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Season 1 - Episode 0

from markets to millions, online store success with jodie minto

Season 1 - Episode 0

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Online Store Success Podcast
with Jodie Minto

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Today's episode shares a little of my fashion eCommerce journey.  

I started my own online fashion store from scratch as a side hustle when I was working full time in the corporate world, juggling young children and living in the Middle East. Today. That side hustle is a seven figure a year online fashion brand with stockists and customers all over the world.

But there was actually two businesses before iland co. and I share those stories (and failures!) in this episode.

Tune into this episode to hear I how I got started, and the advice I'd give to those starting out.


Show Notes:


Curious to check out my fashion brand?  Take a look here: iland co. 

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Show transcript

Welcome to the Online Store Success podcast with me Jodie Minto. If you have are planning on launching your very own online store, you are in the right place my friend. I'm your host Jodie Minto, an award winning ecommerce mentor online fashion business owner and speaker based on the central coast of New South Wales. 

I started my own online fashion store from scratch as a side hustle when I was working full time in the corporate world, juggling young children and living in the Middle East. Today. That side hustle is a seven figure a year online fashion brand with stockists and customers all over the world. Join me each week for real talk lessons and strategies that I used in order to build up iland code to the million dollar a year business it is today. The lessons and strategies I share with you each week will help you build and scale your very own successful ecommerce fashion business too, because I know how my life has changed for the better after launching my own business and I want the same for you.

Hello, and welcome to my podcast online store success with me Jodie Minto. I am your host, I am an award winning ecommerce mentor and seven figure online fashion business owner. I started my own online fashion business called iland Co. More than seven years ago when I was living in Dubai working as an executive assistant in the pharmaceutical industry. It's been one heck of a ride. And through these podcasts, I want to share some of my journey with you as well as tips, tricks, tactics and strategies that have helped me scale my business to a seven figure a year business because I want to help you do the same. You see having my own business has changed my life. Gone are the days of working nine to five in a cubicle for a boss that I didn't particularly love. And instead I have freedom and flexibility over my work days, my weeks, my months will when I'm going to take a day off what time I'm going to finish. And I can be there for my kids, sports carnivals, and dance concerts and all those different things. And I just love the life that I've created. And I want to help others do the same too. So let me take you back to the beginning of how I got started with Iiand Co. I actually started my very first business at the age of 19. It was a business called bliss entertainment. And I represented DJs and musicians and booked them out to parties and weddings.

Back when I started bliss entertainment, Facebook and Instagram didn't even exist. My main advertising channel was through Yellow Pages, remember those, and also attending wedding expos where I'd have a little stand and hand out my brochures. So much has changed since then. And so much for me has changed since then in what a business looks like that is fun for me where I can excel. And I learned through that experience of having bliss entertainment for I think around four years that I wanted a business where I had physical products that I could sell that I had location, flexibility and freedom. So I could run the business from anywhere. And it wasn't dependent on me getting up and going and doing weddings or ensuring that other DJs and musicians would be the right place at the right time and deliver a great service.

Fast forward, I lied to my husband, we moved over to Dubai for his work and we had a plan of staying there for two years. What ended up happening is we stayed for eight and a half. I ended up back at work full time after being there for around two and a half years when my daughter was two. And I fell into full time corporate work and was really loving, not only being back at work and having a career, but also obviously the extra income. But what I quickly learned was the corporate world was not the place for me. I had no control, no freedom and no say in where I had to be what times I had to be at work. And even if I'd run out of work for the day, I'd still have to sit there and wait for five o'clock until I could go home. What I found was then I was having to hire all of these different helpers.

Given that we were living overseas, we didn't have any family or friends available to then have my kids care and you know, their help with their homework, all the things I had to outsource. So it ended up being this well oiled machine where not only was I working full time, but I was also having multiple different staff and helpers having to manage my life and I was exhausted and thinking this is kind of silly. Half the money I was earning, I'm spending on childcare, and home help. And I'm really not loving life. So again, I got the urge to start my own business and based on my experiences of bliss entertainment, I knew I didn't want to go down the service road again. I wanted a physical product that I could sell. Like I said from my laptop, I could be anywhere in the world because we weren't sure when we were moving home to Australia or where we might go next and I started tinkering with different product ideas.

Now at the time, I'd actually just been diagnosed with two melanoma skin cancers. And I had this really traumatic experience where after being diagnosed, we realised that the best care available for melanoma wasn't there in Dubai at the time it was back here in Australia. So within that space of a week or two, we were on an aeroplane coming back to Australia for urgent surgery. Fast forward to day I've had the all clear since then, I've actually had another two melanomas since then, for superficial melanomas, which is one of those awards that I'd rather not have one, however, I'm healthy and happy. But to give you an idea of where my head was at when I started initially tinkering with product ideas was that's where I was at, I just returned back from Australia after having the surgery. And all of a sudden, I was very aware of what I was putting on my skin. I was really conscious of products and sunscreens and perfumes and anything that might make me more susceptible to getting sunburn, particularly living in the Middle East where it's stinking hot.

So what I started to do was create this business in my own mind, it was called willow tree organics. And I started sourcing products from other brands that I thought Dubai would love. Dubai at the time, you know, organics and things like that was fairly new, that it was obviously growing momentum and popularity in Australia, in the Western world and in Europe. So I had this idea where I was going to start importing organic perfumes and baby products and all the different things. And without testing whether or not there was any sort of market need for those products, I started buying them because I was working full time and I was desperate. And I just wanted a quick way out.

So I then went in when not only did I buy all these products, I went and paid to have a website built. I had brochures and postcards and things like that made. And what I did was then launch my website and realise I had no customers. So being optimistic, and if not stubborn, but very determined. I then started thinking outside the box and thinking, Okay, I need to go and put these products in front of people because once I do that, I know that they'll really really want them. So I booked some stalls at a local farmers market in Dubai on the weekends. So now it's not only working full time in the corporate world during the week, I was now also doing market stalls on the weekend, trying to sell these products that I'd spent all this money on and built this beautiful website and had this logo designed postcards all of the things and realised very quickly that there was no demand for the product I was selling, there was a real education piece that needed to happen first, there in Dubai before people were willing to, you know, spend $60 on a roll on perfume that was vegan and organic versus going and buying a nice brand one you know from the local department store.

What I quickly realised was I didn't actually have a winning product or a winning business idea for that particular moment in time. And it wasn't going to get me out of that corporate job as quickly as I hoped. What I started doing was taking a look around the markets to see who was busy and lo and behold all of the women's fashion stalls were flat out with customers. Right? I thought to myself, it's time to try something else.

I had realised back on my visit home to Australia that kimonos were becoming quite popular and I noticed ladies wearing them as a summer kimono over swimwear and over denim shorts. But I also noticed that there was this crossover that they were actually quite similar in shape to the local buyers that the local Emirati women war. So I went into and this is the beauty of the Middle East and many other countries not so much Australia but there was local tailors and local fabric suits that I could go and purchase some little off cuts of fabric and take them into a tailor and have some ideas and concepts made up with relative ease and without costing too much. And what I did is I went and bought 10 different coloured fabrics, really bright neon sequins, the whole kitten Caboodle and had 10 kimonos made up to take with me to my next market stall to put on a rack behind the organic perfumes and the organic baby clothes that I'd purchased in hopes that if nothing else, those bright colours would attract people to my stall.

What I actually discovered was that in the Yes, it did work in that it did attract women and customers to my store but they walked right around the table ignoring all of the perfumes and the other things I was really wanting to sell and I sold all 10 of those kimonos on the very first day not only that I saw them late as I was packing up ladies in this park posing wearing the kimono knows that they just bought from me for Instagram photos and things like this. So I knew I was onto a winning concept. But I was still really attached to willow tree organics and I still actually have some of those perfumes floating around all these years later, fast forward to today, iland co. is purely online. I don't do any market stalls anymore.We do million dollars a year in revenue, we are stocked by different stockists across the globe. And we are, you know, diversifying our products and getting really excited about the future. I just want you to know that if I could do it with no fashion experience, no design skills, a handful of stubbornness isn't when it goes to being attached to a product that wasn't clearly working.

If I can do it and overcome all of those challenges and obstacles, you can absolutely do it too. And throughout this podcast, I hope that I can help you pivot if you need to, or scale your store quickly in order for you to get out of that day job that you might not be loving or start bringing in some extra income for you and your family. So stick with me throughout this podcast.

I'm going to share with you strategies that have worked for me, massive mistakes that I've made and hope that you will be able to avoid them by me sharing them with you, and everything in between. So thank you for being here. Go ahead and subscribe to this podcast and I cannot wait to see you and speak to you in the next episode.

Bye for now. Thanks so much for listening to this episode of online store success with Jodie Minto. If you loved it, please share it with your friends on Instagram and tag me as I am Jodie Minto so I can say thank you. And if you really want to make my day please leave me a review on Apple podcasts. If you'd like my help in starting or scaling your online store, be sure to check out my free resources and programmes at Jodie minto.com Thanks again and best of luck with your story.

Tune in each week to learn how to build and scale your own online fashion or lifestyle eCommerce store.

My mission is to help other emerging fashion entrepreneurs crack the code of eCommerce success for a life of uncapped income, flexibility and fun.

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