Elle Black is the Founder/CEO of Mimi Deluxe.

My name is Elle Black and I run an online retail shop. It’s a sex shop. Which has made the last five years rather interesting. This is my second business, my first was very mainstream (web development) and when I began I thought selling online would be a walk in the park.

          Firstly, let me make you all feel more comfortable by stating that our shop is actually rather tame. We don’t do porno DVD’s, we don’t do nudity and we don’t sell giant jelly penises. Still probably not safe for browsing at work but the products we sell won’t make you cringe. 
          When we began, I thought advertising would be easy. As we were filling a void, selling the designer vibrators advertised and discussed in women’s magazines like Cosmo, Women’s Health, Cleo (R.I.P.) and all the other sex toy shops still looked like the bright lights of Kings Cross. Our’s was like Net A Porter so surely . But we were not allowed to advertise the products online within the publications that were frequently talking about them. This was the start of many hurdles where I was left scratching my head and wondering what have I got myself into. 

Tip 1: Every day you need to work on that “glass is half full” mentality.
Just like when we decided to launch internationally, and after months of deciding on the best option and building the website to suit internationalisation it appeared we (ok, so it was me) got it wrong. I told you my previous business was online development, specifically SEO, well I would have fired me. We managed to get the UK and Australian version of the site dropped from Google entirely for at least a month, and to anyone who’s been in a similar position, you know what it’s like trying to contact the faceless Google to get help – impossible! In some weird way it was a blessing. It was a reminder not to put all those marketing eggs in one basket. Coming from an online marketing background I still tend to obsess about Google rankings, but my business partner is constantly reminding me to move outside of my comfort zone. 

Tip 2: Speak to people, build as many roads in as possible.
I’ve had many more bad days, but so what? I’m still here. I’m still working on my business and excited by new ideas and goals. The highs are emails from guys saying we saved their marriage – that is heartwarming. There are times when the Huffington Post have nearly run our articles (before we had a PR agency) and times when major Australian news publications have actually written about us (with the help of our PR agency). So as long I’m still moving forward, I’m still making my way towards greater success. 

Tip 3: Like my dad always says “If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.”

We hope you are enjoying our series on Enterprising Entrepreneurs. 


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