Hollywood Mirrors Has a Great Problem

With less than two years on the internet, U.K.-based Hollywood Mirrors has a fantastic problem: keeping up with demand.

“I should have ordered more inventory, rather than being cautious.”

Adam Watson, founder of Hollywood Mirrors, is the cautious type. It requires a few weeks for new mirrors to arrive from his suppliers. And Marilyn, a favorite mirror, was out of stock for at least a month. He paid heavily for his caution.

But with a new shipment of Marilyns coming in May, and #30,000 in monthly earnings on other mirror designs, Hollywood Mirrors stays profitable while learning its lessons in real time. Watson is currently”doing a better job of maintaining stock and juggling cash flow.”

And he’s found a new provider. This one can keep him stocked with the glam, always high-quality mirrors his clients and social-media influencers expect.

Partnering with Mum

Watson is not new to ecommerce. He got his start selling clothing on eBay at age 18. “This was 17 years ago, and it was amazing! I was hooked and got a buzz out of each sale.”

When Adam’s mum, interior designer Elaine Watson, opened a home décor store, Adam was there. They started Design 55, a brick-and-mortar furnishings shop in the quaint village of Brighouse, West Yorkshire. Two decades later, Adam launched its online counterpart, Design55Online.

“That is when I got invited to market on Amazon. I was among the initial vendors in the Home & Garden class when Amazon launched it. It was fantastic — 12 years ago without a competition.”

Within a year, online décor orders — in the branded site, eBay, and Amazon — were taking over. Those stations generated enough steady income to shut the brick-and-mortar and take on outside interests.

“Mum is part-time today; she’s her property company to run, and she is taking a little step back and leaves me to it. She pays providers, does the admin, helps the team out, and even packs the orders. We make a fantastic partnership; our abilities suit each other. There aren’t many individuals who may work with their mum daily for 15 years.”

With Elaine taking a back seat in 2016, Adam recognized the shop’s highest-margin goods and launched three new sites: Hollywood Mirrors, Decorelo (furniture and décor, redirected from Design55Online), and Ambient Mirrors (a wholesaler). Together these websites sold #450,000 (roughly $630,000) in 2017.

With plans to include other market ecommerce websites within the next couple of years, Adam is ready to talk about his lessons learned.

Hollywood Mirrors was among three ecommerce websites launched by Adam Watson in 2016.

Marketing Agencies

Marketing agencies didn’t perform. Adam hired one advertising agency following another in the hopes of a magic bullet with advertising, search engine optimization, and pay-per-click advertisements.

“The results I have have been really bad, and I have blown thousands of pounds. I have used more than a dozen agencies; I haven’t found one good one.”

Today he relies on people he finds on his own:”I headhunt for the job that I want done in the moment, someone with a excellent history of doing what I need. Agencies may have one or two great case studies. But they might have a million customers. Working with freelancers, they simply appear to care more. Their standing and personal pride are online.”

Accounting

Adam advises hiring a fantastic bookkeeper or accountant. “And make sure to keep everything current, so you know the score. I’ve had major issues in this field; it drives me mad.”

By way of instance, in 2016 he found the E.U.-imposed value-added tax had not been paid for five years on his Amazon furniture sales. The resulting penalties and fees meant he needed to liquidate the rest of the store inventory to cover Amazon and start over.

“Eighteen years work down the drain…” Adam said in a recent interview. “I think there is quite a few men and women who have made the exact same mistake.”

Scalable Software

“Invest in a system that will scale with your organization, whether that be client management, inventory management, or accounting. Swapping stock-control applications or an accounting system whilst you are already trading is a nightmare,” Adam emphasizes.

It took him over 18 months to modify the provider’s stock control and accounting system. “We’d 12,000 product lines in the moment. It was painful, and staff morale was low.”

But today all staff members see the advantage of his transition into Brightpearl, a #4,500-per-year cloud-based back office for wholesalers and retailers. “It is fantastic software if you market on a lot of different stations, as it integrates with many of them. It does everything: reporting, accounting, inventory control, purchase orders, fulfillment, and shipping. It’s a massive time saver and automates a great deal of our everyday day-to-day tasks.”

Packaging

Adam learned the hard way to be certain you’ve got packaging figured out. “Our mirrors are branded and designed for us, and obtaining mirrors into the opposite end of the country safely is an entirely new experience for me.”

Before finding his existing packaging solution, Adam estimates he lost around #30,000 in mirrors broken during transit. “No shipping company will guarantee you for glass, which means you’ve got to take the hit.”

Now, as a result of dual boxes padded with thick sheets of cardboard and polystyrene, breakage has dropped to less than one percent.

Shopping Cart, Email

Adam’s first site, for the home décor business, conducted on Actinic, a Europe-based platform. Four decades later he transferred to Magento, where he remained for a decade.

“I need to say I hated Magento. From a user experience, listing products took forever. It was too complicated. It broke for no reason; some modifications you wanted your programmer to create would take forever and break. It was a very costly procedure. It cost a fortune to sponsor too. I don’t know why I stayed with it for so long; there weren’t many alternatives out there.

“Then, when I found my mirrors store 20 weeks ago, I thought’Let us give Shopify a move.’ And it’s superb. I’m in love with it. It’s so simple to use, and the app shop is fantastic; it breaks, is dependable, and is economical to operate.”

Shopify runs all his ecommerce stores. Adam’s wholesale website, Ambientmirrors.com, also integrates the Wholesaler Shopify app, which”works OK — nice and easy, up and running quickly and cheaply.”

Adam has two favorite Shopify plugins. One is Chatra, a free live-chat program that”brings in a few sales daily.” Another is Privy, a free exit-intent pop-up which”enhances conversions a lot. Automating an email arrangement and sales funnel for everyone who signs up on [Privy’s] exit intent works really well — and pushes sales we wouldn’t have otherwise.”

For those automated email sequences Adam utilizes MailChimp.

Suppliers

Adam recommends working only with producers you can check in on. To locate lighted mirrors at the best price, Adam first went to Alibaba, where he messaged providers for quotations and landed on one that seemed perfect.

“The very first order from China was fantastic. Then the second, third, and fourth orders were becoming worse each time. It was so frustrating; the mill was not taking any responsibility nor accepting my feedback. I hunted on Alibaba for another factory and discovered one. I also got an agent.”

Finding the broker was happenstance. While in the dentist’s office, Adam found that his dentist’s brother-in-law resides close to the mill in China. So Adam hired him for quality management.

“He’s experienced in manufacturing. He knew what to search for. The delivery came perfectly. I couldn’t be happier! I am paying a little more than previously for the mirrors, but a enormous headache is gone. Having someone you trust and know to check on quality is perfect when starting out with a new factory, particularly in China.”

Social Media

Tapping into social-media advertising is fresh for Adam. He utilizes Shoelace for retargeting campaigns on Facebook:”A excellent return on your ad spend.” The campaigns aim customers based on their previous purchases.

Hollywood Mirrors’ Instagram account includes photos from influencers.

Instagram is just another revenue driver, thanks to targeted”influencers.” Adam ships a mirror to curious influencers, who post photos on their accounts. It’s a strategy employed by a number of successful brands.

To begin, he discovered Instagram associates with 15,000 to 100,000 followers that consented to picture his mirrors if they received one for free. Hollywood Mirrors’ staffers then repost influencers’ photographs to the shop’s own Instagram account. Posts are labeled with #hashtags of associated subjects, so everybody who follows these topics can see the picture.

“At the moment we’re focusing on home and interior-design influencers, as they comprise our mirrors more than actors do.”

Four months into this Instagram social experiment,”we get a couple of sales a week straight from Instagram. It also assists with conversions that are aided and brand awareness.”

Adam also utilizes Revenue Rocket, a Shopify app, to induce social-influence sales. Each time a purchase is made, a pop-up announces that”[First name] from [place ] has recently purchased [product].” The pop-up comprises a small product picture. The principle is straightforward: people tend to buy what others have.

“We have definitely seen a conversion improvement as it was implemented a few months ago. The app also includes a scarcity feature for merchandise pages. It shows how many folks are viewing a product, how many have sold, and how many are left. If you are running low on stock, this provides the shopper a nudge to buy based on the fear of missing out.”

Wholesaling

“Doing business-to-business is new to me. I’m realizing it requires far more effort than simply phoning the retail shop or emailing them to ask,’Would you like to purchase my mirrors? They are less costly than XYZ company,'” Adam states.

“There are two main wholesale mirror manufacturers in the U.K.. They are huge businesses sending out 10,000 or more mirrors per week. I need to disrupt them.

Our technology services : Magento posshopify posbigcommerce poswoocommerce pos

“I will need to visit shops, show samples, have a fancy catalogue, and have a much better proposition. Much more than being much cheaper, I want to find the merchants’ trust. Once I have this, repeat orders will begin to flow. The couple of shops that have obtained the mirrors so far do very well with them. So maybe it is time to scale it and put a little more time .”

Good and Bad Decisions

Adam considers the biggest mistake he made while constructing Hollywood Mirrors was”not thinking big enough. I’m fairly cautious and can procrastinate. I want to improve to learn how to fail quickly and move quickly. And if I can not find the answer, I want to find someone with an established track record who understands.”

“I do not regret any bad choice, as that is how you learn. However, I probably could have learned quicker. Shipping mirrors has proven difficult with breakages. We should have enhanced and tested packaging much faster; it might have saved plenty of money, time, stress, and unhappy customers. We now have the packaging mended, as well as the mirrors now arrive safely, which is terrific.

“The great decisions I’ve made were to concentrate on the advertising and be constant — continuously optimizing and developing traffic, by 200 percent in six months through organic search, Instagram, and Google AdWords. Traffic from organic search has increased 286 percent in this time — just by being constant in our public relations efforts.”

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