Meet The Millennial Entrepreneurs Slaying The eCommerce Game
With female entrepreneurship on the rise — women now make up 40% of new entrepreneurs in the United States — it’s no surprise that digitally savvy millennials are excelling in the eCommerce space. Millennials are turning their side hustles into full-time endeavors using social media platforms and web integrations to acquire customers and build communities.
Meet, three millennial entrepreneurs who are embracing the digital space by utilizing Instagram, Amazon, Etsy, and Shopify to successfully scale their businesses.
Instagram: Amanda Thomas of Luv Aj
Amanda Thomas, the creative founder of Luv Aj, has built a global empire with her jewelry line that is loved and adorned by the biggest celebrities on the planet including Beyonce, Gigi Hadid, and Emily Ratajkowski.
As a digital native, Thomas is on the forefront of social media trends and immediately immersed herself within Instagram. With an eye for design and focus on the aesthetic, Thomas truly understands the importance of producing Instagram content that reflects her brand, “Our Instagram grid is a mix of close up shots of ears, necks, and hands, lookbook and campaign imagery, photos of influencers and celebrities wearing the jewelry, and flat lays.”
Luv Aj has found incredible reach by tapping into influencer marketing. Thomas works with models, singers, and actresses to do so, “Each season, we work with over 200 girls with a wide range of followers, and we gift them jewelry in exchange for a post and tag. With their tags, we get our product in front of new audiences with every single post.” As influencers can produce different ROI’s, she’s learned not to discriminate based on follower count, “ An influencer with 50K followers can still push the same kind of product that an influencer with 500K followers can .” Thomas is always thinking of ways to connect with influencers, and in fact, sent a simple, direct message to a Victoria Secret supermodel who has over 12 million Instagram followers, which led to a partnership.
With a price point of $100 or less, she’s implemented three ways for her followers to purchase jewelry, “First, every single image we post is tagged to a product that is directly synced to our Shopify store. You can click-to-buy on a post and checkout on your mobile device. The second way is through the “Link in Bio” which leads you to our SHOP ALL collection. The third way you is through the app Four Sixty which makes our Instagram feed shoppable on our e-commerce store. Other tools we use that add efficiency are Planoly, VSCO, and Repost."
Amazon & Etsy: Elise Hennigan of Should We Go?
An entrepreneur at heart, Elise Hennigan left her full-time role at an early stage startup to follow her passion to start Should We Go?. After much soul-searching to find a business that would spark her creative spirit, she kept coming back to an idea focused on her love for her dog, Emmet, “Dogs light people up. They bring out this love and passion in people, and they connect us to each other. I started Should We Go? to honor this idea.”
Knowing that Amazon is a great microcosm for understanding consumer behavior and insights to make data-driven decisions, Hennigan bootstrapped her first product on the platform. She was able to dig deep into keyword search to understand which product would sell, “On Amazon people type in keywords, click on related product ads, and make purchases. You can create a product that has a higher chance of being in demand than the one you dream up on your own.”
After much research, she settled on hands-free dog leashes and wanted to produce a one-of-a-kind product in the marketplace, “I read the negative reviews of the products that already existed on Amazon to make sure I was addressing the shortcomings of the products that were already on the market.” In doing so, Hennigan was able to make the strategic decision to zig when everyone else was zagging, “Everyone else is using the same criteria for product launches, so you really, truly need to think outside of the box. Like so many things in life, you should be aware of the rules so you can break them thoughtfully and with intention. ”
Because of this growth mindset, Hennigan was able to expand her product offerings to sell customized dog bowls on Etsy. As her audience on the platform is 90% women, she realized that she loves engaging the female community and wants to serve that demographic well, “The more women I bring into my brand and the more feedback I get from my customers, the more smart decisions I can make as I continue to expand my product line.” With this customer-first approach, Hennigan focuses on creating brand and product copy that speaks directly to her ideal customer, “You want your people to recognize that they are in the right place! Product descriptions are a great opportunity to let your voice shine through and connect with people.”
Mehera Blum of Blumera
From Bali to Rajasthan to Paris, Mehera Blum, founder of Blumera, travels the world connecting with local artisans to design her line of luxury handbags, jewelry, shoes, ready-to-wear, and couture. Blum’s nomadic spirit lends itself to crafting a business model that relies on digital tools and platforms for discoverability and sales completions.
Because of this, she has fully embraced Shopify as her point of sale solution and can sell anywhere, anytime, “I remember once being on the plane, and the woman next to me loved my bag so much and wanted to buy it right away. I was able to take her credit card details and process the transaction right then and there. I have sold to and gained loyal customers from these exchanges all over the world.”
Blum feels incredibly connected to her customers, and Shopify allows her to focus on customer care and service, “Blumera is fortunate to have repeat loyal customers who become more than just shoppers of our brand; they actually become collectors of our pieces. It’s extremely helpful to have data on what customers have bought in the past enabling us to better serve and cater to our client base.”
Blum’s experience with Shopify, partnered with her passion for customer relationships, inspired her to conceptualize a new type of integrative eCommerce, one that will allow customers to come on the Blumera journey and order custom pieces from each exotic locale, even watching the process of their pieces being made in real time.