Building a Marketplace For Diverse Brands with the co-founders of SheHeThey (episode 418)

Michael Ayre and Luke Jordan are the co-founders of SheHeThey – the home of diverse brands. It’s a marketplace built on WooCommerce, celebrating Queer, Black, POC, Disabled, Neurodivergent, Woman, and Ally Owned Brands. Founded in 2021, they launched in mid-2022 and they’re already showcasing around 70 brands.

Michael Ayre & Luke Jordan SheHeThey on eCommerce MasterPlan Podcast

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Luke’s and Michael’s eCommerce Journey

Michael worked for a number of years in the prison service, and he says this made him skeptical of people and life in general. He wanted to refocus his energy on doing something positive for his community, which is the LGBT community and made him think of eCommerce as the platform where he could do it.

Luke’s background is in design. They worked in brand agencies and eventually set up a business in branding, and through all of this, they thought of ways to support their community and minority people.

Their ideas evolved into what is now the SheHeThey marketplace, which is the home of diverse brands.

Business Partners and Life Partners

For Luke, becoming business partners with Michael has brought the two of them closer. But both of them agree that to make it work, they have to keep their personal and business relationships separate.

Luke gives additional advice, saying you have to carve out time for yourself even if you enjoy each other’s company.

Choosing the Marketplace Platform for SheHeThey

Luke says going the marketplace route not only gives them a place where they can collaborate with businesses but also allows them to celebrate the brands and giving them their space.

Michael gives two reasons for why they launched a marketplace: the first is naiveté, and the second is to celebrate the businesses every day of the year and not just one month out of the year like what other platforms are doing.

SheHeThey’s Mission

Luke explains that SheHeThey’s mission has always been to represent minorities and celebrate people, and this comes through in everything they do and in every decision they make.

They’ve also partnered with different businesses like Reforest, Play It Green, and C Shepherd UK to incorporate sustainability into the business and make it more climate-positive.

All About Community

SheHeThey’s main focus since the beginning has been to build their community, and they’ve seen that people want to become involved in this mission.

They’ve received feedback on how the marketplace has become more than just a platform to showcase products, but a place where people can collaborate and support each other through their journeys.

And the community has had such a positive impact that Michael and Luke have seen sellers buying from other sellers and shouting about each other on social media.

Business-wise, Michael says that because SheHeThey has a good and ethical pricing structure, some sellers have chosen to just place themselves on the platform and shut down their sites.

eCommerce Book Top Tip

eCommerce Traffic Top Tip

  • For Michael, it’s LinkedIn because it’s a place where they can speak passionately about the things that matter to them. Luke adds that LinkedIn’s organic reach is different from other platforms where you don’t have to post as often but still get traction.

Tool Top Tip

Growth Top Tip

  • Michael says to utilize tools such as Google Analytics and review the data you get regularly. This will help you understand the impact of your activities and what’s working for you.

*Catch our episode on Google Analytics 4 on the Keep Optimising Podcast

Interview Links

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