Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
My partner, who I set up the store with, was struggling to find affordable, glamorous fashion jewellery on the high street. She would see things in high street stores and it would just seem way over priced from the big brands.
We didn't do a whole bunch of research before we started, we sort of bootlegged it and worked from there. We found a few necklaces, bracelets and earrings from a wholesale supplier in China, had them imported to us and went from there. We have since grown our range significantly and have expanded into other niches. We originally began by importing wholesale from China, which we still do but to a lesser degree. We are now in the process of designing and having our own custom and branded jewellery produced. We also source some of our materials for our handmade range of jewellery from the United States.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
We earned our first sales through Facebook. We had a small Facebook group from when we were selling used items we purchased from flea markets and we used the followers from that group to get initial traction. Google is now our number 1 source of sales by total value, however we get most of our traffic and sales (usually of a smaller value) from Facebook. We are now working on using Facebook advertising to generate more targeted traffic.
Tell us about the back-end of your business. What tools and apps do you use to run your store? How do you handle shipping and fulfillment?
Mailing tools have been our biggest help. Mailchimp has been a great source of marketing to repeat customers. We also have had success with Better Coupon Box & Happy Email apps from Beeketing and Instagration has been great for showcasing our customers purchases on our website. We package all orders internally and have Royal Mail collect them from us daily. Our parcels are usually small and lightweight so they generally beat courier services on price.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
I think we've shown that if you stick to your goals you can achieve them, no matter your budget. We started out with £100 worth of stock, Shopify and a free theme and went from there. You don't have to put thousands into a start up to make it work, you just need to have a plan, be persistent and stick it out through the tough times.