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[E4C6] How You Can Start A Fair Trade, Eco-Friendly Global Import Business – Christine Hutchison of five ACCESSORIES

five ACCESSORIES is one of the most triple bottom line businesses you will encounter. five ACCESSORIES is a wholesale business whose mission is to empower and deliver sustainable livelihoods for workers and their communities through the sale of eco-friendly and fair traded, locally made products. Products can be found in over 150 national retail stores.

Christine Hutchison and her husband Wells founded the company during their honeymoon five years ago. While there, they met a Balinese tour guide who told them how much difference five dollars a month can make to a Balinese family. While admiring the beautiful handbags and jewelry made by local artisans, the couple was inspired to start five ACCESSORIES, a company that embodies both their entrepreneurial and philosophic zeal.

Christine shares with us what it took to build this business up, with advice on:

  • What it takes to start a wholesale business as a importer of global handicrafts
  • Where to identify trustworthy suppliers of fair trade products, if you don’t have the freedom to travel around the world all year long
  • What it takes to be Fair Trade Certified
  • The one deadly mistake she made when starting her business, and her advice to entrepreneurs on how to avoid making the same error

Mentioned in this Podcast

Where to Find five ACCESSORIES

Full Episode Transcript

Lorna: Well, thank you so much Christine for joining us today. I have to share with you a secret. For a long time, I’ve always imagined or dreamed about having some kind of ecommerce site that allows me to source sustainably and fair trade crafted handcrafts from all over the world to be able to sell online. So I’m really excited to discover the story of FIVE Accessories and how you got that started. Can you tell me a little bit more about your company and how this whole enterprise actually began, from the concept to actually launching? And explain to us what actually makes you a sustainable fair trade social enterprise.

Christine: Thanks so much for asking. It’s a pleasure to be on the show today. FIVE Accessories was created and launched a little over 5 years ago. I was at a personal turning point in my life having spent 14 years in the corporate business world in a financial sales capacity. At that time, I was just married to another life-type A personality individual. We realized if we wanted to have a balanced life when starting a family that something had to give [4:41]. So therefore, I thought it would be an opportunity to put my first career on hold and try my second career as a social business owner.

That was the reason why I wanted to be and started to be an entrepreneur. We found the product when we were traveling abroad. We were actually on our honeymoon in Bali, Indonesia. At that time I was buying hand bags for my eight bridesmaids that stood up in our wedding as a thank you gift.

When I brought the hand bags that were unique, not only because they were made out of bamboo and/or other natural product such as coconut shell or wicker, they are also unique because I had met the artisan making the product that had a story to tell about the handbag.

When we brought the hand bag back to Chicago, it went across like wonders. We sold out of all the supplies that we carried back with us. And at that time, I knew that I was on to something. Because of the uniqueness but most importantly, because of the story that I could tell, that I could share with people behind the product.

So those are two things that came together to start the company. The third thing was a compelling compassion to start a social enterprise. When we were on our honeymoon, we heard an unbelievable story. And this story that is the cornerstone to our company. The story is as follows. It’s about a Balinese man who later became our business partner. He told us his life story.

When he was a teenager, over 50 years ago, he was befriended by an American couple traveling in Bali. At that time, the American couple sends him $5 a month for many years. The $5 was concealed in a Readers Digest magazine and he’s established a long term relationship, Millet McRoberts in Southern Texas.

This money allowed him to stay in school as a teenager. It supported his family and he learned education from the magazine that was sent on a monthly basis. But what struck my husband and I, so much about the story was the fact that he was it with such compassion to total strangers fifty years after it had occurred.

My husband and I looked at each other at that moment and said, we need to do something grand in our life. We need to create something that somehow touches someone else, where someone, somewhere throughout the world is talking about us, fifty years from now.

And that’s really how FIVE Accessories got started.

I was at a turning point. I found an opportunity to switch careers. I found a product which was hand bags. And then I’ve had the compassion behind the mission of our company, which is really to help others with just a little bit of change or $5.

So that’s how we started.

Lorna: What a beautiful story. So when you first bought your first initial batch of hand bags, how many did you bring over back to Chicago, which is where you’re from at that time right?

Christine: Correct.

Lorna: So you bought them, brought them back to Chicago and how many did you bring over and how did you sell them all?

Christine: Sure. We just bought 30 over. It’s what we could carry at that time and put that in our suitcases. We just sold them to family and friends but they were such a hit that I knew immediately that I was on to something. I love the idea that it was from a developing region of the world and that was specifically helping a local artist.

I could show a picture of someone actually making the product from our travels. And I think that combination of being unique and a catchy design but having the fair trade and humanitarian story behind it really sold the product.

We connected with this gentleman. The one that I just told you about the story, his life story. He became our business partner and shortly thereafter, imported our first batch of hand bags from Bali back to Chicago just in time for the holiday season.

Lorna: And how many did you import at that time.

Christine: We probably imported a couple of hundreds. And now we import thousands of bags a time. (Laughter)

So it really has grown over the five years. We bring our bags not just from Bali but we expanded out and have partnered with organizations in five different areas of the world, Bali being one, India another, Honduras, Cambodia and then we also started a local income generating program in Chicago to help folks that have been, many of them formally homeless.

But for future, what’s really taking off for us is our partnership with our Cambodian partners. We’ve been with them for over four years and it’s their products that we’ve been really able to place in over 150 retail outlets.

Our company is designed to be primarily a wholesaler. Thus we attend to various different wholesale tradeshows. We make the relationships with other retailers that can resell our products. Whether it be a small boutique, an eco-friendly store, a mail order catalogue, a website, e-commerce website or larger department store.

Now we are getting into the business of private labeling as well. And that is really taking off for us. So from what started from just bring back 30 hand bags in your suitcase has really grown to a bonafide profitable yet sustainable business.

Lorna: I love it. I love how you guys have expanded and I love how you guys work with different regions of the world. Was it difficult for you to make that initial leap from selling to family and friends to actually becoming professional in selling to businesses? Did you have any idea how to do that from the beginning like when you received your several hundred handbags for the holiday season? Was it just you just calling up local stores in Chicago, saying, ‘hey I’ve got this product, would you like to see it?”

Christine: One thing we did initially was create an ecommerce site. It looked wonderful, however, I learned something. You just don’t put up an ecommerce site and clients come. The web is extremely crowded and you do have to spend a lot of time and effort promoting your website and getting clients to go to your website. So then I learned, what would the really handbag people really want to touch and to feel?

We started doing various different shows. Whether it be a retail type shows and or wholesale type shows where the retail client or the store owner could actually come and view, physically touch and either walk away with a hand bag or place a larger store order. But I did also from the very beginning, we start from the boutiques. I walked around and physically would walk right into a boutique and then I learned to setup appointments, create a nice {lion sheet? 12:56} wholesale lion sheet. And put more form and function to the whole process.

Ironically, timing was probably not on my side to start a retail company. We took roots and then the economy started to go sour. About half of our 80 clients, about 2 years ago, two and half years ago when retail really struggled, went out of business. That in a sense, made me start over again. And then also focus on trying to reach out to larger clients that weren’t going out of business at that time. We’ve really, really tried to partner with larger retailers and corporations who are demanding fair trade products like what we have to offer.

Lorna: Can you give us some examples of who those large retailers are? It’s great to know that there are more mainstream companies that are willing to actually consider carrying sustainable and fair trade products so it’s great to know who those guys are.

Christine: Sure, well, if you look at our website at www.fiveaccessories.com we do have a store listing and we do list out the various different stores that carry our products, that resell our products. I just want to refer everyone to the website to look at our current list of stores offering.

What I’m noticing is about 2-3 years ago the feedback whether it be from department stores or larger stores like a Wal-Mart, they’re feedback was, what is fair trade? They were not, at that time, familiar with the term. About 2-3 years ago when we started connecting with the larger retailers, the feedback I received was many of the buyers did not know what the term fair trade or sustainability really meant. But I feel like education has caught up and buyers are now starting to demand those things in their products.

We were recently at the New York International Gift Fair and many larger buyers are starting to go by the global handmade section and they’re looking for the fair trade certified companies to try to promote those types of goods. So, it is encouraging to other entrepreneurs that are looking to start a business that the times are changing and doors are opening for like products, particularly even the larger retailers such as Wal-Mart. They have a diversity initiative and Target has a diversity initiative going on that they are looking to fill with fair trade and or women owner business products. The department stores are doing that as well. Particularly if you have a [hand tag 16:30] that tells your story. And your hang tag can specifically replay back to the artisan that is making the product and/or how the product was made. That’s definitely going to help in this marketplace.

Lorna: So how did you expand to other regions?

Christine: Sure. I initially had the dream of travelling the world working with local artisans and they’re ultimately selling their handicrafts making the market in the United States.

I think a lot of people share that similar dream. How wonderful that would be but in reality hit. I just got married. We started a family. We have two beautiful boys under the age of five, so travel was limited.

Plus, you’ve got the demands of just home life back in the States. So therefore, I have partnered with organizations that have coops in their various countries such as India and Honduras and then in Cambodia. And then obviously the grassroots that we started out in Bali.

In Cambodia, for example, we’re the exclusive US distributor for this one fair trade organization [17:49 Cosmeteria?] and they are just doing wonderful that we have seen them grow from 15 artisans to over 60 artisans. And they, with the help of FIVE Accessories are producing very fashion forward designs that are using a lot of repurposed material such as recycled netting that is used in construction purposes, mosquito netting.

Our best-selling bag out of that line is a shoulder bag that fits the iPad. So I really thought, if you can go with function and sustainability and mix it all together, it will be a good seller. And it has for us. A shoulder bag is our number one seller that fits the iPad made out of the recycled netting.

Another sustainability thing that they use is recycled motorcycle seats. About 80% of the transportation in Cambodia uses motorcycles so we recycle these seats and turn them into fashionable hand bags.

Other light type materials that the customer can really resonate with seem to be very popular.

Lorna: How do you find these cooperatives? Is there some kind of a listing somewhere?

Christine: There is. We are associated with the Fair Trade Federation and if you Google them, they have a lot of information on just what is fair trade? What are the different principles of fair trade? How can you tell if a company truly is fair trade?

There’s different certifications out there but they also have a list of different producer groups and you can probably call them if you’re interested in starting to work with different organizations. Additionally, they also help you organize different trips globally. If you are looking to source products out of South America. We do not source products there. But I know that other fellow colleagues that have travelled on, basically buying trips were they help organize it and you go and you meet a producer group. You spend some time with them. You start to build the relationship and then you can start to teach them how to create your own designs.

Lorna: So it’s the Fair Trade Federation that organizes these trips to visit different producer groups internationally?

Christine: They would have it. They definitely have information about different groups or someone who wants to get involve. I would definitely start with the Fair Trade Federation.

Lorna: So when you’ve identified a producer group that has compelling products, do you then contact them? Have them send some samples? Do you do a test to see how well it sells?

Christine: Let me first back up. It depends how you want to structure your business as an entrepreneur. In retail you could really take two different routes. Number 1, you could be a wholesaler, meaning that you are directly importing the goods specifically from the source. And that’s what we do. We import bags from Bali. We import bags through Cambodia and we clear these items through customs. We stock them in our warehouse. And then we sell to other retailers. So that’s one line of business.

If you want to be on a wholesale side, then yes, you need to find the specific relationships globally with these fair trade coop organizations.

If you want to be on the other side of the retail industry which is beyond the reseller side, then you just need to buy at wholesale pricing from organizations such as FIVE Accessories and/or other wholesalers that sell these certified products.

You can also find that information on the Fair Trade Federation website of other wholesale groups.

Another resource is Green America. We’ve been associated with Green America for over four years and they have a directory of boutique retail stores that are reselling products. And they also have a directory of suppliers and/or wholesalers such as FIVE Accessories. So if you would like to start, either an ecommerce store or retail store, and literally have a brick and mortar store then you would go to the directory and look for other companies that will wholesale products to you.

Lorna: Thank you so much for that advice. I am sure that’s really valuable to many of our aspiring entrepreneurs in the audience. Sometimes, it’s very hard to wrap ones mind around the actual logistics of starting a business and specially what it takes to get a kind of business off the ground.

In your case, going to trade shows is a really large part of a growing your business.

Christine: It is. If you like to be on the wholesale side, it’s a great place to start.

Lorna: Awesome. So what kind of sustainability criteria do you follow?

Christine: When we say criteria I think of sustainability, meaning the eco-friendly side of things and then there’s also the second criteria, the fair trade and the humanitarian side. And I would love to talk about both of them with you if you ask a question about criteria.

In fact, our tag line that you will see on www.fiveaccessories.com website is “Eco + Fair trade” We like to top that we have both products. We have both criteria for our products.

As far as sustainability. We like to talk about most of our products are made out of sustainable products. We purpose and we recycle. So they fit in eco friendly or green categories.

As far as our best-selling products, they’re the recycled netting collection. These net is used in the Cambodian regions to be used for construction purposes to collect the scaffolding if it falls. It’s also used to cover livestock to protect it against mosquitos. The netting in the area that does not meet industry standards is sold off as faulty netting at local markets.

Our producer group takes this netting and dyes it and creates fashion forward bags with it.

It’s sustainable because we could track back where the netting was from. We know that we have kept this material that would have been waste material out of landfills, etc.

For our Chicago program, we have a picture frame that we collect local refuse or local trash per se off the street. So our Chicago program is called, Off The Street. We’ve collected over 13,000 transit cars off the Chicago streets to then clean, recycle make it into our product which is a recycled picture frame.

So when you talk about sustainability, we’re using that recycle type material. Another criteria that a lot of companies in this area adhere to, in addition to being sustainable is fair trade principles. They’re also listed in the Fair Trade Federation website. They are listed and talked about there.

We tried to also promote fair trade in our social media, talking about specific examples of how we are treating our local artisans in a fair manner, how the artisans in the groups that are producing our products are not only strategically involved in the design process. Their voice is heard throughout their working conditions. With our group in Cambodia, we offer free daycare which is almost unheard of in that area. We provide free benefit such as one month leave plus free daycare which provides childhood education.

Another principle is to make sure that the artisans are paid in a fair manner and that they are getting fair wages relative to the area of their work.

All of these items make up a fair trade company. And FIVE Accessories, if you go to our website, once again www.fiveaccessories.com we have a specific tab dedicated to what is fair trade and how we are adhering to these principles of fair trade.

We also try to promote stories in our Facebook account, through Twitter as well as our blog. So that is how we tell the story of fair trade and specifically how it relates to our artisan groups.

Our different certifications, if you are looking to start a social conscious business, you might want to look into, sooner rather later, but first is the Fair Trade Federation and being a member of that.

There is a very lengthy process. It’s over, probably, 40-50 page application and they do require at least 1-3 years of being in business. But it is a certification that a lot of individuals, whether it be a buyer, know in the industry.

Another certification is Green America. We’ve been a member for close to 4 or 5 years. They also have a directory listing. We are also a member of Chicago Fair Trade and actively involved in that group. We are also a member of Social Business Alliance Group. They have periodic meetings. Just another great way to share with others that you are promoting a social enterprise.

Lorna: So you mentioned you do a lot of social media marketing. How is that working for you? I hear a lot of small business find it that it’s not worth the time and effort and it makes me wonder if they’re doing it correctly.

Christine: Sure, well, we have an active Facebook account. We have a Twitter account and then we periodically blog. I’m glad that we can be doing it more and spending more time on it. We have found that it definitely does re-emphasize our brand. We can definitely track new clients specifically through our social media. But most importantly, we are tracking reorders from our efforts.

We are seeing that people are buying our product and they’re blogging about it. They are posting it on our Facebook account, positive feedback and that’s only going to re-emphasize our national brand that we’re trying to build.

Lorna: So what’s your social routine?

Christine: I’ve outsourced that (laughs) Christine handles it but we send about 2-3 posts on Facebook a week. We do about 5-7 Twitter post a week. We try to do at least one blog a week. So that’s something that we do?

We’re hoping that we’ll reach the tipping point in the future but I’ve heard that just stay with it. There are companies that have built their brand over social media and one great example is Tom’s Shoes. So if you’re looking to start your own business, look at the companies that’s been there and done it and has been successful at it. Look and follow Toms Shoes on Facebook. Find out what they’re doing.

They’ve just done a great job and pulling together, like building a village so everyone that buys their shoes knows that they’re part of the crusade, the campaign, of helping others.

Lorna: So what do you think it is that differentiates companies that are using social media successfully and other companies that are really struggling to figure out how to make it worth their time?

When you do social media marketing, do you campaign specific marketing initiatives or is mostly building up your community and creating a lot of buzz and content around the things that you do, the products that you sell?

Christine: You’re the expert on this. I could probably learn so much from you but I think from my experience looking at other companies, if you have a clear, concise message that seems to resonate the best with the consumer, Toms Shoes’ the one for one.

What about to start a new campaign that for every bag that is purchase something will happen. Meaning, that we’re going to actually donate a book for a childhood literacy or childhood education because that is our philanthropic mission behind the company. Once again, going back to my beginning, the story that we heard about the Balinese man with the $5 a month that he received from an American tourist allowed him to stay in school. And we just think that childhood education is so important.

So for every bag purchased we’re going to start a campaign where a book is donated to children in developing countries. We’re going to start with Cambodia because that’s where we are getting a lot of the traction, given that our partners have just built this phenomenal daycare/school that they offer a free benefit to the artisans’ children that come to the center.

Getting back to your question on what works, I think clear, concise messages or campaigns. Something that people can really get behind. The one for one, buy a shoe and one pair shoe is donated. It’s very simple.

Lorna: I think a lot of businesses are considering outsourcing as a solution because it’s challenging for business owners who really want to focus on their business, driving sales, selling more product or providing services to their clients. They don’t want get pulled into the nitty gritty of internet marketing, social media marketing or SEO for example.

When it comes to social media outsourcing, do you have any tips on finding the right person to handle your social media activities?

Christine: When you’re a small business you’ll always consider and conscientious of good value. If you’re just starting out, sometimes it’s financially not feasible to go with some of the larger companies that offer social media. And some of the things you could actually figure out yourself and/or have someone do it at $10 an hour.

For example, we built up our website and we have well over a hundred backlinks into our website and that all helps our social media and SEO exposure. That’s just something that we’ve been able to build up with, whether it be interns and/or just figuring stuff out of the web in a very cost effective manner. Once you’re big enough, then you might want to engage a larger company. But some companies I do know charge upwards up to a couple thousand a month. So it really depends on your budget and making sure that you get that value and having that clear message.

College interns are great starting point. If you have a specific clear, concise gameplan, you could. All social media needs is the army behind it that actually do the work. To me, social media is not complicated. Social media is not rocket science. It just takes time and effort to actually input stuff.

Lorna: And when you say that you are able to track your business or your sales through your social media efforts do you have a recommendation how to do that effectively? Do you have specific URLs to track to see whether sales are coming through a particular social media campaign? How do you know that your social media is actually impacting your business bottom line?

Christine: In numerous ways, for example, first start would be Google Analytics. Just like when you have an affiliate program, you can track back your where your incoming links are coming into your website and/or where your buyers are coming from. There are analytics software out there to track specifically that so you’ll know if you post a blog and/or written on someone else’s blog how much traffic that has funneled into your website. So, first you ask, how do you track it? And that’s just a great way to start.

Second of all, you asked how do you know that’s contributing to your bottom line? I think building a brand, you do a lot of things that at the very beginning if you want to build a brand that might not necessarily lead to one sale but in the future it might lead to multiple sales and that’s what we are seeing. We are definitely seeing a lot of repeat buyers, repeat orders which I think obviously adds to the bottom line.

Another area that social media really helps us is we are able to talk up and promote the outlets that are selling our bags. And if a smaller boutique is carrying our bags and we provide them social media support, they just really appreciate that goodwill and that effort on our part to include them and to talk them up. For example, our bags can be found in the Midway airport. So if you’re travelling in and out of Chicago there is Chicago Treasures that sells our items.

We had a big social media campaigns around the thanksgiving as well as the Christmas holidays reaching out to travelers. If you are travelling in the Chicago area, stop by our store and look at our items that have the custom embroidered Chicago on them. They’re just great for travelling back tourist type item.

And our sales were wonderful during those months and we actually connected with the store and people told us that they heard abou us through outside of just walking to the airport and they came in to specifically look for FIVE Accessories and our products.

 

Lorna: Great! Well thank you so much for sharing with us this really concrete practical examples of how small businesses can use social media not only to promote their products but promote their partners. And actually adds to creating a thriving community online, all around sustainability and fair trade which is great.

What is your biggest challenge as a small, socially responsible business?

Christine: What is the biggest challenge?

Lorna: Challenge that you have as a small, socially responsible business.

Christine: Well, first of all just making it sustainable and/or profitable business otherwise it’s a charity. So you want to make sure that you have traction and you’re moving forward, onward and upward and then you can obviously give back and continue to give back to the local artisans making the products. But then ongoing, I like to consider myself as a business owner, Jack of all trades – Master of none. I definitely know when I know I’m not the expert and I need to hire out. And I think, like you’ve mentioned earlier, knowing that as an entrepreneur you can’t do everything yourself and sometimes and letting an expert do it. In today’s economy, starting a business and gathering these resources can be cost effective. There are a lot of college students that are just looking for experience. We have had 40 interns. Actually rotate through FIVE Accessories and not only have I enjoyed the mentoring side of that and mentoring the young students but they have definitely added a great vision as well as market feedback to our products and the scope of our company.

They’ve helped with social media. They helped with marketing, things like that. And they’ve physically helped man and setup a table where we are selling our products. But I know that there are specific websites or resources out there that if you have this project that you want to delegate, you can have individuals bid on it. Whether it be creating a line sheet or creating a marketing piece so you can really get good and cost effective work in today’s economy.

Lorna: It sounds like if you are hiring interns and mentoring them then there is a certain aspect of having to learn how to do that particular task yourself first in order to then be able to teach someone else to do it. Did you have to spend a lot of time educating yourself in online marketing in your entrepreneurial journey?

Christine: I did. At the beginning of starting a business you probably always feel like you’re taking an advance MBA class. So I feel like I got my MBA while starting FIVE Accessories but just in a practical use sense. I did research. I attended various different conferences, seminars. A lot of them are free.

I tapped the resources offered here at Chicago through the National Association of Women Business Owners, like the small business SBA or through the WBEC locally in town. And there are chamber of commerce.

There’s a lot of different resources and/or programs that were available. So I did spend the first part of the business networking to find those resources and also just attending various conferences that would lay a lot of the groundwork to make the decisions for the business moving forward.

Social media is always changing. You probably want to know what’s new and what’s out there but I feel like there could be a social media plan and you could create a social media plan for every budget out there.

Lorna: Do you find that it’s actually worthwhile investing your money in some of these education that you went through or were you able to find most of what you needed to educate yourself online for free?

Christine: It depends how you learn. And it depends what your time constraints are. I enjoy physically going to a class, meeting another individual, hearing about it in person. So I did attend a lot of classes. Other individuals and though I have a lot of support groups and/or I have been involved in a lot of networking organizations with other business owners that were able to supply different resources to each other. But if you are not able to do that when you’re starting your business, there are a lot of online tools. For example, your Green Business Marketing series provides a lot of know-how for that individual that can just learn through half the time to just be able to log on and learn about it.

Lorna: Are there any mistakes that you have made along the way during your entrepreneurial journey that you would advise other entrepreneurs to do differently?

Christine: I think failure is step number one to starting a business. You have to fail once or you haven’t succeeded. Of course I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I feel like we had to refine and retune the business due to the economy, when the economy has been very challenging over the last 5 years to have started a retail industry. Not only half the boutiques have gone out of business that we sell to but a good third of other like type organizations like myself, just business owners have folded.

But we are still standing because I’ve been able to retweak, reassess. I wake up every single morning and I think through how I can make it better. I’m not afraid to make mistakes. I’m not afraid to fail. And I’ve done a lot of them.

Let me share two of them with you. And I wouldn’t call it mistake, just learning experience. We spent way too much on our website at the beginning of our business. I had the misconception that when you build a great website, with great graphics, the client will just come. And I should have saved some of that money and probably spent it on other areas of the business.

You need a website. Your website is your landing page but you probably do not need one that is as dynamic as an established business that’s been around that updates it on a daily basis. So start basic. I just Googled an internet company to create our website and we completely had to trash it and start over again. And I wish I had taken the time to research what other business owners have used for their website. And looked at the successful website. Find out who made and who as their website developer and gone with those contacts ahead.

So that was my first mistake.

Lorna: Can I ask you, when you mentioned way too much on your website, can you give a range of what “way too much” actually ends up being in a dollar figure?

Christine: Sure, well five years ago we spent about $3000-4000 on our website and we completely walked away from it. That was money and about two months of time just down. And then we went with a startup company, Individual Space in India and we had to go through their learning curve. (Laughs)

Although they delivered a good looking website, the backend wasn’t as superior and did not get into the search engine optimization (SEO) as well as I had hoped.

My advice to others would just be to research other local companies that have a website, similar to one that you want to build and then find out who they used. Call that company. Find out if they have a good experience working with that developer and if they are cost effective.

I think asking other entrepreneurs, asking other business owners in your area is probably the best place to start.

Lorna: Okay, well, thank you for sharing this really valuable advise. I really appreciate it. Is there anything you would like to leave our readers with or share in terms of what you are working on right now? Any exciting new product lines that you might have?

Christine: One thing I would like to leave is that, we’re growing and we’re growing really fast. We are actually actively looking for business partners. So if there are entrepreneurs out there that potentially wants to join our team, give us a call. We’d love to talk with someone has years of experience or a ton of enthusiasm.

Lorna: Fabulous!

Christine: We would like to offer a discount code to any of the listeners today. The code on our website is a discount code of GBESS20 for anyone to receive 20% off your total order at www.fiveaccessories.com

I hope you check out our collection made out of recycled netting as well as recycled motorcycle seats, as well as our natural products from Bali and/or our recycled picture frames made locally in Chicago.

We make great gifts as well as seasonal gifts, as well as other graduation gifts and we appreciate your support at www.FIVEAccessories.com

Lorna: Thank you so much Christine. I’ve checked out your website, you’ve got fabulous hand bags so at 20% discount I’m sure will go down really well with our readers. I want to thank you again for your time in sharing with us your entrepreneurial story. It is really inspiring and I wish you all the best of luck with your business.

Christine: Thank you so much.

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In Gratitude

Eric Smith of Monster Beach Studio for creating our Entrepreneurs for a Change Theme Song

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