Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
I originally come from a corporate fashion background and my husband has always worked in the Scottish Highland Dress industry, so, after living down in London together for 3 years, we decided to move home and combine our expertise. We felt there was untapped potential in the blanket industry. With so many beautifully made products and designs out there, we felt we should take advantage of our Scottish and fashion backgrounds and create a brand that provided a warm blend of Scottish history and modern style. We source our products from several trusted local and international suppliers whom we have built fantastic relationships with. Our heritage collection is finely woven in the UK by skilled craftspeople using some of the most traditional wool weaving methods. We also stock a number of popular luxury woollen interior brands and in-house design is on the cards in the near future!
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
After first launching on Shopify in 2014, sales were predominately acquired through friends and family. Word of mouth began to spread and it was the Christmas of that year we noticed a major increase in sales. Our blankets truly make the perfect gift and are great for snuggling up with in the colder months so, naturally, we discovered Christmas would be our most profitable time of year. We’re expecting big things this festive season, it’s so exciting!
In April of this year, we decided to undergo a brand overhaul and it was here we really started to see a major growth in traffic and sales. As a team, we spent valuable time working on a re-branding strategy and gave the website and product collections a bit of a make-over. In turn, word of mouth began to spread and sales have been increasing ever since! Search has played a massive part in our sales growth. Both paid and organic search channels are definitely at the forefront of our success at the moment. However, we never underestimate the power of referral traffic and social media. Spending time contacting bloggers and relevant publications is really starting to pay off for us. It has been such a positive experience gaining lovely feedback about our brand and products from the industry experts. Being in the home and lifestyle industry, there is plenty of opportunity to inspire our customers through social media. Channels such as Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest have been really important to our growth and having a focused social media strategy has resulted in a major boost in traffic and sales. We love being able to connect with our customers!
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 love Shopify for its large selection of easy-to-use apps. Right now we have a few that we don’t think we could function without! Mailchimp is definitely our favourite. Our regular TBCo newsletters are an important customer retention tool and are also a great way to attract new sales. Olark is another one we love. It’s great for communicating quickly with our online visitors and helps us to provide the first class service we think our customers deserve. We also love the Shopify Order Printer as it allows us to customise our invoices and provide them with an integrated brand experience from browsing to delivery. We handle all of our shipping and fulfilment in-house. We have a generously sized warehouse on-site where our fabulous warehouse team lovingly pack our blankets and send them off to their new homes. We are also very lucky to have close working relationships with a number of reliable local and international couriers. Our customers are at the forefront of everything we do, therefore, efficiency and quick delivery is very important to us.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
My top recommendation for new store owners is to take time to think about branding and create a story to tell your customers. Having a personality behind your brand makes it much easier to create a well-rounded and successful marketing strategy that your target customers can relate to. Also, I can’t stress enough the importance of amazing customer service. Always go the extra mile for your customers and make the effort to add personal touches to make them feel special. It goes a long way!