Hello! I am Toby Bensimon, founder and owner of Silver Chic — an online silver jewellery store based in Adelaide, South Australia. Our digital marketplace has a wide selection of beautiful silver pieces our expert buyers have chosen and sourced, with a focus on providing affordable jewellery for everyone to enjoy.
Silver Chic launched in 2021 just before the Christmas period, as part of an expansion of Shiels Jewellers. The site is an ever-growing project of our group, and a brand that we believe has a bright future ahead. We built Silver Chic on a business model promising fast delivery, streamlined user experience, and excellent prices. The brand is still growing and is proof that even with my past successes, there’s always much more to learn.
I hope to give you some insight into how we’ve used Silver Chic to expand our reach and sales, and how my team and I have begun building this new e-commerce site.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
I have long been involved in the world of business, having worked with my father, Albert Bensimon (yes, the ‘No Hoo-Haa’ guy), at Shiels Jewellers for several years. Before I became the Managing Director of Shiels in 2013, I had worked hard to co-found the coffee capsule firm Podpac with one of my great friends: learning valuable lessons along the way.
When I took over the Australian jeweller, there were 15 physical stores in South Australia, 16 in WA, and eight in Queensland, with plans to open a further 10. The online store, which launched in 2011, was also gaining momentum, accounting for 3% of sales at that time. It was a sharp learning curve for me, having to work with my father and agree on the best solutions to our problems. I’ve constantly strived for expansion, and thanks to the hard work of our company, we have seen major growth in both the digital and in-store landscapes.
I grew up in a business-oriented family, always aspiring to create my start-ups and expansions. My newest project is Silver Chic, which arose from a desire to reach a younger, more diverse market than our typical diamond jewellery. The versatility of silver allows us to source products with widespread appeal to our customers, from those looking for simple silver earrings to those wanting alternative silver engagement rings.
Stick with the basics. My startups have always begun with the realization of a need.
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
Silver Chic has an in-house team of experts who research and discover new designs across the world. These are the same team members who choose products for Shiels. Every silver product that is on Shiels flows through to Silver Chic. We choose jewellery pieces that have long-lasting quality and the crisp craft you’d expect from a luxury retailer. We have a wide range of silver rings, bracelets, earrings, necklaces, and more for our customers to choose from.
Many of our designs are unique to our competitors’ ranges, with some signature collections like Luminesce Lab Grown Diamonds that offer luxury without the huge price tag. In a similar sense, Silver Chic is a go-to spot for silver engagement rings, which we have carefully selected for the best possible look. In this modern age - wedding, house, and honeymoon costs do add up, and sometimes the ring isn’t the biggest priority.
A silver engagement ring is an equally beautiful option that we offer for a price just about anyone can afford. Generally, we choose classic designs for these rings, often with solitaire diamond or zirconia settings.
We are also supplied by a couple of well-known silver jewellery brands in Thomas Sabo and the Australian-made Georgini collection, which are great for improving our reputation as a genuine retailer.
Describe the process of launching the business.
As a new e-commerce site, the initial stages of Silver Chic were spent building a great user experience and refining our acquisition strategy. My team and I worked to make the Silver Chic home page a welcoming, youthful sight that would instill an impression of trustworthiness and quality to our new target market. This, of course, meant that our graphic design team came up with the imagery and tone that I felt the site needed.
We worked with external web developers to get the site to look just how we imagined it, while our in-house team got to planning our Google advertisements and SEO content. We made sure to include a wide range of original text, from blog posts to information pages, to a description and FAQ section on all of our category pages.
Social media pages were created for Instagram and Facebook, with the latter used as a platform for some more of our paid advertising. Our team also set up an email campaign to assist with Silver Chic’s acquisition strategy.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
As Silver Chic is a relatively new e-commerce store, the majority of our marketing strategy has focused on attracting new customers. The team continues to work on social media and SEO content, while we prepare to ramp up our pay-per-click marketing campaigns. At present, 80% of our customers come from Google ads.
As with any good business, the team and I continue to review our current practices and discuss new ways to grow our sales. Creating new partnerships and finding new ways to help our customers have the best possible experience are always on our radar. One of those ways was to collaborate with Afterpay and create more diverse payment options.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
We are beginning to see some growth in Silver Chic, but there’s plenty more to be done. In my time at Shiels, Podpac, Watch Depot, and other startups, I have seen exponential growth thanks to the teams’ motivation to innovate and constantly improve our digital and in-store experience. I have faith that Silver Chic will see the same growth over time. Currently, our Silver Chic site has a conversion rate of 1.30 with 8,000 monthly page users.
Keep reading, keep learning and always look for what’s new.
While we are very much in the infant stage, we have seen enough signs that significant growth is around the corner. We have an experienced team that has dealt with COVID-19 and a rapidly expanding demand for digital presence. In the future, I believe that Silver Chic will be a platform that many use to find the perfect pieces of silver jewellery for themselves or their loved ones.
We hope to improve our social media following and mailing list, perhaps through giveaways and some other great interactive content. Ramping up our paid Facebook, Instagram, and Google content is on the horizon in the new financial year. Our cost of goods and services are finely tuned, so once we begin making the sales we want, Silver Chic is ready to see exponential growth.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
Though Silver Chic isn’t the first business I’ve started, it has reminded me that there is always more to learn. Building an e-commerce site takes a lot of patience and hard work.
A major challenge of launching a new e-commerce site like this is being patient with the cost of time and money. At the end of the day, you need to bring in customers through your targeted ads, while paying your staff or outsourcing to create a user experience that will keep your site looking professional and trustworthy. Even when the beginnings are small, you have to trust the process.
Timing is always a consideration. The team has had to balance our work on Silver Chic with our projects: Shiels Jewellers, Luminesce Lab Grown Diamonds, Grahams Jewellers, and Watch Depot. Limited time meant that we had to focus on creating an appealing brand by utilizing personas based on our target demographics and psychographics. I’d certainly recommend doing your research on your target market to make sure your content fits the style and service of your brand.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
Like our other e-commerce sites, Silver Chic runs on Magento, which has supported our online business for several years now. Although we are happy with the results from this website, we are looking to move our sites to Shopify in the near future. This should help us make on-the-go changes to our website much more smoothly, thanks to the intuitive design of the platform.
We use several analytical tools (as everyone should!) to measure our progress from our avenues of acquisition and identify what’s affecting our conversion and retention. These include Google and in-built social media tools, and some external services, too.
My team and I use Klaviyo to organize our email campaigning, which has proven to work well for us in the past. We have been meeting with new people for our website to see how we can improve the user experience. Whether that’s through using virtual 3-D modeling, or questionnaires that help customers find the right products, we are always looking for the next big thing.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
I’d recommend doing plenty of reading and listening to help you start your business. I can’t say I have a particular recommendation other than just listening and learning from others with experience. I’ve been lucky enough to have a father with a lot of business experience, and although we don’t always agree, I pay attention to what he says. Sometimes the biggest lessons are learned through mistakes, so listening to someone who’s been there and done that has been invaluable to me. When you get the chance to sit down and chat with someone who has run a successful business, you should ask them a question or two.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
Stick with the basics. My startups have always begun with the realization of a need. My coffee business started when I argued with my father over the price of coffee pods. I thought, wouldn’t it be great if there was an alternative coffee pod to use in a Nespresso® machine? Silver Chic began similarly. We identified a market for affordable silver jewellery and engagement rings and made sure our business model would fit the needs of our target market.
Aside from making sure that your product is great, I'd certainly recommend getting a broad understanding of SEO, paid advertisement, and what makes a great user experience on your website. Keep reading, keep learning and always look for what’s new.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
We have an ever-expanding office, and big plans for new stores to open up. If you are passionate about jewellery, sales, or marketing, we may very well have new positions opening up. For our stores, customer service skills and a love for fashion is a must. If you are interested in applying for a role, you can do so at our Shiels careers page.
Where can we go to learn more?
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