Beauty Cafe was born in July of 1997 over lunch with a girlfriend while visiting NYC. We often shipped products to those of us that didn't have access to them. I decided that I wanted to bring all the treasures to everyone, everywhere.
Even if you lived in a small town in Montana you could have access to the best fragrances and beauty products in the world. In the early days, I remember one lady claiming that I must be insane to try to sell French fragrances on the internet. How could I ever get the true essence of the fragrance to the customer through the internet? I am forever grateful to the other visionaries that were willing to take a chance on me.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
Initially it was through word of mouth. I was a member of a UseNet newsgroup called Alt.Fashion. Beauty Cafe has been mentioned by numerous magazines from W, WWD, to InStyle.
While Beauty Cafe was always one of the smaller sites, I am proud to say that we were the launching pad on the internet for many of today's highly coveted beauty and fragrance lines including Creed, Bond No 9, Burts Bees, Comptoir Sud Pacifique, and L'Artisan Parfumers.
Today, while we do carry internationally known lines, my passion is working with start-ups and continuing with our launching of indie lines. Through the years, we've had a great and very private celebrity clientele. We offer complimentary delivery service in the LA area. In recent years, we've opened a boutique on Amazon and still enjoy a nice business over the phone or email with our regular clientele.
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?
Beauty Cafe is "small shop." My main focus has always been on providing an excellent product in combination with customer service that exceeds normal expectations.
Everything is done in-house (including fulfillment and shipping via Endicia/USPS). We've been Mac based since the beginning and I'm amazed to see how far technology has come.
I've used 3 shopping carts in the past 17 yrs and Shopify was the only shopping cart that exceeded my needs. I love the passion and creativity of the App developers! Apps that are must have's: ShopPad, Beetailer, Google Shopping, Chimpified, YotPo, and SEO Meta Manager.
What are your top recommendations for new ecommerce entrepreneurs?
"Follow your bliss" - Joseph Campbell