Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?

We noticed that our ever-changing modern society was basing a lot of it's trends from the music industry. We realized that popular artists and athletes have the following to start trends and make fashion statements. With the right connections, we found an untapped market for affordable, but extremely durable jewelry - something that hasn't fully developed as a true market yet. With our upcoming adoption of "designer" clothing, our product variety and uniqueness has helped to establish GLD as a contending high-end brand. Depending on individual product demand, we have several connections of insourcing and outsourcing to ensure a timely and reliable supply chain process. Of course affordability & customer satisfaction are among the biggest key concerns for any profitable business. In order to become a dependable luxury brand, the right manufacturers must be found - one way or another.

How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?

A strong social media presence has been our primary key to success. Also, Pittsburgh is growing quickly as a city of hard-working achievers, so the great deal of hometown support has been a huge help as well. One of our co-owners, Dan Folger, is Wiz Khalifa's exclusive photographer and friend. Dan's determination to balance working for Wiz and building a business of his own has also been extremely inspiring to GLD customers and has encourages many to join the movement. Our aggregated social media presence has been the main source of our traffic and sales. Existing solely online, we've managed to learn the most effective and new ways to reach our target customers. With recent growth, we plan to budget a lot more towards marketing and advertising - as well finding new ways to manage an online and physical presence.

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?

Shopify allows you to really choose which tools and apps will be most effective for you, given the specific industry your business is in. For us, as an online jewelry and clothing retailer, we've really taken advantage of several apps provided by Shopify to enhance our day-to-day processes. For example, Product Reviews by Shopify has allowed us to obtain direct feedback from customers on specific products, so that we can make alterations to production decisions as well as drop/add decisions. ShipStation by Shopify has made our shipping operations the most simple and effortless aspect of running our business. There are many other extremely useful apps and tools provided by Shopify that we use to run our business in the most sufficient and practical way possible. We ship internally from our offices in Pittsburgh, PA.

What are your top recommendations for new store owners?

If I could provide any advice to a new store owner looking to turn a start-up into a career, it would be to never give up - be ready to work sleepless nights, because owning your own business is a 24/7 priority. As a recent college grad from Penn State University, it's been a great risk to deny full-time offers from various companies in order to chase my dream of building a brand with my childhood friends. Through everyday struggles, maintaining the perseverance and drive to succeed is the only way to make things happen. Hard work will pay off !

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