Building a sustainable business, one ‘like’ at a time
In 2010, 29-year-old Michelle Glitman began selling one-of-a-kind vintage fashion pieces on Facebook. MIISHKA quickly took off, enjoying 300 percent sales growth last year and attracting an 88,000-strong fan base. Now, the former stylist is revealing how she built a profitable online fashion house, one Facebook ‘like’ at a time.
When Glitman was working in the advertising industry prior to launching MIISHKA, she’d noticed women selling unwanted clothes on their Facebook pages – which she found interesting, given that eBay appeared to be the normal channel for this.
Inspired by the trend, she decided to test the market and built an eCommerce platform on Facebook, and kicked things off by uploading an editorial-styled collection of 20 items you’d normally see gracing the pages of fashion magazines. Within a week, all items were sold.
Amazed by the organic growth, Glitman began dedicating more time and effort to grow the business by running sponsored stories and Facebook ads to encourage friends of MIISHKA fans to also like the Page.
As the number of MIISHKA Facebook likes grew, so too did revenue: “I’m trying to keep up myself,” she laughs.
“[The revenue] doubled year on year,” Glitman told Dynamic Business. She does admit though that during the start-up stage, she was just managing to cover her costs.
Sixty new customers per week
In the first six months MIISHKA attracted 1,000 unique buyers, 30-40 percent of which were repeat buyers. In its second year, sales increased by 300 percent. Today, 60 new customers purchasing from the MIISHKA page each week. Much of this growth comes from some savvy decisions around the use of Facebook Ads, according to Glitman.
“We’ve had huge success with Facebook Ads as you can choose to target certain countries, states and age groups,” she said.
Glitman does recommend small businesses take advantage of these as a marketing tool, but strongly suggests they do their research first.
“SMBs need to be smart with their money and tailor the advertising to their business needs.”
Now that MIISHKA’s Facebook page has evolved into a solid business, Glitman’s key focus for the year ahead will be the launch of a website store, designed to work in conjunction with the Facebook page to increase customer engagement and drive online purchases.
“It’s absolutely imperative to any eCommerce business. You cannot have one without the other.”
For those businesses thinking of using Facebook as a marketing tool, Glitman has the following advice:
1. Be thick skinned: If you’re on Facebook, you’re bound to attract some negativity – it’s inevitable. But the positive comments far outweigh any negatives.
2. Be committed: Know who your ‘likes’ are. Your customers are important, so it pays to be aware of their needs and wants. Glitman responds to 95 percent of her fans.
3. Be interactive: It’s important to engage with your fans, so upload content that’s relevant and will grab their attention.
The MIISHKA web store will launch in early August 2012.