SPS 099: 8 Figures Ecommerce Empire: How I Sold 1 Million+ Journals & Planners (And How To Create GREAT Products) with Cathryn Lavery

Posted on Mar 31, 2021

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Written by Leo Oliveira

Home > Blog > Podcast > SPS 099: 8 Figures Ecommerce Empire: How I Sold 1 Million+ Journals & Planners (And How To Create GREAT Products) with Cathryn Lavery


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Catie is the journal acquisition and training manager at Oxford University Press. She has managed the onboarding and launch processes of new journal titles at Oxford University Press, from contract signature to journal running a business. In addition, Catie manages journal acquisitions from receipt of RFP to contract signature and trains and mentors new employees, company-wide, regarding best practices of the transition process.

How Catie Started Creating Journals

Having a design background, Catie decided she could design a journal that people would want to buy. She chose to Kickstart her journal creation idea to raise enough funds to produce a large-scale sale of her journals. “I thought if I could get enough people to buy it, crowdsourcing would be cheaper for me.”

She didn’t expect her business to do so well and was surprised when it took off. Giving away the PDF version of the planner for free, Catie created a buzz around her product. Getting feedback from the free version they published, Catie tweaked the first edition to make a more user-friendly second edition, which is what they sold as their end product.

Utilizing Email List for her Kick Starter Campaign

Catie utilized her email list to get the word out about her Kick Starter campaign. She asked buyers to send images of the book and how they were using their new tool. As a result, the user images outnumbered and outperformed the professional content she had created by a landslide. Catie decided to use her follower’s content for her ads as they gain much more traction.

From Concept to a Working Business Model

If you want to start your own business around a product, Catie suggests starting documenting products that you like to use. “For example, when I thought about my journals, I wanted to know what the paper felt like.” Find other items that you like to use in the same arena and think about the next evolutionary step for that product.

Listen in to today’s episode to find out the three parts of the product experience: the comparison between selling on-site and Amazon and which journals and planners sell the highest quantities.

Show Notes

  • [02:02] Catie talks about her background and how she got into designing journals.
  • [04:04] How she started and launched her Kickstarter campaign.
  • [16:53] What she did to get her Kick Starter campaign off to a good start.
  • [18:14] How Catie went from idea to concept to a working business model.
  • [21:11] Building an attachment from the product to your avatar’s identity.
  • [25:43] Selling on your own website and selling on Amazon.
  • [28:42] Top sellers for journals and planners.
  • [32:02] Avatar data – who is buying what in Catie’s company.
  • [35:15] Catie’s approach to her products.

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