Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
Initially, Coquette started out as just shoes and handbags. There was a lack of quality shoes and bags available for purchase locally and online. I felt like the shoes I would find were priced based on the name and not the quality or processes. I wanted handmade, cobbler shoes and bags that were more a one-of-a-kind type item than mass produced. I went to a lot of markets and shows in Las Vegas, Chicago, and Los Angeles. I did an incredible amount of research online to see what brands were up and coming. I didn't want well known brands that had already saturated the market.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
Word of mouth was ideal for me. I was a poor college student and didn't exactly have fund for any marketing. Online is a hard market to break into. I wanted to build a buzz locally first so I set up in mall kiosks in Sioux Falls as well as Des Moines, IA. I did private parties for my parents friends and set booths up wherever I could, at art festivals and local mixers. Instagram is the best thing in the world. I was also lucky enough to meet a very talented and creative group of women that had just started their own marketing and branding business, The Sampson House. They have helped me grow my business and keep cohesion and consistency throughout my brand.
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?
I recently switched from another website company to Shopify and that has made the biggest difference. Our site is now super easy to shop across all devices and is incredibly easy for me to make adjustments on my end as well. Another app that I just recently started with and am really about is Run/Ship. It is a great app that allows my customers to shop on social media sites. I actually still handle shipping and fulfillment myself. I make sure to include a handwritten note to all my customers and for online, it's a great way to be able to build a relationship and give them a feel for our brand.