I'm so excited to kick-off our I Can Conversations series. I'll be sharing shops I love and the stories of their journeys and the obstacles they have overcome on their way to success. Today we have Shera Rowley, owner of Shop7Degrees who talks about realizing she was going in the wrong direction with her business and how she used her mistakes to become successful.
How do you know if you’re going in the wrong direction with your business? And what can happen if you’re brave enough to break away from what you were doing to create something completely different?
Shera Rowley is…well, she’s just amazing, really. No two ways about it.
She’s a wife, mom and a full-on fashionista who recognized that continuing to operate her brick-and-mortar store was taking her in the wrong direction in her entrepreneur journey. That led her to the 0-$100K System, which ultimately allowed me the phenomenal opportunity to get to know her.
I’ve also gotten to watch her amazing success with Shop7Degrees.com, an online boutique selling a completely different type of product than she’d ever sold before.
And that product was a hoodie.
There are scads of hoodies on the market, right? From the super-spendy sorts you find in high-end stores to the papery-thin kind you find at tourist stops, you almost can’t avoid them.
Here’s the thing: she took that ordinary, everyday product and made it something new and special. And that changed everything.
Shera and Shop7Degree's e-commerce entrepreneur journey is an awesome example of how to stop going in the wrong direction with your business and start going in the right one. Here are some key takeaways:
Serve your customers.
When it came to creating the kind of hoodies that women want, Shera identified the things that women actually DON’T like about most hoodies. Bulky bottoms, squared-off guy fit, and designs that bunch in all the wrong places were definitely on the “no” list. She then went to work, designing and manufacturing her own hoodies that are fashionable, functional and feminine. (Seriously—arm length? Who would think of that?!) Essentially, Shop7Degrees went from just selling a product to being something that served people by meeting their needs.
Ask your audience what they want.
It seems so dang simple, but it’s something that so many online business entrepreneurs overlook! When Shera was getting started with Shop7Degrees, she showed her samples to people and asked for their feedback. It helped her know that she had a solid product, so she’s made it part of her business model. Now she asks her audience about fabrics she’s considering—and it not only helps her know what they want, but it also gets her customers excited about upcoming pieces.
Harness the power of pre-sales.
One of the challenges that so many online clothing boutique owners face is having to carry multiple sizes…and being left with a bunch of extra smalls that aren’t selling. Shera has almost eliminated that problem by using pre-sales beautifully. She uses early bird promotions to encourage her customers to purchase even before the products are manufactured. (Please note: She knows her manufacturers super well, including how quickly they can get products to her so that her customers aren’t waiting too long!)
Another technique Shera has absolutely embraced is rewarding (repeatedly) those who have signed up for her emails. She gives them exclusive discounts, generating both repeat business and very, VERY happy customers.
Always look for ways to innovate.
No matter what products you decide to sell in your online store, innovation is key to long-term success. Shera has added different styles as well as producing hoodies in a variety of fabrics. But her big news? She’s listened to what her customers (yet again) and is getting ready to introduce new products including skirts (I cannot WAIT!) and joggers.
Are you going in the wrong direction with your business? If you sense that you are, follow in Shop7Degree's footsteps and be brave enough to try something new. The results can be pretty dang awesome.