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Digital-first approach helps Gwynedd business increase international orders by 20 per cent

An entrepreneurial mum of three in Gwynedd has embraced digital to increase global sales of men’s leather bags and accessories, as well as enabling her to work more efficiently for a better work-life balance.

Awel Lewis, who founded My Leather Manbag Ltd with her father, Robert, in 2013, has grown international orders, which now account for 20 per cent of sales, via an e-commerce website and a strategic approach to email marketing.

The family firm’s approach to digital also ensures Awel spends more time with her three children, twin girls aged nine and a four-year-old boy. And this, she says is really important as, “a good work-life balance is important to me. I enjoy working, it keeps me motivated, and I want to ensure that my children also have strong work ethics, but it is also important to me to enjoy quality time with my family.”

Awel spotted a gap in the market for men’s leather bags as males increasingly use laptops, tablets, and other mobile devices. More products were added to the range this year, including belts, wash bags, and shoes.

Since launching, the fully bilingual and mobile-friendly website has also been made available in multiple other languages to aid global sales. And now the 38-year-old plans to use social media marketing and video alongside expanding the range to increase turnover by 50 per cent and take on an employee in the next 12 months.

She points to her marketing qualification and a free digital masterclass, held by Superfast Business Wales, as crucial support for the success.

“Digital has allowed me to start and grow the business, and it removes barriers such as geography and time limitations,” Awel said.

"People can shop online across the world at any given time. Our online store is open 24/7. With the average UK weekly spend online currently at £1billion, it’s imperative we understand and implement best practices to grow the business.

“Having received consultancy from Superfast Business Wales, I was keen to improve our social media marketing.

“Reviews are automatically shared across Twitter and Facebook, and we launched a Facebook advertising campaign to increase our reach. We will also be utilising Instagram more to encourage our customers to post pictures of the products in action.”

Awel, who completed a diploma in digital marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) in 2015, added: “Combining digital online adverts such as the Telegraph online with traditional adverts in the London Evening Standard Newspaper and the Private Eye Magazine, has not only improved efficiency but made me far more productive. It’s win-win because a little bit of forethought gives me far more free time.

"For example, reviewing our analytics, I know that Monday and Tuesday evenings are good online shopping nights. I automatically schedule email campaigns for these peak times so I can spend time with my children.

"This is crucial because email marketing accounts for 20 per cent of sales, and this number keeps growing. I have also recently discovered the benefits of abandon cart email reminders. Sending automated emails to customers who abandon their shopping cart results in 30 per cent of them completing their purchase.

“We will keep exploring opportunities for automation in order to optimise efficiency, and this should also maximise success for the business."

Gwynedd Business - My leather Manbag image

Digital has allowed me to start and grow the business, and it removes barriers such as geography and time limitations.