Black Friday officially marks the start of the holiday shopping season, which means annual office holiday parties are also right around the corner. UglyChristmasSweater.com has spent the last decade helping folks find the best — or at least most festive — holiday threads with some of the biggest trends in pop culture.
As part of the company's 10-year anniversary celebration, it is featuring an exclusively-curated ugly sweater from Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa this year.
"We're also opening up a pop-up shop locally where we're going to do tons of giveaways, prizes, [and] have our mascot there. We're also going to have a huge TikTok presence next week. We're really trying to change up our marketing strategy, so we can attract all different types of audiences," Fred Hajjar told Cheddar News. Hajjar founded the company with his brother Mark.
As the site works to expand its customer base, it has a tool that looks to inspire creativity: the ugly Christmas sweater customizer, which allows customers to design their own tops and pajamas. It first launched four years ago and has been a hit with consumers, according to Hajjar.
Courtesy of UglyChristmasSweater.com
"Within the last two years we've seen a huge, huge growth in businesses buying sweaters for their employees," he noted. "We've made tremendous improvements each year. This year it's much simpler. Our turnaround time is 24-hours [and] it used to be a week. Prior to that, it was two weeks."
With an influx of orders around this time of year, Hajjar noted that improvements to design templates, sweater pressing, and shipping have allowed the business to keep up with demand.
"Planning starts in about February — really early — and production starts around May. So by May, we pretty much have everything done," he added.
The e-commerce store also is offering deals during this busy shopping weekend, but Hajjar noted that it is difficult to tell whether or not days like Small Business Saturday are impactful on his company, as this time of year always sees a sharp rise in shoppers looking for holiday gear anyway.
Meanwhile, do you need something fast and don't have time to design your own? Hajjar said his small team of designers work hard to get new offerings to the table each year. Designs range broadly, and there seems to be something for everyone, whether you're into shirts covered with stuffed animals or red plastic cups. Designs can also relate to pop culture hits like the Netflix series Cobra Kai or sitcom classic The Office.
"We've been fortunate enough to have tons of licensers reach out to us to try to do collaborations. For example, this year, we have a huge partnership with Viacom/Paramount. Those licenses include SpongeBob [SquarePants], Top Gun, Yellowstone, Beavis and Butthead, and what's great about it is, they are giving us their social media support," he said.
Hajjar explained the significance of getting social media exposure, particularly as the company looks at ways to continue scaling and improving customer satisfaction.
"I think [the business has] been going great overall," he said. "There's always room for growth, opportunities and ways to expand whether it's from a revenue standpoint or even if it's a giving back standpoint, which is something that is very important to us as well."