How to quit your job and in 12 months grow your eCommerce store by 300% with Daniel McClen (episode 320)

Daniel McClen is the founder at Solace Jewellery. Founded in 2015 Solace specialises in hypoallergenic jewellery, and they now on track for £250k in sales this year, which is more than triple last year.

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About Daniel

Daniel was working in finance when he started the business and says he didn’t know what he was doing initially.

He grew it intermittently for a long time and would not touch it for months at a time.

As his career continued to grow in finance he realized working for someone else  wasn’t going to make him happy. With his family growing he and his wife decided it was worth the risk to go all in with the business so Daniel could be at home more and have more flexibility.

About the Business

  • Based in the UK
  • Ships to Europe and to the USA via their Etsy store
  • Jewellery made for people with metal sensitivity
  • 99% of sales made through Shopify

Favorite Shopify apps and widgets

The team

Daniel works full time on the business and his wife, who is a midwife, handles customer service emails.

They’ve added a couple of part time employees to help with pack and ship and they outsource some small marketing elements like ad creation and copy.

Daniel also has  a part time VA that helps scaling with the business. 

Transitioning from a 9-5 to Full Time Business Owner

Daniel grew the business in parallel with his career in finance. Even though he says he sometimes wishes he had started earlier focusing on growing Solace, he also recognizes the value of having a strong finance background.

Juggling a full time job with starting an eCommerce business was tricky. Daniel says a strong morning routine and using filler time—like a commute—as an opportunity for learning were the key to his success.

He also says that understanding your own finances and being honest about how much you need to make to cover your expenses can make the transition more possible.

Creating a strong savings account, re-evaluating your expenses and making goals attached to a specific date are great ways to make the transition possible. 

Growing the Business

Four months in, Daniel says he was worried that the business wasn’t going to work. He was spinning a little, trying to drive traffic with lots of different ideas.

When he started to double down on the things that were working well already, the business started to grow like it needed to in order to sustain Daniel and his family.

Ultimately, testing and knowing when to move on is sensible and Daniel says it was an important component of the businesses growth. Had he given up too early, Daniel says he might have missed the growth that was coming and simply keeping on was a critical part of success.

Using User Feedback for Growth

Focusing on the message and evolving it to suit what customers were saying was a major growth driver for the business.

Daniel added a kids range based on the amount of reviews saying customers were buying for their daughters. He’s also amped everything up—from ads to email.

Choosing what to do is a challenge for every eCommerce owner but Daniel says being data and fiscally driven has made it easier for him to grow by focusing on AOV, which naturally increased conversion rates.

Looking Ahead

With Q4 on the doorstep, Daniel says they’ve been focusing on getting ready for the holiday surge.

Ordering stock and clearing the calendar for packing have been first priority, but Daniel’s also signed up for Spring Fair to see if wholesale might be a good option moving forward.

eCommerce Book Top Tip

eCommerce Traffic Top Tip

  • Grow your customer list by sending out regular emails.

Tool Top Tip

  • Scheduling time and moving, not deleting, things that haven’t been done.

Growth Top Tip

  • Focus on creating trust on every page of your website and all the communication you send out.

Interview Links

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