Fashion & lifestyle blogger and owner of CLOO Active
A social media influencer has discovered how a modern payments provider is helping bridge the gap between online and in-store sales for her activewear business.
Louise Cooney began as a fashion blogger about nine years ago and is now visible across all the main social media platforms with a combined audience of some 250,000 followers. It was her interest in style that led to her decision to take a risk and launch her fashion activewear brand.
She admits that starting her own retailing business has been quite a learning curve, but one that she was happy to engage with in a bid to realise her entrepreneurial dreams.
Business expansion ideas
“It was during a lockdown when, like lots of other people, I had time to reassess my life. I said to myself, ‘if I could do anything, what would it be?’ How can I put my own stamp on things and be in creative control of my own projects?” Cooney shares.
Having studied marketing and business development, she decided it would make more sense to invest her savings in starting her own business rather than buying a house, which was something she was also considering at the time.
Eventually, she also wanted to expand her business reach and test the waters in a physical space. She says: “I didn’t know too much to start with, but have really learned as I have gone along.”
From online to city centre shop
The activewear e-commerce launched over a year ago, and since then, CEO Cooney has only looked forward in terms of how she can grow the business — overcoming various hurdles along the way.
These have included supply chain backlogs, expensive freight and customs charges with manufacturers being based across Europe and China. Another challenge arose for her when she finally decided to place her brand in a pop-up shop in the heart of Dublin’s busy city centre on Wicklow Street.
The advantages of using the automated tracking of sales and contactless card reader system are numerous.
“I knew nothing about setting up the till for the shop,” she explains. “I was sharing the outlet with several other female-led brands, and one of them told me about the payment system Square provides.
Since it was referred by another business and she had no prior experience with in-store payment systems, Cooney didn’t hesitate to try it out. “I asked them for help, and I loved how simple it was to set up and how I could track everything, every day on my phone.”
The right payment solution
Square provides a cohesive suite of tools to not only help with payments but ensure enterprises can run efficiently. They partner with sellers of all sizes from large, enterprise-scale businesses to ones like Cooney’s business. As e-commerce shops grow and expand, the company offers further solutions down the line to assist them.
Aware of her growing customer base’s needs, Cooney felt it was important to give them the opportunity to see her brand and try on the clothing to get a feel for its sizing, fit and quality.
“When it comes to clothes, a lot of customers like to try things on; and for the business, it was the right time to experience operating in-store,” she says.
Keep track of inventory
The advantages of using the automated tracking of sales and contactless card reader system are numerous. For a start, Cooney was able to note what was selling the most, including which item, size, style and colour — and any items people were returning.
“This was great because it helped me to plan ahead with the preordering and getting feedback on what works and what doesn’t. I would definitely partner with them again.” She concludes: “My hope is that my activewear brand will become international, but for now, we are still trying to conquer Ireland and focusing on growing here.”