“I thought it was all over; it’s not now! Soccer jersey entrepreneur to boost business
When the pandemic first hit in March 2020, Dan Hinksman’s company was on the cusp of a much-needed breakthrough.
After being launched in 2019, sales of his rock and roll-themed football shirts had finally started to pick up steam, and he was about to take his big break by selling them at a concert. .
But, as the country went into lockdown and outdoor events were cancelled, Dan, 44, from Accrington, Lancashire, saw orders come to a halt.
Dan Hinksman’s rock ‘n’ roll themed football shirt business was doing well before Covid hit
He said: “A tribute band called The Clone Roses were going to play in front of 1,500 people to mark the 30th anniversary of the Stone Roses playing Spike Island, and my name came up to sell my wares on the night.
“I was on cloud nine because I felt like I was about to have a breakthrough that I was desperately looking for.
“Then Covid hit. This event could have provided me with key visibility, and I could have made a lot of money to invest and grow faster than I could have – and suddenly everything was washed away.
Dan, like thousands of other small business owners across the country, has seen his income plummet.
He said: “Almost overnight my orders stopped.
“People just weren’t spending. Orders picked up when the weather started to improve last summer, but would fall again.
“I thought when bands announced tours I might sell a few shirts out the back, but a lot of bands just sat around and didn’t want to announce anything.
“I kind of have my fingers crossed that the Gallagher brothers bury the hatchet and reform. It would do me the greatest good!
Dan had to take a part-time job to make ends meet during lockdown but hopes advertising on MailOnline will help him push his business forward now that restrictions are easing
Dan was ineligible for government assistance and was forced to find a part-time job that allowed him to “breathe” and make ends meet.
It’s now that lockdown restrictions are easing that Dan thinks sales will start to pick up again.
- Cost: £4,000
- Ad impressions (how many times ads were viewed): 1,052,657
- Web traffic spike
- “This type of brand exposure is like gold dust”
“It’s been a challenge when you think you have something you’re passionate about and feel it slipping through your fingers through no fault of your own. It’s heartbreaking.
“The way things have been over the past 12 months, I have to raise awareness of what I’m doing. It’s worth its weight in gold to me.
It is with small and medium-sized business owners in mind that MailOnline has launched a new advertising platform.
Ad Manager aims to help businesses recover from the burgeoning pandemic, with targeted campaigns that showcase their products or services to MailOnline’s massive 25 million audience.
And Dan was one of the first companies to try it, with his campaign racking up over a million impressions in just one week.
“I’m over the moon with the amount of exposure and the number of eyes this ad has landed on. Not in a million years, I would have expected.
“In addition to brand awareness, I’ve seen an increase in my web traffic – and I know that’s coming from MailOnline, as it’s easy to see it on the Ad Manager system.
“It’s a fantastic team; anytime I had questions they were answered promptly, with great communication.
‘I’m shocked. Ad Manager is cutting edge, and that’s exactly what businesses like mine need.”
The new self-service advertising manager makes it easier to advertise on MailOnline. Setup only takes a few minutes and your campaign can be live in less than 24 hours.
You can advertise to more people in your area than your local titles can reach, and you can target by zip code, interests, and life stage to reach as many customers as you want.
There are no hidden costs and you can control everything from budget to target audience to creative design.
BEHIND THE COMPANY
Dan first came up with the idea for Rock ‘N’ Roll football shirts while working at a soft drink company, where he had worked for 16 years.
He’s always been interested in football kits from a design perspective – and he admits to being a ‘huge’ music lover.
He explains: “It was during the World Cup in 2018 that I had the idea of combining my two passions.
“I had no idea at the time that it was going to be my thing. It was more ‘it would be a good idea if someone else did it’.
Dan had been saving for a new car and decided to use the money to buy the kit he needed to make the football shirts – and set about learning how to make them.
“I did it for fun at first. But then I ended up taking a dismissal. I decided to bite the bullet. I had never done anything like this before in my life.
In October 2019, Dan was ready to launch his website – but it was harder than he expected, and Christmas sales were lower than he had expected.
Passion project: Dan got the idea for his business while watching the 2018 World Cup
He then had a stroke of luck when his friends attended a concert by the Clone Roses tribute band and presented one of Dan’s shirts to lead singer Gavin Scott, who loved it.
Dan then inquired about selling his merchandise at their next gig, which the band agreed to, resulting in sales and great exposure.
It was just before their next gig, where Dan was going to sell his shirts to a wider audience, that Covid hit.
Dan added: “I don’t want to get my fiddle out because there are people in much worse situations than me.
“You just have to put it in the back of your mind and just say ‘look, these are the cards you’ve been dealt, you just have to play them as best you can’. But it gets to you.