San Diego, California (PRWEB) July 12, 2012
Ugly Christmas sweaters, 80s clothing and fanny packs - these are some of the products that Evan Mendelsohn and Nick Morton sell on their e-commerce websites, Tipsy Elves (http://www.tipsyelves.com), Extreme 80s (http://www.extreme80s.com) and Fanny Pack Attack (http://www.fannypackattack.com).
When Mendelsohn and Morton were roommates at the University of California San Diego, they never imagined that several years later they would team up to create a number of successful e-commerce companies. The duo, an endodontist and an attorney, have launched three e-commerce companies since 2011 and plan to launch at least one more by the end of the year. The success of their various e-commerce ventures recently prompted Mendelsohn to quit his job at a major law firm to focus exclusively on the businesses.
Tipsy Elves, a website dedicated to Christmas sweaters and accessories, was their first success. “We noticed that ‘ugly Christmas sweater’ parties were really trendy during Christmas time, but there were very few places to actually buy Christmas sweaters,” Mendelsohn stated. “We saw that thrift stores quickly sold out of their inventory each year, and we thought that this was a prime opportunity for us to design and sell our own collection of brand new Christmas sweaters,” he added. Since its inception, Tipsy Elves has sold thousands of sweaters and has received some notable coverage, including a feature on the Today Show last year. Mendelsohn also leaked that this season Tipsy Elves will be revealing dog sweaters, youth sizes and a few new designs, including a yellow snow sweater and a candy cane vest.
Their newest venture, Extreme 80s, launched earlier this month and targets a growing market for 80s clothing and neon clothing. The website features traditional 80s apparel, such as leg warmers, leggings, headbands, and sweatbands, as well as more modern products like its neon watches and a collection of unique fanny packs, including fanny packs with built in speakers (called “Hip Jockeys”). Each product sold on the website is an Extreme 80s, or “X80,” branded product and is sold exclusively on the website. The founders also stated that they have a license with DARE, the popular drug prevention initiative from the 80s that is still spreading its message today. The DARE logo will be on several of the fanny packs and t-shirts sold on Extreme 80s. Several of the fanny packs sold on Extreme 80s will also be sold on Fanny Pack Attack, an ecommerce site recently launched by Mendelsohn and Morton that sells an assortment of unique fanny packs.
As Mendelsohn explained, there is a method to what appears to be a fixation on niche markets. “We like to target untapped markets where there is a real demand for a product that does not currently exist,” explained Mendelsohn. “Tipsy Elves, Extreme 80s, Fanny Pack Attack – they each modernize trends that were once popular in the 80s and have seen a real revival in recent years,” he added. According to the founders, website traffic (and sales) results from a combination of paid advertisement, organic search traffic, word of mouth and social media websites, like Facebook and Twitter.
Their work in niche spaces appears to be paying off. While the founders keep the details of their financials private, they revealed that they expect to break $1 million in cumulative sales in 2012 between the various companies. Mendelsohn and Morton attribute much of their success to carefully selected markets, one of a kind products and attention to customer service.
The founders also have generous donation campaigns for each of their companies. Tipsy Elves has a “Sweaters 4 Sweaters” initiative where sweaters are donated each year to organizations that help children. Last year, Tipsy Elves teamed up with Children of Shelters, a San Francisco based nonprofit organization, to donate hundreds of sweaters to needy families attending Christmas parties hosted by the organization. Extreme 80s will donate 80 cents from each DARE product sold on its website to DARE. Fanny Pack Attack is currently interviewing organizations to connect with on a donation initiative where a portion of each fanny pack sold will be donated to the organization.
The entrepreneurial duo has proven that successful companies do not have to exist in large, well known markets. Companies like Tipsy Elves, Extreme 80s and Fanny Pack Attack excel by focusing on niche clothing markets and the customers that love them.