I’m a little behind with my Open Call posts of late, in fact if truth be known I am a little behind on everything. I thought August was supposed to be the quiet month, time to lounge around the pool, catch up on novels and not work like a crazy person. Hey ho to that!
I am super excited to share with you Heather Moore’s story, as it’s an inspirational one at that. Heather started out blogging about her experiments with screen-printing in her studio which then lead her to opening an online store. Which then lead her to opening a bricks-and-mortar store in Cape Town employing 7 full-time staff members, two online shops and a thriving wholesale business around the world. As Heather says, “It’s been quite a journey!
Last month she launched a new fabric collection that she’s been working on and I whizzed over some questions so we could get more of an insight into her biz.
Thanks so much for emailing in Heather and I wish you much continued success!
What lead you to start your own business?
Skinny laMinx pretty much started by accident in 2006, when I took a break from illustration work and started blogging about my screenprinting experiments. I was making so many cushions and teatowels, I opened an online shop to try to make space in my studio, and before I knew it, my little hobby was taking up all my time. I had not intended to start a business, as I’m quite a risk-averse type, but so many fantastic opportunities were coming my way, and it would have been ungrateful to have turned them down.
The business really got cracking when Pearl Thompson, joined Skinny laMinx as my business partner in 2010, with her organised way of thinking and decisive decision making.Now, 7 years later, Skinny laMinx has two online shops and a brick-and-mortar store in Cape Town, as well as a large wholesale clientele across the globe, and we provide employment for 9 people. It wasn’t planned this way, but we’re so happy it worked out like this.
What has been most difficult?
The first two years after opening our brick-and-mortar shop in Cape Town were on a very steep learning curve, with an extra wiggle thrown in when Pearl moved to Paris and had to manage our brand new staff contingent via Skype! But all worked out well, the shop is thriving, staff has grown, and, best of all, Pearl is back in Cape Town.
How do you get your work seen by customers or retailers, is it through tradeshows, mail shots etc?
We have a very active and popular social media presence, and our business has grown a great deal via these channels. Despite never having done a trade show, we stock stores worldwide, from Hong Kong to Helsinki, all thanks to our online presence. Our catalogues are available to view online, and we make sure that we keep up personal contact with our distributors and stockists.
We opened our shop on Bree Street right at the turning point of this street becoming the go-to shopping area for style and food-conscious grownups in Cape Town, and this has been great for business.
I style and photograph all of our product and lookbook pics, and these get us a lot of print magazine editorial coverage, which has been great for generating traffic for our brick-and mortar store.. Good, strong photographs and a well written press release helps a lot in this regard.
Tips/advice to people starting out
Get enthusiastic about social media, and make sure that your website is a living, thriving entity.
Be friendly and generous with your colleagues and competitors
Learn to take and edit your own photographs, as these are invaluable for spreading the word about your work.
What has been most successful about the business?
One of our core values is that we should enjoy our days at work, and while of course we all have our ups and downs, I think I can say quite confidently that everyone on our team usually spends an engaging, enjoyable day with us at Skinny laMinx.
Find Skinny laMinx online:
Website – http://skinnylaminx.com
Blog – http://skinnylaminx.com/blog