Simon Bell is the co-founder at Immaculate Vegan, a curated fashion marketplace–for consumers who like a lot of style with their ethics. Launched in 2019, growing fast has always been part of the plan and in year 2 they’ve experienced over 300% year on year growth.
Listen now for free:
Simon worked for Unilever and The Sunday Times in a variety of marketing roles for 20-odd years. He wanted to get into the digital side of things and started out by becoming a Marketing Director of an agency focused on eCommerce. He then built his own agency — Diligent Commerce — which aims to bring fashion, luxury, and lifestyle brands to life online.
In 2018, a potential client of the agency approached him about starting a website dedicated to selling vegan fashion products. Having just turned vegan and because he was looking for a retail project to work on at the time, he offered to develop the idea with the client. And that’s how Immaculate Vegan was born.
About Immaculate Vegan
- Based in the UK
- Is a multi-brand marketplace that sells vegan products of brands from different countries
- Sells to customers all around the world
- Is on Shopify
Aside from Simon and his co-founder Annick, there are two other full-time employees. They also have part-time employees: a finance manager, an SEO specialist, and a PR manager.
They also have people helping out with content and imagery, among other tasks. But they’re looking to recruit more individuals down the road as the business grows.
When starting a business, you have to understand that you don’t know everything. Adopt a test-and-learn approach, and pivot or change things if needed.
Simon and his co-founder believed in their idea and the opportunity it presented. So they decided to launch quickly with a minimum viable product and to test and learn. This approach has proven effective for them.
Talking About Fast Growth
Simon says if you spot a good opportunity, go for it and do it fast. Otherwise, someone else will get to it before you do.
And for Simon, focusing on vegan products does not make Immaculate Vegan a niche business. Rather, it gives them the chance to also get into sustainability and ethics, which more people are getting involved in.
All of these combined have resulted to fast growth for the business.
Minimum Viable Product
For Simon using the MVP model is not only about the website but the entire cost base.
While it’s true that he wanted to launch the best website with all the trimmings, he knew doing that would take a while to develop. So instead of missing an opportunity that was already there, they launched quickly and developed along the way.
Working remotely and having part-time employees are also part of it.
It helps that Immaculate Vegan has a comprehensive profit and loss statement. It gives them a very good idea how and when they incur cost so they can manage it accordingly.
eCommerce Book Top Tip
- The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries
- The Lean Marketplace: A Practical Guide to Building a Successful Online Marketplace Business by Cristóbald Gracia and Juho Makkonen
- Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear
eCommerce Traffic Top Tip
- For Simon, it’s SEO because it’s fundamental but it doesn’t get the press it deserves. He also mentions PR, as well as free social media marketing opportunities as strategies you should get into for traffic.
Tool Top Tip
- Slack communication platform
Growth Top Tip
- Be patient, make sure you have everything in place and your business model worked out. Also have people around you who can do things better than you and be prepared to learn.
- Get 10% off your purchase on Immaculate Vegan with the code MASTERPLAN
- 052: Nineteenth Amendment’s Amanda Curtis on building a designer fashion marketplace from scratch
- 253: Ethical eCommerce and how to get to 10,000 customers in 18 months with Lucy Bloomfield
- 335: Next level fashion sustainability to satisfy a $120bn opportunity with Camilla Olsen
Without the sponsors the podcast wouldn’t be possible – please do check them out:
Recharge is the leading subscription management solution for eCommerce. Since 2014, merchants of all sizes have used Recharge’s billing and payment management solutions to grow their business by increasing customer lifetime value and reducing customer churn. Today, Recharge powers subscriptions for nearly 50 million subscribers across 15,000 merchants. Turn transactions into relationships with subscriptions powered by Recharge. Learn more.
DataHawk is a Next-Gen eCommerce Acceleration Platform for Amazon & Walmart sellers, vendors, and agencies, giving you the right selling tools and data insights to build an unfair advantage selling on the hyper-competitive eCommerce space.
Boost your FBA sales with robust Analytics and Selling Tools for SEO and Product Intelligence, Insights to Help you Increase Ad Efficiency and Margins. Unveil keyword-related market grid, Map your competitive landscape, get clean data historization, accurate sales estimates, Profit & Loss metrics, search volume, BSR, CSV Exports & API, you name it, we have it.
Try the #1 FBA Seller Software & eCommerce Analytics Platform for sellers, vendors & agencies. Sign up to DataHawk to get a 20% off on your first month of subscription. Use our promo code MASTERPLAN22 to get the offer.
ZEN.COM is an international fintech company, on a mission to provide entrepreneurs with peace of mind in managing their money and purchasing transactions.
ZEN guarantee you won’t find a better payment processing fees offer anywhere (Cards Visa and Mastercard 0,45% +0,04 EUR, Google Pay and Apple Pay 0,45% +0,04 EUR) And if you do – they’ll match them! To access these great transaction fees there’s a low €25 monthly subscription. This also gets you a whole range of other benefits including Free currency exchange, Easy integration with eCommerce platforms (as WooCommerce, Prestashop, Magento), and Online banking with a free ZEN bank account linked to your payment gateway.
Use code MASTERPLANZEN to save €50 by trying out ZEN for 60 days with no subscription fee. Save money and stay ZEN!
Full transcript to read & download:
Like to be a guest? Apply Here