As you’ve (maybe) already heard, this month Ecwid celebrates its 10th birthday! We’ve come a long way — from humble beginnings as a tiny
To celebrate the big day together, we decided to share some of your stories — successes, challenges, and where your amazing ideas began — starting, of course, with those merchants who’ve been with us from the very beginning. If you’d like to join the celebration by sharing your journey, shoot us a message at email@example.com!
This week, we bring you stationery queen Kelly Hughes, owner of Kelly Hughes Designs. Find out how Kelly’s obsession with paper, art, and color inspired a boutique brand that started as a small collection of notecard designs and grew into a thriving retail and wholesale business.
Kelly Hughes, Kelly Hughes Designs:
I started my business in 2003. I knew I wanted to have a creative business of my own — I always had a love for paper and knew it was something that I would enjoy. I started with a small collection of notecard designs that I sold at local craft fairs and markets. In 2005, I attended my first National Stationery Show in NYC and began a successful venture in the wholesale business. The launch was so much more successful than I anticipated — and the first major milestone in my business. We picked up a lot of customers at that show and still work with many of them today!
The second landmark for me was the launch of our Tabletop Collection for kids in 2007. It was one of the first of its kind in the stationery and gift market and remains the bread and butter of our business.
The business continued to grow, and the third major milestone happened in 2014. It was the shift to utilizing fulfillment companies, which allowed me to refocus my efforts on design, marketing, and
However, every business has its ups and downs. I think for me, the biggest challenge was getting through the tough economy from 2009 to 2011, combined with the shift to everything going digital. Many of our small
As my business grew and changed, so did my team. It’s had many versions over the past 15 years. Back in the beginning days of producing all of our products
Customers say our line just makes them feel happy.
No matter what changes we faced, our customers were always pleased with our products. My customers are mostly women who love our colorful and whimsical designs. Moms and grandmothers, in particular, adore our tabletop collection, blankets, and stationery for their little ones. And our modern stationery collection offers brightly colored monograms for those who keep up with the tradition of writing letters. Customers say our line just makes them feel happy.
Ecwid helps keep our customers happy too. We chose Ecwid for its capability to easily personalize products and use our storefront on multiple URLs, which allowed me to have a retail and a wholesale website. And the best part is that Ecwid makes it easy to manage both. The order management system helps keep me organized and my customers
With Ecwid, I was able to easily set up a secondary website to sell products directly to consumers — which contributed to a 20% growth in overall sales over two years. That’s pretty huge for a small business like mine. And that happened with minimal marketing and promotion, so there’s still a huge opportunity for growth to be had with this portion of my business.
At this point, I promote my store through social media (Instagram/Facebook), scheduled customer emails, and paid Facebook advertising — all through Ecwid’s platform. And I’ve seen the biggest increase in sales from email collection and regular communication. I email my customer list on a weekly basis to communicate new products and promotions. It’s just a simple reminder that we’re still here when they’re ready to shop!
My formula for success is to stay current and communicate.
Over the years, I’ve found my formula for success is to stay current and communicate. We stay in touch with customers on a regular basis and keep our social media updated, and I update our designs and our website yearly to offer our customers something fresh and new. You have to constantly be putting yourself out there, so your customers don’t forget that you’re there.
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