Ecommerce is one of the most profitable business models for aspiring entrepreneurs, and it’s an industry where female entrepreneurs are showing us how it’s done. The COVID-19 pandemic has supercharged the transition to ecommerce from brick and mortar, making it even more appealing.
But ecommerce isn’t without its struggles. All entrepreneurs have to take risks, and they make mistakes. In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re rounding up 3 of the most inspiring female entrepreneurs currently making history in ecommerce. Read on to soak up their wisdom and power your work with a healthy dose of inspiration. If these women can go from financial uncertainty to multi-million dollar businesses, so can you.
Monique Lewis, Goodie Girl
Monique Lewis, a hair extension consumer, had been struggling with finding what she needed in the market. She used social media to confirm her hunch—that there was a hole in the market. This DIY market research gave her the data she needed to launch Boho Exotic Studio, which was later rebranded to Goodie Girl.
“One common trait among successful entrepreneurs is a sense of urgency—spotting a need and responding without hesitation in order to address and capitalize on it, even when that means taking a risk,” Lewis says. She jumped in immediately, quitting her job and putting everything she had into growing her brand. Lewis built her brand’s initial success by creating her own following on YouTube.
“I am African-American, I’m European, and I’m Asian. So I have this really weird kind of hair texture, where it’s curly but it’s kind of straight. So I just really wanted someone to match hair extensions that look just like mine.”
She made videos about her struggles, and she was shocked by how much traction she received. Other people were looking for solutions, too. By sharing her own struggles, Lewis was able to build an audience that became her initial customer base.
Want to learn more about how she used Instagram to grow her business? Listen below.
Gretta van Riel, SkinnyMe Tea
In 2012, Gretta van Riel only had $24 in her bank account. That was before she turned SkinnyMe Tea into a multi-million dollar ecommerce brand. Like many of the most successful entrepreneurs, van Riel’s journey began with her own search for a solution that didn’t exist. She wanted the perfect detox tea, but when she couldn’t find it, she created her own. Van Riel’s tea soon found a loyal following among her day-job coworkers.
She soon realized that she needed to focus on SkinnyMe Tea full-time. Despite the constant advice not to quit her day job, that’s exactly what van Riel did. But she just decided not to tell anyone she’d quit her job.
Within the first 6 months, SkinnyMe Tea was generating $600k/month in revenue. Since then, it’s become a multi-million dollar business with a devoted customer base.
Van Riel credits the savvy use of influencer marketing as one of the secrets to SkinnyMe’s success. “[Influencer marketing is] the most effective digital marketing technique that there is right now, in terms of ROI,” van Riel says.
Want to learn van Riel’s strategy so you can grow your own ecommerce brand into a multi-million dollar business? Sign up for the class to learn how to make your ecommerce business profitable in 12 weeks or less.
Joanna Griffiths, Knix
Joanna Griffiths started intimates brand Knix with just $20k. In 2019, the company generated $50 million dollars. What’s more, Knix was Griffiths’ Plan B. She had originally intended to launch her own media company. While pursuing an MBA, she recognized a need in the market for leak-proof underwear and followed her passion. She won $20k in seed capital from a business plan competition at school, and that began Knix’s rise to a global intimates brand.
How did she do it? A mix of savvy and learning from her mistakes. “With that $20,000, I actually got pretty far. I got all the way through prototype development and made a lot of progress. And then ultimately ended up doing a small run before launching and then doing an Indiegogo campaign,” Griffiths says.
To be honest with you, the first [inventory] order that I did was probably one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made because I just had no idea what I was doing.”
Minimums on apparel orders are high, and Griffiths had to purchase somewhere around 40k pairs of underwear. The rub? It was their first order and they hadn’t ironed out the kinks yet. “I joke that […] we have those early pairs kicking around because we obviously got feedback and made improvements to the product and all these different things along the way.”
Want the play-by-play on how she figured it out and turned Knix into a multi-million dollar global brand? Check out the rest of the interview below.
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