With determination and lots of entrepreneurial spirit, Nicole Whitesell turned her small eBay operation into a fully blown online business. Since moving to Volusion, Shop Adorn has increased revenue by 500%.
Nicole Whitesell was born to run a business.
“When I was in middle school, I would play library with the neighbor kids. Through me they could check out books, and then I would charge them late fees. It was about 10 cents when they returned them late, and I had no mercy. I also loved playing store. We would set my bedroom up as a store and use monopoly money and would play for hours.”
Later in life, Nicole realized her career as a home building contractor wouldn’t be enough to satisfy her entrepreneurial spirit. Thanks to slow winters and the need for some extra money, Nicole started buying watches and jewelry from previous seasons to sell at a discount on eBay.
Although selling through eBay worked at first, she became dissatisfied with their transaction fees and decided to start her own website, selling contemporary jewelry and apparel. Nicole thought she was making the right decision when she turned to Magento as an ecommerce solution. After a year and a half, she realized the lack of customization and dependencies on a web developer were negative tradeoffs for the free solution.
Frustrated with the exhausting effort for little return, Nicole needed a solution that would alleviate her site’s high abandonment rates and low customer satisfaction.
Confiding in a fellow entrepreneur about her website struggles, Nicole walked away with advice that would turn her entire online business around: “Try Volusion.” Worried about a complicated transition from Magento to Volusion, Nicole realized she made the right decision when she used Volusion’s support for the first time. With Volusion’s live chat function, Nicole was able to get immediate answers to her questions whenever she needed help.
After officially making the switch in September 2009, Shop Adorn was prepared to go into their first holiday season. Once this critical selling season passed, the online business saw a 500% growth in revenue. Even better, the spikes in traffic continued after the holidays. And with a growing online presence via a blog and SEO work, sales continued to increase throughout 2010.
Thanks to the unexpectedly high return on investment, Nicole plans on devoting even more resources to marketing initiatives to continue growing her business.
After suffering through some early growing pains, the biggest lesson Nicole learned was to take the time to do research. If she built relationships with fellow entrepreneurs and listened to their advice sooner, it would have saved her thousands of dollars in resources. (You can apply this to your own business decisions as well by tapping into your personal network, and even looking to professional groups like those found on LinkedIn.)
Even with a budding business, Nicole stays energetic and enthusiastic. But how? It’s simple: Love what you’re doing, especially if you’re an entrepreneur.
“I can’t sell something I don’t love. Working retail in the past, I loved customers and I loved dressing people. Now I get to do that daily and be part of a community.”
Want to see Shop Adorn’s site in action? Check out their beautiful design and great merchandise at shopadornonline.com!
Thanks to Nicole for sharing her story with us – we’d love to hear from you too! If you’re interested in being featured, send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org with your domain name.