How To Sell Online:He Sells Suspenders and Shares His Digital Success

How to sell online is what Jackson Cunningham of JJ Suspenders does best. He believes in not letting imperfection slow him down and in building something and getting it better and better. Often times, it's waiting for perfection and fear of critique that keep people back.

Listen to the interview on the Smart Hustle podcast and read about it below. Sign up for the Smart Hustle Podccast on iTunes or Stitcher.

JJ Suspenders is an online store selling high quality suspenders and other men's fashion.

Before we dived into how to sell online, we talked a bit about the challenges of the Coronva virus. Like all of us, Jackson is focused on his business, looking at his cash flow and doing what he can to thrive in the midst of uncertainty. One challenge that Covid-19 has brought is the difficulty in getting funding.

Why suspenders?

Jackson remembers going into a department store with his business partner, looking for that perfect pair of suspenders, to no avail. Either they were too old fashioned looking or too much looking like a little kid.

Hence the launch of JJ Suspenders and their mission to reinvent things that are formal menswear.

Starting an ecommerce store is relatively easy, but what's hard is clearly showing the VALUE your store brings.

You can sell other people's items or you may decide to manufacture your own.

Because JJ Suspenders wanted to offer something better to their customers, they moved from selling other brand's products to selling their own.

How to sell online

Many ecommerce business owners have a tendency to focus on the big plan and the setup work, such as incorporating their business or building the site. But they lose focus on the harder part which is marketing, customer fulfillment and beyond.

When you have your ecommerce idea start is out as lightweight as you can, start small. Starting small and making small wins will give you the motivation you'll need to go to the next step. It's important to do things that help you prove your ideas works, before you invest lots of time and money into it.

There's a fine line and balance you have to make between being too perfect and being too fast. You want to take your time and get things done well, but you also don't want to move too slow trying to be perfect. Perfectionism can be a barrier to success .

Technology plays a key role in any ecommerce store.

Jackson likes Shopify and in fact he was one of the first thousand stores on the platform.

Getting customers

Marketing is so important for the success of your ecommerce business and here's a few tips to keep in mind.

  • Start by planning seeds. These marketing seeds take time but can bear powerful fruit later on.
  • Successful SEO takes time to work before you see sales from it, but it can yield powerful results.
  • Using social media and doing more with digital PR and link building.

Sure you can pour lots of money into advertising. However, advertising takes lots of effort, money and ongoing maintenance. If you don't have the time or money for it, focus first on other things.


As your business grows you'll need to hire someone to help you.

Jackson referenced Geoff Smart's book, "Who" which he recommends.

For many startup ecommerce companies you can hire the best people for specific roles. Such as design, video editing and etc. Jackson likes Upwork for his hiring needs, I do to.

It's important you give your team specific targets and goals.

However as you grow you'll need to hire good leaders who can lead and manage teams of people and also have general expertise.

If you just hire people who have specific talents, you'll always have to manage the day to day of your company. If you start to hire leaders, they can help you lead and grow the business.

In summary, Jackson suggests

1. Try something and see what works.
2. Don't wait for perfect. Launch and put something out to the market.
3. Create a solid product (or service)
4. Travel. In the case of selling a product, see what unique and great products are in other parts of the world.

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