Half the Price Clothing’s Ricca Del Rosario shares her inspiring story of working hard, making use of opportunities, and reaching her goals through digital technology.
Half the Price Clothing began during a very challenging time in the life of its founder, Ricca Del Rosario. Having just had her first baby and while she was out buying diapers and milk, she was devastated to discover she’d lost P3,000 from her wallet, with no hope of getting it back. Inspiration struck in the form of a suitcase full of old clothes, and Ricca decided to put up an online store.
HTP started as an Instagram seller providing secondhand yet trendy pieces at prices anyone can afford. Today, they’re a go-to brand for many Instagram shoppers looking for a good deal, selling their own original pieces while looking towards creating their own online platform for the brand. This is their story.
HTP took off at a running start in 2014 after Ricca decided to sell her old clothing. All it took were a few photos of her wearing the clothes, and in the span of just one day, she had sold out all her products. From this, she began to sell more secondhand clothes, upon request of friends and her first few customers. In fact, she got to the point where she no longer had clothes to sell.
To work past this, she turned to her friends for more secondhand clothes and scoured tiangges for outfits she could buy and sell. Thanks to her great taste and eager market, she was able to keep the store open and go from small-time solo-preneur to household name for over 50,000 followers.
With creativity and resilience, she faced every challenge that came her way. Being an online shop, one of her main concerns is competition. With the sheer number of entrepreneurs operating on all digital platforms, it’s tough to make a name for yourself that people will recognize and prioritize above the rest. It can be very hard to secure a spot of importance in your market’s radar, especially on Instagram, which has recently become a breeding ground for e-commerce.
Fortunately, when Ricca started back in 2014, there weren’t too many Instagram sellers yet, which allowed her to form her own dedicated market. But as time passed, competition got tougher and she recognized the need to set her brand apart from the crowd of online shops, which were also selling discounted or affordable clothing.
“Unlike other online shops, HTP is very personal,” she shares. “Customers know what I do, they know where I am; it’s like a life blog, where at the same time I’m selling. […] When I meet customers, I take photos with them and post them on the account. My customers can also make requests through [Direct Messaging on] Instagram or e-mail.”
Ricca credits her customers’ loyalty and patronage to that sense of being open and personal with her market. By sharing her life and her stories through Instagram posts, she’s making them feel like more than just buyers, but her friends. She even has a team on deck to deal with customer care, understanding that it’s one of the most important parts of running a business.
She also takes great care to be consistent with her posting. By keeping a strict schedule with herself to always launch new pieces on Saturdays and Sundays at 8 p.m., she’s allowing her market to form a habit of checking for new deals every weekend, and she doesn’t disappoint them when they do.
Finally, she also credits her success to the exclusivity of her pieces.
“[Limited stocks] make customers feel that the products are exclusive,” she shares. Because claiming stocks on her account is on a first-come first-served basis, with the people quickest to comment also being the ones to reserve the pieces they want, her customers are even more eager to buy from HTP, since they get to be the lucky few.
All throughout her journey, digital technology and the Internet have been Ricca’s best friend in running her business. Because she’s running an online store and wants to keep it online for much longer, she has invested in sponsored posts on both Instagram and Facebook for about a year now, and she’s looking to have her own website sometime in the future.
She also relies on technology to keep up her consistent posting schedule, allowing her to launch pieces and post updates no matter where she is. She’s grateful for the speed at which she can reach her market through the web, and the speed at which they can get back to her. They’re able to reach her anytime, anywhere, and she can respond to their concerns immediately.
“Our reaction time to customers’ needs [is definitely a benefit of having an online store],” she says. “It’s so quick to adjust. For example, if our Instagram store [needs to be improved], it would be so much easier to modify it than to remodel or redesign a physical store.”
Finally, with help from Globe myBusiness, she’s looking into utilizing the RUSH app, which would allow her to provide rewards and loyalty programs to her valued customers, giving them more of an incentive to continue their patronage.
Ricca has learned a lot of things throughout her journey with HTP. Sharing her knowledge with those looking to enter the e-commerce industry, she gives the following tips:
“You have to be different. There are so many SMEs, especially online. You have to set yourself apart from the rest. And don’t be afraid to try and explore. Be open to new learnings; take opportunities to learn. Finally, you have to learn to delegate some tasks. Some business owners are scared to delegate because they’re afraid it will affect the quality [of the work]. But you can’t do everything on your own; you need to learn to let go, so that you can focus on what you should be focusing on.”
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