We arrived at the Shpilli-Willie and the Jade Rod store to talk with its founders - a married couple: Yesenia Shamonina and Dmitry Voydakov.
Last time we spoke in the midst of a lockdown and things weren't going well because offline stores were closed. How are things now?
Dmitry: The situation is already better now, because offline now works. We also launched an online store, although there are temporary difficulties with it. At first, they believed that the pandemic was over, sales went a little better, and then the second wave started. Although the quarantine was not announced, there were still records in the incidence rate, this affected people, and again there was a decline.
Tell us more about your online store. What are you doing? How do you promote it? What difficulties are you experiencing?
Dmitry: We experience difficulties in everything. In fact, starting an online business is not easy. Because you need a little more experience, a little more investment, a little more staff. At the moment, we are missing everything. In order to be different fr om other stores, we have launched a selection of products from the request. Anyone, even without the idea what he or she wants to buy can visit our site, and through special tests, videos, articles and a special directory structure, find the product needed. Even without understanding anything in this topic, he will find wh ere to start.
Yesenia: At first, we did not really understand how people look for a product. Therefore, now we are observing the behavior of buyers and are finalizing the site, making it so that it is more convenient for people.
It seems to me that this is a very interesting approach so that a person does not come with a request for what he wants to buy, but with a request about his desires.
Yesenia: This was our hypothesis. We thought: why do people go offline? They want to get advice, touch the product, understand how it works. And we thought for a long time how to tie it all together. Nobody has done it before.
Dmitry: Attending various conferences related to our business sector, we noticed the following statistics: people usually make their first purchase offline because they do not understand anything, do not know how to choose. But the more experience the buyers get, the more likely they are to go online. And we tried to develop a concept that will help a person buy online for the first time, make a choice, get advice, understand what he or she needs. We hope this concept takes off.
I wish you this with all my heart. It's no secret that you are a married couple. How do you manage to combine family and business?
Yesenia and Dmitry in unison: In no way!
Dmitry: It's quite difficult, because we have two children, one is two and a half years old and the other is four months. They require a lot of attention. In 2020, we actively launched new projects. It would seem that 2020, the year of the pandemic, everyone has some kind of calm. With us - the opposite! We launched an online store, our son was born, we are making renovations in our apartment in which everything needs to be demolished and rebuilt from scratch. That is, a huge number of tasks, there is not enough time for anything. Actually, the family suffers, the relationship, everything suffers. There is not enough time, everything is shrinking. If you work from 10:00 to 22:00 and sometimes up to 1.00, then there is not enough effort, resources, and time. We would not advise anyone to start all at once. The launch of a new project, the birth of a son, the renovation of the apartment - these are separate large projects that require attention. They need to be done in turn, and not all together.
Yesenia: But then we will remember this time with a smile.
Does love help?
Yesenia: It seems to me, yes.
Dmitry: Actually, yes. We have a very large margin of safety. If it was not so big, we would have killed each other, because we are both young parents, and business partners, and a married couple. Everyone knows how the quarantined divorce rate has jumped, because people are not used to being together 24/7. And we have been living this way since 2018. We worked at home, lived at home, did everything at home. We even had a warehouse and receiving supplies at home. It's good that now we have an office, and we have moved at least the supplies to the office. This is already a big victory, there is no need to explain to the child what these things are.