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How two men turned ugly Christmas sweaters into a multimillion-dollar business

How two men turned Ugly Christmas sweaters into a multimillion-dollar business. Source: Screenwriting Magazine

The likes of Home Alone and Bridget Jones’s Diary brought ugly Christmas sweaters into the mainstream, and two brothers are reaping millions as a result. 

American brothers Fred and Mark Hajjar founded UglyChristmasSweater.com in 2012 with just US$5,000 (AU$7,273). In their first year of operation, the siblings made US$40,000 in sales and saw revenue jurmp 300 per cent during the subsequent year, LendEdu revealed

Fast-forward seven years, the Hajjar brothers’ business has been reaping US$5 million a year and employs over 65 staff - and this year it expects to sell over US$6 million worth of ugly sweaters.

But where did it start?

The boys told CNBC Make It that after having a go at getting several e-commerce sites off the ground, they eventually created TV Store Online - an online store stelling t-shirts that referenced films and TV shows. 

But, in 2012, they realised old, ugly Christmas sweaters were selling for upwards of US$500 on eBay, leading them to purchase the UglyChristmasSweater domain and design a few styles of their own for the holiday season. 

Home Alone-style Christmas sweaters have made a comeback. Source: Yahoo

“When we launched that, we got tons of corporate companies requesting sweaters,” they told the publication. 

How they grew

Initially, the orders were SEO-based, meaning they manipulated Google with keywords and images to gain traction. 

For example, if you Google “ugly Christmas sweater”, it’s the Hajjar’s site that will appear first. 

But social media has played its part too. 

“We grew quite a bit, and that’s probably because of all the social media influencers we’ve teamed up with to try to promote the product,” they said. 

And while the company used to operate out of a 4,000-square metre warehouse, the siblings nearly doubled their base earlier this year to keep up with the demand.

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