Love Emvy. Growth Through Hard Work & Perseverance.
We recently caught up with Emma Stokes, founder of Love Emvy, for a chat about her e-commerce business. Love Emvy is a fashion and lifestyle brand that Emma has bootstrapped all the way from her garage to a shiny new HQ. Growing her sales month on month with hard work and perseverance, Emma has gradually increased her audience through networking and social media. In a world of growth hacking and outsourcing, it was refreshing to see Emma's work ethic and the commitment she displays for Love Emvy, while still managing to find time for her family! We're sure that the future holds great things for Love Emvy.
Can you describe Love Emvy in one sentence?
The place for luxury leather goods, classic and quirky accessories, direct to your door.
Tell us about the founding of Love Emvy. What made want to launch your business?
I have always been interested in starting my own business, however the main turning point was trying to find a work/life balance with a young family. Running my own business, whilst busy, enables me to do a job I love, whilst working my day around family commitments too and be a good role model for the children.
How has the Love Emvy brand grown since you founded it?
So, I started Love EMVY in December 2016 from scratch. I sold a few things from around the house to raise some capital to invest. I went to the library and researched to decide how and what business to launch. With £200 I bought some stock to sell online and then re-invested all profit into new stock and it took off from there. The business was initially home based from my garage and 4 months ago I moved into my first business premises! This felt such a huge achievement and will enable me to take the business to the next level now.
We love your website, and you also sell on Amazon. Can you tell us about more about your sales strategy?
I understand myself the pressures of modern life and how difficult it can be to try and keep up with everything. My sales strategy is based upon this, allowing customers to know that Love EMVY is a trusted place to find new and exciting products with a no hassle delivery and return policy. My business is mainly online through the website www.loveemvy.com, amazon and eBay, for the busy people who want lovely products but do not have the time to search the high street. I also offer a personalisation service on some products as well, to create that extra special gift.
How have you increased your brand awareness?
Increasing my brand awareness has happened via two routes, networking and social media. I try and support other local businesses that I meet through networking and learn best practice as well. My social media was launched 12 months ago and this has played a big part in getting my name out there.
What have been the biggest challenges you've had to overcome in growing Love Emvy?
The biggest challenge was trying to find a suitable business premises, this took me 12 months. There is a shortage of suitable premises for start ups in my local area. The other challenge is the usual one in business, of cash flow and how it's managed. Thankfully, increasing sales has not been an issue as the business has grown month on month so far and is still in expansion, so it's exciting times.
If you could go back to just before you started Love Emvy and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
Believe in yourself, ‘if you believe you can, you will’ is my motto now. Anything can be possible if you put your mind to it. I would say that I have learnt this along my journey.
What's been the best thing about running Love Emvy?
The best thing about running my own business is the ability to be able to shape direction of where the brand is going. I love the fact that I can work around my family and have that flexibility, however this can also be tough at times as I end up working late as well when the kids are in bed! My best milestone was moving from a home based business into a business premises. This has felt such a massive achievement and I feel that I am now able to take the business to the next level.
How does the future look for Love Emvy? Where do you see the brand in five years?
The future is looking bright I hope! Now I am in my business unit, I am able to expand my own branded items. With my own branded items, I always try and combine style with functionality which makes people lives easier. I hope that in 5 years I will have staff and to move business premises again.
As more money is being spent online, more people are moving over to e-commerce because of the increased earning potential. On the other hand, this means that competition is fierce. What advice have you got for someone thinking of starting an e-commerce business?
Competition is very fierce online and there is a danger of devaluing the brand by reducing quality or prices. This can just end up as a downward spiral. My advice to anyone starting their own e-commerce business would that you have to believe in your product, never scrimp on quality and your brand will emerge and be a success. I would also recommend that if they are starting up on their own that they arrange for someone to be their accountability buddy. I do this with another business owner, Charlotte of Pawprint Badges, our businesses are in no way linked and we meet up once a month and set targets, goals and review successes and failures. This is invaluable as it ensures you stay on the right path and keep a check on actions.
If you could have anyone in the world as a customer who would it be? Why?
I know you are expecting me to name drop a celebrity, however I honestly love the loyal customer base I have and I would like more of them! I have some fantastic customers worldwide and to me having a great customer experience with someone for example in America, as you would in the UK is just wonderful.
Is there another entrepreneur who you find particularly inspiring?
Yes, Theo Paphitis really inspires me, he also has a background in retail and is a true inspiration. I love his passion for business and also the work he does to support new and emerging small business as well. In June this year, I was awarded his SBS Small Business Sunday award. This was a great day and I get my certificate awarded in February by Theo himself, which I am so excited about.
Finally, can you give us a quick rundown of a typical day at Love Emvy HQ?
A typical day at Love EMVY does vary, however it always starts with the most important job of processing customers orders. I then move on to replenishing stock, updating social media, business networking and sourcing/creating new product lines. My working day can sometimes end up re-starting in the evening as well, however I don't mind this as it allows me to tailor my hours in a way to suit my family life.