SEO and other updates

September 16th, 2008

Where to start? Online business has not picked up…in fact, I would venture to say that it is down or even non-existent if the past two weeks are any indication.
We have signed up with a company (Visible.net) that specializes in SEO as well as web marketing. They cautioned me not expect to see much improvement for at least 4-5 months. It is all a matter of trying to move the XOver website up in web rankings with search engines. To that end, I am trying a few things on my own…this blog being one of them. It turns out that Blogging is supposed to be helpful for online businesses. To think, I thought that it might be interesting to just document this whole “starting a business” adventure. So the blog idea came way before my learning that it won’t hurt my website any. As mentioned earlier, it does not seem to be helping either come to think of it.
Starting this business, little did I know or realize how little time I would have to focus on this. That is the price one pays for actually having a day job that extends into the evening more often than not. This is not me whining, just stating fact. I am sure that it comes as no surprise to anyone that has actually started a business in their lifetime. This is not to say that it is not rewarding, it is actually fun. Even if not exactly financially rewarding, the fact that I was able to follow up an idea and actually do something about it…and the thrill of knowing that the result really works as been it’s own reward. I have been wearing my underwear designs for a year now, and I still love wearing them. It is hard NOT to use the blog as an avenue to self promote, as I really believe in what I am doing, and only time will tell if I am right. At least there are others that feel the same way that I do. While I would expect friends and family to support me, my very first online sale to a customer in Indiana resulted in a Yahoo feedback being completed (unprompted I should add) with “excellent” ratings across the board. While it has not yet resulted in more sales to this person just yet, I feel a small victory nonetheless.

I have also managed to receive some testimonials. I asked a few customers if they would be interested in having their comments appear on my website in the form of testimonials, and I had two responses within the day. Doug and Doug. I just posted another testimonial from Allen, and they can be seen at XOver testimonials . In the event that you might have visited my site, I expect that I will be pulling down the hair and skin care page. For starters, we do not warehouse any of these items, and if someone were to order them, we would basically make nothing on them. The wife will not like to see these things gone, but

More positives… I am told that Chris Siebenhaar loves his shorts (Chris races AMA formula extreme, as well as Supersport (both are 600cc) with Matsushima Suzuki). He has presented samples to his teammates, though I am not sure about Garrett, but reportedly Danny Eslick likes them and has even asked for more. With the last race of the season coming up at the end of September in Laguna Seca (2 weekends from now), these guys will need to go back to their hometowns to train and prepare for next season –not to mention the need to go back to work to try to earn some spending money. Danny is reportedly asking about selling XOver gear in Oklahoma and surrounding areas (where he is from). Chris on the other hand is expected to be a rep for Suomy helmets, and had shown interest in talking up XOver when travelling the country to different shops for Suomy (though I certainly do not see any conflict, I will not support any activities that might jeopardize his primary function).
Here is Chris:
Chris -Infineon #42

July 29 Update

July 29th, 2008

7-29-2008 Blog entry

This past weekend was very busy. I had 3 Saturday appointments scattered all over the bay area…from Napa to the UC-Davis area to Oakland. In total, the wife and I covered about 290 miles that day. I will discuss stops one and three.

However, before all this could happen we had to prepare enough 5X7 cards in order to have some sort of product display that was more than just an 8.5 by 11 bag with underwear inside. I have several thousand 5×7 zip-lock style plastic bags, and wanted to have my shorts packaged in them, and had to design and print 5×7 cards to insert into the bags. A quick stop by Fry’s for heavyweight paper stock, I ended up buying 5X7 photo paper in Matte finish as well as some 65# 8.5×11 heavyweight paper, not to mention printer ink for our printer. For DTM, I dropped off 24 pairs of shorts and for rideSFO I had some 20 pieces. We ended up heading to sleep at 4:00AM. We had started working shortly after 9:00PM that evening, and this is after starting my Friday with my typical 4:00AM wakeup as my Fridays often start in Oregon (I do have a day job that takes a minimum of 10 hours a day –frequently much more than 10).

DTM Motorsports
Stop one was with DTM motorsports in Napa California. Steven Giovanonni (sp?) is a friend of mine that has a small business and agreed to take some XOver gear product to display in his shop. I easily spent an hour there just waiting to talk with him as he was working with customers and his place was pretty busy. That is what’s great about DTM…the customer service and interaction. I like his business model to differentiate himself from other shops through superior customer support. Any time that you visit him, he can suggest great places to ride, or where the races might be that weekend…nevermind that he really knows his products. Anyway I digress. I finally get to talk with him about the product, and we still have a small audience of folks hanging around his shop just killing time. Next thing you know Steven is talking up my boxer briefs to a couple of guys…”I wear these when playing Indoor Soccer…and they are fantastic”. “Jogging and bicycle riding are so much more comfortable with these shorts…” etc. Steven has had pre-production samples, but never really provided much in the way of feedback in the past. After all, we do ride MX as well as pitbikes together, and we talk about just about everything. So this is the first time that I have heard him say anything about my product, let alone sing it’s praises. Needless to say, I was pleased. I expect to learn a lot from working with Steve.
On a positive note, Steve has reported a sale the first day that product was displayed…in fact, he was in the process of setting up a small display after getting his price tags installed.

ride SFO
Quan (my wife) is friends with Phil, founder of rideSFO who does freeride and downhill mountain bike protective apparel and lifestyle clothing. Our meeting started a little late and we were up against a hard stop on his end, but what can you do with bay area traffic the way that it is? Regardless, once you get Phil started on a topic, there is no stopping him. He now has roughly 20 pairs of our boxer briefs in store. I hope that he has evaluated some by now…he indicating that he thought that they would work great for a new hobby that he has taken up –Yoga. Phil went on for some length of time about how he was unable to find the perfect underwear for yoga, and that he easily spent a couple of weekends searching for the perfect underwear, but wound up short. I hope that his search is over.
Anyway, we talked about everything under the sun, even discussion how to get involved in conventions, which conventions to try to attend, and even offering some floor space at an upcoming show. (I will provide more details later as they firm up) Regardless, Phil is an idea guy who loves the challenge of starting a business. I hope that I am able to meet up with him on a more regular basis as his enthusiasm is truly infectious. I have yet to hear back from him on the shorts, and am hoping that getting this blog entry will help prompt him into action. I like the fit of XOver gear with rideSFO.

Starting a business online

July 21st, 2008

Week 2 update:
I decided to try Google AdWords today. From the reading that I did, it seems entirely possible to go broke with Adwords, and if not for the “set monthly limit” feature, I would not have signed on. Of course, that is assuming that there is that much interest in men’s underwear (boxer briefs) to begin with, and that people start clicking on the campaign advertisement. Yahoo appears to have something similar, but after starting my business with Yahoo small business, I am a little concerned about doing everything through them. I have not had any hits to my site to speak of, and the one thing that I liked were my chances of getting hits through Yahoo searches. Clearly I made an uninformed assumption.

Also of note, I purchased DreamweaverCS3 and Intuit Quickbooks 2008. I don’t know how to use either, but looking at it from a distance, it seems like a good idea to just give it a shot. I am guessing that my opinion will change once I actually start to dive in and realize that I have no idea what I am doing. While I like a challenge, sometimes it sounds like a better idea in theory than in practice. Of note though, is the fact that I did the graphics for my website as it currently stands using Photoshop and Illustrator, two other programs that I had zero experience starting out on (but they are more geared towards instant gratification -meaning you do something right, and you see it instantly). I am looking forward to improving the look and feel of my site, and if confidence increases enough, possibly changing providers. While I have many ideas, the real challenge(s) will be to see if I can bring them to reality.

I do have some updates worth mentioning… I have provided my product to an AMA motorcycle road racer (Chris Siebenhaar of team Matsushima Performance Suzuki), who fell in love with them…so much so that he wanted more to give to some of his racing friends, among them being Jamie Hacking, and Ben Spies. Yes Ben Spies, but as of this week they have not seen my product. This weekend was the Laguna Seca MotoGP weekend and both Hacking and Ben were wildcard MotoGP factory riders for the weekend, so they spent 90% of their time in the MotoGP garages…Chris did not run into either, but he reportedly did give some to his teammates -Danny Eslick and Garret Carter who reportedly liked what they saw. I hope to have something substantive to report in the future on this front. Regardless, from the standpoint of comfort on a motorcycle, they are getting thumbs up from roadracers (I ride a little Supermoto myself, as well as MX) which I suspected might happen having spent the past year developing and wearing them to the track.
That’s about all for now. As mentioned earlier, I hope to have something real to report out in my next update. I was hoping for weekly updates, but if there’s nothing to report, then I will likely not waste space with drivel. If you got this far, thanks for tuning in.

Welcome to XOver

July 10th, 2008

Thanks for visiting my site. I sure hope that you take the time to see what is here…what must be described as the best deal on high end men’s underwear. My initial idea was to find nice boxer briefs because my wife likes them on me, and I like the look of them. I started by buying everything under the sun, in the process I spent a lot of money and never found that “just right” fit. I did however find some fantastic designs with respect to colors and prints…but I imagine that with XOver just starting out we are quite a ways from being able to throw some of our ideas onto fabric.
In the meantime, I have spent a year getting just the fit that I want. Now I can look good wearing boxer briefs, yet feel comfortable while doing so. Comfort has always been my pet peave with the boxer type brief. Either my junk was pressed against my skin (legs), or there was simply no support to speak of and my stuff was all over the place -fine for work (I wear a suit), but not so good for the gym or sports. I also found that the snug fitting brands tended to leave me feeling sticky and uncomfortable (pressed against my own body…), and that was before ever working out. Fit became an obsession of mine. Next came fabric. I quickly learned that my fabric cannot be simply bought…it must be ordered to spec from a mill. Cotton/Spandex is nothing special or new, but the weight that I found that I like the most, is special. This blend is heavier than anything you will find in the competition, (far more so than the big underwear companies) far softer and with perfect memory. These big companies sell SO MUCH product, yet with seemingly no design thought put into it. It is not surprising as most guys simply don’t think much about underwear, but I hope to change that. Starting with close friends, guys that used to settle for tighty whities bought in bulk, are now clamoring for XOver gear sportswear -or sports underwear.
Let me tell you right now. If you want underwear that fits every bit as well at the end of the day as it did when you pulled them out of the dryer, then you have got to try XOver. If you want to feel fresh between your legs at the end of a day (what you might now think impossible), you have got to give XOver a try.
What have you got to lose.