Posted by: the3rdi | February 22, 2010

Shepreneurs Are Set To Rule The Web In 2010

Shopping savvy businesswomen and ambitious stay-at-home mums are set to rule
the internet in 2010, according to a Scottish digital agency.

Ecommerce web design specialists Channel 6 have seen a 150% increase in the
number of female clients coming to them to set up retail websites in the
last 12 months alone.

The Edinburgh-based agency has seen a sharp rise in the number of female
online entrepreneurs – or shepreneurs – and mothers who don’t see having
children as a barrier to fulfilling their business dream looking to start an
internet retail companies.

Kate Little, Client Services Director for Channel 6, said: “Prior to 2009,
the majority of our customers looking to set up an online business were men
– but last year more than half of Channel 6’s new clients have been women
looking to set up an internet retail site.

“Already the overwhelming majority of Channel 6’s new customers this year
have been female. These are often women looking to sell fashion and beauty
products to other women, they are using their retail knowledge and passion
for shopping to start their own businesses and make themselves money.

“We think that the trend for female internet entrepreneurs will continue to
grow throughout 2010.”

One of Channel 6’s newest female entrepreneurs, Kate Barrett, cast aside her
career as an environmental scientist to launch a boutique fashion website,
The Moon & Mars (
http://www.themoonandmars.co.uk). Kate, who lives in Edinburgh, said The Moon &
Mars website gave her the creative and business freedom she had always
wanted from a career.

The 31-year-old added: “I am an extremely hard worker, and putting in 12 to
14 hour days is not a problem for me, but I only wanted to do that to
further my own personal interests and reap the benefits myself.

“I have always been interested in fashion blogging and I wanted to run my
own business, having Channel 6 design me an etail site seemed like a natural
step.

“Although there are men interested in blogging and fashion most of the
online debates are dominated by women. The web is very democratic now, it
doesn’t matter if you are a fashion fan or the editor of Vogue, the best
quality sites naturally gain the most hits over time. I think women
understand these social networks best.

“I have been involved in fashion blogging in the UK and America for years
and have a strong understanding of how those social networks work. I want to
work directly with my favourite bloggers and to forge links from their sites
to mine.”

Imogen Roberts, who runs Channel 6-designed swimwear site, Claudia Strand (
http://www.claudiastrand.com), having an online
business helped when it came looking after her six-month-old son, Charlie.

Imogen, 28, from Buckinghamshire, said: “It is great to be able to choose my
own working hours while looking after a baby. An etail career is a great
option if you have children – you can be a successful, independent career
woman without huge overheads, and be almost completely flexible with your
time. There is certainly a lot of work to do, but you could do it all day or
you could work all night if it suited you.

“I am selling to women all over the world, so it is great to bring my own
skills and knowledge to fashion etail – I was going on holiday in the winter
of 2004 and I couldn’t find anywhere to buy a swimming costume. I thought,
here is a gap in the market, if this is something I need then other people
will be looking for the same thing too. I set up the website the next year
and haven’t looked back since.”

Channel 6’s Kate, who has just helped Imogen give her site a full redesign,
added: “Having an online retail site fits into the work life balance of many
women wanting to raise a family without giving up work.

“In the past e-commerce may have been viewed as a masculine business model
because it was seen as technical. But with advanced web design it is easy to
display products in a beautiful and stylish way online – these days it is
more about usability and aesthetics than HTML.

“The Web 2.0 encourages users to be collaborative and communicate with each
other – whether it is blogging about their latest purchases or posting
reviews on an etail site.

“Traditionally the female mind has been more aligned with this
conversational approach. It is no wonder we are witnessing the rise of
shepreneurs and the female web.”

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