Could you tell us a bit about yourself, what you sell at The Medical Mommas and how you got started?
We are a company founded by two moms that wanted better products to use on ourselves and our families. We wanted to use skin products that were all-natural and free of toxins, but we couldn’t find any that didn’t cost a fortune, and we knew there had to be a better way. So we got together and started making our own. Every one of our recipes contains essential oils and focuses on keeping the ingredients as simple and wholesome as possible.
What did it take to get your first products in stock? Has that changed since you started?
We started extremely small. We built from the ground up, and both knew that we wanted this venture to be fun, so going into debt wasn’t an option for us ( that would have taken the fun out of our business). We didn’t purchase anything we absolutely didn’t have to have at the beginning. We started by ordering ingredients in small quantities to do test batches. We had a lot of flops, but we also had a lot of wins!
How did you get your first sale?
To promote ourselves locally, we started doing a class at a few local places to teach people more about essential oils and all the things they could do. At the end of the class we would have a pop-up shop and sell our products. It got us off the ground. People that were at the class were already interested or else they wouldn’t be there. Even to this day, we still love to educate people about our products and then let them speak for themselves.
What obstacles and challenges have you overcome along the way?
The first 3 months were hard. We were making cosmetics, so they had to be labelled appropriately, so the process of creating the labels for all of our products was very time consuming. We didn’t hire anyone to do any of the ground work, we did it all ourselves. We also had the very tedious process of trying to build a website that was informative with good design. Neither one of us have any background in computers, e-commerce, or graphic design!
What influenced your decision to use Shopify?
Shopify was a pretty easy decision. It was easy to start small and then scale up from there, which is what we were looking for. We also needed something very user friendly since we didn't have any experience in web design. Getting set up was easy in comparison to some of the other things we had to do to start our business.
What was the process like to get started? Is there anything you wish you had known then that you know now?
Getting started from the ground up is like starting a fire. You do all this work for very little return except for a little spark of hope here and there at the beginning. But it seems like once things get going it just keeps growing. I wish I would have know in the beginning that it would be a much slower build up than I was hoping for, but I look back now and can’t believe how far we have come.
What Shopify apps do you currently use? Which apps are most important to your business?
There are lots of apps that I have tried, but for site loading time purposes, I try to keep it to the most useful ones. In no certain order:
Wheelio - Pop-up discount to collect email addresses
Mailchimp - Not really an app, but it does integrate
Vantage - To help manage Facebook and Instagram Ads
Judge.me - Best review app EVER
Shippo - Easy shipping integration for Shopify, Etsy, and Ebay stores
What strategies have you used to attract more leads and grow The Medical Mommas?
Email marketing is not dead. It has been an important strategy to help reach and engage our customers. Once we get email addresses, then we try to send relativent info, humor, deals, etc to them to build a community. We are also active on social media.
What are some of the most effective ways that you interact with your customers?
Our customers get our humor, and we love it! We love sending out funny pictures with a coupon to celebrate Fridays! We do giveaways at least quarterly. We blog on our site about different things related to skin, beauty, health, parenting, motherhood, etc. We even have a fun way to deal with internet trolls that post tacky comment on our ads….it’s called GIFs; we love them!
Are there any metrics you can share in terms of order volume, monthly sales, increased revenue, growth %, etc.?
Last year our total store revenue increased by 65% from the previous year. Overall conversion rate for the store is 1.82%.
To what do you attribute those positive metrics?
We feel like we offer excellent customer service. We treat people the exact way we would want to be treated. Although both of us have other jobs, we make every attempt to promptly return messages and emails from customers with questions or concerns. At the end of the day we both feel good about the way we run things and the quality of our products.
What are you working towards now?
We are working on reformulating a few products to have ready in the next month or so. We are also working on making our website more user friendly and having a good FAQs section on there. We also want to work on blogging more in the upcoming year.
Are there any blogs or other resources that have been helpful for you?
The Shopify blog is helpful for staying on track. I am always looking for ways to better our business, whether or not that is our website, our products, or the way we do things. I just have to do it the same way you eat an elephant, one bite at a time.
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)?
Do not go into a great deal of debt starting out. Start small and scale up as your budget allows. This is not go big or go home time. E-commerce is a long game and patience is key. Do as much of the work as you can do to save money in the beginning, then you can always upgrade later as budget allows.
Where can we learn more?
~ Holly & Tiffany