As a uni student in 2012, Ena Hadziselimovic launched an e-commerce business with her classmate on meagre personal savings. So far, the investment seems to have paid off.
Ena Hadziselimovic was only 23 and a university student with no business experience when she co-founded Hello Molly Fashion in 2012. Committed to offering a huge variety of quality fashion trends at price points that don’t break the bank, they’ve turned the brand into an industry leader of affordable party-ready styles.
These days, Hello Molly Fashion is one of Australia’s fastest growing businesses, having experienced an impressive growth in sales from $510,000 in 2013 — their first full financial year — to $5.3 million in the 2014 calendar year, and showing absolutely no signs of slowing down.
With last month set to be Hello Molly’s first million-dollar turnover month, Hadziselimovic chatted to Power Retail about how she and her classmate managed to set their brand apart amidst the highly saturated market of online women’s fashion retailers.
What is the secret to Hello Molly’s fast growing success?
There are a few factors that we attribute to our success, firstly that we work hard and we believed in our business. When we started, so many people said that it wouldn’t work, but we went for it and trusted our instincts. Another factor that is really important to the Hello Molly brand is that we treat our customers as friends, we listen to what they want and we have really proactive and open communication.
Also excellent customer service, and if there are any issues we deal with them immediately. A great customer experience is key to the success of our business – we want our fans to feel part of the Hello Molly culture. It is the best feeling in the world when a customer comments on how good our service was and how pleased they were to shop with us. We work tirelessly to maintain a great relationship with the customer. Now that we have such a massive and established fan base, it’s what drives us to always be better and better — the feeling of providing a service that a lot of people truly appreciate.
What techniques have you employed to leverage the world of fast fashion?
Our collections are fast, fun and affordable and constantly evolving. We pick the latest trends that embody femininity, confidence and creativity yet won’t break the bank. The range includes hundreds of different styles so there is something for everyone – body con dresses, sassy playsuits, cute shorts, and tops, and we specialise in party dresses. We drop 100 new pieces every week, so there is always something fresh and exciting on the site.
How does an online fashion brand stand out in a cluttered market?
To stand out in the online market you have to have exciting and constantly evolving ranges. Gone are the times of dropping two collections a year, Spring Summer and Autumn Winter. Our generation wants more and to stay ahead of the game you need to keep refreshing. Our customers know that we get new styles in every week, so they know there will be something fresh and new on the site each time they visit. It keeps them coming back for more.
Following the opening of your Sydney showroom, do you plan further expansion in the bricks-and-mortar space?
We are focused on making Hello Molly as big as possible by sticking with our current business model, just on an ever-growing scale. We don’t plan to open more bricks-and-mortar stores at the moment but perhaps in the future. Currently, we are focusing on building the online brand and expanding to overseas. We are steadily increasing our global market, we have shipped to 86 countries so far, which is exciting and something we are looking at expanding over the next year. Eventually I’d like Hello Molly to be a complete lifestyle brand on par with something like Urban Outfitters, with home wares, stationary and more.
We’ve been witness to start-ups that have grown quickly and since withered away. What strategies do you have in place to ensure you don’t fall victim to the same fate?
We manage our cash flow, ordering and systems very diligently. On a daily basis we review our sales figures, reviewing what pieces and styles are selling well and what are not. We order small quantities of untested styles, so that we are never left with a warehouse full of unpopular pieces. We started small and grew the business as a natural progression. We try to spend only what we have and is another reason why when we started we initially focussed on the online side rather than bricks-and-mortar, which has the largest overheads.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to start an online fashion brand in today’s competitive market?
Believe in yourself and go for it. If you don’t try you won’t know. Start small and grow the business as a natural progression. Manage your cash flow and stay across the entire business.
Hadziselimovic will be one of the speakers at this year’s Online Retailer Conference and eCommerce Expo, 22nd-23rd July. She’ll be sharing more of her journey and how she has managed to grow the business to reach the million monthly dollar turnover Hello Molly is experiencing today.