Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
It all began when I noticed a serious shortage of Canadian-based online fabric shops. I was looking for a career change so I hung up my public relations hat and opened my very own online shop. Everyone I knew was buying fabric online from US shops, paying high shipping rates and oftentimes not eligible for special deals or giveaways. I knew I could do what those US shops were doing, so I began sourcing fabric, building my site and learning everything I could about running an online shop. In March 2013 I launched the Fridays Off Fabric Shop. I contacted the Canadian distributors for all of the fabrics I knew I wanted to carry and met with their sales reps.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
I earned my first sales through word of mouth and Facebook, then I did a couple of industry shows to get my name out there and start building an email newsletter list. Email newsletters, Facebook and Google search generate the most traffic and sales. About a year ago I read a book all about SEO and followed everything it said. Now my shop is first when you search fabric canada.
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?
Yotpo has been amazing for customer testimonials. S Loyalty has been great for building my email newsletter and I also run a loyalty program through them that resonates with my customers. Recurrhub is used for my monthly subscription program. I also use Google Analytics, MailChimp and Springbot. Springbot has been really great for analyzing my data and figuring out where I'm getting the most traffic from and seeing the return on my social media efforts and email newsletter campaigns. Internally. I do it all! It's a lot of work, but I'll do it this way until I can't anymore and at that time I'll probably have to hire a couple of people to help.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
Stick with it and don't get discouraged. It's easy to start comparing yourself to other stores, but try not to do that. Also, listen to the Shopify Masters podcasts. They have been so helpful for me. Finally set goals.