In a recent episode of Let's Talk Shop, host Therese invited Hannah, the founder of Epanoui, to share her unique perspective as both a brand owner and a shop bio. Hannah's journey from starting a jewellery brand from her kitchen table to running a successful independent lifestyle store in Bedford provides valuable insights for aspiring entrepreneurs in the retail industry.
Here are 3-5 key takeaways from Hannah's experience and wisdom:
1. Building a Strong Foundation:
Hannah's story emphasizes the importance of starting small and growing organically. She began her jewellery business by working from home and actively engaging with her local community. By taking a part-time job at a coffee shop, she not only fulfilled her need for social interaction, but also used the opportunity to promote her brand. This grassroots approach allowed her to gradually gain recognition and build a customer base before expanding further.
Key takeaway: Don't underestimate the power of local connections and word-of-mouth marketing in the early stages of your business. Engage with your community and leverage existing networks to create visibility and generate initial interest.
2. Balancing Retail and Wholesale:
When Hannah opened her brick-and-mortar store, she faced the challenge of managing both retail operations and wholesale demands. Acknowledging her limitations as a solo entrepreneur, she stepped back from wholesale temporarily to focus on establishing a strong foundation for her store. It was only when her business grew, and she had a larger team in place that she resumed wholesaling.
Key takeaway: Prioritize and scale your business operations strategically. It's essential to assess your capacity to handle both retail and wholesale simultaneously and make adjustments accordingly. Don't stretch yourself too thin – build a solid foundation before taking on additional responsibilities.
3. Unique Perspective as a Shop Bio and Brand Owner:
Hannah's dual role provides her with a distinct advantage in understanding the needs and preferences of both sides of the retail equation. As a buyer for her store, she seeks out small brands that visually align with her aesthetic and the overall experience she wants to create in her shop. She values the excitement of discovering and supporting emerging brands, and her firsthand experience as a brand owner allows her to offer valuable insights to other small businesses.
Key takeaway: As a brand owner, it's crucial to understand the perspective of retailers and buyers. This unique insight can help you tailor your approach when approaching potential stockists and be more effective in showcasing the value of your products.
4. Confidence in Product Selection:
Hannah's ability to confidently recommend her best-selling products to other retailers stems from her deep understanding of customer demand and preferences. With eight years of experience, she knows what sells well in her store and can showcase her track record to potential buyers. This track record, even in a less bustling location, gives buyers confidence in the success potential of her products in their own stores.
Key takeaway: Developing thorough market knowledge and identifying your best-selling products can be a powerful tool in gaining the trust and confidence of potential stockists. Use your experience and data to showcase the strength of your brand and product offering.
Hannah's journey from a kitchen table jewelry business to a thriving retail store offers valuable lessons for entrepreneurs in the product-based retail industry. Her emphasis on building a strong foundation, balancing retail and wholesale operations strategically, understanding both sides of the industry, and having confidence in product selection all contribute to her success. By incorporating these key takeaways into your own business strategy, you can work towards building a scalable and profitable brand in the retail space.