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New online retailer talks staying busy after the holidays, diversifying and planning for 2016

Posted 3 years ago in Small business by Marina Holmes
Posted by Marina Holmes

When Jordana Blackman started a social media group for female cyclists, she had no idea it would grow to over 1500 members. Or that the group’s input would lead her to develop a new specialist multi-vendor e-commerce site aimed at that very consumer market.

We ask Jordana what she’s doing to prepare her business for the year ahead.

For any new online retailer, trading through the holiday season is something of a non-negotiable. But for Jordana, who launched the site in November, it was also an opportunity to diversify her typical customer profile.

“At Christmas, it’s not just women buying for themselves – as it might traditionally be most of the year round,” she explains. “Men are buying for women too. Cycling is an addictive sport. One piece of kit is never enough! Which means it’s always a good gift option.”

The Chicks Who Ride Bikes sites typically hosts small-to-medium, pop-up business vendors. Jordana hopes this personal touch will add another layer of individuality to the shopping experience.

“Everything is totally unique, which isn’t as achievable in large stores,” she says. “The product might be there one day and not the next, depending on the amount the vendor makes. It’s a refreshing way to shop, to support small, creative businesses in that way.”

Looking beyond the festive period

Christmas is a primary retail period, and it falls into the early months of the site’s online presence. But it won’t disproportionately affect Jordana’s business plan.

“I expect a surge over Christmas, and I’ve factored that into my projections. But I don’t actually think it will be the biggest surge of the year,” she explains.

“It’s hot in Australia at Christmas – so it’s not the best time of year for cycling. Moving forward I’m also going to focus on seasonal cycling periods and industry events, like the Tour de France. It will be interesting to see how that real spark of interest translates into sales for the site.”

The future

For Jordana’s burgeoning business, the next 6-12 months is likely to welcome a lot of changes.

“I have so many goals but, primarily, I’d like to find a business partner or a board of smart people I can turn to for ideas and feedback,” Jordana says. “I like working on my own, but I don’t think it’s the healthiest option for my business in the long-term. Ideally, I’d want someone who is financially invested in the business. I’d want to be sure they have that same serious commitment.”

“In the meantime, I’d like to get more tours and services on the site. For instance, you could travel to New Zealand, France or Japan and choose a high-quality road bike tour that has the Chicks Who Rides Bikes seal of approval.”

The top three things I learned this month

  • Feel the fear and do it anyway
  • Diversify your market
  • Seek out a group of advisors

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