Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
Having recently started a family, we recognised the need to develop a brand of luxury chairs available in Australia. I couldn't find a nursing chair that I wanted, so I thought there must be other mums-to-be out there in the same position. We sourced our products through an off-shore manufacturer in Indonesia. We have also just taken on another manufacturer in Malaysia to assist keeping up with current demand for the rockers and ottomans.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
I thought it was going to be family and friends, but it was through Instagram. We pre-sold out entire first shipment with simple sketches I had drawn of the chairs. We didn't have images yet as the chairs were still in production as we started pre-selling them. The sales channels that are generating the most traffic and sales for us are our website and our stockists (both physical and online).
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?
At the moment, we don't use many apps to run the store, however I recently read a blog post from Shopify entitled "We Asked 40 Successful Business Owners for Their Best Piece of Advice" and I am currently going through the list one by one and have already bookmarked a number of apps and tools offered by Shopify to tweak and improve our website. We outsource our warehousing, fulfillment and shipping through a 3PL. We have a logistics manager assigned to our business and he updates me regularly.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
Every experience you have in business is a learning opportunity. This is my third business and I believe the first two were a great learning platform. It takes a village to run a successful business, so I recommend to get around like-minded business people (preferably in the same industry) to share what you know. Particularly if you're running your business solo; it can not only provide a great sense of community but also an invaluable resource.