Swearing and hard work is Nadine aka Fräulein Heiligenscheiss (Miss Holyshit)‘s recipe for success. Bored and annoyed by her full-time job, she dropped everything and started with Spreadshop. She now earns her living with provocative slogans and pretty designs.
Can you tell us a bit more about your background?
For a long time, I was working full-time and studying graphic design in my spare time. I was really bored at my job and dropped out of school after two years because working and studying at the same time was too much for me. Even after that, I was still unhappy at my job so I made the pretty spontaneous decision to quit and start my own business.
I figured out that I wanted to be able to write my own schedule and work from home. I no longer wanted to spend 1.5 hours a day on public transportation. That’s when I came across the t-shirt business and thought to myself, ‘Hey, that could be fun because I am still interested in graphic design’.
How did you end up with Spreadshirt?
I always knew about Spreadshirt. I actually live across the street from their offices in Leipzig. But I didn’t know that I would be able to make a living from it. I’d just never thought about it. I knew you could print your own t-shirts there, because I’d done so a couple of years earlier. One of those typical bachelorette parties t-shirts. It just didn’t occur to me that you could earn money with it.
But then I had the idea with the mugs. At the time, I worked as a virtual assistant and used to sit in the office thinking: ‘This can’t be happening. I hate people. I hate all of this.’
I told my friends someone should make office mugs that express this sentiment, to use in situations like that. But they should also be pretty. That’s when I had the idea with the flowers. And the contrast of the provocative slogan, framed by pretty flowers. So that at first glance, you don’t even notice what it says.
How did you get started with social media like Facebook and Instagram?
I started out with the ‘Butt Butt Penis’ mug. At first, I just wanted to see if anybody would be interested. So I opened a shop and created a Facebook page.
So the Facebook page came after the Spreadshop?
Yup. Otherwise I wouldn’t have known how to make people aware of my shop. Then I thought of good ideas for the designs and posted it on Facebook: funny slogans, jokes, and in the beginning links to other sites or blogs. That’s how I tried to build up an audience. Then I started using ads. My target group is 97% women. Women who work in an office and love irony, sarcasm, and dark humor. I addressed them specifically and within about 4 weeks I had 2 or 3 thousand followers on Facebook. It was crazy.
So you used ads right from the start?
Of course, I first invited my friends to like my page. But I started placing ads for my designs pretty early on. That worked really well. I created the Facebook page in January 2018. Within less than a year, I’ve gained over 25,000 followers. That’s really good.
How did your followers grow? Was it a steady growth? Or were there certain posts that went viral and caused a sudden surge?
It comes in waves. The numbers don’t go down, but up in waves. The first big wave came when I listed the ‘Go fuck yourself’ mug. That got me 2,000-3,000 new followers within a week – and of course I also noticed this in my sales. The biggest wave came in September: I got a picture from a customer who had ordered five of my mugs. She had stacked them on top of each other and took a photo. I asked her if I could use the photo and it went viral. That post got 500,000 views. That really reflected on my sales. I looked at my statistics the next day and couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
Where do you find inspiration for your slogans?
When I talk to friends, when I go out for a beer in the evening and people start complaining about something. I often take out my phone and write down what is being said.
Initially, I only had the mugs and thought people would create other products themselves with the personalization option. But people are lazy, and nobody actually did that. When I started offering other products, people started buying them. But some of them just won’t sell. So I review them and adjust my shop accordingly.
That means you curate your shop so that it always stays up to date?
Yes, I look at the sales statistics every month and every month I take down some products and make sure that new ones are added. Especially at the beginning, some designs really weren’t great – I threw them out later. I take great care that my shop as a whole forms a nice picture.
Do you also work seasonally? It’s Fall now – did you change your designs and use more fall flowers?
No, but I will have special Halloween and Christmas designs, I am really looking forward to those. They are going to be really cool. I’ve already prepared them so that in November they will be immediately available.
What does your design process look like: from idea to website upload?
I work digitally and exclusively in Adobe Illustrator. By now, I have a good feeling of how a flower motif has to be designed for it to work well.
Back when you started your shop, did you order products yourself to see what your products looked like in real life?
At the very beginning, I started on two platforms and I ordered something from both. On the other platform, the quality was so terrible that I took all the products down again. I just thought to myself, ‘As a customer, I’d be so mad if I would receive something like that’. I have to say that the delivery times and the quality at Spreadshirt have always been awesome.
How much time do you spend on your shop weekly?
I’m not telling you that (laughs).
By now it’s your full-time job?
Yes. Since September I have a virtual assistant who supports me with the activities on Facebook. But social media doesn’t have breaks, you have to be online 24/7 and react to the feedback. That’s why I hired someone to focus on that, so I can focus on my designs.
How often do you or your virtual assistant post on social media?
Once a day. On Facebook, lunchtime works best. People are taking their break and have some time to kill. That’s where most of the action happens. Or in the morning, around 8 o’clock, when they are traveling to work. Instagram works best in the evenings, when people are at home. I’ve found all this out through the Facebook and Instagram statistics.
Vielen Dank liebe Bianca, dass du einfach mal das komplette Sortiment gekauft hast!? ? ?Das ist echt der Hammer! ❤️#fräuleinheiligenscheiss? http://bit.ly/fraeuleinhs ?
Does that mean you work a lot with the stats that are provided to you or is it more of a gut feeling?
Both. The stats are obviously super helpful when you’re talking about online times. Or if you want to find out more about a certain target group. But my target group hasn’t really changed. It’s still mostly women between 24 and 35.
You advertise your products on Facebook and Instagram. Do you have a marketing strategy?
I use the Facebook Manager to advertise on Facebook and Instagram, so I reach an audience on both platforms. On Facebook, I already have a large reach with about 25,000 followers. Based on this, I can have Facebook create a “Custom Audience” for me and from this a “Lookalike Audience“. In addition to my follower numbers, Facebook tells me who likes similar things, so I can advertise specifically to them.
How do you deal with shop promotions – how long do you plan them in advance and where do you advertise them?
The promotions overview can be found in the partner area, so I always know what the promotions will be till the end of the year. Based on this, I plan my promotions and the corresponding posts. I also place a little more advertisements. Because people do tend to buy more during promotions. And I can specifically reach people who have previously put something in their shopping cart, but didn’t buy it in the end. They are easy to convince with free shipping.
Do the promotions also reflect themselves in your sales? Do they work well?
Free shipping is okay. But the promo codes are even better: With the 20% discount, I sold four times as much over two days.
What is your vision for Fräulein Heiligenscheiss and what will happen with the brand in the future?
In any case, we want to continue to grow. The community should become bigger. That is the goal. And I am constantly improving and refining the product range and motifs. There will definitely be more of Fräulein Heiligenscheiss. I want to do this for as long as possible, until people tell me: ‘We don’t want to look at your things anymore’.