After having the traveled the world as a backpacker, being pick pocketed and loosing my money and passport, I knew there had to be a better way to protect ones belongings from theft and loss than what was out there: money belts, fanny packs...they are not just uncomfortable and fugly, but pick pockets know exactly where to look for them. People think it is just a matter of being careful when traveling, but pick pockets are professionals (travellers are not:)) and steal for a living so pick pocketing does happen a lot more than you think. So I designed clothing with built in secret pockets, so secret that no pick pocket could ever find them.
Our gear hides passports, cash and credit cards in zippered pockets. No need to carry bags or neck pouches, just hide your money in your tee or tank or underwear, that you have to wear anyway. No thief can find your valuables and no way will you simply misplace anything, after all who accidentally misplaces their underwear?
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
When I launched the store, I also sent out lots, I mean lots, of emails to travel writers. One of the first to mention our store was the Sydney Herald. One sunny morning, just a week after launch, we woke up to 20 orders from Australia.
After that the LA Times mentioned us, Lonely Planet, Gadling and then it was on! Getting quality publicity is what has grown our business. Offer free review samples and make sure you have information and photos ready. We still do a lot of PR work, but these days the media contact us.
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 use several Shopify apps, like Chimpified by MailChimp, Shopify Product Reviews, Abandoned cart. We store and ship with Shipwire. And I use lots of freelancers from Elance for various things, from photo editing to web stuff and book keeping.
There is no need to learn everything yourself, there are tons of skilled people out there for hire. We also sell on Amazon, which is great for a wider reach, but it is important to have a storefront like ours on Shopify, it is where the media goes, it is how you build a brand and it is where you can really showcase your products.
What are your top recommendations for new ecommerce entrepreneurs?
Customer service is so important! Prioritise being nice and friendly and prompt! Sometimes things go wrong with shipments or a product turns out to have a stain or hole, it happens, so if you can defuse an angry customer, that is worth gold.
Also, we recommend doing your PR your self. Using hired PR has never worked for us, it seems most people like hearing from store owners and they want a personal story. It takes a lot of work to identify media to pitch, but it pays off.
We have been featured in most major travel blogs and magazines out there, all after doing our research and sending quality press releases. Make sure you have a great press kit ready, writers shouldn't have to work to cover your company, send them all the info as well as photos so it is easy for them to write about you. Do their job for them and they will most likely cover your product!
Once you have attained a certain amount of publicity it will help tremendously with SEO. Good SEO can't be forced. Make sure people write about you. Also keep a blog! It takes some time but eventually things will start spinning on their own if you keep fresh material and make sure to be seen. It isn't easy in the beginning and it takes work, but it does pay off.