Shayna Vest, of Dress Like A Pirate.com, an Authorize.Net merchant, shares her story and business advice.
Tell us about your business, Dress Like A Pirate.com.
Based out of Portland, Oregon, Dresslikeapirate.com is one of the world’s most popular theatrical costuming, pirate, theme wedding and roleplay garb sites.
I'm a single mom, entrepreneur, goddess and pirate and I started Dresslikeapirate.com in 1996. I was selling vintage clothing on eBay. One day I attended a co-workers wedding where all of the women dressed like fairies and the men like pirates! My passion found a niche market.
After receiving the first 75 pirate shirts and selling out in three weeks, I was told by the post office clerk “Did you know that September 19th is Talk Like A Pirate Day?” Well, I rushed home, looked it up, found out the Pirate Guys were right down the road in Albany, Oregon, and exclaimed, “You guys will be my friends for life!” I named the new venture Dresslikeapirate.com. To this day, the Pirate Guys are my friends, my son has played with Chumbucket’s son, and I dressed his wife for the pirate episode of Wife Swap.
What makes you successful?
I think what makes me successful is that I steer my vision to the road ahead and am constantly trying new ideas and ways of reaching people instead of trying to counter copycats and competitors. I've found my particular talent is the original ideas and designs.
What is your advice for other small businesses?
My business advice to other entrepreneurs is based on inspiration I found in a book I read by Seth Godin, Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable. You have to have something that no one else has, or do it in a way no one else does, that’s what sets you apart.
How have you been able to reach this niche market?
Authorize.Net enables us to accept payments on our website so we can offer our high quality pirate costumes, clothing and accessories to the world. Authorize.Net is the only processing gateway I'll ever use. The customer service is fantastic. They've helped me in a number of situations that required extra information and help.
To learn more, visit www.dresslikeapirate.com
For more business tips and advice, visit the Authorize.Net blog weekly. Have a great small business tip or want your business to be featured with your small business advice? Submit your story.