Welcome to our exciting new series on the AbandonAid blog: Tales from the Trenches. Each week, you’ll get to meet an online shop owner or e-commerce site manager. They will share their personal journey, tips & tricks, and advice they wish someone had given them! Catch up on thewhole series here.
Name: Natasha Barber
Company: SKEANIE Shoes for Kids
Thanks for joining us Natasha. Please, tell us a little about your business.
SKEANIE Shoes for Kids designs high quality leather shoes for children. SKEANIE is an Associate Partner of The Australian Podiatry Association and our Classic Pre-Walkers have been awarded the Seal of Acceptance by The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). SKEANIE Shoes for Kids are designed in Australia and are Fair Trade Made.
Those are impressive credentials! How did you get the idea for this product?
While traveling with my family in Denmark, I purchased a pair of soft-soled leather shoes for our 3 month old son. When we returned to Australia, I had trouble finding a replacement pair for a reasonable price and quality.
I started to work on creating leather shoes that would ensure the natural movement of babies’ feet without obstructing soft bone cartilage, tissue, muscles, or nerves.
A significant amount of research was undertaken, and I reached out to reputable suppliers, designers, podiatrists, suppliers, and manufactures worldwide to help create super-soft shoes that were light and flexible.
As I have a background in web development, the online sphere was part of our sales plan from the beginning. Today, I’m confident SKEANIE has helped support children’s feet all over the world.
I have no doubt that you’re right. Has there been any big win in your company lately that you’re particularly proud of?
We recently exhibited at the CBME SEA Trade Show in Singapore. SKEANIE Shoes for Kids was extremely well received, and is now on the way to being distributed in a number of Asian countries.
Congratulations! That’s very exciting. It certainly seems like business is great. Tell us, what is a typical day-in-the-life of a successful online shop owner like yourself?
I start my day by checking in on what is happening with online orders and emails, then get the children ready for school, drop them off, and head to the office. My days can be quite varied; one day might be spent designing products, the next at a photo shoot, and then the next I might be going to meetings. The variety certainly keeps it interesting.
It seems like you’re very busy. What is the hardest part of being an online shop owner? What is the best part?
My greatest challenge is my work/life balance, that juggling act of managing both a business and a family. But this challenge is also the best part of being an online shop owner, as I have the flexibility to run my business and spend time with my family.
I’m sure your family is very proud of your success, and patient even during the busiest seasons. Speaking of, have you started your Holiday 2015 preparations yet?
Yes, our production is in full swing, and the shipments are due to arrive in our warehouse with plenty of time for the holiday season.
Good luck! You mentioned your background in web development and your choice of an online sales strategy from day one. How do you think the e-commerce landscape is shifting?
I think that e-commerce is an important sales channel that will only continue to grow in the future.
As someone who has long been active in the online marketplace, have you seen a difference in your revenue and business since using abandonment emails to tackle the challenge of shopping cart abandonment?
The shopping cart abandonment emails are a great idea. I have definitely seen growth in our revenue and business since we began sending them.
Finally, Natasha, what advice and final words would you give to new shop owners?
I believe it’s always important to have a clear vision for your business and identify what you want to achieve every year. I value good ethics in business, and my team is an extension of my family. It’s important that I keep ahead of industry trends to stay relevant and up to date with the industry. I am thankful that Australians have embraced SKEANIE, and have allowed me to continue to develop elegant and practical footwear for kids.
One piece of advice I will always give to anyone looking into starting their own business is, “Love what you do!” As a small business owner you spend so much of your time working on your business, nurturing and building it, that you really need to love and enjoy what you do.