Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
recess started among a group of friends that were tired of the limited options available for men's wallets. There are so many brands that sell the same old boring brown and black options that have very little personality. There are some really awesome offerings from a small group of brands but most of those came from super high-end fashion houses - and most guys aren't interested/able to spend $400+ on a wallet. So we set out to create premium wallets that use high quality leathers and incorporate really cool linings in our wallets (ie, black and white wool houndstooth, pink silk) and weren't $400.
We are extremely passionate about our products and try to infuse personality into our wallets, so that when you pull it out at a bar or restaurant, it catches people's eye. We source our leathers locally here in the Bay area. Our leather supplier works with tanneries all around the world - our leather comes from Italy, Spain and the US. We work with a factory overseas to actually produce our wallets. We ship over our materials directly to them, they produce, and then ship back to us here in San Francisco. We are working with a small factory that produces for some big names in the fashion world.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
We had launched a successful Kickstarter campaign so we already had a solid following, but I'd say our first sales came from media outlets/blogs. Those really helped get our brand out. Most of our traffic/sales are coming from direct searches, and referrals from our big blog publications (Esquire Magazine, GearHungry, etc). Another big source of traffic is Facebook (ads).
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?
Obviously Shopify has been great for us. It's been really easy to use and has made the whole e-commerce process very seamless. Aside from Shopify, AdRoll has been great for us in helping with brand stickiness. One kind of random tool that has been extremely helpful is Evernote. Having a team can be tricky sometimes, so having a place where we can consolidate notes, thoughts, and to-dos has been really helpful to our business. Facebook Ads has been a great asset for our business as well. Facebook Ads are very simple to use and you can see an impact without having to spend a crazy amount of money and the interface for analyzing data is awesome. The added traffic/sales from these has been great. We handle shipping internally and have been using Stamps.com for our postage.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
Owning and operating a store is not easy. There are so many variables that you must consider - from actually setting up your online store, upkeep, driving traffic, how to increase sales, etc - this can all be very overwhelming. I don't know if there is any great answer to all of this, other than keep on trying to learn. There will always be more information that you can absorb to make your store, business and processes better and more efficient, but take advantage of tools like Shopify, Facebook, etc - there are so many stories and tips for these powerful tools that will allow you to operate and focus on your business and worry less about the stuff in the background. We've definitely leaned on Shopify's support team's expertise in the e-commerce space, so I'd definitely recommend working with them when you have any questions and/or need advice in how to make changes to your store.