This is a follow up story for navyBLEU. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published over 1 year ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
Erin Hornyak started navyBLEU out of a love for all things navy! Her love for navy began several years ago as she hunted for the perfect navy bridesmaids' dresses to coordinate with her groomsmen’s classic Brooks Brothers blazers. After several years running a family retail and manufacturing business and raising her four children, Erin decided to pursue her love for all things navy. navyBLEU was born in 2019 to create an online shopping experience for customers like herself who love navy & french bleu hues in modern preppy designs. Erin focuses on curating a selection of beautiful, high-quality items that reflect her classic yet modern lifestyle. This curated selection includes both navyBLEU private label and several beloved brands that align with her style and vision. Timeless staples for all seasons.
CASHMERE with a PURPOSE
One of Erin’s personal core values and beliefs is giving back. CASHMERE with a PURPOSE was created to make a purposeful and positive impact. A portion of every navyBLEU cashmere sweater sold will go to the nonprofit, One Warm Coat who provides free coats to children and adults in need. Together, we can help keep people warm.
navyBLEU has grown significantly since it launched! Revenue was up 200% last holiday season.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
navyBLEU has doubled its revenue from last year. I am blown away from both a growth standpoint and feedback from my customers. I am truly grateful for their support during a challenging year for everyone. I started working with Springbot this year for both retargeting and prospecting marketing campaigns. I attribute some of my growth to these campaigns as well as my email marketing and social media marketing.
Understand your competition and have a good marketing plan in place. Determine what your niche is so that you can stand out in the marketplace.
navyBLEU has over 10,000 followers on Instagram and has grown organically with consumers who share my love of blue. In 2020, I will be launching a monthly newsletter and plan to expand my email campaign to reach new customers. I continue to get repeat business each season which is very important to me. My customers are my number one priority at navyBLEU!
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
My biggest challenge in 2020 was finding the right manufacturer for my cashmere sweater line. Working with an overseas manufacturer can be both rewarding and frustrating. The time difference was difficult and I often had to communicate with them in the middle of the night. The sampling process took a few months to achieve both the look and quality I had set out for.
Another learning curve for me was the timeline. I now know that it takes approximately 6 months from the initial design phase to the delivery of goods. It all worked out in the end, but it certainly was a difficult and overwhelming process at times.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
In 2021, I will be launching a resort cover-up line in cotton block print fabrics and expanding the Cashmere with a Purpose sweater line. I will be introducing 2-4 new cashmere sweater designs each quarter. I will be partnering with several influencers for the launch of both lines.
The future is exciting and I am most looking forward to discovering new brands to add to shopnavybleu.com and continue designing for navyBLEU private label. I have started to think about selling navyBLEU wholesale to stores in the US as well.
Have you read any good books in the last year?
The stuff you wished entrepreneurs really talked about. Drybar founder Alli Webb joins forces with her executive coach (and boyfriend) Adrian Koehler to pull back the curtain on the entrepreneurial life—the good, the bad, and the messy. Together, they tackle the conversations people in leadership rarely have in public, interviewing other entrepreneurs and founders along the way to find out what it takes to overcome the obstacles that make most people quit. This is a study on perseverance. So, whether you're just starting or weighed down by the stress of success, tune in. You might not be as alone as you think.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
Do your homework! Understand your competition and have a good marketing plan in place. Determine what your niche is so that you can stand out in the marketplace.
Lastly, you need to be passionate about your business to be successful.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
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