Episode 2: When you build a marketplace not to compete with others but to bring people together!
Founder: Community Coralshttps://www.communitycorals.de/
customers visit per month
From being the head of a supply chain and management work to setting up his own marketplace for aqua-cultured corals, Dominique proved that one can always follow his passion and lead the way to success. Watch Dominique share his lovely story of how he got the idea of Community Corals while driving back from a coral store and his concept of building a marketplace not as a competition but as a “community” for coral hobbyists. Truly inspiring!
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Dominique: Sure! Yeah, like I said, my name is Dominique Deutzman… I’m 35 years old… And, yeah, I have a background in Logistics- Supply Chain and Management. I was working there for 7 years as Head of Supply Chain and was switching more like into Process Management job (which) was more continuous improvement area. And… yeah, pretty much from there would like to start my own business which is called Community Corals… and it is a marketplace for aqua cultured corals.
Coordinator: Okay! So, exactly what do you think… like, how did you think Community Corals come to your mind? What inspired you about Community Corals?
Dominique: Ummm… Yeah, it’s just that I’m in the reefing hobby and I’m growing corals myself… And, I was driving to, like, a local coral store which is more like aqua culture… so, big coral farms, let’s say. And it’s a pretty long drive and so driving back from there, I was little bit daydreaming like to also start my own coral farm or something like that.
Coordinator: Okay, that’s great, Dominique! So, tell me, Dominique, when you started Community Corals or when you were in the process, did you face any kind of hurdles, any challenges, like that?
Dominique: Yeah, definitely! I mean, for start, it was more like I have never heard about WordPress or plugins or things like that… So, it was pretty much -okay, how do I transform an idea to something to really like a product… And that was like the first challenge to really find a solution, a marketplace software on WordPress. But starting that was really like, okay, the first big step was, okay, I have something previous to WCFM times… And it was a good starting point but it was really, like also, technical issues that I was facing from them. So, a lot of functionalities were missing that my vendors were asking for and (it) had a lot of bugs. So, it was a daily struggle to really just fix the daily issues and that was really, like, a tough time – so one year just getting things working somehow and like all the complains coming from the vendors… Fixing that from different types of developers to find what’s the reason for that so a lot of things, yeah!
And, yeah, I have to say that overcoming these challenges were really when I found out about WCFM and also some great new functionalities that I was always searching for… I saw that you already had them implemented and (I) did a lot of tests on them and I pretty much liked it… and from there, things got easier, I can say.
Coordinator: So, would you say that WCFM Marketplace, you know, improvised your site or something? I mean, did it enhance your website, your marketplace, your business?
Dominique: Yeah, like I said it was all those challenges that I would say – there are two components – one is very stabilizing the business and the other one was really like giving it gross opportunity. So, when I talk about stabilization, it’s really would like I mentioned to just get rid of all those bugs, just have a platform that is working as it’s supposed to… That’s really a key thing because I didn’t mention but in the past I was also like two weeks out of business because of some issues over the platform. So, I can say that they’re really a big step forward to have a product that’s really working. I also like, for example, the Enquiry module -I really love it because it has those direct communication from customer to vendor which really helps the admin to not really get involved in everything’s that’s happening but really have direct communication with a customer which really makes things easier and frees a lot of time.
And the second component, as I said like the opportunity for gross like those new functionalities – the biggest one was I was saying that I now have the opportunity to, on vendor level, decide of the shipping options offered by the vendor, where in the coral industry, the big part is not (just) the shipping but also the local pickup. And now I’ve introduced the new membership – just offering the vendors to offer a pickup service for all those people who do not want to ship. So, that gave me a complete new field of addressing the pickup business that also helped a lot.
Coordinator: That’s great to hear, Dominique! Dominique tell me something about your marketplace’s achievements. I mean, I’m sure you would have gone through a lot of achievements during your (marketplace’s) journey! So, just share a few stats or share something notable about Community Corals… Some achievements that you’ve received…
Dominique: Yeah, I have to say that I think the big ones are really when you’re starting… what really kept me was like the first vendor signing up, like the first product that was introduced in the marketplace, he first order that was received and even the first day when you received 2 orders on one day… So, that are really like the milestones that I have celebrated the most, I can say.
But also from day 1, I mean the marketplace is successful and is really growing on a monthly basis like month to month. So that’s a good thing in a growing business that’s creating milestones every month… But the thing what’s sticking with me the most is really like in the coral industry a lot of people are doing as a site also, so now I see a lot of people stated quitting their jobs or at least doing a part-time because they’re getting so much order and they can earn money by just their passion of growing corals… And it’s something that’s quite important to me and I love to be involved in things like that.
Coordinator: Okay, so, lastly Dominique, do you have a big team or a small, you know, a comparatively smaller team and what’s the strength of your team? I hope you’re not alone in this business!
Dominique: Yeah, actually, I am! So, it’s just me and for sure I’m working with contractors here and there. But my team is just me at the end. But, I mean, that’s basically a good thing that a good software solution if you can automate things and things can go pretty well if you do not need to introduce a lot of resources… At least that’s my experience in my scale of business at least.
Coordinator: Yeah, you know, it’s good to hear that you alone are being able to manage it through WCFM Marketplace. I mean, would you say that WCFM Marketplace is really helpful for, you know, people who really don’t know much about WordPress and is pretty much new to this business? So, do you think WCFM Marketplace would help those new entrepreneurs out there?
Dominique: Definitely! So, I mean, that’s the experience that I’ve made… For sure you need to spend some time just figuring out what are the different opportunities because the good thing about WCFM is that you have a lot of opportunities to configure the system so to introduce different kind of processes. And, setting up, that there you need to spend some time figuring out how to configure the system… and if you’ve set this up – that’s not that kind of a big deal – then things can run pretty smoothly, I think.
Coordinator: Okay, so thank you so much, Dominique, for sharing your experience with our audience! I’m pretty sure that all the entrepreneurs out there would really take note from your story and would build their own dream marketplace… through WCFM Marketplace, of course! And Team WCFM Marketplace wishes you all the very best for all your future ventures. You know, we really hope that Community Corals grow all the more successful in coming days.
Dominique: Yeah, also from my side, thank you so much for all the patience that you put into your products… and yeah, this is a great journey and a lot of things ahead of us, I think… So, thank you very much for that and thanks for having me.
Coordinator: Yeah, I’m sure we’ll keep our association forward.
Dominique: Sure, thank you!
Coordinator: Thank you so much, Dominique. We’re signing off for today.