It seems like forever since I sat down to write a blog post. I didn’t mean to, but the days, weeks, and months are melting into each other at a record pace. I’m popping in to just chat a little about my new venture and some of the lessons that I am learning starting from scratch again!
I’ve always treated my blog as a business, so to be honest, I’m not exactly starting a new, new business, what I am doing is expanding my current business! If you are following me on social media, you would see that I launched an e-commerce store, selling face masks. I know, it’s crazy right. But, here’s the thing, that wasn’t the plan for the business and it isn’t our long term goal.
Before the pandemic hit, I was in the sourcing/sample phase of the business, I spent months going back and forth with manufacturers on products I wanted to offer and was THIS close to rolling out then BOOM! A whole pandemic. Manufacturers shut down and slowed operations for months and I was in limbo.
One day, I had this bright idea to make the products that I wanted to sell. Did it matter that I didn’t touch a sewing machine in years? Nope, I was a woman on a mission. I bought a sewing machine, and then I started to sample sew all of the things that I wanted to sew. In my off time, I decided to make my own face masks after purchasing a few that just didn’t fit my face right. While I didn’t think anything special about them, my friends asked if they could purchase one or two.
I did ignore them, but they were persistent in their efforts. I had so much fabric from my trips around the world that I had everything that I needed, so I made them a few masks. I did not expect what was to come next. My friends, (they know who they are) helped me to kick start my e-commerce business and I am forever grateful for them for giving me the confidence I needed for a newfound venture.
The response has been phenomenal, I could not have predicted this and I am still overwhelmed by the support. As someone who was very much hesitant about starting this new journey, I wanted to share a few things that I have learned in this short time of launching.
- My Friends Are The Best Influencers: My friends were my first customers, after posting to social media, things got crazy. Do they have thousands and millions of followers? No, they’re simply ordinary women, doing extraordinary things. I think it’s important for us to realize that influence can happen at any level, micro to macro. If you’re thinking of starting a business, ask your friends to post about it, share, tell their friends. Start to get the word out as inexpensively as you can.
- The Market Is Saturated, So What: When I began to make my face masks, I was a few months behind the hype. When my girlfriend suggested that I make a face mask, I literally looked at her in disgust. “Why would I want to do that, everyone is making face masks.” Whew, was I ever wrong? There are a million shampoos in the shampoo aisle, but guess what, there are new hair companies popping up every single day with a new shampoo. It doesn’t matter what is out there, you bring something unique to the game, focus on that. Think of ways you can innovate and make your product better, that’s what I did. I focused on market gaps when it came to colors, patterns, prints, and marketing.
- Customer Service is King: I treat my customers the way I would like to be treated and I am rewarded! You can have the best product in the world but if you don’t treat people right, it doesn’t matter. I try to answer every customer in a timely matter, get orders out as humanly possible, and address any concerns in a fair way. I may not always get it right, but I actively work to ensure that the level of service is top-notch. I’ve been able to create very good relationships with my customers and I thoroughly enjoy seeing them and exchanging conversations during the delivery process! Treat your customers with TLC, and they will be your best salesmen and women! Always go the extra mile!
- Innovate, Rinse, Repeat: I am constantly looking for new ways to innovate my current offerings and business. How can I ensure that this is the best face mask anyone will ever buy. What can I do differently with marketing? How fast can I put up my website? In business, you can never be satisfied with your last success. You have to always compete with yourself and outdo yourself. While I did not intentionally get into the face mask business or want to become a master at the sewing machine, this is my season. I am now thinking ahead and beyond to the next level.
- Be Confident: Wow, can I tell you sometimes I lack confidence? When I started offering face masks, I was not happy, at all! It’s crazy! I lacked the confidence that anyone would support my business. Weird, I know. I was afraid that people would think I was a fraud selling masks because this was something I never did before. I felt like an imposter. It took months of selling out and backorders for me to gain the confidence that I should’ve had since Day 1. Now, you can’t tell me I’m not the mask queen! I’ve got the best masks on the planet! But, for real, I know it can be tough, but you have to have balls of steel. You have to know that you are the very best at what you do. You’ve got this!
I could run on and on all day about things that I have learned in business over the past couple of months. It’s been a lot! I am so fulfilled and happy to be finally taking the step I’ve been fearful of, e-commerce. The #shesomajor brand has taken a leap of faith and I can’t wait until I can fully launch everything that I have been working on. I hope that you will continue on this major journey with me.
While our website is not quite yet complete, you can follow our journey on Instagram: @BYSHESOMAJOR.