Categorized | Shoestring Startup

Transforming To a Business Owner via Fashion on a Shoestring Budget

Name of your company and URL? Chameleon Accessories Boutique ~ www.ShopChameleon.com

Date Officially Launched? Our company launched online June 15, 2010.

 

What is your product or service?

We are an online fashion accessories boutique providing trendy women’s fashion accessories from trendy fashion belts, funky fashion jewelry, unique fashion handbags, distinctive designer fashion shoes and more! We concentrate on the latest trend to compliment a woman’s attire to transform her look through fashion accessories. Our items on our site are bold, unique, and trendy. A plain black shoe is not what you will find on our site. We have color, texture, bling – all to be unique and express your individuality through trendy designer fashion accessories.

Why did you start your company?

I always wanted to become a business owner. My first attempt was when I was about 12 years old and I wanted to be a “baker”. My aunt was my only client and business shut down once my mother saw her gas bill. This passion always stayed within me. I also got to watch both my mother and father own a successful business together. My mom being a pattern maker and seamstress was passionate owning her own business. She loved designing and making awesome dresses. Out of all her kids, she would frequently take me along with her to help at the shop and to go buy in the city. My Dad, a jeweler, was very talented in designing and crafting jewelry. He would always be sketching a design on paper. He would craft his sketched design and bring to us as gifts. It was amazing to see his sketched design become real life jewelry I could wear. I inherited the passion that lives in them both. Many years working and dissatisfied with Corporate America I finally realized my job was coming to an end. The passion that was burning inside all these years got so hot and just went for it.

How was it financed?

It’s going to be a year for us in June and fortunate to say not just time invested but to this date all investment has been done from my own personal funds. I was fortunate to begin the ground work while working a full time job. I was making decent that allowed me to use to fund my vision. I immediately began living pay check to pay check funding this dream. I am also fortunate to have the amazing support of my husband who supports me

What free online or offline tools do you use?

I use about all of the most reputable ones you can think of. My favorite free tool that I can’t live without, Google Analytics. I check this tool more than one time a day. I also use tools such as Google Webmaster. I mean Google is the main driver online, so using their free tool is highly suggested. They provide in depth information and give tremendous insights.

With social media, I like to use Tweet Deck which allows me to manage my tweets throughout the social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn.

Do you use Social Media tools like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or YouTube?

I use these tools every day several times during the day. They are very important tools to send messages to my customers both current and potential. It allows you to engage with other key players in the industry. “Liking us” on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/West-Orange/wwwSHOPCHAMELEONcom/284534568303) we provide content to our fans such as fashion tips, top fashion news, promoting contests. It’s also important to engage by uploading constant product photos and reviews.

We are also on Twitter and can be followed @ShopChameleon. We provide micro blog tweets of top fashion news, constant updates of what is going on with our company, new product updates. We aim for participation by asking for feedback. Twitter allows us to join in on conversations with great bloggers in the industry in hopes to build relationship and hope for possibilities.

Business networking is crucial as well to branding and building your company. LinkedIn is a profession business tool allowing you to network with other business leaders such as suppliers, manufacturers, editors, or other like boutique owners. I am learning more how to navigate and utilize this tool more. I have been finding it as a great way of networking and building business professional relationships.

YouTube is such a viral way to get your brand across and we know this! We have great things to come to YouTube so watch out for us!

What is the one thing you did right?

I say is going all the way but the right way! I absolutely gave my all and tried my hardest to not “half step” this means I did my extensive research. It was important for me to make my vision alive and giving a shopping online experience with the site. From the look of our website to how we pack our orders, I have been intricate in each detail with the hopes to make our customers feel special. My happiness the end of day does not come from making the money. My passion is creating a business to make others, at this time women, feel great about doing business with us. We truly care about each and every customer. We don’t only want to provide unique trendy fashion products but to deliver and offer an awesome shopping experience. That vision I have, I work hard to stand behind and hold true. My intention for Chameleon Accessories Boutique is to exceed expectations and I believe that is one thing that I have done right – no matter the cost.

What was the biggest transition you had to make?

It’s a total transition. The biggest transition is taking action. There is constant involvement of researching and learning the industry, which is a non-stop task. Having the habit to stay focused and determined. You can’t be lazy anymore with a business. You can’t just go hanging out anymore, unless it involves networking to build your brand. You have to be in alignment with your business at all times. You must develop a positive attitude. There will be ups and downs and you have to be positive and persevere through it. The most success is working with other positive business people. Owning a business will consume you. You begin to think, breath, and only speak of your vision. This is why it’s so important to own a business your passionate about. Your personal time is precious as well so find it enjoyable spending that time doing what you love to do the most. It’s a total commitment. I literally feel www.ShopChameleon.com is my baby.

What type of marketing or advertising do you do?

Because I’m online, marketing is huge for us. Most of our marketing efforts are focused on Search Engine Optimization. We are constantly working on our site to make sure consistently adding and/or updating or content.

We also engage in constant social media such as Facebook and Twitter. We promote our blog through these channels as well. Promoting our blog is huge for us. Not only it helps with our SEO efforts but allows us to give our expertise to our buyers or readers.

In addition, we advertise via shopping comparison sites such as Nextag, Shopzilla, etc. along with PPC advertising we focus our efforts on niche online keywords to drive traffic to our online boutique.

What would make your business more “successful”?

Today we are a newbie, so time I feel will allow us to become more successful. Our vision and goal is to become a leading fashion accessories boutique. We have so more we will be offering.

We also are considering opening a location boutique between New York City or New Jersey to allow reaching more customers and branding our company. Of course we wish to be placed more in magazine ads to extend our brand through media somehow. But with confidence, and like I said time, I believe we will be a success.

Would you want to be acquired by a bigger company, run it yourself or sell in a couple of years?

This is just a start for us. Our vision is so grand at this time to even vision selling. Although, with my vision as we grow and get to that bigger picture, I’m all open for acquisition. I have many other businesses that will also form alongside Chameleon Accessories. Right now, we are young and working to build a solid brand and make our possibilities endless later in the future.

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