Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
Our business started as a result of a personal problem. My partner and I had torn our calluses off during a gym session and in seeking topical relief for the pain, realized the market potential for such a product inside gyms. When we started, and to this day, the source of our products are about 50-50 between being made in-house and outsourcing to larger manufacturing facilities. We are meticulous about who we source from, and take our time researching for the right fit in a financial aspect as well as an efficiency aspect.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
I will never forget our first sale, I thought it was a robot. I was sitting down with my now fiance at dinner and received a PayPal notification that our first Hand Care Kit had been sold. Come to find out it was a result of an Instagram post, the customer liked what we had to say and bought our product. We truly built the foundation of our business on Instagram. Everything we did from day 1 was completely bootstrapped from making our own website using Wix (before we switched to Shopify), to utilizing friends cameras for product photography. We didn't have money for big advertising campaigns, so we focused solely on making the most of what was free - social media. With time and effort, Instagram is just as powerful a selling tool as anything else.
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 are very open to changing the way our storefront looks and adding new apps. If it works we keep it, if not we don't. We use StoreMapper as a distributor locator, Mailchimp for email, Refersion for our affiliate program, InXpress for international shipping, Adroll for retargeting, and SumoMe for social media sharing. SumoMe was one of our original apps that we added to the site and we love it; it creates a seamless way for our customers to share content from the site to their own social media following.
I am also a BIG fan of StoreMapper, it is so cool. We sell to a number of international wholesalers so having their contact information readily available to international customers has drastically reduced the amount of general inquiries we get internationally wondering where we sell. We handle all of our shipping internally using PayPal, Ordoro, and InXpress. Although, there is a new app that was just made available called ShippingEasy that looks to be compatible with the Shopify platform. We may be switching to that soon in hopes of streamlining everything.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
Of all the things you will be as a new store owner, my top recommendation is to be RELENTLESS. Write every idea down that you have in a notebook and check it off as you go. Follow up with every lead multiple times. Strive to provide the best customer service your customers have ever seen, and constantly monitor what others in your space are doing. Even the best can be better.