Swym Customer Showcase — Featuring Charlie + Mary
“You don’t have to compromise with style, when you choose to wear sustainable fashion”
At Swym, we get very excited about talking to our customers — we love hearing their story, about the challenges they face, and playing a small role in helping to create solutions for those problems. Doing that day in and day out gives us an immense level of fulfillment, and that’s why we truly love what we do. In this edition of the Swym Customer Showcase, we are thrilled to feature Charlie +Mary — pioneers of ‘True Fashion’ made from sustainable fabrics and materials. They strongly believe that a better fashion industry is when clothes can be worn with pride and confidence — by knowing what you wear is made with respect toward humans, the environment and animals. Charlie + Mary is redefining sustainable fashion into ‘True Fashion’ with their noble and powerful vision. Their stories about the creative design process, the brand’s philosophy, traditional craftsmanship and sustainable organic materials grown by farmers from around the globe, via their fashion blog is truly inspiring . We love the chic, fresh and clean look of their website that perfectly matches the story behind their brand and products.
An Interview with Noga Yaron — Marketing Manager, Charlie + Mary
Tell us about your business — your mission and what made you start this e-commerce website?
Charlie + Mary is a sustainable, organic and fair trade concept store with two locations in the heart of Amsterdam, an online shop and an agency. We sell fashion, accessories, books, shoes and interior design furniture. Charlotte van Waes and Marieke Vinck started this business in 2009 inspired by the eco-lifestyle in Australia during an internship abroad. Our mission is to offer a ‘True Fashion’ platform via Charlie + Mary, that informs and spreads the interesting stories behind fashion. Stories of experiences where customers go back to the beautiful, original values of fashion. Where we show that you don’t have to compromise with style, when you choose to wear sustainable ‘True Fashion’. A story that you can contribute to, because ‘True Fashion’ stories can make a change that matter. And, ‘Because there is no planet B’.
With the rising demand for online shopping, we chose to open an e-commerce store. This of course contributed to our mission to spread stories about ‘True Fashion’. To spread awareness, we also have our own blog about fashion and the factories that make the fair trade clothes, fabrics that the labels use, news updates, introducing new labels, trends, interviews with interesting people in the business and much more.
Which channels are bringing most traffic to your store? Which channels do you wish to use to reach more customers this year?
By using social media we saw an increase in our traffic. Especially Instagram is a popular platform for us, and we love using it for updating our followers about our store and (new) collections. Also, sending newsletters out twice a week to our subscribers drives a significant number of visitors to our website and blog. We also depend on organic searches via Google to help drive high quality traffic to our site. Soon, we would like to advertise on Google and work more often with bloggers and influencers within the fashion industry. Bloggers are very popular and a good way to showcase your brand, unfortunately the big names are hard to reach out to and are quite expensive.
What made you choose Shopify for Charlie + Mary? How is it helping you accomplish your business goals?
The webshop before Shopify was created with Magento. This is not only a dated system, but also complex to work with. The front end of our website needed a significant update. So whilst searching for a solution, we heard the word ‘Shopify’ by different people in our surrounding, we dug further and decided this was the best option for us. We were in a bit of a hurry, and in less then three days we had a brand new website that is easy to manage and much more user-friendly. Not only for us, but also for our customers. Funny fact: Within the first minute of going live we received our first order! We were confused, because we thought someone made a test-order, but discovered it was a real one. This confirmed our choice for Shopify. Since relaunching on Shopify, we’ve added more apps, and learned a lot more about the advantages of using Shopify for our store. By choosing the right theme, the front-end is much more accessible and products are easy to find. Our webshop has a clean look, is easy to navigate and Shopify has proven to be a very reliable platform thus far. We try to change the image-slides and product views to keep it interesting for returning visitors. Also, we use Shopify for our administration, we can see what product are popular and what we can push more. Further, for our two shops, the POS apps are easy to use for selling items.
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What is it that Charlie + Mary (as a business) wants to accomplish in 2017?
In 2017, we want to spread more awareness about our ‘True Fashion’ concept and show that by choosing sustainable fashion and products you can look stylish and trendy. Now, more then ever, we all need to contribute to the health of our planet, take care and support each other. We want to increase our reach, and use our platform to highlight new brands that manufacture products using using the fair trade way and use sustainable materials. We believe spreading awareness helps us share our mission throughout the world.
What tools, apps, key metrics do you track and use to understand your business’ health? What apps do you use to help you with your backend?
We use Google Analytics to track the traffic, sources and referrals. Google Analytics helps us understand the source of an order placed, which could be sometimes from a newsletter, Instagram or even a feature on a site. By using Mailchimp for our newsletter, we connected it to our website to check if a certain newsletter created orders. Also checking the metrics from the Wishlist Plus app, their dashboard shows us what our visitors are really interested in.
For our backend we use the app Simply Cost, which we can put in the buying price of our products and really see our revenue. Also we use Cross-Sell, it can highlight products that are relevant for an item that is clicked on, to finish a look for instance. Order Printer is an app that can be used for printing a nice-looking invoice to send out with the orders.
A new favourite is this regard too, is Wishlist Plus by Swym. We used to think adding a wishlist plugin would be a hassle and probably will not look how we would like it to be — this app showed us we got it all wrong. One can choose the look of the button, where it is going to be placed and much more. Also the metrics shows what products are popular and how much the wishlist is being used. Very handy! The service of Swym is impeccable, right away got help with relocating the wish list button and providing us with options to get more out of the app.
We love sharing more information about e-commerce best practices that we come across, with our customers. Would you have any cool trick or best practice that you recommend?
Tell a compelling story behind your brand! We put a lot of effort to inform our customers. With our ‘True Fashion’ concept and our mission to spread awareness behind sustainable fashion, it is important for us to really tell the stories behind the brands that we sell. This not only educates customers and shoppers, but also gives the product a meaningful value. In our shops — our sales executives tell our story and online we offer elaborate information about the label, fabric, fit, style and details of the item. These days people are overwhelmed by choice, so it’s important to distinguish yourself by telling the story behind your product, brand or store.
Want us to feature your story here? Write to us, we’d love to hear from you.
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