Alexandra Seitam is an inspiring young lady who was frustrated with the shopping experiences she was having and set about making shopping a much simpler and more enjoyable experience for women across Australia. We were lucky to get a little insight into the workings of Labels to Love from the lovely Alexandra, so why don’t you sit and have a read while I head over and check out www.labelstolove.com.au
When was Labels To Love born?
LabelstoLove.com.au first opened its doors for business in August 2011 but from start to finish it was almost a one year project. It’s been live for a few months now but it still feels quite surreal to have the website up and running!
Can you tell us a little about how you came to create the online store, what inspired you to do this?
I created Labels to Love after becoming frustrated with the lack of original and quality products on offer in Australia. Before starting my business, I worked for five years as an international model. When travelling, I’d often stumble across cool, quirky – often handmade – labels in tucked-away boutiques or urban markets but had difficulty finding them online. The site was created with small artisan businesses in mind and gives design hunters the ability to purchase from a variety of these different stores in one simple transaction.
What can you tell us about Labels To Love, what is it and how does it work?
Labels to Love is a new online emporium of beautiful boutique wares for women. We offer a one-of-a-kind and compelling shopping experience by handpicking products you wouldn’t usually find in department or chain stores. Each item is chosen for its unique style, quality and originality and everything is sent directly from the designer-maker, to the buyer.
When you set out with this project in mind what experience and knowledge did you bring with you? Can you share a little with us about the process of getting started.
I didn’t set out with a degree in Computer Science or Web Development. I created Labels to Love because of my own experiences as a customer of retail outlets. I listened to what other women had to say and they shared my same frustrations – poor customer service on shop floors, department stores overstocked with sale items they can’t shift and clothes that fall apart after a couple of washes. Online stores in Australia were really just offering what the shopping centres already had but at more competitive prices. So, I took the savings I had from working full-time after high school and contracted a team of web developers to help me build an online platform for all the small boutique brands I wanted to share with my female friends.
How do you choose which stores you are going to bring on board and stock in the online store?
Each brand found on Labels to Love has been carefully selected by me for its craftsmanship, the smallest details, and that certain quirk that makes something more personal & special. I also consider whether the label can be found in department stores or other online stores and how the items are packaged. The photography supplied must be of a very high standard, too; I like detailed shots of the product against a white background and lifestyle shots so the customer can imagine how the product will look when it is being used.
What sort of things can we find at Labels To Love?
Amongst the variety of boutique label clothing, shoes, handbags and accessories, you’ll also find charming little things such as natural soy candles, lovely letterpress stationery, handcrafted botanical fragrances, luscious organic body creams, triple-milled French style soaps, linen and other soft furnishings made from beautiful fine fabrics.
How do you think Labels To Love stands out, what sets it apart, why should we come and shop there?
My main focus is to give an online shopping experience that exceeds people’s expectations. This is evident in both our product selection and the exceptional customer service. I maintain a tightly curated selection of products that you won’t easily find anywhere else. Labels to Love products are less trend based and instead have more of a timeless aesthetic for women who want to feel beautiful and stylish but perhaps a little eclectic.
Who do you think Labels To Love will appeal to?
The Labels to Love customer likes to be well-informed about what she’s buying – she asks questions about the quality of the materials, where a product has been made and who by, if a product has been made in a limited run and perhaps if it was produced by fair trade. She cares about the details. I don’t like to categorize our ideal customer by age or income. Labels to Love appeals to a variety of women – anybody with an appreciation for good style and quality.
Up until this point, what has been the biggest challenge in launching Labels To Love?
Prior to the website going live, my biggest challenge was probably convincing designers to sell their wares on Labels to Love. I was contacting them before I had a finished product – or even a working prototype – to show them and asking them to trust an online retailer that didn’t yet exist. Being quite young and preferring to meet the designer-makers in person wherever possible, I was often concerned my age would be an issue but once I talked to them about my vision for an online emporium exclusively for the best Australian boutique wares, they knew I was very serious about achieving what I set out to do.
Have you got plans in place to expand the site?
Of course there is the desire to become an international brand and showcase good Australian design to the world, but for now my focus remains on improving my product within the Australian market. I’m trying to grow the business as organically as possible.
What’s next for Alexandra Seitam and Labels To Love?
I can’t give too much away but I’m looking forward to continually improving my offering to customers. The idea of collaborating with some of the designer-makers to create an in-house label appeals to me. Also keep an eye out for some exciting Labels to Love shopping events in 2012!
Thanks so much for your time Alexandra