Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
I was a Montessori teacher and discovered all of these materials I was supposed to have in my classroom but couldn't buy anywhere; nobody made them! So, I started making them myself and everyone wanted to buy them. We make everything in-house. We tried making things out of house but had too many quality-control issues. In-house, we can assure that are products are the highest quality and environmentally-friendly. We are a green company.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
My friend told me I should just call one of those Montessori catalog companies to tell them what I had made. I did and ended up speaking with the president of the company (now a dear friend of mine). She wanted to see everything. I didn't have anything ready yet so I worked around the clock for a week to get a package to her. She bought everything! Internet sales on Shopify are about 40% of my revenue but I expect that to increase as I'm able to turn my attention to the awesome features of my Shopify site (blog, learning center, social media). These are really starting to catch on.
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?
Google Shopping is a standard. I really like Orankl reviews. They've encouraged customers to easily offer reviews. I also like Alt Text. Since I started using that, my products are showing up on Google Images, just where I want them. Shipping and fulfillment is handled internally, mostly via USPS.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
Get a great theme and put time into your site design. If you decide to have a blog, make sure you have a posting schedule. The same goes for social media. Be sure to email your customers at least once a month with a value-added/content-rich update.