Jason Wong is a serial entrepreneur who loves to thoroughly research and challenge himself to launch quickly and efficiently. In this episode of Shopify Masters, we speak with Jason Wong on why he decided to launch Doe Lashes, the research he did to find customer pain points, and how he launched with around $500 and in a matter of few a days.
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How to determine viability for business ideas
Felix: What inspired you to start Doe Lashes?
Jason: I was actually listening to a podcast. The really funny thing about where we’re at now is that I heard on a podcast about two guys starting a lash brand and they’re doing dropshipping. They were using a drop shipping model on Shopify, creating a store, selling things using their Facebook ads expertise, and were able to generate a lot of revenue. After listening to the podcast I said to myself, “Hmm, maybe I can do the same thing, and maybe I could do it my way.” I don’t do dropshipping. I’ve always been a person who has developed brands, inventory around stuff and then ship it out on our own. So, I was trying to see if I was able to get into the same lash market, but doing it with a model that I was familiar with. So I spent some time developing the product. While I was on a flight to Hong Kong, I set up some appointments to meet with vendors there too just so I can at least get an idea of what I was getting myself into. So that’s what the origin of the brand came from.
Felix: Now, would you normally set up appointments with vendors this early?
Jason: It was purely because I was on the way already. All our factories are in Asia and if you’re building a business in America, it wouldn’t make sense for you to fly to the vendor every single time you get a new idea. But I think it was just because I was on the way for a vendor appointment for my other brands. But generally what I would do is that every time I get an idea, I do a lot of internal research on whether or not the idea’s viable first. Some products do require different certifications, different vendor requirements. So I usually do that step first. But just because I was on the way already and it wasn’t really out of the way for me to visit these vendors, I thought I would just set up the appointment.
Felix: What is involved when you are doing that kind of personal research to figure out if a business idea is viable or not?
Jason: Oftentimes what I found is that we’re really not the first person, we’re sometimes the fifth or sixth person to think of the same business idea. And so, the first thing I like to do is to see if there’s any history of that product. If someone has tried to create something and if so, why did they fail? Why did they not get to market? Is it because of product defects, is it because the market wasn’t ready for it? Or was it because the vendor just wasn’t able to supply what we envisioned? So I like to see if other people have tried the idea first. And what I like to tell everyone is that even though someone has taken the idea already, it doesn’t mean that you cannot do it. It just means that maybe the market is validated and it is a sign for you to actually put more effort into it. So the way that I like to see is to see what other people have done already and see what I’m able to do differently or if there’s a roadblock that they experienced, I like to see if I was able to circumvent that or if I need to stop the project entirely.
Felix: Depending on the reason for the previous failure, how does that go into your decision on whether you should go in or not?
Jason: There are usually a few reasons why I’ll put a complete stop to it and there are a few reasons why I would actually put more effort into it. Things that would cause me to put a complete stop are if I see that the product does not meet certification standards. So for example, a couple of years ago I made a product called the Ramen Noodle Condoms, which was really just what the name implies. It was condoms that look like ramen noodles packets and they’re a great product. I spent a lot of time on it. But what I didn’t realize is that condoms are actually a type II medical device, meaning that I am legally not allowed to distribute them or import them into the United States. So I found out that part a lot later than I was supposed to. So I create all the products, I put all the money into the inventory, and on the way to importing it into our country, we realized that issue. So things like that are due diligence that I was supposed to do before I put my time into that product. But because I didn’t do so, I was now having a handful of products I cannot sell. Obviously, not everyone is doing medical devices. Some products require different certifications. So if you need to do CBD products, you need to get certifications for that. If you need to do beverages or food, you need to go through different agencies for that. So I like to see if there’s, first of all, any legal process I have to go through with this product. Two, if there are any vendors that make something like that already so that I can contact them to get any samples. If you’re creating an idea or a product that has never been done before in terms of the design and the functions, it’s really important for you to find something that’s the closest to what that is. Going to those factories in order to understand if this technology or the function or the product idea that I’m envisioning is even viable. But oftentimes what would stop me is the legal process just because that takes a long time for me. And the way that I like to structure my business is fast to market and fast to sell. Oftentimes a lot of people get stuck in a particular stage of their business that ends up taking months or years. I like to do everything a lot faster. So if I see something with huge legal roadblocks, I like to avoid products like that.
Felix: What did you discover when you started doing some more research into the existing lash market?
Jason: What I found very fascinating about false lashes is… for those who don’t know what lashes are, they are a strip of a cotton band with lasher oftentimes made of nylon or those things that they make ropes out of, nylon, that or different types of hair fibers and they range from $2 to $40. And they’re the type of product that you put onto your eyes to extend your current lashes. So for a lot of girls who don’t have eyelashes, that’s what they use to accentuate their look. Knowing that now, I started asking a lot of my female friends who wear lashes just to do some consumer feedback and surveying. And what I’ve found is that a lot of people don’t have a particular brand that they go to. There was no brand loyalty in the eyelash space. When you asked a lot of people before, what’s their favorite skincare brands, what’s their favorite moisturizer; they can tell you a few brands that are really well known, that you can usually get common answers. But what I found is after asking 20 to 30 people around my circle and then later on I asked more, no one was able to give me common answers. That was a very fascinating thing for me because I was essentially gauged from a market where not a single brand owned the majority of the market. I was coming into a market competition where I was competing with a bunch of larger brands, but they don’t have that much power over me besides the fact that they have more money and resources. So that was a good sign for me, meaning that I was able to attract new people to try our brand because there wasn’t brand loyalty.
Felix: Is that what you consider as a certain green light?
Jason: It’s not the only sign. It’s one of the elements that I do really like personally because when you see a market where there’s no large player but there’s a lot of players, what that tells you is that it’s a validated market. It’s a market where there’s a lot of people purchasing, but not one single brand has been able to perfect the product to attract everyone. So that tells me that there’s an opportunity for me to create that solution for me to combine the elements of what makes each brand great, whether it is branding, the product, the marketing, or even a distribution model. Knowing that I was able to study all these brands and combine them together to create a single solution that may be able to attract the larger market and get bigger market share, that was a green light for me but it wasn’t the only thing that tells me to go for it.
Addressing existing customer pain points through product design
Felix: What’s your plan of attack once you know that there is no brand loyalty?
Jason: I like to focus on functions and features rather than a brand. A lot of bigger brands like to close off the existing brand value that they have already. But obviously as a new player with not a lot of capital that wasn’t an angle we can go for. We try to look for pain points that people have with these products. Even though you’re a large brand, sometimes people will set issues with your product such as buying a particular type of moisturizer that ends up drying faster, making your skin flaky. So I try to go through these other brands and understand what their consumers are complaining about. And the common pain point is that when they put the lashes on, they don’t feel comfortable. It feels very heavy on their eyes. It’s really expensive. It falls off easily. So understanding all these pinpoints. In our ad copy and the way that we portray ourselves to the public, we try to hit on those pain points and tell them that this product actually does not have the problems that people are experiencing with other brands. We don’t like to name drop, we just like to present them that this is a solution to the problems that they may be having. And that if they’d like to avoid having the same issues that they have with the other brands, they could try this brand. Obviously down the road, once you have a little bit more brand recognition, people see your brand around a lot more. You can do a little bit more types of angles. But in the beginning, with the limited budget that we have, our first step was to convince people that this product was superior to whatever they were buying already.
Felix: How do you know what function or features or maybe even what problems you should be building functions and features to address?
Jason: A lot of these come through study groups and surveys. What I did was, before I even got my hands onto a product, I used my audience on Instagram, which isn’t significant. I have about 12,000 followers on just Instagram. And what I did was I did a survey. I asked people to enter information in exchange for a free product once I launch it. So I asked them very detailed questions about what’s their age, what’s their experience in using these products? What’s the current brand they’re using? What do they like about it? What don’t they like about it? If they could change two things about this product, what would they do? So asking them very detailed questions to identify the pain points that they have. After seeing what are some common pain points that these people have, and I received about 130 answers. So that’s pretty good sample size for what I was just looking for. I saw four or five common pain points and I first looked at myself and I asked, can I solve this? Is that something that I can actually change? It comes down to pricing, comfort, ability, and packaging. So that was the first direction that I had set for myself was to solve the pain points. And then next goes to design. You want to make sure that your product looks good while solving the same problem. You don’t want it to be like, here’s all the solution, but it may look a little bit tacky. So that’s really where the time is spent is to bridge together the solution, the design, the packaging, and the overall branding of the product.
Felix: What’s involved here in the design process to make sure you are solving the problems but then still keeping it aesthetically looking good?
Jason: I’m not a person who had worked at false eyelashes in the past, just making that clear to everyone. Coming into space, I don’t know much about it. To be frank, I didn’t know anything about it. So I spent a lot of time studying beauty brands. I didn’t want to just study lash brands. I think a common mistake that people make when looking at the design is that they like to limit themselves to what other people in their own space is doing. And at the end of the day, you end up creating a second version of another person’s brand. What I like to do is I like to draw inspiration from other beauty brands such as moisturizers, facewash. I remember sitting in my bathtub and looking at the copy from a Dove body wash bottle for about 10 minutes, just reading how they write their words or how they use the color of the logo to use the same color on their text. Just seeing inspirations from different designs, different brands, their packaging, and then trying and seeing if I was able to replicate that with my own brand. So I went to a lot of South Korean brands, just because I felt that Korean brands are able to convey colors and formatting a lot better than Western brands where it’s a little more plain and straightforward. So, that’s why when you look at Dove it’s very colorful, it pops in your face and if you ever see it in retail shows, it’s going to catch your attention. So, I’d like to just draw inspiration from different mediums and see if I’m able to create something that people in my space have not been able to do.
Felix: How do you immerse yourself in a way where you actually are able to get actionable things that you can try to implement in the design of your product?
Jason: Design comes down to two parts. There’s the external design and internal design. A lot of times internal design is what creates a function of it. And I think that was one point that I did not mention previously. In terms of external design, I just purchase a lot of products in the space that is similar to ours and try to see how they’re able to structure their designs together to create the final product. So that’s things that you can see on the outside: colors, the fonts, and honest stuff. So I literally just go out, purchase as many things as I can that I feel like could add to the final study of what I want my product to be. And the internal design, and now we’re getting into the product design, is what creates the product with the function that you envision. So I went out and I bought about 20 different pairs of lashes from 20 different brands and I study how they make their cotton band, how thick it is, whether the thickness contributes to durability and comfort. And I found that there needs to be a balance between having a thick enough band to hold the lashes and a thin enough band to be comfortable. So I have to purchase a bunch of lashes and test out which one was the best for the band. And then I go into the lash hair themselves. I look at what type of materials I can customize, whether it is silk, whether it is nylon or whether it is plastic. There’s a lot more complicated stuff beyond that but that’s a general idea that I like to take elements of what I like and essentially Frankenstein my own product at the end that draws inspiration in elements that I think make other products great.
Felix: How did you know what was actually possible to create in the real world?
Jason: I own a lot of this to my friends and my girlfriend who has been great in advising me. I’ve never used false lashes before. So this was to me, a foreign concept. What I found is that with enough research, your online presence will be your greatest resource. So what I did was I went on Reddit, I went on beauty forums and I read as many posts about lashes as I could. Literally every single thing that I got access to. Just to understand the fundamentals of how it works, why people wear it, how people wear it, and what they do with the lashes. So I saw that some people were actually stacking two pairs of lashes on top of each other to make them fuller because a lot of the lashes on the market at the time didn’t offer that type of style. So I was like, what if I just made a style where it’s two pairs of lashes stack together. In terms of comfort and looks, I asked a lot of my friends who were already wearing lashes. I often set up impromptu study groups where I just give them products that I’ve made, ask them what they thought about it, and gather results. I just want to really emphasize on the good questions park. A lot of people ask questions to their friends and they ask stuff like, “What do you like about it?” Those are questions that won’t really get you anywhere because a lot of times people will tell you they like it just because they’re your friend. What I like to do is ask very specific questions. I ask stuff like, “If you were to wear these lashes for the entire day, what would be some noticeable things on the lashes that you’d want to have?” So they’re like, “I want this to feel weightless on my eyes. I want this to be super light. I don’t want it to look fake, I want it to look natural.” So we’re able to create styles and products that fit that description just because we understood what people wanted by asking the right questions.
Felix: When are vendors involved as you are crafting your product?
Jason: At this stage I would like to get as many samples as I could from different suppliers and I try to understand what makes them better than the other. What I like to do is I like to ask them about what makes their product stand out. I don’t try and pin them against other suppliers because then they’re able to tell you exactly why they think their product will be superior. So getting a lot of samples from different suppliers, understanding what makes them different on the fundamental level. So material, the craftsmanship, whether it is made by machine, made by hand and where’s the assembly line. I try to find out everything that I could about the product and find out online what makes them better or makes them different. One funny thing was I did not know that cheap lashes were made in North Korea. That’s one thing that I found out when I was in China. So when I went back to China, I visited several vendors after I already made purchase orders with one. I just wanted to understand if there are better options if I could really improve my products. And I found that for some factories their assembly line was in North Korea and they just sent it to China for the final packaging. So that made me really uncomfortable because knowing the working conditions there, I wasn’t really comfortable with putting my products through that type of assembly line. So I found a factory where they do everything from start to finish. So I think doing my own due diligence in the type of people I like to work with was really important. Even though getting the manufacturing in Korea would’ve been about 60, 70% cheaper, I just felt more comfortable knowing that our products were made in an assembly line in a factory where people have good working conditions.
Launching within 48 hours with $500
Felix: Where do you think most entrepreneurs get stuck on?
Jason: A common mistake that I found is people getting stuck on things that really don’t matter in the long run. I know some people who make a logo and a website design and they’re stuck on that for two, three months because they don’t know what’s the right combination. Sometimes they just don’t have time for it. Like maybe they have a full-time job, totally reasonable. But a lot of people are getting stuck on things that aren’t making them money immediately rather than focusing on the product, the design of the product, and the distribution of the product, like trying to sell it. I’ll say what makes us able to get to the market so fast is our ability to understand what needs to be done first. So, making the product, making the store and getting the marketing strategies out to get in front of people’s eyes faster, rather than getting stuck on things like making a Shopify store or creating a theme or like custom-design an entire theme. When we start every single one of our brands, we use a free Shopify theme. And just through some simple designs on Upwork or Fiverr we’re able to get the store up and running with amazing designs in about one to two days. We like to expedite processes where we could, and after starting so many brands, we have a template where we just follow and create brands in about 48 hours.
Felix: What’s involved in that template to start a brand in just 48 hours.
Jason: We identify what needs to be done. That takes a long time. So we’ll design the local product images. Having that high up on the list is that every single time we want to launch a new product or we launch a new store, we’ll follow that template and set requests for those things to be done so that when the store’s finished, all those things could be implemented. So what we do is a lot of internal stuff like changing our upsell model, changing our update sequences, the email stuff. So that will take us, our own internal team about a day or so. But when we put the request in for the new logo, the new banner pictures, product images, while we’re doing that our external team, so just our contractors and our freelance designers can work on those while we’re working on the internal stuff. So at the end of 48 hours or maybe the next day, we’re able to have all those things together and just launch a product. So I like to launch and then improve later on. It’s a model that some people may question. Just because I personally like to launch things really fast and fix issues as it comes. Obviously I’m not going to launch an incomplete website, but what I mean is that I like to launch the bareness as a city of something, and then throughout the time when I feel like I could change something, I’ll make the change to it. An example of that is when I make a store, I’ll have a popup asking people for email. After two, three days I realize that the email popup isn’t really converting so I change the copy on it, I change the color on it. So a lot of times people are stuck on that stage before they even launch a website. They’re like, “Oh, what color should I use? What text should I use?” I just like to launch it and see and optimize it from there. We can see the stuff that we’re improving after we launch a store aren’t things that are going to make or break our website. It’s more so like we launch things that’ll make us money immediately and then fix the things that will make us more money throughout the way.
Felix: What was the reason for setting a $500 limit on your launch budget?
Jason: The reason why I got you this figure was because for my first product that went viral, the Meme Bible, I only spent $500 and I was able to create huge sales for the brand. I did about 200K in a week or so with just $500. So knowing that now, and it’s been about three years since I launched that book, I asked myself, “Can I replicate that with the same amount of money?” And the answer is, I cannot replicate the same sales number, but I’m able to replicate the same level of success in our own way. So I set that artificial ceiling for ourselves to use only $500, I can go over a little bit, and try and recreate the same business model using the same framework that we set. Doing so I was able to create the brand by focusing more on a product and then dedicating a lot of time to do things I’d otherwise hire people for. A lot of people have product ideas and they hire someone to measure store, they hire someone to design, they hire someone to take photos for them, and that will end up costing you $1,000 or more. What we did was we did everything internally. I learned how to take pictures, I learned how to do graphic designs. I spent most of the money on things that I cannot change. So the inventory stuff, on the shipping of products. And then, even though we have our own warehouse now for our other products, I decided to fulfill all the products within my own home. So I was fulfilling things in my living room just like how another person with just $500 would do. I started this challenge because I want to know that if I’m trying to teach people how to do this, I should be able to do this over and over again. So I set the same framework, I set up the same model and I was able to follow it to a tee and recreate the same brand.
Felix: What did you spend $500 on to basic kickstart a fourfold business?
Jason: The $500 was spent on inventory. Our first invoice was $560. And I order 50 units of each skew and I have four skew total. So that’s 200 units at about $2.70 per unit for the product. And I still have the invoice with me. I look at it sometimes and see how far we’ve come. So that was the first spend. And then next is a Shopify store. You can get the 14-day trial. For us, we have a partner at the council. We can just create stores here and there without the 14-day trial thing. And then I pay someone on Fiverr to create the first few designs for the banners and then I hired a friend to do our local for about a friend of ours. So I only had to pay her a couple of hundred bucks. So at the end of the day, it comes out to about $700 for the full brand with the designs done. But the reason why I spent so much money on that design was because for this brand in particular, you have to make sure that the packaging in a box looks really nice. Because we’re doing a beauty product, we’re in very competitive cups or mugs. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on the box if your product is good enough. So that’s just one thing that I want to emphasize. So at the end of the day, we didn’t go too far beyond our initial budget and were able to get the stuff to the market and be able to be sold at just $700.
Felix: When should an entrepreneur know that they can now focus on stage two activities?
Jason: Everything that I do in stage two comes from being funded by stage one. And this will be different for every single person. Your stage two may cost $100,000, or it may cost $5,000. What we found is that stage two is an ongoing process. It’s not like you just need to transition your entire brand into stage two. The designer in South Korea should redesign our entire packaging. So that caused a pretty penny, because it was a design firm that designed the color, your brand profile and everything. I think that cost about $13,000. So we had to make enough money in stage one to afford that. And it was an ongoing process. So to get to stage two, you have to first generate enough revenue in stage one for you to afford that on top of your overhead expenses, as well as your inventory expenses. So that number will be different from person to person, but typically you should be able to get to stage two after five to six months in business.
Why influencer marketing was key to Doe Lashes success
Felix: What is the marketing strategy that you have today to get customers?
Jason: Our strategy has always been an influence on marketing, and that was one thing that I focused on for my initial brand. I’m a firm believer that you should do things that you’re good at and focus all your time on that. And if you need to expand outside of that, hire the right people for it. For us, we knew that our bread and butter were influencer marketing, and following the same framework of marketing strategies that we have for our other brands I was able to replicate that for this brand. And what I mean is that we focused a lot on micro-influencers. We have a previous list of micro-influencers with under 100,000 followers that we had from our previous brand, but you can easily recreate the same list on your own just by reaching out to people. What we did was that we reach out to those people and reach out to their friends who may not have known us or our previous brand and ask them if they’d like to receive a product in exchange for promotion on their end. But one thing that we did differently about the strategy was that we don’t ask people to commit to stuff. A common mistake that people do when they work with influencers is that they ask them to promote something in exchange for a product, which sounds very confrontational. It sounds pretty aggressive because they’re like, “Hey, I’m going to give you a free product. You just have to post about us.” And from a brand side, that sounds pretty harmless, but the influencer who’s receiving the same message 100 times a day, you’re just another brand that wants something from them. So the way that we approach influencers is that we don’t ask them to commit to anything. We don’t ask them to post or anything. Well, you send on a product as a gift and if they like it, they will post about us. And using that strategy, we are first able to improve our response rate from the influencers because they actually feel like they’re comfortable with us. Then two is that people who try a product and actually like it are willing to post about it. This comes down to making a good product. You cannot send them a really bad product and expect them to post about it because that would decrease their integrity amongst their audience. Always make sure that you’re working with influencers who are within your niche. You are working with people who you have developed good conversation and relationships with over the past few days that you’ve contacted them. And lastly, you just want to make sure that you’re sending them a good product with no commitment because that’s how you’re going to get most of the responses.
Felix: What are you doing that time to establish some kind of relationship with them in just a few days before you ask them to get their feedback on a product?
Jason: I actually ask them the same questions that I ask my friends. I’m sort of looking at them as influencers or celebrities or whatever. I see them as ordinary people who are just content creators and have a good amount of audience. I ask them questions like, “Hey, we’re making this. What would you change about it? What would you like to see different in the lash industry?” Asking the same question just to get them comfortable and get them to answer a question first and foremost, and then we shoot them with, “Hey, we made the product now. Can we send you something to try?” It’s a long process. It’s tedious, no one wants to do it, but it’s the same process that we have followed over and over again. And it’s this process that a lot of people can replicate just simply because of how many micro-influencers they are on a market today. So, following that same concept you’re able to do the same thing for your product. You just have to change the language a little bit. But at the end of the day, the core message here is that you need to build relationships with your influencers, or else you’re just going to be left unread in their other inbox.
Felix: How do you identify which people are worth working with?
Jason: The previous list that we had was for our clothing brand. So, in a similar market, it’s like soft Korean color, silk colors. So we found that the same list could be applicable to the same brand. But for most people who don’t have that list, it’s so easy to build up that list again. Let’s just pretend that I don’t have that list. If I were to create a brand new PR list, I will look for people who are already working with other brands. I spend some time, maybe like a minute or so, going down their feed, seeing who they’re tagging, what type of beauty brands they’re working with or what type of content they’re creating. And then I can determine whether or not they’re up to promotions, like the way that we’re structuring.
Oftentimes you want to look for content creators who are already tagging brands in their content and are very open to working with new brands so you can look at people who are working with brands who are not big, or like multibillion-dollar brands. And if they’re willing to text small brands, like the ones that are tag in the picture, it means that they’re more willing to work with brands like you. When you look for influencers, it is always important to look for a lot of times you would think that you just need to send products to models that you’re selling a bikini. But what people don’t realize is that people that follow models are oftentimes guys. So you’re essentially getting someone to sell your product to a bunch of guys. So, it’s really important to find the right influencers for that. There’s no easy way to do it honestly. It takes some time to study their content, look at their comments, and see what’s the general demographic. While influencer marketing may be very cheap and effective, it takes a lot of time for you to understand what to look for. And that takes months or years to fully master. But if you’re willing to put in the time for it, you’re able to vet each influencer that you’re working with easily.
Felix: What do you think that you’d do differently about influencer marketing vs. paid ad spend?
Jason: I think with pay acquisitions like Google ads and Facebook ads, that requires a lot of data and a lot of money to be spent upfront. So the way that Facebook and Google work is that it works entirely on your preexisting data or it works with your capital to gather those data. So if you have a lot of emails, a lot of names that you can upload to Facebook, they can find people like that, or find people who are similar to that and drive your marketing content to these people. But that costs money first and foremost, or you don’t have any data on hand. You can pay Facebook and be like, “Hey, I want to target people who like beauty brands. I want to target people who like fashion or whatever.” And then with enough money, Facebook can find the right people. The reason why I like to focus on this type of medium with influencer marketing is that for us, we’re able to get it free. Using the free promotions through these influencers, we’re able to get their audience to go on our website, and that way we’re able to collect the data on these people and then use this data to do the pay acquisitions. That way, it will be a lot cheaper for us in the long run; because for you to do cold traffic targeting for Facebook, your CPM’s got to be 13, $14. If you’re doing retarding campaigns or warm audience campaigns where you only target people who have visited your website or people who are similar to people who are visiting your website, your CPM will be a lot cheaper. Our way is always to gather data, do free channels, or free methods of marketing, whether it’s word of mouth, influencers, or SEO, and then using the traffic that we generate through this method to do pay acquisitions in order to save more money in the long run.
Tools and apps that help Doe Lashes’ web design and operations
Felix: You have a page that says Love Letters, which are reviews, and then Track Order, and then Help. How did you determine what should go into the navigation?
Jason: The navigation bar, in my opinion, is what makes people get warmer and warmer to your brand. And you should only reserve that space for that particular purpose. Home, people are able to see the different types of lashes that we have. But after seeing the lashes, maybe they don’t really know what to do with it. They’re like, “Okay, that’s a cool product, but I’m not that convinced yet.” If you click on the Doe Difference, it takes us to our about us page, which tells you a little bit more about the brand. It makes people who are not familiar with what we’re trying to do more understanding of what we’re trying to accomplish now. And the Shop on IG button is my favorite, just because it takes people to a gallery of pictures on Instagram of people wearing our lashes so the customers are able to see exactly what the lashes will look like on each pair of different eyes on different face shape in different people. Having this content and this library of people makes a lot more sense because when you’re purchasing something that goes onto your face, it’s important for you to see other faces who are so much like yours and see how it looks like on your eyes, right? So, having this page up here is a lot more effective than just having a blank product page on top of a white background. And then, after seeing all these pictures, people are able to see the Love Letters, which are just reviews. The different things that we distinguish is that for this review page, we ask people for years of experience, what’s their first impression, what’s the impression after they use it? What do they think this pair of lashes is best for? And then we ask them specific questions like, what’s the ease of use, what’s the durability, and what’s the comfort? And they can rate it on a scale of one to 10. Having specific questions like that allows other people who are not been able to use our lashes to make better decisions. We always ask our customers to leave us good reviews, or I mean honest reviews, based on their experience. And then in exchange for that, they get a coupon for the next purchase.
Felix: Any tools or apps that you’d recommend other people check out?
Jason: For the review I use Okendo. It’s a little bit pricey, so I don’t recommend going to Okendo and we didn’t go to Okendo in the beginning. We only went to Okendo in stage two, and stage one we just used more affordable types of reviews like Yotpo or Loox review sites. And then for Shop on Ig, I believe the call shop on Instagram. So those two apps are my favorite apps for this part.
Felix: What has been like the biggest lesson that you’ve learned so far in building this brand that you want to apply in future brands or in the future of growing this brand?
Jason: I think for this brand, in particular, having good relationships with your customers is really important because this is a disposable product, meaning that after people use it a few times, no longer people will use a pair of lashes. So we found that retaining our existing customers is our first and foremost largest school. And we do everything that we can in order to meet that, whether it is refunding them or returning them, or giving them a new pair of lashes if they’re not happy with it. We have really good return policies and having that policy and those standards that we have across the board, we’re able to get people to come back every single month. Our kind of customer return rate is about 30%. And that’s one thing that I’m really proud of because typically most e-commerce brands don’t get anywhere near that number. So focusing on the customers who are already paying you to get them to come back to your store and spend more money in the future has always been the largest influence on where we’re able to do today.
This article originally appeared in the Shopify blog and has been published here with permission.