Have you ever had a passion for something but you weren’t sure if anyone else shared that passion? This is exactly how my guest today, Megan Jenkins of His Kids Company, felt. She has an amazing story of becoming a Christian as an adult, being so passionate and so excited about her faith, and wanting to share it with everyone she meets. She has turned that passion into a business that provides wonderful faith-based products for kids. You are going to love hearing her story!
Press play on the podcast player below to listen to the full interview.
A Family Learning Tool That Started It All
His Kids Company recently celebrated its fourth anniversary. The company is faith-based and all of the products are created with the hope of pointing children and their parents or anyone that might see them back to Jesus. The very first product was a t-shirt with a Bible verse on it that was created to be a fun way to practice scripture.
Megan says, “I didn't grow up in a Christian home so once I came to know the Lord, I was like, wow, I have so much to learn. I felt this responsibility not only to learn about God for myself, but to find fun ways to teach my kids. So I picked a verse and created a t-shirt. When we wear the shirts, we practice those verses.”
One t-shirt eventually grew to be many t-shirts with many different verses. In the back of her mind, Megan thought these shirts could be the foundation of a business but she was surprised when things really started to grow quickly. People who saw them wearing the shirts would ask where they got it, then would buy one for themselves.
Megan started slowly because she wasn’t sure how many people would really be interested in the shirts.
“When I first created them, I didn't realize that there were other people that were also excited to share their faith. I was hesitant at first wondering if they were actually going to sell. Then I realized a whole lot of people love Jesus and they want to share God's light and they want to be encouraging and just be intentional about the encouraging things they put out there.”
Megan started with an Instagram account and a website that offered just three different shirts and they grew from there. Every few months they would launch a new design. Currently, they are up to 25 different Bible verses on a variety of products.
From T-shirts Into the Home
After selling just shirts for two years, Megan expanded her offerings to pillowcases which were very popular. This popularity inspired her to seek out other items that would bring the verses into the daily living space rather than only being on clothing.
The winning idea… silicone placemats!
(Wow! Isn’t that a fun idea to add scripture practice into the home?)
Megan found that her kids loved to color on the placemats – which clean easily because they are silicone – and this gave her another great idea. Silicone coloring mats!
Megan has created a unique, fun, durable product that brings the Bible into everyday life. “My hope is that parents will read the story that goes along with the illustration to their kids and it'll be a fun way for kids to soak up the Bible stories.”
I just love this idea! My kids love do-overs so having a wipeable silicone coloring mat that we can just wash then start over again? That is so great!
Are you thinking that this can’t get any better? Well it can. Now His Kids Company sells silicone coloring books too! They are smaller and easy to take on the go.
So let’s say you have a cool idea for a product, like Megan did with her silicone placemats. How do you go about finding a manufacturer that can bring your ideas to life?
“Well,” Meghan says, “that took like months of research and probably hundreds of emails to anybody that worked with plastics or silicone or coloring books or anything like that. I just searched and searched and sent emails and looked for similar products. The way that I found my manufacturer was because she made a silicone like dog mat and I asked her if she was able to make what I was looking for.”
The process doesn’t end there though. Once you find a potential manufacturer, it will most likely require several rounds of samples and changes to arrive at the final product. Then – safety testing.
Megan says, “It's always good to have them third party tested so I have them safety tested in the United States by a third party company to make sure that it's all safe.”
Though difficult, Megan was eventually able to find someone that could test for CPSC compliance.
Megan’s experience reminds us that it’s a struggle for many others are going through to manufacture a physical product. It takes a lot of time and a lot of research and you’ll probably hear a lot of No’s but don’t give up!
Growing a Business Takes Time and Money
When Megan first started her business, she was using Instagram to show off her product. She optimized her website to make it super easy for someone to go from seeing the product to purchasing the product. There were also Facebook business groups and shop shares. Megan even reached out to faith-based bloggers to offer her product in exchange for exposure. Just like with her manufacturer search, there were a lot of dead ends. But perseverance pays off and slowly her business was growing.
Megan says, “Lots of people won't respond and lots of people will say no, but when they do say yes, it helps you grow. It helps get a little more exposure. I also had to be willing to know I was not going to make money the first year or two. I invested so much back into my business to make it grow.”
Facebook Ads Can Work Behind the Scenes to Help Your Company Grow
Megan started His Kids Company in 2016, the same year her middle child was born.
“When I got up to feed the baby, I would stay up for an hour and work in the middle of the night, creating content for the next day, or doing research or thinking of new ideas, fulfilling orders. I mean, there were so many nights, I would stay up till two o'clock in the morning with a pack and play in my office printing and packaging shirts. And just growing my company like it took a lot of grit and grind at the beginning.”
As all small business owners know, there is always a lot of work to be done to keep things going. But when Megan started using Facebook ads, it really took a load off her shoulders.
“It almost feels like part of my company is running itself without me running right along with it. We can go on a weekend vacation and not worry about having to post or send an email because ads are working for me behind the scenes. And that has taken just such a huge chunk of weight off of my company.”
I love that. With ads, it goes from this feeling of ‘Oh, I have to be posting on social media constantly or I have to email constantly because that's how I'm making sales.’ to where you no longer feel like I have to keep running, running, running every single day or everything will screech to a halt.
“That effort was vital. But now I have an ad going for this shirt and I get orders for that shirt and comments on my ad, every single day, I haven't posted in my feed or sent an email or talked about that shirt in months. And that shirt is still selling. It's just really cool to not be posting a photo of that shirt, sharing it my stories talking about it, and yet it's still selling.”
Because of the successful ad, Megan is able to shift her attention to something else that can help grow her business while sales are happening in the background.
Why are Megan’s ads working so well? In her warm ads, she is targeting people who have interacted with her brand in the last 200 days and simply showing them a product, telling them that it’s on sale, and linking directly to it in the shop. Easy!
But what about people that haven’t been introduced to your product yet? This is another way Facebook ads can really help your business grow. By finding people similar to your customers, Facebook is helping to spread the word to others who may also be interested. Ads are using the power of Facebooks database to help Megan find even more potential customers.
Megan has been able to create lookalike audiences matching her shop customers, her email list subscribers, and also her Facebook pixel.
If you’re just starting out, and you don’t have a large customer base for Facebook to find lookalikes from, you can still use cold interest audiences that convert and eventually build up a larger pool to draw from in lookalike audiences.
This is what's so awesome about Facebook ads! Everything builds on itself. You're getting more sales because you're marketing more using ads. Facebook is picking up on all those purchasers and then you have this amazing look alike of those purchasers. So it really can build over time.
Megan agrees. “I feel like it snowballs. Once it starts working, it gets better. And not only have my sales increased, but I find that I'm getting a lot more followers too.It's really fun seeing those followers come in too.”
Finding a Balance Between Sales and Inventory
One issue that Megan is facing as she grows, is finding the right balance between having enough inventory on hand to maximize the power of the ads. Overseas manufacturing has had numerous delays and issues thanks to the pandemic but things are improving.
Catalog Ads versus Carousel Ads for Physical Product Sales
Many physical product sellers sing the praises of catalog ads as the way to go on Facebook but this may not always be the case. Megan has had much more success sticking with carousel ads.
Megan says, “I just couldn't get the catalog ads working. I will say, because I knew that the carousel ad with three images were working, I didn't try super, super hard to tinker with my catalog ad – it just didn't work as well as the carousel ads. So I’m sticking with what works for now and when I have time to tinker with things, I'll try catalog ads again.”
It's just one of those things where you have to test different ways because different businesses really do work in different ways, depending on what your business is.
This is why I love Facebook ads so much! It just it makes your job a lot easier because you have these ads running to get you back in front of all the warm people – your website visitors, your Instagram engagers- you're just able to get back in front of them in a much more controlled way to say, ‘Hey, look, we've got these great products for you!’
Megan agrees wholeheartedly. “It's crazy to me how, especially since I thought that there's not going to be that many people that like this product, Facebook has literally found my people. But it's awesome!”
Well, friends, if you had any doubt that building an online business was hard work, you probably don't have any more doubts now. We all start out at square one, basically. And we all have to work really hard, right? But eventually in business, most of us tend to find that we can't do all the things. We have to pick a few things and a few strategies for growth that we feel will be most effective and that aren't going to take over our entire lives. And so that's what Megan was able to do with Facebook ads, and it's been so fun to watch her continue to grow.
Click here to learn more about my Facebook Ads Intensive.
And no matter what, I hope that by listening to Megan's story, you'll be encouraged to keep going after what you're passionate about, to trust that God has a plan for that. Keep taking those steps forwards towards your goals for your business. You can absolutely do it, friend, and I am here cheering for you. Now it's your turn to head out there and be brilliant!