Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
There was no product like it available anywhere so I decided to make it myself. I have been surfing and changing in car parks and in the freezing cold for too many years. I needed a dryrobe. The world needed a dryrobe. A portable, private, warm and dry space to change clothes inside or simply throw on, over anything, to provide warmth & shelter in any situation.
I was looking for a lining which would work for a long time. The waterproof outer fabric was relatively simple to source in the UK, and I stumbled across some military equipment which used a similar lining to what we now have produced to our own specification. We used this to produce some sample products in UK and had some freedom to fine tune things when we had the working sample. The design of the products was a new concept which I designed as a hybrid or variation on the old towel change robe andthe more traditional swim parka jackets. We just bought a new element to it.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
I wore the dryrobe while surfing anda friend wanted one. I thought that might be the start of a small business. I used social media to get the word out initially. Word of mouth has been extremely helpful along with our reviews from real customers. We have built up a wholesale element which now accounts for nearly half of our sales. The rest is made up of direct sales from our Shopify store.
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 use Xero accounting linked with Carry the one app. Live inventory reports are provided using Hublogix (linked to our fulfilment warhouse). Other apps include Zopim, Abandon Aid, Yopto (reviews), Blogfeeder, Shopify POS, Facebook Store, Google Shopping, Out of Stock, Trade Orders (for B2B) and Currency Switcher. We use a fulfillment house in the UK to ship our worldwide orders & handle returns. We have just shipped our first stock to a fulfillment house in Chicago to hopefully replicate our success over there.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
Shopify, along with social media, provides any business or individual with a huge opportunity communicate a or promote a product or message. It's all about the quality of the product but also, what you say and the way you say it. Anyone viewing your website will make quick decisions about you, your company, your style, ethics and ideals based on their first impressions of your online presence. It has never been more important to make the right first impression.
Your website has to be engaging and attractive to the viewer or potential customer, the message has to be almost immediate, and the navigation has to be seamless and instantly understood. The internet is vast and your customers will only find you and your service or product if it is promoted in the right place on the right platforms. Shopify has proved itself to be the right platform for us. We are looking forward to an exciting future.