Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
I met a guy with a pair of bamboo sunglasses one day. They were getting lots of attention and after looking around I realized they weren't easy to find. So I thought there was an opportunity to create my own brand and make them available. I have a couple of suppliers overseas. It took me a while to find a supplier I could trust that used materials and processes that I was comfortable with, since I wanted it to be a very eco-friendly product. So far I've had a good experience with the shops I'm working with.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
My first couple of sales were with Adwords, but I've been having some success with Facebook ads and building an organic following on Instagram. I get some traffic from Instagram and Reddit, but by the majority of my traffic is from PPC ads (Adwords and Facebook) and retargeting on those channels.
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 have a live chat tool called Chatra which I like; it allows people to get instant answers to their questions. I'm also using Sumome to collect emails and a share bar which are really good. I'm working on building testimonials with Yotpo's rating app as well. I fill domestic orders with FBA (Amazon) and international orders get shipped from my house (for now).
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
Set aggressive but realistic goals, and create a real plan to achieve them. Expect to have to spend some money on ads to get sales rolling in (or tap your personal network). Don't expect free traffic. Also, plan to do a lot of testing and tweaking on your site, your ads, etc. But most of all, have fun with it!