Luke Carthy is a well known eCommerce CRO and SEO specialist, and now the founder of Afro Drops the new start up we’ll be following throughout 2021.
Luke says he got into eCommerce as a teenager because he wanted a new car.
At that time, eBay was really beginning to take off and the must have item on everyone’s wish list were flat screen tvs. Luke saw how eye wateringly expensive HDMI cables were, so he sourced his own and started selling them on eBay.
Luke was hooked right away and has been working in eCommerce ever since.
Afro Drops is the perfect combination of Luke’s passion for afro hair and growing representation with his deep knowledge of tech, eCommerce, and making things.
In a sense, having his own business is like having a sandbox to play in—one that he jokes just happens to be sitting on top of a mortgage payment and his entire career.
Building vs Buying
Luke wanted to grow the business from scratch rather than buy because he really wanted to do it in a way that he could influence every piece.
He’s bootstrapping it at his own speed and is happy to be the first and last word on the business
About the Business
- Brand built to empower, celebrate and acknowledge that Afro hair care is beautiful and natural hair should be worn with pride.
- Fighting Afro hair oppression and making hair as equal was possible
- Resells existing products from brands that sell Afro hair care products
- Starting with 140 products
- Content marketing heavy
- Selling in the UK primarily, but ships globally with a few exceptions
Why a Marketplace
Luke says he would have loved to have the investment necessary to create his own product and take it to market, but ultimately felt like he could have better success as a reseller to start.
The online market space is good in the beauty industry and Luke says that there are a huge number of Afro hair care products on the market already.
Luke loves WooCommerce for a lot of reasons, SEO flexibility being a really big one, but he says that owning the platform is a huge benefit.
He also point out that the whole site cost about 150 pounds, including all the great plugins they are using.
Luke has invested in working with a web developer to customize the site to malke oit much faster than a typical, out of the box WordPress and WooCommerce setup.
They’ve focused on building the site with filters that allow for an emphasis on personalization. Primarily, Luke says he will be focusing on building lots of great content
Luke’s is a team of one, but he says ‘we’ to reference the great freelancers who make up his team.
6 Month Plan
Luke wants Afro Drops to be a brand first and a marketplace second. To get going, he’s been intentionally keeping things loose.
They did a very soft launch intentionally so he could get all the nosy people out of the way. Once everyone’s had a peek, Luke can start building in pixels, ads and more.
He says that he wants to focus primarily on content marketing—building the site so that Afro Drops can grow into a primary education center for people wanting to know more about Afro hair.
He also sees the future building on education, activism and giving back.
eCommerce Book Top Tip
- Obviously Awesome: How to Nail Product Positioning so Customers Get It, Buy It, Love It by April Dunford
eCommerce Traffic Top Tip
- Email—Doing email properly—as in—“I want to receive these emails”
Tool Top Tip
- Notion—What Google Docs should have been in the first place
Growth Top Tip
- Understand why those 100 customers are your customers in the first place before you try to increase that base.
- Influencer marketing, Pinterest Ads, and Lead Gen Quizzes with Simon Driscoll from UXB Skincare
- Analytics. Getting the data you need to Keep Optimising with Luke Carthy
- Luke Carthy explains Technical SEO 101
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