Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
I've always had a love of cooking and baking, as well as a passion for well-designed products. The idea of curating my own online shop was something I just couldn't stop thinking about. My shop started off focused primarily on kitchen goods, then expanded in 2015 to a more general lifestyle boutique. Every product that I carry is something I personally love. It's important to me to support other small businesses, and I source many products from independent designers. I also source some products from larger manufacturers, and then make a few of the products myself. I think this mix results in a unique curation of products.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
I used my blog to get the word out about my shop at first, and social media has helped me maintain traffic. 56% of my traffic is from referrals, which is mainly Pinterest and Facebook. The rest of my traffic is direct.
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?
I use ShipStation to manage my orders, since I also run an Etsy shop (making jewelry) and it's nice to have all my orders in one place. I store all my inventory in my home office, and fulfill each order myself. Walking to the post office each day has become a ritual – it's satisfying to have a hand in every part of the process.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
Make decisions thoughtfully and with patience. Treat your customers as you'd like to be treated. And have a plan for a sudden surge in traffic – it can happen when you least expect it!