16 July 2024, 20:35
By Furniture News Dec 02, 2016

Charlotte Carlsen Abraham, Harley & Lola

Furniture News speaks to the co-founder of Harley & Lola, Charlotte Carlsen Abraham, to explore the people, practices and philosophies behind the class-leading e-tail business. Founded in 2014, Harley & Lola aims to help its customers create warm and welcoming spaces. It offers carefully selected, environmentally friendly furniture and striking home accessories, as well as great gift ideas.

Why visit your website?

At Harley & Lola we believe that the most important space in anyone’s life is their home and we aim to help our custmers create a warm and welcoming space. We focus on carefully selecting, environmentally friendly furniture and beautiful home accessories. We also offer carbon neutral delivery on all purchases. Customer service is very important to us and our team are available on the phone and on instant chat for any questions customers may have.

How did you enter this industry?
As owners we have extensive technology, product and marketing experience. We identified a gap in the market for an online retailer that provided good quality, stylish, environmentally friendly furniture. We then set about creating an easily accessible and navigable website offering carefully selected products and personal customer service.

Who is your e-commerce hero?
From a purely technical perspective it would be Amazon for leading the online retail market and their use of data. However, AO is another company who has added to that formula by investing heavily in customer service and understanding customer needs.

Describe a typical working day
There is no typical working day in our business, which is partially what makes it so exciting. One minute we are looking for new products and researching next season’s trends, the next we can be dealing with customer services and suppliers.

As a small team we all get involved in every part of the business. As owners it is important to us to hear customer feedback, so that we can constantly improve our service. It is exciting and constantly changing and challenging.

What part of your job would you prefer to avoid?
There are always some parts of running a business that are more mundane than others, such as dealing with accounts and logistics in general. However, it is such a varied business that it is always exciting.

What has been your greatest challenge?
Overcoming an established industry perception that running an internet retailing business is cheaper and easier than running a bricks and mortar business.

How much do you invest in making your site more visible?
As we don’t have natural footfall, marketing is paramount for us to attract customers. This takes the form of paid advertising, a strong social media presence and creating engaging content for our customers. Building a strong and trusted brand is vital to our business.

What’s your take on how the relationship between online and physical retail might develop?
We are keen to exploit the obvious synergies between the two forms of retail, both in terms of marketing and distribution. Ultimately the consumers will dictate the balance between the two.

What are your growth plans for the business?
We are constantly working to grow our business, organically and sustainably. We strive to continue to grow our reputation for quality products at fair prices supported by first class customer service.

What advice would you offer an aspiring e-tailer?
Clearly define your business goals and deliver to expectations.

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