same.
When it comes to starting a brand, Ayers says passion, drive, determination and flexibility are key. Once you master all of that, she says you have to take matters into your own hands – don’t wait to be discovered, put yourself out there and do it yourself.
About the Author: Kate Durocher is a TV host, writer and editor living in Los Angeles. She is the Press Outreach Manager for Red Cup Agency and also works in editorial for L.A. Weekly. On the side, Kate is an entertainment host and has worked for outlets such as E! News and The Hollywood Reporter. Kate graduated from the University of Southern California in 2015 with a degree in broadcast and digital journalism. See more of Kate’s work at www.lightscamerakate.com. She has contributed to the Brandboom blog.