Meet Sophie: She's Making a Fortune Selling Feathers Online with Shopify

by Heather Allard on October 6, 2011

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Sophie Kovik is a 24 year old mom who’s hoping to change her life with her recently launched online store.

Sophie, her partner Tim, and their one year old son Archie live in Byron Bay, Australia, a small town about 500 miles North of Sydney. Last year, Sophie was working at a local movie theatre. Right now, she’s in Thailand on a beach running a soon-to-be multi-million dollar company from her iPad.

Like many aspiring mom entrepreneurs, Sophie read Timothy Ferriss’ book The 4-Hour Workweek and was immediately inspired to start an online business, put it on cruise control, and rake in the dough from a hammock.

But unlike many entrepreneurs, Sophie developed an idea, formulated a plan, acted upon it, and is now well on her way to owning a million dollar company.

Sophie decided to delve into the world of online selling five months ago when she learned about a contest run by Shopify, an ecommerce company that makes it really easy to sell stuff online.

To enter, contestants create an online store using Shopify and then whoever has the best (read: highest sales) two months out of eight wins a massive grand prize including $100,000 cash, a VIP trip to NYC and California, and in-person meetings with Mr. Ferriss, Seth Godin, Gary Vaynerchuk and some Google Execs. (Quick note: they take your best 2 months and the contest ends at the end of the year. Since pre-christmas shopping is always the most lucrative, there’s still time to join at Shopify.)

Sophie created a shop called FlockStocks, an online store that sells feather hair extensions. And as you likely know, they’re all the rage these days. Sophie’s company is currently leading a pack of over 2,100 online stores all competing for the contests grand prize.

We caught up with Sophie to talk about her rise from local movie theater to Internet business woman in such a short period of time.

Tell us a bit about yourself

I am 24 years old and a young mum entrepreneur currently trying to live the 4 hour workweek! I started Flockstocks after a terrible year of loss (financial and otherwise) back home where I was working as a duty manager and projectionist at the local cinema.

What inspired you to start an online store?

I started an online store because I wanted to live a better life. I wanted to spend more time with my family, rather than taking shifts at it.

My partner used to own a cafe that he put a lot of energy into, and I thought, wait, there must be a better way than this.

Right now I am typing this from a tropical island in Thailand, where we are spending three months as a mini retirement. I guess that was what I was dreaming of.

How did you start?

I had tried a few ideas and nothing really worked out.

Then I read Timothy Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek. I followed his methods pretty thoroughly, particularly the formula with Google AdWords with the high clicks and low competition.

I found a breakout search result and it was like a tidal wave that I happened to get on right at the start. Feather hair extensions were becoming huge and originally I was the only AdWords advertiser. The Golden Globes even approached me to put my feathers in the celebrity gift bags! It was a mix of incredible luck and hard work.

How do you manage running a business and raising a 1 year-old?

Archie is 13 months old now and during his waking hours, takes up 99% of our time. He is a very active boy who has been walking from 8 months old.

Staying up late and cramming it in while he is napping has really been the only way to get things done. Just finding the time to do anything really is the biggest challenge.

But despite the time challenges of being a business woman and a mum (that’s what we call it in Australia), I love being a mom entrepreneur because I work from home and get to spend time with my son.

Also, my partner Tim is the most supportive and loving dad I can imagine. I feel very lucky to have two amazing guys in my life. Archie is a ray of sunshine in my life and I feel like I can handle anything as long as I have him and Tim by my side.

Wanna be an online success story like Sophie?

Luckily, it’s never been easier to setup an online store. Anybody can get up-and-running without the need of a programmer, designer, or even lots of money. All you do need is an idea, a computer, and a bit of free time (about an hour a night should do it).

And with Shopify’s Build-A-Business contest, there’s added incentive to open your own online store.

About the contest:

  • There are no set-up costs or hidden fees
  • You get your first 30 days free
  • You’ll receive a free Build-A-Business start-up kit in the mail that includes a hardcover copy of Seth Godin’s new book “Poke The Box” , a hardcover copy of Gary Vaynerchuk’s new book “The Thank You Economy”, 50 premium printed business cards, $100 in Google AdWords, and $100 in MailChimp credits. (And Shopify pays the shipping!)
  • Join anytime before October 31, 2011.

Although Sophie’s FlockStocks is currently topping the leaderboard, remember, holiday season is just around the corner and you never know what crazy idea could land you the $100,000 prize.

Are you going to enter Shopify’s awesome contest? Share with us in the comments.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rich March 25, 2013 at 11:15 pm

Inspiring Sophie. I was listening to your interview on Mixergy and had to find out more of your inspiring story!

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2 Faye Counts October 8, 2011 at 8:10 pm

Great for Sophie! I think that my teen-aged daughter and all of her friends are keeping Sophie (or someone in feather hair extensions) in business all by themselves. I have just started my own online business; maybe I will be successful enough to join your list of “mogul moms” one day!

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3 Nan @ Playful Decor October 7, 2011 at 4:30 pm

She’s so inspiring! I’ve read Tim’s 4-Hour Body, but not the biz book. So is her full story written anywhere? I’m really curious what exactly her biz is – does she take orders, send out feathers, create the styles or just write articles about feathers collecting an affiliate commission? However she does it, I think she hit it right with being at the front end of a new trend. Now on the flipside, I wonder where her biz will be in 5yrs – my hair stylist has said that feathers are already a dying trend. I hope Sophie can adjust so her biz continues to grow.

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4 Heather Allard October 7, 2011 at 5:33 pm

Not sure, Nan. Here’s a great article from Tim Ferriss about creating businesses like Sophies:

http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2011/09/24/how-to-create-a-million-dollar-business-this-weekend-examples-appsumo-mint-chihuahuas/

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5 Renee Lindo October 7, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Great story. Would love to enter. Do you know if the store has to sell “original” items? CAn it be clothes, shoes, toys etc.?

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6 Heather Allard October 7, 2011 at 5:31 pm

Not sure, Renee – you’d have to check Shopify rules. :)

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7 Jessica @Early Endeavors October 7, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Oh my goodness, that is one inspiring story!

I’m just finishing up 4HWW and trying to figure out how to apply its principles to my situation. Loving real life examples right now of start-ups that are making a big impact quickly.

Thank you for sharing!

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8 MommySphere (@mommysphere) (@mommysphere) October 7, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Reading: Meet Sophie: She’s Making a Fortune Selling Feathers Online with Shopify http://t.co/iYD6bp9W

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9 Hannah Marcotti October 6, 2011 at 9:30 pm

That is inspiring!

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10 Heather Allard October 7, 2011 at 11:18 am

Isn’t it? :)

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11 The Mogul Mom (@TheMogulMom) (@TheMogulMom) October 6, 2011 at 8:36 pm

New! Meet Sophie: She’s Making a Fortune Selling Feathers Online with Shopify http://t.co/YSzqeWWa

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12 Mark October 6, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Wow, great for Sophie!

That’s so inspiring!

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13 Maria October 6, 2011 at 6:33 pm

Amazing! It’s always so inspiring to hear about success stories!

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14 Heather Allard October 7, 2011 at 11:18 am

I agree, Maria – I love to hear real-life success stories. :)

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15 Shopify (@Shopify) October 6, 2011 at 5:57 pm

Meet Sophie: She’s Making a Fortune Selling Feathers Online with @Shopify: http://t.co/vmzBUfsX via @TheMogulMom

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