After 17 years in kitchens, I sought to create a new source for clothing and community for today's chefs and restaurants. While working full time as private chef to Jerry Seinfeld, I launched the business with lots of advice from fellow cooks, research on the fashion industry and a few great advisors (including my wife!).
Tilit was born with just a few great products, an attention to the quality of the goods and a commitment to manufacture in the USA. In just over a year the product line has grown to include chef coats, chef pants, 12 different apron designs, work-shirts, T's, hats and more.
By engaging the Tilit community for feedback we're able to improve our designs every step of the way. We use email auto responders, data from our shopify dashboard and easily integrated apps like yotpo to develop a customer relationship with each purchase. We also like to personally meet and chat with our community members too!
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
Because we launched tilitchefgoods.com on a shoestring budget saved up from years in the kitchen, we had to focus our dollars. We spent almost every penny perfecting the goods, leaving us to create a unique marketing strategy!
Tilit's first sales came from friends and family after lots of emails, phone calls and social media posts. We told our friends and asked them to spread the word. And they did!
We have continually kept our audience informed through emails connected by Mailchimp and social networks. Additionally we engage our community by involving them in everything we do. We run contests for food pics and have created the first chef coat by crowd sourcing the design, #ChefCoatProject.
The built in SEO with Shopify has been amazing, allowing people to find us easily from all over the country and beyond. Our biggest channels have been through google's organic traffic, but we've also had some amazing press to fuel that search capability like the New York Times, Food & Wine Magazine and Inc. Magazine.
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've tried many different apps with our store since we began. It is very easy to integrate the apps and most, if not all, offer free trials to test out and see if they're right for your business.
Currently we use Mailchimp to connect to our customers and subscribers, Yotpo to log their feedback, product customizer to offer customization of our goods, Lexity by Yahoo to see how people move around our store and we just signed up for a trial of Shipstation to streamline our shipping and offer better prices to our customers.
What are your top recommendations for new ecommerce entrepreneurs?
As a new store owner, if you're reading this then you are off to a great start. There is no reason not to use every resource available to learn more about your potential business. Research, research, research!
Second, get to know your potential customer. They will make or break you and despite what you may think they will want, you're much better off getting out there and asking them first!
Lastly keep your risk low. There are many ways to do this. Start with the minimum amount of goods possible and the minimum quantity of stock for each. You can always build more goods and increase your stock on hand.
When it comes to creating your store it's easy to start with low investment. Pick a great theme that matches your style, then if you like you can reach out to one of Shopify's experts to add customizations to your store for a very limited investment. I happen to love ShhStudios, they are fast, amazing and very reasonably priced.
Now get going and start making!