Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
Inspired by the vertical shift in the (now) online-focused fashion industry, I wanted to deliver leather goods and accessories in the most unique and valuable way possible. To start, I focused on belts as they have always been a forgotten accessory. I made a commitment to only make products within the U.S. In addition, I wanted to deliver leather goods at a level of quality equivalent to Hermes. I spent about 9 months working with at least 12 different belt and leather suppliers across the U.S.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
My first few sales came via word of mouth from friends and family. Shortly after, I was able to strike a partnership deal with Lululemon Athletica on a series of short-term pop-up shops throughout NYC. We're currently split about 50/50 (online/in-store). We don't wholesale to stores just yet, so the in-store sales are coming from our collaborative relationship with Lululemon. Thus far, we've executed a full NYC pop-up tour in each of their stores.
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?
Since we manage all of our fulfillment in-house, as each belt is custom made upon orderm Shipping Easy has been an absolutely breeze to work with. Their rates are great and their customer service is impeccable. We make each belt by hand immediately after an order is placed and fulfill directly from our office. Fortunately, our highly skilled team of leatherworkers is able to ship belts out in less than 72 hours after an order is placed.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
Customer service and product quality are obviously imperative. That said, a unique packaging experience will do wonders for your brand, especially if it drives your customers to share it on social media.