In this episode of Add To Cart, we are joined by Tara Shelton from Little Succers. Tara started the business four years ago doing same day delivery of beautifully packaged succulents in her local area,, then expanded to deliver nationally and is now focusing on the DIY branch of her business that grew from COVID, a Build Your Own Terrarium Bar in Sydney. In this episode, Tara shares her best alternatives to facebook ads, how building a brand personality that aligns with your own makes perfect sense and why she believes creativity comes from constraint.
“Facebook didn’t exist ten or twelve years ago. What did we do then?”Tara Shelton
Questions answered in this episode include…
- How did you go from good idea to real business?
- What was your experience of running a gifting business during COVD?
- What are your top tips for putting on a great event?
Brand personality – a little bit sweary and a whole lot of puns
“It’s easy, because that’s my personality. I’m a bit dirty. I’m cheeky, and I like to have fun with things. So I think people respect brands that take risks. It’s not for everyone. Like I said, my husband, he’s a great support, but we often get into arguments. He’s like, “You can’t swear.” He once redid my website, helped me redo it, and took all the swear words off. And I was like, “What? Where did all the swear words go?” He’s like, “You can’t. You just can’t be swearing like that.” I’m like, “You’re not my customer. You’re not my customer.”
I think just knowing our customer, knowing that they respect brands that take a bit of a risk. Knowing you’re not for everyone, and I think people are a little bit dirty and rude. The people I know, anyway!
There’s so many fantastic pun opportunities for succulents as well, and we’re pretty famous for that with our cards, like, ‘Happy Succing Birthday’, and when the gay marriage vote was coming out, we did ‘Suc Who You Wanna’, and that was really cool. So yeah, we just go for it and it’s a lot of fun.”
Big ideas vs reality
“I think I learned quite quickly about the practicality of ideas. So I’m a big ideas person, obviously being creative, and I guess now I have more empathy for my clients. Because I’d be like, “You can do this, and you can do that, and you can do this.”
So I had this brilliant idea to hand stitch the packaging. So the packaging had hand stitched embroidery in it, because it was tactile, and the whole concept was we’re creating these tactile things. So I literally had a team of people whom I’m paying marketing salaries hand stitching the packaging and coming in on the weekend to get ahead, and inventing their own little stitches because their hands were hurting so much.
Andrew, my husband, was like, “You are not factoring their time into this.” This little back of the envelope business plan you’ve done. They’re like, “I just came here to do Facebook ads, and all of a sudden, I’m stitching!” So I said look, this is not going to work, you’ve got to let that one go. So I think the practicality of ideas has been probably the biggest, best lesson when I started Little Succers.”
Think outside the facebook box
“Facebook, obviously, is the lifeblood of many businesses. But unfortunately, things are changing, and I know that a lot of people are being affected by some unknown force at Facebook, where their ads aren’t working as well, and I know that I’m one of them. Speaking to other people, it’s the same. It’s becoming way more expensive. They’re not getting the results they used to. So I think it helps being a marketing person because I’m like, “All right, Facebook didn’t exist 10, 12 years ago. What did we do then?” So back on the PR. PR works really well for us. Just thinking about nurturing your email as well. Influencers, that’s hit or miss, but thinking about that. I guess just trying to get your customers to come back, offering them more things.
I think the best thing to do to acquire new customers is to do cool shit. So, there was a sure thing on Facebook, I could spend a certain amount of money, and I could get them in the door. It was easy. It was a formula. It was ideal. Now that’s not happening. So I’m like, “Okay, all right. Well, I have to create something that is going to get in the broadsheets, is going to get people clicking.” Like click bait, really, for your own business.
So even if you start thinking like that and develop a product that is click bait for your business to get them there, then you’re going to get that traffic, you can really target it. So that’s kind of my plan now. I’m going to think of some special events, so terrariums and tarot readings, tequila tasting and terrariums. Just unusual things, maybe a live prick drawing or something. Get people saying, “aha” and clicking again. So yeah, I think the best way to get new customers is to be innovative, be different”