Q&A with Jess Jeetly - how to set up an online business

On behalf of Essential Retail and RBTE, International Women in Business founder Sarah Pavlou interviews Jess Jeetly, the owner of premium online clothing brand Jeetly.

As a start-up in eCommerce what key areas would you like to share with RBTE visitors, supporting those looking to embrace the world of online retail?

I will share ideas on how to get the best return on investment on limited funds and still get your online business off the ground; how to use social commerce in retail; how to be innovative and create a point of difference in an overcrowded marketplace and how to find funding and mentors in the industry.

What are the fundamental skills required for becoming an entrepreneur in general?

I believe there are no set rules, it's all down to mindset. Entrepreneurs don't plan to become entrepreneurs, they just have a strong desire to make a positive change in the world and realise what they are passionate about and follow their gut instinct. They encounter a problem in life and try to fix it with a crazy self belief that they can do it better than any solution which may already exist. The main skills required are being adaptable to change, being persistent, having strong focus and self belief, being willing to work extremely hard and being thick-skinned to face the pitfalls and rejection that are inevitable when starting up.

How have you managed change after moving from being an optician (one form of  retailing) to becoming the founder of not only an online retailer, Jeetly.com but also PitchIndia?

By outsourcing and constantly learning about each industry since both businesses were in a completely new industry to the one that I came from! I constantly read around the industry and get advice from experts by attending seminars, networks and events, surrounding myself with the best people in the business. I look for collaborations and am now working with people who have the skills in fashion that I lack.  I use freelancers and agencies who specialise in SEO and social media marketing. I invested in self development to learn how to improve my own abilities whether it's time management or sales.

Why retail and why eCommerce?

I didn't plan to start a business in retail, it was just my way of finding a solution to a problem I was facing as a retail customer. I chose the eCommerce route because:

1.) I assessed the trends and knew mobiles were the future of most purchases so a mobile friendly online store was the way to achieve more success

2.) The start-up costs are lower than brick and mortar stores

3.) The business is more scaleable and global at the outset rather than limiting yourself to a demographical area

4.) The business is more adaptable, you can AB test the retail model on a daily basis and see instant results, web analytics allow you to analyse every product's performance and understand customer behaviour.

What are the most challenging areas when setting up a business in eCommerce?

The main challenges I have seen with eCommerce so far are:

Jess Jeetly will be on hand in the Retailer Advice Centre at RBTE – come and talk to the experts!



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