Vivien Frank Designs

Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?

I use to work as a production manager on feature films. I am used to organising and getting things done. But when my son was born, this all became so unimportant suddenly and I decided to be a stay-at-home mom. I have always loved making things and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to slow down and start creating something new. I turned my work office, bit by bit, into a jewelry design studio. I just kept going. First, I opened a shop on etsy, was over the moon with my first sale, started getting wholesale orders and so on. I love what I do and I find making jewelry is relaxing and working on my website and driving customers to my website fascinating. It takes a lot of time to find the right suppliers. There is a lot of trial and error involved. After a few years I finally have a relationship with a handful of suppliers which I have been working together with for almost 10 years. Everything is handmade and fair trade. This is absolutley important for me.

How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?

My very first customers where of course friends, then friends of friends... and then came my Etsy shop which allowed me to try out new designs and see how people like them. It takes time to build a collection. I love so many styles that it's sometimes difficult to keep myself focused on one idea! I think my Shopify website is becoming more and more successful. I must be doing something right with the SEO or advertising - though I am not really very knowlegable about these things. I do love reading all the tips that Shopify sends me - which I really do take the time to do!

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 started sending out newsletters to the customers who have signed up on my website with MailChimp. I find it is easy to use and quick. I was totally surprised to see how many customers actually open the email and click through to my site. It actually really works! I've just started with Buyable Pins and I can already see that customers are clicking back to my site. I work with bloggers and have enrolled in an Adwords course. I package and ship everything in-house since my jewelry is, for the most part, made-to-order. I like knowing how the package will look when it is shipped out. We also take care to write a handwritten card to each customer.

What are your top recommendations for new store owners?

For new store owners, I would recommend that they get on Pinterest to show their products. A lot of my traffic comes from Pins on Pinterest. Try different marketing stratagies out. You will only know if something works once you've tried it, and there are many cost effective tools out there that are free (for example social media). I have noticed, however, to grow your company further, at one point you will have to start paying for certain advertisments. So far the choices I have made seem to fit and the advertisment has paid itself through the sales generated.

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