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eCommerce tips from women

The number of self-employed women in online retail has risen by 28% (according to eBay) over the last five years as females break the ‘glass ceiling’. And with more women making a success of ecommerce in the UK than anywhere else in Europe, Britain is increasingly becoming a nation of self-made women. To celebrate International Women’s Day on 8th March each year, we asked some female entrepreneurs to share their success stories…
Anna Webb, Director & Founder of Starlet Vintage

Starlet Vintage is a unique online store, focused on providing vintage and designer-inspired dresses for customers with their own unique sense of style. Today, Starlet Vintage sells over 1,200 items worldwide on eBay, Amazon and directly through its website. So what is Anna’s secret to success?

“My secret is simple: Treat every one of your customers like the queen she is. In terms of running the business, there’s a stroke of luck at play as I love wearing many diverse and delightful hats in the course of a typical day. From marketing and customer care, through to supply chain and profit management – and every shade of skill in between.

“A philosophy that has always served me well in business is ‘do something you love’. It’s that passion that runs through every aspect of Starlet Vintage; and having a passion for what you sell gives your business that essential je ne sais quoi.

“I’ve always been inspired by women who challenged boundaries and pioneered change. If I had to choose one woman as my inspiration, it has to be Amelia Earhart, the American author and aviator that became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. I am endlessly moved by her bold, radical and insurgent spirit – the desire to fly above the ordinary – marks the summit of inspiration.”

Kirsty Taylor, Co-Founder of Footwear Studio

Footwear Studio was founded in 2005 and is run by mother and daughter team, Kirsty and Carole Taylor. The pair’s passion for providing unique footwear led them to set up Footwear Studio from the spare room of the family home. Today, business is booming in the UK, the US, Japan, India and even Vatican City. We caught up with Kirsty to find out how she’s taken the business to new marketplaces.

“I first set up Footwear Studio in partnership with my parents, back in 2009 when I was 22 years old. It took a while to get off the ground and build a varied product base. But as my competitors fell by the wayside I would buy them out and add their specialised products to my inventory, creating a wide collection to mitigate risk caused by seasonal trends.

“To achieve long-term success in ecommerce, you need to respond to constant flux and increasingly high customer expectations. You have to embrace change, be accommodating, and constantly on the lookout for new opportunities that may give you an edge on the competition.

“If there’s one thing I’ve learnt over the years it’s that ‘turnover is vanity, profit is sanity but cash flow is reality’. A business cannot survive unless you understand the difference between turnover and cash flow. Every aspect of your business from wages, department budgets, VAT and profits, are all affected by the timing of payments going in and out of your business. After all, cashflow is the biggest cause of business failure in the world.

“My advice for anyone thinking about starting an ecommerce business is do your research first. Make sure you check your target market, the competition and what funding is available before you start. Be honest with yourself; is your business idea viable, profitable and enjoyable? What is your ultimate goal? Is it to provide a passive income for your family or to run a multi-million pound empire? If it’s the latter, then is your business scalable?

“There is a lot of help, guidance and funding available to women wanting to start their own business. Being an entrepreneur is not for everyone, and you won’t become a millionaire overnight, but if you’ve done your research, then go for it! Start small, learn from the competition and your mistakes to make informed decisions based on a risk/reward ratio.”

Brand attic and Volo Commerce
Steph Linton, Ecommerce Manager, Brand Attic

Brand Attic labels itself as an online shopping destination of choice that doesn’t compromise on quality, service and price. The fashion company’s mission is to take customers on a journey of personal style discovery. Steph Linton, offers her advice for women starting out in ecommerce.

“Due to its technical foundations, ecommerce could easily be considered a male-dominated industry, and in some ways this does ring true. In my mind, being successful isn’t down to your gender, it’s to do with your commercial outlook, technical know-how and personality.

“One of the most constructive things I’ve learnt while working in ecommerce is the importance of being nimble and adapting to change. Those changes may be technological or they may be in the market, but responsiveness to them is key.

“Ecommerce is a juggling act and the job is never complete, there is always more you can do to improve the output, and that’s why I believe women are great at it! My advice for women starting a new ecommerce venture would be: to be prepared to put the hours in, stay passionate and never become complacent. It’s undoubtedly one of the fastest-paced industries to be in, no two days will ever be the same, but that’s all part of the excitement.”

Go back

eCommerce tips from women

The number of self-employed women in online retail has risen by 28% (according to eBay) over the last five years as females break the ‘glass ceiling’. And with more women making a success of ecommerce in the UK than anywhere else in Europe, Britain is increasingly becoming a nation of self-made women. To celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8th each year, we asked some female entrepreneurs to share their success stories…
Anna Webb, Director & Founder of Starlet Vintage

Starlet Vintage is a unique online store, focused on providing vintage and designer-inspired dresses for customers with their own unique sense of style. Today, Starlet Vintage sells over 1,200 items worldwide on eBay, Amazon and directly through its website. So what is Anna’s secret to success?

“My secret is simple: Treat every one of your customers like the queen she is. In terms of running the business, there’s a stroke of luck at play as I love wearing many diverse and delightful hats in the course of a typical day. From marketing and customer care, through to supply chain and profit management – and every shade of skill in between.

“A philosophy that has always served me well in business is ‘do something you love’. It’s that passion that runs through every aspect of Starlet Vintage; and having a passion for what you sell gives your business that essential je ne sais quoi.

“I’ve always been inspired by women who challenged boundaries and pioneered change. If I had to choose one woman as my inspiration, it has to be Amelia Earhart, the American author and aviator that became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. I am endlessly moved by her bold, radical and insurgent spirit – the desire to fly above the ordinary – marks the summit of inspiration.”

Kirsty Taylor, Co-Founder of Footwear Studio

Footwear Studio was founded in 2005 and is run by mother and daughter team, Kirsty and Carole Taylor. The pair’s passion for providing unique footwear led them to set up Footwear Studio from the spare room of the family home. Today, business is booming in the UK, the US, Japan, India and even Vatican City. We caught up with Kirsty to find out how she’s taken the business to new marketplaces.

“I first set up Footwear Studio in partnership with my parents, back in 2009 when I was 22 years old. It took a while to get off the ground and build a varied product base. But as my competitors fell by the wayside I would buy them out and add their specialized products to my inventory, creating a wide collection to mitigate risk caused by seasonal trends.

“To achieve long-term success in ecommerce, you need to respond to constant flux and increasingly high customer expectations. You have to embrace change, be accommodating, and constantly on the lookout for new opportunities that may give you an edge on the competition.

“If there’s one thing I’ve learnt over the years it’s that ‘turnover is vanity, profit is sanity but cash flow is reality’. A business cannot survive unless you understand the difference between turnover and cash flow. Every aspect of your business from wages, department budgets, VAT and profits, are all affected by the timing of payments going in and out of your business. After all, cashflow is the biggest cause of business failure in the world.

“My advice for anyone thinking about starting an ecommerce business is do your research first. Make sure you check your target market, the competition and what funding is available before you start. Be honest with yourself; is your business idea viable, profitable and enjoyable? What is your ultimate goal? Is it to provide a passive income for your family or to run a multi-million pound empire? If it’s the latter, then is your business scalable?

“There is a lot of help, guidance and funding available to women wanting to start their own business. Being an entrepreneur is not for everyone, and you won’t become a millionaire overnight, but if you’ve done your research, then go for it! Start small, learn from the competition and your mistakes to make informed decisions based on a risk/reward ratio.”

Brand attic and Volo Commerce
Steph Linton, Ecommerce Manager, Brand Attic

Brand Attic labels itself as an online shopping destination of choice that doesn’t compromise on quality, service and price. The fashion company’s mission is to take customers on a journey of personal style discovery. Steph Linton, offers her advice for women starting out in ecommerce.

“Due to its technical foundations, ecommerce could easily be considered a male-dominated industry, and in some ways this does ring true. In my mind, being successful isn’t down to your gender, it’s to do with your commercial outlook, technical know-how and personality.

“One of the most constructive things I’ve learnt while working in ecommerce is the importance of being nimble and adapting to change. Those changes may be technological or they may be in the market, but responsiveness to them is key.

“Ecommerce is a juggling act and the job is never complete, there is always more you can do to improve the output, and that’s why I believe women are great at it! My advice for women starting a new ecommerce venture would be: to be prepared to put the hours in, stay passionate and never become complacent. It’s undoubtedly one of the fastest-paced industries to be in, no two days will ever be the same, but that’s all part of the excitement.”