This is a story of two female entrepreneurs from opposite ends of the Earth, who came together over a common desire to build something they loved. They used dropshipping to take the leap into ecommerce, creating Tiny Cupids, a store built around their passions. It’s a story about unexpected setbacks, having to start all over, business meetings on the beach in Thailand, and a world of opportunities opening up in front of them.
It was in April 2015 when Tair Mordoch and Efrat Kornick met online, in a course teaching the basics of digital marketing. The women beamed in from opposite ends of the earth – Tair in Singapore, Efrat in Tel Aviv – and were full of enthusiasm for what they could learn.
The course, it turned out, was very basic. “It taught us a little bit,” says Tair. “And then we just had to figure everything out pretty much from the beginning.” While the knowledge covered in the course might have only scratched the surface, it was enough to spark something bigger in both of them. Both women were seized by a desire to build something of their own.
They saw each other as the perfect potential business partners. “When I met Efrat I was sure she was really into succeeding with the business. She was really focused, she learned very fast,” Tair recalls.
Their connection was immediately obvious to Efrat, too. “I trusted her the minute I met her. I knew I could count on her,” she says.
(L-R) Efrat Kornick and Tair Mordoch
Like all great business partners, their skills complement each other. Efrat is all about the details, able to recall the budgets of their latest advertising campaign or the status of a particular order. Tair ‘just can’t think that way’ she says, and prefers to focus on long term business strategy. It’s a combination that works.
Entrepreneurship is something that Tair has always been drawn to. Years ago, while living in Tokyo, she became addicted to second-hand markets, where she’d snag bargains from designer brands. From home, she’d resell the items through online marketplaces to customers across the world. But this time around, managing an ecommerce store with its challenges around product sourcing and marketing, felt very different.
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Discovering the World of Dropshipping
Now, armed with a whole pile of digital marketing knowledge, the pair wanted to put it into action. They teamed up with two others from the course, the four of them set out to research how to build their own online business.
Tair had heard about dropshipping from a friend, who was running a store and turning a tidy profit. The idea intrigued her. Setting up a dropshipping business meant they wouldn’t have to invest in or handle any of their own inventory. Only once they had made a sale, would they pay for the item. The supplier would also ship the item directly to their customers, avoiding the hassles of fulfilling items themselves.
Tair had experienced the pain of owning and managing her inventory with her second-hand reselling venture. The whole experience was a hassle. “I had to go and buy it, then I had to take good quality photos, and when I got the order I had to wrap it and ship it and make sure it arrived. I had to do all the process, I didn’t really like it.” Paying money upfront for inventory came with its own risk, too, and she admits she still has a lot of items at home she didn’t sell.
Excited by the benefits a dropshipping business could offer, the team dove into research. There was so much to learn, they said. They spent hours reading articles and watching videos, trying to understand dropshipping and online marketing methods. They looked at market trends, analyzing what products were trending and likely to get them sales. Finally, the team settled on a product niche: pets.
“We got into the numbers and learned the market and we saw that yeah, it sounds like a great niche to be in,” says Efrat.
Building Their First Store
Having decided on a product category, they set to work building their pet products store, Pets Club. They signed up for Shopify, and then carefully selected their products, importing them from dropshipping suppliers into the store using Oberlo. They enlisted the help of a designer to help them tweak their theme to create something that felt original. Bit by bit the store was coming together. Soon enough, they were ready to launch.
Unfortunately, there was a problem – their business partners. Tair and Efrat were committed, working hard every day to improve their store. They understood quickly that, like any business, building their dropshipping store would require hard work.
But their partners? Not so much. “They didn’t understand until we started how much work you need at the beginning,” says Efrat.
So, they made the difficult decision and asked their business partners to leave.
They were down two business partners, but they weren’t ready to give up on all their hard work. They launched Pets Club themselves. They launched their first marketing campaign, focusing on Facebook ads. Slowly, sales started to trickle in.
And yet, something didn’t feel right.
All their research suggested pet products would be the right product for them. The market was there and there were great products available. But somehow, they knew their hearts weren’t in it.
They didn’t connect to the pet products they were selling or to their target audience. “When we started selling, it was like, ‘Let’s be honest with each other at least, and say that we’re just not enjoying it. We don’t care about it all,’” Tair says.
Starting Again From Scratch
At this point, they could have given up. But they’d already come so far, and learned why people quit dropshipping. Plus, they knew that they still wanted to build a business, and they wanted to do it together. They promptly listed Pets Club for sale and set about starting their new store from scratch.
Thanks to dropshipping, they hadn’t invested in any inventory. This meant the pair were able to change course easily, with a minimal financial impact.
This time, they flipped their approach. They wanted to build something they loved, around a niche they were passionate about. “I think that the most important thing is passion, passion for what you do,” says Efrat.
They explored their options, keen to find something that was a balance between passion and an opportunity in the market. For Tair, who is a mother of three girls, focusing on products for mothers and children worked well. Plus, Efrat adds, “There’s a lot of cute babies.”
In January 2017, they launched Tiny Cupids – a store specializing in stylish clothing for 0-7 year olds.
By targeting their products to an audience they shared so much in common with, it was easier to know what kind of look and feel their new store should have.
Building on the things they had learned through Pets Club, they worked hard to create a look for their store that reflected the tastes of women and mothers like them. Knowing which products other mothers would love felt easier too. “We see it as though we curate items from all over the internet, to bring together the most stylish, fashionable items,” says Efrat. “It’s all things that we really like.”
Building a Brand People Love
Their first sale came about two weeks in. “We both remember it,” says Tair. “Looking at your phone and you hear the ka-ching noise it makes, it’s really amazing.”
And the sales have kept rolling in. “We’ve had one pretty much every day since then,” says Efrat. “We barely have days where we don’t have any orders.”
The passion of the two founders has spread to their fans. They’ve built a dedicated social media following of over 47,000, full of mothers who love to share their posts and tag their friends. “It’s fun,” says Tair. “Mums send us photos, they are really engaged with our shop. They send us emails asking for their kids to be the new face of our brand.”
As the business grew, Tair and Efrat’s friendship grew alongside it. Before the business, they had never met in real life and initially built their business through a series of WhatsApp messages, emails, and video calls. Three months after the launch of Tiny Cupids, Tair flew from Singapore to Tel Aviv. It was a trip to work on the store in person, but also an excuse to spend some time together as friends. In the year since she’s come to visit two more times.
In August 2017, they flew to Thailand together. For business reasons, of course. “We had meetings on the beach,” Tair tells me, smiling.
Looking Back on How Far They’ve Come
Looking back at the beginnings of their dropshipping journey, Efrat recalls how difficult it felt then. “At the beginning it takes a lot of time to understand everything. Because we were so new – it’s not something that we’d done before. At first, it was overwhelming because there’s so much to learn.”
But things have changed. “Now it’s really, really easy.”
Today, they manage the workload for the business almost intuitively, working together to divide the tasks. Tair takes cares of product sourcing and managing orders, while Efrat deals with the marketing campaigns and advertising. Together, they plan the future of their business.
Despite their early setbacks, the journey with Tiny Cupids has been exciting every step of the way. “Every day is like a new day, every day is like starting from scratch. You just climb up with the sales and you’re inventing new ideas. Almost every day we come together with new ideas and say, ‘Let’s try this.’ We learn all the time,” says Tair.
“Every day. There is not even one day that I didn’t learn,” adds Efrat.
Welcoming Unexpected Opportunities
With knowledge comes all kinds of new opportunities. Now, the pair has decided to list Tiny Cupids for sale on the Exchange Marketplace, as they pursue other projects. Tair wants to share the knowledge she’s built with other female entrepreneurs and is currently consulting weekly with women who are looking to start their own Shopify stores. Efrat has landed a full-time job and is in charge of their digital marketing. Having started her dropshipping journey as a self-confessed complete beginner, she says, “This is the kind of opportunity I had never imagined when I started.”