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Amber Perley has known she wanted to be a fashion designer since she was six years old, when she made her own clothing by stapling fabric together. And now she’s living out her dream through her store Pearl Southern Couture and a successful run on NBC’s Fashion Star.

Amber launched her Southern-inspired clothing line in 2008. Since then, she’s tried selling online via several solutions, but never found one that worked for her. She consistently had issues with online security and lack of support. Last year, before switching to another service, she decided to do some thorough research.

Amber searched online for the top-rated e-commerce platforms, then tried each of them out. Since customer service was high on her list of priorities, part of her test was to call each company’s support team as an “existing customer” and see how long it took to talk to someone.

She waited on hold for as long as 45 minutes for other platforms, but it only took five minutes to get ahold of a Bigcommerce support representative. The great customer support she received — plus the built-in features and user-friendly interface — led her to choose Bigcommerce for the latest incarnation of her store.

Since launching, she’s seen an increase in sales, which she attributes to how easy her new site makes it for shoppers to both browse and buy. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that she’s been featured on the nationally televised reality competition Fashion Star for the past month.

Amber saw the first season of the show and liked that it was about designers selling clothes to real clothing retailers seeking new lines. She decided to try out for the show, and made it on after a grueling four-month application process.

During her time on the show, Amber sold hundreds of thousands of dollars in merchandise to major retail outlets like Saks Fifth Avenue and Express. Although she’s no longer competing for the top spot, the expanded audience and free screen time have significantly increased traffic to her site and set her up for even greater success in the long term.

E-commerce advice

What has Amber learned on her e-commerce journey?

“You need to give your customers a polished, fully-thought-out shopping experience on your site. It’s very important to do your homework before choosing a platform — from market research to manufacturing and fulfillment. Then build a clean, well-organized site with all of that in mind.”

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