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The Gifted Retailer: Bee

Jillian Pritchard Cooke, owner of Bee in Atlanta, follows this piece of business advice: Keep your overhead low, cash on hand and know your target market.Bee

Gifts and Decorative Accessories: What do you like best about being a retailer?
Jillian Pritchard Cooke: I enjoy experiencing the different seasons of design within our unique retail experience as well as "the hunt" for new-sustainable, healthy home furnishing, gift and fashion products. I enjoy our customers' input. It is extremely valuable to determining the ideal product mix.

GDA: What was the most valuable piece of business advice that you ever received?
JPC: Keep your overhead low, cash on hand and know your target market.

BeeGDA: What is/was your most successful promotion?
JPC: Anytime we connect our events to featured artists along with community fundraisers and/or trunk shows we attract a diverse qualified buyer.

GDA: What three products/lines are your best sellers?
JPC: Our line of local 100 percent pure honey, one-of-a kind Magnolia Pearl clothing and Bella Notte Linens from California.

GDA: What are you doing to attract new customers?
JPC: We optimize social networking including Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. We also do eye-catching evites, special promotional events and graphic signage. We are also in the process of starting our blog and ecommerce website.

GDA: What was your most effective display?Bee
JPC: We had a one-of-a kind eight-foot, wire and crystal Eiffel Tower covered in fairy lights in honor of our anniversary that falls on Bastille Day. It was stunning!

GDA: How do you find your best employees?
JPC: Through networking and our interior design intern program.

GDA: What was your biggest retail problem and how did you solve it?
JPC: Immediate availability has been a challenge versus ordering Beecustom. Our client wants instant gratification. Also, we have a substantial portion of our inventory dedicated to "one-of-a-kind" that we have to be on the hunt 24/7.

GDA: How is the current economy affecting your business?
JPC: Everyone is looking for quality at the best price possible and a friendly, aesthetically beautiful place to shop. We have found that when we take care of our repeat customers they continue to shop with us on a regular basis. This is helping grow the business on a grass roots level as they share their retail shopping experience at BEE with their friends.

GDA: What advice would you give to a struggling retailer?
JPC: Know your product. Slow and steady, be creative and be diverse.

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