Nicolas Metzkeis the co-founder and CEO at Melvin & Hamilton Digital, a high-end brand selling shoes and accessories. The brand has been around since 1988 and launched online in 2012 they now the site sells 80,000 shoes a year and annual sales is over €7m.
Nicolas has been working in online media since he graduated with his diploma in marketing — but never eCommerce specifically until his work with Melvin Hamilton.
He worked for Apple for a few years in Cupertino which had a big impact on his perception. Surrounded by the start up culture, Nicolas got inspired to pursue a business of his own.
When he returned to Europe he started a price comparison company with some co-founders. That experience allowed him to see the entire business cycle from start up to sale.
When he was in the same cycle with a different new venture, some old friends contacted him about working for Melvins and the rest is history.
About Melvin & Hamilton
Melvin & Hamilton is a shoes and accessories fashion brand with new Winter and Summer Collections every year. The products are fabricated in India, where most of the work is hand-crafted.
They’ve focused on environmental issues, especially water usage. The series are small in comparison, with a collection that consists of several hundred models per collection, that are changed out every 6 months.
While they don’t manufacture to the order, the collections are not the same year on year. The company is well known for their traditional English shoe with a modern and fashionable twist.
- Sells across Europe in over 20 countries
- Shops selling 5 language — German, French, English, Dutch and Polish
- Magento Platform, started in 2012 and upgraded through Magento 1, but started shopping around when Magento 2 was pushed out.
- Final step of migrating to Spryker
- Redesigned website for migration
Growing a business in Europe is challenging from many different angles.
At Melvin, everything is done in house which Nicolas says can be tricky considering the degree of customization needed to sell across Europe—including dealing with everything from VAT regulation to cultural nuance.
For the Melvin-Hamilton D2C business, there are close to 20 people made up of a tech team, merchandising, customer support, marketing (renamed content and social media), customer acquisition, accounting and Nicolas himself.
- Customer acquisition and merchandising team — Committed to making the most of the existing product catalog to drive acquisition and sales.
- Content and Social Media Team — mission to build relationships and make the brand more expressive. This team also makes content and looks at SEO
- Shop Management and Customer Loyalty — dedicated to repeat and returning customers. Success is measured by MPS scores, return rates
Nicolas is experimenting with the best way to build a marketing department and says that it’s always changing.
Content takes a lot of time and is expensive and can be unpredictable. It can be extremely hard to predict what content will be successful and what won’t. It helps that the team is located in Paris, but even the beautiful streets don’t guarantee success.
The team have become their own toughest critics and are editing ruthlessly to ensure the best content is what gets published.
eCommerce Book Top Tip
- The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google by Scott Galloway
eCommerce Traffic Top Tip
- Email Marketing—working your own customer base is really the first thing you should do to build a relationship with your customers
Tool Top Tip
- Canva — easy creative tool
Growth Top Tip
- Marketplaces for growing fast,
- Maxwell Scott Bags’ William Forshaw discusses selling internationally, and the power of a luxury brand
- Tanya Heath Paris’ Tanya Heath on luxury fashion, international eCommerce and why her new site will be on Magento
- Marketing Foundations: Your Team, how to work remotely successfully with Shauna Moran
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