What’s the fastest way to grow a business? By embracing a variety of ways to promote your products. Business partners Debbie Rich and Missy Miller, of Jazzy’s Hope Chest, not only sell online at Scott’s Marketplace, but they also recently had their own ecommerce website developed.
Jazzy’s Hope Chest has only been open for eight months, yet, Debbie and Missy have already doubled its exposure by selling their products in multiple places.
We recently exchanged emails with Debbie to learn more about the business’ decision to sell their products in multiple places online and to snag some awesome ecommerce tips for you!
The DRIVE: Hello, Debbie! Let’s start at the top. What inspired you to start Jazzy’s Hope Chest?
Debbie: In late 2013, Missy and I stumbled upon a company that offered advanced training in wholesale product sourcing, building your own product line, and attracting buyers through marketing. That training helped us to see how other sellers were charging crazy-high prices for boutique items online.
We saw this as an opportunity to bring high-quality, trending products to women at prices that are 10 to 30% lower than many online boutiques.
The DRIVE: In addition to your successful shop on Scott’s Marketplace, you also have your own ecommerce website. Do you have any tips for running your own site?
Debbie: Be prepared to invest a lot of time and money to build and maintain your own ecommerce website. Search engine optimization takes several months to perfect and we have high costs for Google AdWords, Facebook advertising, and other ad options.
Also, don’t be too quick to get your site online. We tried to go cheap at first and the site ended up taking longer to complete. It worked out though because, little did we know, we needed that time to become what we are today. It’s amazing how much we’ve matured in just the eight months we’ve been in business.
Product photography is really important too. Missy is very creative and heads up our photo shoots to showcase our products. Our friends Kenzie Van Sickle and Marissa Rose at ZiZi Vee Photography in Terre Haute, Ind., are awesome. They did an outstanding job photographing/modeling our items.
The DRIVE: What are the main differences between having your own ecommerce site and using a platform like Scott’s Marketplace?
Debbie: One, of course, is the small fee that goes to Scott’s for every transaction. But that’s an investment. Scott’s brings shoppers to the stores on its platform through Facebook advertising and by featuring products on Twitter and Instagram.
Also, there are some nefarious sellers online. Scott’s makes the customer feel they’re protected by an entity that’s larger than any one individual store on the platform.
The DRIVE: That’s great. Thank you! What are the pros and cons of going into business as a team?
Debbie: Honestly, I’m not sure we’ve totally figured all this out yet. However, because we are a team, it takes a lot of pressure off each individual. Like I said, Missy leads our photo shoots. She also does most of our product sourcing. I am more administrative. I do more of the day-to-day management of the business and handle customer engagement and online marketing.
That said, we also blur the lines pretty often. We’re only two people and sometimes you just have to be everywhere.
The DRIVE: So, what’s your favorite part of the job?
Debbie: We research daily for ways we can offer affordable, trendy products to our customers. So, engagement with our customers and the joy they express when receiving our products is tops for me.
Many of our customers are in the 18-24 age demographic. They may be in school or maybe just don’t have a lot of money. Our prices make them feel special. That never gets old. It makes us feel good that people love our items.
- Don’t be afraid to branch out. The more places you sell your products, the more chances you have for sales.
- If you’re going to have an ecommerce site developed, don’t skimp. Take your time and invest the money needed to create a great experience for your customers.
- Fantastic photos are essential if you want to make sales online.
- Constantly conduct research on better ways to reach and understand your target market.