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Welcome to a value-packed episode featuring Nicole Leinbach, the seasoned expert behind RetailMinded.com and STIMULATE, a thriving business-to-business sexual wellness trade show.
Back in 2023, Nicole saw an opportunity in an untapped market and took the leap. Today, she’s here to share her secrets on how you can seize opportunities, align them with your goals, and make waves in the retail world.
Nicole’s accolades span across renowned publications like The Today Show, Forbes, and Entrepreneur.com. In 2023, WWD honored her as one of the most influential change-makers in social efforts within the retail landscape, all due to her work with STIMULATE.
Her insights promise to inspire retailers with advice on how data, research, and marketing can guide your decisions. Nicole also walks us through navigating generational shopping trends, like the importance of staying connected with your older customers while tapping into the interests of newer, younger generations. It’s time to think outside the box!
[04:33] That “aha” moment when Nicole first discovered the untapped potential in the sexual wellness industry
[05:55] What were the first steps Nicole took in bringing the Stimulate conference to life?
[08:36] The journey of Nicole crafting her conference’s brand narrative and executing an impactful marketing strategy
[12:20] Nicole’s advice for identifying emerging categories so retailers can get creative and diversify their product lines in exciting new ways
[16:16] What strategies help independent retailers evolve alongside their customers and why is this insight vital for long-term success in retail?
[21:09] How can independent retailers add in some elements of the sexual wellness industry into their store’s product lines?
[25:33] Nicole’s piece of unconventional wisdom that could benefit independent retailers
[27:45] What Nicole is excited about for 2024
[29:48] Nicole’s resilience round
Mentioned in the Episode
- Connect with Nicole
- Get your tickets to STIMULATE
- Follow Nicole on Instagram
- Listen to Evolve Exclusive: Generational Shopping Secrets
- Retail 101: The Guide to Managing and Marketing Your Retail Business on Amazon
- Oh, The Places You’ll Go! on Amazon:
- EVOLVE 2024 in Denver, CO - Crystal Media
- Social Media Hooks & Hacks - Crystal Media
- Crystal Media Insiders
- Follow Crystal Media on Instagram
- Follow Crystal Vilkaitis on Instagram
- Crystal Media on YouTube
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Crystal Vilkaitis: This is a value packed episode with my friend and colleague, Nicole Leinbach of Retail Minded and STIMULATEtheshow. Wow. We’re talking about a lot in this episode in regards to thinking different when it comes to your store, the experience, the products you sell, thinking outside the box. Nicole is super Rooted in Retail.
You’ll hear her background here in a second. So she has a lot of experience of working with retailers and helping them be successful. And she started something recently. Where she saw this opportunity and she took it and it’s so inspiring what she’s done, and in this episode, she shares with us how she found this opportunity, steps she took to vet it, and make sure that it’s the right fit and a good step forward.
And then she went for it and she takes us along some of that journey and everything that Nicole did. I don’t know about you, but I love hearing people’s stories. There’s so much we can learn from people’s stories, and their journeys, and their experiences. And we get a little bit of that in this episode with Nicole.
I say a little bit because there’s so much that goes into launching an entirely new brand. And I feel like we talked about some really helpful areas today, as far as data and research and marketing. Love what Nicole talks about with marketing. The five C’s are something we all need to be using. So you’ll hear about it all in this episode.
Plus, we talk about generational shopping. Really making sure that we are staying connected with our customers as they age and also connecting with the customers that are new, up and coming, our younger generations. So I know you’re going to find a lot of value in this episode. Before we dive in, here’s a little bit more about my guest.
Nicole Leinbach is the founder of RetailMinded.com, a well respected retail industry resource that has been recognized worldwide for its leading business insight since 2007, as well as Stimulate, a business to business sexual wellness trade show that debuted in 2023 and was recently recognized as a finalist for Best Community Created and or Maintained by Tradeshow News.
Since 2009, Leinbach has been an adjunct faculty professor at Columbia College in Chicago, where she teaches retail marketing. And she’s also the author of the book Retail 101: The Guide to Managing and Marketing Your Retail Business from McGraw Hill.
Additionally, Leinbach has supported American Express’s Small Business Saturday as a spokesperson and speaks regularly for companies and conferences that have included Dreamforce by Salesforce, the National Retail Federation, Callaway Golf, IBM, NY NOW, Retail Global Australia, and many other events, including our show, Evolve.
Leinbach has also been a guest and contributor to various media outlets that have included The Today Show, Forbes, Entrepreneur.com, and countless B2B publications. In 2023, WWD honored Leinbach as one of the world’s most prominent change makers in social efforts in retail due to her work with Stimulate, and featured her on a billboard in Times Square.
Denver is home to Leinbach where she is a mom of four and three dogs. Learn more about Leinbach at retailminded.com and enjoy this episode.
Welcome to Rooted in Retail, the show that’s dedicated to helping independent retailers thrive in today’s ever evolving retail landscape. I’m your host, Crystal Vilkaitis, and I’m thrilled to have you join me weekly as we explore topics that are vital to the success of your store.
From marketing to mindset, money to merchandising, sales to leadership, we’ll cover it all. Each episode features interviews with industry experts and accomplished retailers who share their real-life insights and actionable advice. Get ready for a great conversation on how to build your dream business with Rooted in Retail.
Nicole, welcome to Rooted in Retail. I’m thrilled you’re here.
Nicole Leinbach: I am so excited, Crystal. I always love chatting with you.
Crystal Vilkaitis: I do too, and I am just wildly impressed with what you have done with your conference, Stimulate. And I just know there’s a lot of lessons that our retailers can learn from what you’ve done. Because you saw an opportunity, you took it, you entered this untapped industry and market and launched your conference, Stimulate.
That “aha” moment when Nicole first discovered the untapped potential in the sexual wellness industry
Crystal Vilkaitis: So I am hoping that to start us off here, you can share that aha moment when you first identified the untapped potential in the sexual wellness industry. And could you walk us through the initial steps you took to bring the Stimulate conference from concept to reality?
Nicole Leinbach: Yeah. Thank you, Crystal. I’m so excited. I’ve always been such a huge fan, a self described retail geek, I should say, of retail in general. And just after COVID, one of my long time clients, which is Emerald Expositions, and they produce some of the nation’s largest trade shows. They challenged me to look into the category of adult novelty, because data during COVID revealed that there was a huge peak in sales of those types of products.
So during that process, I realized that, beyond adult novelty, is this untapped category of sexual wellness that simply wasn’t being supported. And so research, led me to unveiling the realities of an untapped market and an opportunity for a market that was continuing to show emergence and brand growth and new founders coming out, celebrity founders, doctor-founded companies. All these great leaders bringing new products to life.
And so I’m like, you know what? I’m going to dive in to even more research and see what I can do here. And that’s exactly what I did.
What were the first steps Nicole took in bringing the Stimulate conference to life?
Crystal Vilkaitis: I love it. And so you saw this industry. And you do have an events background and an education background. So this definitely seemed like a great next step for you. But will you take us through those initial steps to bringing the conference to? When this episode releases, it will be 2024.
Stimulate’s first conference was in 2023. You were nominated for an award for Stimulate. We were there and participated. It was beautiful. It was well attended. We were just so blown away. So what were some of those first couple of steps to bring it to life?
Nicole Leinbach: Yeah, you know what happened was, I really wanted to make sure I understood the market as best I could. So I went to all of what may be considered competitor shows, but what I realized was there really were no shows supporting sexual wellness. There were shows within the category of, for lack of better words, sex or sexual. But nothing of wellness focused.
And that’s really where I wanted to take it. And so we moved ahead in planning for this with, gentle strides, but also rapid strides. We put an aggressive goal on the calendar of a 2023 launch. And I will tell you, Crystal, we did move the date from May 2023 to July 2023. And there was a good lesson to learn there.
It’s because as we continue to educate and understand the industry better. We saw that there was just too much in May, in places we weren’t familiar with, when we originally picked those dates. So shifting to July really was what helped make this a success. Because that open availability of vendors of retailers and various other industry leaders in the category of sexual wellness to come. Once we did that, by identifying a spot that we could of course host this event, which by the way was Nashville, Tennessee. That was one of the big things. I’ve produced events in Las Vegas for many years, but one of the things was I wanted to be different.
I wanted to create a destination that no one else was really doing anywhere close to the category, or quite frankly, much at all within retail in Nashville. And so doing that was awesome. We recognize Nashville as Nash Vegas. We wanted to be within walking distance. We wanted people to land in the airport and be at our venue within 20 minutes. We wanted to make it easy, but also enjoyable. And so those were some of the thought process as we started to move forward in creation of that event.
And then in the moments that followed, of course, we wanted to make sure we were having really smart, savvy education in combination with vendor connectivity. So we were so fortunate to get founders, doctors, true leaders. We had Rebecca Alvarez Story, whose product line is called Bloomi and sold at Target, speak at our
The journey of Nicole crafting her conference’s brand narrative and executing an impactful marketing strategy
Nicole Leinbach: show.
Crystal Vilkaitis: Okay, Nicole, will you talk a little bit about the marketing of Stimulate? Because from a marketing perspective and from a visual perspective, you did such a good job and this is a brand new conference.
So you’re having to really build the brand, and share your story, and who you are and why people need to come to Nashville. So will you just take us a little bit through that process as well?
Nicole Leinbach: I am a retail professor actually, and one of the things that I always tell my students, it doesn’t matter what avenue you take in your professional goals. If you can remember the five C’s of communication, you can elevate any experience. And so those five C’s are clear, concise, correct, courteous, and consistency.
So clear, concise, correct, courteous consistency. And when I aim to build that launch of Stimulate, I leaned into those five C’s always. And so I did that through social media. I did it through our email marketing. I did it through our communication outreach with email to potential vendors and sponsors, even to potential speakers that we wanted to invite.
And if I could answer those questions to myself backwards or ask, my 15 year old daughter or my 40 year old friend to review something, and they all were able to understand things clearly, concisely, with the courteous tone. And there was a consistent message being delivered, then I knew I was on to something with my messaging from a brand side and that’s really where it comes full circle because Stimulate was a new launch.
I needed to make sure that people understood Stimulate was a sophisticated, polished, education-rich trade show and conference experience. And I have even more sensitivity within this category because it does touch sexual wellness. And anytime something’s touching that sexual wellness component, you have to even heighten more how you nurture that, right?
So that was really the sounding board, if you will, of what we leaned into. And Retail Minded, which is a 17-year-strong company that I founded a long time ago. Our brand color has always been a vibrant pink. And so I brought that over into Stimulate as well, but I wanted to mute sort of the boldness, if you will, of sexual wellness.
So I decided to go with a complimentary black and white visual against this bold pink. And you were at the show, Crystal, you saw our images. We had live models. I actually had friends and some girls that I work out with all volunteer, and I did those pictures. I personally, got on the floor and stood on ladders and did all the awkward things that photographers do to get beautiful pictures.
And it was just a lot of fun and everything was truly organic growth with a lot of heart involved.
Crystal Vilkaitis: I love it. Like those beginning stages of building something brand new, just from the ground up. And that’s where I think that it’s challenging. It’s challenging to get it right, right out the gate. And with the five C’s, that is so good. I hope that our retailer listeners wrote that down and use that for their own marketing.
I know that my team, they do watch parties of the show. I know we’re going to be using the five C’s.
Nicole Leinbach: Yeah, I love it.
Crystal Vilkaitis: Yeah. But like you did, you just obviously you really understood the audience and what you wanted to portray. And it takes work to get there and you did. Like already, there’s so many lessons in here for our retailers of the research that you did.
And then you wanted to provide an experience and be different than anything else that you saw. You even saw an opportunity where you’re not seeing many of these leaders and the education come together in one spot. So you saw that opportunity, you took it. I think let’s transition a little and talk about how our retailers can use some of those things and maybe additional ideas that you have.
Nicole’s advice for identifying emerging categories so retailers can get creative and diversify their product lines in exciting new ways
Crystal Vilkaitis: What suggestions do you have for our listeners to spot growing or new categories, to think outside the box, and expand their own product lines in exciting new directions?
Nicole Leinbach: The very first thing I will say is don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone. We’ve all heard that over the years and Stimulate is a great example of how I did that personally. So I can very much relate to that. My comfort zone is retail and I’ve really leaned into categories of across various, whether it’s flooring or fashion or gift or novelty over the years, but sexual wellness was not necessarily in my wheelhouse.
So stepping outside of my comfort zone, embracing the research, the data, attending events I was less familiar with. I knew no one there. That is something I always encourage people to do, but definitely lean into that data as well, because data can’t lie. The human touch can only reveal so much.
The human eye can only reveal so much. But data, thanks to all the great technology out, there reveals so much more. So we need to trust the data that we’re getting. And if COVID, for example, in my case, told us what was selling, among the top three categories online, then let’s listen to that data. And from my perspective, I was able to react in it this way, but as a retailer, how can you react to it in a different way?
If you see an emergence of new store categories opening within, let’s say nearby counties or communities, but not yours yet. How can you maybe take those lessons and bring something new into your existing store environment? I saw a great example online the other day of someone who, I believe it’s like where they paint and like paint by numbers, but she brought it into her store and recreated a dead space of what she used to think was relevant in her business.
And now she does these in-store parties through these painting experiences. And it’s very complementary to what she does, because she does home and gift. But you can create that in whatever category you have. So step outside the box, lean into data, look around you. Communities don’t lie, so to speak. Communities reveal all the time what they like, what they don’t like. So take the time to research what’s happening.
Has there already been something that’s been successful or maybe the doors closed and why did that happen as well? So it’s really important to take the time to learn too. I think that’s something we underestimate.
We do, especially as small business operators. Sometimes we need to pause and really reflect. And I know Crystal, because I’ve been so fortunate to attend your Evolve event, for example. You are such a true leader in this, and teaching and educating, and always giving resources to your audience and retailers. And first of all, I should thank you for that, because I personally learned from them. So thank you. And secondly, I just think it’s so valuable for retailers to take that time to learn. So I would just encourage people to do that as well.
Crystal Vilkaitis: So many good tips in there, Nicole. Thank you. I couldn’t agree with you more. I really feel doing that research. And then when you find those opportunities, sometimes we want to jump on it right away. And sometimes it takes a little time to dig a little deeper, ask some more questions, and develop and be known for certain things too.
And so having an aspect of patience in certain situations is so critical in most situations. But these are so good and you touched on too, like part of this is the trends. That was a big part, right? The data: how are people shopping? What are they buying? And that’s a perfect transition into talking about different generations and your current customers.
So you mentioned Evolve. You led the generational shopping panel at our conference Evolve in April 2023. You’re doing it again in 2024, which we’re stoked about. It was a fan favorite and we did something really special where we released that audio of that on Rooted in Retail. So if anyone’s listening, we’ll link to it. You should listen to that shopping generational shopping panel. But I want to just focus a little bit there and have that conversation.
Hey, real quick. Retail, marketing, technology, business is changing incredibly quick, like faster than we’ve ever seen it before. And this is exactly why I created the conference Evolve, which is a marketing conference made exclusively for independent retailers. This will help you know what’s working today.
Help you stay up to date, help you leverage these tools. So you do not get left behind. I do not want you to be left behind. So join the over 200 retailers that already have their tickets. We’ve got over 12 speakers. We’ve got amazing sponsors. You’ll have time for networking. And support with your other retailers who are attending.
This is the conference of the year that you are not going to want to miss. Go to crystalmediaco. com slash evolve to learn more and get your tickets before prices keep going up. I hope to see you at evolve.
What strategies help independent retailers evolve alongside their customers and why is this insight vital for long-term success in retail?
Crystal Vilkaitis: As our retail landscape shifts with the tides of generational change, could you share your insights on how independent retailers can stay ahead of the curve by evolving alongside the generations they serve? As in growing with their customers. And why is this understanding crucial to longevity in retail?
Nicole Leinbach: Understanding generational consumer habits is incredibly important for a variety of reasons. But as business operators and leaders, those of us making investments, in not only our inventory, but the just natural nurture of our businesses. We have to be aware that over time, your generations will shift and not only what they want, but how they like to make those purchases.
So we first need to be aware of those two components right there. And then when you really dial into the details of that, you start to realize, wait a minute. I still have opportunity to bring more consumers in of younger generations. Now I will say not every retailer has that. Some retailers truly might say, you know what?
Generation Z simply doesn’t compliment my existing assortment. But they might have to challenge themselves, and this is where stepping outside the comfort zone comes, and say if we are looking for longevity of another 20 years of our business: how do we want to start to think about how we can bring this generation in so they can grow with us as well?
So having a very forward thinking mindset, but then taking the pause to say, how can I do this is important. One of the things with generations to understand is that even the choice of payment might vary. So currently a lot of retailers don’t accept, whether it’s Apple pay or potentially that quad installment payment. Systems that exist out there such as Klarna or Afterpay. Something like that alone can impact a consumer’s decision to shop at your store.
And another example of that is there’s actually Facebook groups and other online groups and communities of consumers who use quad installment payments. These are primarily Millennials and Gen Z customers. Many of them who don’t want to use credit cards. And retailers will share if they accept it in these groups and that’s how consumers decide where to shop.
Crystal Vilkaitis: Interesting.
Nicole Leinbach: So that alone for many retailers, they’ve never thought to even be a part of those communities. But yet that’s a path of purchase for many younger customers. So we need to really think about the generational habits, generational preferences. It’s really not just the inventory you sell, but how you connect to your customers, how you further support your customers, what you’re doing to nurture longevity and retention of your customers.
And some of the more fun things you can do is invite your existing customers to bring a younger generation with them. Create something within your store environment where it’s a social experience and make a play of it. Do something where you’re inviting, maybe you have a more mature audience and you’re inviting them to bring another generation.
It’s a generational evening. You could get fancy with it, calling something different. If you guys hear my dogs, by the way, they’re outside barking my window. So they’re just saying hello. But, in addition to that, I think it’s super important that you lean into the realities of change and Stimulate is another example of that. We see now on big box store shelves, sexual wellness products being sold in big ways.
I always say for Stimulate, it supports head to toe, young to mature, purpose to pleasure. And we think about that purpose to pleasure as well as young to mature. Think about what you could do to translate that into your own business of supporting all the generations. But again, from purpose to pleasure.
So even this new category introduction, it doesn’t have to be what you might think sexual wellness means. It could be a smaller baby step. Novelty. We had great greeting card companies there, candles, things that spoke to the humor and the novelty of just sexual well being. And things like that, I will tell you, do speak to younger generations and mature generations. So no matter what level generational gap you’re trying to fill, there’s ways to even merge that through inventory too. And so that’s why I share that example. But definitely take the time, take the pause, the reflection and talk to your younger associates, anybody who might work for you, or you guys should say that has, their opinions.
What do they feel? How do they think things may or could be different in your environment to better nurture a younger generation as well?
Crystal Vilkaitis: Absolutely. And that’s where my conference is called Evolve. And part of that is we want to evolve with our customers. You have to. If you don’t, you don’t exist. And I think there is, you’re so right. There’s such an opportunity to have those conversations with the people that are on your team, as well as with your customers.
How can independent retailers add in some elements of the sexual wellness industry into their store’s product lines?
Crystal Vilkaitis: And really be listening to what they need. And it goes back to this research that you’re talking about. There’s a very good chance that a lot of our listeners could add in some aspect of the sexual wellness industry as a product line in their store. And will you talk a little bit about that?
Because we’ve talked about this and it opened my eyes because when we participated, we sent out some emails to get people to go to Stimulate. Even though we didn’t work with like adult novelty stores. But gift shops, home decor, like there are different industries that you could start thinking different.
And if the data’s there and your customers are asking for, it might make sense. So will you talk a little bit about that too?
Nicole Leinbach: Yeah, for sure. The first thing that came to mind as you’re asking that question was just within the local, let’s say last 7 to 10 days on my morning TV news outlets that I flip around with and watch. I have seen various, clips speaking to sexual health, sexual wellness. Again, that purpose to pleasure range within it. And so I want to make sure we emphasize that this is mainstream conversation.
It is not something that is tucked away. It’s happening on our mainstream media. It’s happening in our big box stores. So to be among the last to finally bring it into your space may actually hurt you. You want to be among the first within your community of smaller independent gift shop, retailers, or however you might identify yourself.
We have hotels, various spas, wellness centers. We actually have medical clinics as well, but of course we have a ton of gift stores and things like that attending our show who are bringing in various categories within the space. Whether it’s gift cards or candles or leaning into the purpose side, vitamins supplements, or you could also have more of the pleasure side, which ranges from various products that can help.
And you have to remember again, going back to that young to mature. Whoever your audience is, they might actually really value, for lack of better examples, an organic bottle of lubricant sold within the wellness or spa space that you might already have. Let’s say soothing things in your store, merchandising assortments, such as candles or pampering things for a facial. And to be perfectly honest, this is becoming more and more mainstream, even in those big box stores.
So think how it might make sense for you. Because even if it’s a 5 percent growth, or a 5 percent space in your store to start, it could be a 10 percent growth. Doesn’t have to take up a lot of inventory to be impactful within that store SKU count, but over time you might find, okay, there’s a lot more to this than I knew.
And that’s for that data research and education comes in and you can evolve. I love that word evolve, and see how it works more uniquely for your business, but definitely take the time to nurture that. Of course, I always welcome you to Stimulate August 5th and 6th in Nashville, this upcoming August in 2024. And we actually do have incredible retail leaders there that are happy to help even identify what that looks like for a unique store like yours. Ask the questions and then be able to better support your customers.
Crystal Vilkaitis: I so agree and we’ll link to Stimulate as well because I think it’s a great conference for a lot of our listeners to check out. This is a thinking different. This is connecting to your customers, the younger generation, but also older. And like really connecting to them and thinking outside the box.
And I think that the retailers that will take those pauses, like you mentioned, and think differently. That’s when we create the magic. That’s when we create new experiences and show up for our customers in new ways that nobody else is. So your industry alone is one of those ways to do that. And then you gave some really great tips here too.
And I just also want to say like the whole Facebook group where these millennials will be like, who is offering payment plans? And that’s how they’re doing research and that’s how they’re deciding to buy that’s pretty powerful. I just want to make sure all of our listeners heard that.
Nicole Leinbach: Yeah. Yeah. The path to purchase is so unique for everyone. And that’s where I think, as again, business leaders and decision makers, we have to step outside our comfort zone into other shoes, whether they’re millennial shoes or Gen Z shoes into the mindset of what is that path to purchase? How do they make even decisions of discovery?
And we know a lot of that begins on social media and digital for sure. But does digital translates into groups and communities as well.
Nicole’s piece of unconventional wisdom that could benefit independent retailers
Crystal Vilkaitis: So Exactly. So good. All right, Nicole, you’re super Rooted in Retail and you’ve had the opportunity to interact with many retail professionals. What is one piece of unconventional wisdom or an unexpected lesson you’ve learned from your peers that could benefit our independent retailers?
Nicole Leinbach: Look outside the industry. And well beyond retail, in other words, like maybe you have a really savvy friend who’s an engineer. Listen to them. What can you learn from them? Recently, I will tell you, I’ve had amazing conversations over the last 2 weeks with urologists, OB-GYNs, various doctors because of the work of doing Stimulate. I would have never thought 2 years ago that I was having frequent scheduled, organized, very important phone calls with Ivy league trained urologists. You know what I mean?
And so take the time to listen and learn always, but not just from our retail leaders. So as many amazing leaders as there are to learn from and our own peers as well, look beyond retail to see what else you can learn. Because the insight across various categories of industries can then sort of spark us in different ways, and ignite us to want to learn more, do more, and just build more as well.
Crystal Vilkaitis: Totally. That is so good. And I love giving action items on the show. So listeners, here’s your action item. There’s a lot from today. Like I really want you to be researching, but take some time. If you’re like me, I like to journal in the morning, or do you like to do this a different time? Or is this when you’re on your walk or whatever, but start brainstorming other industries to look at.
Outside of retail that could provide different ways of thinking creativity ways to just challenge your brain. And even if you get nothing out of it, it could be a really fun brainstorming opportunity, but I have a good feeling that’s going to lead you to think differently, to come up with better answers and new ways of doing things. So good, Nicole.
What Nicole is excited for in 2024
Crystal Vilkaitis: Okay. Nicole, what are you excited for in 2024?
Nicole Leinbach: Oh my gosh, so much, Crystal. That is a loaded question. I can probably relate to you with this when I say my wedding. So separate from business, you and I both have that to look forward to in 2024. But in addition, on the business side. Of course, I’m really excited to do Stimulate again, but we are also doing some community evening events.
So we have New York, Vegas, Miami, where we’re doing Stimulate Conversations. And Stimulate Conversations are three, five hour experiences of very education rich moments with media, business leaders, decision makers, and curated environments. That will just heighten the level of discussion around sexual wellness. And that does bring us back to retail and ultimately connecting to the consumer. But we’re bringing in doctors. We’re bringing in founders. We’re bringing in true decision makers within communities. People who are making big change within whether it’s men’s health, women’s health, communities, there’s so many layers to it.
And so I’m really excited to do that. Because two days in Nashville was not enough for the education that we need to deliver. So we’re going to be taking that on the road. And then we have a road show as well. Stimulate road show, which will be in Austin. And we plan to do one of those every year. And those are education rich experiences as well, where we’ll be actually doing workbook style learning experiences in combination with vendor connectivity.
Crystal Vilkaitis: That is so cool, nicole. I love this. Now, where can people learn more about these roadshows and as well as these kind of pop up educational events?
Nicole Leinbach: So stimulatetheshow.com is our main website, of course. And we’re actually, you and I are talking right now in 2023. By 2024, there’ll be a whole new launch of it just with more depth to it. But there’s still a lot of relevant information there now and always. And on Instagram, we actually really do love our social media and Instagram tends to be our hot spot. So @stimulatetheshow is the handle as well.
Nicole’s resilience round
Crystal Vilkaitis: Perfect. Love it, I can’t wait to learn more too. And we’ll link to everything. Nicole, are you ready for the resilience round?
Nicole Leinbach: I am, I love it.
Best business book
Crystal Vilkaitis: Okay, let’s do it. Best business book.
Nicole Leinbach: You’re going to be surprised. Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
Crystal Vilkaitis: Oh, I love that. That’s a great one.
Nicole Leinbach: I read that every quarter, every now and again. I’ve given it to my children, friends, family, at different momentous moments of their life. And it really does teach good lessons. I always say perspective is everything and it reinforces perspective.
Crystal Vilkaitis: Okay. So good. I have a copy on me, I have to read it. I’m going to do it after we finish this show.
Best retail technology
Crystal Vilkaitis: Nicole, best retail technology, like an app or software.
Nicole Leinbach: Lately, I’m going to tell you Canva, but I also really love all social selling platforms.
How do you keep up with the ever changing retail landscape?
Crystal Vilkaitis: Awesome. How do you keep up with the ever changing retail landscape?
Nicole Leinbach: I’m fortunate to get a lot of inbound media releases and insight. And I’m fortunate to attend a lot of different events across various categories. So being a part of experiences is my favorite place to do that.
What’s a retail foundational best practice?
Crystal Vilkaitis: So good. You gotta be in the room. To help retailers be stronger, more rooted in success, what’s a retail foundational best practice?
Nicole Leinbach: Never stop learning.
One thing Nicole would do differently if she had to start her business all over again
Crystal Vilkaitis: Good one. Oh, I love that so much. If you had to start your business all over again, what was one thing you’d do differently?
Nicole Leinbach: I would immediately hire a very accomplished, savvy, polished bookkeeper.
Crystal Vilkaitis: Oh, yes.
Nicole Leinbach: Yes, immediately. I did that a little later in my years of independent entrepreneurship. And yeah, it’s just so beneficial to have that. It also opens up time for you to do what you do best.
What does the future of independent retail look like?
Crystal Vilkaitis: Awesome. And finally, what do you think the future of independent retail looks like?
Nicole Leinbach: Lots of dollars, I really do. I think particularly when we look at the younger generations, they value more niche experiences. And I think our independent retailers can really lead with that. So I think if you lean into the generational growth of where retail is heading, I think it’s going to be very profitable.
Crystal Vilkaitis: I so agree, Nicole. I loved this conversation and all the value that you brought. We will link to everywhere, your Instagram and your website. Any final words you want to say to our listeners?
Nicole Leinbach: I just hope I get to see you at Evolve because I will be there in April of 2024 and or both at Stimulate in Nashville. And as always, Crystal, thank you. Because truly, you’re such a refreshing voice in this community. And I always love speaking with you.
Crystal Vilkaitis: Ditto. Same to you, Nicole. Thank you so for being here. And everyone, remember that I am rooting for your success. Have a great week ahead.
If you are enjoying Rooted in Retail, then you are going to love a new podcast called main street matters by heart on main street. My dear friend, Patrick Kaiser and the founder of heart on main street is the host. And he talks to. Retailers, industry experts helping main street retailers thrive similar to what we do here on rooted.
So I know you are going to love it. And if you haven’t heard of heart on main street, you’re going to want to check them out because they help independent retailers in three main ways through education, mentorship. And grants. It’s an incredible nonprofit and organization that I am honored to sit on the board for and be involved in.
And I really want to see you get involved. It’s a great resource. So you can go to heart on main street. org to learn more and then open up your podcast player, search for main street matters on heart on main street and subscribe and enjoy. I know you’re going to love it.
Thank you so much for being here. It means the world to me. Don’t forget to join the Rise and Shine newsletter, which is social media news. You need to know sent via email every Monday morning, go to crystalmediaco.com/rise to join. And don’t miss the newest episode of Rooted in Retail, which drops every Sunday morning.