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 professional haircare brand, we wanted to find ways to interact directly with the hairdressers and clients who were using our products. Hair is all about fun, inspiration and creativity, so by utilizing Shopify we could connect with our active social audience and help them get the products they wanted much more quickly, and with a personal customer service touch.
Lots of pieces go into creating hair products: all of our products are created in the USA. Many of our suppliers are chemists, packaging creators and designers we've worked with for many years, so it is gratifying to be able to utilize those connections and work together to create high-technology products at a customer-friendly price point. We knew that to have successful hair products, we had to maintain sight of our philosophy... if it's not fun, don't do it. So we infused that fun into seriously high-performance haircare (and all products are free of gluten, parabens, sulfates, sodium chloride and other yuckies). As moms ourselves, we had fun creating products we knew we needed and wanted... such as Up For Air. What mom doesn't want the perfect hair product to help her hair look good even on days when she doesn't have time to blow dry?
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
Social media all the way. Instagram allows us to speak directly with all of our #fave4fanatics to update them on upcoming sales, product usage details, tips and tricks, and much more. Then we had a celebrity post a photo kissing a can of our Texture Takeover hairspray... and nothing has ever been the same. Connecting Shopify to our social media platforms allowed us to capitalize on that celebrity engagement and turn a spontaneous event into sales. Again, social media and specifically Instagram has generated the majority of our traffic and sales. Facebook's addition of the Shop Now feature has also contributed to store traffic.
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?
Quickbooks! Managing all of our finances and exporting our Shopify data straight into our accounting software is huge for us in keeping our inventory and budget all in line! We also LOVE the Customer Pricing App because as a professional hair brand, we offer wholesale pricing to licensed salon professionals who purchase fave4 products. Customer Pricing allows us to have an entire subset of pricing only visible to these customers when they are logged into their registered and approved accounts.
When we first started selling online, we were totally running the entire business out of our homes. One garage was converted into a ship center, so as orders came in we'd pack them up and ship them out. After our first major promotion paired with a celebrity, the order volume was so massive we had to recruit our spouses to help fulfill orders. For us, it was hugely important to get orders out quickly regardless of how hard we had to work. Now our volume has outgrown our capabilities (and our time is needed elsewhere!) so we utilize a 3PL to ship and fulfill all orders. We've still keep the customer service function in-house, so if there are any issues with shipments/fulfillment, we want to handle those ourselves. Social media can be our best friend or worst nightmare, so we work diligently to give all customers and amazing experience and hair products they love.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
1. Create an organized, engaging store. If your images and clean and pretty and product descriptions thorough, a good product will sell itself. We're still working on perfecting ours, but keeping an uncluttered look makes customers feel like they can browse a bit.
2. Use apps! There are so many things you can do if you start using the Shopify apps to upsell, suggest product pairings and much more.
3. Change out your header image/slider bar images often. If you have repeat store visitors, just this simple change can re-engage them or perhaps excite them to finally purchase if they've been considering.
4. Use the actual Shopify App! There is nothing more motivating to a small business owner than getting a notification on my phone that we've received another order!!! Plus I can quickly glance through orders and customers to familiarize myself with our customers. You never know when the wife of a well-known NBA player might purchase your products (happened to us!) and without the app that order may have gone unnoticed.