The Gifted Retailer: The Gift Boutique
GDA Staff -- Gifts & Dec, February 20, 2013
Kimberly Mire, owner of the The Gift Boutique in Abbeville, LA, didn't let a down economy spoil her dream of
owning her own gift shop. Her advice: "Keep your head held high and strive to make your dreams come true."
Gifts and Decorative Accessories: What do you like best about being a retailer?
Kimberly Mire: Where do I start? I love being my own boss. I also love to shop! I try to find unique items that other shops do not have. But the best thing about being a retailer is helping my customers with finding that perfect gift they are looking for. I love to see their faces light up when they find what they are looking for.
GDA: What was the most valuable piece of business advice that you ever received?
KM: Listen to your customer needs. Make sure you have the right amount of inventory for those special events/holidays. Always greet your customer with a smile and a greeting. Be willing to give your time to help them find that special gift they are looking for. They will remember this the next time they are out shopping and will return for your help.
GDA: What is/was your most successful promotion?
KM: My most successful promotion would be my Annual Open House held on Small Business Saturday. I have candy canes with different discounts. The customers are always excited to see which discount they will receive. I donate to the community for the Scare on the Square at Halloween. I also try to donate to the local schools as much as possible. Another program I am proud to say I participate in is Links des Pinks, a local organization bringing awareness to breast cancer.
GDA: What three products/lines are you best sellers?
KM: My best selling companies: Evergreen, Two's Company and several smaller vendors. I carry baby items, children/tween items, kitchen accessories, wine accessories, sports items, wedding gifts, jewelry, religious items as well as seasonal merchandise. I want my customers to have a variety to choose from when trying to find a special gift for everyone on their list.
GDA: What are you doing to attract new customers?
KM: Since I am a new retailer finding new customers is challenging. I advertise locally. I also have a Facebook page, where I post pictures of the products I have and new arrivals. But word of mouth is probably the most effective way of getting new customers. Amazing customer service provided is what makes a customer talk about your store and return.
GDA: What was your most effective display?
KM: I would probably say Christmas time is where I have the most extravagant displays. I do, however, change my displays regularly to make my customers aware of the new products I have.
GDA: How do you find your best employees?
KM: Employees-You are looking at her. I am the only employee. I do get help from my family and friends when I need it most, like Christmas. They are the best employees I could ask for!
GDA: What was your biggest retail problem and how did you solve it?
KM: One of my biggest problems is finding the right vendors. I have been turned away by several vendors because of other shops in the area have a commitment to that vendor. Another problem I have is finding the right items for men and boys. How did I solve these problems? I look for smaller vendors to order from. As for the men and boys line I am still working on that one.
GDA: How is the current economy affecting your business?
KM: It is really hard to say that the economy has hurt my business. I opened my shop in 2011 in the middle of the economy struggle. It was my dream to have my own gift shop and I was not going to let the economy struggle bring down my dreams.
GDA: What advice would you give to a struggling retailer?
KM: Don't give up! Keep your head held high and strive to make your dreams come true. Keep your prices reasonable. I always think to myself when buying, "Would I pay that much for that item?" Listen to your customer and to what their needs are. Keep unique items in stock to keep your customers coming back.
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