Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
We began making jewelry and one-of-a-kind apparel 10 years ago in our Brooklyn apartment. Before that we were friends for years. We attended the same undergrad and grad art school, have been in a band together, we were roommates, and we love to make things. We wanted to take what we had learned through our studio practices in visual arts and apply it to a jewelry and fashion line, we felt this perspective was missing from the industry.
We started a brand out of our apartment which quickly got some buzz through craft fairs, taste makers and press. We were up on trends and had an interesting aesthetic and brand story which grew quickly. We started wholesale accounts, with small as well as national brands, quickly after the brand launched and opened a brick and mortar shop and studio in Brooklyn soon after. We have been expanding our line since. We launched our Shopify store a few years ago which has helped grow our sales and reach and helped to continue to grow our brand and tell our story. All of our apothecary line is made in-house. Our jewelry is designed and either created in out Brooklyn studio or cast in a small family factory in NYC. This is an important part of or story and brand.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
Word of mouth to begin with. We started out hand painting shoes, bags and household items. We would wear a lot of our own stuff. One of our first sales was when I was using one of our bags and I got stopped on the L train in Brooklyn and a women asked where my bag was from and I told her it was hand painted by me. She asked for our brand info, followed up and purchased one soon after. We already had a following once we launched our Shopify store, this made it so much easier for customers to follow our line and make purchases. Our first order was a pair of moon phase earrings purchased on June 2, 2013! Lots of fashion and lifestyle blogs, magazine features, Instagram, and now Pinterest is picking up.
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 haven't integrated any apps yet. We are currently redesigning a new theme though and are very excited! The theme designs are smart, user friendly and beautiful. Shipping and fulfillment is handled internally but we're starting to talk to a third party to do international shipping for us. Hopefully we will grow larger and will need more help with fulfillment.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
Have new items available, blog and share as much as possible. Work hard. Then work harder. Great product photos and product descriptions make a HUGE difference. Believe in yourself and in your product. Work with people you trust. Have fun!