Join us as we uncover the journey of creating a brand dedicated to eco-friendly luxury bedding, exploring the challenges and triumphs of marketing in the digital age, and unveiling unique strategies for business growth. Our guest, Michelle Tweddle, founder of Touché, shares invaluable lessons, from building ambassador programs to leveraging the power of TikTok. Get ready for a deep dive into the world of e-commerce innovation and strategic marketing alliances.
In today’s episode you’ll learn:
- Discovering insights into market gaps, inspired by a quest for sustainable bedding.
- Exploring the journey of product development, fabric selection, and the choice of antibacterial eucalyptus for eco-friendly bedding.
- Unveiling TikTok’s marketing potential, focusing on educational content and exposing the cruelty in traditional silk production.
- Building authentic ambassador programs by collaborating with individuals genuinely passionate about the product.
- Implementing a unique PR strategy, involving thoughtfully curated packages sent to publications to showcase a compelling story.
- Embracing the importance of values over follower count when selecting influencers and aligning with creators who resonate with the brand.
- Achieving content balance on TikTok, emphasising a diverse strategy and community building over a singular focus on virality.
- Understanding the virtue of patience in business, urging entrepreneurs to focus on personal progress instead of making comparisons.
- Adopting daily productivity hacks, focusing on three key tasks to avoid overwhelm and ensure completion.
- Utilising a game-changing productivity hack using
Michelle Tweddle: If you’re just focusing on going viral and getting sales, I think that’s the wrong strategy because that happens. Sometimes when it does, it’s amazing, but it definitely isn’t all the time.
Dahna Borg: Hi, and welcome to the bright minds of e-commerce podcast. I’m Dahna founder of bright red marketing, and after helping so many businesses in the e-commerce space over the years, I wanted to bring you the best advice Australian experts in e-commerce and e-commerce store owners had to offer. If you want relatable stories and actionable advice and the latest Facebook advertising strategies, you’re in the right place. so let’s get into today’s episode
Today, we’re here with Michelle from Touche.
Michelle Tweddle: Hi. So glad to be here.
Dahna Borg: So good to have you on the show. So tell us a little bit about Touche and how you got started.
Michelle Tweddle: So Touche is a sustainable bedding brand, we specialize in luxury bedding and sleep accessories made from eucalyptus
Dahna Borg: Wonderful.
Michelle Tweddle: Our products are designed to not only be good for your sleep, your hair and your skin, but also to be kind to our planet.
Dahna Borg: Where’d the idea come from?
Michelle Tweddle: I personally have always struggled with my sleep and a few years ago I was really struggling with insomnia, I was also struggling with breakouts on my skin as well. It led into the time when it was COVID 19 just starting, things were just getting worse and worse. I had tried every single sleep product out there on the market, tried weighted blankets , supplements and everything and nothing was really helping my sleep. One day I was doing online shopping as a lot of us were during COVID.
I was just looking for something else to help basically me sleep better. I came across an article that was talking about how silk pillowcases help.
With your skin particularly acne on your cheeks, which was I was struggling with so I started looking at silk. Pillowcases. Then I started looking at a plant based alternative because for me personally, I wanted a plant based version and there was just nothing out there. There was just nothing available.
There was satin, but satin is often polyester, so it’s not eco friendly at all, it’s also not very breathable, so it’s not good for your skin. So Yeah, I was like, oh, there’s nothing here and what am I going to buy? I recognize there that there was definitely a gap in the market. And I thought if I’m looking for this, then other people must be as well.
And that’s where it all started.
Dahna Borg: Amazing. What was that product development process? Like obviously you’ve got you say you had a background in nutrition. Like how do you go from that to launching a product
Michelle Tweddle: Yeah, I’ve got a bit of a mixed background. Actually. I had a few different career paths before I landed on being a business owner. Sorry, I do have a background in nutrition, but at the time I was working in a job for the government, so completely not related to e commerce or product development. So I did what I think.
Most people do that have no idea how to start a brand and just got on Google and got onto Alibaba and started reaching out to manufacturers and started just sampling from there. At that time, I didn’t know What product I was going to use. So I tried a few different fabrics and then I landed on this eucalyptus fabric and after sleeping on it, I was like, this is the one.
Dahna Borg: That’s so good. I know that eucalyptus has like medical kind of properties or medicinal properties. Does that help as well? Or is it gone by the time it’s in jades?
Michelle Tweddle: It’s one of the main reasons it has so many benefits is that it’s antibacterial. So yeah, eucalyptus is naturally antibacterial, so that helps prevent bacteria from growing. So that helps when you’re sleeping on it as a pillowcase. It helps from acne causing bacteria from growing and causing breakouts.
And it’s also hypoallergenic. It’s also really breathable. It’s really cooling to sleep on. So it’s this magic fabric basically.
Dahna Borg: I love it. So obviously being sustainable and ethical is really important to you. Do you have any tips for those who want to really embrace those things further? Cause I feel like there is really a movement and a shift between being more sustainable and ethical as a brand.
Michelle Tweddle: Yeah, definitely. I think for me, it’s just, A question whenever I’m purchasing something, if I can make a better choice, it’s not about being perfect. But just if there is an option and there are so many options these days, try to look for those options. If you can, that are going to be more sustainable.
And it’s just those little things add up. for me, you can purchase betting that Is, not eco friendly and it might be cheaper, but in the long run you need to think about what’s going to last. And so you’re not, purchasing so many different products and yeah,
Dahna Borg: that. I love that. I suppose we talk about slow fashion all the time, but I don’t think anyone talks about slow bedding.
Michelle Tweddle: No.
Dahna Borg: just talk about slow bedding and slow living, slow life,
Michelle Tweddle: Yeah. And it’s one of those things. We don’t wear the same clothes every day, but we sleep in the same bedding. It’s really important to have something that’s going to be long lasting and you’re not going to just be churning through it and, purchasing new sheets every year.
Dahna Borg: Obviously not coming from a business background, you’ve Googled all these things. You’ve got the business, you’ve launched it. What was the marketing like in those early days?
Michelle Tweddle: Yeah, I had no idea about marketing, basically. So everything was organic and everything was just I was just learning on the go. So we launched with only pillowcases and we only had pillowcases for almost a year. Although I’d personally sampled sheets and other products and I knew there was benefits there.
For your sleep, which was also what I had been looking for to help with my insomnia at the time. It was just a bit too much for me to focus on, bring so many products to market. So I just focused on the pillowcases and focused on them being an alternative to silk. And for us, TikTok was a massive thing.
And really that educational piece. A lot of people don’t know how traditional silk is made and it’s quite cruel how it is made. We had one video in particular that showed how Traditional silk is made and it went viral because people were commenting saying, Oh, I’ve been vegan for 20 years and had no idea.
And I’ve been sleeping on a silk pillowcase and that kind of thing. Yeah, there was definitely a massive educational piece. And most of that was been, was able to be done organically through TikTok, through video. That was massive for us.
Dahna Borg: Wonderful. Do you think it was just with the TikTok because I know so many people struggle to grow their followings on TikTok. I feel like everyone has an understanding on Instagram, whether it’s working great for them or not, but TikTok still seems a bit foreign to a lot of people. Do you have any tips on growing that following?
Because it does seem to be quite successful for you even now.
Michelle Tweddle: Yeah you know what? I just had to try so many different things until I found what worked for us. And still some days I post something and I think it’s going to go off and it just completely doesn’t at all. So it’s a constant learning process, but I think, yeah, just, Trying as much as you can and just being consistent as well.
I think the more that you put out there, and I used to try to post every day, especially when we were growing, I think the more that you can put out there and you can figure out what’s working for your brand, the better. And then you can just keep repeating what worked. Because most of the time, it’s not really like, Instagram and other apps where your followers say, What you post, it’s usually primarily new people that are seeing your content.
So if it worked once, if you replicate it and just change it slightly, it’s bound to work again.
Dahna Borg: Yeah, that’s really interesting. It’s also good to know that sometimes even someone who has a successful brand like you does have a flop post on TikTok.
Michelle Tweddle: Oh, yeah, definitely.
Dahna Borg: I think a lot of people get it stuck in their heads that like every post has to go viral or has to reach so many people.
And it really doesn’t. And even the big brands have posts that just. Don’t do much. And it’s a bit crickety.
Michelle Tweddle: And. It depends what the video is, we’ve had some videos go viral and they don’t really result in sales, because it’s more, aspirational like a business owner journey kind of video, and people love to see that, but it doesn’t mean they’ll necessarily purchase, but it’s really great to build your community.
If you’re just focusing on going viral and getting sales, I think that’s the wrong strategy because that happens. Sometimes when it does, it’s amazing, but it definitely isn’t all the time.
Dahna Borg: Yeah. I suppose that’s just good business advice. If you’re always focused on sales, people get annoyed anyway. Like you need to make sure you’re covering a breadth of topics to make sure you’re not just in people’s faces 24 seven.
Michelle Tweddle: Yeah, definitely. And I feel like on Tik TOK, especially the consumers there, as soon as they can smell an ad, they’re like, no, like not even three seconds.
Dahna Borg: They know what’s up. I think that’s where a lot of people struggle is they just repurpose the content from Instagram or they get really salesy. So it’s good to hear.
You’ve also got an ambassador program. Tell us about that. How’s it work? Do you find it works well, any tips?
Michelle Tweddle: We do. We do. Um, originally I was working with some influences when we first launched just with a gifting strategy and we were finding that those influencers were coming back at times and purchasing for themselves and purchasing gifts for friends.
And I just thought who better to promote our products than people that obviously had a good experience and they loved them themselves. So, when we move to sheets and releasing new products, instead of going out there and finding new people to work with, I would go back to people that we’ve worked with in the past and genuinely loved the product and understood, you know, what we stand for and supported that.
So I really do try to work with the same people again, if I can, and even, yeah, if I see one of our customers has shared a story or a reel and they’ve just done that because they love the product, then we’ll definitely get in touch and see if we can work with them again with another product release.
So, yeah, That’s kind of strategy with our ambassador program.
Dahna Borg: I love that when you were working with the influencers, I know a lot of people struggle with, gifting strategy they gift the product and then not a lot happens, or they gift the product and. It’s not quite the right fit. Did you have any I suppose any lessons in or tips in how to find the right fit and make that work because finding the right person, I feel is the better thing for success than just using influences.
Michelle Tweddle: Yes, definitely. That was a steep learning curve for me, especially when I first started. And, you know, you would. Send something out and just never hear back. I used to get really upset about that, but it just happens sometimes. and I think that’s more likely to happen if you’re going with a really broad approach.
But if you find like minded influencers or creators that, have the same values as you, they are going to like the product. So they’re less likely to do something like that. And they’re more likely to just share it. Organically and for us, we didn’t have the budget to do anything outside of gifting.
And even now we are very limited because our products, our bedding products are quite expensive already. So even to give that it’s quite high value. So usually customers that. or influences that reach out that are already loving our product. That’s a good way to go because they were going to pay for it anyway.
And so if they gifted it, that’s amazing to them. In terms of finding the right people, I guess it’s just, looking at who your customer is and, finding them as a creator and then if a creator is reaching out to you and they appear to be that person, then they would be a good person to collaborate with.
Dahna Borg: love that. Did you have any sort of benchmarks in terms of followers? Because I do find that sometimes the smaller accounts tend to perform a little bit better, but it depends what you’re after. Are you after the content or are you after the exposure on their channel?
Michelle Tweddle: Yeah, so initially I went for exposure because I think that used to work really well, maybe a few years ago. And from my research, I thought that was the way to go because I had, been watching YouTube videos and listening to podcasts. A few years ago before I started and we just found that wasn’t really giving us much reach and it wasn’t really doing much for us as a brand.
So then I really looked at the creative themselves and the content they were creating. And if it was on brand for us we could have an influence. So that has. It’s a hundred thousand followers, but if they post something that’s not really on brand or they don’t really understand our brand and they communicate a message that isn’t quite right.
That’s not going to help us at all, but if they have a lot smaller following, but they create beautiful content and they understand our brand and they resonate with our values, then that’s going to show on their page and the people following them are more likely to resonate with that content.
And then it also will in turn work reshare as well.
Dahna Borg: Yeah, I love that so much. So we talked a little bit about your marketing, the early days, and then obviously TikTok and the ambassadors. Is there anything else that’s really working for you in the marketing space right now? Cause I know that’s something that people are always really interested in.
Michelle Tweddle: Yeah. So look, we only just started. paid advertising, probably this year. And I’m still doing that myself and learning as I go. It’s definitely hit and miss too. So it’s something that now that we’re a bit bigger, I can explore. Customers have to see your brand. I think, what is it? 10 times.
Dahna Borg: Was seven. And then that was 10. And I feel like by now it’s like 55, I
Michelle Tweddle: Yeah, so we just try to put ourselves everywhere we possibly can with our still fairly limited resources being mainly me. We just try to get everywhere we possibly can so people can get to know our brand. And also email marketing as well has been something that I’ve been concentrating on more and more.
Because I think it’s just a great way to reach our audience and it’s practically free, which is amazing. Yeah,
Dahna Borg: Lovely. I had a question for you. What was it? Email paid. Oh, you’ve had lots of really lovely press. You’ve been like featured in some really lovely publications and things. Was there anything that you did in particular to get that?
Or was it just reach out and hope for the best?
Michelle Tweddle: so we did actually work with a PR agency for a few months. Yeah, so that definitely helped. That was probably a year and a half into the brand. And we put together these, boxes made from this wood and it had eucalyptus in it and all of our bedding products and they were really beautiful. And it Sort of explained our story and I sent them out to, oh gosh, like a lot of publications.
And we definitely didn’t get mentioned by all of them. But yeah, a few of them were kind enough to share our story. Yeah, that was definitely amazing for us just to have that bit of um, authority as well in the market.
Dahna Borg: What a clever way of doing it. Cause I feel like everyone just gets stuck in. I’m just going to send a bunch of emails and cold call some people, but you actually went to the effort of making beautiful pieces and sending them to them.
Michelle Tweddle: Yeah. Yeah. I thought. A lot of these magazines and things, they get these packages from, these massive cosmetics brands or betting brands that probably have a ticket to Paris or something in there. I was like, what can I do to stand out? It’s not a ticket to Paris. So yeah, it was fun.
It was fun organizing them.
Dahna Borg: I love that. I feel like we do forget sometimes in business that we can actually communicate with people via post.
Michelle Tweddle: Yeah.
Dahna Borg: Like you can send things. I think they used to call it like guerrilla marketing or something. Remember reading a book about it when I first started in marketing. It was very much like.
How can you get in someone’s face in a nice way, but like really show that you’re keen. And I just love that. I think we, we don’t do that enough in business today.
Michelle Tweddle: Yeah, definitely. You have to sort of think outside the box of how to make an impression.
Dahna Borg: So do you think there’s anything we’ve missed before we wrap up into the last kind of couple of questions, any big lessons that you’ve learned?
Michelle Tweddle: I’ll wait to see what your last couple of questions are.
Dahna Borg: That’s fine. Um, Do you have a best business tip for those listening?
Michelle Tweddle: Oh I would say to be patient. That’s something that I have struggled with, definitely. It’s very easy to, compare yourself to other brands, but you just need to look at, only like what you did yesterday and how you can improve on that rather than being so hard on yourself and trying to get from, point A to. in a week rather than just going through the process that you need to do. So, um, Yeah, it’s something I’m still working on, but just try to be patient and not so hard on yourself. Really.
Dahna Borg: Always good advice. Do you have any strategies or habits that you follow each day to help you stay on track in business?
Michelle Tweddle: I do. I’m a big habits girl. I love my productivity hacks. So I’ve got a list and I mainly just focus on three things that I need to get done that day. And I just. Basically start one and don’t move to the next one or move to anything else until I finish that one thing. And that has been a really great way to feel less overwhelmed each day, because you can only do really one thing at a time, as much as we try to multitask.
You actually. end up getting a lot more done if you just finish that one thing completely and then move on, I found. That’s definitely one thing. And a massive hack that I’ve actually just found is this app called Boomerang for Gmail. Have you heard of
Dahna Borg: I love boomerang. Inbox
Michelle Tweddle: how I hadn’t discovered this before.
I think it was this month. I discovered it. It has been a game changer. Cause I’m in a few different inboxes and it’s just so easy for them to get clogged, but I love. Inbox zero, it’s just the best, so boomerang just being able to get something out of your inbox and then come back when you need it and adding a note to it.
It’s just the best, so
Dahna Borg: it’s on Outlook as well for anyone listening. And it’s, yeah, it’s fantastic. Just as you said I don’t want it to be in my inbox if I don’t need to deal with it till next week.
Michelle Tweddle: Yep.
Dahna Borg: Go away until next week. Come back then. I love that. And if people want to visit you, what’s the best way for that?
Michelle Tweddle: Our website is just touchebrand. com. And our Instagram and TikTok is touchethebrand.
Dahna Borg: Wonderful. And Michelle has been kind enough to give 15 percent off. With the code ‘brightminds15’, and we’ll put that in the show notes for you. But thank you so much for joining us, Michelle. It’s been an absolute pleasure having you on the show.
Michelle Tweddle: It’s been a pleasure. Thanks so much.
Dahna Borg: Thanks for listening to the bright minds of e-commerce podcast. As always you’ll find the show email@example.com forward slash episode 55. thanks for listening.