Nic Haralambous – email marketing, getting focused in 2018, and when it’s good to cut back (episode 145)

Nic Haralmbous is the founder of South African bricks and clicks retailer and style company Nic Harry. Nic launched the business in 2012 focusing on socks, and now turnovers almost $1m per year. And have also just gone through a restructuring process to reduce the number of physical stores and team members.

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nic harry podcast
About the business

  • eCommerce Business Structure – Bricks and Clicks
  • Product Range Scale – niche
  • Based in Cape Town, South Africa – sells worldwide
  • On Shopify
  • Plugins – Conversio, Intercom, Shogun

Listen to learn how Nic is using drip campaigns for automated emails and funnels.

Getting Started

Nic has always been interested in the internet. He built his first website when he was about ten years old, and had been working in eCommerce for over a decade by helping big business and his employers get online before starting Nic Harry in 2012.

When he left his previous start up, he had some capital from the exit. He was unhappy with the quality, style, and price of the socks he was wearing at the time, so with his partner’s encouragement, he found a manufacturer in Cape Town, set budget and time restraints, and set off to see if they could make socks locally. Within the first ten days, they had sold over 500 pairs of socks, and the $500 they had budgeted had become close to $3,000.

Listen to learn how putting restraints on your business can help you decide what’s most relevant to your business and what will move the needle.

Restructure and Reduction

Nic Harry opened their first physical store about two years after their launch, and continued opening a new store about every three months until they had five physical locations. With that came a lot of growing pains and complications, and to further complicate things, the stores were spread out around the country, resulting in five stores in three provinces. They scaled quicker than they could manage.

Then the retail recession hit. The global retail industry is collapsing. In America alone, 12,000 retail outlets closed down in 2017, and 9,000 more are estimated to close down in 2018. America also had 350 malls close down in 2017.

The industry collapse led to Nic Harry cutting back on the number of stores they had, and they cut their team from 22 to about 12 members. Now they have only their profitable stores and their eCommerce platform left.

Listen to learn about trading density, how to calculate it, and why it’s important.

The Team

Currently, Nic has a couple guys in the head office helping him with picking, packing, logistics, online marketing, managing subscriptions, and ambassadors. However, he’s hoping to soon outsource logistics to a partner who can pick, pack, ship, and warehouse for him so he can focus on marketing, driving website sales, and product design.


Nic is moving from his current ambassador program of giving free products to people with big social media followings to a program of making the customers who buy from them ambassadors at a unique ambassador price. Instead of using influencer ambassadors, he will be rewarding his best customers. If a customer believes in the brand and the business, then they should buy from it and support it. Their mantra is “We reward loyalty and we promote loyalty.”

Listen to learn why, although the subscription is still an option for customers, the focus is on making customers feel great so they decide to come back on their own.

Most Awesome Thing Right Now

The most awesome thing right now is focus. The team at Nic Harry is dedicated to doing what they do and doing it better. Entrepreneurs have to learn to say “no,” and this year, Nic has decided to do just that. They’re going to make better and more interesting products, and deliver those products to their customers quicker and more efficiently.

eCommerce Book Top Tip

Visit Nic’s Goodreads page to see what else he’s reading. He reviews and rates every book he reads.

eCommerce Traffic Top Tip

  • Email newsletters
  • Word of mouth

You can hear about all this on the podcast, for free – right now…

Tool Top Tip

  • Slack

Listen to learn how to integrate Shopify sales on Slack using the app Slacky.

Growth Top Tip

For growth, Nic focused on email. He zeroed in on a single valuable channel and did everything he could to grow that channel. It’s cool to have 10,000 likes on Facebook, but it’s cooler to have a 1,000 orders on your website. So partner with people who have bigger databases than you and run competitions with them to increase your own email database. Communicate with your audience in an authentic, real way through your email newsletters, and you will make sales.

Listen to learn why Nic is considering getting rid of Facebook and Instagram entirely.

Interview Links

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