Feel Better Box started as a side project for Sarah Willmott in 2015. Her vision was to create a gift box that people could send to their friends or family in a time of need – like if they had the flu, were recovering from surgery, or just needed a little pick-me-up. Sarah worked on the business after hours and around looking after her two young children, until earlier this year when COVID-19 hit and orders skyrocketed.
For Sarah, success looked like no longer working for somebody else, so she could put her energy entirely towards Feel Better Box. And while the business experienced sudden growth this year, it was several years in the making. “It’s definitely been a slow burn, because I was working for somebody else and my kids were tiny. For a long time, I had no time.”
We spoke with Sarah about her experience in scaling up her business, managing increased demands and navigating technology throughout the process.
Smarter Business: What kind of tech did you use when you first started out?
Sarah Willmott: My requirements were fairly minimal. The only tech I used when I first started out were MailChimp and Shopify. I chose the website platform and I outsourced someone to design the frontend for me. And that was it.
Smarter Business: How has the tech in your business evolved?
Sarah Willmott: Up until recently, I would cut and paste all the details from an order on the website into MyPost Business, a postage and tracking platform, and then I'd create a label. Cutting and pasting was bearable to begin with, but it became impossible when I had too many orders. I found an extension to minimise the manual data entry, so now this is done with just one click. I use Candy Rack, which is an upsell app, so that when you add something to your cart, it pops up with suggested additional items you can add to the care package. I also use a review platform called Trustpilot, which is a godsend. People are incredibly kind with the generosity of their reviews. It’s a reasonable cost, but I believe it’s outweighed by so much benefit because of the trust it gives to potential new customers. I’ve also recently moved from MailChimp to Klaviyo and I’ll be looking to send regular eDMs in the future.
Smarter Business: How have you managed with selecting the right technology for your business – did you receive expert advice, or figure it out on your own?
Sarah Willmott: Access to business groups is why I'm on Facebook. I receive inspiration, seek advice or share my queries. I pay to be in one of these groups called Digital Masterchefs with Kate Toon who is an SEO guru. This has helped the business a lot, because search is often how people find me and it helps me get new customers. I'm also in an Australian Shopify business group on Facebook, which is my go-to for everything Shopify. I often search the page when I have a question and I find that most of the time, someone has asked it before me. Like with the MyPost Business and Shopify extension, I knew they didn’t integrate but I found the browser extension by searching in this group.
Smarter Business: As the business has grown, have there been any challenges when it comes to adopting new technology or scaling up?
Sarah Willmott: I have tried things that didn’t work. I tried LoyaltyLion, which was an app for loyalty, where people sign up and receive loyalty points when they buy from your business. It wasn’t the right fit, because it’s supposed to encourage people to make repeat purchases, whereas people don’t tend to need to buy a Feel Better Box too frequently. When we experienced a sudden increase in corporate orders, we realised we needed a way to track them internally. We weren’t prepared for a large number of orders, so this was definitely a challenge. Someone suggested Trello, so we’ve just started using this to keep the corporate orders all in one place.
Smarter Business: What kind of tech do you think the business might require in the future?
Sarah Willmott: I will definitely need an integrated inventory system, especially because I’m looking to tap into the Christmas market this year. The online store may need to be updated to use some new technology because there is a current limitation with ordering multiple boxes and shipping to different addresses. We’ve started getting a lot of inquiries, mainly from corporate businesses, where they want to buy multiple boxes at a time. At the moment, boxes needed to be purchased one-by-one.
Smarter Business: What advice do you have for other businesses who are thinking of scaling up?
Sarah Willmott: ‘Scaling up’ is a big, fancy concept. For me, it feels more manageable to chip away and change little things. Every change we’ve made has been a baby step. We’ve been adaptable and kept things on that have worked, but been prepared to let go of things that didn’t. I think adaptability has been important.