Designers, entrepreneurs and doing business on the Web

Giff Constable Aprizi, ecommerce


I regularly talk to small and medium-sized designers and business owners in the sectors where Aprizi plays. It is always interesting to hear about their challenges and tactics for success. They are entrepreneurs just like we are in the world of tech. Some of these interviews get converted into posts for The Tail, Aprizi’s blog. I wanted to highlight one in particular.

Sunny Woan is a lawyer by day, emerging handbag designer by night, in the process of getting her first collection ready for launch. In creating her new brand, Taryn Zhang, Sunny has charged up a steep learning curve, hunted down great mentors, and tackled her entrepreneurial venture with determination, high standards, and flexibility in the face of challenges. A lot of people are asking themselves what the future of retail looks like. You might be intrigued by this perspective from a fresh voice on the designer side. I am highlighting two excerpts from the interview below, and you can read the whole thing over at The Tail.

How important is selling online to your business?
Sunny: The only reason designers are so enamored of brick and mortar is because people still superficially judge success by it, similar to how some folks judge how successful you are by the car you drive. It’s nonsense. The real profits to be made is via e-commerce. Me personally, I can’t even remember the last time I really went shopping at a store. Who has the time? I like to multi-task shopping online with something else, and get it done that way. My husband and I, and pretty much everyone in our generation and our circle of friends, buy whatever we need short of groceries online. Marketing, publicity, and sales on the web are critical to my business, and should be critical to any start-up in the 21st century.

What tips would you share with other independent businesses who sell online?
Sunny: With small businesses, I would say take the opportunity to get personal and be personable. You have a chance to interact directly with your buyers, to provide superb customer service, not unlike back in the days of old Americana when Mrs. Cooper of Cooper’s General Store on Main Street would greet you by your first name when you walked through the door, and she’d ask how your kids Johnny and little Sarah have been. The Internet is our new Main Street, and an opportunity for us to be almost subversive in a way, and bring back a more local mom-and-pop feel, as ironic as that sounds, considering how global it actually is. It’s a chance for small businesses to thrive and take away a piece of that pie from the big conglomerate corporations, so make that opportunity count. Think of yourself as not just here to build a business, but also here to build a community.

Read the full interview here.