Our Lister Coach Ikaika Alama-Francis interviewed the founder of International Princess Shannon Keith to ask her about her company and advice for selling online. Shannon had a corporate job and never sold online before her and husband’s trip to India in 2005 where her journey started. With no prior knowledge about red light district or sex slavery, witnessing women and children being brought up and raised in it. She felt she had to do something and founded the International Princess Project.
Shannon started connecting with nonprofits in India. She taught women how to sew products and started importing the goods they made to California. International Princess started selling in stores in California and quickly moved to an e-commerce platform. “The margins for an online store are so much better. If we were going to sell in stores, our price point was too high for wholesale so it forced us to go towards e-commerce to get rid of the middle man. Online is where the margins are in our favor.” When asked about her business strategy, Shannon answers honestly, “There was no plan, some of it you just fall in to. I want to say I had this fantastic business strategy, but it’s just about learning as you go.”
When it comes to business Shannon advises, “You really have to get a feel for your customer, to know the customer. What I mean by that is know who you are selling your product to and what type of platforms they use.” International Princess Project recently started to use Etsy because of the site’s focus on homemade items which is a perfect fit.
International Princess Project employs 180 women in 4 sewing centers across India. These women used to be slaves, and now they have a job and their children have access to education. The modern day slave cycle for this group has stopped the cycle to happen. Shannon is still not satisfied and wants to help more. She stresses using good business via e- commerce is a good way to solve this problem. You can find the group’s products such as Punjammies which are fashionably fun pajama pants inspired by Indian culture, along with many other items. http://shop.intlprincess.org/