Ever wondered what a day in the life of an online retailer might be like during the pandemic?
E-commerce may be the safest industry to be in during the pandemic, given that the need to be physically present when making a purchase is diminished.
We spoke to online retailer Verge Girl founders, sisters Natalia and Daniella Dionyssiou, to find out the coronavirus pandemic has affected their business since it began.
Verge Girl was founded in Brisbane city in 2007 with the mission to provide young women with affordable and cool clothing.
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What inspired you both to found Verge Girl?
There was really not much on offer for young women who wanted new and exciting clothing, but who were also on a budget. The market was really about higher-priced labels or super cheap clothes.
Filling this gap is what inspired us to start in the first place. Our goal was, and still is, to help young women feel confident and look cool without breaking the bank.
We started our online store seven years ago, which completely blew our expectations. We grew over 1000% in our first year and haven’t stopped growing since. We are now purely an online-based company.
What challenges has the pandemic brought up for Verge Girl as an online retailer?
Apart from making small changes like social distancing in our warehouse and sanitising the office, our sales have grown rapidly and we are proud to be able to have not only kept all our staff on but also hired a number of new team members.
One challenge we did face was the cost of air freight for getting stock into our warehouse. We were paying five-to-six times the cost of shipping, however, we have had no choice as the demand for stock has been so great.
We have purchased another warehouse, which we are working on, and also leased the warehouse next door to our current space in order to cope with stock volumes and sales growth.
I think the pandemic has forced all business owners to work out how to sell their products or services using an online business model and to be more creative, think outside the box and go against the grain.
Female clothing is a competitive space. How have you made Verge Girl stand out from the crowd?
We think having a product that not only meets but exceeds customers needs, and also a brand that speaks to the customer on a deeper level and relates to them in a more personal way, is really important.
We donate 10% of all profits to charity; this is something that means a lot to us personally and we know that our customers appreciate this as well. It makes people feel like they are a part of something bigger. We have put a lot of effort into creating a brand that inspires women to look cool, feel confident and be inspired.
Can you run me through what your average day looks like from start to finish?
Our days are similar but different:
- Wake up at around 6:30-7am, I have a two-year-old son so my morning is pretty hectic; getting myself organised for work and him organised for daycare is a top priority for me in the morning.
- I usually head into work around 9am and the first thing I would usually do is check my emails and respond to anything urgent.
- Make myself a tea or coffee and sit down to have my meetings with our design team and buyers.
- My day is a combination of working with my team and on emails.
- I pick my son up around 4pm and then head home to cook dinner and start my nightly routine.
- Wake up usually around 7am. I don’t really eat breakfast very often so I just get myself ready and head into work around 8-9am.
- I’m constantly on my phone for work, so I usually have a quick look at my emails before I head into work but will only reply to anything urgent.
- Once I head into the office I will make myself a tea and sit down and start my daily list/emails; I am a big list person.
- I am usually on emails most of the day.
- I also fit in a marketing meeting with our team most days and also sit down with our customer service team and warehouse management team a couple of days a week, as well to go through anything that needs to be discussed.
- I will usually finish work around 4-5pm and will head out for a wine and dinner, or head home and start cooking.
What are your future goals for the business in the new normal?
Our team is considering a range of strategic initiatives for 2021-2022 designed to further grow the business. These include a step up in brand and advertising spend and further investment in business infrastructure and systems.
What advice would you give to new entrepreneurs hoping to make it as an online retailer?
I think something that we would have told ourselves when we first started and I would also pass onto new business owners/entrepreneurs is to be bold and not to sweat the small stuff.
Confidence is key and love what you do!