New blogger Gim Loe shares his experience as a startup online retailer. In her first post, learn about the genesis of her site - Hip Industries - and why it is already on its third website design after a year in business.
The idea for Hip Industries came to us after a difficult shopping experience. Ben was after a stylish and affordable bag for work but couldn’t find one. He found expensive bags that looked good and cheap bags that didn’t look good but nothing that was both stylish and affordable. Ben and I thought we can aim to fill this niche by supplying men with an affordable yet stylish option to carry their stuff in. Our name makes reference to how our bags sit on the hip and are stylish.
So why e-tail?
With there being such a wide array of business models, it can be difficult to pick the right model for you. For us the answer was simple. Like any inspirational, Gen-Yer, we wanted a hassle free way to generate some additional income to fit around our day-jobs that we could do from home. No other business model seemed to fit our needs more perfectly!
Online retail seemed to be the perfect case of minimal effort for maximum returns as preached by a lot of business models. However, we found the walk-in-the park approach was far from reality.
Competition is the online retail market is strong with big name overseas retailers and local retailers fighting for a share of the Australian online retail dollar. And as interest in online retail grows, this is only expected to increase.
Online retail is a fast paced environment and you have to constantly adapt to change. Businesses can become giants and house-hold names within a year of launch. Website interfaces change and evolve every three months. Google changes it algorithms to stay relevant for search queries. An online retailer must stay on their toes watching out for competitors, serving their customers, and staying attuned to changes.
At Hip Industries, we have had our third website redesign since launching a few months ago!
Despite all this, there are many benefits of being an online retailer.
It is relatively cheap to buy a website, host it on a server to host it, and develop a website. The costs are certainly much cheaper than the rent, labour and utility bills associated with having a physical store. The potential reach of online is also much greater than a physical store which is limited by geography and its opening hours. For many, an online store is the perfect way to test the waters for minimal cost before branching out.
For us, the goal for automation still inspires us today. But as with any business, online retail requires passion and hard work. It won’t work without these two vital ingredients. We are where we are because of our passion and commitment to Hip Industries.
Thanks for reading and feel free to comment.
Gim Loe is the co-founder of Hip Industries.