You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing and falling over.”
– Richard Branson
Can we all say intense? That is certainly how it felt watching our episode of Beyond the Tank.
I had to sit and get berated, cussed out and told I was “guaranteed to fail” by my minority investor, Mark Cuban.
We did go on Shark Tank to get a new website platform. The reason being is because we had never had a support team for our platform that could figure out why we had such bad issues with stability. And it was a really tough decision for us for a number of reasons. We knew our customers were frustrated with our current site, the company we were looking at to build this new site was going to charge upwards of 400K for platform and design of a new site (insert nausea at that amount of money here) and in five years we had never found a tech team that could fix the issues we were having.
The meeting in Dallas with Mark took place in late February 2015. During that meeting (which was over an hour) we strategized on where Red Dress Boutique would go next, goals for the year and talked about opening more stores! Was it tough to hear that Mark opposed our vision for a new site? Yes. But my gut told me I was right. We did need that new site. The platfrom we were on was archaic, not fit for apparel sites and needed to be optimized for mobile. That’s right…we didn’t even have a responsive site, yet we were told to “keep what we have.”
And boy was he WRONG. Immediately after that airing I began planning for that new site. As a business owner, I follow my gut instincts. We began the process of finding a user friendly platform that could get our site responsive, move us into an updated design and give our customers something new.
We found exactly what we wanted and needed with Shopify Plus and on February 3, 2018 we went live with our new site. “I spent two years scouting platforms, looking at reputation, ease of use, customization, and speed. Shopify Plus blew me away in the demo.
What did I bring that was NEW? Red Dress Boutique is the only E-commerce site to offer the ability to buy an entire outfit in one easy click with ‘Shop the Look.’
Shop the Look was born out of my own shopping frustration. I’ve always spoken about how Red Dress Boutique helps our busy women get a complete look for less because we know how busy she is and how little time she has for herself.
Shopping for myself, I was spending so much time chasing links for shoes I saw in outfits, then the bag, then the jewelry and so on, that most of the time I would bounce from a site. I wanted to be able to buy an entire look in one page!
So, I drew it on a piece of paper and showed our developers and several times I was told, ‘No. Can’t be done. It’s going to be too difficult and costly to customize.’ But I do impossible things on a daily basis and the developers did a beautiful job on it!
How do I know I was right? It’s showing in sales. We’re already up 188% over last year. Our conversion rate has TRIPLED. And if that isn’t proof that we needed a new site, then nothing will convince you.
What did I learn? That I was right and damn, that feels good to say. That I endured being cussed up and down with f-bombs about how stupid a new website would be. And guess what, per usual you didn’t see the worst of it on TV! But I did what I have always done…I stuck with my gut and it paid off. And I also learned I don’t need an investor, I know what I’m doing and I’m good at it.
What’s next for Red Dress Boutique?
We will continue to do what we do best: providing our customers with affordable fashion that is the new, next and now. We are a company that LOVES to engage with our customers. Chat with us on FACEBOOK, or hang out with us on Instagram.
And we are going to continue to spend our time focusing on better ways to be who we are and who we have always been: a company loyal to it’s fiercely loyal customers. Because honestly, at the end of the day, it’s not about us. It’s about you. That’s kind of the whole point. We LOVE fashion, but we wouldn’t be anything without the women who make up our demographics. Our shoppers ARE our existence. We don’t *do* customer service. We are genuinely grateful, individually and collectively, for your business. We write, by hand, those little cards you get with each purchase for a reason.
At The Red Dress Boutique, we don’t base our business model around fluffy ideals or smarmy slogans. We know you. You have learned to love yourself through trial and error, and you teach that confidence to others simply by walking the walk. You love fashion, affordability, laughing with your friends, and your life. You don’t dress well only to impress others—you dress well for the thrill of it! You don’t need kitschy sentimentality to click with the right boutique, but you’ll smile when you see yourself in the description of a new dress online (that called your name the moment you saw it). You’re just good like that. You’re humble, but you know you’re made of awesome. You’re tenderhearted, but a ferocious protector of those in your inner circle. You’re graceful, smart, and industrious. You are not a mere customer. You are a Red Dress Woman. You are our constant inspiration. And we will keep learning and growing for you.
Diana Harbour, CEO
The Red Dress Boutique