A passion for jewelry: Aubrey shares her e-commerce journey
Aubrey Sale's store
While the majority of us chose to learn a new language, bake some bread, or delve into the world of plantito/plantita gardening during the pandemic, 20-year-old student Aubrey Sale decided to start her own business.
"I had nothing else to do during the lockdown, so I just decided to dedicate my time to selling online." And the response, mind you, does not come from a "nothing-to-lose" mindset. But rather a humble reply from an online seller who despite having just started late last year, has now garnered a following of over 2,000 users organically on Instagram, with consistent monthly sales well above the average allowance of a Filipino student.
Looking through wearThalia's website, necklaces are arranged on rich bronze satin sheets. Golden bracelets and rose gold rings are placed in visually appealing symmetrical patterns. A slightly off-center shot against the silhouette of a white cotton blouse captures a lightness that defines what this generation would call an "aesthetically pleasing experience". The store is tastefully curated. It looks professionally done. And on Instagram, the bio reads "Make it simple yet sophisticated." I couldn't agree more.
Nessie (lefttop) and Aurora (rightbottom) necklaces. Source: wearThalia
A natural talent for visual marketing
What first began as a passion for jewelry became an avenue for creativity and entrepreneurship. "Instagram is a platform where you can grow followers by posting aesthetic photos which I think played into my strengths since jewelry is an aesthetically [pleasing] material." Up until now, Aubrey has been selling online for just over a year. But it's the 'likes', the praise, and the inquiries from customers that have really encouraged her to continue on. I can imagine her creative direction for selfies and family photos would be a highly sought-after skill. It is the same support from friends and family that would garner her very first sale.
From the creation of posts, replying to inquiries, to sending out products, it's all Aubrey behind the scenes. It's a one-woman team, wearing the many hats of a fully-fledged company, from digital marketer to distribution manager. But to Aubrey, this is what it means to sell online. Unlike traditional brick and mortar stores, you don't need to be caught up in the limitations of a gratuitous business plan or drown in the exorbitant interest rates of bank loan finances. With online selling, all you need to get started is a product, a plan, and an e-commerce platform to host your online store.
wearThalia products are packaged in special gift boxes. Source: Images provided by Aubrey
The big business of fashion
One cannot deny the profound effect social media has had on this generation. Influencers have become the new celebrities. Astrological signs have become popular identifiers on social apps. And as the issue of global warming has become an increasingly hot topic online, consumers become more conscious of the environment. On the digital front, smartphones have altered the way in which we shop online. These movements are deeply felt not just by millennials but also by the fashion industry, and it's an extremely profitable business. The e-commerce fashion industry is the largest sector in the world.
Where nameplate necklaces, bauble bracelets, and hoop earrings had once flooded the market before, today, minimalism is the norm. Rose gold accessories and novelty handbags are irresistible facets of an attractive personal style. When asked how she sources her products, Aubrey replies, "I have different sources that I find online. I'm just buying items that I think my followers would like." Aubrey's aesthetic has a following and she recognizes how her customers rely on her personal tastes. "I am in a constant search for additional variety on my store." We can't help but be inspired by Aubrey's vision and tenacity at such a young age. Trends may come and go, but an eye for style and business-savvy choices are what define today's jewelry powerhouses.
In our interview with Aubrey, she shows us how the challenges of the pandemic, seen from the eyes of a business owner, can be a vehicle of opportunity for creation and innovation.
I am Aubrey Sale. I am a Filipino student and a part-time online seller.
During weekdays, I focus on school. But during the weekends, I dedicate a lot of my time to shooting product videos, planning content, and answering customer queries when I'm free.
At the start of the lockdown, I developed a fondness for purchasing fashion accessories online. While buying [something] one day, an idea came to my mind. Instead of purchasing, why don't I start my own online store? Then at that moment, I started researching for products and suppliers.
As of now, I think it is still pretty easy to sell on Instagram considering that I'm still a small store. But I can foresee in the future that I might have a hard time DMing (direct messaging) customers if we grew bigger, in which Cafe24 [could] help me.
[My main goal was] managing inventory and integrating social networking sites. I really hoped that Cafe24 could help me in handling my orders more efficiently since Instagram does not have an inventory feature for sellers.
I think the best moment was when I saw my finished storefront and realized that people can actually visit my store. I also appreciate how easy it is to manage my inventory with the help of Cafe24, which I did not experience while I was using Instagram. As a beginner, I think seeing the whole store being completed is really the most surprising for me.
...the best moment was when I saw my finished storefront and realized that people can actually visit my store.
The analytics section gives customer data like the highest spending customers, what product sells the most, and stuff like that. Coming from a science background, data and analytics are really important to me. Cafe24 has a variety of apps and widgets [and] I really like that, [along with] the ability to connect to other social platforms and marketplaces.
I have only tried the Wix site and WordPress before, but this is my first time really trying to make an online store. I think the remarkable thing about Cafe24 is that they are specifically made for online sellers.
...the remarkable thing about Cafe24 is that they are specifically made for online sellers.
I have my first sale already. It was actually a customer from Instagram. He approached me about the item he was eyeing to buy and then after a brief chat with him, I asked him if he could try making a purchase through my website. I sent him the link and that's when he ordered. I've experienced some challenges during the process but overall, it was good. I was able to process the orders fully and delivered the item to the buyer successfully.