Copper Dust’s Vanessa Agyemang – Startup, Popup shops, Wholesale Trade Shows and more (episode 094)

Vanessa Agyemang is the founder & designer of Copper Dust, a luxury British home décor brand specialising in handmade lampshades and limited edition illustrations. Launched in August 2014 they now get about 10 orders per month. Copper Dust has been spotted by such prestigious magazines as Vogue and World of Interiors

Subscribe on your Favourite Podcast App

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Spotify
Listen on Google Podcasts

copper dust london podcast
About the business

  • eCommerce Business Structure – Online Only
  • Product Range Scale – niche
  • Currently only trades in the UK, but in talks to start shipping internationally
  • Team – pretty much just Vanessa, but she uses interns for big projects. Like Top Drawer
  • On Shopify
  • Plugins: Popups and Kit

Listen to learn more about Kit, the online virtual employee.

Vanessa had worked in design and build for years, but was frustrated in her employment position. During that same time, one of her friends was renovating her house and seeking a statement piece lampshade. They searched for ages, but couldn’t find anything. Since Vanessa didn’t like where she was in her job, and since she had a design background, she decided to teach herself to make lampshades.

She enjoys fine art and has a skill for drawing, so Vanessa found that Copper Dust was a perfect opportunity to showcase her work along with the lampshades. She’d eventually like to expand into a full range of home furniture and bed linen, but for now she’s focused on her area of expertise, illustrations, with lampshades as a nice bonus.

Vanessa had her product, she just needed to get it to market. She did a lot of research and knew that eCommerce was on the rise. She had also done freelance work designing websites for clients. She didn’t want the overhead cost of paying for space, so she decided to start online where the business was easier to maintain and manage, and see where it went from there.

Most Awesome Thing Right Now

The most awesome thing for Copper Dust right now is the amount of interest generated by Vanessa’s attendance in trade shows in September, Top Drawer, and the pop up shop in Amsterdam.

Listen to learn why following up after trade shows is key.

Popup Shops

To test the waters of going international, Vanessa decided to try a brief pop-up shop in Amsterdam. Amsterdam would be good place to start in Europe, and she could make her way to the US from there.

Listen to learn how a pop-up shop can be a great way to research the market.

Tips for Approaching Wholesale Trade Events

Set goals and deadlines for yourself so you don’t become bombarded. Do as much planning up front as possible.

Listen to hear about Vanessa’s experiences at Top Drawer.

On the Radar for the Coming Months

Vanessa plans to focus on retail in boutique stores and retailers in 2017. She’d like to collaborate with other brands on a longer pop-up shop, and find different ways to put the brand out there.

eCommerce Book Top Tip

eCommerce Traffic Top Tip

  • Twitter

Listen to learn about press talk and being spotted by magazines on Twitter.

Tool Top Tip

Start Up Top Tip

Research, and when you think you’ve researched enough, research even more. Do a trial period, and then research again. Continually research!

 Interview Links