London Textiles Studio: How to secure repeat custom as a startup

Hi Julie, so what's the story? 

I set up London Textiles Studio to offer workshops and training in textiles for children and adults at all levels. I co-founded the business over two and a half years ago having trained and worked in this industry for many years. I had a strong desire to teach others and provide a wider range of activities and opportunities amongst the local community - the growing creative hub of Bow, East London.

Where did the Textiles Studio inspiration come from?

There’s nothing quite like designing and making your own clothes and accessories. It gives you a chance to express yourself and create something unique that no-one else has. I really wanted to give others the opportunity to experience the buzz you get after making your own things, while help them develop imaginative ideas. Loads of people simply don’t realise how creative they can be – they just need a bit of encouragement and guidance!

What would you say the USP is?

Our USP is that we are a studio that is really designed to educate, while provide fun and stimulating training. We are experts in our field and are solely focused on Textiles.

London Textiles Studio

How important is repeat custom to your business?

Repeat custom is essential to the success of our business. Getting new customers is great, but we really like to teach and nurture people at different levels and encourage them to attend more advanced courses. On a personal level, I love to see customers progress: entering as beginners and then enhancing their skills to produce some really amazing results. 

How did you secure a 30% lift in repeat customers? 

Our customers are central to everything we do. To encourage them to return after their first visit, we work hard to provide the best experience possible and cross- and up-sell other courses while they are there. We make our workshops as fun and interactive as possible so they get the most out of the experience. As a result, we’ve seen a 30% increase in repeat custom.

As a small business, what is the importance of building brand trust with customers?

Building trust and rapport with customers is an absolute must. The textiles industry is booming right now, particularly following shows like the Great British Sewing Bee, which have made it more popular. As a result, we’ve seen increased competition with other businesses offering similar courses. 

We work hard to ensure that customers see us as the go-to experts in this field by providing the most professional and interesting courses at good value. Working with trusted partners such as Groupon has also really helped raise our profile.

Following our partnership, we have been able to generate increased awareness amongst its vast and dedicated online customer base. In addition, we take the time to interact and engage with customers directly to build and maintain trust such as mailing out monthly newsletters.

How important has Facebook been to the London Textiles Studio?

We set up a Facebook page in 2012 realising how important social media is in today’s digital world. We knew this would help us reach a wider audience that is increasingly going online to find out what’s going on in their local area, while sharing experiences with friends and family. 

Facebook allows us to update fans with the latest courses and news, as well as posting photos of successful workshops to encourage others to attend the workshops. Working closely with online heavy-weights, Groupon has really boosted our Facebook likes and fans. As a result, I’m now looking for a social media expert to run this activity for the business, as digital marketing is a big focus moving forward.

And how did the Groupon partnership come about?

In 2012, I decided to contact Groupon to see if we could work together. I knew the company had a good reputation but jumping on its website, I soon found some great stories about how it had helped other businesses like mine really succeed and boost customer numbers.

It took just one week for the first deal to run following the initial meeting with my Groupon partner manager, Charlotte Pike. She took the time to understand my business and goals for the future of the company. Charlotte advised on what kinds of deals would work best, while making sure we would have the capacity required to meet demand. 

The first deal offered a one day dress making class for £49.It went live in March 2012 and sold 201 places in total and I have run 16 deals offering a variety of workshops and classes since then. In total, over 2,400 classes have been bought. Without Groupon’s support, we would never have been able to reach such volumes of people not only locally, but much further afield.

Where do you hope to be in 12 months?

I’ve got ambitious growth plans and I want to try and boost customer numbers and repeat visits over the next year. I’m also always on the lookout for new course ideas and am working closely with the teachers and Groupon to develop these. Hopefully by February 2015 we will also be running accredited courses, this should also help boast our repeat customer numbers.

Want to know more about the London Textiles Studio? You can visit their website or like their Facebook page!

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