My Ugly Christmas Sweater is the place to go to find Christmas Sweaters
My Ugly Christmas Sweater® is a resource in finding the perfect Christmas or Hanukkah sweater for the holiday season. We showcase some of the most creative and unique product suppliers in the industry. There's so many choices for holiday sweaters! Some are funny, some traditional, some naughty, and some just plain adorable.
It's not all about Santa and snowmen anymore (although those themes are still popular!) Funny Christmas sweaters feature all kinds of lovable creatures in festive designs. Like kittens, and sloths, and llamas, and even unicorns.
There are themed sweaters too - like Star Wars, Marvel Characters, Frozen, or Stranger Things. Something for everyone!
But you don't have to wear an actual sweater to a sweater party! There's an adorable selection of holiday dresses and skirts, and also tshirts and sweatshirts. There's an amazing variety of super festive mens Christmas suits and suit jackets. Ties too.
We showcase some companies who make Christmas and Hanukkah shirts that look like sweaters but they're not! Digital photography has really made an impact on the holiday market, and there are some great sweatshirts and tshirts that have photo-real designs that can really trick your eyes into believing they're real!
Ugly Christmas sweater party clothing come in sizes from baby up to men's 8XL, which makes it a great theme for family holiday cards. There's a whole lot of holiday sweaters with dogs and cats on them too. And accessories. And party supplies. And we help you find it all!
Our website is a one-stop stop to easily find the holiday sweater item you need for yourself or for a gift. If it's a cheap Christmas sweater you are looking for, we've gathered some great options for you. And if you're looking for the WOW factor and want a sweater with real working lights, we'll show you where to get those too.
My Ugly Christmas Sweater is also the place to go to learn how to have an ugly Christmas sweater party. We've got ideas on what to serve to eat, to drink, and how to decorate. We'll also give you great ideas on party games to play and contests to have (with prizes!).
We started in the ugly Christmas sweater business in 2008, crafting DIY holiday sweaters which where instant hits. Over the years, we've created THOUSANDS of DIY sweaters, and our website is frequently visited as a source of inspiration for other crafty party revelers. Visitors can search our past inventory and see funny Christmas sweater pictures for ideas using the search box (located at the top of the page), or by visiting our Christmas sweater photos page.
We've been in the Christmas sweater business since the trend began in 2008, and we know where to find the best and most unique sweaters. Use our easy to use navigation (on the left) and browse the various collections of sweaters we've found just for you.
My Ugly Christmas Sweater - an Entrepreneurial Journey
What's trending? In 2008, My Ugly Christmas Sweater®, Inc. founder Anne Marie Blackman had been a stay-at-home mom for 15 years, and with her children heading to college was looking for a new focus. She had a computer science degree and a knack for creating funny costumes. Anne Marie began crafting up-cycled ‘ugly’ Christmas sweaters after researching search trends on the internet, looking for a product to sell during the holiday season.
The 'Ugly Christmas Sweater Party' phenomenon was in its infancy stage in 2008, and Anne Marie positioned herself as the 'Queen of Ugly Christmas Sweaters', producing the most interesting and uniquely embellished sweaters on the market.
Anne Marie's sweaters are featured in the 2012 book "Rock Your Ugly Christmas Sweater", available from all major bookstores.
Branding and the media
Company founder Anne Marie Blackman received extensive press coverage with growing interest in both the My Ugly Christmas Sweater products as well as the entrepreneurial story behind the business. She has appeared on The Today Show, Fox & Friends, Good Morning America, Fox Business News, CNN Headline News and The World News.
Her products were featured on The Ellen Show and the Steve Harvey Show and worn by numerous celebrities including Christine Aguilera, Rosie O'Donnell, Bethanny Frankel, Dr. Oz and Katie Couric.
Articles about Anne Marie Blackman and My Ugly Christmas Sweater® have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The LA Times, Bloomberg, Inc., BBC, Time, and hundreds of news articles worldwide.
See press and video clips on the My Ugly Christmas Sweater, Inc. PRESS page.
Q & A to My Ugly Christmas Sweater founder Anne Marie Blackman:
How did you start selling Christmas sweaters?
In 2008 I was looking for something to sell on eBay to help pay for my two sons' upcoming college education. I did extensive research to see what was trending on Google that was related to Christmas. I found there was a trend in Vancouver Canada that was spreading to California, and Washington state where people were searching the internet for "ugly Christmas sweaters". I did more research on the Ugly Christmas Sweater trend. I had owned Christmas sweaters in the 80s but didn't know why people were looking for UGLY sweaters. I found an article from a Vancouver CA newspaper that talked about Ugly Christmas Sweater Parties and it mentioned that these parties had a contest for "Most Ugly Sweater".
I decided that I would market my sweaters to people who were looking for the ugliest (or funniest) Christmas sweater they could find. I was good at putting together a funny costume for my husband and myself for costume parties over the years and knew I could up-cycle a sweater so it would win an Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest.
So I set out to test the market by buying 15 pre-owned regular (non-Christmas) sweaters at my local thrift store for $1-$3 each and decorating them so they would be Ugly Christmas Sweater contest winners.
I knew how to sew a straight stitch and use a glue gun, so I decorated the sweaters with holiday items like macrame trees, needle-point Santas, jingle bells and ornaments. I added garland and fringe and even working lights.
They sold immediately, so I bought more materials and sold 50 sweaters that first year for $60-$150 each.
A sample of the first Ugly Christmas sweaters sold in 2008 from Anne Marie Blackman
See pictures of Anne Marie's favorite sweaters she created here: --> best Christmas sweater pictures.
Where did you sell your first Ugly Christmas Sweaters?
I started selling ugly Christmas sweaters on eBay in 2008. I taught myself how to get my eBay listings noticed. I figured out eBay's algorithm for how to get a listing to the front of search results. Having my products in the #1 search result on eBay was huge for sales.
I took a marketing approach to selling the sweaters and position the sweaters as ugly Christmas sweater contest winners. Rather than just putting them out on eBay and let them sell themselves, I wrote the eBay content so that people would want my sweaters to win an ugly Christmas sweater contest. I conveyed the message that these sweaters were fun to wear and that the owner would have a great time if they wore them.
One thing I learned quickly was to know your market and to tailor your product description to that market. The sweater buyers at the start of the ugly Christmas sweater craze were all in their 20s. That's who was having and going to these themed parties back in 2008. So, since I was in my late 40s, I ran content ideas by my high school age kids to get a feel for their response.
What were your start-up costs?
My start up costs were under $100. I bought pre-owned sweaters for $1-$3, and decorated them with Christmas decorations I had around the house or bought at the local thrift store. I was able to sell my first sweaters on eBay for a minimum of $50, and then used that profit to grow the business.
When did you start the MyUglyChristmasSweater.com website?
I got the domain name for the www.MyUglyChristmasSweater.com website at the end of the 2008 holiday season. I was the first person to sell decorated Christmas sweaters that were specifically marketed to people going to ugly Christmas sweater parties.
I developed the initial website myself and it was a simple GoDaddy site that showcased my collections of sweaters. The GoDaddy site did not have checkout capabilities. If a visitor clicked on a sweater collection picture to see more, they were taken to my eBay storefront which was where they could purchase the sweater.
It was fairly easy for me to create the website on my own, and because there was no eCommerce checkout (the visitors would check-out via eBay), my website was only about $80/year to run. Ebay used to have a generous 75% fee discount to sellers "if you brought the traffic to eBay yourself". So my website was driving my traffic and I cut my eBay fees by 3/4.
In 2008, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) was a fairly new thing. After I launched my first website, I naively thought it would automatically appear on the first page of search. When it didn't, I self-taught myself SEO techniques and worked to strengthen my website's search rankings. Even though I was the only game in town, I spent time learning about SEO so that Google and other search engines would not only promote my site in search rankings, but also showcase my site's pictures in it's IMAGE displays.
Back in 2008/2009, Google didn't top load the search results with advertisements like it does today, so my site's product pictures as well as my eBay storefront product photos were most always returned in search results when anyone looked for a Christmas sweater in search.
My business grew quickly and within a couple years I was selling many thousands of sweaters a season. I needed an ecommerce website with checkout capabilities, so I developed and launched a SHOPIFY version of www.MyUglyChristmasSweater.com in 2011 and left eBay.
The website and Anne Marie Blackman received extensive press attention, and MyUglyChristmasSweater.com saw over 60,000 visitors a day during the peak of the 2011 holiday season.
We sold sweaters directly to customers through the the 2015 season. Since then, the website functions as a brand placement and affiliate marketing website. The website currently showcase thousands of sweaters from a number of manufactures and we refer visitors to where they can find sweaters for purchase.
The website is currently in it's 3rd reiteration having been re-written in the summer of 2020. The current website was launched fall 2020 and is now responsive, meaning it will change format for mobile viewing.
How did you get your first press/media attention?
The Ugly Christmas Sweater trend was growing at a tremendous pace starting in 2008. The check-out for buying my sweaters was still on eBay, but the traffic was coming from the MyUglyChristmasSweater.com website down to the eBay storefront. Having a website with a "Contact Me" page gave press a way to get a hold of me. It seems obvious, but if I had only had the eBay storefront where media couldn't easily contact me, then my business would not have had the explosive growth like it did. When someone in the media wanted an interview to discuss Ugly Christmas Sweaters, they found and contacted me via my website.
How I got my sweaters noticed, which brought media attention:
In 2008 I had figured out eBay's algorithm which decides which products to display first, and by 2009 I always had 1 sweater that was the 1st one on the first page on a search for "Ugly Christmas Sweater".
My sweaters caught the eye of a producer from The View and they had me on the show to coordinate and put on an Ugly Christmas Sweater fashion show. Funny thing about that fashion show was that they specifically wanted me to wear my Festive Obama sweater which was a huge hit for my business with Pres. Obama fans. But some of the hosts and audience hadn't even heard of Ugly Christmas Sweater parties in 2009 (they were still a west-coast thing), and wearing an Obama sweater was a little controversial for them because they mistakenly thought the 'ugly' connotation was directed at the subject rather than the type of sweater. But that was the first big national exposure my business received and it was not only a great day on the set, it was awesome media exposure!
2010 Media attention because my sweaters were #1 on eBay:
In 2010 there weren't any Christmas sweaters with working lights, so I created a collection of sweaters that had lights on them. I had one eBay listing with 20 variations of that sweater, and it was the 1st item people saw when looking for Christmas sweaters. That Tree with Lights sweater listing became a TOP SHARED item on ebay. That means it was shared on Facebook more then any other item on all of eBay for the day.
That one listing was shares so extensively on Facebook that it brought thousands of visitors to my eBay store every day. Visitors would look through my eBay store and share photos of other sweaters they found....and my traffic went through the roof.
Getting featured on eBay's Home Page brought huge uptick in traffic
I created a Festive Obama sweater that was a huge hit with fans of the President and had eBay featured the Festive Obama sweater on its MAIN HOME PAGE for a day, so everyone who came to eBay saw the Obama Christmas sweater that day. That sweater became a TOP SHARED item on eBay (meaning, most shared item on Facebook), and was wildly shared on social media. It brought huge traffic to my eBay storefront and caught the eye of the media.
When the Festive Obama sweater was on the eBay's HOMEPAGE and was also TOP SHARED on Facebook I began to get tons of media inquiries. I say that media begets media. The ugly Christmas sweater trend was taking off and once I started getting interviews it just escalated.
The Ugly Christmas Sweater trend was exploding! Parties were becoming more popular. The media embraced the feel-good story of my entrepreneurial journey and press inquiries filled my inbox. There were many days in 2010/2011 where I had 6-8 radio interviews a day from stations in both the US and Canada. I had media interviews from across the globe from print and online news organizations in Europe, Asia and Australia. I got a call from Good Morning America at noon one day, and they were at my house by 3:00 to film for GMA and The World News.
One of the craziest things to happen was that my company was a question on Jeopardy!
I co-authored a book titled Rock Your Ugly Christmas Sweater. In 2012 when the book came out I appeared on The Today Show and Fox & Friends as well as Fox Business News to promote the book.
A selection of my best DIY Christmas sweaters were selected to be featured by Ellen DeGenerous for a funny holiday sweater fashion show on The Ellen Show. The way that came about was simply that an order came through from The Ellen Show producer to purchase a number of my sweaters. The producer followed up with a call to verify sizing and expedited shipping. The sweaters were overnighted on a Friday and the show taped on Tuesday. The fashion show featured only my sweaters and sweater dresses and was really a funny piece. It brought me another influx of media inquiries from around the country.
To read more about media coverage: see our Press Page
Designing and Producing the My Ugly Christmas Sweater Brand Sweaters
In addition to selling vintage Christmas sweaters and creating and selling embellished holiday sweaters and dresses, I designed and produced my own line of sweaters in 2014. I designed several sweaters including Patriotic Snowman, Sledding Cat and Funny Reindeer quality knit sweaters that were produced for men and women.
The Sledding Cat sweaters were featured in a Febreze commercial starring Jane Lynch and Matthew Morrison that was titled The Twelve Stinks of Christmas.
Morphing my business from selling sweaters directly to a brand placement business model
In 2016 I incorporated Twenty Twenty Placement, Inc. and re-designed the MyUglyChristmasSweater.com website to be an affiliate marketing website which promotes sweaters, dresses, suits and other holiday clothing and party accessories that are sold and shipped from other eCommerce websites.
The MyUglyChristmasSweater.com website continues to receive tremendous daily traffic and the MyUglyChristmasSweater.com website is a resource for where to find the best selection of holiday apparel in all sizes from children to plus size adults.
Rock Your Ugly Christmas Sweater - The book!
Anne Marie Blackman and Brian Clark Howard co-authored Rock Your Ugly Christmas Sweater (Running Press, 2012). Perfect for a stocking stuffer, gift for your boss, or to put on your coffee table - this book is jam packed with over 200 photos of people and pets rockin' their ugly sweaters.
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