Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
I was looking for a fun dance workout program that incorporated music that made me wanna dance, but also fed my spirit. There were a few programs available but the music was too preachy. I knew there were others like me who were looking for something different. So, I took a leap of faith and got to work. We now have the #1 faith-based dance workout program in the country. I found a video production company that understood my vision. Next I teamed up with a veteran fitness PR consultant who introduced me to a reputable company that manufactures discs.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
Our first sales were definitely friends and family. We approached a lot of mommy bloggers who were eager to try our product, so their social sharing really helped us a lot. We also started blogging - not the best blog posts at first - but after awhile we started to learn more about our audience interests and found our own voice. Ultimately we took a chance at a few Facebook ads. That ended up being one of our best moves. We went from 3500 likes to 35,000 likes in less than 12 months. We now have over 43,000 Facebook followers. Our online store generates the most traffic and sales for us.
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 have quite a few apps that we use regularly. Happy Email is one of my favorites because it adds a personal touch to every transaction, which means a lot to us and our customers love it. The Shippo app has saved us a lot of time and on postage costs. SendOwl has also made a huge difference since we now offer digital goods. We have a hybrid fulfillment solution - we handle some in-house, but we use a fulfillment house for larger orders.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
One of the most frustrating things for me in the beginning was realizing that there was so much that I didn't know. My advice? Read as much as you can about starting a business, managing a business, etc. (without driving yourself crazy), and then talk to as many successful online store owners that you can. Over the years I've found that simple, short conversations with other entrepreneurs - ones that have create a business from scratch - can go mighty a long way.