THE use of social media has been critical to the ongoing success of Rowena Shirtcliff's newly established business.
Mrs Shirtcliff is the owner of The Online Nest - a home-based business in Toowoomba.
"The Online Nest is an online boutique that sells beautiful products made from natural materials for little people and mums to be," Mrs Shirtcliff said.
"Many of our products are organic and eco-friendly.
"We offer free delivery or pickup in Toowoomba and also hold regular 'pop-up shops' at several of the markets that operate in Toowoomba," she said.
Mrs Shirtcliff said having children of her own was one of the inspirations behind opening up the business.
"After having children I became much more aware of the importance of using natural and organic products with babies and children," she said.
"I also discovered that it was quite difficult to find unique and stylish natural products in the one place.
"So after having my second child in November last year, I decided to create the website and I launched the business in May this year."
Mrs Shirtcliff said one of the hardest parts when establishing the business was juggling the stresses of family life.
"The hardest part of setting up was doing it all from home while looking after two young children," she said.
"Good customer service is key to my business philosophy and at times it can be difficult to juggle the needs of both the family and the business.
"Needless to say there has been many late nights spent in front of a computer.
"But, luckily my husband and family has been extremely supportive and stepped in to help out when they could."
Mrs Shirtcliff said the use of social media has been invaluable to the growth of the business.
"Social media, particularly Facebook, has been invaluable," she said.
"Our customers are important to me and we like to connect with them regularly.
"We often ask 'real mums' to review products for us and we run regular competitions and giveaways via our social media platforms."
The one piece of advice Mrs Shirtcliff has for those who are looking to establish their own business is to ensure you understand your venture.
"Research and understand your unique selling position," she said.
"You have to know how you will fit in and make a difference in the marketplace."
THE ONLINE NEST - FAST FACTS
Owner: Rowena Shirtcliff
What: Online boutique offering organic products for mothers and babies
Launched: May, 2012
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