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(Small Business Superstar) How to get sales from one Facebook live!

This week’s Small Business Superstar is Toria from Wild Iris Boutique in Ironbridge.

A little bit about Toria’s amazing business…

Wild Iris Boutique is an independent shop in Ironbridge stocking jewellery, fashion, and gifts. On top of being a beautiful shop full of amazing products, Toria has also added an “Artist of the Month” feature where she promotes local talented artists and they also hold special evenings such as book clubs, well-being evenings, craft evenings, and many more, creating a real sense of community. Toria also works closely with local charities to give back and help those who need it.

What one marketing thing made a difference to their business? 

Going live on Facebook! Showing products and more of the boutique. Then a virtual shopping event featuring local artists and all the products available.

What difference did it make to them and their business? 

People interacted and watched all the content. So many orders! Created an income whilst the boutique couldn’t be opened. Took one weeks’ worth of takings in ONE NIGHT!

Where you can find Toria

Website: wild-iris.co.uk

Facebook: @wildirisironbridge

Instagram: @wildirisironbridge

 

Transcript below

 

Hello, and welcome to the very first Thursday, proper Thursday episode. Welcome, welcome, welcome. I'm really excited about this. So I have told you what it's about, but let me just briefly go over what the scenario is here. As I said to you, my little special episode last week, and my small brands that I was tired of seeing lots of examples of marketing that wouldn't necessarily work or worn as realistic to small business owners. And when I talk small business owners, I am one of those small business owners. Like there is a huge percentage of us who were there at that small business level. So I wanted to bring in amazing small business owners who are doing phenomenal things and not like the crazy, amazing stuff, but like just showing up and doing something and it's having an effect in their business. And also I wanted to bring in people who were doing things that I wanted to give you the confidence to do them as well. Now, at the time of me thinking about all this about feeling fed up about all these people going, Hey, I am seven figures in three minutes, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, rubbish.

 

Um, something else happened in my world and the two things together inspired me for this. So one that happened where I kept getting all these people irritating me. And the second thing that happened was an amazing member of my Academy did a Facebook live and basically blew my mind in terms of what she got and how she came across.

 

That inspired me, that I had to bring her on. And there we go. Out of those two scenarios came this new Thursday episode. So today it is my absolute pleasure. So welcome Toria from mild Iris in Ironbridge. How are you doing Toria?

 

Toria: Not too bad. Thank you. How are you?

 

Teresa: I am really good. I'm very excited about this episode.

 

I am super excited to hear what you did and what results you got. But first, let's start off by you sharing with my audience, who you are, what is it you do, and how you got to do the thing you do.

 

Toria: So I opened Wild Iris boutique in Ironbridge last year, so July, 2019. Um, I've spent about 15 years in retail prior to that working for the big boys started on the shop floor as a sort of part-time job at U-day. Fell in love with sales, worked my way up the ladder, and eventually ended up running, um, the whole retail estate from the operations perspective.

 

And however, after two redundancies in the space of three years, I just decided enough was enough. Um, I, wasn't going to have my heart trampled on again, and I've got that much experience working retail operations. It really gives you a sense of every single aspect of retail. It's one of the few jobs that touches every sector, every section of the sector.

 

Um, so I thought, okay, I'm going to do this on way, and I'm going to try this on my own. And if it fails it fails but I can do this on my own, on my own terms, um, and create something that ticks all my boxes.

 

Teresa: And do you know, let me just pause you there for a second. I have my own business and I know how scary that was.

 

I could not imagine the fear in getting a business that has a building and you have to buy products to put into that building and everything that comes with that, because that feels like way more risk than what I took. You know, because ultimately I just sold my brain and that was as much investment I needed really. Whereas this, for me, this feels really scary. Was it terrifying?

 

Toria: It was beyond terrifying. I was absolutely paralyzed by fear for so long and the whole run-up, you know, I, I, I found out about my redundancy in the April. I didn't leave until the May and I didn't open the boutique until the July. And that period in between was such a roller coaster of emotions.

 

One day I was absolutely flying high, going to networking meetings, meeting suppliers, thinking, “Yes, I've nailed this. I've got something really special.” And the next day my inner saboteur is just crushing me. So yeah, it was my husband I felt sorry for to be honest.

 

Teresa: Yeah. It's not bad enough for us. Like they have to be able to receiver of the whole thing. So just explain about the shop and about what's the things you sell in there and your kind of ethos around it.

 

Toria: So I knew when I was creating a brand, I wanted it to be different. I wanted to stand out from the crowd and I wanted to be an independent, independent, you know, there are so many independent businesses and so many can fall into the trap of becoming a carbon copy of another shop they've seen in another part of the country and they just want to replicate it.

 

And I didn't want to do that. So, um, Originally, I never really wanted to go into fashion. However, it seemed to seem to be very much desired in the area. So there was, there's no way really for clothes in the immediate vicinity. So went into fashion. My longterm passion is in jewelry. That's what my, my many, many years of retail experience were in.

 

Um, so knew I wanted to focus on jewelry, but knew I wanted to be so much more than that. I wanted to be a destination. I wanted to create a tribe of loyal followers who enjoyed coming to see the boutique can see what was new. So I came up with the concept to dating an artist of the month focus as well, because I really wanted to promote local talented artists who were creating amazing things, but didn't know how to get them to market.

 

So I created the artist of the month focus, um, and I also created a lot of groups within the boutique as well. So we have, um, regular. Well, when it's not COVID we have regular, um, book club meetings. We have regular wellbeing evenings, and craft evenings and different things like that. Um, and always have something different going on.

 

So, um, and then having spent some of my career in the charity sector as well, giving back to society is hugely important to me. So before I even opened the boutique, I made. Um, relationships with local homeless charities and offered my services to clothe any women who were ready to get back into the world of work to actually clothe them ready for their interviews and give them mentoring and support, um, and mock interviews and things like that as well.

 

Teresa: That is just, that is so good honestly, like, and this you're literally like, I'm literally in the very beginning of, of doing these interviews and you already have prove to me why this is so valuable. Because in your world where you are, and the difference you're making is huge. Like that is massive. That also you've took something and thought of how else can I add value around this? Which is great, because ultimately you could just look at this as a I'm a shop you can come in and buy stuff and. Instead of just doing that, it was, how can I feature local artists? How can I then create more of a tribe around it?

 

Because already, like, I love the fact that the book things, I love, the fact of, you know, coming in and obviously, you know, that is, is huge. Because as a small business and as an independent shop, you need that tribe. Because you're also very lucky, by the way, if you're listening to this, I know my biggest audiences in the States. I want you to Google Ironbridge because you're just going to love it. Like it's a very historic, it's a beautiful time. And it also happens to be literally minutes from where I live. So that means I can go and physically go and have a look at things which is ace. But so let's just talk about COVID because you are a retail shop where people go in and buy. So COVID here. Tell me where your head was at.

 

Toria: Um, at the point when COVID hits, they locked down starting on the 23rd of March. And that was approximately three weeks after we'd reopened from two weeks of closure due to flooding in London bridge as well. Um, we were already off to a really shaky start this year. Locked down here, and obviously nobody knew how long it was going to be for.

Um, we didn't have a clue. So I allowed myself a bit of time to get a bit depressed and process what was going on and feel really bloody sorry for myself. Um,

 

Teresa: Well reason to, absolutely, because like that, I'd completely forgotten that you'd have the floods, which I shouldn't have because I very much knew about them, but your, your shop is on the front of a river.

 

And basically we have the same problem every year where we live in structure, but it floods a lot, but of course, so that was disastrous then to have this, so, right. So you sat and when I'm allowed to be sad and annoyed about this that's okay. Which it is. And then what happened?

 

Toria: Then I picked myself up and I was just like, right. Okay. What can I do? What can I do differently? People can't physically come in. Yes. I have a website. Now I've never really put much effort into it. If I'm honest, I've never really make, make made many sales through it, but it's still got potential. So first thing was strip the website back to basics and really try and focus on how I wanted it to look and function and how I would shop on that. Um, and then, and then came the bit I hated, which was taking photographs of loads and loads of stock. I am not, I am not a creative person in my mind. I am a really creative person, but you asked me to do something physical and tangible and it all goes out the window.

 

So for me, taking photos was just like, “Oh God”, But I've got it done. And then slowly sales started trickling through and I thought, okay, I can survive this. We can do this. What else can I do? So I came up with the idea of virtual, personal shopping consultations, because the thing about my business is that it's not just a boutique it is me. And it's taken me 12 months to realize it. But people come into the shop, not just for the project, but for me as well. Um, and so I wanted to give them the chance to have that at home, to have someone there going “Okay, I see you. I know what you like. I know what your tastes are, how about this? It will fit you well, because of this, that, and the other little tick, all your boxes, because you like to do X, Y, and Zed,” and still give them that level of personal service.

 

So we're still able to do that. And then lockdown finished and there was still a huge amount of nervousness from the general public about coming out and shopping footfall was way, way, way down. But I have heard as well, like you say, it's a, it's a, it's a UNESCO world heritage site. So it's a huge tourist destination.

 

We have no foreign tourism. We have no coach tools, no coach tools for the last crisscross.  Yeah. Yeah. Like midweek, you were just like. It's a ghost town. What is going on? This is somebody, you know, locked down, lifted on the 15th of June. It was just unbelievable and slowly.

 

Teresa: Great time for you

 

Toria: Should have been manic, but slowly but surely by the time we got to August, we kind of felt like. Things were feeling a little bit normal. Yes. You were having to restrict the amount of people come in. Yes. We were having to sound like a broken record and ask everyone to put gel on their hands. Yes. You were having to deal with a very small minority of the public who were not very happy with you asking them to do such thing.

 

Um, but all in all, it was a much, much better summer than I thought we were going to have given everything that was happening. So we were moving in the right direction and then getting excited for Christmas and then bomb lock locked down 2.0, and my God, you know, if a retail in the 10 weeks running up to Christmas, we do 40% of our annual turnover.

 

So for me to find out, I've got a close for the whole of the month of November has been terrifying.

 

Teresa: So. You did a couple of things that I just think like when I, when I speak on the podcast or when I train or tell people, “Hey, do you know, you should try this.” I genuinely think they're like, yeah, no, like, you know, they might think that's a cool idea that not for me.

 

I just want to give them it. Which is why you were so key to bring you on because the first thing you did or one of the first things you did, cause there's two things that we talked about in particular was you went live. So tell people about that live. How was it?

 

Toria: How did you describe it? I think you described it to me the other day. I was not a full blown production and I thought that was possibly the kindest way

 

Teresa: to I was trying to be nice. Like I said, I didn't want it to sound like I was being mean about it because you have a great, but I wanted to show you or prove to people that like. It, it, it wasn't, it wasn't like the lights cameras action, but it was perfect.

 

It was perfect because it doesn't need to be. So, so you're basically there on your phone, on you I'm guessing it was your phone?

 

Toria: Yes, it was my phone. Yeah, the shop I'm in the shop and it's, uh, I think it was. Uh, dial two before lockdown was going to start, uh, it was, we knew lockdown was coming, but it happened quite started.

 

So in my head, I am in absolutely panic mode. How the hell am I going to support myself and how the hell am I going to support myself for Q1 next year? Because the sales I make in November, December, I have to see you through till the end of month. So I am properly capping it at this point. And, um, I think, well, Okay.

 

Stocking fillers. That was the first thing that came to my head. Stocking fillers. I've got loads of nice stock in let's show the people what I've got and if they like it, they like it. And if they don't, they don't. But quite frankly, at this point I have got nothing to lose. “So hi everybody. This is me. Um, so weak.

 

I'm new to look down. It's fine. I'm going to take you around the shop. I've got some really nice things to show you. Oh, now I need to turn my camera around. Oh, uh, how do I do this? Um, okay. Yeah. Yeah.” Like literally I'm like, I'm one of these people that when I get an idea in my head, I just steam roll with it. Whereas normally

 

Teresa: And don't necessarily planning it all out.

 

Toria: No. No. It's so stupid. Like when I was, when it was an employee, I was like the planner. I have lists of the list of the list. And then for me, for my business, I'm like, “Oh, that's a really great idea. Let's do it now.” It's like, I'd lost that team around me who go “Well hang on a second.”

 

Teresa: Yeah. Let's just, how are you going to do it? Do you know how to do it? But you know what? Right. The thing that I love the most about this is that fear of, so basically it's like the fear of doing it was smaller than the fear of, Oh my God, I need to make money. That then made you do it because let's say like, you know, and I, I don't know. Well, I know you and you did lots of amazing things, so you might be different, but like, there are a lot of people out there who think.

 

Oh, well, I would, I would do that, but the, but the fear is too great. And there's no real motivation. Whereas for you, you had no choice like this was coming. So, so you went and did this live and you were great. You were, you, you had your camera facing away, um, or showing a lot of stuff. There's a few points where you turned it back round and you kind of held things up, especially if it was like, I think see sizing and whether that was intentional or not.

 

I don't know. But what happened, like how did you feel as you were doing that live? Was there anybody on at the time.

 

Toria: I felt like an idiot. Now I think about it. It was, it was a Sunday morning. It was a gloriously sunny day outside. And there was nobody about that. Like first thing in the mornings in Ironbridge. Right, right, quiet. So I was like, right, I'll do this now. I'll get it over and done with, and then I can chill out for the rest of the day and just serve customers. Sunday mornings. I don't normally say anybody. Do you know how many people walked in while I was filming that. Five, five people and I'm like, “I can't, I'm live on the internet.

 

This isn't a recording. I can stop and pick up again. I'm on live on Facebook.” I can see that there's a tally of how many people are watching me. And I've got people in the shop and I can't just, “Hi, sorry. I'm on Facebook, please. Excuse me.” So I just kind of have to kind of motion to them and they kind of figured out what was going on.

 

And I just wanted the ground to open up and swallow me. I was so embarrased.

 

Teresa: The point is you didn't stop and you didn't.

 

Toria: I didn't stop.

 

Teresa: And one of the reason or whatever you want to just, I want to talk like this, but, but generally, How, what you got from it, but like, You bought up some socks, right? It's called bee. And there were these lovely bees socks with real bees, not the Herbie.

 

And, um, and anyway, I was like, “Oh they're perfect.” So, because I went and watched this video. And saw the socks I messaged you and said, can I have some of these socks please? And you sent me photos of what was available. Cause you showed me there was a few different ones. And then I went, yeah, great. Sort of that payment done.

 

And you sent them to me with some lovely bits, by the way, which I haven't been able to put up on social media as of yet, because that's my cause it's my daughter. I can't show in a thin until I read the like giving it her or so, but yeah, so that was on full. And how many people bought off that live, do you think?

 

Toria: Um, I think, sales straight away, I probably got about 10 sales, but there's been a number of sales trickle through afterwards. I did one live months ago as well, which was just, um, showing people how to use the jewelry cleaners that I stock install. And that honestly must be that video now must be six to eight months old.

 

I am still getting people coming in to buy those jewelry cleaners because they have seen that again. You know, highly, highly professional video with no mistakes in it whatsoever. Um,

 

Teresa: That is great about it, that was so authentic. You just have to get on and do it cause you didn't have a choice. So as if that wasn't impressive enough and you did that. So if you're listening to this now and think I don't want to go live. What, if you get 10 sales, what if 10 people see that and buy something from you? Like for literally four or five minutes of your time?

 

Like literally just showing around. The other than the fear of thinking, I might look stupid. I might say something wrong. I might well, so what, so what you can do, you've just got 10 sales, like brilliant.

 

Toria: The thing that got me out of my head about this was very much thinking, why am I scared? What is it that's making me scared.

 

Teresa: Yeah.

 

Toria: And actually, if I trust myself enough to own, to open my own business and to sell to people face to face day in, day out, I know deep down that I'm bloody good at it. Why am I scared about doing that on the internet? Why am I scared about not doing that with a person physically in front of me?

 

That's crazy. I know I'm good at this. So just do it.

 

Teresa: And what's interesting is I think people would think, well, yeah, but that goes to the wider world, but the truth is people aren't. Th th the trolls and the bullies ain't that I'm just waiting for you to do something so they can be horrible. And if they do, God I feel really sorry for them.

 

They've got nothing bad to do with that time. Like, so the truth is, has anybody ever said anything mean about anything that you've done?

 

Toria: No absolutely. No. And quite frankly, working with the general public for most of my career, I've had more people. Say and do horrible things to me in person than has ever happened online.

 

Teresa: So, because I'm so conscious of time here, cause we're literally like cramming in these episodes, but I want to say what you then did next. So that is the one thing that I wanted you to come on and talk about, but you took it to another level. That was amazing. So what did you decide to do next?

 

Toria: So, as I mentioned earlier, November is a really critical point for retailers in terms of income generation. So knowing that I've got these four weeks of doors shut, I knew I had to do something different. And knowing that everyone's going to be sat at home, no one can get to the pub. No one can go, no one can go shopping, no one can different meal and then want to get to go with their friends. I was like, “Okay, let's do a virtual Christmas shopping night.

 

And make it fun.” So I thought, well, no one wants to listen to me for God knows how long, so who can I ripen to help me with this? So I thought “Well let's showcase some of these amazing artists at the month that I've got.” So I got on five of my, my now closest friends, um, who are all featured in my shop. Um, who were definitely even more terrified than I was, but we were unified in our, in our desire to do something, to not let lockdown beat us. And so I put together this evening, I did some, I did some paid for Facebook ads behind it. I did a mail shout out to my mailing list and brought everyone to share it as far and wide as they possibly could across Facebook.

 

That was me and five local artists wearing Christmas jumpers. Having Gloucester per second or two, just to get us through the night. Um, and then we did a live raffle. We did, um, a prize draw, um, for anyone who made a purchase and we have the live chat going and I was blown away by the amount of, the amount of people who've watched and the amount of people who've interacted. I was really worried that it was naturally going to be me and five people on screen.

 

They were going to be like five deer in headlights, and I'm just going to have to try and draw them out themselves and then have nobody saying anything. And then having nobody buying. And God bless my, my poor husband who sat in the back room having to deal with all the texts coming in for the raffle entries and all the emails coming in for the orders and go back and work out payments.

 

So, yeah, but it was amazing. I thought that the evening would last about two hours max. We finished after three hours and 15 minutes. Uh, my voice was destroyed. I was physically exhausted. However, I did take a week's worth of takings in one night. We're like,

 

Teresa: if you don't hear anything else from this episode 'bout that. Like just by going, um, I'm going to try this, like let's say no one turned up. Let's say it didn't work. The worst that would have come from that is I've just wasted. And it wouldn't have been two hours because you wouldn't have stayed on to wasted an hour of my life that didn't work. Nevermind. Done. But the truth was you were willing to take the risk and you know, what happened, everybody.

 

Right? So she, she posted that she's done that because unfortunately I had something on exactly the same time, because I was going to go to it. So I went after the event to go and look at the live. And I, and I commented immediately. I know “This is ace.” So right before I'd watched it. And then as I commented, I hit play.

 

And as I often do, I have something playing somewhere as I'm doing something else. And I was like, “Oh my God, this is just ACE. This is unbelievable.” Like the way you did it, the interaction, the creativity. And then when I heard those results, I was just like, “Oh, my actual goodness. That is amazing. Absolutely amazing.”

 

And honestly, Toria, like those two examples are the whole reason why I wanted to do this Thursday, because, because of the fact that you took a chance, you stepped out of your fear for like, 10 minutes. You did something, it worked. You then upped it a bit, it worked.” Like and through a period of time where you could just be sat there on your hands sobbing. You know what I mean? Like,

 

Toria: which is my normal default.

 

Teresa: Yeah. We all, you know what I mean? Honestly that for me was just the most amazing thing. Like you literally are the kind of a pit to me of, of being a small business, being able to shift and move and take a risk. I mean, it wasn't like the daily risk was to your time into yours. Like looking like it will be like, well, “What is this?” But like that, honestly, it all paid off.

 

If you are listening to this and you are the slightest bit inspired, just go and do it. What's the worst that can happen. Seriously. What's the worst. Cause to Toria it paid off beautifully. So Toria. Tell everybody where they can come and find more. Cause I know that you are all going to want to go and have a look at Toria's site and social and stuff. So tell people how they can find out more about you.

 

Toria: So the website is wild-iris.co.uk. We're very active on Facebook and Instagram. Uh, we're at wild Iris Ironbridge. Um, and yeah, come, come and check us out and have a look at the website. There's new products coming on there every day and, uh, look out for more really awkward lives for me.

 

Teresa: I love it. I love it. I love it. Thank you so much for being the very first there's the guest on the podcast. It's been a pleasure having you.

 

Toria: Thank you so much for having me. It's a real honor.

 

Teresa: Okay. So if you enjoyed this episode, I want you to go and find Tori. I want you to go and tell her. Well, how great it was and what you thought.

 

I went to go and give it a follow. And I want you to let us know what you thought of this episode, because I'm really excited about these. I think you're going to get so much good stuff. And if you do a live, I want you to tag Toria and I in so that we can see, and we can come and celebrate and high five you virtually.

 

So have a great rest of your week. And I will be back on Monday with another episode. So see you then.