Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Wild Bon Bon interview

It’s been awhile since I’ve interviewed an online shop owner (something I love doing and think is always of interest to anyone starting, thinking about starting or running an online store.) I’m pleased to share this interview with Kathy who owns The Wild Bon Bon.

Her wholesale and retail gourmet candy products are distinct. You will find hand painted gourmet chocolate animals, novelty candy lollipops with edible images, and much more. In addition, all the products of The Wild Bon Bon® are accompanied by information in order to help educate her customers about endangered species around the world. She also donates a portion of her proceeds endangered species.

1.What drew you to opening an online store? Were you in a related field?

I owned an online gift basket company for about 7 years and was looking for a way to grow the business and target something I was truly passionate about. In working with a business coach we began to look at my passion for animals. With my background in gourmet foods and corporate gifting, as well as my love of chocolate, it seemed fitting to create a candy company that would benefit the animal kingdom in some way. My business, The Wild Bon Bon was born in order to help protect endangered species through the sale of chocolate and candy.

2.When did you open your store?

January 2004

3.What is harder about doing this then you thought it would be?

The hardest part is starting over from scratch. My other business was quite successful and selling it to start all over again and have to build a brand new customer base has been tough. In addition, when I began I focused on wholesale selling mainly. This has proven quite challenging and I am finding my customer base is more the retail buyer. Thus I am now in the process of refocusing my marketing efforts to reach that customer base. (Kind of like starting all over again).

4.What do you like best about being an online shopkeeper?

Being able to tailor my work to my family’s schedule.

5.During the very first month, what do you wish you had known then that you do now?

I wish I had done some formal market research to see if the wholesale buyer was my true market.

6.Could you share some of the marketing you’ve tried so far (on or off line) and what has worked and what hasn’t?

I spent the first year marketing via cold calls and mailings. This did not work very well. Since then I concentrate more on online marketing via email mailings, newsletter, website promotion. I do want to look into some of the programs like Google’s AdSense, etc.

7.What other sites, blogs, etc. do you have if any?

My blog http://www.wildbonbon.com/blog is on my website http://www.wildbonbon.com

Nancy’s comments: This is a really great site! It looks good, it’s informative and easy to navigate. I think it’s wonderful that it also benefits endangered species. (Check out her section on the different species, she also has wonderful photographs of the animals.)

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