From Likes to {Dollars}: Right here's Learn how to Promote Your Merchandise on Instagram in 2021

With Instagram surpassing one billion monthly active users worldwide and over 500 million people using Instagram Stories on a daily basis, Instagram offers marketers ample opportunities to find new customers. 
Now, with Instagram Shopping, which links your online store to your Instagram account, the social media site has developed into a thriving marketplace for brands to connect with consumers. Learn how to get verified on Instagram and improve your online store sales with a verified badge.
But incorporating Instagram Shopping into your marketing still requires some creativity. There are many ways you can go about it, after all. So, let’s take a look at examples of how some of the world’s top ecommerce brands are using Instagram Shopping to drive sales and growth.

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Why sell directly on Instagram?
Instagram Shopping is quickly becoming the preferred way for consumers to not only learn about new brands and products on Instagram but also to purchase them in just a few simple steps.
In fact, 90% of Instagram users follow a business account, making the expansion of Instagram Shopping more effective than ever for merchants to tag products in their posts, open an online storefront, and simplify the entire buyer journey, from discovery to checkout. If you are looking to get a verified badge on Instagram, check out our guide on how to get verified on Instagram to get started.
From mom and pop shops to major brands, businesses around the world are driving proven results with Instagram Shopping.

Sell more with Instagram Shopping
Start tagging products in your posts and Stories to turn engagement into purchases with the Instagram Shopping sales channel. Shopify’s Facebook channel makes it easier to sync your Shopify products with Facebook and leverage product tagging across posts, Stories, Reels and more.
Learn more

How to set up Instagram Shopping
First things first. To enable selling your products on Instagram, make sure:

Once you’ve taken care of the step-by-step details above, you should be all set to start selling your products on Instagram.
How to sell on Instagram
Before we dive into specific examples of how top brands use Instagram Shopping, let’s quickly outline the five main tools you can use together to drive organic sales from Instagram:
Shoppable Posts. In a nutshell, Shoppable Posts let you add product tags to your content so people can buy directly from them. Product tags on Instagram are similar to tagging other users in your posts, except you’re tagging your products. This allows shoppers to click on your tags and quickly shop your catalog of products.

Product stickers in Stories. With product stickers, ecommerce brands can tag specific products in Stories, just like you can with standard product tags in posts.
The Shop tab on your profile. The Shop tab is where your profile visitors can find all the products you’ve tagged in your Instagram posts, including the content that features them.
Swipe-up links in Stories. While not a feature of Instagram Shopping, swipe-up links are a great tool for driving traffic to specific landing pages directly from Stories. Previously only available to verified accounts, all business Instagram accounts with 10,000 or more followers can now add links to Instagram Stories.
Instagram checkout. When you enable Instagram checkout, people can buy directly from Live Shopping, product launches, and Shopping for Creators. If you’re a Shopify merchant, you can use the Facebook channel integration to set up checkout on Instagram and Facebook. Shop Pay will automatically show for the customer, providing a faster and easier way for them to check out. 
Due to the highly visual nature of Instagram, Instagram Shopping’s product tags are a natural fit for various ecommerce merchants across several industries and verticals.
With that said, many brands struggle to create a compelling aesthetic in their Instagram posts, making it difficult to sell their products in a crowded ecommerce landscape. Here are our three biggest takeaways for making the most out of your Instagram Shopping posts.
1. Create high-quality product photos
Brands today cannot afford to post poor quality product photos to Instagram (or any other channels). But don’t worry—today’s smartphone cameras are often more than enough to take high-quality product photos if you’re on a limited budget.
For example, Beardbrand uses flat-lay product shots to showcase fan favorites, adding product tags for each individual item.

But let’s take a look at the three elements that make Beardbrand’s product image “high quality”:

Backdrop. Use a black, white, or light gray backdrop behind your product to give your photographs a clean and consistent look across multiple products.

Table. Utilize a table so your product sits higher, which will make it easier for you to photograph it during the shoot.

Light. The most budget-friendly option is natural window light. Set up your product and equipment near a large window to allow for ample light in your frame. If natural light is not available, use a larger lamp or rent a softbox-type lighting kit and remember that “white” light is optimal for capturing products.

With multiple products featured in one photo, you can tag each one separately to let shoppers learn more about what they’re interested in.
It may seem like a lot of work upfront in order to capture quality product photos, but it’ll make a huge impact on sales in the long run. Remember: you’re creating assets that you can repurpose and reuse over time.
Of course, staged product images aren’t the only way to crush it with Instagram Shopping.
2. Showcase your products as part of a lifestyle
If you’re looking to lean into the visual nature of Instagram, there’s no better way than to show your product in action. This will help shoppers to actually visualize themselves using your product and take the next step in the buying process.
Herschel Supply is one of the best in the business at helping shoppers imagine a lifestyle with its products.

What makes this Instagram marketing strategy so effective is that, instead of using a call to action like “Shop” or “Buy” in its product photos, the brand simply shares stories from real individuals who love its products. It even tags the people in the posts!
But if you don’t have the time or resources to create high-quality product images of your own, there’s still another way to make your Instagram account stand out.
3. Curate user-generated content
If people are buying and enjoying your product, chances are they’re posting about it on social media. User-generated content is a great way to fill your feed with quality content while still taking advantage of the various Instagram Shopping features.
One of my favorite examples of user-generated content done right is from Inkbox Tattoos. With more than one and a half million Instagram followers, it’s the poster child for how effective UGC can be for brands. This is even more so with the introduction of Instagram’s Shop tab on the home screen.

Instagram first began testing a shopping feature in November 2016, rolling it out globally a few months later. Now, with the addition of the Shop tab to Explore, Instagram’s algorithm selects items it believes users will be interested in. Here’s what it looks like:

Many brands have come to see social media as the gateway that lets them connect authentically with audience members one on one. With user-generated content, brands give users the opportunity to tell real and oftentimes relatable stories—something that is hard to achieve with traditional brand-generated content.
4. Use the right hashtags
Instagram hashtags are a way to build brand awareness and connect your content to a specific topic or conversation. Hashtags make your shoppable content discoverable on Instagram and help it reach more people. When you publish a shoppable post with a hashtag, it shows up in the feed with a shopping bag icon. This tells browsers that an item in your post is available to buy. 

If you already have a good idea of hashtags that work well for your brand, consider using them on your Shoppable Posts. You can go broad with a hashtag like #style or #fashion, or be a little more specific (i.e., #earringsaddict) and connect with a more targeted audience. 
5. Partner with Influencers
It’s safe to say that influencer marketing can help you sell on Instagram. Instagram influencers are people who’ve built a reputation—and a $5.8 billion industry—around a certain niche on the platform. They work as brand ambassadors for your business, sharing your products with their target audience in exchange for money, free products, or exposure. 

Influencers can impact buying habits because of their authority in a particular industry. In the example above, @lizarch, a yoga influencer with 57,000 followers, promotes a giveaway for Savhera Organic Essential Oils. The essential oil brand partnered with Liz because her audience trusts her suggestions and what she promotes.
The school of thought is that influencers are wildly expensive, as though every brand is paying Kim Kardashian $1 million to promote their products. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. 

Nano-influencers and micro-influencers tend to get higher engagement rates. My best influencers have been people that are genuinely interested in the product and eager to share it with their followers.
Rhiannon Taylor, Founder of RT1home

With the rise of nano-influencers (accounts with less than 5,000 followers) and micro-influencers (between 5,000 and 20,000 followers), smaller brands can now work with influencers at a reasonable price and make more sales on Instagram. 
Read It’s Your Time to Shine: How to Find and Work With Instagram Influencers in 2021 to set up your first influencer campaign on Instagram. 
Instagram Stories has seen rapid growth in adoption and usage among consumers around the globe, with more than 500 million accounts using them daily. Believe it or not, one-third of the most-viewed Stories are from brand accounts.
With the expansion of Instagram Shopping into Stories (and even the Explore page), brands now have even more ways to get their products and services directly in front of eager buyers.
1. Educate or entertain your audience (don’t just sell)
One of the biggest strengths of Instagram Stories content is the fact that it’s less curated and more human due to its ephemeral nature. In other words, where the Instagram Feed is typically a brand’s best content, Stories are much more raw and unfiltered.
Educating or entertaining your audience instead of going directly for the sale will ensure that your content fits well within the Stories narrative, as well as offer your audience a compelling reason to find out more about your product or service.
While product stickers can promote your specific products, you can also use swipe-up links instead (if you have more than 10,000 followers) to surface your content or other key webpages.
Parachute, for example, does an incredible job of creating educational content around what might seem like a mundane topic: sheets and bedding. After posting a series of interesting stats and figures, it encourages its followers to swipe up if they’d like to learn more.
The Stories link then leads shoppers to a landing page with more tips on bedding, several products, and an email pop-up to entice newsletter signups.
Parachute proves you can still sell your products effectively while simultaneously improving the lives of your followers.
2. Use video to showcase your product
Did you know that, after watching a video, 64% of social media users are more likely to purchase a product online? Or that 15% to 25% of Stories viewers swipe up to follow a link and engage directly with a brand’s website?
Needless to say, video should be an integral part of your Instagram Shopping strategy.
Letterfolk, for example, does a great job of using video in its Stories. From product demonstrations to live Q&A, the Letterfolk team knows exactly how to take advantage of this compelling format.

The best video content tells stories that connect on a deep level with the viewer. The better you tell stories about your brand or product, the more likely your viewers are going to understand what your company is offering and what it can do for them. And, in turn, the more likely they’ll be to buy.
Best of all, you can add product stickers or swipe-up links to your video Stories to drive sales and can even feature them permanently in your Highlights to surface them to new profile visitors.
3. Experiment with product stickers in Stories
As you’ve probably gathered by now, Instagram Stories are an effective way for brands to showcase and promote their products in engaging ways. But up until recently, Stories were somewhat limited in terms of directly selling products and driving traffic.
That all changed with the recent launch of product stickers in Stories. With product stickers, ecommerce brands and businesses are no longer limited to trying to get their followers to swipe up to shop.
Users can tap on product stickers to learn more about the featured product, and then tap again to be taken directly to the product page to purchase.
Clothing company Madewell 1937, for example, uses product stickers in Stories to visually showcase their newest line of clothing.

Other cool sticker features Instagram added in 2020 were food delivery and gift card stickers. In an effort to help small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, you can now share gift card, food order, or fundraiser stickers in Stories and on your profile. 

Photo courtesy of: Instagram

4. Go live
When you have an Instagram Shop and product catalog set up, you can start an Instagram Live Shopping stream. Live Shopping lets brands and creators sell products over a live broadcast. Think of it like a TV shopping network, but with more interaction and on your phone. Live Shopping lets you showcase products, interact with fans, and partner with other brands and creators. 
As the seller, you can tag a product from your catalog to appear at the bottom on the screen during a live broadcast. Buyers just need to click the Add to Bag button, then check out. 

Photo courtesy of: Instagram

The only caveat? To use Instagram Live Shopping, you must be a US business with access to Instagram checkout. 
Instagram is now a place where people go to shop. Instagram’s research shows that 84% of people want to discover new products on the platform. With mobile sales projected to reach $3.5 trillion by the end of 2021, 22.3% more than 2020, Instagram launched shoppable ads to capitalize on the mobile commerce trend. 

Shoppable Instagram ads are your standard Instagram ad but with product tags. When someone is interested in your promoted product, they can go directly to a product detail page to learn more. If you’re a US business, you can run ads with Instagram checkout too, so people can purchase directly in-app. 
These ads run in feed or Explore using single image, carousel, or video formats from your product catalog. They work just like regular Instagram ads: you build them in Ads Manager and can show to a custom audience or lookalike audience to find new potential customers. 
Reels let your business create and publish videos up to 30 seconds long. It’s easy to get creative with easy-to-use text, AR filters, and audio to tell your brand’s story. Reels can also appear on the Explore page where anyone on Instagram can see them.
The coolest part? You can tag products in your Reels, so that when someone views your Reels, they can easily access the products or collections mentioned in it. 

Selling on Instagram with Shopify
Selling on Instagram with an ecommerce platform like Shopify is simple. When you connect your store to the Facebook sales channel, your Shopify products automatically sync to Instagram so you can create ads and Shoppable Posts easily. 
You can use Shopify to create, track, and manage your ad campaigns and orders with Instagram, as well as customize your Shop and bring the look and feel of your Shopify store to it. 
Before you start selling on Instagram, you’ll need to make sure you’ve set up a Facebook business page and have products in your Facebook catalog. 
From there, use the following steps:

From your Shopify admin, click Facebook sales channel > Overview.
Click Set up to start in the Instagram Shopping section.
Connect the required Facebook accounts to the Facebook sales channel.
Review and accept the terms and conditions, then click Request approval.

It takes 24 to 48 hours for Facebook to review your products. Note that this works if you’re on the Shopify Basic plan or above.
When you sell on Instagram and Facebook with Shopify, there are apps and integrations that connect your inventory, marketing, customer, and sales data into a central database. Sync your product catalog, discover and promote the most popular product features, and create your ad campaigns, all within Shopify.
Key takeaways from top brands using Instagram
As I mentioned in the beginning, with more than 90% of Instagram users following a business account, the expansion of Instagram Shopping offers an unmatched opportunity for merchants to tag products in their posts and simplify the entire buyer journey from discovery to checkout.
Before you dive into Instagram Shopping and start promoting your product or service across the platform, it’s important to keep these three key takeaways in mind.
1. Quality is crucial
Everything from your product photos to the way you describe your product in the captions is an integral part of the buyer process. People make judgments about your brand in a matter of seconds—it’s important to consider all of the factors.
2. Help shoppers visualize
While there are endless ways to use Instagram Shopping to market your product, perhaps the most compelling way is to help potential customers imagine what life would be like with your product. In other words, your Instagram content shouldn’t focus on the features of your product, your ads should focus on what people can do with your product, how it will make them feel, or how it will enrich their lives.
3. Embrace video
Video marketing is here to stay, and it will play a big part in the success of your Instagram content. People are more likely to take action (such as clicking or purchasing) after watching a video compared to content containing a photo or link.
How are you using Instagram to sell products?
Instagram Shopping is only just the beginning for merchants looking to boost sales on the Instagram app. As more and more consumers get used to this exciting new shopping frontier, it’s up to your brand to deliver your products where customers are spending a majority of their time: social media.

Ready to create your business? Start your free 14-day trial of Shopify—no credit card required.

Selling on Instagram FAQ

Can you sell directly on Instagram?

Yes, you can sell directly through posts, Stories, live streams, and ads with a Shoppable Instagram page.

How do you sell things on Instagram?

Create high-quality product photos 

Curate user-generated content

Partner with influencers

Use video to showcase your products

Run Instagram ads

How do you start an Instagram store?

To start an Instagram store, tap Get Started on the notification, or head to Instagram’s business settings and tap Shopping. Then, select the Facebook Shop you want to use with your Instagram profile. All your products are then synced across Instagram, your Facebook Shop, and your Shopify store.

How many followers do you need to set up Instagram shopping?

There is no follower minimum to activate Instagram Shopping. All you need is an Instagram business account and to abide by Facebook’s commerce policies.

NCKP 2021 has begun!

A few months ago, I mentioned this summer’s 2021 National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy (NCKP) virtual conference. The pre-conference sessions officially began TODAY (yay!). I’ve been happily enjoying some wonderful virtual sessions already this afternoon, and am so excited about the programming over the next few weeks. The NCKP planners have chosen a wonderful app that allows for connecting with other attendees while enjoying the virtual presentations. It’s the next best thing besides being in-person with my teacher friends and colleagues.

In this year’s NCKP, I am involved with two different sessions. The first is a presentation about a personal project with my young daughter, Aria, and our first year of Early Childhood Music sessions at home together. (I’ve been putting my ECM certification through the Gordon Institute for Music Learning (see to good use recently!) This session will take place during the pre-conference this Friday the 16th from 1:05-2:00pm EDT. Here’s the full description:

Music is Child’s Play: Lessons Learned from My Youngest StudentThis session has it all: storytelling, lessons learned, pedagogical insights, and baby videos! Piano teacher Joy Morin shares videos and research documenting her daughter’s first year of developing “preparatory audiation” according to the stages outlined in Edwin E. Gordon’s Music Learning Theory (MLT). Come hear the lessons babies can teach music teachers everywhere and gain insights that can transform our pedagogy of young learners.
The second session I am involved with is a panel discussion along with four wonderful colleagues: Lynnette Barney, Christopher Oill, Tony Parlapiano, and Clinton Pratt. This session will take place during the main conference on Saturday, July 31, 2021 from 4:00-4:50pm. Here is the full description:
Teaching Students to Fish: Developing Independent Learners From the First Lesson. “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Our long-term goal is to teach our way out of a job, right? We want our students to be independent learners from the start. This session features five experienced teachers who offer engaging, practical, and out-of-the-box teaching strategies so your students cast their own lines!
If you are attending NCKP this year, I hope you will look for these two sessions in the schedule! I would love to see you there virtually and connect with you via the NCKP app!
If you haven’t registered for NCKP but would like to, you’ll find info about it here.

PS: It’s that time of year! I’ve started receiving inquiries from a few piano teacher associations about speaking on their 2021-22 program. So far, I am booked to speak in Livonia, MI, Columbus, OH, and Holland, MI. If you’re in any of those areas and would like to attend, let me know and I can send you the details. If YOUR local association is working on programming, please feel free to pass my name along. I have a list of presentation topics available here and am available for in-person or Zoom presentations. I would love to speak for your piano teachers association this year! Thanks for considering me.

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Greater Is Not At all times Higher: Why This Indigenous-Led Enterprise Isn’t Involved in World Domination

“Indigenous families are big. Lots of aunties and uncles, and even more cousins. Every time I go back home or speak with my auntie, I learn of more family that I’ve yet to meet,” Destiny Hoostie, Bangin’ Bannock co-founder, tells me.
Destiny and her business partner––Kelsey Coutts, the other Bangin’ Bannock co-founder––reminisce about their bustling childhood family get-togethers: busy events full of people, connection, and food. Particularly bannock, a variety of grain-based quick bread, usually fried or baked. It’s a staple at Indigenous powwows, festivals, and family functions.
For Kelsey and Destiny, bannock is a source of nostalgia; a familiar symbol of home and the warm fuzzy associations that come with it––safety, comfort, community, and good times. As adults, they didn’t have an exact bannock recipe to replicate the childhood favorite in their own kitchens. “Everyone had a special way of making bannock, and the recipes were typically guesstimates,” says Kelsey. It seemed like the tradition of making bannock was being lost. Less people were cooking bannock, and a lot more didn’t know how.
Enter Bangin’ Bannock: a convenient bannock dry mix by the bag, Kelsey and Destiny’s solution to getting more people to cook the traditional staple. Just add water and oil!

Bangin’ Bannock offers a convenient bannock dry mix by the bag, with pre-measured ingredients that take the guesswork out of making bannock.

More than what meets the taste buds
For the two Indigenous founders, incorporating Indigenous values into Bangin’ Bannock’s business model is a no-brainer.
“It will never be about the flour mix and the bag,” Kelsey says. Yes, the mix tastes delicious (I may or may not have eaten a whole bag of bannock in one day when I first tried it…), but Kelsey and Destiny think of it as more than a kitchen staple or revenue stream. For them, it’s “a resource to create conversation, connection, and community”—Indigenous values that trace back millennia.
Destiny vividly remembers one of her first sales: to a foster mom who purchased the product to connect her Indigenous foster kids with their roots in any way she could. Destiny dropped off the local order in person so she could have  a conversation with the foster mom and connect her with local organizations where the children can learn Indigenous languages.
For Destiny, that simple act, sparked by a Bangin’ Bannock product, is a symbol of wealth. In Indigenous culture, passing on knowledge in the form of teaching, community, and resources is a type of currency––one that cannot be quantified by dollar signs and balance sheets.
“Culturally, if you lived in a village with other people and your neighbor didn’t have a blanket or fish, you’d share what you have and make sure they’re eating,” she explains.
The world could use more Indigenous business
Tracy Ridler, Indigenous Entrepreneurship Program Manager at Shopify, not only understands Kelsey and Destiny’s worldview on running a business; she advocates for it. 
“How we define wealth in Indigenous culture is different from the conventional way the world defines wealth,” Tracy says. For the majority of us, wealth is synonymous with money and capital. Within the context of Indigenous culture, it’s viewed with reciprocity at the core. It’s about propping up each other with knowledge, community support, teachings, and storytelling. “Indigenous people are a collective. We thrive when we’re together,” Tracy adds.
As new entrepreneurs, it’s not lost on Kelsey and Destiny how aggressive and dominating business can be. “The current way we do business doesn’t bring people together. It’s dog-eat-dog out there. It doesn’t have to be like that,” Kelsey adds. “We don’t need to rule the world. There’s enough world out there. We can share.”

“We don’t need to rule the world. There’s enough world out there. We can share.”
When I asked the duo about their future aspirations, Destiny mentioned wanting to mentor other entrepreneurs and guide them along their business journey. “Not necessarily with money, but in other ways like connection and community,” she clarifies.
Indigenizing commerce as a business principle
Strangers until February 2020, Kelsey and Destiny met at 3C Challenge, a 45-day entrepreneurship program aimed at inspiring entrepreneurship within Indigenous communities in British Columbia, Canada.
With the help of community business mentors, Kelsey and Destiny were challenged with bringing a business idea to market in 40 days––from idea generation to creating a business plan, product creation, and marketing. Though they were randomly paired for the challenge, they quickly grew a bond. They now joke that they talk to each other every day more than they do with their partners.

Destiny Hoostie (left) and Kelsey Coutts (right) hold a bag of their dry mix bannock in Vancouver, Canada.

Aptly named, the 3 C’s in 3C stand for community, culture, and cash. What sets the program apart from other early-stage entrepreneurship incubators is its focus on Indigenizing business practices. This means not measuring wealth by the accumulation of money. It means putting shared value ahead of individualism, and existing in a reciprocal relationship with the land and its communities.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit towards the beginning of Kelsey and Destiny’s 3C cohort, the program was looking to evolve for a more digital world. The non-profit has since partnered with Shopify to build out its ecommerce curriculum.
Shopify’s commitment to Indigenous business
For Tracy and the rest of Shopify’s Indigenous Entrepreneurship program, making commerce more accessible for Indigenous people across the world is a priority. The team does this in ways closely aligned with Indigenous values: by bringing together community and redistributing knowledge and resources. This shows up through sponsorships, building business resources, community events, and free business consultations.
Back to bannock
For National Indigenous History Month in Canada (June), Destiny and Kelsey joined us at Shopify to lead a bannock cookalong, where a group of employees learned how to cook bannock in real-time on a video call. It was admittedly my first time cooking bannock (though definitely not my last). 
I couldn’t help but reflect on how that cooking experience in itself was an act of reciprocity. In its simplest form, it was Kelsey and Destiny passing on their knowledge and bringing together tens of people across Shopify for a shared community experience.
For the bannock newbies like myself, bannock is a choose your own adventure type of food. At one point, I had it with butter and jam, and later I paired it as a side with a savory chicken stew. I’m now on the hunt for bannock tacos, a modern Mexican-fusion bannock adaptation that has become a staple in the powwow trail.
After our cookalong, Kelsey, Destiny, and I sat down to talk about bannock. I wasn’t expecting our conversation to end up expanding my worldview, but oh am I am glad it did. Talking to them was as enriching as the bannock itself, and these learnings will stay with me far after my bannock stores have depleted.

is perhaps Indicators Settlement to promote you A part of its Adevinta Stake to Permira

eBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY), a global commerce leader that connects millions of buyers and sellers around the world, today announced that it has reached an agreement with Permira to sell approximately 125 million shares of its stake in Adevinta for an estimated total consideration of $2.25 billion.1 The price represents an approximate 7% discount to the 10-day volume weighted average price (VWAP) of Adevinta shares as of July 12, and a 5% discount to the 30-day VWAP as of July 12.  The transaction is expected to close in Q4 2021, once regulatory approvals are secured, and will reduce eBay’s ownership stake in Adevinta from 44% to 34%. In addition, eBay has granted Permira a 30-day option to purchase approximately 10 million additional shares at the same price representing an additional $180 million in consideration.2 If Permira exercises the option, eBay’s ownership in Adevinta will reduce to 33%. Under its recent agreement with Austrian regulators, eBay committed to reduce its ownership in Adevinta to 33% to secure approval for the eBay Classifieds Group and Adevinta transaction. The transaction announced today with Permira provides a clear path to satisfying this commitment, while delivering value to eBay shareholders and introducing an experienced, world-class growth investor to Adevinta’s shareholder base. About eBayeBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY) is a global commerce leader that connects millions of buyers and sellers in 190 markets around the world. We exist to enable economic opportunity for individuals, entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations of all sizes. Founded in 1995 in San Jose, California, eBay is one of the world’s largest and most vibrant marketplaces for discovering great value and unique selection. In 2020, eBay enabled $100 billion of gross merchandise volume. For more information about the company and its global portfolio of online brands, visit PermiraPermira is a leading global investment firm focused on growth at scale. Founded in 1985, the firm advises funds with total committed capital of approximately US$50bn (€44bn) and makes long-term majority and minority investments. The Permira funds have made over 250 private equity investments in four key sectors: Technology, Consumer, Services and Healthcare. Permira employs over 350 people in 15 offices across Europe, North America, and Asia.The Permira funds have an extensive track record in investing at the intersection of consumer/prosumer and technology, having backed Allegro, Mirakl, TeamViewer, Klarna, LegalZoom, Flixbus, Ancestry, Catawiki, Boats Group, The Knot Worldwide, BestSecret, Zwift and Magento. For more information, visit   About AdevintaAdevinta is a global online classifieds specialist, operating digital marketplaces in 16 countries. The company provides technology-based services to connect buyers with sellers and to facilitate transactions, from job offers to real estate, cars, consumer goods and more.  Adevinta’s portfolio spans more than 40 digital brands, covering one billion people and attracting approximately three billion average monthly visits. Leading brands include top-ranked leboncoin in France, Germany’s leading classifieds sites and eBay Kleinanzeigen, Marktplaats in the Netherlands, Kijiji in Canada, fotocasa and InfoJobs in Spain, and 50% of fast-growing OLX Brasil. Adevinta spun off from Schibsted ASA and publicly listed in Oslo, Norway in 2019. Adevinta employs nearly 7,000 people committed to supporting users and customers daily. Find out more at eBay:Investor Relations Contact: Joe Billante Media Relations Contact: Trina Somera press@ebay.comFor Permira:Head of CommunicationsNina   For Adevinta:Mélodie LarocheCorporate Communications+33 (0) 6 84 30 52 76melodie.laroche@adevinta.comMarie de Scorbiac / Anne-Sophie JugeanInvestor Relationsir@adevinta.comForward-Looking StatementsThis press release contains forward-looking statements relating to, among other things, the future performance of eBay Inc. and its consolidated subsidiaries that are based on the company’s current expectations, forecasts and assumptions and involve risks and uncertainties. These statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding the potential benefits of the transaction with Permira (the “Transaction”), the impact of the Transaction on future results, the timing of the closing of the Transaction and the Company’s plans to reduce its stake in Adevinta. Such forward-looking statements reflect eBay’s current expectations or beliefs concerning future events and actual events may differ materially from historical results or current expectations. The reader is cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which are not a guarantee of future performance and are subject to a number of uncertainties, risks, assumptions and other factors, many of which are outside the control of eBay. The following factors, among others, could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in these forward-looking statements: the possibility that regulatory and other approvals and conditions to the Transaction are not received or satisfied on a timely basis or at all; changes in the anticipated timing for closing the Transaction; and other events that could adversely impact the completion of the Transaction, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and other industry or economic conditions outside of our control. In addition, actual results are subject to other risks and uncertainties that relate more broadly to eBay’s overall business, including those more fully described in eBay’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), including its annual report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020 and subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. The forward-looking statements in this document speak only as of this date. We undertake no obligation to revise or update publicly any forward-looking statement, except as required by law. [1] Purchase price is NOK 157, or EUR 15.20 converted at NOK/EUR conversion rate of 10.328. Implied purchase price of $18.02 converted at USD/EUR conversion rate of 1.1852[2]Based on purchase price of NOK 157, or EUR 15.20 converted at NOK/EUR conversion rate of 10.328. Implied purchase price of $18.02 converted at USD/EUR conversion rate of 1.1852

might be Inc. Reviews Korea Companies as Completed Operations and Emits Up to date Historic Monetary information

During the second quarter of 2021, eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY) and Emart announced they reached an agreement for the purchase by Emart of eBay’s businesses in Korea and determined that it met the criteria for the classification of held-for-sale accounting and discontinued operations. Accordingly, eBay’s businesses in Korea will be reflected in eBay’s condensed consolidated financial statements as discontinued operations beginning in the second quarter 2021. Please refer to the 8-K filed today for a restatement of historical financial results.eBay’s second quarter 2021 results will be reported and discussed on its quarterly conference call and webcast on August 11, 2021.About eBayeBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY) is a global commerce leader that connects millions of buyers and sellers in 190 markets around the world. We exist to enable economic opportunity for individuals, entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations of all sizes. Founded in 1995 in San Jose, California, eBay is one of the world’s largest and most vibrant marketplaces for discovering great value and unique selection. In 2020, eBay enabled $100 billion of gross merchandise volume. For more information about the company and its global portfolio of online brands, visit Regarding Forward-Looking StatementsCertain statements herein are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Exchange Act. Such forward-looking statements are often identified by words such as “anticipate,” “approximate,” “believe,” “commit,” “continue,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “hope,” “intend,” “may,” “outlook,” “plan,” “project,” “potential,” “should,” “would,” “will” and other similar words or expressions. Such forward-looking statements reflect eBay’s current expectations or beliefs concerning future events and actual events may differ materially from historical results or current expectations. The reader is cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which are not a guarantee of future performance and are subject to a number of uncertainties, risks, assumptions and other factors, many of which are outside the control of eBay. The forward-looking statements in this document address a variety of subjects including, for example, the closing of the transaction and the potential benefits of the transaction. The following factors, among others, could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in these forward-looking statements: the possibility that regulatory and other approvals and conditions to the transaction are not received or satisfied on a timely basis or at all; the possibility that eBay may not fully realize the projected benefits of the transaction; changes in the anticipated timing for closing the transaction; business disruption during the pendency of or following the transaction; diversion of management time on transaction-related issues; the reaction of customers and other persons to the transaction; and other events that could adversely impact the completion of the transaction, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and other industry or economic conditions outside of our control. In addition, actual results are subject to other risks and uncertainties that relate more broadly to eBay’s overall business, including those more fully described in eBay’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its annual report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020 and subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. The forward-looking statements in this document speak only as of this date. We undertake no obligation to revise or update publicly any forward-looking statement, except as required by law.Investor Relations Contact:Joe Billanteir@ebay.comMedia Relations Contact:Trina

The precise variety of YouTube Subscribers Do you want to do to Make Six Figures?

During graduate school, Keya James went on a hair journey to create natural hair formulas for herself, and later on, her daughter. She documented the entire process on Youtube, gained a following, and eventually monetized her hobby through Tailored Beauty, a haircare brand without harmful ingredients. In this episode of Shopify Masters, Keya shares her self-taught process of scaling beyond six figures and gaining retail partnerships, like Wal-Mart.
For the full transcript of this episode, click here.

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Show Notes

From hobby YouTube channel to six-figure hair care business
Felix: The business started from YouTube, so tell us more about that. What was the beginning of the idea for the business?
Keya: When I first got started, I had a YouTube channel. I was in grad school at the time and I wanted a hobby. I started a YouTube channel to document my natural hair journey. I stopped chemically relaxing my hair at that time, so I wanted to show my audience how I was taking care of my hair and the natural ingredients that I was using.
I also had my daughter in 2013, so I started showing my audience how to use products that I was creating on her hair as well, and they saw how both my hair and her hair was growing from the products. My audience started asking for the products, if I could make the products. At that time, YouTube was where people looked for information, not iInstagram, as it is now. A lot of people were doing research by searching on YouTube and they would stumble across my videos.
That’s pretty much how it got started. I was doing it as a hobby and I slowly began to sell the products.
Felix: You started the YouTube channel from scratch. How quickly did it take off and you started noticing you were gathering followers? 

By experimenting in her kitchen Kera first created some of the products for Tailored Beauty. Tailored Beauty 

Keya: I didn’t have much of an audience and Instagram wasn’t even a thing at that time. I was doing YouTube for two years before I actually started selling the product, and I started selling it slowly. I was making it in my kitchen and I created an Etsy store at that time. I was pretty much doing it for fun. The demand quickly grew and It somehow turned into a business because people were seeing how well the products worked on my YouTube channel, as well as the testimonials from other customers. A year and a half into doing it as a hobby was when we turned it into a business and really branded everything, got our trademark, and got our LLC. 
Felix: So all the products were hommade when you first started, and then people were reaching out to buy them. That’s when you first realized there could be an actual business here? 
Keya: Yes. They were homemade. I was making them in my kitchen at that time. It was me, my husband, who also encouraged me to start the business, and my mom. We would spend 20 plus hours during the weekend making products in the kitchen just to be able to fulfill the orders for the following week.
At that time, we only had three products. Because of the way we were producing those products, It was so time-consuming to produce them. We would spend a lot of time on the weekends producing the product, and then during the weekday I would fulfill my orders. I was still working at the time, so I would go to the post office to fulfill my orders for that week.
Felix: How long did it take you before you had a product that you were ready to start selling?
Keya: It took about a couple of months. I already knew how to make the product but we didn’t really start purchasing a lot of equipment until the demand grew. Within those couple of months, I still had to set up a site, purchase more ingredients to make the products, as well as create the labels. In the early stages of our business, we were actually creating the labels from the printer at home, so we just had to purchase components. It took two months to really get a look at what the products look like before we could actually begin selling those products.
Getting started through small, low-risk steps
Felix: Now you’ve got a whole product line, but when you first launched what was your minimum viable product? 
Keya: I was selling Everything Butter, which is still our number one selling product. It’s a shea butter that you can pretty much use for everything. When I first introduced it to my audience, I was using it on my hair, and I was also using it during my pregnancy so that I didn’t have any stretch marks. Then I started using it on my daughter’s hair. So that was the first product that we launched. Then from there, we started creating hair oils, moisturizing mist, shampoos, and conditioners.
Felix: When you first started with this first product shea butter, how much inventory did you create before launching it to your audience?
Keya: To be completely honest, at the time I just wanted to give it out to my audience, so there was no strategy behind it. Now, everything we do has a strategy, we control our inventory. But at that time we were getting a feel for how many people wanted the products, and we would produce based on that. When we were purchasing raw ingredients, we were purchasing enough to do small batches. Small batches make pretty much anywhere between 50 to 100 products. As that grew, we would have to purchase more on a larger scale.
Felix: A lot of new entrepreneurs can relate to not wanting to take a huge risk and produce a large quantity of product without consumer validation. How did you go about measuring the demand for the product? 
Keya: We measured demand by looking at our sales month-over-month and then year-over-year. My husband is also the co-founder of the company and he’s the COO–he has a background in finance. He has a finance degree and I have a business degree, so being able to utilize our strengths helped us to figure out how to strategize and come up with a plan to make sure that we’re not running out of inventory or over purchasing inventory. Being able to forecast what was going to come next was essential. Looking at our data for the last six months, looking at our data for the last year and really analyzing that, and when we were purchasing components and raw materials, we purchased based on what the forecast would look like.
Felix: You took the slow approach to building the business, really analyzed product demand and your own growth. At what point did you decide to go all in full time with the business? 
Keya: I want to say about a year and a half into the business. That’s when we made our first six figures. This was based solely on just being able to have an audience on YouTube. We were both working full-time jobs, so at that time we weren’t paying ourselves. We were continuously reinvesting into the business. After about the second year, we had the money to really turn things around.

Tapping into their Youtube audience, Tailored Beauty was able to sell beyond six-figures while still being a side hustle for Kera. Tailored Beauty 

That meant not printing out labels at home, but working with someone who could print the labels for us. That meant not producing products at home, but finding a good manufacturer who could manufacture the products and using my formula on a larger scale. We took our time within the first two years of the business to understand how to run a business. How to do everything, understand our customers, and then slowly move onto different phases of the business.
After the second year of business was when we started doing a lot of trade shows, so really investing in our brand awareness. That helped our brand because it took it from being on YouTube and word of mouth to really being able to be in front of our target customer. Then we started working with influencers and meeting with different buyers who wanted to put our products into the store.
“It was a slow process in the beginning, but I’m glad that we took those steps because each year we learned a lot about how to effectively run a business.”
It was a slow process in the beginning, but I’m glad that we took those steps because each year we learned a lot about how to effectively run a business, so that when we got to those other steps within our business, we were prepared for that.
Felix: In those early days, what were the biggest lessons that you learned and really applied moving forward with the business strategy? 
Keya: The biggest thing was manufacturing, especially when you create a product at home and you want to scale and mass produce that product. That was a huge challenge for us because with our products we use premium ingredients. With a lot of these ingredients, it’s very difficult to find a manufacturer who wants to use your exact same formula. It took us a while to find a manufacturer who would do that for us. This took me actually going to manufacturers, sitting down with them, bringing my equipment, showing them exactly how I was able to make this product so that there were no changes to the original formulas I had.
The power of 20,000 YouTube subscribers
Felix: You mentioned the six-figure mark being a milestone for the business, and you credit a lot of that to your YouTube audience. How did the growth of the channel coincide with the growth of the business? How big was your audience at that time? 
Keya: It wasn’t that big. Someone may not think that an audience of about less than 20,000 subscribers on YouTube is a big audience. Now you have people who have millions and millions of subscribers on YouTube. The thing about it is although I had a small audience, I had a really good connection with my audience. I had a good connection with my audience and I wanted to educate people. That is what came first. When I would do my videos, and still to this day, I do YouTube videos. When I get in front of a camera, I really just want to educate people. That’s because I have a background in mental health, and I’m always trying to figure out how I can find a solution to a problem and really be able to explain that step-by-step to help someone.
“The thing is that although I had a small audience, I had a really good connection with my audience. I had a good connection with my audience and I wanted to educate people.”
When I would get on camera, it was just to have an authentic conversation with my audience. I was able to have those conversations and really explain things. That’s what helped because not only is she showing me this product, she’s explaining how this product is used, and she’s also showing the results behind this product. Being able to do videos, respond to comments, respond to emails, really interact with my audience and my customers, that’s what helped us get to that six-figure mark.
Felix: You mentioned the key thing here is to build that kind of connection through education. You’re really trying to solve problems for your audience. Tell us more about that. How do you identify what problems there are that you can create video content about?
Keya: Just talking to our customers. We talk to our customers in so many different ways. Keep in mind, I’m a consumer as well. I am a person who uses these products. I’m a person who struggles with being able to grow my hair, so I listen to what people have to say. The good thing is we have such good customers that they’ll actually go on YouTube as well and do reviews of our products. We watch the reviews, we read the comments, we attend trade shows. This was before COVID as well. We were able to attend a lot of trade shows and talk to our customers and really figure out what’s going on. By being able to do that, you figure out what type of problems your consumer has.

Even though Tailored Beauty only had 20,000 YouTube subscribers, it generated sales through Kera’s connection and relationship with her followers. Tailored Beauty 

Felix: With this product specifically, testimonials and reviews speak volumes. Do you do anything to highlight these reviews to new potential customers? 
Keya: We do that in a lot of different ways. One of our best ways is through, which is an app on Shopify that we use. We use, and customers are able to post pictures and write reviews. These are really important because we also run a lot of Facebook ads.
Sometimes we might have customers who come from our Facebook ads and they have no idea about the business. We still try to keep that organic approach to our marketing where you might even see a Facebook ad of myself talking about a problem that I have with my hair, showing the product and having a solution. From there people usually go straight to our website product page, and on the product page you see reviews from customers, before and after pictures, written testimonials. You even see those in a lot of comments under the ads on Facebook.
The biggest mistake to avoid when scaling
Felix: Today you understand how to run Facebook ads, but you mentioned earlier one setback that you had early on was hiring for these skills before you knew how to do it yourself. Tell us more about your experience with hiring out. 
Keya: Early on in our business, one of the biggest mistakes was that we hired people but we didn’t understand their roles. After we rebranded our company, we started hiring social media management agencies, and they were not producing results. This was very frustrating because we saved up all this money from all the profits that we were making, and we were paying these agencies to get a return on investment, and there was no return on investment. I had to take full accountability for that because how can I manage someone if I don’t understand the job that they’re doing? How can this person present data to me if I don’t understand how to read the data?
I started investing in myself. I learned how to do Facebook ads and it was a challenge in the beginning, but once I learned how to do it, that’s when our business really took off. That’s when our ecommerce store took off because I was able to learn how to create ads and how to read data in order for the ads to work. Klaviyo is an app that I love that integrates really well with my Shopify store. I attended Klayvio events. Just being able to invest my time and really learn is what helped me to understand how to market better and how to have a higher return on our investment as far as marketing goes.
Felix: Tell us about the process of learning. What did you learn about creating these ads that really brought you to the next level? 
Keya: I learned how to understand who my target customer is and how to speak to my target customer. This was really important because at the time I thought I knew who my target customer was, but once you really start learning and digging deep, you can narrow down your target customer to what type of stores they shop in, their education level, things like that. Once I was able to understand that, we started being very specific in how we spoke to our audience. I was speaking on YouTube, now we had to transition over to Facebook Marketing. Speaking to a YouTube audience versus Facebook marketing is kind of the same, but it’s not really the same. Learning that really helped me to understand the tone, the voice of the brand, and how to be strategic when we started producing these ads.
Felix: What were the differences between what you thought who your customers were and who they ended up actually being?
Keya: At that time, we thought our customers were people like myself. I was using the products and because I love the products, I thought my customer was just like me. That’s a little bit different because my customers do have textured hair, and they do love ingredients, but they may not necessarily have my hair type or the same exact struggles that I have.
I don’t want to just speak to myself, I want to speak to my customers. I had to really look through the data and create a quiz on my website. We put a quiz on the site to learn as much as possible about our customer. We started asking questions about their age, what problems they were having, do you have kids, do you have dry hair? Asking a whole bunch of questions to narrow down who our customer is, so that we weren’t just targeting just myself, but really targeting people who wanted to purchase our products.
Optimizing and retargeting with unique, engaging ads
Felix: You mentioned the quiz, but also evaluating the data. What indicators were you looking for in the data, that a business who doesn’t necessarily want to develop a quiz could also search for? 
Keya: Some of the data that we were looking at was from Typeform. Typeform is an app through the Shopify store. You can create any type of quiz that you want and either put open-ended questions in the quiz, or yes or no questions in the quiz. We have a series of questions that we ask, but the biggest data that we get from that quiz is what is your biggest hair struggle? We are an education-based brand. We want to provide that education piece first. We want to know how we can help you solve this problem and how we can speak to our audience. Typeform gives us all of that data. Not only does it help us to understand the customer, how old they are, what problems they’re having, but it also helps us to be able to speak specifically to them because they’ve already told us what’s going on.
Felix: Asking your customer what their biggest struggle is regarding your niche is so valuable. How diverse are the answers when you ask that question?
Keya: We get a lot of diverse questions, but usually we find that there’s about four questions that everyone usually struggles with in our industry. They’re all related to the desire for healthy hair. We really try to figure out what questions are uncommon outside of those four questions? The good thing is we can not only address those concerns, but it gives us new ideas and it helps us become more innovative in the way we talk to our customers and when we think about product development for future products.

Leveraging quizzes to better understand customers’ needs allowed Tailored Beauty to optimize and retarget customers. Tailored Beauty 

Felix: How do you use this knowledge to inform your ad spend strategy or your content marketing? 
Keya: When we do paid ads, we actually have a funnel that we use. At the top of the funnel we have that education piece first, because we realize that when looking at that data sometimes people have products, but they really don’t understand how to use them. So, education comes first.
When we’re doing the ads, we try to produce nothing overly commercial. I’ll even be in my bathroom showing the product, showing how the product is used, explaining it and showing the results that we get. When we look at the data we want to convert, that’s the number one thing we want to do when we have an ad. We want to make sure that there’s a return and that the customer converts.
Having that social proof and not only showing myself using the products, but the next part of the funnel might include having influencers on ads. Influencers really help a customer see someone that might look like them. My customer may not look like me, but they may look like an influencer who’s used this product.
We want to show a variation of people who’ve used the product and the results that they have. When we’re bringing them from Facebook, we bring them directly to the product page that has the product reviews so that they can see other customers. They can see that education piece straight away because now the customers are educating them on how the product works, as well as visually being able to see it as well.
Felix: So you’re taking the data from this quiz, creating content around it, and then retargeting those people with social proof from familiar influencers. From there you drive them to the product page, which has even more education and social proof, and then a call to action. 
Keya: Yes. Correct.
Felix: What do these top of funnel educational ads typically look like? How long form are the ads? 
Keya: We don’t do anything more than a minute. We want to be straight to the point, and we want to do it in a minute or less. The goal within the first 10 seconds is to show the results. We don’t want people to feel like they’re being sold anything. We love the product so much, and we know that it works. We want people to see the results first. Once they see the results, we tell them how we got these results, but we never make it over a minute. With Facebook ads, anything over a minute can’t be repurposed on Instagram, and people are on Instagram just as much as they’re on Facebook. We want to make sure we can get that on both platforms.
Making the most of trade shows
Felix: You mentioned trade shows earlier. What were you doing at these trade shows? How did it lead to growing the business?
Keya: Our industry–which is the textured hair care industry, natural hair industry–does a lot of trade shows. They do trade shows for consumers. There’s a big trade show that’s based out of Atlanta that we do every year, and everyone in our industry is at these hair shows. During those hair shows, we have a booth. That’s a big investment as well, because when you’re at these hair shows, you’re competing for customers’ attention. We have a booth with models, stylists, and then we also have enticing offers for people to try the products.
The other good thing about trade shows is that there’s a lot of buyers and there’s a lot of people within the industry that are looking to make business with brands like myself. To either help grow their brand, or put their product in stores. We met the person who does our labels there. We met so many people that have been able to help our brand grow, but we’ve also been able to engage with our customers at these trade shows to bring awareness to our brand and the natural hair space.
Felix: You mentioned everyone in the industry attends these shows. How do you make sure your products stand out from competitors? 
Keya: It really has to do with the ingredients in our products. Because we use premium ingredients. You don’t find these ingredients in our competitors’ products. I’m really conscious about my health. Early on when I started the business, I became conscious about what I was eating and I started a plant-based diet. We put ingredients that people haven’t heard of before, like fenugreek, black seed oil, gotu kola extract. These ingredients are not common in our industry, but they’re common in different cultures where you see people with long, shiny, beautiful hair.

Attending trade shows allowed Tailored Beauty’s team to meet buyers and get retail relationships started. Tailored Beauty 

By learning the benefits of those ingredients and putting them in our products, we noticed that people are using these ingredients, but they’re really expensive, and it’s DIY. Being able to use these exotic ingredients that have been proven to have results in our products is really what differentiates us from our competitors.
Felix: Is it something that you have to stay on top of to differentiate yourself? Do you find that you’ve carved out this lane that no one’s really encroaching on, or do you have to constantly do things to remain different?
Keya: We constantly have to do that. It’s easy for me because I’m a person who will shop at a farmer’s market as opposed to shopping at a grocery store. I’m just a regular person who loves Facebook groups about health or fitness. This is my lifestyle. I’ve become familiar with this space of using 100% natural products. I really live that lifestyle. It’s easy for me, and I’m learning more and more. I’m like, “Well, this would be really good for hair, this would be really good for skin, or this would be really good for that. Let’s try to create a product.” I’m always testing these products out. I’m always testing the ingredients behind the scenes before I’m bringing them to our manufacturers to mass produce.
Keya’s product development process 
Felix: Tell us more about the product development process. Walk us through what happens once you have an idea for a new product. 
Keya: Once I have an idea for a new product, I’m definitely testing out the ingredients. For example, our deep conditioner has fenugreek in it and fenugreek is a seed. In order to put it into our products, it has to become a powder. The process is mostly figuring out how I can take this ingredient, transform it into something else and put it into a hair product. That means experimenting, going back to my kitchen. Experimenting with these products, using them in my hair, using them in my daughter’s hair, giving them to family and friends and testing them out for a while before I bring them over to my manufacturer. One thing I never want to do is compromise any of my formulas. That’s something that I’ve always done since the beginning of the business, creating products and testing them on myself.

Testing with manufacturers might take over two years but it’s vital to ensure products perform the way they are intended. Tailored Beauty 

As the business scaled, I’ve been fortunate enough to find a manufacturer that specializes in textured hair and work closely with the chemist so that not only am I producing this great product, but when you have these natural ingredients, the last thing you want them to do is to go bad. A chemist is helping me to make sure that my products remain stable and don’t get any mold or bacteria in them.
Testing those products can sometimes take a year or two. My last line, I tested for two years before I brought them to the market. That meant I had to work with the chemist and the chemist had to make sure these ingredients would remain stable because my chemist wasn’t even familiar with these ingredients. It takes a lot of time to do product development before we even bring them to the market.
Felix: It can take a long time. What do you look for when you’re making that decision to move forward to market? 
Keya: I look for results. That’s the number one thing, Results. I want the product to do exactly what it says it does. I’m looking for results to indicate that an ingredient is good to help strengthen the hair. I’m looking to test people who have this same exact problem and asking them, “Hey, do you want to try this product out? I know you have this struggle. Can you give me some feedback?” I want all the feedback. I want the good, the bad, and the ugly before I even bring it to market. The results are the number one thing that I’m looking for.
Felix: How long does it take before any finished product is ready to go on a shelf for someone to buy?
Keya: That can take up to a year as well, because once you have a product, you have to think about what this product is going to look like in packaging? What message am I going to send to the customer about this product? Do we like the consistency of the product? What can we do to change the consistency of the product?
One thing that I learned from attending trade shows and face-to-face interacting with customers, is that the most challenging part of having a product is the smell. The smell is the biggest thing that people are concerned about. Before they even use the product they want to smell it. We spent a lot of time figuring out what we wanted the product to smell like.
Because we use natural ingredients, we use essential oils for scents. One person may love lemongrass and another person may like lavender. Smell plays a big role because it can make a person feel a certain way. If they feel good about the smell, they feel confident about the product. If they don’t like the smell, they don’t like the product. Believe it or not during that year of working with the manufacturer the biggest thing is scent. How is the product going to smell for the customer?
Felix: How many products do you have now? How many products are in the product line?
Keya: Right now we have 14 products. We have our original product line, which we started at the beginning of the business. Then we have our Golden Herbal Collection. We also have plant-based hair vitamins. One of our newest products that we launched recently was a clay detox shampoo bar.
Felix: When you do have these new products that you’re creating, how do you launch it to your audience and your customers?
Keya: We have a full rollout. When we first started the business, it was a hobby so there was no real strategy behind what we were doing. Now it’s all strategy. We figure out how we’re going to let our existing audience know. When you’re coming out with a new product, your existing audience is the one who already wants the product. We’re figuring out how we’re going to give it to our customers first, and what that roll out looks like. What does the marketing plan for that rollout look like? What does the digital marketing plan look like? What does the press plan look like? What does email marketing look like? 
Taking the road less traveled: from ecommerce to brick and mortar
Felix: What are some lessons that you’ve learned along the way to improve the packaging of your products?
Keya: Packaging was really important to us when we started going to trade shows and meeting with buyers. Ultimately, our goal was to do retail. Right now we’re in Walmart stores, so one of the things that we wanted to focus on is how the packaging will look in a retail space. Will the customer be able to clearly understand what this product does? Will this person be able to identify our brand?
When we started developing packaging, we wanted to one, make sure it was good for retail because that was our overall goal, and two, make sure all of our call-outs were on the packaging. They need to be able to identify what it does, who it’s for and to easily identify our brand if we were to do another line. Our Ultimate Collection has pink colors, our Golden Arbor Collection has orange colors. How do we have those two lines but make the packaging look the same so that the customer can still identify our brand?

Expanding into retail requires a shift within business to ensure its fit for brick and mortar. Tailored Beauty 

Felix: You mentioned that a primary goal was to get into retail. What was the experience like to get into a big retailer like Walmart?
Keya: It was a good experience, but when you enter into retail, it’s like running a completely different business. For a long time we were running an ecommerce business and a lot of things had to change. To prepare for Walmart we had to figure out how to scale even more so that we could fulfill large purchase orders.
Felix: What changes did you make along the way to support this new buyer?
Keya: We didn’t change anything about the products. We wanted to make sure that our packaging really stood apart. We didn’t change our labels, but we increased the font on them so that people could easily read them. With ecommerce everything is done behind the scenes. You don’t really have to have a lot of staff. You can outsource staff to fulfill your orders. When we grew to supply to Walmart, we had to hire more staff. We had to bring more awareness to our brand. Our messaging has to look a little bit different because now we’re not pushing people to go to the website–well, we’re still pushing people to go to the website, but we also want to push people to go to the store. Having different marketing goals is something that we had to consider when moving to retail.
Felix:  What apps or tools that you use to help run the website or the business?
Keya: I love Typeform. I love Klayvio, We also use the Store Locator website because we are in select Walmart’s now. We want to make sure the customer goes to the right Walmart and independent retailers to find our products. Having that on our website is one of the most beneficial apps because we can send customers who may not want to purchase online directly to the store.
Felix: What do you think has been the biggest lesson that you’ve learned over the past year that you want to put into action moving forward?
Keya: The biggest lesson that I’ve learned in the past year. I spend so much time running my business and doing a lot with my business. When we started to grow, I hired out and that wasn’t successful for me, because I had to learn. During the past couple of years, I’ve learned so much. I’ve learned about marketing. I’ve learned about Facebook ads, how to run a Shopify store, how to do all of these things. The biggest lesson I want to apply moving forward is delegating. In order for my business to continue to scale and grow, in order for me to continue to be creative and focus on product development, understanding my customers, building this team is really important for me. Learning how to manage people is something that I’ve had to learn to do in the past year. Learning to manage a team, manage other parts of my business and really figure out how to scale, even more as the business grows.