In 1981, Peggy Byron opened Boutique Au Lit in Montreal, one of the first bed linen shops in Canada to offer pure cotton sheets instead of treated polyester. The store was an instant success, with people lining up outside the 700-square-foot store. Soon Byron expanded the business to include a factory where she manufactured her own collection of linens.
Fifteen years later, Byron moved the retail end of the business to Toronto, where she would eventually take over a store almost ten times the size of her first! Today, her daughter, Joanna Goodman - who has developed her own passion for design and fine linens - is also running the family business with her husband, Miguel. When they're not in Toronto, they're travelling throughout Europe and the U.S sourcing the world's finest linens, planning and designing new collections, tweeting, blogging, creating and changing the way people sleep.
Our philosophy is that authentic quality linens enhance the quality of your sleep, and hence, your life. And they don't have to be exclusive or intimidating! Everyone should know what it's like to sleep in 100% Egyptian cotton. Because we manufacture in Canada, not only can we provide exquisite quality, but also exceptional value.
We believe that an extraordinary sleep in authentic quality linens and bedding will enhance the quality of your life. That's why we're passionate about changing the way people sleep, and why everything we do is guided by that singular purpose.
What are the key factors that have helped your store be successful?
Au Lit Fine Linens started as a brick and mortar store back in 1981, it wasn't until 2012, when a website redesign was on the table that we considered e-commerce. We chose Shopify because of how polished it was compared to other e-commerce platforms.
With the use of Shopify came four "aha moments!":
If you build it, they will come. We were skeptical on whether or not people would buy our type of product online. Our skepticism turned into wide-eyed amazement within a few weeks.
Education. There are a lot of elements of bedding that customers need to be educated on before they make a purchase. With Shopify we can easily create content and features that help our customers understand our product more. After almost two years, we've only had four returns.
New Customers: Overnight, Shopify allowed us to broaden our customer base into other parts of Canada and the United States.
We Got Organized: When organizing our product line for our online store, we quickly realized that we needed to re-organize some aspects of our brick and mortar store. Shopify has become our best product organization tool. It's cleaned things up and streamlined us online and off.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
Our recommendation for brick and mortar stores who are debating e-commerce? Jump in. Shopify allowed us to quickly dive into the deep end of the e-commerce pool and we've been swimming happily ever since. You might not have everything figured out right out of the gates but you'll learn quickly.
Any Closing Remarks?
We love Shopify!