Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
We are crazy dog people and noticed that there was space for funky and affordable dog collars and leashes (the affordable factor is important!). So we started crafting and selling them and are currently trying to build a community of dog lovers who are fond of the "adopt don't shop" idea (our main doggie model is called Samoa Kai and is a gorgeous rescued mutt!). We craft all of our products ourselves, making them comfortable, safe and as unique as possible!
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
Social media all the way! Our first sales came from our friends, and I think that’s true for all e-commerce businesses. However, when all your friends and family have already purchased from the store, you’re in a bit of a rut. And this is where we truly needed help with advertising. Shopify provided us with coupons for free initial advertising on Facebook and Google. I can’t stress how important this was for us. With this help, we got to learn how to develop ads (who to serve them to) and launched our online product, free of charge. Advertising is so important and we continually learn about it from our own experiences and by reading advice on the Shopify blog and other platforms. By reading some tips on the Shopify blog, we sent our collars as gifts to a couple of Instagram sensations, we were already fans of, and this helped a lot. Facebook and Instagram is where we get most of our traffic (we currently have 14k followers combined). We put a lot of energy on social media and try to put the most creative content out there.
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?
Langify has been awesome. We wanted to have our store in English and Portuguese. We are now having more international sales, which wouldn't be possible if our store was in only one language. Our currency converter, by Secomapp, also helps with this.
Yotpo Reviews has been collecting awesome reviews which help build our credibility every day. Plus, it's a great way to learn more about what our customers loved the most!
We haven't discovered many shipping apps just yet! We use our local post office (post services are super awesome in Portugal). We are very serious about handling times and all our orders are custom-made. Which means we work very hard to ship everything 1-2 business days after the order is placed. Our shipping prices are fair (5€ flat rate for international orders) and we are super flexible with custom orders and size exchanges.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
Our first advice is to be patient. Nothing comes instantly and having an online business entails much more work than you will ever know (we’re still learning too). Our second advice is to invest your time in beautiful quality content: capture people’s attention, think outside the box! If you’re not a writer, a photographer or a designer, learn about the subject and ask others for help. By making partnerships with personalities and other businesses you can also build a community around your shop, and with shared values, your customer will start to relate to you and your product. Even if you’re sales pickup never stop working. Always try to develop your product and your online presence. By building social proof (having followers, reviews, and a solid story) your store will gain a potential client’s trust and attention.
We are also super passionate about what we sell! This helps motivate us, as business owners, and naturally makes our audience relate.