Eclectic Artisans started out as a very small idea. A place where I could showcase and sell my handmade metaphysical themed jewelry. Once friends saw the outlet I had created, they asked if they could sell their handmade items on the Eclectic Artisan's website as well. Then friends of theirs and so on. From there, we implemented some third party apps to allow people to easily add items to be showcased and sold on Eclectic Artisans
Thanks to some of the brilliant app developers, we where able to take things a step further for our vendors by allowing them to create listings that offer customers fully customizable products. Being that Eclectic Artisans was, and still is, the first website of its kind to cater to such a specific demographic and provide a resource to artists and vendors within the New Age & Pagan community, our niche brand has become both popular and reputable within our targeted demographic. With much hand work and effort, Eclectic Artisans has grown significantly within the Metaphysical, New Age and Pagan Industry.
What started as a resource for artisans to sell their handmade wares on a niche marketplace like ours has turned into a hybrid marketplace that currently showcases unique items from over 40 artisans and 30 whole sellers. Many of the items we showcase are exclusive and/or cannot be found on many of our competitors websites/stores. We continue to strive to raise the bar when it comes to selling online and the principles we hold as a business is what separates us from our competition. We plan to start offering wholesale distribution, a brick and mortar store as well as a few other secrets that will rock the boat within the Metaphysical & Pagan community.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
Our first sales where with people we knew. We started off small. Organic search traffic wasn't even a blip on our map until about 6 months into our business, so we relied greatly on social media.
We still utilize social media, but we have broadened the spectrum to multiple outlets. If I could recommend anything to someone starting a new online business is to be sure to have great content with keywords (on all aspects of your website), a decent back linking strategy, and mapping out in detail how and what you want your site to look at before hand.
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?
The fulfillment tools that have come with Shopify have been a big help in allowing our vendors to know when they had a sale. In essence, these people are drop shipping their handmade items for us. Regarding the other aspect of our business (the retail/wholesale side), we heavily rely on quickbooks, order printer & wufoo. We absolutely love Bold Apps "product customizer" and "motivator app" as well as Orankl's reviews app.
We also utilize ECOM Hub each and every day to keep our drop shipping affiliates inventory up to date. Some other great apps are order printer and punch tab to name a few.
What are your top recommendations for new ecommerce entrepreneurs?
1.) Come up with a plan of who you are wanting to reach. If you have a solid product, that is just the first step. Finding out how to reach these people and who would be more apt to want what you are selling isn't always as easy as you think.
2.) Look at your competition and see what they are doing right or wrong. Try to find a way that sets you apart from them...and do it better!
3.) Before you even start making you site, map it out in detail. An architect doesn't just start building something without a plan. Neither should you!
4.) Set up a budget. Start small with quality, not large with quantity. Unless you are a design and/or SEO guru, chances are you may require the expertise of an outside consultant.
5.) Become familiar with Shopify's inner workings, and always back up!
6.) Learn and become familiar with the basics SEO. We are not just talking about meta tags. Become informed on how rankings work, why certain pages rank higher, and how to implement the plethora of SEO knowledge you will want to have in order for your website to do well.
7.) Establish a way to account for your business. Weather it be via Excel or with more sophisticated software like Quickbooks, Freshbooks or Peach Tree. When you start selling, you will want to be able to track your progress and see when you make or loose money.
8.) If you are a small business like ours, come to the realization that there are just super tedious things you will have to do when it comes to owning an online store. With that being said, be sure this is something you enjoy.
9.) Build Trust with your customers. When you are new to the scene, people need some way of knowing if you are trustworthy or not. Having people that are familiar with you and your company or product give recommendations, testimonials or reviews of your business helps gain trust. Add a personal touch to emails and phone calls. Throw in a free gift or go the extra mile to prove to people that they are not just shopping with a business, they are doing business with people!
10.) Transparency and Honesty. This is the key to the future of all business. People understand mistakes happen and that there are unflattering sides to business. By putting a face to your business and those that work with you, people feel more connected. Your customers are your bread and butter, and at the end of the day, you will want to give them a reason to come back, to tell a friend and to recommend you!