Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
I have always loved fitness and fashion from the time I was a young girl. I felt there was a lack-luster feel in activewear for women who want to look good while they workout. Activewear was a booming business, however most brands on the market seemed very similar. I could not find cute workout clothes that made me feel happy, excited and motivated for the gym. So I decided to take on the challenge of creating an innovative, fun, flirty line for females who want to be comfortable and effortlessly sexy in their active everyday lives.
I took a chance with something different and unique as I felt there was an untapped market for something NEW and different. The process was not an easy task. I started with nothing more than my name. It took me two years of research and development to bring my company to life in 2014. I sourced my products 24/7 online. I walked into just about every building in downtown Los Angeles. I talked to everyone I could, asking questions, walking around trade-shows. I left no stone unturned. When you are passionate about something you will do whatever it takes to bring your vision to life.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
This was very tough. When you have a new product to sell, no matter how great it is, consumers are leery about purchasing. I found out early on that it is very hard to get your brand noticed. I thought manufacturing and development was challenging, but marketing is the hardest part! YOU need to prove to the public your product is worth buying. I had to think of every strategy possible within my budget as to how I could prove to potential customers I had a great product.
I reached out to every well-known social media influencer in my target market. I contacted every photographer I could, offering wardrobe for upcoming editorial photo shoots. I reached out to magazines, stylists, trainers, bloggers, gyms etc. I believe it is very important to get your product out there any way you can. Gifting was very important for my brand in the beginning. I looked at it as a marketing expense. Once I started gifting females I noticed I was gaining more followers and traffic to my website. Women loved Bombshell Sportswear and started posting on their social media outlets linking back to my feed. I slowly started creating a buzz that gained my line exposure, which followed in sales.
The public trusts bloggers and influencers that they follow so this gave me instant credibility. I also spent months focusing on my packaging. I wanted my product to be a pleasant experience for the online shoppers. There is something wonderful about a new product arriving in pretty packing. It makes you feel special. Who does not want to feel important or special? I also felt customer service was extremely important. If I received a new order it was shipped out immediately. Whatever I could do to please the customer that made me standout I did. Instagram and Facebook are my best channels for generating the most traffic. Keep in mind it's all about the right influencers wearing my brand that spikes up the sales and traffic. Once you start making sales, every HAPPY customer will share what they're wearing with their friends. It is a snowball effect.
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 a lot of Shopify apps that make my life a whole lot easier when it comes to fulfilling orders. As a business owner I have enough stress in my life so I really try to simplify the shipping process as best I can. I have to say this is the one thing "behind the scenes" that I can do in a quick orderly fashion thanks to Shopify. My favorite apps that I use are Orderly Print, Fraud Filter, Bulk Discounts, Kudobuzz, Retargeting, MailChimp, Refersion and Beetailer. I do all my shipping myself. I'm a bit of a perfectionist and like to oversee everything so mistakes don't happen.
No one will love your business as much as you do, or go above and beyond to make sure everything runs perfectly. Sometimes that means working all day and fulfilling orders all night so packages can be sent out within 24 hours. My first priority is always making the customer happy.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
Don't be discouraged when your business does not make a lot of sales in the beginning. It takes a lot of time and hard work to gain exposure. Do not lose focus. Keeping plugging away everyday and little by little things will start to happen. Focus on creative strategies to market your business rather than counting solely on what sales are coming in, if any. This will kill your ambition and drive. Everyone starts at the bottom, so remember that. I believe a key ingredient for new business owners is to launch when everything looks great on your website. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. You always want to give the customers the impression you are established and a trustworthy business. Don't cut corners on visuals, this is everything! You are selling online, which is 100% a visual shopping portal. So make sure everything looks sharp and clean and runs smoothly.