Following on from the first interview I did with Pure Fix Cycles, I am delighted to publish the second ecommerce startup interview with Fei Deyle, Founder and CEO of luxury marketplace startup, Lollipuff.
Lollipuff are a really interesting retail startup who have already been featured on Yahoo, TechCrunch and Mashable, amongst others. Lollipuff allows users to create an account and either bid on or sell luxury designer items, whilst they also pre-screen every item that is listed on the website.
I was really pleased when Fei agreed to do this interview and she has given some great answers.
Why did you choose to start the business?
I was a Sales Director for an engineering firm, and for fun, I had a blog dedicated to my love/obsession for a certain designer: Herve Leger. One day, I told my readers that I would be listing one of my designer dresses on eBay. Immediately, the community asked me to sell directly on my site, as eBay and all other customer to customer sites were bombarded with fakes. Shortly after a very smooth sale, the community asked if they could sell on the site. Soon enough, this piddly little blog had a 3 month waiting list of sellers, and they were willing to wait! That’s how bad the other current options are!
I soon realized that everything that I was passionate about had organically created itself on this blog. And, since no one else was tackling the problem of user to user sales of AUTHENTIC designer brands, it became my mission.
Were you inspired by any existing retailers?
I’ve always enjoyed eBay. You can score some serious deals on there! But, for designer items, it’s also fraught with risk. So, Lollipuff has both deals and no concerns about authenticity.
What were the key requirements you set for your ecommerce website?
Number one is always customer service. You have to truly care and LOVE your customers and relate to them as much as possible. Lollipuff is absolutely nothing without our customers. We are forever grateful for their support.
This doesn’t only mean always looking out for them day to day, but also bringing true value to your users. Lollipuff is the only site that pre-screens each and every item for authenticity. This means, you will never see any counterfeits on our site!
What were the key marketing channels you optimised for when you started?
Not only do we provide great deals on designer items for our community, we also provide articles that we think they’ll find interesting. This helps in both word of mouth and SEO. Most of our growth has been SEO and word of mouth.
How long did the design process take for the website?
The site has gone through 3 major design iterations. We do all programming in-house, so the longest for a design to be fully implemented was about a month.
Was the website based on any other sites?
There is inevitable inspiration from eBay, but we’ve also added HUGE improvements that are unique to just Lollipuff. Our entire sales process is tailored towards high dollar designer resale.
How important was user experience to you when you first started?
It is everything and continues to be the most important thing to our business.
How has the business changed since you started?
We have seen lots of growth. We are also expanding and allowing more designer brands onto our site. We’re continuously adding automation and features for our users, but the underlying purpose and direction has not changed.
Is there anything you’d do differently if you were to start again?
Quit my job earlier. I am by nature a very conservative person and generally take very few risks. It makes me so happy to wake up each and every morning and work on Lollipuff with my co-founders. I never knew that work could be so rewarding!
Thanks again to Fei for taking the time to do this interview.