Frustrated with having to choose between a great form of exercise (i.e. swimming) and having strong, healthy hair, I decided to take matters into my own hands. After calling the three largest swim accessory manufactures and being told that "swimming caps are not meant to keep your hair dry, just out of your face and the pool drain," I set out to invent a swimming cap that fixed all the problems I had with traditional swimming caps. My Swim Cap's patent-pending design is more stylish, durable and comfortable than traditional swimming caps. My Swim Cap is also better at protecting the wearer's hair from the harmful effects of chlorine and salt water.
The future of My Swim Cap is more colors, and strategic alliances with swimwear manufacturers so we can produce caps that match their swimwear lines. My Swim Cap is not only functional, its future includes being a beach fashion accessory as well. What's better than a great swimsuit? -- a great swimsuit with a matching, practical, functional, stylish swimming cap.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
My first sales came from attendance at a Hair Care Industry trade show. We sold over 200 caps at the trade show, and online sales began after that. This was especially gratifying because no one in attendance was thinking about swimming caps when they walked in the door, but we ended up having a very active booth.
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 have now switched over to the Shopify platform, with OrderCup as a fulfillment application. The combination creates a sophisticated, interactive website…and has reduced my fulfillment time by more than 70% with its batching function. I am currently in talks with an international shipper that allows small businesses to ship internationally at a reasonable rate and with no more effort than I already expend preparing shipments. When I mentioned I used Shopify and Ordercup, the response was "Great! We have an API for those." Shopify and Ordecup have allowed me to focus my limited resources on marketing and sales, and made fulfillment a well-oiled machine as it should be!
What are your top recommendations for new ecommerce entrepreneurs?
Preparation, patience and partnerships! Everything takes time…so be patient and prepared for when an opportunity presents. Also, partnerships are a form of capital. I partnered with local hair salons, and I plan to partner with swimwear manufacturers. Partnerships allow you to piggyback on the goodwill and networks of established businesses with compatible products, overlapping customer bases and/or desirable distribution networks. The key is showing the partner what you can do for them, so you can present them with a win-win proposition.