Over the past couple of years, we've had the great pleasure of working with an amazing brand called Cecily Clune. They were one of Persollo's earliest adopters, and their vision is to provide luxury leather goods - backed by their values of high quality, reliability, practicality, and definitive style.
During the earlier stages of Cecily Clune, they were able to paste a link to the Persollo checkout under promotional Instagram posts. Soon after, the Persollo instant checkout was embedded within their fully built website - which ensured customers would bypass the conversion killing 'shopping cart'. We're really proud of how far Cecily Clune has come since those days - here's a little snippet:
Why this and not a full blown cart?
"For me, I started off thinking I would mainly go to stockists... (that game is hard!) I did want to see how the online side goes before I invested in getting a shopping cart added… so when Persollo approached me it seemed like a no brainer! Can’t hurt to try. Plus - each item you have has its own personalised link, so you can put it anywhere.. Send it via FB messenger, use it on Instagram, etc." - Libby
More recently, we reached out to Libby Thomson, their Founder & Creative Director, for more insight into her personal journey with the brand.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF
Before Cecily Clune, I was involved in education. I was a teacher of English Literature and Classical Societies and Culture and therefore always had a keen interest in language, art, history, architecture and design. I come from a family of artists, passionate art lovers and apparel manufacturers. I also assisted my husband abroad with establishing several international schools. My last position was as the Volunteer Coordinator for a well- known UK charity school and residence in Kolkata, India for street and slum children. I used to manage the young adults from around the world, who came for 6 months to volunteer. Kolkata is where I was introduced to leather manufacturers and tanneries and where I started – I designed four black bags which were successful back home.
Now I spend my time mainly with the production side of the business which I have learned pretty well. This is what I love. I have just outsourced my marketing so I can get on with what I am good at! I agonize over leather choices and hardware and functionality and thoroughly annoy my friends asking for opinions on design prototypes.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
I don’t think I was inspired by anything. It was more than that. I just had to do it. It was
something driving me to create and design. I have always had this but had not found the right way to express it. I am so lucky that I was able to be in the right place at the right time to realize my passion. I see handbags and working with leather as a meeting of art and practicality. It is immensely satisfying for me.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT CECILY CLUNE
Cecily Clune is a name part made up and part a family name. There have been many Cecily’s in my life and they all have been special and women of substance. The brand is all about being pared back and elegant with strong shapes and excellent materials – no smoke and mirrors – we have integrity with all components. Cecily Clune projects qualities of strength and confidence - a woman who knows who she is.
WHAT WERE SOME OF THE MOST REWARDING MOMENTS OF YOUR JOURNEY SO FAR?
The most rewarding moments of my journey so far is the reaction to the brand. People who get what I am trying to say with my products, get it totally. They understand the look, the quality and the whole aesthetic. It means my vision is shared. I love that – it is amazing - I find it wonderful how human beings work – we are all the same no matter what culture or creed across the world.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES YOU HAVE FACED?
The challenges I have faced have mainly been in production and ensuring that my standards of finish and quality are maintained. This is sometimes difficult when dealing with foreign companies and I have had to let go of some relationships on this basis. I have to maintain quality at all costs – this is my integrity on the line and I will not compromise. I have also been challenged by educating myself in the use of social media, website maintenance, etc etc. I understand it but know I am not the best person to execute it! Hence I have just engaged a marketing company to take over this side of the business with me retaining control over content. Much much better. People might be hearing a lot from me soon because it has been crickets for a long long time!
WHERE DO YOU SEE THE FUTURE OF E-COMMERCE?
e-Commerce is the future and e-Commerce will replace many shops, although boutique shopping should always have a place - as an experience. In Australia, rents and wages are very high and retail margins are large from a manufacturer’s standpoint. To be profitable for a manufacturer who is wholesaling to retailers, there needs to be volume. It does not work for smaller, artisan type products unless they have stupendously huge price tags. Hence, we see replication of shops across the world selling the same brands and the same products. For this reason, I find shopping a little tedious … unless it is in a beautiful specialist shop which is fabulous. Aesop is an example of fabulousness in retail because it is an experience. I love their shops.
E commerce allows for greater diversification and access to exquisite goods at reasonable prices. Needless to say, I buy most things online.
Cecily Clune is gearing up for a greater ecommerce presence with high res images and ease of delivery and returns (hopefully not necessary!)
We hope many of you will be able to draw some inspiration from her responses and entrepreneurial journey.
Feel free to check Cecily Clune out here.