Swym customer showcase – featuring The Belly Ring Shop

Swym Shopify Customer showcase - featuring BellyRings

“Itemise the tasks you hate the most and establish a way to offload them”

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The jewelry industry is not just about the glitterati, it is highly competitive. What sets the best ones distinctly apart from the good ones is quality, design, and comfort. It is never one size fits all, as women prefer choices, customizations, and not to mention stellar customer service. TummyToys® – one of Australia’s largest belly ring supplier pioneer, has been selling worldwide since 2008. In this edition, we are proud to feature their sister business – The Belly Ring Shop. The Belly Ring shop boasts more than 2000 navel jewelry pieces that look pretty and practical. The website navigation is user-friendly, perfectly built to browse, pick and checkout seamlessly. Celebrating over 9 years of being a belly ring distributor they sure do know how to woo fashionistas with their profound collection of navel rings in gold, silver, and titanium.

An Interview with Helene Holtsbaum – Founder, The Belly Ring Shop


Tell us about your business – your mission and what made you start this e-commerce website?

The Belly Ring Shop is a sister site to TummyToys® which has been open since 2008. I first started selling belly rings when my second baby came into the world as I had previously been working as a freelance web developer and grew increasingly tired of the fast paced industry. I had my navel pierced 20 years ago and had a natural love for all things belly bling and fell into TummyToys® with absolute joy. I still remember my first sale, days after going live, the excitement and satisfaction of achieving my dream.

Which channels are bringing most traffic to your store? Which channels do you wish to use to reach more customers this year?

The strongest channel for us would definitely be our large email subscriber list, built up gradually over 10 years. With over 15,000 subscribers, our fortnightly newsletters bring back our loyal customers with a surge of sales after each campaign. We have nearly 70,000 fans on Facebook, however Facebook over charge for exposure versus return so we do not rely on this form of social media. Instagram is great for exposure and it is free too so we love that channel although it is harder to track sales from this avenue, it certainly helps reinforce brand awareness and social reassurance. Tools on the website like the Wishlist Plus app help bring in the sales and keep shoppers returning. Advanced tools like this give our shoppers convenient ways to access all of their favourite products and this definitely increases sales.

Swym Shopify Customer showcase - featuring BellyRings

What made you choose Shopify for Belly Ring Shop? How is it helping you accomplish your business goals?

I used to code in classic ASP, the original Microsoft language for web development. I’ve been programming websites since the dot.com bubble 20 years ago. ASP became a discontinued and buggy language that led to many hours of coding for small and time consuming results. Shopify has given me back my time to focus on the design and creativity that I enjoy most. I no longer chase bugs or build time consuming site additions, instead making use of the wonderful, fast and effective plugins like the Swym Wishlist Plus app that took seconds to setup instead of days.

Unfortunately, like all businesses we ran into some hard times 7 years after establishing when an employee decided to copy our entire business module. Having worked for us she knew all the best sellers and knew all of my leading suppliers. She mimicked our custom products, stole our imagery, mimicked our policies, replicated Facebook promos, homepage promos, and anything new we brought into the store she copied. She even stole word-for-word content from our site that thankfully we were able to report to Google and those pages were blacklisted. She was however unable to copy our own leading brand of belly rings, the TummyToys® clasps so in our 9th year of operation we decided to split the store into two, one being the TummyToys® website (www.tummytoys.com.au) and the other The Belly Ring Shop. She still copies The Belly Ring Shop, however we are no longer affected by this with a strong brand behind TummyToys® and an established long history of loyal shoppers.

Ironically, I was introduced to Shopify by my ex-employee who tried to run us out of business. With no website development background of her own she had used the Shopify platform to setup her copycat belly rings site. It was a case of bad things bringing good and a stroke of luck that led to my partnership with Shopify. I love the system so much that I have even started learning the Shopify Liquid code and begun setting up Shopify websites for clients and earning a secondary streamlined (and residual) income while still running my dream belly ring shop. While she set out to destroy us she actually brought us immeasurable luck instead. I’m a big believer in Karma and have always practiced kindness and honesty. Having someone so destructive and dishonest attacking my life dream was very hard to accept at first but turned out to be a wonderful blessing for us in disguise. My advice to other entrepreneurs who ever experience this type of thing would be to stick it out, work hard for what’s yours and always practice good ethics. It all pays off eventually.


Related Article : How to Build an Email List that Builds Your E-commerce Business by Shopify blogs


What is it that Belly Ring Shop (as a business) wants to accomplish in 2017?

In 2017 we aim to reach new ideas and strengthen both of our brands. I hope to continue to streamline business procedures and the Shopify platform is certainly achieving that for us. My employees are now able to quickly and efficiently knock over work that I used to get bogged down doing myself.  This has completely changed the way I run business and given me my time back along with many more options in life. I even have the time now to study and learn new skills and I value this so much.

What tools, apps, key metrics do you track and use to understand your business’ health? What apps do you use to help you with your backend?

I use Clicky instead of Google Analytics. It’s far better, although I still have Google Analytics I find there are far more advantages to Clicky. I have not implemented many apps into my backend other than email marketing tools and shopper welcome emails. I enjoy looking at customer habits through Swym’s Wishlist Plus and love the tools that Shopify provide like abandoned cart emails. Another great app I use is ‘Now In Stock’ which allows shoppers to get notified when sold out products return to our shelves.

We love sharing more information about e-commerce best practices that we come across, with our customers. Would you have any cool trick or best practice that you recommend?

Outsource, outsource, outsource! Avoid entrepreneurial ground hog day, if you find yourself getting bogged down and stuck, itemise the tasks you hate the most and establish a way to offload them. This will help you maintain the love of your growing business and allow you to continue growing through creativity. My second tip is Yoga or exercise. As odd as it sounds, taking the time to stretch, breathe, relax and rejuvenate actually makes me twice as productive when I get back to the computer.


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