Could you tell us a bit about yourself, what you sell at Graphique and how you got started?
I studied Art and Design back when I was in college and from there I developed a love for fashion, blogging and graphic design. I was a fashion blogger for five years working with companies throughout the North of the UK styling photo shoots, attending fashion events and constantly writing articles for my blog TREND. Then around eight months ago I decided that I wanted to take my graphic design skills to the next level and that’s when Graphique was born!
I started it primarily as a brand that sold unique phone cases and tote bags based on my own designs and it escalated more into a fashion brand from there. I took the skills I used and learned from being a fashion blogger and utilized them with the brand and I’ve never looked back. Today I focus the brand more on giving women inspiration for their style, taking trends from the catwalks and giving them a fun, unique twist, which is very similar to what I do with my own personal style.
What did it take to get your first products in stock? Has that changed since you started?
I started designing phone cases which were massively influenced by the show ‘Rupaul’s Drag Race’. I designed my own cases that featured some of the show's most beloved contestants and quotes and built the brand up from there really. These days I still design my own cases and prints, but I focus more on dropshipping and the fashion side of things.
How did you get your first sale?
My first sale was actually from my Nan! She is one of my biggest supporters and has always believed that I was destined to do more that just work a regular 9-5 job. She ordered herself one of my ‘Oh Honey’ phone cases and still has it on her phone today.
What obstacles and challenges have you overcome along the way?
I think my biggest obstacle was trying to understand what the brand was and who it was for. I’ve overcome so many obstacles and learned so much from opening my own business which is a massive positive for me because I love learning. I’m still learning today too, I’m currently trying to learn more about SEO and how to become more visible to people on search engines!
What influenced your decision to use Shopify?
I saw an advert on Facebook for Shopify and I’d heard so many positive things about it from fellow entrepreneurs and other bloggers who’d started their own businesses who I met at events. But I found it so easy to use during my 14 day free trial of the website, that it was a no brainer that it was the perfect platform for me.
What was the process like to get started? Is there anything you wish you had known then that you know now?
It was pretty easy at first. Since getting started I’ve learned so many wonderful things about the world of business from SEO and marketing to the impact of social media and developing websites. If there was anything I wish I could have known when I first started it would be to be patient. Building a business and a brand takes time. It’s not something that can be rushed and that its totally worth all the effort and time you put into it!
What Shopify apps do you currently use? Which apps are most important to your business?
At the moment I’m currently using Oberlo, MailChimp, Kite and Mega Menu just to name a few. These are probably the most important to me as they allow me to import products, contact customers about up and coming collections and sales and allow me to change the look and feel of my store.
What strategies have you used to attract more leads and grow Graphique?
Utilizing social media is so important. Anything that’s a free tool for your business is a no brainer for anyone that wants to start a business. Drumming up followers and getting those followers hyped up and excited about your brand and products is key. Once you have a decent following, you can get them onto your website and buying into the brand so easily. It’s all about the trustworthiness of your brand. If your brand and website looks trustworthy, the sales will come.
What are some of the most effective ways that you interact with your customers?
Again social media is so important because it builds up the trustworthiness of your brand and business. I find that Instagram and Twitter have given me so much traffic over the past eight months I’ve been open. But utilizing email marketing is also important in being able to interact with customers. Utilise these two platforms to build up your relationships with customers and you’ll see a big difference in traffic and in sales.
Are there any metrics you can share in terms of order volume, monthly sales, increased revenue, growth %, etc.?
So at the moment we’re currently growing in terms of getting organic traffic to the store. When we first started we were maybe getting around an average of 300 people to the store a month. Now we’re averaging about 3,000 people to the store each month.
But organic growth is our key focus at the moment. Paying for people to come onto the store and buy something is great and really helps, but there are organic ways in which you can get traffic to your store.
To what do you attribute those positive metrics?
I think our social media channels are a massive influence on the growth of organic traffic on the store. When I first started I was constantly paying for advertising through Facebook and it paid off to some degree, but for me organic growth is just as important at the moment and social media has been the biggest contribution to that growth.
What are you working towards now?
At the moment my main focus is improving my SEO skills, the products that I’m adding to the store and my social media pages to help grow the business. I try and split my time doing tasks every day but it’s so worth all the hard work when you can see the results.
Are there any blogs or other resources that have been helpful for you?
Actually my own blog TREND has been incredibly helpful for driving traffic to my store. But I always use Shopify’s University for help and Shopify’s help desk. These are free tools which can you give answers to some questions that you just can’t answer yourself!
Based on your own success, what advice would you share with others who might be just starting out with Shopify (or with eCommerce in general)?
I’d say the best advice I can give is know your brand. Know your target audience. Do your research. Know your competitors. Build up your social media pages and make sure you’re store and business is unique and stands out from the crowd.
Where can we learn more?
~ Dan Martin, Founder of Graphique