Lucy Bloomfield is an ex retailer. She grew her eCommerce business, Trefiel, to over 10,000 customers in just 18 months, then decided to close it and re-focus on helping online retailers replicate her success. She’s also on a mission to see eCommerce become far less damaging to the planet, and that’s what she’s joining us to talk about today.
2020 eCommerce MasterPlan Growth Series sponsored by Omnisend
This episode is part of our annual growth series – you can find out all about how it can help you grow your business and links to the rest of the episodes here.
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About the Business
- Grew her eCommerce company, Trefiel to 10,000 customer in less than 18 months
- Started 10000customers.com to help other businesses achieve success
- Is focused on the ethical side of eCommerce
- Redirects the negative associations with sales people and helps eCommerce entrepreneurs start selling their product
How Lucy got started
Lucy was travelling the world, working for a US based cyber-security company remotely, when she eventually decided she was ready to move on from that kind of work.
A friend of hers had an eCommerce company that was doing business in the 100’s of thousand monthly and she decided to give it a go. Lucy and her business partner tracked down a great product, a lace sheet mask, and started importing it and Trefiel was born.
Trefiel was built on the WooCommerce Platform, largely because Lucy’s background in coding and web design made it seem like a natural choice. Like many people, Luch found that Woo Commerce gave her more control and was cheaper.
She is a big fan of the Fox eCommerce theme and her favorite plugins were the Upgraded Woo Commerce packet. The other driving force in structuring the business was an emphasis on creating a location independent business and team structure.
For Lucy, location independence was key. The Cyber Security Company she worked for allowed her to travel and work remotely and she knew she wanted to build her new business as location independent.
Trefiel functioned with 50% of employees being western contractors and 50% overseas contractors. In retrospect, Lucy says they could have hired even fewer people overall and run the business more efficiently. If you want to be location independent, it’s crucial to focus on the basic needs of the business and think before you hire.
By staying more focused on processes and automation over hiring, you’ll save money and coordination efforts. Stripping the business down to its essentials and finding process solutions make location independence possible.
Trefiel functioned with 50% of employees being western contractors and 50% overseas contractors. In retrospect, Lucy says they could have hired even fewer people overall and run the business more efficiently.
If you want to be location independent, it’s crucial to focus on the basic needs of the business and think before you hire. By staying more focused on processes and automation over hiring, you’ll save money and coordination efforts. Stripping the business down to its essentials and finding process solutions make location independence possible.
Trefiel grew fast. For the first six months, Lucy was in the business alone and says that like many eCommerce entrepreneurs, she was terrified of sales. The consequence was that she focused entirely on the brand. Building brand is a good long term strategy, but in terms of scaling a business rapidly, it’s the worst thing you can do.
For the first six months, very little happened and Trefiel didn’t see more than 2k in revenue monthly. After six months things started to accelerate a little and they began seeing revenue numbers around 8k. When her business partner came on board full time, they took the brand to 50k a month sales. So what did they do? In a word, they switched their focus from brand to sales.
Tips for Accelerating Growth
- Spend your time selling
- Focus on Niching
- Map your product against your customer’s internal world
- Who they fear they are not
- Who they really want to be
- What they really want
- What they fear they won’t get
- How the product helps them get them what they want
eCommerce and Ethical Business
Lucy’s passion is helping people build successful businesses that have an ethical basis. In order to help people understand how they can be more ethical, she has broken the logic down into three distinct areas.
Three Pillars of eCommerce Business Ethics
- Product—The way your product is made and what is in it.
- Processes—The way you actually run your business—basic business strategy.
- Profit—Easy to scale an eCommerce business and make a lot of money, but there is an opportunity to give back, drive change and create a new paradigm.
Ethics and Growth
Sales and accelerated growth is not a bad thing. You are ultimately helping your customer get from A to B and be more the person they want to be by using your product. Lucy says that it’s how you do it that matters.
There is a sea change coming and Millennials and Generation Z are already becoming hyper aware about ethics and social giving. It was estimated by Richard Bransen at his summit that in ten years, businesses will be required to have a social give back element in order to succeed. For businesses that are currently rooted in ethically muddy waters, Lucy says there is an amazing opportunity for a Hero’s Tale turnaround.
By changing ethically unsound practices and launching a brand refresh based on a new story, there is a ton of room to build a business that is not only more future proofed, but has huge economic opportunities as well.
Where Should I Start Being More Ethical?
The best place for businesses to start building a more ethical business is in their packaging. Massively reducing your waste, wherever possible, is the best thing businesses can do right now.
Thinking About Sales Differently
People who are terrified of sales often need to think about sales in a different way. Lucy uses the analogy of a see-saw—on one side of the seesaw is the traditional sales-person who we often think of as deceitful, won’t take no for an answer, bull.
On the other side is a doormat—someone who is too afraid to do anything or promote their product at all. Lucy says that finding the balance between these two personality types is key. By taking the best traits from both of these, Lucy says you’ll find a good sales balance.
Best Personality Traits of the Deceiver (Sales-Person)
- care about the business’s bottom line unashamedly
Best Personality Traits of the Doormat
- have a great heart
- care about their customers
- care about their product
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eCommerce Book Top Tip
- Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: The Classic Guide to Creating Great Ads by Luke Sullivan and Sam Bennett
- The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
- Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
eCommerce Traffic Top Tip
- Time not spent on sales is wasted time. Invest in paid advertising channels, and focus on purchase entry giveaway campaigns.
Tool Top Tip
Growth Top Tip
- Your time should be spent on a paid advertising channel that has the ability to scale immensely
- Goat Milk Stuff’s PJ Jonas on growing an eCommerce business to $1m and improving efficiency
- Allergy Best Buy’s Andrew Wilson on buying an online only eCommerce business and content marketing
- Launching an ethical business and achieving 500% YoY growth by year 3 with Julie Mathers of Flora & Fauna
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