Hobnobbing with Lewis Phillips from The Pommier

posted by 6 years ago in Hobnobbing
Lewis Philips from The Pommier

So, what do The Pommier do?

The Pommier is a globally curated marketplace that connects the world with handmade fashion accessories from the most exciting independent & emerging designers out there.

What’s behind the business idea?

I’ve worked in Business Development for a few Food-Tech startups in London which really gave the grasp of fast paced, fast growth marketplaces but the original idea stemmed from a few years before, I was given a years contract at a small jewellers to help manage and build their online presence from scratch. Back then Facebook growth was easy…and free pretty much so we were off to a great start. I had a few friends which made jewellery, saw that I was growing this boutiques presence and was asked to help them out too. I’m not a massive fan of saying no to friends but literally I had way too much work to take on with the current job that I just couldn’t. I wanted to build a platform that would allow me to help multiple friends to reach a bigger audience but with one platform to manage, one set of social media pages and to only have to work on one Search Engine Strategy.

Was there a breakthrough moment?

I would say things really started happening in December 2015, I had a lot more time on my hands which meant I got to focus on designer and customer acquisition in more detail.

How is the company doing?

Out of curiosity, does anyone ever say “ah not so well” to this question? on a serious note, it is going really well, since December our featured designers have gone from 20 to 90 from 25 different countries, we’re now acquiring customers in 9 different countries too so the name is really getting out there. Sales are increasing on average 22% month on month since January 2016 with this month expected to double the previous month. As you can imagine, it’s exciting to see something that was once an idea actually work.
The Pommier logo

Do you have any regrets?

Of course, the main regret I have is not doing this sooner. The idea actually came to me nearly 4 years ago. I had done nothing about it for the first year, I’d say due to fear really, I was kind of scared at failing my first proper business and put it off.

What makes you stand out from your competitors?

It’s more niching a niche if that makes sense? So like Etsy is probably a company I would say is similar to us because they help unknown brands connect with a global audience plus they are focused on handmade products too. But for me, it is more of an Arts & Crafts marketplace and there is a line between Arts & Crafts and Fashion. We’re focused on Handmade Fashionable Accessories from a designer we believe will be the next big thing in the fashion industry, supporting them to drive their business forward and connecting them with a global audience. We also manage the whole facility for our designers too so it’s a case of passing our curation requirements then leave the rest to us as opposed to having the designer upload all their products, create SEO Friendly titles which all in all can be very time-consuming. Our curation also means that you will never find two designers alike. We look for brands who differentiate themselves quite clearly. With this form of curation, it creates an exciting platform for customers to actually browse products with each click being a new form of discovery.

What is your definition of a positive customer experience?

When the customer not only leaves a 5-star review, posts on social media but goes out of their way to email through and thank the team and tell us how many compliments they get from friends. Naturally, not every customer goes this far but when they do, you know you’ve done a great job and the right job most importantly.

You’re currently reaching out for investors, what do you plan to do when you have raised this funding?

This raise is focused on growing the team and increasing our brand awareness and users. We’re still a small team, all chipping in where we need to but we would like to bring on team members with more specific roles such as a Social Media, SEO and Account Management to help with the growing number of users.

What advice would you give yourself now if you were starting a business?

If you have an idea you believe in and it makes sense, just go all in. I feel I spent too much time pondering over the idea, building the website, thinking about marketing strategies and worrying about an income. If it happened again, it’s all or nothing with your time.

Finally, Lewis what is your favourite biscuit?!

It’s actually a Hobnob!