HardWeld began as a distressed text photograph and evolved into the wearable art piece it is today when I found some like-minded welders/belt makers to help me.

All of this came about after an art show where I hung 40 of my images and sold only two. I decided it was time to make my art wearable and more accessible. I did a tremendous amount of research trying to find the right look and feel for my idea and came across the welders that do private label work. I sent them the photograph and it was a perfect fit for the work they already did and, after a few prototypes, we nailed it.

How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?

My first sales came through announcing the launch on Facebook. To date, Facebook and Instagram are my avenues to spread the word. I also get out in the community, wearing the belt, and market it the old-fashioned way.

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 linked ShipStation to Shopify and, using Endicia, do my own shipping. I bought the necessary supplies and print my own shipping labels so that all I have to do is drop boxes off at the post office. As I grow, the post office will send someone to my home for pick-up further streamlining the process.

What are your top recommendations for new ecommerce entrepreneurs?

Go for it! Do your research and due diligence but absolutely, positively go for it. There is nothing as empowering or as exciting as having your own business. Get the right tools like Shopify and Shipstation to streamline the mechanics so that you can focus on driving sales.

Set up all of the social media sites and encourage friends and family to help you get off to a strong start by sharing your information. Be patient as you work your way through the website set-up process and use Shopify's "experts" as needed. Best of luck!

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