This post was written by Carmen, a student in my Create A Profitable Online Store Course.
As part of running my blog and course, I often get questions about whether it’s possible to start a successful online store outside of the United States.
So today, I’m happy to share Carmen’s store Vizcosa, a business based in Australia that sells kaftans and resort wear.
Now what’s cool about Carmen’s story is that she validated her niche on Facebook before investing a lot of money into her business and got immediate results.
She ended up doing 4 figures in her first month and today, she makes
4 figures per week 6 figures per year and consistently sells out her inventory!
Read about Carmen’s story below.
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The Inspiration Behind My Shop
An entrepreneur at heart, I have always dreamed of having the freedom of being my own boss, the freedom of making my own decisions and the chance to have a positive impact on other people’s lives in some kind of way.
If you are reading this post on Steves’s blog, I know you can relate to the feeling of being trapped in an environment where you are not happy purely because you need permission to be yourself and that can be very frustrating.
I started my online store while still working full time with the aim of retiring one day and being able to grow my business into my full time occupation, and I must say that I am well on track to reaching that goal.
I have always loved listening to business podcasts and one lucky day I came across MyWifeQuitHerJob.com and fell in love with it immediately. From the name of the blog to the content, Steve is truly one of the best business coaches out there. I got a lot of tips and inspiration from the experiences shared by his podcast guests.
But enough about me, here is a little more about the process of finding my niche and the results I achieved so far with my shop in just 4 months!
How I Found My Niche
I am based in Australia and currently run an online store called Vizcosa, where I sell kaftans and beach cover ups. If you’ve never heard of them, kaftans are loose fitting women’s (or men’s) dresses made on light color fabrics ideal to wear at the beach, but glamorous and exotic enough to wear to a wedding or special event.
Living in Australia, I am a big lover of summer and resort wear. I wear maxi dresses 90% of the time and I wanted to find a product to sell that I resonated with and loved.
My friends would often compliment me on my dresses but I noted that they would always finish the sentence with “that would never look good on me” or “it’s lovely but not my style”.
These comments made me want to sell a product that not only I would wear, but styles that other women would also like as well. So I decided to investigate and do a bit of research before diving into buying stock or creating my website.
I knew my first step would be to find out exactly what type of dresses women would be comfortable wearing.
Editors Note: It is extremely important to validate your products BEFORE you invest any significant money into your business.
Originally I decided to put together a survey on Survey Monkey and send it to my friends asking about their favorite types of holiday dresses and clothing.
But after careful consideration, I decided to skip my friends and family and approach total strangers for their opinion instead.
The survey consisted of 10 questions which were focused on the types of dresses to wear for what occasion and why they would choose a particular one.
I was blown away with the results as I discovered that there were specific styles of dresses that appealed to specific age groups. This information gave me the confidence to go ahead and start testing my product.
Editor’s Note: When you get a chance Carmen, would you mind explaining who you ended up sending the survey out to and how you found these people?
Once I felt that there was a market for the product, I went ahead and created an online community in order to validate the concept.
How I Got My First Sale
I remember listening to an interview on Steve’s blog with Ryan Moran, and I decided to apply the same principles he used to launch his yoga mat business.
I created a facebook page were I posted tips and useful content about resort wear, and to my surprise people started to message me asking where could they buy my products.
Editor’s Note: You can check out Carmen’s Facebook page by clicking here
So I rushed to put the online store together and purchased my first few pieces to sell.
Once the store was ready, I messaged my prospects back with prices and benefits as to why they should shop with us and to my surprise, I got my first sale immediately after I launched.
I was over the moon!
I continued to be responsive to my customers’ requests on my Facebook page and sales continued to come in at a slow pace, but well beyond my expectation.
I made 4 figures in profit in my first month, and I did not even plan to have a store during my first month at all, so I was very happy with the outcome.
Fast forward 4 months later, I have continued to invest in Facebook ads and to grow my traffic, which has resulted in my business now making 4 figures per week and sold out inventory.
Looking Towards The Future
I am very excited for what the future holds. I have barely explored any other forms of marketing other than Facebook so I cannot wait to start doing Google AdWords, and other marketing tools Steve had featured on his blog and podcast.
I have just started to source my products from Asia after a lot of research on Alibaba. This has not being an easy task, but I’m lucky that I have come across honest suppliers with amazing product quality.
This is just the start, but I am confident there is more to learn and implement. I am a student on Steve’s course and I will be going back to all the AdWords tutorials to start my AdWords campaigns.
- Implement the things you learn: If you listen to a podcast or read a blog post or watch a video that teaches you different ways you can start or grow your business, go ahead and implement at least one of the learnings. I did and have gotten great results so far.
- Do your research: There are tools such Terapeak that can help you figure out the potential of your product. Even if you don’t have money to invest in tools, take advantage of the free trials to start with.
- Be open minded: Sometimes you set your mind on a specific product you like, but if you ask other people’s opinion, you will find the perfect combination between what you love and what others would buy.
- Stay away from family and friends: Out of love and concern, they may tell you what you want to hear instead of what they really think. Do your research outside your circle to get cleaner and better insights
- Be responsive: My Facebook fans started to ask questions and I made sure to respond fast even when I did not have a product to sell. I made sure I showed interest in their questions and I left no comments unanswered ever!
- Ask for opinions and feedback: Your customers will tell you what they want. And by listening to them, you can make your buying decisions based on real information.
I look forward to check back in a few months and let you all know how things are going!
Editor’s Note: If you are interested in starting your own online store, then click here to check out my class
Related Posts In Student Shops
- Student Shop: How Brandon Started A Profitable Online Store Selling Backyard Games
- Student Story: How Toni Made 100K In A Single Month Selling Jewelry On Amazon
- Student Story: How Lauren Makes 6 Figures Selling On Amazon And Her 2 Prong Approach To Ecommerce
- Student Shop: Selling Fabric Wall Decals At SunnyDecals.Com
- How My Student Tracey Sells Products In The United States From A Foreign Country
Steve Chou is a highly recognized influencer in the ecommerce space and has taught thousands of students how to effectively sell physical products online over at ProfitableOnlineStore.com.
His blog, MyWifeQuitHerJob.com, has been featured in Forbes, Inc, The New York Times, Entrepreneur and MSNBC.
He's also a contributing author for BigCommerce, Klaviyo, ManyChat, Printful, Privy, CXL, Ecommerce Fuel, GlockApps, Privy, Social Media Examiner, Web Designer Depot, Sumo and other leading business publications.
In addition, he runs a popular ecommerce podcast, My Wife Quit Her Job, which is a top 25 marketing show on all of Apple Podcasts.
To stay up to date with all of the latest ecommerce trends, Steve runs a 7 figure ecommerce store, BumblebeeLinens.com, with his wife and puts on an annual ecommerce conference called The Sellers Summit.
Steve carries both a bachelors and a masters degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University. Despite majoring in electrical engineering, he spent a good portion of his graduate education studying entrepreneurship and the mechanics of running small businesses.