Business Irish

Tuesday 21 August 2018

Chupi and Gym+Coffee founders on the importance of Shopify for Irish retailers

Chupi Sweetman, co-Founder of Chupi
Chupi Sweetman, co-Founder of Chupi
Niall Horgan, CEO and co-founder Gym + Coffee
Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

Ability to scale in an ever-changing payments landscape has meant many Irish retailers are leaning on e-commerce platforms for support.

Headquartered in Ottawa, Shopify's 3000-strong global team helps power over 600,000 businesses in around 175 countries worldwide.

Global brands such as Red Bull, Nestle, Rebecca Minkoff and Kylie Cosmetics put their trust in the platform while, closer to home, Chupi and Gym+Coffee avail of Shopify's services. 

With over 2000 retail-specific apps layered on top of Shopify's base platform, Lynsey Thornton, VP of User Experience & Core Product at Shopify said the service covers "all functionality and all types of needs for the firms to help serve those individual needs".

As the cloud-based, multi-channel retail platform market base continues to expand, the importance of Shopify's Irish unit, and its support for the EMEA region increases.

The team in Ireland has grown from 50 to over 200 employees in the last three years - and the recruitment drive is ongoing.

Known as 'Gurus', Ireland's staff at the cloud-based, multi-channel retail platform all work remotely in support staff and recruitment roles.

This was a strategic effort by Shopify from the outset, said Thornton, as the company can target the best person for the job, regardless of their location or flexibility requirements. Dublin-born Thornton works remotely herself from her home in Canada.

"Originally all the customer service team were based in Canada but we needed to follow the time zones, it's no fun working through the night!" she told Independent.ie.

"Remote working gives the employee a lot of flexibility, whether they have animals at home to look after or elderly parents to care for or children to mind, it allows a lot of flexibility in your day to day work, no commute," she said.

"It really appeals to a certain type of person."

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Niall Horgan, CEO and co-founder Gym + Coffee

 

Niall Horgan, CEO and co-founder Gym + Coffee

How does your company work online?

At Gym+Coffee we are a pure play e-commerce business meaning almost 100pc of our sales come online through our website. As a start-up business, our margins weren't as strong as companies like Nike or Adidas so we've had to concentrate on selling through our own website so we are able to keep control of the costs. Through high quality content on our site, social media promotion and some digital advertising we direct people to our site.

How has Shopify facilitated the success of your online sales?

Shopify has been crucial to getting our business off the ground and scaling since then. Since we don't have technical or coding skills ourselves we were able to use Shopify to build an amazing website that we can edit and customise, and we can track everything that happens on our site. It's an incredibly powerful platform. Shopify allows entrepreneurs with an idea to get their business of the ground without needing technical skills or lots of capital. Without Shopify we would have had to spend thousands of euros to get a custom built site that would be very difficult for us to manage ourselves.

How important has Shopify become for Irish retailers?

Ireland is a small market and Shopify has allowed us to scale internationally much quicker than we would have expected. We were able to build and manage a second website tailored for the US audience and have been able to start building a US customer base, all from here in Dublin. Previously this would have required a massive investment of cash, time and resources, however now this can be achieved quite quickly. It has allowed us to test and learn and grow as a result.

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Chupi Sweetman, co-Founder of Chupi

Chupi Sweetman, co-Founder of Chupi

How does your company work online?

We tap into Ireland's rich design heritage to make beautiful sparkly things in Ireland and sell them all over the world.

How has Shopify facilitated the success of your online sales?

I worked with Topshop in my twenties and London was the place to be, but I always knew I wanted Dublin to be my home. Working with Shopify has enabled my husband and I to build an incredible business in Ireland. We have a brilliant team of 23 people, export into 64 countries around the world all from our studio in Dublin. Shopify is such a flexible platform, when we started five years ago out of our spare room with just the two of us we worked off the entry-level platform. Now as a grown up brand, we produce bespoke apps and functionality in-house. As we have scaled, Shopify has grown with us.

How important has Shopify become for Irish retailers?

Ireland is such an incredible country but it's a tiny market, having an e-commerce store with Shopify enables us to sell our jewellery all over the world from Dublin. As a company, we have always looked at the world as our market and Shopify has made that possible.

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