Candice Mason knows how valuable an E-commerce business can be to a regional family.  Her husband works in the energy industry and during recent economic downturns, her business kept the household going.

Mason is the founder and owner of online retailer, My Felt Lady, selling high quality merino wool felt, used for craft, fascinators, hats and bags. Operating from Chinchilla, My Felt Lady now has customers from across Australia, as well as the United States, United Kingdom, France and even the Middle East — all keen to buy 100 per cent merino wool felt. “The felt is popular among crafts enthusiasts due its biodegradable, child safe and flame retardant characteristics. After five years, there’s not much I don’t know about felt.” While the quality of the product has led to many sales, Mason attributes the success of her business to several factors. “I established the business when my children were young to keep my mind active and up to date with the sales industry. I had the time to do my research and find what would work best for me to create an online business in this region,” said Mason.

“When My Felt Lady initially began to turn into a profiting business, I investigated more into online selling — it’s a lot different to an in-person store.” Mason had to find a way to engage clients to encourage both new and returning customers. “Quick turn-arounds with customer orders, word of mouth and being locally in the country” all helped to drive business. “I have a history of customer service that goes above and beyond,” said Mason. “If a customer has had a bad experience, it’s usually user error or issues with the online e-commerce platform.” Finding and solving the source of customer dissatisfaction can greatly impact the overall success of the business. “Without customers, there would be no me. I want to see their success with the product.” Inspired by the success and the opportunity e-commerce presents for regional entrepreneurs like Mason, Business Navigator Western Downs is launching an E-commerce Network in early 2020.

The network will bring e-commerce experts together to deliver knowledge workshops assisting business owners to be competitive with the rest of the world. “I’m super keen because I have a lot to give. I want to see people learn from my experience and what worked for me and I’ll be interested to see what other people are doing to drive success.” Mason aspires to grow the demographic of her e-commerce site internationally and to reach those who do not generally go online. “When I was a kid living in a regional area, if I wanted to order some clothes, we would use a magazine to find items we liked and order through a postal form. The internet streamlined this, but there are still people who are not that comfortable putting their details online.” While Mason already has some ideas up her woolly sleeves, she is looking forward to developing them with the network.

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