THEY ARE THE sister duo behind online store The Con-Nection, which has fast become one of Australia’s most prominent go-to sites for current trends and elevated wardrobe must-haves. I caught up with The Con-Nection’s co-founders Nadia Bartel and Michelle Coppolino and got the low-down on what it is like to run a digital fashion business.Stylehunter: You’re the founders of online fashion destination, The Con-Nection – tell us a little bit about the process of starting your own online business?
The Con-Nection: We always knew we would eventually work together. We are both business minded even though our personalities, style and skill-set are somewhat different. We were chatting about it for two years before we actually took action and got it done.
We also identified a couple of key things before we started. ‘Who we are’, What we want to be’ and ‘What we are passionate about’ Then be brave enough to go after it; but grow as organically as possible. The people who we had in mind when we were creating the business will come along and help you adjust from there.
SH: Tell us what a typical day looks like in The Con-Nection office?
TC: No day is ever the same, but that is what we love about it. It is very fast paced. We are very hands-on with all aspects of the business so Michelle and I have to cover dispatch, customer service, marketing, shooting and buying new ranges. As you can imagine, some of these roles are more fun than others. We are either on the road, out to designer meetings to buy new collections. On location shooting our new ‘editorial cuts’ or content for the website or in the office putting together new creative and writing content.
SH: What led you to wanting to start our own online store?
TC: We are both obsessed with the online world, especially the marketing side of it so an e-store was the natural next step. Our e-store also complements my blog Chronicles of Nadia, which has always had a huge focus on my favourite shopping finds. Working in fashion magazines as an account manager in the past also gave me the background, knowledge and contacts. Michelle has two degrees. One in fine art and the other in Visual Merchandising (so) she is very talented in that space. Our skill-set compliments each other. It was a challenge we wanted to take on together.
SH: What advice would you give to budding digital entrepreneurs?
TC: Get as much as advice as you can from friends and other people in the space before you start. Find the right coders, web designers to fit your needs. Don’t be in a rush to get the site up, but don’t get obsessed with it being ‘too perfect’ as it will never be perfect in your eyes. Be 90% happy and make changes from there as your business grows and you uncover your customer needs.
Some of the best advice we 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 have noticed with our business that when we finally did, the rest just followed on a lot easier than I expected. Always be flexible and brave.
SH: And finally, what are your current Autumn / Winter must have’s?
TC: We are a little too obsessed with faux fur this winter – and we love … bold colours like baby pink, green or berry (this may be obvious if you check out our Instagram, haha). Fur is the easiest way to elevate every winter outfit and it’s so easy to throw on over the top of really basic winter pieces.
We are also loving delicate thin silk scarfs and neck ties worn with our heavy duty blazers and coat. It is another easy way to make your standard winter outfit look a little more interesting.