Steve Chou: So, the advantage of that undoubtedly is it is free. They do not charge you any charges. You can run your store with as little overhead as possible. Basically the only thing you have to spend for is webhosting which is on the order of $5 to $7 a month.
Steve Chou: So essentially, I picked an open source bundle, read the online forums, checked out as much paperwork as I could, and just ran with it. Philip Taylor: Alright. Steve Chou: However today actually there are a heap of solutions readily available. Even if you do not understand a lick of html, you can register for these hosted shopping cart solutions.
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Philip Taylor: Do you suggest that, or do you still suggest the open source options for more control maybe?Steve Chou: Yeah, I always advise open source if you are technically inclined due to the fact that you have full control over everything. If you do not wish to deal with any of the headaches of throwing up the technical aspects of the shop, hosted solutions are perfectly great also.
Philip Taylor: I see. Okay. That is good things. So, what about the physical item? What were some of the preliminary products you had in the shop? You pointed out the handkerchief. What were the other items, and how did you get them physically?Steve Chou: We chose to simply introduce with a wide array of scarfs.
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Basically you want to be the very best at what you do. So, we basically started offering a whole wide range of scarfs, and we easily had the widest variety on the marketplace. We decided to get these imported from overseas because the costs certainly are extremely attractive. That way we might screw up a bit and still make a profit.
Alright, so you really had actually these delivered to your home?Steve Chou: Yes, that is right. Philip Taylor: Then you would do some type of embroidery or simply repackage it somehow?Steve Chou: Yeah, it was either embroidery or we repackaged it – what is e-commerce. We basically created bridal sets. Basically it was repackaging I think when it boils down to it.
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Philip Taylor: I gotcha. And as a bundle for all the bridesmaids or all the groomsmen? I like it! So embroidery, was that something you or your wife had some experience in?Steve Chou: Yeah, it is actually one of my better half’s pastimes. It is not a hobby of hers anymore because of business actually, but she is beginning to return into it now that we have actually outsourced that part of the operation.
That is appropriate. Philip Taylor: So early on when did you discover time? You mentioned you both kept your corporate jobs. She was just pregnant, so certainly there were 9 months there you needed to deal with, however when throughout your days, nights, or weekends did you make this happen?Steve Chou: Primarily we did the bulk of our work on the weekends and on particular nights.
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When you do that, you find that you have a lot more totally free time. what is e-commerce. So, it was not actually that difficult to discover additional time because we were squandering a lot of it everyday before we chose to begin this thing. Philip Taylor: Now that you have kids, and I have kids now, we realize just how much spare time we actually had when we did not.
Steve Chou: It actually was a joint endeavor because she wanted to quit her task, and it was a group effort to supplant her earnings. What worked well exists was an extremely thick dividing line between our responsibilities. She was in charge of item, and I was more in charge of the technical elements, so we never ever actually butted heads.
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Okay. Good. So you had the product, and you got the preliminary site up, so how are you getting individuals? You discuss that you are extremely specific niche, which I think is excellent. You still needed to get people to the website, so how did that take place in the preliminary stages?Steve Chou: Yeah, so we relied greatly on AdWords.
Steve Chou: And also forum marketing. We would comb the bridal online forums and just start answering questions. Every so often when somebody would ask what a perfect keepsake would be, we would casually recommend our store. Meanwhile, in the background we were draining lots and great deals of content for the site and gradually getting indexed in Google.
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All of these tutorials utilized products that we in fact sold in our shop. Clients would be available in through the search engines, be really drawn in to these crafts that they could make with their wedding event, and then low and see just click on the link and might simply purchase it right then and there.
Philip Taylor: Okay. That’s great! So, it is almost a 3-fold technique there where you have some social interaction through the forums, you have some direct marketing through AdWords, and after that you have some SEO organic traffic originating from the guide material you are developing. Steve Chou: There was in fact 1 extra element also because we started contacting wedding event and occasion coordinators who had the buying power to purchase wholesale.
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Philip Taylor: How did you pitch those planners? Exactly what were those conversations like?Steve Chou: It was basically saying, “We offer wedding event handkerchiefs. We are very reliable. We will deliver on time. You can practically inscribe your initials or whatever. If any of your clients ever need that service, we are available.” At the time we in fact began expanding to selling napkins and linen towels and that sort of thing since honestly our rates were on par with leasings.