Joanne won our Website of the Month contest last month, and we caught up with her to find out more about Wool and Buttons, the benefits of selling from your own website, and how she went about getting those all-important votes…
Tell us about Wool & Buttons – when and why did you start the website?
Wool & Buttons is an online shop that sells designer 100% natural knitting wool, modern knitting patterns and beautiful handmade buttons. The shop was born after I decided to leave a 26 year career in the financial services sector to follow my dream – making my hobby into a career. I left my job in March of this year and the website went live on 11 May.
Who did you work with for the design of the website, and what did you want to achieve with the look?
I employed the services of Katy Wilson who owns Kew Creative. I knew exactly what I wanted from a design and content perspective and after initial discussions with Katy I knew we would make a great team. I wanted to achieve a modern, clean & inviting look that really showed off the look & feel of the products Wool & Buttons sells. As I sell real ‘touchy-feely’ products it was important to get as near as I could to portray this over the web. Also wanted to show that knitting looks so different now to what we remember our grandmas used to do many years ago.
How long have you been involved in selling online and how did you get started?
I have just started my on-line selling journey – it’s been a matter of weeks. I’m fully enjoying the challenge. I got started by being involved with as many support groups as possible and listening to business owners who have had experience in setting up on their own and have learnt many lessons along the way. It’s great that there is so much support out there for new starters.
Why did you choose to host Wool & Buttons with us?
My web designer has used Heart Internet for 4 years. I was happy for Wool & Buttons to follow suit. Heart Internet’s hosting account is second to none, excellent value for money and you are based in the UK. You respond to support tickets within an hour, your server uptime is above 99.9% and you continually keep abreast of technology bringing new services to your customers as soon as possible. Excellent service all in all!
What are the advantages of selling from your own website rather than an auction or listings site?
The advantage of selling from my own website is that I am in control of my content and that I can express more clearly what service I want to offer my customers who are very important to me. I would like to think that over time I can build up a ‘Wool & Buttons’ community where we can share new products, offers, reviews and ideas. Customer service and loyalty is important in any business and I don’t think this would be easy to develop or retain on an auction or listings site.
Which do you think is most important aspect of a website: concept, content, design or promotion?
I think that website design and content are both important factors in achieving a great website. If customers don’t like what they see then they are unlikely to stick around to look at your products.
How did you go about asking people to vote for your site?
I used facebook, twitter & the various business support groups I have joined to ask for support. To be nominated for the award generated such excitement it was great to see that so many people then followed through with their votes. I am grateful to all who took time out to make their vote.
What future plans do you have for Wool & Buttons?
Well, as the business is so very new I’d like to continue to build up my customer base and to offer knitters a great service & fantastic products. Also, to raise awareness that knitting is ‘a feel -good satisfying hobby’ and it’s good to just take the ‘time out to sit & knit’. From thereon, the possibility of opening a high street wool shop would be quite exciting too.