Luxe Fitness: Founder, Iyia Liu, processes hundreds of orders per day with StarShipIT
So how did it all get started, what’s the inspiration behind it?
I started my own business straight after finishing my Commerce Degree at Auckland Uni. My first business was an online clothing store which I closed down after 5 months, simultaneously I started Waist Trainer which grew really fast, and a year later I launched Luxe Fitness. Both are e-commerce stores that focus on women’s health, fitness and lifestyle.
I was inspired to start my own e-commerce business by Sophia Amouruso, the founder of Nastygal, who started off selling on Ebay, and then grew her e-commerce store into a $100 million dollar business within a few years.
What is your role/key responsibilities within the business?
It’s always changing. Naturally within a start up, you have to do a little bit of everything, so I’ve done marketing, packaging, sending, customer service, printing orders, you name it, I’ve done it. Now I’m mostly just co-ordinating with the team, making sure the day to day runs smoothly.
Who else in involved?
We currently have a team of 6 including myself, again the roles are very mixed, but the main roles are marketing, customer service and packaging and dispatch.
When you first embarked on your online retailing journey, what were some of the challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?
When you first start, you get held up all the time with new surprises. Products stuck at customs, sending large payments to the wrong bank account, managing staff, with every problem, just work to find the best solution. Don’t stress, just problem solve.
Were things ever so hard you wanted to give up? If so, how did you push through?
Definitely. Sometimes when you encounter problem after problem, you feel so stressed out and just want to take a break. Unfortunately, if you do, your business will mostly likely fall apart. You are the glue, so you just have to find a way to problem solve and make the best of each situation.
What was life like before you started using StarShipIT? Tell me about some of the frustrations and challenges you used to face…
Starting out, I used to hand write addresses on pre-paid post bags. You can imagine how long that would take, fast forward to StarShipIT, our shipping process is very automated. Synchronising directly with Shopify, it’s as easy as clicking a button to print a customer’s delivery address.
What steps did you need to take in order to scale up as the business grew exponentially?
More staff to help operate and run the day to day, putting more money behind marketing and putting more processes in place, such as automation software like StarShipIT.
What were the key factors in selecting a shipping technology solution?
Reliability with the program itself e.g. not breaking down, good customer support staff and service, in the case that there are any issues or we need some help.
What made you decide to partner with StarShipIT?
StarShipIT was recommended to us by our shipping provider DHL, and after trialing, we were very happy with the service and the app’s ease of use.
Let’s talk about international shipping… what were some of the key challenges you dealt with when you first began shipping internationally?
Lost shipments and communication delays, shipments taking a long time to arrive internationally, inability to track some shipments, balancing shipping cost vs speed of delivery – finding the perfect balance.
What are some the pitfalls of shipping internationally for new players?
Expensive if you don’t have the volume!
What benefits have you seen since implementing StarShipIT?
Accuracy in addresses, very little ability for error as everything is automated. The speed of printing customer addresses is very fast, reducing labour costs and allows us to focus on and spend our time on other parts of the business
Tell us about your current fulfillment process, how many orders do you need to process?
We need to process 1000+ orders per week. We print orders in the morning, package afternoon and courier picks up in the afternoon. With StarShipIT, we can print hundreds of orders in a couple of hours. I can’t imagine doing it any other way.
In terms of couriers, you appear to use – what benefits do you and your customers see by using these services? Who do you use for international shipping?
We use NZ Courier, NZ Post and also DHL for international shipping.
Where would you like to see the company in the next year?
Just bigger. More regular customers, build up the brand loyalty, and focus on expanding in the USA more.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who would love to follow in your footsteps and start an online business?
Just do it. eCommerce is the cheapest business you will ever be able to start, it’s free to make a Facebook page, free to make an Instagram account, free to make a twitter, and Pinterest, you can set up your own website on Shopify for free, and then its only $39 a month to run, so why not? What have you got to lose?
Iyia Liu, Founder and eCommerce guru
Do you have any other tips for budding eCommerce entrepreneurs?
I think as long as you work with a great shipping provider, in our case DHL, to get your parcels to your customers in a fast and reliable manner, combined with a great shipping program like StarShipIT to process your orders, there are minimal issues. We can process and send out hundreds of orders a day with only 1-2 people this way.
Keen to try StarShipIT for yourself? Sign up for a FREE 30 day trial, during which time we will get you set-up and shipping straight away!