How This Print On Demand Business Built Trust By Putting The Brand First With $1500


Ben Lebowitz started West & Willow, a modern pet portrait brand, less than a year ago.

And when he started, he knew it was a crowded market.

But he saw an opportunity.

An opportunity to build a real brand in the space.

And he had the perfect background to make it happen.

After working in the agency world for a decade, he knew a thing or two about brand-building.

So he set off on a print on demand journey with just $1500 and a lot of late nights on YouTube.

And in 2 days, his business was profitable.

Fast forward one year later, and West & Willow has turned into a thriving ecommerce brand. Here’s how he did it.

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  • The launch ad they’re still running a year later.
  • How to build trust with your audience from the very beginning.
  • How to get 20-30 pieces of user-generated content (UGC) every day.
  • Why discounts are the right move for their brand.
  • [6:25] How did your marketing background help when you were getting started?
  • [8:03] What did the launch look like?
  • [10:05] How to get social proof without any customers.
  • [13:41] Coming up with an initial ad budget.
  • [16:32] How they sustain the momentum through marketing.
  • [18:30] How to get insane UGC.
  • [26:15] The best campaign you’ve ever run.
  • [28:16] What’s the case for running discounts?

This article originally appeared in the Privy blog and has been published here with permission.

About the author

Steve Hutt

Steve has entrepreneurship in his DNA. In the early days of online commerce, he achieved Power Seller status at eBay, which then propelled him to become a founding partner of, a contact lens, and eyewear retailer. After a successful exit from his startup, he embarked on his next journey into agency work in e-commerce and digital strategy.

Currently, Steve is part of the Merchant Success Team at Shopify Plus, where he is a Strategic Advisor helping brands continue to grow and scale with the Shopify Commerce Platform.

To maintain a competitive edge and life of learning mantra, Steve also hosts and produces a top-rated weekly podcast show, eCommerce Fastlane, where he interviews Shopify partners and subject matter experts who share the latest marketing strategy, tactics, platforms, and must-have apps, to help Shopify brands build and scale lifetime customer loyalty.