S&P Spotlight: HTeaOApril 4, 2023
Throughout the year, StickersAndPosters.com is selecting a business partner to highlight! As a company rooted in the philosophy of operating from a position of gratitude and putting people first, we understand that our business success is closely tied to the successes of our business partners. Through our innovative technology, fully customizable product offerings, and on-demand printing, we seek to empower both our business partners and customers. We are honored to share how partnering with us has enabled our business partners to offer their customers more unique designs, alleviated the headaches and costs associated with carrying inventory, and how they have ultimately grown both their brands and their bottom lines.
To kick off our 2021 Spotlight Series, we had the pleasure of speaking with Sandi Hsu Horan and Terrence Horan, Co-Founders/Creative Leads of Spooky Cat!
About Spooky Cat
Shoehorn Press is a design studio based in Orlando, FL. As a creative co-op founded on the ideals of creating, collaborating, and promoting products they love and feel passionate about, they truly embody their ideals, to LIVE SPOOKY • GIVE SPOOKY• BE SPOOKY!
In Sandi and Terrence’s own words, “Spooky Cat Press, our first venture, is a passion project years in the making. Like many gothic & horror fanatics, we dream of Halloween all year. We want to tastefully integrate all our favorite spooky themes into elevated, usable products with this idea in mind. We’re all about creating wearable goth clothing, ghoulish gifts and greeting cards, and other lifestyle products made for horror-loving, low-key goths like ourselves. Our goal with Spooky Cat is to fulfill this niche, creating a shared sensibility for beautifully designed spooky-themed products made for every day, every season, and every occasion.”
The Partnership Decision
According to Sandi, she started doing cartwheels when she found StickersAndPosters.com online and learned about the opportunity to add on-demand, custom gift wrapping paper to their product line! As Spooky Cat’s product offerings already included custom greeting cards, stickers, and clothing, both Sandi and Terrence found gift wrapping paper to be the perfect addition to their online store!
Prior to partnering with S&P, finding their brand identity had been a bit of a challenge as the market was wide open and the opportunities were virtually endless. However, after adding gift wrap to their line, they were able to home in on being a paper and clothing company dedicated to filling a niche in the spooky, ghoulish, horror-loving, goth marketplace.
Like many e-commerce entrepreneurs, Sandi and Terrence evaluated various platforms on which to launch their business. Several years ago, in the infancy of their brand, Spooky Cat sold exclusively on Etsy but found the marketplace to be a bit cluttered. Gaining traction proved challenging as it was difficult for them to showcase their products in the manner they envisioned and ultimately reach and engage their core audience. Frustrated, they eventually pulled back, spent time refining their brand and core product offerings, and re-evaluating e-commerce opportunities.
In October 2020, they decided to relaunch on Shopify and they’ve never looked back! They have found Shopify to be the perfect platform for both their website and online store and could not be happier with Shopify’s website templates, online tools, and seamless integration with StickersAndPosters.com’s API. Sandi has gone to great lengths perfecting their product images to ensure the photos do them justice and has thrown herself into learning how best to optimize their website. And it shows! Since the launch of their new website, and commencement in paid ad campaigns on social, their business has taken off!
Having officially launched their new website, www.spookycatpress.com, prior to the 2020 holiday season, Sandi and Terrence attribute the success of their Black Friday – Christmas sales to the gift wrap product line made possible by their partnership with StickersAndPosters.com. The influx of holiday orders, combined with the shipping challenges holiday season (which was no fault of their own, of course, the 2020 holiday season was crazy and put a strain on the USPS, FedEx, UPS, DHL, and the others!), forced them to turn off their paid ad campaigns and essentially close holiday sales as they were at risk of not being able to deliver their holiday gift wrap orders in time for the holidays. While being overwhelmed with orders is a great problem for any business to have, especially a new e-commerce business!, the risk of not fulfilling their delivery promises and potentially negatively impacting both their customer relations and business reputation forced them to close their holiday sales early.
In planning for 2021, Spooky Cat anticipates their growth in the paper categories (gift wrap, cards, and stickers) will continue to align with seasonal demands while apparel will likely dominate in the off season. Sandi and Terrence are anxious to see how their business evolves and excited to add new designs to their best-selling categories! They also look forward to refining their business and positioning Spooky Cat for sustainable, long-term growth.
In the coming year, Sandi and Terrence are laser focused on growing their e-commerce business and refining the Spooky Cat product line. As 2021 will be their first full year “live,” they are excited to experience a complete sales cycle and see how both seasonality and consumer demand impacts their ultimate product mix.
They look to further their reach on social media, where they are actively cultivating relationships with fans and successfully leveraging sales, and continue to optimize their website to improve their search ranking and perfect their product images and listings. While their ultimate dream is to open a brick-and-mortar, curiosity shop-like retail store (or stores, depending on their growth!), their immediate sales channels will remain online and in the select retailers, where they have already gained shelf space. They also plan to continue selling direct to their audiences at the various Horror Con and Spooky Empire events across the country. Sandi and Terrence are particularly fond of these events as they’re not only a lot of fun but also give them the opportunity to engage with and their fellow horror fans and core audience who really “gets them” and understands all of the thoughtful details and horror references they feature in their product designs.
Advice for Fellow E-Commerce Entrepreneurs
While Spooky Cat has experienced an impressive level of initial success and maintains a strong business trajectory, Sandi and Terrence still maintain outside employment. Sandi holds a long-term contract for third party package design while Terrence works full-time as a graphic designer. Every waking moment they’re not working on behalf of their employers though, they are dedicated to Spooky Cat! Whether reimagining new products, perfecting existing product shots, optimizing their website and paid media campaigns, engaging with customers and fans, or cultivating relationships with existing and prospective retailers, Sandi and Terrence live, breathe, and work Spooky Cat!
When asked about the advice they would give someone looking to launch their own e-commerce business, they were reluctant to do so as, despite their success and inherent talents, they still view themselves as budding entrepreneurs! They both steadfastly believe in making your business one of passion and embody this in everything they do.
We wish Sandi, Terrence, and Spooky Cat all the success in the coming year and look forward to continuing our business relationship with them. We have truly been blown away by what they’ve been able to accomplish in such a short period of time and are incredibly excited to see how their business evolves as the trajectory seems incredible!