Zpparel (zpparel.com) was inspired by a Reddit post that I came across in June of 2019, specifically this post: 3 months ago I posted the exact process on how I sold $150,000.... After discovering this post, I sent it to Adit as I thought it was an interesting read. Adit also found it to be fascinating, and we decided to make an attempt at selling apparel. Instead of paying for designs online, we chose to ask our friends. After thinking for days we came up with Zpparel, apparel for students. We would help student artists turn their work into sellable merch. We felt that this way we'd be able to get a few sales off of each artist from their family or friends. Initially we had 3 designs from 3 artists. Our initial startup costs were a little over $100, as we bought a domain, paid for shopify, and bought samples for the artists in return for rights to their artwork. We launched on the first day of school, and advertised on both our personal social medias and my 15k follower account. However, after only getting two sales, we decided to stop paying for Shopify in September, which meant we couldn't take orders online. We figured that we just didn't have the budget for the marketing as Facebook and Instagram ads are expensive, and neither of us had a large enough following to market to.
We ended up not touching Zpparel about this for a few months, until a friend's birthday rolled around. One of our close friends had always complimented our penguin design. For his birthday we, Adit, I, and Ian, who had designed the penguin, decided to buy him a sample hoodie. Printful allows accounts to get a set number of samples a month, and for us it was 6. Samples were shipped for free and were even 20% off, so for $18 for a hoodie it was a good deal. We ended up buying 6 hoodies, with myself, Adit, and birthday boy getting one, and Ian getting three. After that, more of our friends learned about Zpparel as now three of us wore the hoodies semi-often. In February, we had a few of our friends buy hoodies, and we bought the rest of the samples to make it 6. We also had a friend draw us a new duck design, which we ordered one of. In an attempt to expand, we hosted a giveaway near the end of February, which had about 50 entries. A friend of mine also gave us a Tik-tok shoutout, which we are unable to tell if it actually increased the number of entries in our giveaway. However, in March we had to stop taking orders as coronavirus shut down both school and Printful's facilities, and with no idea how long quarantine would last we couldn't guarantee delivery dates and took a break.