I didn't choose my product; it chose me. After I was diagnosed with cancer I went through years of chemotherapy. During that time, I designed a jacket for infusion patients. I'm an architect by training and knew nothing about the fashion/retail business.
I sourced the prototype out to manufacturers through Alibaba.com and found a company in China that worked with me to develop our signature product; the Chemo Cozy Fleece. Shopify did the rest by helping to give my company a face and place to start my business.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
My first sales came from a Kickstarter campaign that helped launch the company. Shopify was there to help me manage inventory and payments. I have been utilizing social media and any other avenue of exposure possible to lead potential buyers to our site. That combined with direct marketing to Healthcare systems has helped get the company started.
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?
With a limited number of products, the back-end of the store has been easy to manage. I utilize Shopify's inventory system and our store fulfills orders internally (for now.) This helps keep overhead down and allows us to maintain our level of quality in delivery (a lot of our online orders are gifts requiring gift-wrapping and personalized notes).
Since our customer base is so specific in nature, we have not had the need of large fulfillment centers such as Amazon. Because of our jacket size & weight, USPS has been the most affordable shipping method.
What are your top recommendations for new ecommerce entrepreneurs?
Follow your passion and you can do anything. People will buy your products because they believe in you and your passion for what you do. Oh, and don't forget to have an aggressive marketing plan. No matter how passionate you may be about your company, if people don't know it's out there, they can't buy it!