I am Tamara the founder and owner of Essentially Tamara, a small New Zealand business with big aspirations. I would love you to come along with me on my journey as I navigate and discover how to successfully run and grow a small business.
It has been a really exciting week for the business this week. The long journey of planning to get our website rebuilt and launched was realised this past Tuesday. It looks amazing, but having created a new wholesale portal on the website created quite a headache as I tried to explain to my stockists how to register and create a login that would give them access to the wholesale portal. The phone didn't stop ringing and emails piled in, but we got there!
I think one of the things I love the most about my new website is that I can manage it myself without always needing to contact my website developer to make even the smallest changes. This was the case with my last website which was built on WordPress. I am sure that in the hands of a pro, WordPress it is a great platform, but let me be very clear, I am not that person! I am, however, loving my new Shopify store!
Another exciting thing that happened this week is that my SEO journey started. I have always heard how Facebook, Instagram and Goole are fantastic platforms to advertise on. I have occasionally dabbled, tried to create a Facebook ad, allocated $10 a day to run the ad, ran it for 7 days and just crossed fingers and hoped that something magical would happen, it never did.
My understanding of SEO and social media advertising is incredibly limited, so I employed the services of a very reputable SEO company to help me on this journey. My goal is to grow my company and hopefully expand internationally. I am aware that organic advertising and word of mouth will not get me the result I want, so I took the leap. I heard someone say once that in business it is always good to find people who love to play with what you have to work at. And so I did just that.
In the weeks that follow, I'll keep you updated on how SEO and social medial ads are working for the business.
And finally, the Gift Fair is happening this Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. This will be the first Gift Fair in over a year. Since the last expo last year March, 3 Gift Fairs were planned that never went ahead due to the dreaded covid. The last March Fair was not well attended at all as people were just becoming aware of covid and the fear factor had set in. Most people were already practising social distancing and many did not want to venture out and mingle.
This particular Fair has already been cancelled once as Auckland had to move into Level 3 lockdown in March when the Fair was due to happen. Thank goodness the organisers were able to reschedule the Fair to this weekend.
The Gift Fairs are an essential part of our business and without them we really do feel the strain. We are incredibly excited about the next 3 days, it is always great to catch up with our existing stockists and wonderful to welcome new stockists on board. Fingers crossed that it all runs smoothly, I'll keep you updated.
So, what are some take-aways from this week? What have I learned and what will help me become a better business woman?
1. Without doubt, I should have spent more time communicating with my stockists and keeping them informed about the new website and how to create a wholesale log-in. This would have meant far less stress for them and for me. I will definitely follow up with my stockists over the coming weeks to make sure that they are comfortable with the new ordering system and if there is anything I can do to streamline the process.
2. I am notoriously very careful with my money and deciding to go all in down the SEO and social media advertising route was a HUGE swallow for me. I decided that if I was going to do this, I really needed to give it every opportunity to succeed, so I went with a big and very reputable company, rather than a one-man-band. 'Penny-wise and pound-foolish' has burnt me far too many times in the past. I committed to what they advised me a decent monthly Ad words spend would be, and now I wait. I am learning to trust my gut and that it takes money to make money, even though the spending part of it is uncomfortable, it needs to be done.
This has been the first time I have ever set down to write a blog. Preparing to do it has not been easy for me as I have never felt that I was strong at writing and putting my thoughts down on paper. But actually sitting down to do this has been very cathartic and I have really enjoyed the experience. I feel that it has been very valuable to be able to look back at my week, analyse what I have done well and not so well. Learn from my mistakes and learn to take time to be proud of myself. This has definitely been my 3rd lesson, we are so much more capable than we give ourselves credit for.
I look forward to meeting you back here next week for my next post.
Thank you for coming along on my journey with me and wishing you a fantastic week ahead.