Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
The "lightbulb" moment occurred after a day of excruciating pain from wearing high heels. Our founder Kavita wondered aloud why someone had not yet been able to invent a pair of comfortable high heels. That's where the idea was born. Working with her husband, an engineer, they began to develop what would eventually become our patented nanoGel® technology, an innovative design that redistributes body pressure and provides shock absorption for superior comfort.
We first worked with a team of experts (podiatrists, engineers, shoemakers) to develop the foundation of our comfortable heels, including our patented nanoGel® technology. After that, we sourced leathers at various tradeshows, and ended up choosing an Italian supplier. Our initial production was in China, and sent one of our experts to oversee the process of making the lasts and manufacturing the shoes. We are currently transitioning production to Spain and Brazil to be able to provide even higher quality.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
Our initial sales were driven primarily by word of mouth and social media. SEO has become a huge traffic driver, and our number one traffic source is now organic search. Repeat customers are also a very big part of the business now. Once women try on our comfortable heels, they become loyal customers and come back for repeat purchases. We have also been featured on several national and local media outlets, including FOX news, Jezebel Magazine, and Women's Wear Daily, to name a few. The exposure has helped us to spread the word and increase traffic to our site. Our mailing list, which we manage through Mailchimp, has a very high conversion rate and is also a very big sales generator.
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 an amazing app that has helped us to capture customer testimonials. The amazing reviews we have obtained have really helped drive sales. TradeGecko has helped us to manage wholesale orders to retailers, which will help with our sales for next year. Mailchimp has been another fantastic app, as our mailing list is now one of our greatest sales drivers. We are handling all our shipping and fulfillment in house. With our increased sales, we will soon have to hire another person to handle this area exclusively.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
Be patient. It will take a while to establish yourself and start seeing sales. Keep your burn rate low so that you can keep going through those initial months where sales will be low. Invest in high quality photography; with an ecommerce site, it is the only contact the customer has with your product. Pay attention to SEO, and focus your social media efforts on the right channels instead of trying to be on every channel.