How Online Embroidery Shop Trish Burr Found Business Success With Support From FedEx Express
Based in Cape Town, Trish Burr's online embroidery shop caters to niche customers around the world. Top-quality products and exceptional customer service are meaningless if you can't get your packages into your customers' hands though, which is why FedEx Express is such a vital cog in Trish's business.
Trish Burr published her first book on embroidery in 1999. She has since published a total of eight books, all of which are distributed internationally. In 2005 she launched a blog, and soon realized there was an international demand for her patterns, which she made available on Etsy.
She launched her first Shopify store in 2016 and soon followed this up with an online embroidery store, Trish Burr Embroidery Shop, which sells physical goods, kits, materials and embroidery supplies. The US makes up 75% of her customer base, followed by Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, UK, Brazil and Asia.
Customers across the world have become accustomed to top-class customer service, quality products, reasonable pricing and efficient delivery. When Trish Burr launched her online store, Trish Burr Embroidery Shop, she knew her core customer base would be international, and that she would need to meet the gold standard in all four of these areas.
Here's how she's achieved her goals, and how FedEx Express is the golden thread that ties Trish to all of her customers, whether they're based on the West Coast of the US, or an island off New Zealand's shores.
1. Top-quality products
Trish's love for embroidery compelled her to share her work long before she launched an e-commerce platform or designed embroidery kits.
She started teaching workshops around the world based on the success of her books, and soon realized that because she's self-taught, she can empathise with students and simplify embroidery methods for them. When she launched her online store, she was therefore able to offer top-quality kits, patterns and tutorials that anyone interested who is in embroidery can follow.
She also hasn't rested on her laurels. "There's always more to do," she says. "I periodically take a good, honest look at my business through my customers' eyes. If I was a customer, would I like the products on offer? Can I find all the information I need? Is it easy to navigate my way around the store? Asking these critical questions allows both my products and the entire user experience to constantly evolve."
2. First-rate customer service
"Sometimes it's the small things that make a big difference," says Trish. "We include a little thank you note and free gift with each purchase. Our customers love it. They often express appreciation for these personal touches and place glowing reviews on our site.
"Nothing grows your business faster than positive feedback, so this is always welcome, and yet not why we started doing it. We just wanted to make our customers smile when they opened their packages. It's been my experience that your motives behind the business shape your success."
3. Reasonable pricing
As with many businesses, pricing was a challenge for Trish, but she over-came it by being completely transparent with her customers. "My kits include quite specific materials that are not always readily available in South Africa.
"Because these items are imported, they are subject to import duties and taxes, which increases the cost of my products. Initially there was some resistance to my prices. To address this, I posted an article on my blog explaining the full process of sourcing the materials, to compiling the kits and everything in between. This has helped our customers to better understand our pricing, and they are comfortable supporting us as a result."
4. Efficient delivery
Without the ability to deliver her packages to her customers around the globe, all the great products, packaging and customer service in the world would be meaningless.
"FedEx threw me a lifeline when I needed it most," says Trish. "I was shipping by international post and 25% of the parcels got lost or didn't reach their destination at all. It was a nightmarish situation. I had unhappy customers and was having sleepless nights worrying about it. I was considering closing down the store completely and going back to just selling digital patterns when I decided to approach FedEx with my problem.
"I honestly didn't think that an international courier company like FedEx would be interested in my small business, but I also knew I had nothing to lose by making contact. The result was incredible.
"Within 24 hours FedEx had phoned me to arrange to come and see me at my home studio. They were interested in supporting my business and helping me grow and were able to offer me competitive rates that meant I wouldn't need to push up my prices for my customers.
"Since we started working with FedEx 18 months ago, we haven't lost a single parcel and I have happy customers who are astonished that their packages are delivered to their door within a few days, all the way from Africa. My sales have been boosted and my customer base has increased – all because I can get my products into my customers' hands."