Most start-ups dream of their product suddenly going viral 24 hours after launch, which is exactly what happened to ‘Ship Your Enemies Glitter’. Problem is this start-up might not have had all their ducks in a row before the big glitter storm.
A Business with a Vengeance
22 Year old Matthew Carpenter came up a devious but brilliant plan. What’s the nicest worst thing that you could do to someone you’d like to get back at? Send them an anonymous, glitter-laced letter that will have them finding the little shiny devils everywhere for weeks to come while cursing the unknown culprit.
Carpenter developed a cussing cheeky website and sat back to see if his idea would take flight.
“Pay us money, provide an address anywhere in the world and we’ll send them so much glitter in an envelope that they’ll be finding that @#! everywhere for weeks. We’ll also include a note telling the person exactly why they’re receiving this terrible gift,” shipyourenemiesglitter.com says.
A slightly childish idea but what he didn’t bet on was just how many vengeful customers there were out there that would fall in love with the idea overnight, causing his website to receive over one million pageviews within 24 hours, with 80 000 Facebook shares of his webpage.
A Glitter Disaster
While most start-ups would be beaming from ear to ear at the sheer success of their idea, reality would soon start to set in, which is exactly what happened with Carpenter. Orders came flooding in and with it the realisation that somebody had to churn out the product.
Eight hours later, a drowning Carpenter posted a comment on Product Hunt: “Hi guys, I’m the founder of this website. Please stop buying this horrible glitter product – I’m sick of dealing with it. Sincerely, Mat.”
His website also periodically crashed due to the sheer volume of visitors and orders. Finally, the business decided to temporarily suspend purchasing.
“You guys have a sick fascination with shipping people glitter,” says Carpenter on his website. “We’ve received all orders & working through them. There was a tonne so be patient.”
Get Order Ready
This serial entrepreneur, who has three other start-ups under his belt, has been learning a crash-course lesson in ensuring that you have your business’ infrastructure in place. As a sole proprietor of Ship Your Enemies Glitter, more than likely a fair amount of the work will be falling squarely on his shoulders – which means a lot of trips to the post office.
An important aspect of starting up a business is ensuring that you are ready when those orders do start coming in. The last thing you want to do is let your customers down or start reneging on delivery promises, or else your reputation may be damaged in the long run and the business could dry up just as quickly.
Identify all the possible worst-case scenarios that could happen in your business and plan according to these. In Carpenter’s case a postal strike would be disastrous and he would have to make an alternative and cost-effective plan to deliver all those vindictive letters across the world.
One thing’s for sure, Carpenter stumbled on a goldmine with a business idea that has low overheads and high-profit margins, and by implementing some fundamental systems and processes ‘Ship Your Enemies Glitter’ should see some hefty returns.