Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
In 2014 I was approached by designer and business owner Sally Jones who was looking to sell her namesake lingerie label. I was a loyal customer of hers and also a friend of the family so she felt I would be one who would keep the integrity of the brand she has built while still keeping her on board doing what she loves, which is designing. Sally Jones Lingerie mainly wholesaled all over the world, but I wanted to take control of the brand again. We went through a re-brand changing the name and logo to SJ Lingerie, pulled back all of our wholesale and went 100% online to re-position ourselves in the lingerie market.
Our lingerie is made from some of the finest lace and fabrics available. Our tulle is Italian and most of our lace is from Calais in France. We go to textile shows in Paris and Shanghai each year, and we also have local reps we meet with on a regular basis to see what is up and coming without having to go on a long haul flight. Our lingerie is made here in Australia by wonderful local seamstresses and we have a small factory not too far from our office so it's very easy to stay connected and in the loop with everything that happens daily.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
When I first took over we went through a big re-brand so we had a little launch party with some close friends, family, co workers and we also invited the local media. I think that helped get the community on board and in the know from the very beginning, where we were featured in the newspaper and some local magazines. We were also growing our Instagram following since before the launch so that helped a lot too. Instagram generates the most traffic for us but Pintrest is beginning to show some major results too which is great as I never wanted to only rely on one major channel.
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 the Shopify app on my phone which is a no brainer. It gives me quick and simple insight as to what is selling and order tracking. We are on the go all the time so it's great to use when I am not in the office. Instagram is huge for us too. Before I upload anything I will edit my photos in VSCO cam first. It's been a great way to brighten and sharpen my images without needing anything else. Today I have also just downloaded Foursixty, an shop Instagram integration tool, which will allow me to create shoppable links easily on my iPhone. At the moment we hold all of our stock at the office and we ship internally on a daily basis. It works for the time being but it is quite time consuming. We ship via DHL for international orders and use Australia Post domestically.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
Be consistent and persistent, building a brand is hard so don't get discouraged. Our Instagram seems to have speedy growth buy we never ever miss a day of posting. Also relationships are everything so keep in touch with customers, bloggers and other brands that you might be able to collaborate with. You never know what kind of exposure or advice you will get from people and brands close to you.