Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
I have worked in the Canadian garment industry in Toronto since I graduated from Ryerson's Fashion Design Program in 1990. I launched Loko Sport in 1995 selling activewear wholesale to Canadian boutique stores. I love technology and how it makes it so easy to connect with others. Selling online seemed like such a great way to reach and service more women in Canada and beyond. Shopify is so easy to use, and has made the experience very easy. We design and manufacture each piece in London and Toronto, Ontario. You can't beat made-in-Canada quality.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
Simply by calling up boutique stores to ask if they wanted to look at my samples. Online sales are directly tied to social media exposure. Twitter, Facebook, email newsletters and having my website printed on my clothing labels and hangtags.
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 am implementing more since I think I haven't used these enough. I have added Pinterest posting option to all my styles. We are starting to use Google Analytics along with SEO. I do take advantage of every suggestion that Shopify gives me. I have learned a lot from Shopify emails about what is available to me. When an order comes in, we either fill it from inventory or actually make it within 2 days. We then accept the customer payment, pack it and drop it off to the local Canada Post office. After we get the tracking number form Canada Post, we fulfill the item on Shopify and the customer gets a notification email. Very easy.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
Offer your customers excellent customer service. I sometimes send them an email if I expect a delay. People love the personal touch and are thrilled to hear from the owner or designer. They are missing this from big box stores. Many people love to support small or local business. Let them know they are important to you. You can't be successful without them.