Michele Poynter is the founder of Mish, the multi-award winning lingerie boutique. It’s a bricks and clicks business founded in 2009 they are now turning over £750k per year. We talk solving customers problems, having a multi skilled team, product range expansion and more.
Without the sponsors the podcast wouldn’t be possible – please do check them out:
This episode is brought to you by SendPro Online from Pitney Bowes.
SendPro Online makes it easy to save time and money–no matter what you send or ship–and you’ll always get the best rates and never overpay!
With SendPro, you can compare shipping rates between carriers, plus save 5 cents a letter and up to 40 percent off USPS Priority Mail shipping.
As a listener you can get a FREE 30-day trial and a FREE 10 pound scale, but only when you visit pb.com/masterplan
About the Business
- Located in Cornwall, UK
- Sells worldwide
- Founded in 2009
- Bricks and Clicks business
- Platform: Woo Commerce
Michele says that her journey to owning an online business started in a rather unconventional way. While still at University she happened upon a sale where she purchased some lingerie to stash away for Christmas.
When the holiday came and the bras didn’t fit, Michele knew it was too late to return them so took a swing at selling them on eBay and was surprised when she made a profit.
Later she sought out similar sales in order to replicate the process and was successful several times–even helping pay her way through her final years at University.
When she graduated, Michele spent a year working as a way to build up some valuable experience, but left quickly in order to get back online, selling lingerie.
Mish is based in Cornwall in the UK and sells worldwide, offering a custom lingerie fitting experience that creates and retains loyal customers. The company focuses on lingerie–primarily bras and knickers– but also carries a range of nightwear, swimwear and accessories.
Mish sells a diverse range of products, effectively spreading out the risk while simultaneously increasing their ability to upsell. Michele recognizes that there are only so many bras that one customer might purchase, but by offering more products, the company is better able to retain their loyal customers and attract new ones.
Mish offers custom fitting along with size and product recommendations, a process which Michelle says can be difficult to translate online and strike a balance between keeping returns low and giving women flexibility.
Listen to learn how Mish translates the physical bra fitting to an online experience.
Platforms and Team
The online portion of the company sells primarily from the Mish website which uses WooCommerce as it’s shopping platform.
Michele says that the company sometimes uses third party platforms including eBay for clearance items and Amazon for exposure.
The primary Mish team is comprised of five in house individuals who do everything from bra fittings to facebook posts.
Contracted work includes web development and consultants for jobs that are beyond the means of the primary team.
Overall, the Mish team prefers to do ‘business as usual’ in house and pull in outside experts to learn new things or implement untested ideas.
Most of the staff members at Mish wear multiple hats, one of which is on the shop floor working directly with customers.
Michele believes that it’s important that the team work front of house in order to understand the product and customers as completely as possible.
Building a Launch Strategy Business
Running a lingerie company online is far more difficult than most retail products because of the nuances of bra fitting. Mish has nailed down how to do fittings virtually but Michele points out that for a single style in a single color, the company has to produce nearly 100 skus.
Despite these challenges, Michele says that the gratitude women express to the company for fitting them out properly gives her a good feeling. Michelle points out that while good feelings don’t pay the bills, they do make Mish feel like a great place to work.
Part of the reason Mish is such a popular company with customers is because of their tailored, customer experience focus.
Whether the the customer is in store or online, Michele says that she and her team go the distance to ensure that women walk away feeling great about the way their lingerie fits.
Listen to learn how Mish uses one size fits all accessories to balance their business.
Besides providing a bespoke fitting experience, Mish also sells a lot of ‘one size fits all’ accessories like band adjusters and anti-chaffing thigh bandelettes.
Michele says these products are great for solving common problems women have with their lingerie at a great value and points out that they are a good arm of the business, with relatively low return rates and excellent volume and wholesale pricing.
eCommerce Book Top Tip
eCommerce Traffic Top Tip
- Working with bloggers and influencers. With careful curation, working with influencers can go beyond even the initial investment as their favorite items tend to reappear in their own content.
Tool Top Tip
- Michelle says her small team keeps things simple to avoid confusion and over analyzing their process. Post it notes, she says, might be taking it a bit far–but not by much.
Growth Top Tip
- Find Something Unique and own it.
The Retail Fixers
In addition to running Mish, Michele now helps other online retail businesses succeed with her new venture, The Retail Fixers. Along with Sam Taylor of Digi Quick, Michele work with a range of clients–from start-ups to multi-million dollar businesses to solve specific problems they face. From online performance troubleshooting to transitioning from brick and mortar to bricks and clicks, Sam and Michele provide focused, one on one attention to help businesses level up online. If you want to know more about the Retail Fixers you can email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
We have 2 previous episodes with lingerie retailers: