Could you tell us a bit about yourself, what you sell at Scream Pretty and how you got started?
Scream Pretty is a trend-led fashion jewellery brand. We design and curate jewellery styles that we feel are on trend but will have a long shelf life and become modern classics!
Sisters Lucy and Jessica design around 65% of Scream Pretty jewellery together, and hunt down complimentary styles from across the globe.
Lucy has already been designing and running another online jewellery brand, Lily Charmed since 2011. Lily Charmed has a very different focus, and is a gifting brand with an emphasis on personalisation and sentiment, whereas Scream Pretty is more self purchase or trend-led gifting.
Scream Pretty has allowed Lucy and her Sister Jessica to flex their design muscles and experiment with new design styles and materials.
What did it take to get your first products in stock? Has that changed since you started?
As we design and manufacture our own jewellery, stocking Scream Pretty was quite an investment of time, money and photography! We were lucky to be able to test the brand on a UK marketplace web site Notonthehighstreet.com before launching our own Shopify website. The success on this marketplace platform gave us the commercial confidence to grow the brand and launch our own shopify store.
We were lucky as we already had experience working with a manufacturer with our other brand Lily Charmed, however we needed to find new manufacturers for Scream Pretty as the styles we were creating were different and needed different workmanship. Also, as an ethical brand we had to visit the manufacturer before committing, as it’s important to us that all aspects of the jewellery making are ethical, and as eco friendly as possible.
How did you get your first sale?
Our first sale came through our notongthehigstreet.com storefront and we think this storefront drove most of the traffic to our new shopify site initially. Jessica also did lots of pop up shops in her local town Saffron Walden (UK) , which drove awareness, and gave us great feedback on styles. We also did a newsletter to our Lily Charmed database to introduce them to our sister site.
What obstacles and challenges have you overcome along the way?
We have found it hard to push traffic to our shopify store via Facebook and Instagram, and are still very much learning - but we have been lucky enough to have some great support from some influential Instagrammers, including @sammijefcoate @dresslikeamum, @cocomamastyle @amothersedit and @cheyannesorelle.
Jessica has been putting in the hours with social media. Our follower numbers on Facebook are small, but on Instagram they are growing at a steadier pace. We think this tells us about our demographic - and they are more Instagram than Facebook.
It’s challenging starting a new brand, with products and a brand no one has heard of - you work so hard to design, photograph and build a website, and then when you get very little traffic to the site, it can feel disheartening. Shopify is telling us we are in the top 6% of stores that launched the same week as ours - so I’m sure there are lots of other people in the same position as us. For now, we are just shouting loudly and just hoping the right potential customers hear!
What influenced your decision to use Shopify?
With Lily Charmed we used Wordpress and a web designer, which was an expensive set up. I did lots of research and signed up for the free trial. I liked the ease-of-use that I could buy a template, and the practicality - you can bolt on the apps you need, when you need them for minimal cost. It’s a really flexible way to create a website, for someone with very very little tech know-how. I could concentrate on the product and images, rather than the website.
What was the process like to get started? Is there anything you wish you had known then that you know now?
I LOVE GURUS! I am not technical, and had many questions. Shopify has a helpful FAQ page, but having a real person on hand to answer my questions was a real bonus. Also being based in the UK and being in a different time zone, meant I always got through on the phone without a long wait!
I set up the store in a week, and tested colours, layouts etc - but the big thing for me was to be able to get the store available to wholesale customers as well as retail customers from launch. We use an app, Bold Apps ‘Customer Pricing’, so we can offer different pricing to different customer levels - but this means you can’t tag products on Facebook - as it can sometimes pull in the wholesale pricing, rather than retail.
It seems there is always a pay off when you use an app rather than bespoke coding. There are other options for wholesale pricing - but as they are WAY more expensive, we will have to deal with this issue, until we are big enough to afford the next cost level. The app is doing what we need for now - so it’s a good entry level solution for this problem.
What Shopify apps do you currently use? Which apps are most important to your business?
I’ve listed the apps below in order of importance to our store.
Customer Pricing by Bold Apps - for our wholesale solution, this is most important to our business as is means trade customers from around the world can place orders without having to visit us at trade shows, and other wholesale customers can keep up to date with new lines without having to visit us in person.
Privy - has helped up build our database of emails. They are a POP UP app, which allows you to create, for free, a sign up and discount promotion. Brilliant when you are starting from zero! When we grow further we shall use their paid option, to give us more flexibility and insights.
MailChimp - is great for creating our newsletters. You can also group by retail customer or trade customer.
Order Printer - helps you create brilliant templates for your invoices. It’s so important that customers get an order form or invoice that reflects your store, rather than something generic.
Storetasker - is a great resource to help you find tech help to tweak and change your shopify store to make it perfect for you.
Growave - is a new app we are trialing to see if we can boost our visitors and conversions by enabling people to ‘shop our instagram feed’, create wishlists and be rewarded with a discount if they share Scream Pretty socially. We are trying to get more word of mouth to help us boost traffic.
What strategies have you used to attract more leads and grow Scream Pretty?
We have used Instagram and Facebook ads, approached bloggers to review our jewellery, gone to trade shows to build our wholesale business, created pop up shops in our local towns, built an email list with our pop up discount code, and promoted competitions and giveaways to build our database. But I’m sure there is much more we could be doing.
What are some of the most effective ways that you interact with your customers?
Instagram is where we get the most feedback. They like, they comment, they take photos of themselves wearing our jewellery using #screamprettyonme. They also tag their friends if they think they would like an item - so they help us build our reach. I love Instagram for this very personal feedback.
Are there any metrics you can share in terms of order volume, monthly sales, increased revenue, growth %, etc.?
In the five months since we have launched we have had a steady conversion rate of 2.22% and 10.28% returning visitors, which I see as encouraging. Our main customer base is in the UK, but as we ship worldwide, we really want to grow to an international audience, especially as 50% of our traffic now comes from America.
Daily visitor numbers have grown by 75% since we launched 5 months ago. This is the area we really want to focus on, as once people find us, they do return.
Two thirds of our social media referrals come from Instagram, and this is reflected by the fact that nearly 65% of our customers view our site on mobile. Another reason why Shopify is great is you can view your theme on mobile to check if it flows just as well as a desktop site.
In the first few months our sales remained consistent, in the 4th month they doubled and in the 5th they doubled again, the holiday season was definitely a factor in this, but it seems that we do have a business on our hands that will grow as customers find us, especially when they return!
To what do you attribute those positive metrics?
I think our jewellery is beautiful and on trend, the design work, photography and styling all contribute to a great looking site. I think the site is working hard, but we need to help more people find it!
What are you working towards now? Are there any blogs or other resources that have been helpful for you?
I have joined ‘Shopify Entrepreneurs’ Facebook group, which I read daily and am always impressed by the camaraderie of Shopify entrepreneurs willing to share their time and knowledge. I do read the Shopify blogs for tips and these can often be the starting point for more research.
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)?
Make sure you have a good product or niche, there are so many sites out there that yours needs to stand out to stand a chance. It could be months or years before you turn a profit as the initial investment (unless you are drop shipping) in design, stock and photography can be large.
Customers expect service - really good, fast service, around the clock. You need to know that you are committed to working everyday to build your reputation, so make sure you have the passion for your product or service to see you through the rough times.
Marketing is the key to unlocking your customers. Use social media, influencers, friends, anything to help get the word out there. Try more than one avenue to sell your goods if you can, marketplace sites, wholesale, retail - the more diversity you have, the more your product will find followers and potential customers for your own site.
Learn from others, forums are great!
Awesome! Where can we learn more?
~ Lucy Lee and Jessica Pearce