Hi Lara! When did you decide to start this business?
I decided to build this business with my sister Kemi during lockdown in March 2020 - right at the beginning of COVID.
My sister had just moved into a new house and was in the process of decorating it in a way that would inspire her two young daughters. She was looking for home decor pieces that reflected African culture - and she couldn’t find much on the High Street.
And then another catalyst for starting The Cornrow was the murder of George Floyd. Everyone became aware of the marginalisation of Black voices in every field of society. Our contributions to interior design are no exception to this. We felt that if we couldn’t see the change we wanted to see, we had to do it ourselves.
And fast-forwarding to today: Is this now a full-time business for you both?
Yes! My sister was ready for a career switch after spending her previous years in corporate finance, and I also felt ready; My background in digital marketing set us up to feel confident in going full-time.
Congratulations! Tell me about the site - it’s leveraging Impulse by Archetype theme, right?
Well, our first store was built by a friend who didn’t yet have experience with transactional sites - so it was cost-effective for us, but after a while it seemed to be too slow to compete with other stores.
So that’s when we partnered with a team called Aeolidia - a creative agency:
They recommended the Impulse theme by Archetype. Overall, it's been great. We saw an immediate 50% improvement in conversion rate as soon as the new website launched and we’re still happily using it to this date.
And how did you come across Storetasker?
We got in touch with one of your experts to tweak our menu.
The experience was very good. Our expert got the job done well, quickly and exactly like we wanted. We’ll definitely work with him again.
Let’s chat 2023 roadmap: What are you working towards?
First is improving the business structure. Currently, we hold inventory from many individual brands and creators across the world (from Cape Town, to Brooklyn, to Haiti and London). That worked for us in the beginning, but now - we’re looking to move closer to a drop-ship model where our brands can fulfill orders by themselves. For that, we’re looking into tools like Order Fulfillment Guru to sync products and send orders for fulfillment on the brand side.
And second is enabling international shopping on our site. Much of our traffic comes via social from the US where basket sizes typically tend to be larger. So we want to capitalize on that by physically enabling non-UK visitors to transact on our site.
Piggy-backing off of that: What’s working on social for you?
Instagram’s an important channel for us.
We try to keep the tone conversational and our content conversational, inspirational, and educational. Those are the content pillars we work around. So things like highlighting current events, hair education or even showcasing homes of Black artists is very on-brand.
Last question: What's been a big key for you to get this far?
Having a co-founder is a big one. It just keeps you motivated and keeps you going. If The Cornrow had just been one of us, things might have died down by this point - but having each other pick up the slack when the other needs time to themselves has kept us going strong.
And secondly & related is the relationships we’ve formed along the way. By having our platform, we can promote great brands and artists. And through that, we naturally form great bonds with new & inspiring individuals. And since the community is very helpful - That’s been a huge contributor to our success.
Lara, thank you so much for sharing your insights. A real pleasure to meet & go go go The Cornrow!