Posted: Mon 15th Nov 2021
Having worked in retail fashion for most of her career, Emilee Troulan always knew she would create her own clothing brand.
She achieved that dream in 2017, setting up her label, TRU, and selling garments from her boutique store on her home island of Barbados. The venture’s success led Emilee to explore ways to expand the business online and reach people beyond the Caribbean.
In 2018, Emilee launched her website, shipping products to customers worldwide. She also opened her first pop-up store in Topshop on Oxford Circus. The growing popularity of the label inspired Emilee to move to London full-time and work on opening a TRU flagship store.
At the same time, she was keen to boost her online presence and showcase the brand further through her website. Despite being self-sufficient, Emilee eventually sought the support of a mentor via Google’s free 1-to-1 Mentoring scheme.
“After I launched the brand, I spent about 18 months building my website and working out how to fulfil orders from all over the world,” Emilee says.
“But then I had to start thinking about digital marketing and all the different ways you can do that. I had a lot to learn and I did loads of online courses.
“At that point, I received an email from Enterprise Nation telling me about Google’s 1-to-1 Mentoring programme. And I thought even if I came away with only one piece of information, that’d be pretty great.”
Emilee booked her free mentoring session online, giving some brief details about her business and why she was looking to connect with a mentor – to learn how to improve her brand’s online presence. With her call with a Google mentor scheduled, she began to prepare.
“To get the most out of it, I decided to focus on one thing at a time,” Emilee advises. “I know people are going to go into these sessions wanting to learn four or five different things. But you just can’t do that in one session – you might not do it in five, even!
“So streamline a bit and really prioritise. Take the time to learn and master that one thing, then move on.”
During her session, the Google mentor encouraged Emilee to put herself in her customers’ shoes and examine the user’s experience of visiting her website and navigating to certain pages or products. What could she change to attract more customers or generate more sales?
The mentor also recommended that Emilee use analytics tools to drill down into the data and glean valuable insight into which web pages were performing best and what types of customers were coming to her online store. She was quick to see the benefit in this approach.
“Before the mentoring, I’d learned a lot on my own and had started to adapt and change things,” Emilee explains. “But what I hadn’t been doing is checking the analytics. And by going deeper into the data, I found that I wasn’t necessarily targeting the correct audience.
“Once I tweaked that to better target people in certain locations or certain age brackets, it all started to come together.
“To any small business owner, I’d suggest reviewing the analytics once a week. For me, the data helps me think about what products I should feature on my home page, for example. It also pays to update your website at least once a month. That could be changing colour schemes, adding new photos, or working on the customer journey.”
Taking part in 1-to-1 Mentoring has given Emilee a much clearer idea of exactly what she can do to keep her website and online store working to her benefit. What was her biggest takeaway from doing the one-to-one mentoring sessions?
“Seeing how deep the data behind the website goes, and then using it to inform which changes I make to actually generate sales and new customers,” Emilee says. “I’ve just redone my shop page so everything’s colour-coordinated, and I’m really happy about it.
“This kind of thing is really important – you can look at other websites and see that they’re constantly updating. You generate sales from just testing and re-merchandising things, basically.”
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