Starting a purely e-commerce brand was never my intention. Having a very basic understanding of retail when I stared this journey, I originally had a wholesale strategy in my business plan. However, after launching the brand and learning more about Alf’s bottom line, I realised following a distribution model where I was able to control my brand and self-manage customer relationships felt like the right way to go.
So, in October of 2016 Alf the Label was born! Since then the brand has experienced expediential growth including 120% growth in the second year, scaling up to a turnover well into seven figures in the fourth year of business.
We have always had a customer focused strategy, in my opinion focusing on relationship building has had the largest impact on the success of Alf. Mostly through our social media marketing channels including Instagram @alf_thelabel emphasising high quality customer relations to grow our audience to almost 40K people. We then encouraged that audience to interact with Alf on other platforms such as our email list and private Facebook group ‘The Alf #Mummunity’.
As a small business, Alf is also proud to make continuous changes to be more environmentally friendly and make sustainability sexy. We do a bunch of things to try to be a responsible biz all the way from reducing waste and having waste management program to changing our entire distribution strategy to reduce our carbon footprint.
From the perspective of our products, there are many mass-produced baby bag companies around, who use cheap, poor quality, environmentally damaging materials to produce their goods. One focus for Alf is to produce high quality products which will last through motherhood and still be practical for everyday use long into the future–meaning less fast fashion and throw away pieces in your wardrobe.
Looking into the future, I see Alf focusing on the expansion of our product line to include more options and a larger international expansion strategy, our new distribution model has set us up to scale into the US. I will continue to stand by my decision to keep Alf the Label as an e-commerce business to ensure I can control customer relationships, merchandising and being able to create exclusive and limited lines of products.
My top advice for anyone wanting to start an E-com brand is to find a product which is the solution to a problem,and build a strong brand around it. It is much easier to market a brand who fixes a problem for their customer. There is a lot of competition in almost all niches these days, but if you build a strong brand presence and a valuable product you will stand out from the noise.