In this episode I talked we catch up a good friend of mine, Jill Tanner. She is the owner of Southern Honey Boutique, which comprises two brick-and-mortar storefronts as well as an online store and warehouse– all of which sell women’s southern chic apparel at an affordable price. We discuss why Jill believes that e-commerce is the future of her company and how it got her through the pandemic when her storefronts were closed for up to 8 weeks– and people were, “bored at home with stimulus checks”.
In this episode we discuss:
- The benefits of having e-commerce up and running when hit by unforeseen circumstances
- A secret weapon for success in the e-commerce – and general business– world
- A truth bomb
What is your goal for growth both in storefront and online?
Jill admits that she currently has no goals for expanding her brick-and-mortar storefronts. Both are in comfortable locations with people she trusts to look after them; they are pulling their weight. Each storefront brings in about 33% of sales with online providing the final 33%. Jill wishes to see growth in the online side of her business. Even though she personally enjoys the storefront experience more, visiting a little boutique and trying on clothes, she knows that e-commerce is the future of the store. This is particularly true right now during the global COVID-19 pandemic, when leaving the house for shopping is not a feasible option for many.
What technologies have you used so far?
Jill informs us that she initially started on Big Commerce for about a year, but didn’t quite find it to be the right fit. After that she researched and found Shopify. Praising Shopify for its rich selection and easy operation, Jill asserts that when it comes to online business, you can do everything you need on it without bringing in other vendors. Another way she’s made her entrepreneurship easier through technology is by using Market 2 Boutique. This is a software she developed that provides an easier way to input new inventory and know when it’s arriving.
What is a helpful tip for people who are just starting out?
If you take away anything from this episode, make it the following advice Jill gives: Be realistic with your goals and expectations. A lot of people see a business blow up in a year or become extremely successful really fast, and wish to be like them. But those examples are the one in a million. Jill encourages people who are just starting to be prepared to not be that one in a million. It might sound negative, but it is truly sage advice. Be ready for the long game; prepare for a 10-15 year plan and work towards that goal.