Getting a foothold in online fashion jewellery market with her facebook store, Shalini shares

Shalini Singh, owner, La Elegante

Shalini Girish, owner, La Elegante

Mumbai-based Shalini Girish credits the idea of her online store, La Elegante, to her cousin Sharanya for planting it in her head. She had been sourcing accessories already for friends and family. So a bit of convincing from her cousin was all Shalini needed to get on board the ecommerce world.

The 36 year old MBA graduate had given up her corporate career 12 years earlier when marriage and kids happened. Although she caught up on everything she had been wanting to do like swimming, driving, cooking and guitar lessons, plus the never-ending lessons of motherhood, nothing kept her satisfied.

With kids growing up, she suddenly had a lot of time in hands but nothing to do. Along came her dear cousin to push her into opening her own online store, and she considers that the turning point in her life.

In an IOS exclusive, Shalini shares more insights about her ecommerce journey.

The secret of La Elegante

Till date I have not sold from any website. It’s only been a page on facebook! I started off with casual earrings and have now expanded to offer bags, clutches, watches and other fashion jewellery like neckpieces, oxidised jewellery, temple jewellery etc.

Sourcing the products

Fashion has always been my passion so even before all of these started I used to keep visiting the various markets in Mumbai picking up stuff for myself and my friends and family. Those visits helped me identify various avenues / wholesalers famous for each type of product. That knowledge helped me source my initial products.

I don’t accept pre-bookings or collect orders before the actual products are with me.

Shalini with her family

Shalini with her family

Photography was my biggest challenge!

Photographing my products was a challenge, I had neither the interest nor the knowledge. Initially I used my mobile to capture the pictures. Then I started using a DSLR which has helped to improve quality and clarity of my pictures. I have spent hours reading up on photography tricks and tips to improve my skills.

Maintaining and updating inventory was another challenge. With a lot of trials and errors, I have carved a method that works for me. Since I had walk-in clients too, like friends and neighbours, I had to streamline and maintain proper inventory.

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Challenges ahead

I accept orders only via email or my facebook page inbox. When it was just 10 queries per day, I could easily manage. Now with 450-500 queries per day, handling this surge in traffic and orders is the challenge. Queries come through whatsapp and sms too.

I have restricted my work time to 10 am to 5 pm so that I have time for sourcing, tracking stock delivery from my various vendors, updatingg inventory, accounting, packing , tracking deliveries and also to check what’s new in the market!

My own site is almost ready, www.laelegante.in. Just need to add the payment gateway and it’s all set to go live. Most of my clients have a comfort zone now in FB they know where and how to look for new products . Moving them into website might be a transitional challenge , but once done I don’t see any challenges in that.

No issues with logistics!

My logistics partner is DTDC and thankfully my association with them has been smooth and fruitful.

My best decision so far?

Introducing COD! I introduced cash on delivery in Chennai about 4 months back which has benefitted a lot of people from there. I’m going to launch international deliveries soon, hopefully that should be another winning decision.

Shalini’s dream is to be able to never say “sold out” to any of her clients. And as she goes back to more orders and more packing, we wish her more success and growth!

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5 Comments

  1. alakesh banerjee Reply

    dear shalini your story has inspired me. i want to start a store like you, i want to know how any one find your store in face book and also i want to know what is the rule to start the store.

  2. very inspiring story.
    Can you also sell in our marketplace, we are trying to pick only good sellers
    No harm in having hybrid selling
    we will promote us.
    thanks

    • Mitali K Reply

      Hi Vinay, I make earrings,home decor and gift items with paper quilling and i’m looking out for a space to sell them.
      Can you please help me out?

  3. SP Reply

    HI Shalini,

    Its very interesting and inspiring… How do you manage your time with your family and with the business. Are you doing this business with any employee or is it single handed?
    Am interested in starting a low budget business but am a working professional and lil worried about time management or will it be possible to start with single handed (myself alone). Guide me / share your ideas… Awaiting for your reply…

    Thanks! Sripriya

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