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Name: Joanna Track
Occupation: Internet Entrepreneur
Women’s weakness for shopping is a key opportunity for Joanna Track’s business. “The most fun part of my job is shopping and calling it work,” says the newly married 36-year-old, whose mission is to keep consumers in the loop of “all things fun, fashionable and just plain fabulous” via her site, Sweetspot.ca.
With the click of a mouse, you’ll discover where to find the most chic bridesmaid dresses, and that this summer, your flats ought to feature a metallic print.
Like sweet nothings being whispered into your ear, you’ll find tips on everything from clothes and accessories to beauty care and travel to decor and dining.
Actually, if you subscribe to the site (it’s free) you’ll get an e-newsletter entitled Sweet Nothings delivered daily to your inbox informing you of the hottest finds around the city and across the country. Sure, it might all sound rather sinfully indulgent, but for Track the site is serious business.
“We tripled our sales between last year and this year, and are on track to more than doubling it again this year,” she reveals. “We have grown from two to 11 employees in the last 12 months, and our subscriber base has grown from 18,000 to over 50,000 this year alone.”
There are some 30 freelance contributors from across the country that help out with Sweetspot.ca, and the site has also made inroads to Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary, with more Canadian cities to follow. A French version is also on the discussion table.
Impressed with Sweetspot’s success, Rogers Media acquired a minority share in it last year.
The idea for the site was borne from Track’s trek to New York years ago. A stranger to the city, the then-advertising executive found dining and shopping guidance via The Big Apple’s online city guide, Daily Candy. Returning to Toronto, Track channeled her advertising and marketing know-how into a distinctly Canadian version.
Sponsorship deals and banner advertising were standard ways to generate revenue, but Track was savvy enough to convince advertisers to buy e-mail space, a relatively new concept she championed three years ago when the site was launched.
Her advice to entrepreneurs: “I always tell people to start small and grow organically instead of trying to execute some excessively large and complicated plan all at once. And only spend what you’ve earned.”
Track offers consumer goodies for expectant moms at Sweetmama.ca. And a new section, Sweet Deals, complete with — you guessed it — exclusive deals has now been added to Sweetspot.ca.