Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
I fried my own eyes as teenager surfing without eye protection. I wore sunscreen, but I wasn't aware of the damaging UV rays on my eyes. This led to a pterygium eye surgery on my left eye. I designed a pair of polarized and UV protective surf goggles with all aspects of surfing in mind. I went from prototype, patents, to finally a worldwide market / distribution with Shopify. We are saving surfers eyes in over 50 countries. We are a full stack company from concept to market and handcraft our eyewear here in California, USA. We only sell our own products designed in house.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
Our first sales were word of mouth and through core surf shops in California, Florida and Hawaii. When we went online it opened doors to every state (SUP, Kiteboarding and wakeboarding). We knew this was a much better approach for us. Plus we get paid up front which helps us grow much quicker. By far online is 90% of our current sales. Shopify has made it so easy because it's ready to go out of the box. We originally had our own shopping cart, but we couldn't attach it to any automation systems or gain any SEO footprint. Shopify has made this process so much easier.
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?
We use Google Adwords for advertising, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube for social media. We also use Infusionsoft as our backend which ties in well with Shopify. Plus ShipStation has been a 10X improvement in time as it works excellent with Shopify. ShipStation has been a huge help. Prior to August I was still manually entering all the data from Shopify to Stamps.com. This single Shopify-tie in has saved us 8 hours per week alone. Plus our customer are now notified with shipping and tracking details through automation.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
Be patient, fall forward, and know everyone that owns a shop has gone though what you are going through. Don't reinvent the wheel as you can model after successful Shopify owners. Kurtis Eyewear would have moved much faster had we jumped to Shopify earlier in our launch. Finally, just go for it and implement 1 step at a time.