One of the things that I like about business is the idea of experimenting, coming up with new ideas, and testing them out. One thing that I really want to learn is e-commerce. The ins and outs of running a store, building a brand, and running campaigns to get attention and traffic.

Honestly, one of the things has always stopped me was that I needed to be 18 to open a credit card and handle this stuff on my own, and that I never had an idea.

Well today those obstacles are no long that big of a deal anymore. I’m 18, and I have a completely stupid, fun, and goofy idea for an ecommerce store. Really it’s not even an idea. It’s a plant. A cactus.

For no particular reason, I’ve always wanted a cactus. They’re so low maintenance, fairly aesthetic, and cute! Well my cousin was kind enough to give me this cactus for my birthday.

Like any business nerd should, I asked myself: “Can I make this cactus… a thing?? Can I sell stuff with it? Can I build a brand for it?”

I find questions like these really, really fun. So I have made it my side project of the summer to make Karl the Cactus go big. Specifically, I personally want to learn about Instagram, Shopify online stores, master Facebook Ads, and tell a great story. Call it my summer curriculum.


What do I want Karl to be? Easier, what should Karl the Cactus not be:

  1. Streetwear: too many people in that area + I have horrible taste in clothes + I’m not cool enough to wear those clothes + I have horrible taste in clothes
  2. Hardcore: Karl shouldn’t be some threatening, tough, motivational, multimillionaire guy. KARL SHOULD BE YOUR FRIEND
  3. A Plant: Huh?? What I mean is that Karl should be human, he should have personality, he isn’t just another one of those boring plants
  4. American: Come on… Canada > USA
  5. Hyper-realistic: I don’t need HD photos of a cactus. I suck at taking photos. It’s a lot more fun to take half-decent photos, overlay some nice filters / icons on snapchat and have a blast with this guy
  6. Mass Marketed: Karl isn’t for everybody. He’s a unique one-in-a-billion cactus that will cheer you up, and make you happy, and make you fall in love with his story. Not everyone has to love Karl, and that is a-ok
  7. Boring: Karl needs to have fun. Otherwise, he would just be another boring cactus

So let’s get into more detail about Karl. If I want him to have a personality, what should he stand for? What does he love? Where does he live? I wanted to ask myself a lot of questions and flesh out this idea and character a lot more. My thesis is that if I can tell a good story, if I can create a personality that people will love, the rest (sales!) will come.

This took me a lot longer than I wanted to, but a good starting point was given to me by a friend. What do you know a cactus for? We should make Karl the exact opposite.

A cactus is typically:

  1. Prickly
  2. Green
  3. Found in Deserts
  4. Lonely
  5. Loves the heat

So what are the opposites of these traits? What should Karl be?

  1. Prickly vs. Kind and cuddly, gotta bubble wrap those spikes
  2. Green vs … a cactus is always green, but maybe his favourite colour should be orange
  3. Deserts vs the Canadian Tundra, it’s official Karl is Canadian
  4. Lonely vs. Personable and wants to make friends, Karl really, really wants to meet new people
  5. Loves the Heat vs. Heavy Sunscreen User, burns easily

This is a lot of fun. More fun than I have had in a while. Let’s dig a little deeper. I mean, to stand out, Karl has to have a personality and a story that will make him different. It has to be something that a large group of people identify with and can fall in love with. I only get to tell this story once, so maybe I’ll figure out a way to run a few tests to see what people identify with more (if you have any ideas, please comment below)

One thing that comes up is that Karl should really, really have his own fears, vulnerabilities, and insecurities. That’s what ultimately makes us human right? It’s not about how smart or athletic or tall or whatever we are. It’s all the tiny little imperfections and doubts that truly make us unique and human.

I really don’t know what ticks with people, or what other people are feeling, so I figure that it’s best if I don’t worry about that, and give Karl some of the fears and nagging concerns that have bothered / continues to bother me to this day. Hmmm so Karl is probably going to be

  1. Concerned about finding friends and fitting in
  2. Scared of failure
  3. Being judged and criticized by others
  4. Lost

Man, Karl is starting to look like a bit of a downer. Why don’t I do the flip side? What does Karl stand for and believe in? What does he love in life?

  1. Happiness: Karl just wants to be happy and fulfilled
  2. Adventure! Always wants to go out, explore, and experience new things
  3. Curious, never stops asking questions. What is life? Whyyy do I exist?
  4. Persistent, if he can’t grow taller, he’s just going to keep on trying.

Finally, what are his quirks? I would say that this is what truly differentiates one person from the other. You can be twins, with the same DNA and everything, but you might love a lot of different things. For me, my quirk is that I love dancing, hate raw tomatoes, and really like kayaking. For someone like my sister, she loves yo-yoing, LEGO, and playing the ukulele.

This week, I learned how to use Sketch.

Huh, there are a lot of questions that I can ask to get answers to these questions. What is Karl’s favourite ice cream flavour? What is his hobby? Does he have a favourite sports team?

I think that those are the questions that I will have a lot of fun answering in the future. I mean I can totally just come up with all those answers right now and tell you, but where’s the fun in that?

So tell you what, Karl the Cactus is going to be my summer project. It’s going to be a lot of fun coming up with his story, sharing it, and making Karl go big! I’m sure there are going to be a lot of bumps along the way, but hey, that’s all part of the fun. I’ll keep ya posted!

Don’t be a prick 😉 leave a heart if you enjoyed! If you haven’t already, sign up for my newsletter to get more of these random, funny posts.