Our second success story for 2016 comes from somewhat of a seasoned professional. Mo Begg from hashtagawesome and thegentlemansbeard.club has been selling online since 2014. Two years isn’t that long, I hear you say, but Mo has created a bit of an empire with his goodies in a very short space of time, and that says something.
We caught up with him for a chat about his Shopify experience to date, we were keen to find out how he found the whole process of getting set up, selling and most specifically what’s keeping him on Shopify.
When did you start your Shopify store, and what do you sell?
Mo Begg: I started my first online store hashtagawesome in August 2014, it specialises in selling high-end items found elsewhere in the world but not South Africa. My first product was brightly coloured, perfumed toilet paper from Portugal! I quickly added more colour to the line in the form of the hugely popular EOS brand lip balms. Later, the store started seeing more and more female visitors so I decided to introduce Urban Decay cosmetics, Morphe palettes and Anastasia Beverly Hills contour kits, all 100% original. A few months after that I started developing and marketing my own range of premium natural beard care products. Very quickly I noticed it was time for these products to have their own dedicated online store and that is when I launched The Gentleman’s Beard Club, my second Shopify store.
How long did it take you to setup your Shopify stores?
MB: From start to finish, each store took about two days to set up including all images, uploading write-ups and making sure everything worked.
So once you had launched hashtagawesome, how long did it take to make your first sale?
MB: Six days after I launched I got my first sale and it was an awesome feeling! From there, the sales became more regular in a shorter time frame.
And what approach do you take to market your stores?
MB: I market my products via Instagram mostly. Apart from that I have been featured in magazines a few times for both stores, both online and offline. One key element for us is to ensure the products are constantly reviewed by bloggers who have a good reputation in the relevant industry. Besides bloggers I’ve also used Google AdWords campaigns. The Gentleman’s Beard Club is a very niche market, so usually the marketing for these products is simply walking up to a man with a beard and telling him about my range. Most people are interested in what I have to say and those that have purchased from me in the past now serve as my brand ambassadors by telling their circle of friends about the brand, be it in person or over social media.
What do you find is the most useful feature on Shopify, why do you keep coming back?
MB: I think the overall simplicity and the look & feel of Shopify that is the best seller in my opinion. When logging on, I get a sense of being welcomed back, just by the layout of the backend system, all in an easy to understand format. Shopify takes away unnecessary technical features that aren’t necessarily needed, especially as a non technical person, and this makes things a whole lot more enjoyable.
Thanks a lot for your time, is there anything else you’d like to add?
MB: Sure thing, I’m actually planning to launch a third store by the end of February focusing on selling PURE Moroccan Argan Oil products. Again, this would be more directed towards women, but using the principles of marketing for an online store I think it should be an interesting journey that I am really looking forward to. On another note, I’d like to thank Mario at uAfrica.com for his undivided attention when helping me set up my stores and providing business advice that is practical and useful.
To check out Mo’s products head over to www.hashtagawesome.co.za or www.thegentlemansbeard.club to see what all the hype is about, we’re pretty sure you’ll find something you want to buy, if not that ideal birthday present for a certain beardy man.