What began over seven years ago with a small collection of boutique coffees has grown into an international luxury and lifestyle brand of coffee. From the beginning I have believed in offering customers only the finest quality from countries famous for growing coffee.
By continually pushing my hardest for greater quality and infusing my management style (interpersonal) into our direct trade relationships with our growers we now set the standard for luxury coffee and are innovators of a luxury coffee lifestyle.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
There is no question that being a renowned luxury coffee broker and celebrity host has helped facilitate sales. That plus my relationship with the Seattle Seahawks / Sounders FC, MLS, MLB has opened doors for us. I consistently place myself in the path of people / companies important for me to meet.
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?
Regarding the backend of Cup of Luxury's ecom, I chose Shopify because I believe they have a platform that is superior to other stores. I have experienced Volusion, Amazon, Yahoo and Intuit. Shopify cuts through the complexities of all things ecom related which frees my team to focus on selling.
What are your top recommendations for new ecommerce entrepreneurs?
1). Have a compelling product / service. We live in a world of oversaturated markets. If what you have to offer isn't necessarily 'new,' what distinguishes your offering? Never go to market until you know that there is a demand. Have something new to offer? Create the demand.
2). Be prepared to write / blog weekly. By writing fresh content you increase your SEO rankings substantially. With Google changing their algorithm with their new Panda system you must have fresh, original, unshared content.
3). Know social media, know success. No social media, no success. Social media can be your friend or your nemesis. At a minimum, learn how to use Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest and LinkedIn. With these platforms you can create a wildly successful business.
4). Pride will kill you, humility will be your best friend. When I started in 2006, I approached industry leaders, top executives, and sought out the absolute best advice. In my approach, I admitted I was new, knew NOTHING, recognized this as a point of weakness, wanted to become the very best in my field and was asking them for help. Responses poured in -- from people who if I mentioned their names you would certainly know. Their standard response was, "Thank you for asking me to help you. I like that you approached me humbly and admitted you need help. Here is my advice ... " Successful people search for opportunities to teach teachable people to become successful.
5). Soft opens save business. Before you announce to the world that your store is live, test, test, test. Surround yourself with people that are creative, blunt / honest, high quality oriented, that know and understand your market. Ask them to approach your new store critically.
6). Have thick skin. Successful people appreciate and apply constructive criticisms. When people give you feedback, consider what they say carefully. After you have tested, tested, tested and have digested the feedback and made any necessary tweaks to your site ... strap yourself in, push the throttle forward and take off.