Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
Wraptious started out by myself doing a few doodles during a dull office meeting in the city. From friends' advice, I wanted to turn it into wrapping paper, but couldn't find an easy way to do this. This sparked an idea that eventually led to me quitting my career and setting up a business that supports emerging artists - giving them an opportunity to get their work out there on lots of inspiring, great products that people will love. All our products are made in the UK - this is fundamentally important to us. We source manufacturers from all over the UK who meet our standards of quality, care and customer service. Many we've met locally in Manchester, or at shows we attend across the country.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
We started out doing market stalls across Manchester. Tough at first, but nothing beats meeting customers face to face, and getting instant feedback for what works, what doesn't, price, brand etc. We loved them, and have been invaluable to our business. It's few the markets and subsequent word of mouth that has allowed our website to thrive and grow. Social media is great for us. Especially Twitter. We run campaigns throughout the year. For example, we run competitions looking for new artist, inviting anyone to upload work to our site, which then gets voted on by the public. There is so much energy for this and it draws in huge traffic to the site.
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 a couple of discount apps which are great for us. They allow us to run sales, and permanent offers such as "Buy 2 Cards, get your 3rd Free". It depends on the product. Some products we fulfill ourselves, such as greeting cards and coasters. Others, we forward orders to the respective manufacturers. We have a dropship service with all our main products - which works great for us, as it allows us to stock unlimited designs on our site for cushions, t-shirts and prints.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
Make it as easy as possible for customers to buy from you. A smooth checkout process, preferably free shipping, great imagery. Don't give up, it takes a long time to build momentum and build a brand. Listen to your customers, and don't be afraid to put yourself out there, make mistakes and change things. Above all, enjoy it. How great is it to have your own online business?! :)