Women-Owned Business Supporting Women-Owned Creators
In an era of online everything, it seems entrepreneurs are sprouting up everywhere. Local Oakville resident April Belluz saw an even greater opportunity. As a fashion-lover from a very young age, April loved dressing up. She always loved the idea of clothes and how they can make someone feel fun, expressive and happy. But not only does April have a passion for fashion, as a woman and mother herself, she has always tried to support other women. April realized many women have been adversely affected by the pandemic primarily by taking on more childcare responsibilities. She wanted to support them as much as she could, and decided to combine her love of clothing and her passion for supporting women.
That was when April decided to launch her online boutique, The Nord. It could support not only women-owned brands, but brands that are manufactured in North America and have socially conscious manufacturing processes or use socially conscious materials. The only problem was, April was overwhelmed with the eCommerce world.
April saw advertisements for the ShopHERE Powered by Google Program, and instantly knew she needed to sign up. She felt very comfortable once she began working with her eCommerce Coordinator, and started really learning about the eCommerce landscape.
“When you are a sole proprietorship business, you are the Marketing, Legal, Sales, Customer Service, and Logistics departments. It is very overwhelming to start up a new business and it was so helpful to feel like I had someone on my side to help me get to my launch.”
April worked hard and dedicated the next few weeks to working one-on-one with her Coordinator to make sure that everything on the website was perfect. Her Coordinator was committed not only to building a beautiful website, but to teaching April how to use Shopify’s platform front-to-back. As a team, they were both dedicated to making sure April knew exactly how to operate her brand new online store, giving her the confidence to manage it herself.
Not only did April find assistance in creating and operating her eCommerce store, but ShopHERE provided her with more marketing resources and guides then she could have ever imagined. After completing the program's digital marketing webinars, April felt confident to start marketing her new boutique predominantly through email marketing and social media.
Because of this, April’s business has grown immensely since launching, repeatedly selling out of her new products. At the moment, The Nord's Instagram has around 1,000 followers, starting from zero just three months ago, and their email subscriber list went from zero to over 100 in just two months! April has received so much positive feedback about the quality of her products, and customers love supporting not only women-owned businesses, but ethical, North American ones as well.
“ShopHERE wants your launch to be successful, they will invest time and energy into bringing the vision for your e-commerce site to fruition.”
After graduating from the ShopHERE Program, April feels more confident operating and marketing The Nord. She is proud to host a beautiful online place where women can feel good about their purchase, while feeling good about themselves. ShopHERE has helped her start the business she only once dreamed of, and create a positive impact. She can’t wait to see what the future has in store.
Digital Main Street was created by the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) with direct support from the City of Toronto. DMS is also supported by a group of strategic business partners, including Google, Mastercard, Shopify, Microsoft, Facebook, Intuit QuickBooks, Square, Yellow Pages and Lightspeed.
A $42.5-million investment from FedDev Ontario brought together the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas, Communitech, Invest Ottawa and the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association to expand the Digital Main Street Platform in order to support more businesses going digital as a response to the impacts of COVID-19 in Southern Ontario.