Today I present another written interview with Simon Cobb Menswear Exchange which is a mens clothing store specializing in Celebrity fashion, Urban streetwear and Independent brands. Simon is also launching a clothing label called Three Dreams in September.
Checkout the interview:
1. What got you interested in starting your own online store? Share your story.
I’ve always been interested in fashion but when I was 17 years old I would constantly receive positive comments regarding the clothes I was wearing so I began to realise that I could make money from sourcing cheaper alternatives which is what I started to do. Obviously over the years there’s been a lot of trial and error regarding suppliers and building reliable partnerships which is why I’m glad that I started through eBay for a few years before so that I could experiment and find the best suppliers with the best products and in turn expanding and having the financial clout to launch a world class web site, which is what I now have with menswearexchange.com.
2. I’m curious to hear more about the Stock Exchange program, can you explain that in more detail and what gave you the idea to start it?
The Stock Exchange is a concept and idea that derived from eBay originally, I would have a lot of customers making me best offers as well as exchange or part exchange offers and I realised there wasn’t a clothing store out there offering this service online and certainly not for designer and collectible fashion, so I decided I’d be the industry leader with this concept and since its inception it’s been a success although it’s far from where I want to take it to. With the Stock Exchange products customers have the opportunity to use our online form to make an offer and specify their offer price or they can attach images and descriptions of any designer items they wish to exchange or part exchange, we can then accept or negotiate their offer depending on their terms, it helps for some people really into fashion but can’t quite afford the price to trade in something they no longer need for something they really want. Similar to trading in an unwanted game for a newer one, I must iterate that we only accept trade-in/exchanges of authentic designer clothing that meets our specific standards in terms of collectability.
3. How have you gone about driving visitors to your site and what’s working for you today?
We’ve tried a lot of different techniques and different strategies and we currently employ two different agencies which tackle different sides of SEO and we’re in negotiations with a third to start a new campaign that we’re excited about. Luckily for us we have a very loyal customer base that we’ve built up over the years as ‘uniquemenswearstore’ on eBay so we’ve managed to mainly rely on our subscribers and social networking to generate visitors to our site whilst we are still growing.
4. What are a few productivity tools that help you run your eCommerce based business?
The tools I could not live without are Microsoft Office, particularly Microsoft Word, Excel, Adobe PhotoShop, Adobe InDesign and KeyNote on my iPad. If you’re looking to start an online store I’d recommend having all of these software unless you’re planning on outsourcing, I’m very hands on and like to create the marketing materials and tackle spreadsheets but this isn’t for everybody I know and can consume a lot of time.
5. What are your future plans for 2014 and beyond?
Well in 2014 I’m to be launching a collaborative streetwear label called Three Dreams in September which I’m very excited about, we will be offering affordable fashion but with our own unique twist on it and by our I mean the city of Portsmouth and the rest of the South Coast (UK). We are involving as many talented people as possible to be a part of this, it’s about time the spotlight was taken from London and we know there are a lot of talented people on the South Coast and some very beautiful places so we want to showcase this. I’m also launching a high end clothing line called ARLO which is named after my son, this is a very special project to me and I will only be launching when ready whether that’s in 2014 or not but I’m only looking for the best quality materials etc so I won’t release until it’s perfect. For Menswear Exchange I think the infrastructure is already in place, I want to build the blog and revamp the Style Guide but apart from that I think we’ve positioned ourselves very well at a gap in the market so it’s just a case of getting the name out there and building our reputation which is of course easier said than done but that’s part of the fun!