Tag Archives: Success

Store of the Month: November

10 Nov

Freewebstore are delighted to award the very hip ‘Team Dogz‘ store of the month for November. 👏

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Team Dogz live and breathe scooters and they’ve built up a solid following. We managed to speak to Steven from Team Dogz HQ, who took a break from the busy Christmas preparation to talk to us about the business.

Please tell us a bit about your business and where it all started

My scooter business, Team Dogz, started in a little alcove under my parents’ stairs in the 1990s after I returned from university. I had a dedicated phone line put in, bought some stock, and started programming my website. I was selling different products then but the internet was very early days so you had to find your niche and then grow our product base as new opportunities arose. My parents were wondering for a while when I was going to take my education and get a proper job, but they stuck by me and in the end, both came to work for me!

What made you get into this line of work?

I have always wanted to work for myself, and after my Bachelor’s degree I went straight on and did an MSc in Entrepreneurship at Stirling University in the 1990’s. This was as much about not knowing what I wanted to ‘do-for-myself’ as it was in wanting to learn more about business. While I was there, however, I started learning HTML on-the-side and this gave me an insight into a new industry. I started my business in December 1997 so am celebrating 20 years! (woop, congrats!)

What do you see as the most important marketing tool for your business?

I sell products which children and early teens are interested in, so PPC doesn’t work for me because all the Children can click away but not purchase. However social media works well and YouTube videos of products are essentially free marketing once the video is created.

If you could have ANYONE to come and work for you, who would it be and why?

I mentioned earlier that both my parents came to work for Team Dogz, my mum for 4 years and my dad for 6. As you spend most your living life at work, it was great to spend this time with those you love the most. Unfortunately, in the past 20 years, both have died but I would dearly love to have either of them back.

Do you have any advice for new store owners?

Be prepared for hard work. You don’t need A grades from school but you do need commitment and a big work ethic. Some of us might make it look easy but I was often putting in 12-16 hour days in the early years and re-investing everything I could back into the business.

Is there a specific reason you chose to use freewebstore as your eCommerce platform?

I started off hand coding my website, however technology got ahead of my skillset and I could not learn all there is to know in the world of programming as well as running a business. I have since used several shopping cart solutions but freewebstore is easy enough for any staff member to update these days and gives a lot of the flexibility we wanted. Freewebstore has also made behind the scenes tweaks for us so we have stuck with them for a number of years now.

If you could choose one magic power, what would you go for?

To know which product is going to be most in demand. It takes several months for Team Dogz scooters to be made in factories far away and every Christmas I seem to sell out of something way too early!

Speaking of Christmas, how’s the preparation going? 🎅

We start planning for Christmas in July at the latest, our products are then manufactured in August and spend September on a boat arriving with us early October. Only a few people purchase this early but it is certainly when the kids start putting their Christmas lists together so we need to have our products advertised for sale to get their attention at this point. If we have got it wrong, which we always do with the quantities on various colors, it is too late come mid-October to get anything more manufactured and delivered in time.

Why is eCommerce important for your business?

A national or global reach from a single outlet, what more could someone want. We don’t have the financial capital to put stock into shops all over the country and their margins would make us more expensive. eCommerce offers us national reach and the ability to offer the customer a more competitive price, it’s a win-win.

And finally, do you have any celebrity customers or famous skaters buying from your store?

We have come across a few famous customers over the years. Data Protection and our own concern for our customer’s privacy would stop us from naming them. However, our scooter wheels were glimpsed on BBCs One Show the other week. Unusually they were being used as part of a walking frame for a dachshund with poorly back legs but it’s great to know they helped and a sale is a sale.

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Would you like to be considered for the Store of the Month series? Email the freewebstore customer success team at successteam@freewebstore.com.

 

 

 

Top 5 checks eCommerce Businesses must do today

12 Oct

As eCommerce sales are set to rise by 25% this holiday season (source: PwC), business owners selling online are preparing for what is set to be their most lucrative time of year.

Here is my top 5 tips that should be on your checklist for increasing sales this season:

1. Mobile ready

With smartphones accounting for nearly 70% of Thanksgiving Day traffic and 53% of all orders last year (source: thejibe) you really can’t afford for your website to look bad on a mobile device. Traditional websites designed for desktops are clunky and hard navigate on mobiles – reducing your chance of converting a sale. ECommerce platforms like freewebstore design web stores using the mobile first technique. Their checkouts ensure payment and shipping input fields are optimized for use on a mobile, that buttons reachable by thumb and that the correct keyboard appears when filling in forms (whether text, number or email). If you aren’t sure what your eCommerce website looks like on a mobile, now is the time to check.

2. Think of it as a marathon, not a sprint

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It seems fewer consumers will shop on Black Friday than in previous years. Research from PwC suggests thirty-five percent of consumers who plan to shop during Thanksgiving week say they will do so on Black Friday, down from 51 percent last year. However, do not be fooled into thinking Black Friday promotions are on the decline. The Independent suggests it is highly likely that Amazon will slash the price of some of its own products – including the Echo and Echo Dot speakers, the Fire stick, Fire tablets and Kindle e-readers. Reductions on the Xbox One and the PS4 are also likely.

The key message to take home is – if you’re current, your customers will expect a Black Friday Event from you. Make the most of the publicity and plan your event over a longer period not just a one day event.

3. Omnichannel

Business Insider suggests creating a strong, cohesive, multi-channel operation can make or break your business. Their research concluded that shoppers who engage with retailers on multiple channels make purchases more often. Think social media, blogs, (if you don’t have a blog on your eCommerce webstite, StoreBlog is a great one to use and is available to freewebstore users), or perhaps up your game in-store. If you don’t have a bricks and mortar store, exhibit at a trade show, Christmas Market or a pop up store. Solutions that link online, offline and mobile shopping are set to shape the future of eCommerce.shopping.jpeg

4. Promote

Make sure your store and the products you sell are on everyone’s minds throughout the holiday season. Up your email marketing efforts. Send out an email to your mailing list (not forgetting a second email to remind them) or post it on social media. Go to where your potential customers are gathering. Try to think of creative ways to reach them there.

5. Planning

It goes without saying that you really should prepare to avoid disappointing your customers. Decide on your promotions and make sure you have the right stock levels. Don’t turn what could be a great earner, and great promotion into a bad PR exercise.

Store of the Month: October

4 Oct

Freewebstore’s Store of the month time 😁😁. This month’s accolade goes to KitUK – premier supplier of kits and equipment for sports clubs in the UK. Jason, the store owner, took time out of his very busy schedule to answer a few questions.

Please tell us a bit about yourself and your background.

I’ve worked in marketing for over 25 years. I’ve also played football to a semi-

image005professional standard, I’m a level 2 football & goalkeeper coach, a voluntary football manager and I’ve been involved (and still am), in amateur football for nearly 40 years! I say I’ve got two full-time jobs – my marketing career and my website! I’m also a season ticket holder at a premier league club and lifelong supporter, though I won’t say who! My wife has pretty much given up now on trying to get me interested in anything other than football!

Where did you get the inspiration for KitUK?

Sounds a bit odd now but I used to spend my time as a kid re-painting Subbuteo players kits, organizing football leagues, in between playing and watching football! So I suppose I always had an eye for design and a bit of an odd interest in football kits, which to this day, my friends and family don’t quite understand! There were only 3 TV channels back when I was a kid and most of what was on was absolute rubbish or repeats, so I did my own thing – and that pretty much meant something related to football 24/7! Even now I hate sitting around watching TV.

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I’ve always had an eye for design – all my kits on my website I’ve designed myself from scratch and bring them to life in a 360 degree customized kit builder. And I do all the marketing stuff myself which helps keep costs down a bit. When I left university I got into marketing – it was the one thing I really enjoyed (apart from football!) and I was never going to be an accountant! I now sell football kit and equipment to clubs across the UK – everywhere from Cornwall to Aberdeen and also Ireland. I have basically made a business out of a passion. I’ve also worked in marketing football teamwear for PUMA for pro and amateur clubs.

As a football coach myself, I could see how difficult is can be sometimes to buy kit and equipment. It’s quite a complex purchase and can be frustrating and time consuming – so I’ve set up to make life easier and more fun for clubs / teams / coaches to purchase football kit. I’ve been there as a customer myself and I understand the football kit industry inside out, because I’ve been involved in it all my life! I’ve got a bit of a habit of thinking I can do things better, then give it a go. But I’ve lived and breathed what I do for most of my life, so my inspiration comes from doing what I enjoy to the best of my ability!

What is the best thing about owning your own business/online store?

You’re only as good as the effort you put into it. For me, it’s a passion – a hobby of mine. I’m part the way down the road now making this a viable business I can take a salary from and make a living, but I’ve a well paid, responsible full time marketing job that means I don’t have to rely on that while I build the business up and earn a living from.

I work really hard full time and I work as hard again on my website business! I like the fact that I’m in control and I don’t have to report to anyone and can make all my own decisions, right or wrong – and learn from them!

How do you market your product? Do you supply your kits to schools?

I’ve built up a marketing database, so most of my advertising is on email, Facebook and Google Adwords. I supply amateur football clubs and teams across the UK including schools, although I’m planning to do more with colleges and schools very soon! My biggest cost is marketing and you know what – I’ve had more business come from word of mouth and recommendations – but my business simply wouldn’t exist without marketing and lucky for me, I’m blessed with lots of experience there.

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If you could have a celebrity employee, who would it be and why?

Ha! I wouldn’t! Why? Because I know from experience they are expensive to hire and retain and can be high maintenance (not all of them I might add!) I’ve been involved in lots of photo shoots with pro footballers and with other celebrities outside of football and it’s a high cost / high risk strategy. Plus while I’m building up my business, there’s not enough budget. But you never know!

Your web store really does stand out. What tips would you give new store owners? Why do you feel good quality product images is key?

Thanks. I look back at what I’ve achieved and how much time I’ve put into building my website and I’m really pleased with it so far. But there’s so much more I want to do to develop it further. I wish there was more time in the day! The best advice I would give any new start-up / store owner is to do something you are really passionate about and enjoy. Keep negative people well out of your life and just go for it – life really is too short! It’s better to give it a go and it not work out than spend the rest of your life regretting not trying. The world is full of negative people who don’t / can’t / won’t make decisions – and not one of them are successful, at least I’ve never met anyone who is.

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I would also say be persistent and never give up – you need to be really resilient as it’s tough, especially in the first 12 months (I’m still not quite a full year into my website). Your website is your shop window – I spend more on imagery, photography, graphics and banners than anything else, so I’m a little unique from that point of view. I also think you need to be quite selfish and driven, but not stupid enough to recognize sound advice when you see it!

Is there a specific reason you chose to use freewebstore as your eCommerce platform?

I prefer to work with local partners and suppliers and most are. Ones that aren’t I think it’s important there is a good relationship and honesty. That said, I chose freewebstore because customer service is something I value very highly in my life and freewebstore have been really good from day one. My site has quite a lot of technical add-ons and I’ve found the support ticket system really helpful. I like the layout and options freewebstore offers but my site feels like my own, not an off the shelf template. The other thing I would say the freewebstore platform is easy to manage and good value. I also like the fact that the people you speak to via the support tickets are based in the UK and not some overseas call centre who you can never get through to then wish you hadn’t when you eventually do!

If you could choose one magic power, what would you go for?

Easy one that! I’d slow time down so we could all do more every day!

Why is eCommerce important for your business?

ALL my sales are via e-commerce. It gets me in front of customers I would never otherwise reach or speak with. Many of my customers are like me – they work full time and buy football kit in their spare time! I wouldn’t have a business if it wasn’t for online. The Internet is the best invention of the 20th Century as far as I’m concerned.

Tell us your best joke.

Sorry to disappoint. I don’t know any jokes and tend to forget them anyway, good or bad! I find the most funny things are the stuff you see and hear in everyday life. Good comedians don’t tell jokes, they tell a great story we can all relate to!

And finally, do you have any celebrity customers using the products you sell?

Actually, I do! I’ve had a few ex-footballers who are now coaching and have bought kit or football equipment off me. They tend to be quite modest, but I’ve checked them out quietly and were definitely who they said they were! I won’t say who though and to be fair, they aren’t household names – but if you know your football, you’d know them! Do they count as celebrities? Otherwise, no I haven’t!

Jason is using the boundless design and he’s done a fantastic job, the customizable kit section definitely adds a real cutting edge to his web store. If you would like to be considered for the freewebstore store of the month get in touch with our success team at successteam@freewebstore.com.

On set with Sonja Elisa

29 Sep

A brief insight into our day with the impressive freewebstore eCommerce store owner, Sonja Elisa, for an upcoming video feature. 

I had the opportunity to visit Sonja’s creative studio, in the heart of the Gothic Quarter, Barcelona.  Observing Sonja’s passion for her work, her creative flair and determination it’s clear to see why she is the premier supplier of boutique silk accessories in Barcelona.

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Sonja showcasing one of her products

I had the opportunity to learn more about Sonja and her story of becoming a successful business owner. Having been in the corporate world for a number of years, traveling all over the world and dealing with all that corporate life threw her way, the lifestyle was having an impact on her work/life balance. With Sonja’s creativity, passion for fashion and determination to ‘go it alone’ – it was always in the plan to own her own fashion line. However, it was one opportunistic moment built the foundations for her business – deciding on a present for her brother’s wedding! Wanting to give her brother a unique gift for his wedding, Sonja designed a silk bow-ties gift set.

After receiving raving reviews Sonja started to design a range of products and research ways to enter the market and she hasn’t looked back since! Sonja’s bespoke silk products now reside in numerous boutiques across Barcelona, fashion markets and, most importantly, her very own freewebstore eCommerce store 😉

Once Sonja told us her story (which will be available to view soon) it didn’t take long before the enthusiasm for creating bespoke designs and products kicked in, and I got to watch the process of creating a silk scarf. Each of the scarves she has designed has a unique story behind it and the process from start to finish was (surprising to me) very therapeutic. This particular design was inspired by a recent music video Sonja had seen and the end product was fantastic.

It was great to meet Sonja, who risked the security and relative comfort of ‘corporate life’, to follow her dream of starting her own fashion brand. I hope Sonja’s success inspires many more entrepreneurs in the future.

Matt.

Sonja’s video feature will be released soon. Please follow our YouTube, Facebook and Twitter channels.

How to Write the Perfect Blog

28 Sep

How to write the perfect blog

Having a blog allows you to add crucial content to your store and boost your search engine rankings. It also allows you to add useful content for your shoppers that can keep them coming back for more. Here are tips on writing the perfect blog:

Informative, not ‘sales-y’

Blog posts should be all about providing information to your reader – not about trying to sell them something.  Capture your audience by allowing them behind the scenes. Share “a day in the life” and include photos your readers wouldn’t normally see. Why not blog about recent events or perhaps what it is that inspires you? Get into the mindset of your customers and write about topics that would interest and inspire them.

Be mindful of your SEO

Content on your freewebstore eCommerce website is vital to increasing your Search Engine Optimization which is key to your business. Once you’ve drafted your blog, proofread it to make sure you’re using your keywords. Include tags to your products or previous blog articles you’ve written. The more blog posts you write, the more content and links you’ll build up over time.  For expert tips on SEO why not read our SEO 101 blog?

Post regularly

Keep your readers interested by posting regularly and consistently. If you only post once in a while, your blog will become stale and uninteresting. Get into the habit of setting time aside each week to write content and collect photos for your blog. It may seem like a daunting task at first but once you get into the swing of it you will find it a pleasurable way to reach out to your audience.

Get social

Include social media sharing buttons on each blog post so that your readers can promote your post to a wider audience. Be sure to have a link on your blog back to your website to build up traffic and prevent your reader from becoming lost.

Promote your blog content across social media and be sure to include #hashtags when applicable but be sure to make your social media posts consistent with your brand identity.

Get blogging about your eCommerce website today with our store blog feature. If you’ve not yet signed up for your freewebstore you can sign-up here.

 

Store of the Month: September

1 Sep

The freewebstore Store of the month for September (September already!?!) is the creative, Barcelona based store SonjaElisa 🏆 You know the score, we caught up with Sonja for a chat about her business and how things are going so far 🙂

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1. Please tell us a bit about yourself, your business, and where it all started

I’m a Finnish fashion designer living in Barcelona. I have been making things since I can remember, cutting, gluing and hand sewing before my mum let me use her sewing machine at the age of 8. After working for corporate for many years, I ventured into freelancing and started feeling the need to create again. I wanted to go back to making something handmade, where I could truly express myself, something I felt passionate about and that related to slow fashion. So I launched my own line, Sonja Elisa silk accessories, which I make in my Barcelona workshop. 

I make silk accessories for women, men, and kids. Products include scarves, shawls (silk paired with a warmer double layer), bow ties and pocket squares. They are all hand painted and hand sewn, each one unique in its kind, as no pattern turns out the same way. I love silk painting as it is flowing, organic and unpredictable, and each piece has its own magic!

2. What is the best thing about owning your own business/online store? 

The best thing is the freedom. I can manage the store easily on my own and in my own time, and it’s a great window into the global marketplace, through which I can connect with customers all over the world.

3. How do you market your product?

I mostly use social media (Instagram and Facebook), to showcase my work. I also attend occasional markets and makers fairs, and a few retail stores feature exclusive collections. My silk scarves and bowties are very unique in style so I try to find the best channels to reach customers that relate to the aesthetics and values of my brand.

 

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One of Sonja’s fantastic products: Men’s bow-tie

 

4. If you could have ANYONE to come and work for you, who would it be and why?

 Sophia Amoruso, she has passion, drive, and edge. I find her story very inspiring.

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Sonja finds Sophia Amoruso’s story inspiring

5. Do you have any advice for new store owners?

Don’t try to get it perfect on the first go, it is only natural to evolve your store. If you don’t start you won’t know what you want to improve! Ask for help from the guys at freewebstore if you get stuck, freewebstore have a great customer support team. Also, BELIEVE in your idea and don’t give up or get discouraged, try to learn from critique and improve your products and branding.

6. Is there a specific reason you chose to use freewebstore as your eCommerce platform? 

Freewebstore offers a great combination of functionality, design, technical support and price plans. It’s super easy, fast and simple to manage, and contains all the tools I need in an online store platform.

7. If you could choose one magic power, what would you go for?

Mind reading! And teleportation. And telekinesis. Oh wait, did you say only one??

8. Why is eCommerce important for your business?

I think eCommerce is essential for my business, it’s the best way to be able to reach my niche customers around the globe, and not be limited locally.

9. And finally, do you have any celebrity customers?

I do have a few celeb artsy bow tie customers. For example Matthew Waldman, American designer, and artist; Janne Kyttänen, 3D artist and designer and Jari Karttunen, Finnish dance artist.

 

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Matthew Waldman is a customer of Sonja’s

 

Sonja is using the crystal clear design for her store and we definitely think she’s done a great job. If you would like to be considered for the freewebstore store of the month series then get in touch with our success team at successteam@freewebstore.com 

Store of the Month: August

7 Aug

Freewebstore’s Store of the month for August is the very glamorous Madame Sole Protectors. Our team got in touch with Sophie, the store owner, to talk all things business (oh, and which superpower she’d choose, of course!)

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1. Please tell us a bit about yourself your business and where it all started.

It all started when I was living in Mumbai and I took a pair of new Louboutins out for a spin and when I returned home the beautiful, delicate not to mention expensive red soles had been scratched to smithereens. I’m not going to lie I was mortified so searched the internet for something that could potentially protect my soles and maybe cover the existing damage.

I couldn’t find anything suitable and although I could get them re-soled I wasn’t going to leave my precious Louboutins at a cobbler so just lived with the fact that this was the price I had to pay for gorgeous shoes.

Fast forward a couple of years I found myself living in Shanghai and was gifted a new pair of Louboutins, I was not going to make the same mistake this time, oh no, I was in the manufacturing capital of the world, if I couldn’t find the product I required I was jolly well going to find someone who could make it for me. After scouring Chinese manufacturing websites and with a little help from a translator I found a factory who produced all items associated with shoes and it went from there. The lady I was in touch with spoke ok English and we managed to develop the product I desired together!

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My first order was for 500 pairs as that was the minimum but I didn’t sell any until I moved back to the UK a few years later, I just used them to protect my growing personal Louboutin collection.

2. What made you get into this line of work?

Since I was young I’d always had ideas for products and, although I never pursued it, it was in me!

I had been a trailing spouse for a number of years working to meet people in various companies, then I fell pregnant for a couple of years. Unfortunately, my husband and I split up and all of a sudden I was a single mother of a 6-month-old and 2-year-old living back in England thinking ‘what the hell am I going to do?!’

I didn’t feel I could do a 9-5 as I had two babies and couldn’t afford full-time nursery fees and remembered I had the 500 or so Sole Protectors upstairs & thought maybe I could sell them. So I did!

 

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Sophie and her family!

I started on an auction site and sold them all very quickly but this site was very expensive, so that plus the PayPal fees and it had so many rules on how you could market the product. I really wanted to make my own website and cut out that ‘middle man’ but I didn’t want to pay someone to do my website. I found freewebstore and it actually was completely free to set up the website using their existing templates and start selling!

I ditched the auction site and now only sell on my own website www.soleprotectors.co.uk

3. How do you market your product?

I mainly market my products on Facebook, I’ve got involved in many shoe appreciation groups and feel they love my product as much as I do and they love how the sole protectors can protect their beautiful soles from damage. We have great feedback using the rating feature on our freewebstore which I feel fills other customers with confidence when buying our product.  We now do clear sole Protectors as well as red sole protectors so are suitable for all types of designer shoes including jimmy choo, Valentino, and Irregular Choice as well as your everyday shoes for a little extra grip!

4. If you could have ANYONE to come and work for you, who would it be and why?

 

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Baroness Michelle Mone would be Sophies ideal work partner

For sure it would be Michelle Mone of Ultimo! I heard her talk at a conference when I was 18 and I was in ore of what she had achieved; I really felt inspired.  She broke down doors to get to where she is today and I feel that someone like her would really help me get to where I would want to be in the future. She’s also fabulous so she’d fit in great. I just love her.

 

5. Do you have any advice for new store owners?

Advice to new store owners would be to ask for support from the freewebstore help desk if you need it, they are so knowledgeable and can save you so much time than trying to figure it out yourself. As they say ‘time is money’

6. If you could choose one magic power, what would you go for?

My magic power would be to click my fingers and everything be tidy and clean or done for you. Example .. ‘Click, the toys are tidied away, ‘ click, the dinners made ‘ Click! The washing up’s done’ ‘click, my sole protector orders are packed’ Think Disneys Mary Poppins, a spoon full of sugar! (Haha, great!)

7. Why is eCommerce important for your business?

Although we do supply a few boutique stores the large majority of our business comes from our eCommerce store. It is so important as it allows Madame Sole Protectors to reach a much wider customer base, not only in the U.K but abroad too. My web store is my showroom and I can add and delete products and information at any time. When people are looking for a product these days the first place they look is the internet and my store gives my business the opportunity to be found and noticed. I am very grateful for this.

I work from home and live in a little village, in a bid to support my local community and keep our local post office open, instead of having a franking machine I send all my items Royal Mail through the local Post office.

8. And finally, do you have any celebrity customers?

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Sophie presented with her ‘best new product’ award by Caprice at the mumtrepreneur award ceremony.

Well I can’t imagine the likes of Beyoncé and Kim Kardashian scouring the internet for sole protectors personally, they have people for that, however we are well informed that our sole protectors have been used in fashion catwalk shows and on the soles of pop stars in concerts to help prevent them slipping over in their designer heels during their performances.  Not to mention the one and only Caprice who awarded us with the Mumtrepreneur award for best new product last year. (congrats!!)

If you would like to learn more about Sophie’s fantastic business or to purchase some sole protectors then visit her website at soleprotectors.co.uk.

If you feel like you deserve to be Store of the Month, contact us at info@freewebstore.com with the subject ‘Store of the Month’ or visit us at freewebstore.com.

Store of the Month: July

10 Jul

Our store of the month for July is Rainbows and Sprinkles. Lucy took a few minutes out of her busy schedule to answer a few of our questions – take a look!

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1. Please tell us a bit about yourself, your business and where it all started

I am full-time Mum to my son Oliver who will be 2 in September, it was during the first 6 months of his life that I was spending a lot of time at home during the cold winter months and was looking for something that I could start doing at home to make myself a bit of pocket money. I experimented with various different baby products until I decided to develop a handmade children’s clothing range from newborn – 4-5years. I found a lovely lady in Exmouth to work with me to develop these products and we started working together very quickly after that!

 

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Lucy and her family

 

2. Do you make the clothes yourself or do you have a team to produce these?

We all have our own part to play in making every garment. I now have a team of 4 ladies who all work extremely hard to make each piece. Everything is cut out, sewn and assembled by hand all in sunny Devon.

 

3. Do you have a physical store as well as an online store? How do you market your product?

We advertise through Facebook and then customers order through my freewebstore. I’ve done a few stalls in the past when the business was very young however, I can reach so many more customers via Facebook and my website that it’s not worth selling at stalls. However, I would love to have a physical flagship store one day.

4. If you could have ANYONE to come and work for you, who would it be and why?

I would love Jo Malone to come and work with us! I love her work ethic and the reason so started her business is quite similar to mine. My aim is to be as successful as her – you’ve got to aim high!

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Jo Malone would be Lucy’s ideal celebrity employee!

 

5. Do you have any advice for new store owners?

If you have an idea just go for it! I thought about launching Rainbows & Sprinkles one evening and was so driven to make it work even though I had no background in textiles or clothing. It’s very cliche but you have to believe you will succeed. I was absolutely determined that Rainbows & Sprinkles was going to work, there was no other option.

6. Is there a specific reason you chose to use freewebstore as your eCommerce platform?

I think freewebstore is a fantastic platform. Almost all of my sales are placed on smartphones and my website adapts to smartphones so well and makes it so simple to use and navigate. I love the way my orders are set out and it makes them so simple to manage which is a massive bonus for me and If I ever have a concern or question, my emails are answered almost immediately which I think is just fantastic.

7. If you could choose one magic power, what would you go for?

I would love to teleport! I adore traveling and would love to see as much of the world as possible so definitely teleportation!

8. And finally, where do you see rainbows and sprinkles in 5 years time?

I have so many plans for Rainbows & Sprinkles in the next 5 years. We are always developing new products and introducing new prints – we are launching dresses in July and are discussing developing an older children’s range from 6-12y. I am also talking to a number of wholesalers at the moment to discuss various shops stocking out products and we are also working on moving from a made to order basis to an ‘in stock’ system to dramatically reduce lead times – we all know how fast babies and toddlers grow!

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Check out Rainbows and Sprinkles here. Interested in making a fantastic store like Rainbows and Sprinkles? Learn more here.

Store of the Month: June 2017

15 Jun

Our store of the month for June is the very imaginative thebiggerpictureart.co.uk. We spoke to the store owner, Aimee, who told us how sibling rivalry drove her to excel in arts and crafts how traveling the world helped to inspire Aimee’s fantastic business!

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Please tell us a bit about yourself, your business and where it all started

I graduated from University with a degree in Photography back in 2011. Having begun to collate a portfolio of work I decided to go traveling to expand on this further. Outside of my studies I’ve always had a passion for design and can recall many a weekend building and inventing things in my Granddad’s workshop as a child.

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My studio, The Bigger Picture, is a combination of these passions for art and design. I hope that my work conveys some of the inspirational things I’ve been lucky to see and explore. Combined with a bit of imagination, people can take home a product that is unique and brings some of the wider worlds right into their homes

What made you get into this line of work?

Both my sister and I grew up with a love of arts and crafts, and I think the competition element of sibling rivalry drove me to try and excel in this! We both have careers within the creative industry now which is great to bounce ideas off of one another.

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Do you have a physical store as well as an online store? How do you market your product?

Although I have years of experience with customers, retail, and design, I am relatively new to the world of business and would like to establish myself as an artist with an online presence before contemplating a store. Marketing is an ongoing process using social media.

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If you could have ANYONE to come and work for you, who would it be and why?

I think Dawn French would be fantastic to work with, it’s essential to surround yourself with fun and vibrant people if you want to keep the creative juices flowing. Dawn is also really active on twitter so I could put her in charge of social media!

 

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Aimee thinks Dawn French would be fantastic to work with!

 

Do you have any advice for new store owners?

If you really want it, you will make it work.There will be days when you question is it worth it? Will I ever get there?

The main thing to remember is ‘don’t give up!!’ And if you do, it’s never too late to start again. Cultural trends are constantly changing, so what didn’t work the first time might work better on another occasion.

Is there a specific reason you chose to use freewebstore as your eCommerce platform?

Freewebstore has such a vast range of designs, and with the ability to make alterations you can have your website set up in a matter of days which is great when you want to show potential consumers the latest products available to them.

If you could choose one magic power, what would you go for?

I would like the ability to speak every language in the world fluently! Imagine being able to communicate with anyone and everyone, I bet you’d hear some amazing tales from around the globe. Of course, this would come handy if I go traveling again too.

And finally, tell us your best joke!

My dog used to chase people on a bike a lot. It got so bad, finally, I had to take his bike away.

 

Store of the Month: May 2017

18 May

moblene

 

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A big ‘gratulerer’ to our store of the month for May, Norwegian furniture company Møblene!

Møblene is built up of a group of people who are dedicated to providing the best furniture at the best price in Norway.We caught up with Idar, Jan and the team at Møblene HQ to find out a bit more about the fantastic business!

Please tell us a bit about the business 

Behind Møblene.no you will find a group of dedicated people, who have been working with ‘value for money furniture’ for a long time.It all started with practical and affordable bunk beds for Norwegian homes. We have evolved as a team to deliver high-quality furniture at the right price. We value good design and this is reflected in our products and on our website.

We predominately work with our product development and design in Norway, but we also use global sub-suppliers in Europe and Asia.

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How did you get into this line of work?

For the industry itself, we had a wood processing factory which gradually grew into the furniture business, based on market requests. We progressed online with the help of our web designer who is the creative sort, with a broad range of skills, tools, and frameworks available.

In Norway, we call these people “Potatoes” because you can use them for anything!

 

Do you have a physical store as well as an online store? How do you market your product?

We do have a showroom close to the factory and also have partners or resellers who sell our products.

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Outside of the Møblene office

We mainly resell a few models via retail chains, but more and more is sold via the internet. We truly believe that we have to “go digital or die”

How do you market your product?

Our marketing is mostly done through digital mediums; ads, banners, and campaigns. We use social media like Facebook ads, Online Newspaper banners, digital ads sites and the odd furniture convention.

On the digital side, we use banners and graphics to catch the attention of sleepy customers. It is a fluid way of working; you have both the need and ability to adapt and work fast. When we do conventions and reach out to customers in the physical realm, we need artifacts. Here we have large posters and banner, we print out newsletters and product booklets. Just as with online advertising, it is always a challenge to stick out from the crowd.

Learning to adapt to new media and tools is both interesting and necessary.

If you could have ANYONE to come and work for you, who would it be and why?

We would love to have a world class furniture designer working with our Smart Furniture team. This is one for the future!

Do you have any advice for new store owners?

Start creating your ‘brand identity’ as soon as you can. Having a brand framework available will give you guidelines which you will need to keep your brand consistent. This will be the foundations for so much more, and it will reduce a lot of cognitive loads later on.

Also, take advantage of all the functionality in freewebstore, but do not underestimate the design you can add yourself!

Is there a specific reason you chose to use freewebstore as your eCommerce platform?

Freewebstore offers a soft start option and has a lot of functionality and designs that we find very useful.

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The framework is very well balanced for both designers/coders and for those less savvy IT users. One of the main strengths of freewebstore is definitively how easy it is for anyone here at the office to add and edit products on the fly. With some decent coding skills, you can circumnavigate and complement the framework where needed. (freewebstore store builder)

Where you need help you simply ask, and will always get informative support, regarding code editing and any other questions. Seriously give your support staff a pat on the back, they are both friendly AND competent. (thank you very much!)

When we also have our payment gateway ready, the solution will be complete. Freewebstore is the way to go for us.

If you could choose one magic power, what would you go for?

Be able to read people’s mind! We always strive to understand our customers better! (Also, teleportation would be pretty cool).

And finally, tell us your best joke!

With our flip up Smart Furniture, dust is history in children’s room, so here it goes:

A little boy came downstairs crying late one night. “What’s wrong?” asked his mother. “Do people really come from dust, like they said in church?” he sobbed. “In a way they do,” said his mother. “And when they die so they turn back to dust?” “Yes, they do.” The little boy began to cry again. “Well, under my bed there’s someone either coming or going.”

Many thanks for your time guys!

If you would like to learn more about Møblene and check out their fantastically crafted furniture head over to their website: www.møblene.no

 

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