The company Ruby Slipper consists of a group of writers that have a particular talent for social content and digital strategy that’s not focused on selling.
That doesn’t mean it’s not sales oriented – it just means that the company doesn’t do tacky sales content.
“We instead try to focus on building relationships and creating a feeling between the audience and the brand,” said founder Iolanthe Gabrie.
Gabrie launched Ruby Slipper eight years ago after six years as a real estate agent and auctioneer.
“That actually gave me, even though it was very, very difficult; it’s a terribly difficult profession, and it actually has made being an entrepreneur seem like a walk in the park. In some ways it’s easier,” she said.
Gabrie said that as much as she disliked those real estate days, they really did prepare her to be able to pick up the phone and cold call at any time, an often underrated skill.
“I’m not bothered if people say ‘no’, it’s fine. So being given a phone and a desk and figuring out the rest really allowed me to build a lot of skills that are essential to being in small business, like being able to prospect creatively, like being able to talk about money, like being able to negotiate. It taught me everything, it was the ultimate boot camp. I’m quite fond of real estate, so that helped,” she said.
After six years in the property sector however Gabrie knew that she didn’t want to continue in that category, wanting instead to use her literature degree and her natural ability to communicate.
“I wanted to monetise that, and in my last couple of years of working in real estate, social media in its most nascent stages had come into being,” she explained.
“Facebook business pages didn’t exist yet, but I began using Facebook in my prospecting to introduce potential clients to me or to a semblance of me. I think that would have shortened the pipeline. The clients felt that they knew me; they knew a semblance of me courtesy of social media, and it meant that that sense of rapport and trust developed much faster. I thought this had legs, that it was valuable and that I would begin to sell both traditional copywriting and social content to brands.”
Gabrie said the first couple of years were “pretty hard yards.” The business had a couple of early adopter clients, which it still represents today, but in the last four years or so Gabrie said that the appetite, as well as the value and the respect for Ruby Slipper’s form of communication has shot up.
It also makes a lot of sense, given Gabrie’s background, that many of her initial clients came from the property sector.
“I first went to the people that knew me and the category that I know very well, which is real estate,” she said. “I’d say nearly 50 percent of our portfolio are property related, we’re really well respected and trusted within the real estate category. We’re also feature writers for Elite Agent Magazine, which is a premier real estate publication and I also have a popular blog called Home Truths Melbourne, which focuses on property culture in Melbourne.”
In terms of the team, Ruby Slipper is now home to three people; Gabrie said that one of the milestones that she is most proud of is being able to bring on a staff member full time.
“Being at the stage with my business where I can have a full-time person who works for me, in addition to my own workload, that makes me very proud because not only am I able to take care of myself, do an honourable, high-quality job for my clients, I’m also able to provide employment to someone else in a beautiful collaborative studio,” she said.
The studio she speaks of is indeed beautiful and is right on brand with the way that Gabrie presents the rest of the business to potential clients. Ruby Slipper uses MOO for all its branded marketing materials and business cards. Gabrie said the fast service provided by the innovative print house came in handy last year when she decided to go through a complete head-to-toe rebrand.
“I felt that, although the earlier iteration of our brand certainly suited where I was then, we’d really matured. The original iteration of my brand was quite feminine and it definitely played upon ideas of magic and that certainly did very well, but we’ve now developed into something much more sleek and much more mature and I needed graphic art to reflect that, so I had that done,” Gabrie explained.
“At that stage I realised that I needed to get my business cards printed and the graphic design people I knew had told me to “’check out MOO, they’re a little expensive but the product is quite good’, and so I had a look at their website.”
Once she realised that the pricing was actually quite reasonable, that the product was ‘quite gorgeous’, and the matching marketing materials gave off the perception that the company was a lot bigger than it was. She was sold, to the point where she recommends the platform to everyone she hears is in need of getting their own marketing swag.
Featured Image: Founder, Iolanthe Gabrie | Source: Supplied
MOO helps its customers print things like Business Cards, Flyers, and Letterheads, making it easy for them to share information about themselves or their business in the real world.