Western Downs e-commerce Continues to Grow
THE e-commerce industry is continuing its steady growth in the Western Downs, with Chinchilla designer Megan Twidle, founder of label d8denim, the latest to launch an online retail store.
d8denim is a sustainable fashion label which re-purposes old jeans to create unique fabric, clothing and accessories.
"In Australia alone, we produce over 500,000 tonnes of landfill every year," Ms Twidle said.
"Most people know there's a problem, they just need easy ways to help.
"At d8denim we use every part of the jeans, from seams to waist bands to zippers - nothing is wasted.
"e-commerce is a huge opportunity for me.
"Previously I travelled to capital cities to sell at handmade markets once a year, but now those customers can buy from me anytime.
"It's a real game changer and I'm excited to see where d8denim.com.au takes me."
Well known Miles business owner Lisa Kennedy is another to jump on board with eCommerce.
Her homewares, clothing and accessories store Lisa Kennedy Collections has been online since May, complementing her popular Miles boutique.
"We all know retail is tough in regional areas so to grow and expand I knew I needed to get online," Ms Kennedy said.
"From years of running pop up stores all around Queensland I've developed a wonderful group of loyal customers and they've been incredibly supportive of www.lisakennedycollections.com.au."
E-commerce is a key focus of Business Navigator Western Downs, a pro bono business growth advisory service supported by Shell's QGC business and delivered by Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise.
Business Navigator Digital Marketing Adviser Ailsa Cass said online is the way of the future.
"Being online is essential for regional retailers who want to grow, particularly those with niche products like d8Denim," she said.
"Most shoppers are in capital cities and many are keen to buy from regional businesses."
The small team of finance and marketing consultants meets with start-ups and retailers to determine if e-commerce is right for them.
They then provide hands on advice and assistance to create an online store, help with marketing and prepare a 12 month business plan.
Business owners are expected to put time in every month to work 'on' the business, not just 'in' the business.
One of the region's earliest online retailers is Candice Mason, founder of My Felt Lady, an online only craft store selling high quality merino felt.
While her store is now over five years old and well known in crafting circles, Candice works with the Business Navigator team each month to optimise the store, deal with importing issues, improve forecasting and respond to new competitors.
"The team at Business Navigator Western Downs really challenge me to improve, particularly the financial side of the business," Ms Mason said.
"It's hard work but it's paying off. We recently automated a number of processes on myfeltlady.com.au which has given me more time to look at growth opportunities.
"It's also been great getting to know other online retailers in our region."
The group are travelling to the Gold Coast in September to attend Retail Global, an annual e-commerce conference with over 100 speakers.
They hope to gain knowledge and inspiration from well-known brands like Country Road, Kogan, St Frock and Booktopia.