Nadia Bartel’s name is synonymous with style. With a casual 330,000 plus followers on Instagram, the publisher of online fashion hub Chronicles of Nadia now has an e-store, The Con-Nection. If you’re wondering how successful it is, a dress she recently co-designed with local label, Asilio, sold out in under an hour. We asked her advice on where to begin, and how she bounced back after multiple setbacks to her online store.
Can you tell us a bit about your e-store The Con-nection? You launched last year but have openly had issues with your website coder and accessing the backend of the website.
Yes, I launched my e-store The Con-nection this time last year with my sister. Combining business and fashion has always been my passion and it really excites me.
My aim was to connect style savvy, time-poor women, to a selection of key wardrobe staples with a modern edge that can be used season after season. It’s a curated edit that my sister and I have hand-picked We never pick anything that we wouldn’t wear ourselves. We have a mix of our favourite Australian and a few International designers.
What did those challenges teach you?
We were lucky that we have a loyal customer base that loved our store from the start, but it has been a patchy start. It was a very difficult process as we didn’t have access to our website for the whole year. Our web coder kept promising he only needed a few more weeks to finish it; this went on all year.
Every change to our website, be it changes to stock, customer details or new content, etc. all had to go through him. We have learnt to trust our instincts. We trusted what he said, but we now know to set firm timelines, put everything into a contract and it is integral to put all conversations in writing.
How important is it to promote local brands?
We love home grown talent and will always support brands that are starting out as I think they have so much to give, and it’s exciting to grow with them. We recently introduced Melbourne jewellery label Linden Cook and her pieces are so beautiful and another favourite Melbourne label of mine, Thurley.
How do you choose what gets sold on The Con-nection? What selection criteria or process does it involve?
We are very fussy and never pick anything that we wouldn’t wear ourselves. When we first launched last year, we went a little crazy and had too many pieces, now we have paired it back and are strict as sometimes less is more. So what you see on our site is a true reflection of ourselves and we are very selective to make sure we have chosen the very best piece without double ups across designers. That is I guess our business motto or deciding rule. It has to be genuine and authentic to us.
How important is customer service to your business?
It is very important, especially as we are only an online business it reflects how the customer sees our whole business and how they remember us. We have a strict 24-hour email policy, and we pride ourselves on speedy delivery.
What advice can you pass on to others wanting to start their own fashion blog or e-store?
The best advice I can give is ‘just start’. Once you start you then have the momentum to keep going. I know how hard it can be to start, but I noticed with my businesses that when I finally did, the rest just followed on a lot easier than I expected.