Checkout the interview:
1. What got you interested in starting a shop offering men’s footwear? Share your story.
I’m from the UK. I got the entrepreneurial bug when I was 13.
I used to import mp3 player and mobile phones from China when I was back in school and even though phones weren’t allowed in school, many times my own teachers would buy from me.
Six months into it, in 2008 I dropped out of University it to setup a high-end supply and fit bathroom business. We setup a physical location as well as online store and this was my first real exposure to ecommerce. The recession kicked in and the business suffered. A lot of homeowners couldn’t pay us for the work we’d done, so we had to fold the business.
I fancied a change of scenery and also wanted an adventure so I went to West Africa for a vacation but after witnessing the vast opportunity there, a few friends and me decided to setup a company. I borrowed some funds from friends and family and we eventually setup a commodity trading business, importing food products and clothing from the Middle East to Africa. The business took off very well. But doing business in Africa was very tough. Much more than we had anticipated. Stuff that takes one day to do in Europe or US takes a few weeks or even months in Africa, which can be pretty brutal.
All this time I was following the major blogs in the tech and online marketing space and was fascinated by the mere idea of location independent businesses that can potentially be run from any place on the globe, so I dabbled in niche sites adsense on the side. This was a frustrating affair due to the poor internet connectivity in rural Africa.
Although the trading business was doing really well, I had had enough of Africa and decided to call it a day. I got one of my partners buy me out.
I decided to visit Dubai again on vacation, and loved the place so much I decided to move there (Bit of a recurring theme).
The idea to setup a fashion blog/ecommerce site came up a few months ago when I was brainstorming for niches. I figured I had to choose something that I’d like writing about and had some exposure to. So I chose to go with men’s footwear.
I started Expressions Realia few months ago. It initially started as a different name but then got the opportunity to buy an existing fashion blog that fitted well with what I planned to do. (Plus the blog had some awesome backlinks)
2. Do you dropship or buy your products wholesale? How do you acquire and fulfill most merchandise?
Expressions Realia is currently run as an affiliate website targeting UK consumers, so we don’t hold any inventory at all. However, we are exploring opportunities to integrate dropshipping into our business model. Once we achieve critical mass we may even look into private labelling of products.
3. How have you gone about marketing your site and what’s working for you today?
As you know, nowadays social marketing is a big part of SEO and that’s where most of our target consumers hang out so we are in the process of launching social media campaigns on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
On Expressions Realia we also aim to provide exciting and compelling content and reviews on mens footwear brands such as Vans, Timberland, Ted Baker etc. and differentiate ourselves from the typical churn and burn affiliate sites and position ourselves as an authority in the mens footwear fashion space.
In the very near future we have some amazing new giveaways and competitions planned for fashion conscious guys that we are extremely excited about. So Watch this space!
4. What are 2-3 tools you use in your business that you can’t live without?
– Long Tail Pro for keyword research. By far the best keyword research tool I have used. It’s simple and no nonsense, but gets the job done. I highly recommend it to all blog owners, content writers, marketers etc out there.
– DropBox for the ability to work from any device from anywhere in the world
– I’m an Avid fan of the Pomodoro method. Pomodoro One for Mac is a simple app I use. A very simple productivity tool that real helps me crank out those menial tasks.
5. What are your future plans for 2014 and beyond?
We plan to integrate dropshipping in the near future.
Explore Private labeling for men’s shoes.
Move into other verticals in men’s fashion such as sunglasses, watches etc
Host exciting contests and giveaways
Adam Reyez – Founder
Expressions Realia UK
Twitter : @expressrealia