Turning inspiration into retail success!
As a fitness professional, Chloe had a unique ability to understand and connect with the needs of her local community. This insight enabled her to spot the window of opportunity open to her in the world of retail. Equipped with inspiration, retail mentors and a solid business plan, Chloe was able to make the leap from idea to success. I caught up with Chloe to ask about her retail journey…
How did Style Active by Chloe come to be?
I have always had a very strong passion for health and fitness. Having moved to Melbourne when I was 18 to study Personal Training and Remedial Massage my passion became even stronger. I lived and worked in Melbourne for 8 years running my own Personal Training business. I trained many clients and living my the bay I fell in love with the active lifestyle Melbourne promotes. When I moved back to Warrnambool I managed a Snap Fitness Gym however I always returned with the intention of hopefully going into business with my mother Debbie. Debbie (mother) already owns and runs a successful retail store in Warrnambool. We had both identified that Warrnambool had a massive gap in the market for an all female active wear store. Having a population of over 30,000 and over 9 successful gyms and studios, the fitness and health interest is huge in Warrnambool and also taking into account the Country Football and Netball is also very large down here. Knowing all the above we knew our concept was a strong one and with the growth of health and fitness in Warrnambool, it was only going to get stronger.
What inspired you to go into the retail business?
I’m massively a people person and I have always loved customer service! I wanted to be a part of a store where people could come shop and have a really positive experience when shopping locally.
How did you approach setting up your retail business? Did you follow a process?
The first thing we did was a business plan. As both my parents ran successful business, we knew a strong business plan was the key. Debbie and I then had a meeting with our accountant to run over our business plan and get his advice. He was extremely happy with our business plan and thought that we should go ahead with it.
What has been you’re been your biggest surprise learning curve?
I have learnt a great deal through this whole process. Largely I have learnt the importance of managing stock and having a fast turn over of stock. Our customers love seeing new stock as we have a lot of regulars coming in weekly to seek new arrivals, therefore it was crucial to keep fresh items arriving often. For us this meant we needed to have a high turn over which we have now mastered.
Your business is very active across social media – why do you find social media important for your business?
I always knew Facebook would be a strong tool for us however I had no idea how powerful it could be and how big of an asset it would be to our business. The target market age group is 22-55 and this age group is highly active on Facebook. It’s how we stay connected, how we learn new things and what we do with our spare time. An average female within our target market group will look on Facebook a minimum of 3 times per day however for most people it is part of their daily life like emails, text etc. I knew social media would be our biggest way of growing awareness and interest. We have been able to create a good social media presence due to our Facebook page having a bit more of an overall health and fitness community. We promote our active wear, however we also promote healthy eating and post great recipes, easy at home workouts, great mental health exercises and many more healthy lifestyle hints.
You run your business both online and in-store, has an online store always been an integral part of your business?
We have always planned to go online. Everything is online more and its so important to stay up and in front of the times. Our online store has only been up for 3 months and is going really well. I believe a huge amount of it’s success is due to our social media.
What has been your most memorable experience in your time as a retailer?
The feedback we get! Both Debbie and I have put a lot of hard work, love and money into opening and growing our little vision. When we read our reviews and get amazing feedback from customers nothing makes us more happy. Hearing customers say our store is there favourite shop and how there absolutely love coming to our store is just amazing.
What advice would you offer to someone setting up a retail business?
Do your research and leave nothing to chance. We did a lot of research before opening our store. We were aware we needed a central, easily accessible location, we knew what clothing brands we needed to have to attract our target customer, we knew the type of staff members we required to create the environment we wanted, we knew our budgets and targets to hit each month. We have set extremely high standards that are continually increased as we strive to improve on our best and provide our customers with only the highest quality advice and products regarding health and fitness.
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