Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
We've always worked within the creative industries, specialising in branding, concepts, content creation and delivery. Initially we looked at starting a clothing line but felt the market was saturated with similar brands we aspired to be similar to. We needed a product that was unique and standout, something we could apply our creative vision to and have fun marketing. During the product research stages we came across bland, dull and boring makeup brushes - this was our lightbulb moment! We could take this product and make it fun and beautiful - so we did! We spent a full year researching and sourcing our supplier. The deeper we delved into the makeup brush world and realised how many brands use real animal hair in their products, we knew instantly that we wanted to create an entirely synthetic range. After hours upon hours on Google, trawling through forums and blogs we managed to source a number of factories, got in touch directly and then began the sampling phase.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
We launched the store on the 28th of April in 2014. Prior to this we had created all our social media channels and had been posting content and teasers for a few weeks leading up to the launch. We like to think of ourselves as an 'instabrand' - social media is the linchpin of our brand and we love nothing more than interacting with our customers, receiving and posting customer pics, and reaching new customers through our online channels. Statistically Twitter is our highest traffic generator, although it's a close call with Facebook. Though we do love Instagram, as the brushes are so colourful, it's a crime not to post beautiful pictures!
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 Order Printer and MyHermes on a daily basis, they're vital to the smooth running of our store. Likewise we use Mailchimp and Abandon Cart, as well as the Email Template Creator to customise our automated order emails and add our personality to them. We currently manage the fulfillment in house and use MyHermes to ship orders. We like the added security of having a tracking number with each order so our customers feel in control of their deliveries and we have piece of mind knowing they reach them safely.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
Have good, solid branding and great photography. Don't expect orders to come flooding in a soon as your store is live, enjoy the ride, nurture the store and encourage growth. We've learnt so much as we've grown, if it all happened instantly we probably would've failed due to silly mistakes. Engage and listen to your customers, they're the ones who will shape and drive your success.