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Stephanie Summerson Hall: 5 Great Tips to Succeed in E-Commerce

Stephanie Summerson Hall: 5 Great Tips to Succeed in E-Commerce

Stephanie Summerson Hall: 5 Great Tips to Succeed in E-Commerce

Stephanie Summerson Hall started Estelle Colored Glass in 2019.

The company is a “luxury brand of hand-blown colored glass cake stands and stemware,” which is “taking the world by storm.”

Before becoming a serial entrepreneur, Stephanie Summerson Hall worked as a lawyer. Since then, she has started two family businesses and has grown them from the ground up.

Stephanie Summerson Hall says that she has “always had an entrepreneurial mindset.” She adds that this mindset is “one of the main reasons I pursued law at the beginning of my career.”

For more than 10 years, Stephanie Summerson Hall practiced law in Washington, D.C. Then she moved back to her hometown of Charleston, South Carolina with her family.

In her hometown, Stephanie Summerson Hall founded two businesses. They are a “wedding rental company,” called Ruth’s House Event Rentals and Wedding Flowers for Rent.

Then Stephanie Summerson Hall launched Estelle’s Colored Glass, which was “inspired by my grandmother’s love for colored glass.”

The company offers a collection that “includes original commissioned pieces made by glass artisans in Poland at a glass-making company with a rich 100-plus-year-old history.”

Stephanie Summerson Hall hopes that their “vintage-inspired yet refined and modern colored glass collection starts a revival of colored glass that is reminiscent of a pastime.”

Check out more interviews with serial entrepreneurs here.

Today, Estelle Colored Glass is a luxury brand of hand-blown colored glass cake stands and stemware in a mix of jewel tones and soft pastels. Stephanie Summerson Hall

Jerome Knyszewski: Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

Stephanie Summerson Hall: I’ve always had an entrepreneurial mindset, as it was one of the main reasons I pursued law at the beginning of my career.

After obtaining my degree from The University of Chapel Hill, I practiced law in Washington, D.C., for more than a decade.

Once I started my family, my husband and I decided it was time to move back home to Charleston, SC.

My career as a lawyer had been fruitful, and I was ready to enter the next chapter of my life not only as a wife and mother but also as an entrepreneur.

In Charleston, I opened two businesses with my family, a wedding rental company, Ruth’s House Event Rentals and Wedding Flowers for Rent, before launching Estelle Colored Glass, inspired by my grandmother’s love for colored glass, in 2019.

My grandmother Estelle inspired Estelle Colored Glass.

She loved antiquing and had a particular day of the week where she visited her favorite shops looking for new treasures in small neighboring South Carolina towns.

Throughout my childhood, during the summer months, I enjoyed accompanying her on many treasure hunts.

My favorite collection of hers was her colored glass collection. Her collection initiated my love for colored glass and became the blueprint for my company.

Today, Estelle Colored Glass is a luxury brand of hand-blown colored glass cake stands and stemware in a mix of jewel tones and soft pastels.

The Estelle Colored Glass collection includes original commissioned pieces made by glass artisans in Poland at a glass-making company with a rich 100-plus-year-old history.

Best described as “jewels for your table,” we hope our vintage-inspired yet refined and modern colored glass collection starts a revival of colored glass that is reminiscent of a pastime.

Jerome Knyszewski: What was the “Aha Moment” that led to the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?

Stephanie Summerson Hall: My husband and I had a new family home built.

While furnishing the house, I started looking at it from a “forever collections” perspective, which meant I was sourcing pieces that would eventually become heirloom pieces.

With that in mind, I wanted colored glass stemware in my collection (an ode to my grandmother) but discovered the only place where I could find a large selection of colored glass was on the secondary vintage market.

When sourcing, I would often find much of the glassware sets were incomplete. I soon realized colored glass was a dying art form.

I started researching how I could offer an extensive collection of colored glass in one place. It took five years for me to bring our offerings to market.

Jerome Knyszewski: Can you tell us a story about the hard times you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?

Stephanie Summerson Hall: One of the most demanding challenges with starting Estelle Colored Glass was finding a company to produce our pieces.

Initially, the goal was to have the pieces made here in the U.S., and I came to a dead-end on that effort as it was hard to find an artisan able to capture the essence of the brand through glassware.

However, I persevered, and I eventually worked out an agreement with a 100-year heritage company in Poland.

They were able to bring my vision to life. I am incredibly pleased with the finished product.

Jerome Knyszewski: So, how are things going today? How did your grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?

Stephanie Summerson Hall: Through everything 2020 has presented, I have to say this year has bought our company tremendous success.

Since the company’s onset, I’ve been laser-focused on creating a range of products that people will love and find as useful as they are beautiful.

I am not new to entrepreneurship, so I would say my grit and resilience come from knowing if I’ve done it before (i.e., create a profitable, successful company), I can do it again.

I’ve proven to be successful twice.

In this somewhat new endeavor that is Estelle Colored Glass, the brand’s popularity has grown so much that our company hired new members to keep up with our products’ demand.

The ability to hire on a tram during this time one of the tenants of our success and something I am incredibly proud of.

Jerome Knyszewski: Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?

Stephanie Summerson Hall: Initially, I wanted to offer a gift box in every color glass we were producing, which was crazy; however, we eventually settled on a white box with gold lettering.

The end product is a simple, elegant look that our clients love and has become a signature with our brand.

The “unboxings” we see with the product are fabulous, and the simple white box with gold lettering adds a nice touch.

I learned through this process that simplicity could be the best route to take with packaging.

Jerome Knyszewski: Can you share a few examples of tools or software that you think can dramatically empower emerging eCommerce brands to be more effective and more successful?

Stephanie Summerson Hall: I talk with many new business owners and entrepreneurs in the e-commerce space, and I often suggest Shopify as a great platform to get started.

The site is extremely user-friendly and offers several integrations to help new users get up and running in no time.

The ability to hire on a tram during this time one of the tenants of our success and something I am incredibly proud of.

Jerome Knyszewski: As you know, “conversion” means to convert a visit into a sale. In your experience, what are the best strategies an eCommerce business should use to increase conversion rates?

Stephanie Summerson Hall: I think this ties to having a product consumers want to purchase.

Our products are niche, so the conversion becomes about finding a consumer who is the right fit.

Conversion will always be about the correct positioning, messaging, and partnerships to amplify your brand.

We have been effective in doing this by reaching out to influencers and working out partnerships that allow for increased visibility and a more significant customer connection, leading to more sales.

Jerome Knyszewski: Of course, the main way to increase conversion rates is to create a trusted and beloved brand. Can you share a few ways that an eCommerce business can earn a reputation as a trusted and beloved brand?

Stephanie Summerson Hall: You cannot negate the power of authentic storytelling, engaging content, customer review, and endorsements.

These four components are the tenants of social proof, which makes a business more trustworthy.

Reviews from customers carry more weight than a manufactured message, and it’s something we truly pride ourselves in when it comes to instilling trust with our customers and supporters.

Do not invest in products that are overcrowded in the marketplace. Stephanie Summerson Hall

Jerome Knyszewski: Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to create a very successful e-commerce business? Please share a story or an example for each.

Stephanie Summerson Hall:

  1. Offer products you are passionate about and will love promoting.

    Our products are passion products, and this makes a world of difference in our enthusiasm level.

  2. Do your research. Do not invest in products that are overcrowded in the marketplace.

    I believe failure to study your industry will make you another fish in a crowded sea.

  3. Invest in great photography. We use the same photographer for all our projects and have learned how essential lighting components make a world of difference in the finished product.
  4. Create fresh content. While this can be difficult, content creation is a must.

    Even in our busiest moments, we make time to produce content that we can use repeatedly. Content creation is one of our biggest tasks currently.

  5. Make friends and build a social media community.

    Building a tribe of loyal customers and supporters has made a world of difference for our company, and we actively give support and, in turn, receive help.

Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?

Stephanie Summerson Hall: Our handle on Facebook and Instagram is @estelecoloredglass.

Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!

 

The post Stephanie Summerson Hall: 5 Great Tips to Succeed in E-Commerce first appeared on Tekrati and is written by Jerome Knyszewski

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