Today we meet Edda Olafsdottir, founder and owner of Pimp My Diabetes. Pimp My Diabetes specializes in stylish diabetes accessories, with Edda identifying a market in Canada and the USA and setting up a successful online store. Soon, her hobby became her full-time job and she continues to run the business more-or-less as a one-woman show, taking care of everything from inventory management, managing the website, social media, customer service, packing the orders, and more. How has Edda managed to build a thriving online community of repeat customers? Let’s find out!
My name is Edda and I’m the founder and owner of Pimp My Diabetes. My background is in Web development and I worked full-time as a web developer for 10+ years. I’ve worked with various ecommerce platforms and content management systems in my career as well as freelancing on the side, mostly building ecommerce stores.
I started a few hobby ecommerce stores in the past, selling handmade cosmetics and jewelry, but Pimp My Diabetes grew much bigger and has been my full-time job since 2018. For the first 9 months after starting the company, I was working full-time as a Web developer and doing Pimp My Diabetes after work and on the weekends. By then it had grown so much that I left my Web developer job and started working on Pimp My Diabetes full-time.
I sell stylish diabetes accessories such as bags to carry diabetes supplies, decorative stickers for diabetes devices, adhesive patches to keep the devices in place (such as insulin pump sites and Continuous Glucose Monitors), medical ID jewelry, and more. My goal is to give fellow diabetics the confidence to show off their devices with style and to normalize diabetes devices, make people feel like they don’t have to hide them.
I started the company in 2017 as I did not find a lot of selection of these kinds of products in Canada. I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 2014 and when I started wearing an insulin pump and a CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitor) a few years later I started looking for bags to carry my supplies in as well as stickers to decorate my devices.
I did some research and saw there was a market for these products in Canada. There were some companies in Europe selling similar products so I contacted some of them, started importing products, and offering them to the Canadian market. I started with decorative stickers, adhesive patches, and some medical ID jewelry that I made myself, but since then my selection has grown a lot and I’m importing products from many different companies around the world such as Germany, United Kingdom, Poland, United States, Brazil, Indonesia, etc. I also started making some of the sticker designs myself and have them custom printed. I found some of the companies myself and approached them, but many of them found me through social media and asked if I was interested in selling their products.
I wear many hats as I do a lot of the work myself. Everything from inventory management, managing the website, social media, customer service, packing the orders, etc. I recently started working with an accounting firm to do all my accounting work and a marketing agency to manage ads and that has helped free up some time so I can focus on everything else.
I’ve been going through my inventory and planning for the new year, phasing out products that are not selling as well to make space for new products. I want to keep growing and am focusing on marketing mostly for Canada and the US through ads and email marketing.
Everything to do with shipping has been a challenge, especially with Covid and slower shipping. I’ve had to figure out adjusting my rates, adding new couriers, and setting reasonable expectations for shipping times. Getting inventory has also been a bit slower, depending on location though, so I’ve had to plan more in advance.
My customers are my biggest motivation. To know that I’m helping people and making their life better in some way is a great reward.
Building a community through social media has definitely helped. There is a big community of diabetics on social media and I share my experience living with diabetes on my channels. I also repost pictures of my customers showing off their decorated devices with the products I sell and I think that gives people confidence and makes them feel like they’re not alone.
I’ve also been building an email list since I started the store, offering a 10% discount when people sign up on the list. I send emails regularly with promotions and new product notifications and have a lot of repeat customers.
Do some market research before you start and find your competitors. See what you can learn from them and what you can do better.
The Shopify Entrepreneurs group on Facebook has helped me a lot. There are a lot of podcasts out there as well with many useful tips such as Shopify Masters, Winning with Shopify, eCommerce Fastlane, and The Unofficial Shopify podcast.
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