• Home
  • About
  • Archives
  • Authors
  • Contact
  • Polls
  • Small Biz Interviews
 

Posts Tagged ‘ebay’

Small Business Tips & Guidance from Moooh’s Carlo Trotta – Selling from China, Serving the World

Monday, April 30th, 2012

I had the opportunity to interview Carlo Trotta from Moooh!! and he had a lot of interesting things to say in the interview below.

1. Tell us about your business and who you focus on serving?

Moooh!! is the first social luxury commerce website. We design, handcraft and sell custom made jewelry, apparels, shoes, fashion accessories, ethnic home decor, gifts idea. At moment we sell only jewelry and few accessories, but in the next months we will add many other products. Almost all the products sold on Moooh!! are proudly Made in China. I don’t understand why many luxury brands producing in China, often don’t disclose to their customers the origin place of their products. Moooh!! serve a wide target of customers, people who loves beautiful things, made with good material, good quality manufacturing , elegant, fashionable, unique. Everything sold at very competitive price.

2. How did you get started selling online?

I started to sell on Ebay. Being power seller on different accounts and then I left because of the increasing Ebay commission fees, harassment policy for the sellers and low seller protection given by Paypal.

3. What inspires you to grow your business?

Give to people the possibility to access to beautiful and fashionable quality items at very competitive prices. I want to create a community of shoppers and small businesses through Reward Programs, Promotions, Sweepstakes, Affiliate Programs and other strategic initiatives that we will take during the year.

4. If you had 2 lessons learned from your business that you could pass on to others about selling online, what are those?

Total dedication to the customers.  You must create and offer what the customer is looking for, customize and personalize for your customers, then reward them for their purchases. Finally, invest your time more than money.

5. Where has your business focused most of its energy this year?

I will invest in inbound and online marketing. Also I will be really focusing on spread my social media presence so I can create a community of shoppers and small businesses around Moooh!!

6. What do you see as 2 new trends for small businesses and in your business?

I can “predict” a much deeper use of social media and blogging.  It is almost a must these days!  I’m also quite sure also that many small businesses will start to consider developing some type of mobile applications for their business.  Mobile is really taking off and small businesses need to focus on what is their mobile strategy!

7. If your business/store could be any movie or movie character, what movie/movie character would it be and why?

Rocky. Starting from less than zero, exercise, learn, fight, fall down and stand up until the victory. I hope I can make my own movie.

8. If your business could have a dream spokesperson for your company who would it be and why?

Actually no one, but myself, my customers, my affiliates and small businesses than are around Moooh!! That’s very social and also my dream spokepersons!

9. What is the biggest challenge that your business faces as a small business and how do you work to overcome that challenge?

Raising money to develop and grow the business. I cannot see any other challenge considering that I live in China and there’s no better place than here to have a business and catch the huge opportunities that this wonderful country offers.  That being said raising capital and having enough capital is the biggest challenge.  That capital will make or break making small businesses in China that are serving the world market like me.

10. Do you have any parting thoughts for our readers and the small business community?

Concentrate your effort on your customers, make the product they need, make them love the product they buy and then they will purchase more from you and spread the word. Also relentlessly focus on reduce expenses, cut the unnecessary costs so you can invest your time and dedication to your business. But don’t forget also to dedicate time to your family and friends:) That will keep you truly happy.

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

  • Share/Bookmark
 
 

Posts Tagged ‘ebay’

Small Business Interview with Ruben Guerin from Cookbook Village

Friday, March 16th, 2012
I had the opportunity to interview Ruben Guerin from Cookbook Village and he had some very interesting insights into the current state of e-commerce and small businesses.  Ruben also had some great recommendations for small businesses just getting started selling online in the interview below.

Tell us about your business and who you focus on serving?

Cookbook Village has been around several years, but as a popular eBay store. The new store, which opened in January 2012, caters to collectors and cookbook enthusiasts and offers collectible, vintage and used cookbooks.

How did you get started selling online?

My wife had been a collector for years and asked me at one point to sell her collection on eBay. She was fascinated by e-commerce and wanted to us to try it out. There is an audience for collectible cookbooks and we knew it as soon as her original collection was nearly depleted. To keep the store going and our own collecting habit fed, we began scouting cookbooks all over the region. Finally last year, we decided to plan to open our own e-commerce store in 2012. It was six months in the making as we wanted it to be our dream site. We opened in early December and are now entering month four.

What inspires you to grow your business?

I was a 20-year employee of Shell Petroleum when I lived in The Netherlands. I gave up a stable career there to move to the United States with my wife–she had wanted to return home after living there for over 10 years. My world changed quite a bit and I have had to try to re-establish myself. Cookbook Village is my chance at again having a thriving career, this time running my own business. People have said a printed book is becoming a thing of the past. I believe that cookbooks are something you need to touch and feel and I am out to prove they will be around for a long time into the future. Growth is key in any business.

If you had two lessons learned from your business that you could pass on to others about selling online, what are those?

1) Selling online is a business like any other. You have to put a lot of time and effort into making it successful. It is not as easy as putting up a cart page and hitting publish. There are many facets to selling online and I think many new store owners expect it to be easy with a “build it and they shall come” mentality. That is a mistake.

2) Ensure that you plan ways to engage your audience. Cookbook Village has a strong focus on audience engagement and customer service. We are constantly thinking of new ways to reach out and provide our site’s users and customers with content and products that meet their needs. Social media and search engines are both kings in the world of e-commerce. Neither should be taken lightly and both should be a focus when you are building your online store or business. I see many online businesses today that practice one-way communication. This is why the KikScore seal is so important to us. It is a means for customers to provide feedback in a trusted, third-party app.

Where has your business focused most of its energy this year?

Since we have only recently launched the new cookbookvillage.com store we have been focused heavily on tuning our store to offer a better customer experience. Also, we are heavily focused on building store traffic and brand awareness. Through social channels, blogging and SEO, we are starting to gain momentum. We didn’t expect a single sale for the first several months. We were being conservative. We are prohibited from reaching out to our eBay base, so essentially we’ve had to start over. We made a sale in the couple days after hitting “public” in our cart application. What a surprise, but it’s set the bar a bit higher as well.

What do you see as two new trends in small business and in your business?

Pinterest and similar visual sharing platforms are hot right now, especially for e-commerce. The fastest online sale we’ve ever seen came just seconds after hitting “Pin” on one of our books. We are seeing similar platforms come out so we are tracking them closely to see if there are opportunities.

Integrations in technology have really helped streamline small businesses like ours. Our shopping cart platform, Shopify, integrates with a lot of wonderful apps. KikScore, email apps, order status apps and more make the store easier to manage. The fact that companies are working together to provide more integration and features for end-users is a blessing. We wouldn’t have been able to do half of what we’ve accomplished without a platform like Shopify and all of it’s partner applications.

If your business/store could be any movie or movie character, what movie/movie character would it be and why?

Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother. Cookbooks make people happy. We like making the connection between cookbook and cook, often bringing customers a cookbook that has a deep connection with a childhood or memorable event. Over the years, we have received many letters from people we’ve touched. Some of those letters describe the memories the customer has had come to life from a book from their past and being able to find it again. I can’t think of many retail items that have the power to bring someone to tears. We are a business like any other and need to profit to carry on and survive, but we like the fact that we make people happy. It’s a win-win situation for both Cookbook Village and our customers.

If your business could have a dream spokesperson for your company who would it be and why?

Russ Parsons, food editor at LA Times did an article on our store. He had stumbled upon our site a week after launch. He has a huge following and a lot of influence in our market. We followed him on the Daily Dish blog but weren’t truly aware of his love of cookbook collecting until we saw the article about Cookbook Village. What a spokesperson he would be! He understands the culinary world and the audience–and is himself a collector. Having someone like that discuss our business is powerful because he understands both the industry and the market. The day that article came out was a day we will forever remember. We were so surprised to see it. It was the perfect article and we wouldn’t have changed a word. If we could pick a second it might have to be one of the Top Chef hosts. We love that show and all its hosts.

What is the biggest challenge that your business faces as a small business and how do you work to overcome that challenge?

The biggest challenge we face tends to be too many ideas, too little time to execute them. Since we are still small and starting out, we need to do it on our own. Our store model patterns the brick-and-mortar boutique store experience–customer service focused with a richer focus on cookbook details versus the one line descriptions you often see on online book sites. That means complete cookbook details and vivid photos of the items (no stock photos of our books). That takes a lot of time. Also all the marketing and customer outreach can be draining. So when do we work on all these updates, promotions and new ideas? We overcome the obstacle by logging each idea and making a fixed time each week to execute at least one of them.

Do you have any parting thoughts for our readers and the small business community?

A strong focus on providing good customer service is as important to online businesses as traditional businesses. With the current social climate online, customers have the power to help promote your business alongside you. Don’t take for granted. Some people may love a quick get-in, get-out experience but others prefer a connection and a sense of community. Online retailers should strive to bring customers the best of both worlds.

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

  • Share/Bookmark
 
 

Posts Tagged ‘ebay’

Small Business Interview with Sophie Kovic from FlockStocks

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

I recently had the chance to interview Sophie Kovic from FlockStocks and here are some of the highlights of our discussion:

Tell us about your business and who you focus on serving?

We are a feather hair extension supplier that mainly sells to salons. We hit it big when we opened up FlockStocks as our store opening serendipitously coincided with the start of the Shopify Build-A-Business competition. Since then we have been focusing on improving our products and services and following trends. We are really trying to listen to what our clients want, and developing our products accordingly.

How did you get started selling online?

We started on eBay selling a range of products. I had a clothing label originally.  Selling online was inspired by Timothy Ferriss and the Four Hour Work Week. But the clothes didn’t really match his lifestyle model. FlockStocks is much more rewarding, and far less work. Tim would be proud.

What inspires you to grow your business?

Besides the obvious cash incentive and the subsequent lifestyle, I just really enjoy the work. One of the exciting things for me is meeting new like-minded people. At the moment my goal is to meet an inspiring business mentor.  I also have a new baby and want to make sure I can provide for him properly.

If you had 2 lessons learned from your business that you could pass on to others about selling online, what are those?

1) Choose something with little or no variation, such as size, color etc. With little or no variation you get less hassle, less complaints, less stock-keeping, and less returns.

2) Choose something with good Adwords potential. High clicks and low competition is everything. You must be sure you can drive customers to your site in the beginning.

Where has your business focused most of its energy this year?

We have been focusing on developing a new way of grading our products, which makes the whole process much easier for clients to select a product based on their needs and budget. That is still in the works. We have also been diversifying our products, finding better suppliers and generally growing our range. Staying current and rolling with the trends is absolutely vital to our business.

What do you see as 2 new trends in small business and in your business?

1) Sites that host timed discounts such as Groupon are great ways to get exposure.

2) Instant advertising methods have changed the way we can get potential customers to our sites. Adwords, for example can get you results in one day. Long gone are the delays of print advertising.

If your business/store could be any movie or movie character, what movie/movie character would it be and why?

Juno. That movie came out of nowhere. It didn’t appear to fit with the mainstream, but most people ended up thinking it was really cool.

If your business could have a dream spokesperson for your company who would it be and why?

Kim Kardashian would be our dream spokesperson. Besides being gorgeous and surprisingly articulate she has a very talked about hairstyle and would be the perfect fit for our premium positioning in the market.  

What is the biggest challenge that your business faces as a small business and how do you work to overcome that challenge?

A new flooding of competitors is the main challenge facing our business today. Refocusing on a different clientele (salons rather than individuals) where there is less competition has been our approach to this problem.  That also works in well with Tim Ferriss’s  80/20 principal, where 80% of profits come from 20% of customers.

Do you have any parting thoughts for our readers and the small business community?

Read The Four Hour Work Week. It changed my life. I am writing this from a villa in Thailand, where I just celebrated my 25th birthday, with my partner, son and friends. We have just spent 3 months here, and I have not so much as looked at an order the whole time. I learnt that things can be automated. The world will not fall apart if you step away. Trust your people. They are smart. They will work it out. You will have more time to come back with better, bolder and bigger ideas.

So go. Do something. Be inspired. And have fun! 

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

  • Share/Bookmark
 
 

Posts Tagged ‘ebay’

Small Business Lessons from Tamara Gozan of Designer Purse Depot

Monday, August 29th, 2011

This week I had the pleasure of talking with Tamara Gozan, the founder of http://www.designerpursedepot.com/, an online store that sells a variety of designer handbags and apparel. However, due to customer demand, Tamara shared that she will be expanding her business and focusing more on designer clothing, shoes, and accessories. We had a great conversation during our interview, touching on topics such as small business, social media outlets, and The Devil Wears Prada (of course!).

Tell us a little about Designer Purse Depot and who you focus on serving?

Designer Purse Depot services a lot of people who like designer items, mostly handbags and clothing but also including shoes and other accessories. Because my customers love designer goods and they are really expensive, I spend a lot of time trying to find companies where I can find these items on sale or at a discounted price. I then resell them to my customers, who often use these items themselves or turnaround and sell them on eBay.

How did you get your started selling online?

I started over a decade ago when I had an eBay account and sold a few things online there. Then recently, I saw the success of many people that were making their money online and heard a lot of people who considered themselves experts, explain the importance of having an online store. I started looking around to find a format or platform where I could open an online store and found Shopster. I decided to open a free account using their free trial offered at the time and put some items on the account, just to see what they would look like on the website, and within 8 days I had my first sale. After recognizing the potential, I decided to get more serious and built a complete website. In my first month on Shopster, I had 20 sales!

Where has Designer Purse Depot focused most of its energy on in the past year?

My main focus has been on designer handbags, though I’m planning to focus more on designer clothing, shoes, and accessories in this upcoming year. I have received many requests from my frequent customers that are asking for those items, so I plan to focus on expanding my collection.

If you had 2 lessons learned from your business that you could pass on to others about selling online, what are those?

For one, having detailed photos of the items that you are selling is essential because people can’t touch or feel the product like they normally could. Instead, they would like to get a really good look at the items. Also important is having an accurate and detailed description of the items. Both of these are extremely valuable factors to focus on, and the third item is the pricing of your products. You have to know what is currently going on in the market because if you price an item too high, you won’t get enough customers, and if you price an item too low, the customers won’t recognize the value.

What do you see as 2 new trends in your industry this year?

Surprisingly, some of the most expensive handbags are the hottest items right now. Although everyone is talking about how bad the economy is, some of the most expensive handbags are selling very well. Another trend is the emerging popularity of fashion forward attire. Lots of women are looking for really nice office wear and bright colors.

From your experience, what are the best ways to advertise yourself?  Do you make use of tools like social media?

Yes, I definitely think that you should be on Facebook and Twitter, as well as have an eBay outlet and possibly an Amazon account also. You can introduce new items there and send customers back to your store. I really think you should have a strong presence in the market and definitely a blog.

If your business/store could be any movie or movie character, what movie/movie character would it be and why?

It would probably be the intern from The Devil Wears Prada, played by Anne Hathaway. I don’t necessarily wear a lot of high fashion items and I’m more of an admirer, so I’ve had to really become acclimated with women who wear these high value, designer products. Similarly, the intern went into an industry that she wasn’t familiar with and had to adapt to the environment and learn the market.

Do you have any parting thoughts for our readers and the small business community?

I just read an article about the woman who wrote the novel, The Help, and learned that she was rejected 60 different times by 60 different literary agents and the 61st agent was the first to give her a chance. Now, her novel has become a major motion picture. You may not get it right the first time, or even the second or third times, but if you are passionate about what you want to do and keep trying to tweak it and make it right, you will find success. Even though it started out almost effortless with Shopster, having an online store isn’t always easy; it has been challenging to grow and I’m still seeking to go to the next level. I have to keep myself focused and motivated every day, though that’s how you will eventually find success.

We at KikScore would like to thank Tamara for giving the community his thoughts on the small business experience.  If you have questions for Tamara, please leave them in the comments below.

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

  • Share/Bookmark
 
 

Posts Tagged ‘ebay’

Twitter-bay-zon…Twitter, eBay and Amazon Combined into One App!

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

I was reading this TechCrunch article today about how Amazon just incorporated a Facebook tab/section into their website so that customers can supply their Facebook account information and then automatically see what their friends’ wish lists are or what CD their friends just purchased so they can buy it too.  I thought that this development was interesting because it is basically the largest eCommerce company integrating with the largest Social Networking company in this way and it could mark the beginning of a new trend.

What would be some more interesting eCommerce/Social Networking “mash-ups” that we could dream up here?  Another interesting match-up that I thought of in this area was the combination of Twitter and eBay.  I think that it would be very useful for people that are trying to sell a product in an auction on eBay to be able to automatically broadcast this auction over Twitter real-time as bids are being made.  To get a little crazier here we could even add an Amazon integration into the mix where users could see live streaming tweets on an Amazon product page of the same item being sold on eBay!  Let’s call it “Twitter-Bay-Zon”!

On second thought, I am guessing that Amazon wouldn’t be too happy about this partnership I just proposed here as it would directly interfere with the current used-item marketplace that they already have, but I think you are catching my drift here.  Are we about to see a major melding of the eCommerce and Social Networking companies online?  I think that it only makes sense and would lead to increased sales, advertising, and users for everyone involved…so why not?

Here are a couple more eCommerce/Social Networking mash-ups that I just thought of that would be interesting: MySpace & Amazon and YouTube & NetFlix. What are some other partnerships like this that you see forming in the next 5 years?  What company could you see your business partnering with to get an advantage over your competition in the same way?

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

  • Share/Bookmark