Why did we start Parlay 8?

You've heard the how. What about the why Parlay 8?


6/25/20222 min read

We have talked about it plenty of times: where we came from and how we started. But what really drove us to begin Parlay 8 as a business?

In reality, it just fell into place. By no means are we currently at a stage where we could sustain ourselves by our business alone, but that is the dream isn’t it? The American dream. To turn something you love into your business and be happy with it. When this started 9 years ago, it was more like the hobby to sell aspect and strictly clothing. Then Ballast got the bug and being the team we are, we started to think of things he could contribute to the compliment of the clothing.

It wasn’t until 5 years ago the shift to “we can do this” happened. We can turn this into a business. The Problem was how? All we knew about was Etsy and doing in-person shows, and had the absurd idea that quantity was the only way to drive sales. That began to create burnout and disappointments. Carrying stock around to shows that doesn’t move is extremely de-motivating. What we found fairly quickly with the in-person part was that we were not exhibiting at the right venues. We weren’t getting the right clientele to our booth.

Oh, people love pirates, but you really have to love pirates and small mom and pop shop merchandise to purchase from us. We realize this and we realize that our price point is a little out of the reach of that $20 bill in your pocket which drove us to try and create a range of products with a range of prices. Still, we had struggles. Etsy was great for those pieces but then the fees start to add up and what you think is a good sales turns into maybe a couple of dollars. Couple of dollars… that doesn’t remotely pay a living.

It's about shifting, learning, and adapting. This year we have shifted away from selling in person. At least for now. We are pushing our custom pieces without the custom price. We are pushing being at pirate events with our crew, living and using our products. What better way to see and understand and feel how it works then to see it in action? The best part is just being able to continue to live this and showcase rather then sitting under a pop-up tent and hope people wander to your wares.

It may work for some but right now it doesn’t work for us. We have also pivoted away from Etsy. Running an ecommerce store is a bit tougher. I will be honest, the one thing that hurts the most is not having the flexibility and options for shipping. I realize the shipping is what drives most off and with the AI in place its hard to work around it unless we know it’s happening. Our website has gone through 3 iterations in just about as many years.

With all the hurdles, you would ask again why we started Parlay 8? Because we believe in something, we believe in what we do and providing something of quality to those around us. Even if right now it’s by word of mouth and the people we know are the ones that are helping us grow. All because we want them to look good and be happy with what they have. We are building Parlay 8 in a way that we would want to see as a patron of the shop. Values and Quality.

Would love to hear from you about what you think of Parlay 8 as a business? Or even how you moved to start your own if you have one.