When Jasmine Bailey and her partner Darcy bought the Edwards Vintage Modern clothing shop 12 months ago, their first really big change was to establish an online store. Mel talked to Jasmine about the move from Bricks and Mortar to Bricks and Clicks.
Mel: What is the biggest single change you have made to the shop since you bought it 12 months ago?
Jasmine: We started a website. So we now sell everything in the shop online. This morning I packed away a pair of jeans to go to Texas. I’ve done Doc Martins to China. Canada. California. It’s just opened up this whole new world.
Mel: Why would someone in Texas be buying something from Coffs Harbour?
Jasmine: It was a pair of Ksubi jeans. So the customer knows their style, what they’re looking for. Maybe their local store might be out of their size. Plus we’re in opposite seasons to them – so sometimes we’ve got stock they want but can’t find at home.
Mel: How does someone in Texas even find a small shop in Coffs Harbour in the vast online world?
Jasmine: Darcy is really switched on with online marketing. He’s been working on Google Adwords and Facebook advertising. So we’re pretty high up there on Google search. If you type one of our brands – Ksubi for instance – we’re usually one of the first people to come up.
Mel: Are there downsides to having an online store?
Jasmine: At the moment, it’s double the workload. You’re running a physical store and a virtual store. So if I receive something into the store it has to be received into the website as well. And then if I sell something in the store it has to be taken off the website and vice versa.
Mel: Will you be able to make the two systems more efficient in future so you don’t double up on everything?
Jasmine: Yes. We didn’t realise that the POS system we’d spent so much money on wasn’t compatible with the website. The technology can be a bit tricky. But the web host says it will only be another 12 months and it will run compatibly.
Mel: Have any of your suppliers been concerned about you selling online?
Jasmine: No – everyone’s been really supportive. They send through images and help promote our website. Only one brand has asked us to make sure we don’t undercut on price. At the end of the day we’re getting their product out to a lot more people.
Mel: What are the big risks to setting up an online store?
Jasmine: The risks are that you overspend on the website and over order on stock. And as I’ve said it’s a lot of hard work.
Mel: Do you think the risks and hard work will pay off?
Jasmine: Absolutely. I’m at the post office all day. I’ll sometimes have 30 sales to send off in one day. It’s crazy.
I’ve been working in retail in Coffs for 15 years so I know there are a lot of ups and downs in retail sales here. What we’re hoping is that the online store will help us get past that. We won’t be reliant on the spending trends in Coffs Harbour. We’ll be able to keep moving, keep growing!