Mitch Hesse and the team at The Miami Larder, are a testament to how a beautiful idea first inspired by Instagram, can turn into a thriving business. The team at The Miami Larder understand how content marketing, beautiful product photography and clever delivery can make you stand out online.
Mitch and the team took the time to share some of their thoughts on running a successful online store and how it’s evolved over the years.
What inspired you to start The Miami Larder?
The Miami Larder came about from a trip to Australia. My wife and I were looking at Instagram quite a bit and constantly saw this grazing board concept in several different cities. Upon returning to the states and doing some of our own research we found that it had fully taken off and wanted to get ahead of the curve in Miami. The concept is exciting because it’s an approachable way for consumers to get a high-end grazing experience in their own spaces.
What’s unique about your business? Why do your customers keep coming back to you?
Our business is unique in the fact that the product is seasonal and always rotating. From the fruit to the cheese to the meats, I am always searching for quality products to introduce to the market. We also offer a fun and vegan signature product unique to The Miami Larder: our locally-sourced tropical fruit board. Our customers love the ease of the concept its a click or a phone call away and deliciousness is at the doorstep within a few hours.
What do you think are the key reasons for the success of The Miami Larder and would you do anything differently if you were starting it today?
The success is definitely in the product and the branding. People constantly rave about the Instagram feed, and some even ring to confirm it isn’t just a glamour feed. Even though it’s a high-quality food product, the advertising medium is highly visual and it’s not enough to just make something delicious. The key to success is making sure that potential customers are seeing and talking about the beauty of your product across the digital landscape. Starting it over I wouldn’t change a thing – it’s been a very smooth launch and we are growing every week
What were some challenges you encountered when starting you didn’t anticipate?
Delivery is a bottleneck, due to the different sizes and nature of the boards and the fact that we had done only a few trial runs. We’ve had to change and standardize our delivery approach as we’ve grown to keep up with demand and ensure a quality product. We took a tiered approach to delivery pricing that helps us recoup the costs, although we remain flexible for delivery and set up for large-scale orders.
Do you use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc, to promote your businesses? How successful has it been for you?
We use Instagram, Facebook, Yelp, Google Business and SEO to grow the business. All have been fantastic tools to reach our target audience. But these tools don’t work on their own – they are fueled by a steady stream of high quality target content that speaks directly to our customer base. If you’re selling a product, plan ways to keep it looking fresh and new even to people who have seen it before. I would also advise other businesses to be highly responsive and interact with users as quickly as possible and to be genuine. Perfecting these strategies allows us to engage with the local market but also to have fans all over the world.
What has been the most effective way to drive traffic to your website?
We chose early-on to have a content-based strategy to drive traffic to the site via social media, especially Instagram. But we’re also focused on blog content (which helps with SEO when promoted properly) and finding local influencers and press partners. This strategy will work for us in the long run, but it takes time to reach its full power. Major sources of our early traffic actually comes from Yelp and Google Business.
What’s it like running your business? What does a typical day look like?
A typical day starts with checking our feeds for any interactions or questions from potential clients. Then it’s time to prepare the boards – I’ll cut, weigh and place all products on the board and package for delivery. I always try to make the deliveries myself so I can meet our clients and begin to build a relationship moving forward. We are constantly posting and updating our Instagram feed so we take small videos of boards in the process that we post on slower days to entice sales.
You use WooCommerce Delivery Slots for your store, how has it helped you and your store?
WooCommerce Delivery Slots really helped us make sure that we could actually fulfil all of our orders. We were worried that customers who live far away might place orders, so it allowed us to create a delivery zone with tiered pricing to help us recoup some of the costs. And it also let us set delivery slots so we can better manage our orders and prevent delivery headaches. It’s worked beautifully, allowing us to grow at a sustainable rate while providing a quality front-facing experience.
What other tools or software do you use to make running your store a little easier?
We use MailChimp to handle our newsletters and customer lists. But it’s also great for email automation, and that’s a powerful tool to make sure that first-time customers become repeat customers. And Google Docs is simple but effective when it comes to collaboration for marketing and business development.
If you could give one piece of advice to new and emerging store owners, what would it be?
Jump all in. If you aren’t fully committed it will show in your product and your clients will be able to feel it. This is a fast-paced market, so you’ve got to be able to keep up if you expect to be successful.
Where to find The Miami Larder
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