Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
As a merchant in women's specialty retail for many years, I look for three main criteria when selecting products: a need that women have that is not being fulfilled in the market; putting myself in the customer's mindset to gain an understanding of her lifestyle; clothing items that are timeless and have exceptional quality, value, fit. All of the items at A Ruby are uniquely designed, fabricated, sourced, developed, and produced by factories of the highest quality. 70% of the items are made in Canada. The sweaters and shirts are made in China.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
I launched A Ruby in my home town of Toronto, Canada by way of a pop up store at my sister's studio storefront on Queen street east. We generated an average of $2000 per hour and had over 150 customers during our opening event. The A Ruby website generates the majority of our business, but pop up stores are lucrative as well.
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 primarily use the abandoned cart app to re target our customer, introductory offer for first time customers and the discount app. We use a third party fulfillment and distribution center in Kennett Square, PA. They lovingly pick and pack our customers' orders in an A Ruby reusable tote bag. Orders are picked the same day they are ordered on Shopify and received by most customers within two days.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
Be clear about your vision, believe in yourself and your products, make your customer happy by exceeding her/his expectations, and be patient.