How Vivian Kaye Made Her First $1M In Sales Without A Single Paid Ad



Scaling for a typical ecommerce brand almost always includes paid ads and email.

Especially if you’re one of the few who make it to the $1M mark.

But for Vivian Kaye, that wasn’t the case.

In fact, she didn’t use paid ads or email until after she hit her first million.

So how’d she do it?

By building a community and being her own customer.

Here’s how she made it big even though the deck was stacked against her in every way.

You can tune in above👆 on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or anywhere you get your podcasts.

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On this episode, you’ll learn:

  • The power of building an audience and building a community.
  • How to write a high performing post-purchase email.
  • Why you can (and should) do SEO on your own.
  • Why you should never hand over the vision for your brand to someone else.

What to listen for:

  • [10:09] If you don’t use ads to get to $1M in sales, what does that look like?
  • [13:23] Where was your audience?
  • [15:45] What her most engaging email copy really looks like.
  • [20:24] How do you get started with SEO?
  • [25:12] How the KinkyCurlyYaki site has changed over time.
  • [27:27] Vivian’s $10k photoshoot mistake.
  • [34:29] The campaign that brought in $44k in 1 hour.

Links to love👇👇

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.