Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
Growing up in Southern California wearing a bikini was the daily norm, but it wasn't just my endless summer lifestyle that lead to the launch of Judy b. Swim. It was an idea that sparked from my mom, Judy's philosophy of knowing what looks good on your body and dressing for it. She believed in always looking good because it makes you feel good; especially when going to the beach!
Style shouldn't be complicated and looking your best doesn't need to be hard. Its really about being yourself and finding what fits. My fabric was very important to me because in order to achieve a great fit one must start with a great quality fabric. I searched the globe far and wide and after months of research, in a small town outside of Milan, I discovered a textile mill who shared my same values and has since developed the perfect swimwear fabric that is designed to enhance, support and shape a woman's figure. Secondly, I chose to produce my swimwear locally in Los Angles. Producing in the USA was very important to me because I wanted to support my country. It also allowed me to be able to manage quality control and get to build a relationship with the men an women sewing my suits.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
There have been several things that have attributed to the earning of my first sales. Press, social media and word of mouth have all played a part in making Judy b. Swim a success. It was very helpful to pursue press outlets prior to launching. I was able to get a lovely write up by a fashion editor which really boosted sales when my website went live. Also, social media has been absolutely amazing for me. To be able to reach people that are on the other side of the world is just crazy! Also, to be able to share the pictures of happy customers has help boost word of mouth and makes the customers feel good about themselves which has resulted in brand loyalty and repeat sales! Social media and press is what is creating the most traffic and sales for Judy b. Swim. 65% of referrals came from Facebook alone!
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?
One of the greatest tools I use is UPS! It is so wonderful how seamlessly Shopify and UPS work together. It makes my life so much easier as a business owner. Its very convenient that both Shopify and UPS have an app so I am able to always be connected and work on the go. Other obvious apps that I use are Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest and Twitter. Pinterest is currently a favorite of mine. It has been great at driving traffic towards the site, especially since they have just added the BUY button which allows users to shop directly off of Pinterest. A few other apps that I enjoy using are Inlight, TinApp, Snapseed and Retouch. They are great for editing images for social media and my website. Lots of fun things you can do with them. Lastly, I have been enjoying creating outfits with Polyvore! It has also created traffic towards my website which have resulted in sales. It leads the customers right to my site and also helps spread the word! I handle all of my shipping through UPS and fulfill it internally. Every order is packaged in specialty packaging and include a personal note from me! I have even received a few thank you notes in return, which is always a good feeling!
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
Dont underestimate the importance of marketing. There are tons of free options if you put a little elbow grease into it but don't be afraid to pay for it as well. You don't need to break the bank. It will be worth it in the end. Look to improve your website at all times! Set yourself apart from the others. Customer service is paramount! Reply to every single email you get, and provide a helpful answer! If you are out of stock of an item that they want, suggest another option. They have taken the time to look at your site which means they are ready to buy. They have taken the time to ask about a product, you should always take the time to help and thank them!