Online Marketing For Creative Store Owners

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Here at Shopanova, we are always talking with small-business owners that are hoping to scale.

While marketing and advertising are challenges that these companies must overcome, we know there are plenty of other hurdles to jump as well.

In this week’s episode of the eComm Growth Show, Daniel and Robby chat with Justine Woods, the founder of The Bookish Box, about her experience growing her business.

From hiring the right employees to learning from mistakes and spending money on marketing, the trio discusses many aspects of Justine’s journey with The Bookish Box.

Where She Started

Justine started in the literary world by blogging with a friend about the books they were reading. Publishers began sending them free books to review and write about and as their following grew, they started selling t-shirts and other merchandise.

Looking to make a career out of her latest endeavor, Justine struck out on her own, making literature-themed t-shirts.

After making hundreds of shirts for a red carpet premiere of 50 Shades of Gray and a separate subscription box set that had approached her, Justine began to run with the idea of making subscription boxes for literature merchandise.

What She Learned

A year later, she added books to the box sets, creating the business you see today. Throughout Justine’s seven-year journey of creating and running The Bookish Box, she’s learned from several mistakes.

For example, she learned to give up some of her control of the business.

We’ve seen several businesses struggle because their founders refused to bring help in, resulting in frustrated customers. “I see a lot of small businesses refuse to get customer service help, and then they’re like, ‘Well, I’m sorry, it’s only me, so you have to wait two weeks to hear a response.’ But you’re providing a service someone’s paying for. That doesn’t fly. You have to reply to people. You’re not Target, but they want you to be, so you’ve got to try.” (6:32)

For Justine, she struggled with the idea of bringing new employees in because it would eat away at her profits. Why pay someone for a job she was capable of doing? She hadn’t yet realized the benefits of handing some of her responsibilities off to other employees.

“As soon as you’re able to bring help in, even though it means maybe you are making a little bit less because you’re paying employees now, it’s so much easier. It’s just so much better.” (7:02)

When you free yourself of overwhelming responsibilities, you’re actually able to start growing and scaling your business to unreal degrees.

As she began hiring new employees, Justine knew she needed to hire people she could trust. What good would it be to hire someone that doesn’t do the job as well as she did? By hiring people that were better at their specific skillset than she was, Justine set the business up for rapid growth.

“I’m not going to hire somebody who I can pay less, who has no experience, because I’m not really going to trust them to do the job.” (7:51)

A few years ago, Justine realized that her growth was plateauing around 1,500 subscribers.

Early on in the business, she had a few bad experiences with different marketing and advertising agencies, but a friend convinced her to try Facebook ads again. After a year of leaning heavily into paid social advertising, The Bookish Box has grown by over 400%, and her shop has seen even more enormous growth.

“Our shop was maybe getting $10,000 in sales a month, and now we’re doing like $6,000-$7,000 a day. So things are really good, and a lot of that is having some good marketing.” (13:17)

Scaling your home-grown business can be daunting, but we are here to help. >> CLICK HERE TO APPLY FOR AN AUDIT!