Mei: Jaimee Newberry is going to share tip number two for what made a really huge impact on her business.
Jaimee: With Ken, we reached a certain point where we couldn’t go any further on our own so we pulled in a couple of friends. We both had a design background but neither of us wanted to build an e-commerce website. We pulled in our friend Ignazio who is an active web designer. As a design person, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say “Hey, I can’t pay you but for equity in this great idea if you make a website we’ll be partners.” And most of the time you just think “I’ve heard this a million times before and your idea is terrible,” but we actually did that to Ignazio. We told him we didn’t have a ton of money, he was busy running his own business, but we presented out idea and what we were looking for and it took the better part of eight months for him to do it on the side. We still had to keep moving. We called our friend Stephan when we got stuck on finding some of the resources and also the motivation to keep pushing through. We wouldn’t have continued forward without this team that we kind of put together.
Identify the points where you’re stuck and find somebody who will work with you and fill in the gaps where you fall short. Starting isn’t the hard part, it’s finishing.
Also, simplify. We have 10 customers a day that ask us why we don’t have anything for boys and if we hate them, but in reality we just started small. We’re barely five months old and if we had launched with T-shirts and dresses, we would have buried ourselves in orders. You never really expect to go viral, but it did within two weeks. All these crazy things started happening, we kept getting orders, and we had to keep up. We launched it as a proof of concept only, which I think is an important element too. Very low cost, we did what we could, we threw it out there, and we saw what happened. To our delight, it took off. Sometimes you throw something out there and it just falls flat.
Mei: It took you some time to go from idea to product creation. I think a lot of makers get frustrated because they’ve got a great idea, but just don’t know that this is the process you have to go through.
When I saw your business I felt like it was perfect. You only have that one dress, which to me just makes so much sense. I believe that simple ideas are what stick and you’ve done that, obviously.
Jaimee: Keep it simple! It’s a really crucial part of it.
Another tip I wanted to mention is customer service. Mei, I think you demonstrate this through example. I loved going through the process of buying something from you. The way you handle your flow, your check out flow, and customer interaction is amazing. You sent this little email, I don’t know if it’s automated or not, but it said “Hey, I’m Mei!” and “If you have a few minutes tell me about yourself” and I just thought to myself “You know what? I’m going to do it!” I got all excited, sent you the email, and I thought you were going to think I’m the biggest goober.
Customer service is so important to me. Not just being there it’s about responding with care and compassion. We get so many angry people as well as excited people and responding compassionately is really important.
I worked a short run at Zappos which is all about customer service and I learned a lot there. I learned how they do customer service and what I would do differently in my company.
If anyone asks us a question that is completely out of our ballpark we will take a minute to Google some additional information, so that if we don’t provide a service someone is looking for we can at least help them out a little bit.
Respond as soon as possible. If you can’t do it yourself, get someone to help you. I immediately reached out to Amy who I’ve worked with before and who I know could carry the particular tone and voice that I communicate in.
Mei: I totally agree with that, Jaimee. I believe that even if you don’t end up being my customer, if you can walk away feeling positive and happy about your interaction with my business, you’re going to tell your friends about me and that is great.
I’m going to let you in on a secret, though, the email was actually automated.
Jaimee: I kind of figured, but I still loved it! I wanted to respond because you took the time to put it together and maybe people respond to it. Do they?
Mei: Yes, a lot of people respond to it. What I love is that I get to learn more about my customers, which is great research. They also tell me where they found me which is great data to have.
I love how you said that customer service expands beyond talking to someone. It’s also the experience you give them while they’re on your website. You’re not interacting with a human being but what is the experience like? Is it easy to use, appealing, and is it fun? That’s very important to me and it probably is for you as well since you do so much with user experience.
Jaimee: From the first contact to the moment they receive that package in their hands. Again, you follow through with total delivery.
Mei: The thing is with makers, creatives, and people who make their own products is we have so much pride in the things we do that when we get hate mail it’s very easy for us to be defensive. You walk away from your chair for a while and then you come back and respond to the hate mail. It’s not an easy thing to do. You always want to make them happy.
Jaimee: Yet at the same time you have to remember that you won’t make them happy. It’s just not going to hit the mark for everyone. For people like that you just have to decide what the right path with them is moving forward. You just have to take each instance at a time, instead of having a canned solution for everything.
The experience is not just them placing an order, your website being easy enough to use, and that package. It’s also the package. Did you just throw a bunch of crap into a box? We want to let our customers know that our products get handled with care.
Invest the time in care where you can. Wherever it’s possible, in every touch point with the customer.
Mei: I also want to point out that your packaging is really cool. On the little bag that the clothing comes in it says “Get ready! Record a video reaction and share it with us on social media.” That’s perfect!
Jaimee: Yes, those are new! It’s our next step up shipping bag. You have a product that’s really sharable and you want to capture as much of it as you can. We had a couple of customers send us reaction videos. The first video we got sent made me tear up. It was just so beautiful to see.
You can think of creative ways to get people excited about sharing what they’re getting from you. Watch for opportunities to do that.
Mei: I love that the statement or message on that bag is so perfect! They just got the package in the mail, of course they’re going to share a video reaction!
I love what you mentioned before, that you took an idea that wasn’t perfect, but you made it perfect by making improvements over time. It’s important to listen to feedback from people, because you can listen to it and make improvements in the areas that you see fit.
Jaimee: I love feedback from people and I love hearing it every single day. I love that someone is so enthusiastic about what we’re doing, that they have an idea that they want to share with us. Sometimes when people reach out and ask where their order is at, do your best and listen to them and care. They spent good money on this thing you made and they just want to know where it’s at. Put yourself in their shoes no matter what tone of the message you get.
Mei: That’s a really good way to look at it. I can tell you’re a very positive person! You’re always giving people the benefit of the doubt.
Thank you for listening!
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