Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
We started to sell based on a gap in the industry for boys clothing. After I had my son, it was incredibly difficult to find anything that wasn't fire trucks or camo. I started selling on Etsy and had HUGE success; I couldn't handle the amount of business on their platform and was scared it would be interrupted by their policies, so I switched to Shopify about 5 months later. We source our products STRICTLY from the U.S. and manufacturing is all done inside our downtown studio. We moved from the basement of my home into an original space that hosts a few employees and one seamstress. Our newest studio now hosts several employees and an entire production area.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
I was an early adopter of Instagram which is where we found our stride. We would post on IG and it would immediately create sales for our site. We use all social media channels but IG is still our strongest way of directly reaching our customers. Instagram is our first, Facebook is a strong second, and Pinterest helps as well. We also have a very strong marketing plan to reach bloggers, TV opportunities and then we implemented our own influencer program right away when we started IG.
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?
We use our Shopify app a lot. This helps us when a product sells out and we need to quickly update. We also use ShipStation, Downtown for our digital products, and murm.io for our customer reviews. We do our shipping in-house, we use ShipStation to help us sort the several packages and all the wholesaling we do. Wholesaling has taken over at least 90% of our business and ShipStation has made it very easy to sort between customer orders and stockist orders.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
Just start, start now, and start somewhere. Don't worry about it being perfect before you start. You will grow and learn, but it doesn't happen if you don't take that first step.