the adventure book nicole

How Nicole Launched The Adventure Book & Sold 1000 Units in 8 Weeks

By Harriet Simonis

Today, we’re joined by Nicole – founder of The Adventure Book – who tells us how she launched her brand in just 5 months, sold 1000 units in the first 8 weeks, and took off to Australia to work from the back of a campervan within weeks of launch. With her partner Robin, she’s built a brand that her community love and is a real inspiration to anyone who has an idea for a product… So keep on reading to learn how she did it!   

the adventure book

So you’ve recently launched The Adventure Book… Tell us a bit about how it began.

I first got the idea about 2 years ago when I needed to buy a gift for a friend. She was a keen traveler so I wanted to buy her a scrapbook for all her adventures, but to my surprise, I couldn’t find anything. All I found were books dedicated to specific countries, or journals with a nice cover and blank pages… But nothing that covered the whole world.

It got me thinking… because as a kid, I always loved collecting things. So I thought there must be something in this. And I thought maybe other people might like it too. But the idea went on the back burner because I didn’t really know if it was a good idea and I didn’t have a huge amount of time.

It was always in the back of my mind though. And one day, I told a friend about the idea and she literally said ‘please make it’ because she wanted to buy one! So I decided to start designing it in my spare time.

I only spent a few hours on it every few weeks so it was moving very slowly… But then it all changed back in June 2017 when I saw that ImportXperts had launched a Mastermind group to help members launch products to get them live for Christmas. I reached out to ask if the Adventure Book was a good idea for a product and the coaches were super excited about it… So my partner (Robin) and I joined the Mastermind and it was heads-down from then!

So June to November was a super intense few months, as the Adventure Book went from idea-in-my head to launch! We met once a week with the coaches and other members, breaking down the big task of launching a product into super manageable weekly tasks. It was a great way to hold us accountable for getting the tasks done.

And by the time November 1 came round…we had our first 1000 units printed and the website live – and by Christmas, our first batch had sold out.

the adventure book nicole

You sold 1000 units in the first two months of sales – that’s pretty incredible. What platform did you launch on?

We launched on Shopify. We initially thought about selling on Amazon but during the Mastermind, the coaches said there was little point in selling on Amazon because there wasn’t a keyword which people would be searching for… So they recommended we ran social media ads directly to our store.

And all the sales just came through social media ads?

Yes, and word of mouth! From the very beginning, Instagram has worked really well for us.

There’s a big community of travelers on Instagram and there was a big trend around bullet journalling with cute little videos showing people coloring things in… So we wanted to tap into that. I made a short video in the same style video and I think it did so well because it was content that was native to the channel. A lot of people seemed to really like the video so they commented or shared it, so it picked up a lot of traction.

[Click on the video below to watch the Instagram ad]

Do you sell globally?

Yes… It depends on where we’re advertising, but we sell mainly to the Netherlands, the UK, Belgium, and Germany. Shipping to America is much more expensive for us from Europe but we’re looking to get a warehouse in the US to make this manageable.

How do you fulfill your orders?

We use a fulfillment center in the Netherlands who manage all the shipping – so it doesn’t matter whether the customer is in Dubai or the Netherlands, they sort all the logistics around posting.

It’s funny because one of the first questions I asked the ImportXperts coaches about whether to make the book was:

But will I have to go to the post office every day?”

Luckily I was reassured that No, I wouldn’t have to go to the post office once!

Haha so no shipping for you… How do you spend your day?

I’m currently spending my day creating or setting up ads, and looking for ways to streamline our order fulfillment process. I still do some design work for The SFM because I’m a graphic designer and love designing things but with the Adventure Book, I work around 20 hours a week in total.

That’s amazing! Have you been making the most of the freedom to travel while you’re working?

Not as much as we’d like! But 3 weeks after launch, we went to Australia. We were a bit anxious to leave the Netherlands at such a critical time but we had the trip booked and ended up running the business from the back of a camper van on the coast.  It gave us a taste of the digital nomad lifestyle and we loved it.

the adventure book success story campervan

And as Queen of the Adventure Book… where’s next on your itinerary?  

Haha I’m heading to Italy soon, and Robin and I are hoping to go to Bali at the end of the year. I want to add Russia onto the list just so I can color in such a big country in the book!

What’s next for the business?

Our main focus is just to keep on selling the Adventure Book by making it as accessible as possible, worldwide. That means finding a warehouse in the USA so we can offer cheaper shipping to the American market, and to Australia too. And we’re trying to sell wholesale to some large bookstores in the Netherlands too.

We’re also looking into developing supporting products to fit into our portfolio… like a set of coloring pens or book number two. But we are taking the next products slow because we want to really nail the first book before getting busy with the next shiny thing!

What’s been the best bit so far?

I really enjoyed designing the book but the best bit has to be seeing other people love it so much. More and more people seem to be sharing their travel books on social media – uploading photos of them with the book or their coloring in, and it’s honestly the best feeling seeing how happy they are with it.

adventure book nicole digital nomad

Do you have any role models?

When I was growing up, I always looked up to Pippy Longstockings. She was always strong, independent and fun. One thing she always says is “I’ve never done it before so I think I can do it”. So I always try to be a bit more like her!

And finally, what advice would you give anyone looking to start an eCommerce business?

I really believe in the ‘just do it’ mentality… If you have an idea, just go for it!

And if you don’t let yourself quit, the only possible outcome is success!

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If you liked reading about Nicole’s story – you might like to see how Tony & Ness launched their business while building their own house AND home-schooling 3 kids. Check it out here!

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