This past week Sean and I attended an E-Commerce Conference called Modern Commerce here in Charleston held by eHouse Studio and Shopify Plus. I had the opportunity to listen to people speak from brands like Magnolia, Southern Tide, Draper James, Gerber and Kopari to name a few. These are brands I look up to so I was super excited to listen to them speak and try to pick up some wisdom! It was a great networking event for United Monograms and got us thinking about a lot of things we can improve on, as well as made us realize things we are doing a great job at.
After listening to these speakers, a few things stuck with me and have me thinking more about them today. 1. Content is KEY and we need to be doing more of it. 2. People want RELATABILITY and 3. FAILURE is not always a bad thing and EVERYONE is failing in some way even when everything looks perfect via social.
The one speaker who really resonated with me was Helen Nightingale, the Director of E-Commerce for Draper James. Maybe seeing Reese Witherspoon’s face all over the slideshow drew me in, but her presentation was awesome and so thought provoking. The title of her presentation was ‘Dress for Success: How One Dress Changed Our Business.’ Helen talked about their best selling dress and why it sold so well. They literally cannot keep stock of it since they released it in Fall 2018. Here is the dress that they cannot keep stock of for months and months. They have had to re-order it many times. Can you guess WHY this dress or more specifically, this photo of this dress, did so well?
‘Celebrities, they’re just like us!’ right? Everyone loves when celebrities feel RELATABLE. In this photo, Reese is in the kitchen, hair looks a little messier (even though it still looks perfect!), looking comfy and casual. All women feel like they can relate to this photo. This makes them feel like they can look and feel great in that dress too! Draper James uses a ton of photos with Reese in them, but this one just really spoke to the people! Most of their photos range from 3,000-6,000 likes, this one almost reaching 19,000. This reiterated the fact to me that people want to see the relatable stuff. Yes, a pretty picture is a pretty picture – but at the end of the day people want to feel a connection. For United Monograms, I know we can show more of the behind the scenes, day to day, not so pretty things. Also, in the photos we’re posting – people want to see the item being worn at normal everyday life events and activities not always just pretty people posing. On the business and analytics side – if something works well, you have to break it down piece and piece and figure out why it worked so well and try that strategy again in the future! They took this photo, broke it down, and used this in their marketing strategy moving forward. It is crazy how one image can change your whole business, but that is the beauty of Instagram and social media!
Another great presentation was done by the CMO and Director of Guest Services at Magnolia. Hearing about how great it is having Chip and Joanna as your boss was fun, but the main thing I learned from these guys was that even the big/super successful companies make the same dumb, silly, idiotic-feeling, money looseing mistakes we do on a daily basis. The name of their presentation was ‘Fail Smarter’ which is something everyone can learn to do. They started off by reading us the ‘Magnolia Manifesto’ that is such an awesome mantra.
I think everyone can relate to this and only have positive thoughts when they read it. My favorite line from this manifesto is: “We believe that failure needn’t be a negative thing; rather, we learn from our mistakes and fail smarter next time” We have already had a lot of practice with this. Going through some ups and downs over the years has been tiresome, but we always get smarter. We know not to give up when those rough patches hit. It was nice to hear it reinforced over & over that ALL companies make mistakes. Making mistakes is OKAY, as long as you learn from them.
The last presenter, the CEO of The Goulet Pen Company, talked all about CONTENT and why it is so important to be creating it constantly. This guy and his wife have been making content about FOUNTAIN PENS for years and years… and people actually care about it! In fact, 130,000+ people subscribe to their YouTube Channel. Very impressive. They found a niche and now have a large following of fellow pen lovers. This shows that people will start to care if you keep putting it out. Consistency is key. They have over 1,500 videos on YouTube. They went back and showed us their first video from years ago. It is safe to say they just went for it when they first started, and didn’t wait for ‘the perfect time to start’. You can see their set up, camera, audio was not the best – and that’s okay! They decided they wanted to make some content, and just started recording. Very authentic and cool to see!
Overall, the conference was a great event for us to attend. It struck up a lot of conversations and we have a bunch of things we’ll be working on moving forward! It’s all about execution, daily effort & consistency over long periods of time. We will take some of the lessons from the conference and continue to grow United Monograms – We know one day we will have a great success story that other young business can study & learn from!