Meet the founder of Dropit
Thank you very much for joining me Karin. Before we find out more about your amazing brand, tell me a little about yourself. What was the inspiration behind launching Dropit?
Having grown up in a retail family I’ve always been excited by the industry and the process involved in taking fashion and a style to the high street. With such exposure, I was lucky enough to gain experience with all facets of retail – from design and production to merchandising and stock control through to the shop floor, and to that end, have a true understanding of how retail works from the ground up.
The idea for Dropit came out of a need 3 years ago in New York, when I was going to a meeting but popped into a store on the way and fell in love with a pair of boots. However, I didn’t end up buying them as I didn’t want to carry the bag to the meeting and the store couldn’t offer me a delivery service. So I lost my beloved boots and the store lost out on a sale!
The first step in starting Dropit was learning. I spent the several months travelling around the world to understand the retail experience in a global context and learning how consumers want to engage with brands. I met with executives from retailers and shopping malls and listened closely to their concerns and strategies for dealing with the growth of online shopping. At one point, I remember being in a store in a shopping mall in Dubai and seeing a ski slope on one side and sand dune racing on the other. That mall really understood the value of captivating the customer - it was all about creating a true one-stop lifestyle experience. This experience stayed with me and is at the heart of Dropit’s proposition today.
From the research, the design, the build, the back end processes, the pitching to retailers, the training of the in-store sales assistants, the branding, customer research – I’ve been involved in all the elements of the Dropit service, even delivering ore than 700 bags myself! We are obsessed with the customer experience and this has driven many changes since we first piloted the service in 2014. The result is that today, working with 100 brands in the West End and growing every month, I’m confident that the Dropit service really does answer many of the challenges the retail industry is facing.
While you were in the early stages, did you know you are creating a service your audience didn’t even know they needed?
I knew if I needed it then several others/thousands would also need the service too – after all we all love to shop and live busy lives!
You are doing something so much more powerful than delivering our shopping to our door. You are bringing the high street back to life, in the times of online shopping. You must be so proud.
I’m also passionate about customer service and believe lessons can still be learnt from the traditional role of a store assistant as it was years ago, when it was true artistry to sell fashion and demonstrate the beauty of well-made garments. Of course we don’t operate in a ‘Mr Selfridge’ era anymore, but the fundamentals around customer service and brand engagement should still remain at the core for retailers today and putting customer service at the core of an in-store experience is what will help stores work together with their digital channels.
How did you fund Dropit in the early stages?
Self funded and angel investors!
Any plans to expand beyond your current service location?
Yes. We are looking to expand within the UK and across the globe, but the potential with our service is in cities where people like to shop and that’s pretty much across the world!
How has your target audience responded so far?
We have a very engaged customer base and once they use the service, they love it and become repeat customers! We are growing our customer base between 30- 40% month on month. Some feedback:
‘Genius Idea – wish I’d have thought of it’
‘Absolutely brilliant service – I was visiting London for the weekend and this allowed me to continue my night to Winter Wonderland without dragging my bags with me’
‘No longer do you need to struggle and hope for a space for bags on the commute home. Dropit you have made the train journey so much easier – love it’
What advice would you give to entrepreneurs who are focused on having the perfect product/service before launch?
Don’t as this is not possible! Better to be 95% done and out there in the market – otherwise they’ll be some other service that’s similar or in your space to captivate your audience. Launch with a pilot and test and refine constantly. Being able to adapt is a huge advantage for a start-up and successful entrepreneurs are not afraid of this.
How you do unwind and get out of your head after a busy week?
To be honest, I’m always on with Dropit as it’s something I feel so passionate about. As we are helping to transform / breathe new life into a traditional industry I feel compelled to be the best we can and this takes a persistent attitude to say the least!! If I do take time out, I like to spend it with family and friends.
What is the number one question every entrepreneur should be asking themselves?
Is your customer at the heart of every decision you make? If not, then the ability to adapt is vital as without customers championing your product or service – you will not be a success.
Any plans for the next two years?
We built Dropit as a plug-and-play solution so we have the potential to operate in any of the big shopping districts outside of Central London. That being said, our primary focus today is on launching with shopping malls. We are already in talks with property owners worldwide and focused on the large, destination type centres as well as high-end outlets.
I think that the retailers and property owners are trying to achieve three things: getting a better understanding of their customer, harmonising their digital and physical strategies and improving the customer experience. By joining the Dropit network retailers and property owners are able to achieve their objectives by offering their customers the best service on site. As mentioned, we believe in a partnership model and so our service also enables them to find new segments for growth and expansion.