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The Recipe for Success Is Doing Things Differently Pouya Boland

Column: The Recipe for Success Is Doing Things Differently

2015-12-21 14:12

The European fashion store Chiquelle has won several e-commerce awards and garnered a big following in social media in a short period of time. Chiquelle's founder tells us his secret for success.

From a startup and unknown Swedish fashion store to a well-known and recognized brand and three times award-winner, from zero to over 2 million euros (20 MSEK) in the upcoming year, from zero followers to 180,000 followers on social media in just three years.

What Is the Secret?

It is Chiquelle’s philosophy and ideology. We have a few sentences which you can find on every desk and wall at Chiquelle’s headquarters, one of them is: "We can and we must". I will try to explain exactly what we mean by this.

When we say, "we can and we must", it means that we can do everything that we would like to achieve. Everything is possible. You just have to believe in it. If you don’t believe in it, you will not succeed. No one is saying: "I can’t" or "it’s not possible". That’s a big no in our philosophy, since we believe that everything is possible and everything has a solution or a way forward. It requires larger efforts and therefore you need to sacrifice more. But it will bring you the results, and goals, you’re looking for.

Our second idea is: "We leave our ego’s at the door or home". Do whatever has to be done, whatever it might be. Every job is as important as another. If you can work with this ideology and philosophy, to believe in what you’re doing, without giving up or saying "it’s not possible" and helping your crew members as much as possible, in every single work floor, success is guaranteed. "We can and we must". We get what we want, however difficult it might be. We will go for it until the end.

We believe that this philosophy and ideology is the main factor behind Chiquelle’s success.

Impossible to Buy the Right Mindset

These basics and values are not possible to "buy" or simply "bring-in". You can have as much money or a financial investment as you like, but without these simple basic rules, it will get very difficult when you are in the period of starting up.

We started with no money. But we believed in our idea and in a few months we managed to gather over 20,000 euros (200,000 SEK) and until now we haven’t accepted any investor neither. We, as Chiquelle’s founders and owners, didn’t pay ourselves salaries for the first three years. This is what we actually mean by you having to sacrifice in order to succeed. Especially if you start from zero. You need to believe in it and have patience.

You need a team which is working with the heart in the right place, 7 days a week, 15 hours a day. You don’t need people in your main team, who are longing to go home as soon as possible. You need people who long for their goals and ideas. All these sacrifices and values are ten times more important and essential than a company with a budget of millions or other resources. You can have as much money as you want, but without a path to believe in, without a strategy, you won’t get far.

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Other Factors to Master

Apart from the philosophy and ideology to succeed, there are indeed many other factors you need to fulfill. You need to think about logistics, technology, marketing, branding, strategy, challenges, customer service, investing, innovating, expanding and many other areas. There are really no rules or guidelines. You need to have a strategy to believe in and try to do things differently than all the others.

Ask yourself the question: Would it be interesting to do exactly the same as everyone else is doing? Just because it’s easier? Would people react on that?

Try to do everything the opposite way. It will be difficult, to be unique and different and it takes time, but this should be exactly those factors you should invest in (with time and ideas). A small example of what I mean about being different happened during Black Friday.

Example of a Marketing Campaign

Almost all e-commerce businesses and other companies in Sweden and Scandinavia started to promote their Black Friday campaign one month beforehand, while spending millions on advertising on TV, Radio and social media, with the message "there will be a huge sale on our sites on Black Friday". We just used the Black Friday hype and promotions all over the country and started already on Thursday with our sales. Without spending anything we had a growth of 2800 percent, compared to last year, 28 times more orders.

Why should everyone start on exactly Friday? Is there anywhere a law that it should be on Friday? Is it a rule? Of course not. You need to be smart and go the opposite way.

Don’t fear for new ways, don’t fear being unique and taking risks while accepting that you can make huge mistakes. We are still learning every single day from the mistakes we’re making.

Pouya Boland

CEO of Chiquelle

Dutch Entrepreneur, Speaker, Founder and CEO of Chiquelle.com.

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