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 been working with wool for 11 years. I am a knitter and a spinner so selling yarn was a natural choice for me. I love making materials that other people can use to make beautiful things. Some of my products are made entirely by me using raw local materials. Other products are commercially made using American-raised and processed fibers, and then dyed in my home using dyes from a local Maine company. Keeping all my products made entirely in the USA is a commitment I have made for my business and is very important to me.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
I earned my first sale through social media. I have a very loyal following of people on every social media channel. I spend a lot of time building up hype and then making sure my people can find my product once it's up in my shop. I have very labor intensive work so my customers have a lot of time to fall in love with something before it's ready to buy. Facebook and Instagram generate the most traffic for me, but Twitter and Pinterest are not far behind. I post daily on all the social media sites - 7 days a week.
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?
My iPhone is extremely important to my day-to-day operations. I have three kids that I homeschool and so we are on-the-go a lot. My phone allows me to stay in touch with my customers as well as be promote my shop through social media. As for apps I have a lot that keep things moving, but I'm especially fond of the Blogger app that allows me to plug all my past years work from my blogger blog onto my new Shopify website. That saved me about a million hours of work transferring posts and kept any links out in the internet pointing to my new site. I use ShipWorks for my fulfillment and shipping app and I love it. I have a lean system worked out in my studio so that I can quickly and efficiently pick and pack my orders. Then I use my dymo printer to whip out my labels and they're out the door for the mailman to pick up mid-morning.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
Picture pictures pictures. Never stop obsessing over pictures. Also, if you want to be in business, act like a business...forget about this hobby selling mentality.