Sep 17, 2023
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When you finish this episode, I think you’ll agree with Beth Rich’s new nickname “Brilliant Beth”.
Five years ago, Beth bought Mix It Up Home & Gift; now she has TRIPLED sales in the last four years. Another shocking key to her success… averaging 70 store events a year!
Beth is fortunate to have two stores that thrive in a resort downtown area that participate in dozens of events yearly, which add to her sales, but she has a super unique take on a private event…laundry night.
These nights are actually called ‘Holiday After Hours Parties’ and they are so successful that Beth actually has waitlists for people to participate. These bring in old and new customers, and they streamline MAJOR sales. Beth explains how these events work, and you are going to be inspired.
Process and operations are major factors for Beth and her team. She uses Asana and Shopify to digitize and simplify the information needed for her store, ordering, and creating stellar customer service experiences.
You don’t have to know how to do this all on your own. Beth is an advocate for hiring help where you need it! She hired an operations consultant. See where YOU may need help and seek support.
Listen, you have to tune in all the way through because there is so much gold here throughout the whole episode!
I’m rooting for your success.
- A unique way to build sales and exclusivity with events.
- The secret to having a waitlist of customers.
- How to use Asana for retail.
- Hiring support for operations and processes.
- Using private and public events to boost sales.
- A great idea for a special customer service experience.
Mentioned In This Episode:
- Mix It Up Home & Gift
- MixItUpCDA (@mixitupcda) on Instagram
- Mix It Up | Coeur d’Alene ID
- Heart on Main Street
- The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century (Think and Grow Rich Series)
- EVOLVE 2024 in Denver, CO – Crystal Media
- Crystal Media Insiders
- Crystal Media
- Crystal on Instagram
- Crystal Media on Instagram
- Crystal Media Co – YouTube
Crystal Vilkaitis: Imagine having a waitlist of people waiting to come into your store. A year from now, they join a waitlist to be in your store a year from now because you’re so busy. You’re so full that you have a waitlist. If you want to grow your store sales and if you want a fresh new idea for events and how to streamline them so they’re easy and cost you no money, then this episode is for you.
I am talking to Beth Rich, the owner of Mix It Up, and she is pulling back the curtain and sharing how she tripled sales for her store in just four years. She’s doing some very unique things that I haven’t heard. About before. So I think you’re going to learn something new today. And from the events perspective, I think you’re going to be wildly inspired.
You might just start your own new event based off of what Beth talks about in today’s episode. And one of the main events that we talk about is these laundry nights that morphed into holiday after hours. Parties. And so as the holidays are approaching, this could be something that you try out this season.
It could be something you launch next year, or it could be something that you completely make into your own. I really want you to think about how you could do something similar to where you have these. Waitlist like Beth has and really have grown your, really grow your store like Beth did. Plus in this episode, Beth is sharing some of the processes, systems, software that her and her team use that you could integrate these things and save yourself and your team hours of work and frustration and hassle, streamline.
Your systems and also provide better customer service. In my opinion, this is a must listen to podcast. You must listen to this. If you are a retailer, if you are a store owner, so please listen all the way through. There’s so much in this full episode and then share it with any of your retailer friends who need this support to sharing is caring and we really want to help our retailers grow and thrive.
And Beth just really gives you a lot of ways to do that in today’s episode. Before we dive in, let me share a little bit more about my guest. Beth Rich is the proud owner of Mix It Up. She brought over 35 years of sales and marketing experience to the store when she purchased it in September of 2018.
She loves being a business owner and an involved member of her. Coeur d’Alene community, a strong focus on customer service and curating exceptional unique gift and home decor inventory are the foundations of the success of the store. Beth loves creating interesting story displays with the merchandise she fully curates, and she would love to have you stop in.
She is usually in the store and loves seeing return customers who are now friends and meeting people stopping in for the first time. You can check out best site at Mix It Up home and gift. com. Follow along on Instagram at Mix It Up CDA and let’s dive in to this valuable and helpful 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 will 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.
Beth, welcome to Rooted in Retail. I’m thrilled you’re here.
Beth Rich: Thanks. It’s so nice to be here.
Crystal Vilkaitis: I know. Okay. So I just have to say that Beth and I sit on the same board, Heart on Main Street. And so we’ve been learning more about each other and I’m very excited for this conversation because Beth recently told me that she did over 70 events in one year.
So we’re going to get into it, but before we do, Beth, will you take a couple of minutes and tell everybody about your store.
Beth Rich: So my, uh, my store S stores now, um, I, yeah, I opened a second store. So five years ago I bought Mix It Up. Um, our tagline was home decor and gift. It’s in downtown Coeur d’Alene right on.
I live in a resort town, so it’s right on the main street, right in downtown Coeur d’Alene, uh, very much just a resort, um, resort feel and. I’ve had that store for five years and four months ago, um, I, we did some rebranding and Mix It Up, Mix It Up, became Mix It Up gift. And two blocks down on the same side of the street, we opened a home store.
So we have Mix It Up Gift, Mix It Up Home. What it’s done is it’s allowed the gift store to be It is just classically a very, very highly curated, um, gift store. Um, we took everything that was home, all the table linens, the napkin rings, the chargers, the, uh, the, every candlestick, every, I was looking for a bookend in the gift store the other day and I was like, Oh my gosh, we don’t have one because we took it all down the street.
Um, but what it’s done is it’s allowed us to have truly a home store that is just so very, very much, um, inclined towards people and their homes.
Crystal Vilkaitis: I love it so much. And I know you shared with me that when, so you bought the store in 2018 and in four years you tripled the revenue, which is. Awesome. And we’ve talked about, you know, how you’ve done that.
A big part of it has been these events and with you doing over 70. And so I know that, you know, if you want to maybe take us like kind of high level through a few kind of quickly of some of the events you do all year, but then you do some cool stuff around the holidays and these laundry nights that I was, I love this story and you just have to tell everybody about laundry nights.
Beth Rich: Okay. So, um, this, again, I’m in a retail, I’m in a, in a resort town. So our, I always say I have the trifecta, I’m a member of our chamber of commerce, and I always recommend for, you know, I would say 90 percent of the time. I think that really makes sense for people. Um, because that’s what a chamber does is a chamber is there to kind of promote your business.
We are in a very unique situation because my business, so I have the chamber. Always working with the Convention and Visitors Bureau, telling people, come to Coeur d’Alene, here’s why you should come here on vacation. You know, they’re, they’re, you know, they’re always putting on, you know, trying to bring you to Coeur d’Alene.
We have a, a downtown association, which is a very unique situation. And a lot of towns don’t have that. A lot of towns, it would be the chamber that’s doing it. But because we have a vibrant downtown, and our downtown association coordinates an event every single month. And so it’s an Ironman event. It’s a 4th of July parade.
It’s a beer fest in January. That is marketing genius. Uh, January, February, March is our slowest time of the year. And in January, um, they do a Mac and cheese festival and they sell, they sell out by Christmas, they have sold out 2000 tickets for a Mac and cheese festival. It’s a Friday, Saturday, and so it’s a, it’s a competition for the golden noodle.
It’s. Beer and Mac and cheese, which who doesn’t like beer Mac and cheese in the middle of the winter? Um, so, so you have so that so 12 events with the downtown association, then then we are a member of the arts and culture alliance and our arts and arts and culture alliance has an art walk the 2nd Friday of every month.
So 12. 12, you’re, you’re a 24 before you did anything. Um, and so we start, you know, we, we start our year every year. And, and at those events, we are doing live music. We are doing champagne cocktails. We are partnering. We have what we call a hospitality host. Um, we didn’t have it when I first bought the store five years ago, I was going to Costco and I was buying champagne or wine and investing in the evening and it’s.
It’s not a whole lot of money, but it might be $200 and $200 is $200. And so, um, we started partnering with local real estate agents, uh, title companies, people who are interested in connecting with our customer. And so they come and they, we bring them to the event and they are, they’re our hospitality hosts. They pick up the tap. Um, and we let them interact with our customers. Oftentimes that like tonight or on Friday night, um, they’ll do a drawing. And so they’ll buy, they’ll buy $200 worth of merchandise in our store, put it in a basket and have a drawing. So now they’ve paid for it, paid for the alcohol and they’ve bought 200 worth of merchandise.
Crystal Vilkaitis: it’s brilliant. Which, and for to bring, like they’re bringing in their customers, they’re, so they’re doing the marketing, they’re bringing in the foot traffic, they’re paying for the food and beverage. And then also, like you’re saying, buying these gifts, I mean, this is such an incredible way to connect with your community.
I feel like this is kind of an out of the box thinking. And kind of take us through how you structure these. Cause like you, you close the store, right? It’s like a private event for whoever’s putting this on.
Beth Rich: So the, the arts and culture lines and the art walks are not private events. Those are in conjunction with those things.
And then let’s so then, one thing on that subject. And then we’re going to go to laundry night. Because since you mentioned it, and now everybody wants to hear about laundry night. I know. Um, the one thing that we do for, uh, the downtown association, arts and culture, they both, um. Promote these events on their social media and everything.
And then we work just, I think we spend, I don’t know, $75. We work with a local printing company and we do, uh, about a four by six card that features both stores. It features, um, who the featured artist is. It features, it says who the music is, who the hospitality host is. And that card is, is printed. And on, on Friday of art, this Friday’s art walk.
And so on Friday night, we’ll start handing out the cards for next Art Walk. And they go in every single bag and with every single customer for an entire month up and leading up into the next, the next event. And that again, I think it costs $75 to print 300 or 400 of them. We pop them in everybody’s bag. It’s a great way to promote.
Um, and so those events are public events. Then, uh, the year I bought the store, I’ll make this long story short. The year I bought the store, uh, the, the former owner of the store who had. 35 years of retail experience. I mean, I call her a retail maven. Um, she, you know, she was the, the, she was a great buyer.
She had great eyes, you know, she’d been in retail for a long time. And here in town, she traditionally hosted one event a year, one event a year. And that event was something called laundry night. And so when I bought the store in September, one of my associates was telling me about this event that would be on the calendar and I was like, what is laundry night?
And it was a group of women who, um, this is years ago, back when women were doing everything in their home and they were, they were starting to go to work and they didn’t have any time. They were trying to figure out when they could connect with their friends and when they could, um, connect to network.
And when somebody came up with the idea, let’s set aside enough. As much time as it would take us to do a load of laundry. And so the second Monday of every month they had laundry night and, and the, my store Mix It Up to somehow a connection in the community, um, got the opportunity of hosting the November laundry night and it was, uh, you know, the doors, as you mentioned, the doors closed at six o’clock.
And the, the, it, I’m not in the food and beverage business and neither was the former owner. And so the organization brought their own wine. They brought their own, they would go to the pizza, the pizza place 2 doors down and get, get a couple of pizzas. They had a basket on the table. Everybody threw a couple of bucks in to cover the, cover the cost.
And, but. The owner of the store offered a holiday discount to this group. And traditionally the store, we don’t even have a sales section in the store. As a, as a general, we just, we kind of have run out of room. So traditionally in Mix It Up, you can’t find sale merchandise. And so, um, it was, it got to be this, you know, the, um, the buzz of it was you could go to Mix It Up and you could go do holiday shopping.
We do complimentary gift wrap. Um, and it, it was just like this fun, big party. So I buy the store in September. The second week in November, we have laundry night and that night we sold more than we’ve sold in a week. And I was like, well, we’re doing that tomorrow. You know, by then it was too late to do any more that year.
But my goal the next year, I was like, okay. Like, like this is a great idea. So we went to book clubs, Bible study groups, title companies, real estate companies, um, you know, Republican women groups. I mean, we just kind of put it out there and said, Hey, you know, it’s, it’s free. You don’t have, you know, you don’t have to pay for the space, you know, we’ll offer the discount.
And then. Well, as it, as it has evolved over time, we actually, we start at the end of November, end of October, we only do Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, because the holidays are crazy enough anyway. And it’s, you got to have enough staff to do this whole thing. So we do Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, we close at six.
The party’s usually done by. By 8. 30 ish, we have people that get their neighborhood together and their neighbors come and they have a party. Um, and, but there is a, there are a finite number. So from the end of October to the week that week, it ends that Friday before whatever Christmas is that next week.
So now, and this is, this is exactly what I wanted. We have a wait list. So people have heard about it. They know about it, but we, they’re a finite number. And so if you are not, if you, we, so what happens is when people come in December. They’re booking for the next year because they know if they don’t and they lose their spot, they go to the end of the list.
And so it takes so much of the work out of it because, and, and, and I get that hosting events is work and, and you have to have staff and you have to have all those other things. We have created a culture in our community where we have customers who are like, let me, please let me just come and wrap. Like for free, like, I just want to be, I just like, I just want to be in the store.
So we’re like, okay, you can come and wrap for one of my wines parties. We’ll feed you some wine and you can come and wrap. And so that, that, that ends up being 35. I mean, that ends up being a huge chunk of our, uh, but it is rev, it is revenue. It’s, it’s revenue and it’s, it’s, we have, we are not waiting for you to walk in our front door.
It is, it is. We are, we are saying our front doors are open and we’re going to close them right behind you. And, and, and people spend money and they have a great time and they, we post it on social media and it’s become kind of this thing.
Crystal Vilkaitis: I have, if this isn’t an example of creative thinking and connection with community that generates revenue. Like this is one of the best examples that I’ve ever heard because to your point, the fact that you are on a wait list for people to be in your store, like think about that. Anybody who’s driving, you’re walking, you’re in your store cleaning. Like can you imagine having a wait list of people to be in your store and that power of community and connection and that you have people that just want to work these events because they’re fun.
People just want to be a part of something I think now more than ever. And when you’re doing these fun get togethers, it’s light, it’s fun. It’s in a great space. I mean, how could you not want to do that? I think this is just such a brilliant. Idea. Do you still call them laundry nights?
Beth Rich: Like, no, I mean, it really, we, we call them holiday after hours parties.
Crystal Vilkaitis: Perfect.
Beth Rich: Laundry night is called laundry night. Cause that’s what their group calls theirs. But that’s the only one that’s called laundry night. The rest of it, we just refer to them as our holiday after hours parties.
Crystal Vilkaitis: Perfect. And that’s where I was getting a little mixed up. So the first, the open to the public, you have a host that sponsors those things, which is brilliant marketing for that host.
Love that you’re, you’re, you’re partnering in that way. And then having these after hours. Now let’s talk about, because. You mentioned holidays are crazy and now you’re doing three events that are these private, but then you also have the holiday season. How are you doing these events without feeling totally overwhelmed and stressed?
Beth Rich: We first of all, I have, I have an, I have an amazing crew. I mean, I have 14 of the most amazing women in, I know in this world who, who are on my team and last year we had, um, we had somebody at the home store who stepped up and, um, she, this is somebody who, who works, but doesn’t have to work, which is the ultimate employee.
I mean, you know, and 75 percent of my associates are either retired. In a situation financially or whatever, and they work 3 days a week. Um, and so we had, we had 1 of our associates who stepped up and said, I will do that’s what those are the 3 days that I’ll work. And so she, she came in and she, so she.
We weren’t reinventing the wheel every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, she knew where the table went. She knew where the, you know, what to do with the music. And, and, and, and so set up and take down became sort of this, I mean, it really is, it just comes down to processes. And once you get that process going, um, and so I got, so I was, I, I always.
Um, if I’m in town, I am always there. I don’t necessarily have to stay for the entire event now. So that’s the thing that keeps me from having to, from, from getting a little bit too worn out because those first couple of years, you know, I’m setting up the table and I’m taking out the trash at the end of the evening.
And so now, because I have a great crew, um, but people, you know, people will look at, we’ll put the schedule out and people will look and say, oh my gosh, I want to work the blazing divas and I want to work the, you know, when they. Our, our staff is sort of like picking and choosing which parties they want to work because it’s a party.
It’s a, it’s a party. And so, um, so for me, um, now the way I am able to handle it is, um, first of all, I have a great store manager who manages both my stores in addition to myself, and then, um, I’m able to usually. Get out of there before the cleanup happens. So that gets me, you know, sometimes I’ll stay, but I don’t have to.
Now, um, the other thing that we do, and I would put a plug into this is, um, I’ve worked so hard on the relationship that we have with our vendors, um, especially the, the companies that we’ve. You know, our top revenue producing items that we sell. I mean, we, it will, it would blow your mind if you, if you heard how many girl pods I sell, and so, so one of the things that I do is I have a little three step ladder and somewhere in the evening I get up on my ladder.
I’ve, I’m giving you a discount on all your merchandise. You’re in my store. I’m going to take, I’m going to take 10 minutes to introduce myself. One of the first questions we ask is, is anybody in here who hasn’t been in here before? You know, because that, that’s such a huge win for me is when one of my customers has brought somebody, you know, when I, when I see eight hands go up, I’m like, you know, our mantra is all we need to do is have you in our store one time.
And then we will get you back. Um, and so we acknowledge anybody who’s there. We introduced the group. We thank them for being there. And then I do a drawing every single night and I draw for probably three different things. Um, and we go to our national vendors that we are, that we are their top customers.
And we say, Hey, I, I’m like, I’m going to stand on the ladder and I’m not, I’m not just going to pull a, you know, a drawing for your product. I’m going to stand on the top of the ladder. And I’m going to. Sell your product to every single person in that room. And then I’m going to pull and I’m going to give one away.
And so, so we, sometimes a vendor will send us things at their cost. Um, sometimes they’ll give us things, you know, kind of, it’s just a little, it depends, but it’s a great way to, I mean, then everybody stays till the end because everybody wants to be, you have to be there to win. So it keeps everybody in the store.
It keeps everybody engaged.
Crystal Vilkaitis: Brilliant Beth. That’s what we start calling you. Brilliant Beth. It’s so smart though. And just leveraging your vendors as much as you can and really set. And then when you’re selling the product, people are going to want to buy it if they didn’t win. I mean, you really do want to talk about the items versus just pull and here’s a gift card or something like you just, you’re really leveraging that.
Undivided attention that you have of this group. That’s right there in your store. Now I’m hearing people, I’m hearing processes. Can you take us through? Because you shared with me how, as people are checking out, there’s a lot like people are, you got a lot of people in your store. A lot of people need to check out.
You streamlined that. Will you take us through that process?
Beth Rich: We have, we have trial and error. My, my store manager is a processes girl. So, which is fabulous if you can get one of those, um, because at the end, you know, at the end of the season, we sit down and we do a recap and we say, okay, what did not work?
And what, what do we have to learn to do better? We use Shopify as our point of sale system. And what happens is all night long. People will find something and they’ll walk up to the counter and say, Oh, I’m Susie Q. And I, you know, can you add this to my bag? And it’s, you know, you’ve got 50 people in the store.
I have 2,600 square foot store. You have 50 people in there. And so what we ended up doing is we have a process where in Shopify, you can do a saved cart and you can put somebody’s name on that saved cart. And so we have our, um, we have our Vogue bag with our, with our Mix It Up logo on it. And then we do, um, just a little, um, tag where we take a big, uh, Sharpie.
We write this, when Mary comes up and she hands us the first item, we put Mary’s name on the side of the bag and they lie, they line all the way up down the, down the wall in the store. I mean, it’s just, you got 50 bags lined up. So when somebody comes up to the counter and they say, Hey, this is, you know, I’m Mary and this goes, we got them trained now I’m Mary.
And can you add this to my bag? We call up their cart. Put at, scan it, put it in. So at the end of the night, you literally just have to go grab Mary’s bag, call Mary up as a saved cart, take her credit card. And she’s out the door. Cause at the end of the evening, everybody wants to go. All 50 people want to leave at the same time.
And so making sure we haven’t missed anything and getting them out of there in a quick fashion is something that was important to us.
Crystal Vilkaitis: It’s key. I mean, people are tired. They’re ready to go. And if they have to wait as you’re scanning up so many people, then they’re like, Oh, I’ll just come back tomorrow or I’ll come back this weekend.
Or, you know, if I come to one of these next month, I’m not going to purchase. Cause I know this is such a hassle to do. You’re making it so incredibly easy on your team and on your customers.
Beth Rich: I, I always say, um, on any given day, not necessarily in the confines of an event, but I will, I will walk up to somebody and say, our five favorite words in the store are, can I start a pile?
There’s somebody standing there with two or three items in their hand, and it’s like, can I start a pile for you? And, um, on shopping nights, we’ve just trained them to. Start a bag and, you know, can, can we start a shopping cart bag for you? Um, and, and because we always say it’s a two handed shopping store.
I, I, like, I am highly motivated to get those things out of your hand because I want you to have two hands to go buy something else.
Crystal Vilkaitis: Yes, exactly. So smart. Can we start a pile? You got to start the pile. Get it going. I love it so much.
Retailers. It is time to step out of the day to day of running your store and step in to a new perspective.
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Beth, we’ve chatted about Asana and we use Asana at Crystal Media and I know that you’re using it.
I talked to another retailer on the show who uses it, loves it, but you’re doing some cool stuff and so you don’t necessarily have to get into everything. We kind of said like we should do an Asana training course together. I think that that would be. Huge for retailers. But I know as we talk again, because this is going to be airing near, like we’re preparing holiday season and as much as we can streamline some things and help save some time for the holidays, we want to help our retailers.
So can you share a couple of things that you’re doing with the sauna that streamlines your processes?
Beth Rich: Two, two key things that I would say is, first of all, um, at the volume of merchandise that we do, uh, receiving freight is just, it’s, it’s, it’s, I mean, there, freight comes every single day and we have, we have a, an entire, um, segment in Asana called Freight Tracking and so when I, yeah, when I get an email from, uh, from Mudpie or from Ivystone that says, hey, this is coming, then I, um, Put it into freight tracking.
So the gal who’s who’s doing our freight and every single associate can see that. So if somebody calls and says, hey, you know, I know you guys were out of those earrings. Do you know if they’re, you know, can you tell me when they’re coming any associate can go into freight tracking and see what is what’s coming in the next week?
And so it’s a, it’s just. Great way of kind of sharing information and making it available to everybody. The other thing that has been just huge for us is, um, we just hang our hat on our customer service. And part of customer services, if I don’t have it and you want it. I’m going to do everything I can to, to, to find it and to, to source it for you.
Um, especially if it’s something that we sell and we just don’t have that color or what, or whatever the case may be. And what the day I bought the store, and again, remember the former owner was not a, was not a processes girl. Um, he had a black three ring binder that was underneath the counter that was tabbed and it was tabbed to, you know, pillows and candles and what not.
And so if somebody came in and they wanted, we didn’t have the color of gurgle pot that they wanted, they would put Mary Smith’s name under, under the tab and that she wanted a certain size or certain color or whatever. Well, that book was at the store and it was written on a piece of paper. And I was like, Oh my gosh, like I have like, like I do ordering at 11,30 at night.
You know, on top of my bed with a glass of wine. And I’m like, I have no idea who wants anything. And so the biggest thing that we did is we, for both stores, now we have a customer request. And so every associate can sit, we don’t make anybody pay for a customer request, uh, because if it doesn’t show up, I don’t want to have to refund you your money or anything like that.
But it’s all in alphabetical order by the vendor. It’s the customer’s name. It’s their contact information. And then if, if I’ve ordered it, I, I, I play, I, it’s, it goes from a request to an ordered. If it’s, if it arrives, it goes to a, you know, on it’s on the hold shelf. So, literally, you can go to Asana, we have thousands of customers, and you can go to Asana and you can type in Beth Rich and boom, it will find, it will just find me and it’ll say, I was looking for a blue gurgle pot. It got ordered on this date and it’s on the hold shelf.
Crystal Vilkaitis: Wow. Okay.
Beth Rich: And then I have that in my hand at market. It’s on my phone.
Crystal Vilkaitis: Yes.
Again, here’s Brilliant Beth saving the day.
Beth Rich: It’s on my phone and it’s in alphabetical order. So when I’m in the Ivystone showroom and I’m buying warmies and I can look and go, do I have, do I have a warm, a special request is to somebody needs something that I need to make sure that, that I get for them because we deal in, we deal with thousands of customers, but when you have a customer who wants a particular warming and you are able to source it and you call them back and you tell them you have it for them in time for whatever the situation was, you have a customer for life.
Crystal Vilkaitis: You so do that is next level customer service. I mean, that love that attention.
To your customers is incredible and talk about easy organization for you too. And for your team and same with the freight tracking as well. And everybody being on the same page and being able to give those quick answers to customers. I mean, I’ve been in stores where it’s like, Oh, I don’t know. You know, it’s like, well, what?
Okay. Like it’s just, well,
Beth Rich: I mean, can you find out?
Crystal Vilkaitis: Yeah, can you find out exactly, so I love how you’re using this and I think both Beth and I would love to know if you’re listening to this, if you’d be interested in learning more about Asana. Um, you can email me, you can DM me on Instagram or chat into it.
We have a Facebook group for Rooted in Retail wherever you are. Send it to me and, um, I’ll collect those responses. Cause we’re scheming on doing some Asana training. Cause I mean, as much again, as much as we can make our retailers efficient, it’s processes and systems are key to your success and organization and saving stress on you and your team.
And you just –
Beth Rich: One other thing that I would put a plug in is that every single purchase order that I do is saved as a PDF. And it’s in Asana and so again, a, one of my associates, if somebody said, well, do you know if you have, um, the squirrel warmie, little bit of a plug for Ivystone here, do you know if you have the squirrel warmie coming?
And literally you can, you could go into Asana, you could just type in warmies and you could see the last purchase order. You can click on it. You could open it up and you could see, you could see what date it was any associate. That’s not private information. And then the other thing is, if I’m standing in the Melrose showroom at Christmas time, you know, in January, getting ready to order for next Christmas, I can, I can literally on my phone, I can, I can type in Melrose and my purchase order from last Christmas comes up on my phone and I go.
Well, how many of those snowflake ornaments did we buy last year? And I had that information. I, when I bought my store, I said, I want to be able to run this store from a beach in Bali on my phone. Now I haven’t gotten there yet. I mean, I could, I just am not in Bali. Um, but. But the point was, I want to be able to have everything at my fingertips.
And when I’m in a showroom at market and you, you, we’ve had this conversation when I’m in a showroom at market, I can take out my iPhone and I can barcode scan the bottom of a candlestick and I can tell you how many I have in my store.
Crystal Vilkaitis: And you’re doing that through which app?
Beth Rich: That’s actually through Shopify.
Crystal Vilkaitis: Shopify. Yeah. Awesome. I mean, Brilliant Beth is on the beaches of Bali. I just, I just see it though, but you’re setting yourself up for success to have that mobility I think is key. There’s so much we can do with technology and you’re really leveraging it to help support you. Um, You know, I feel like a lot of retailers we work with have a lot of fear and hesitation with technology.
Would you, do you have any advice for anybody that’s listening to this thing? Like, Oh, but I just don’t want to learn it. I don’t want to do it. I’ll just keep doing things the way I do it.
Beth Rich: Well, it’s one of the reasons why I’m intrigued and would be interested to have people reach out to you and tell you if they’d be interested in, I paid an operations consultant.
To, to put, to, to, to help me figure out Asana. I did, I personally did not just start with square one with Asana. Um, and she helped us with Shopify. And so to get us fine tuned to where we needed to be. And so, because I’ve done all the work. The question is, we’ve so, I mean, Asana works for lots and lots of different industries, and we have taken the time and effort and already spent the money to really say, okay, what’s the best way to use Asana in retail?
And so I would be interested in, because I think. Uh, the thing that makes it, that makes us on a maybe a little intimidating is that it, it can be robust and it’s like in retail you don’t necessarily, you know, we’re not project planning and we’re not, you know, there’s, there’s a lot of things that we don’t use, but for the things that we decided, it made, it made sense to use.
Crystal Vilkaitis: Very valuable. Okay. Awesome. Um, so yeah, they need to get support is what I’m hearing. You might need to hire an operations person. Maybe we can help you with some training, but really get the training. It’s worth it. Hire somebody to set you up for success. The time, frustration, stress that you will save.
You just got to, it’s about evolving. I mean, that is really, how can you evolve your tech, your systems, your process? You’ve got to do it. Beth, if somebody is listening to this and they just bought a store like you five years ago, or they’re like, I want to triple my revenue in four years. What kind of advice would you give them?
Beth Rich: I think you have to have a passion. Um, you know, I have, I mean, I have lots of people who are just like, like you’re like the energizer bunny. And I said, it’s because I’m, it’s. Because I’m passionate about what I’m doing. Um, and, and, you know, in so many different regards and, and the passion is the thing that makes me pour my heart and soul into it.
And I think when you do it shows, and that’s what people, that’s what brings people back is what brings people in it. What’s good is what gets people talking. It’s what gets people sharing on social media is. They can, they can see and feel the passion. It shows in the, it shows in your products. It shows in your customer service.
Um, it shows in everything. So the people who say, oh, I’m going to buy a retail store because, um, it sounds like fun, um, you, you really do have to have, you have to have a passion for what you’re doing, I would say.
Crystal Vilkaitis: Yeah. Cause you’re, it’s hard work and you’re going to need that energy to keep you going. And if you don’t have that desire for that connection with your community and your customers, and I mean, you really do have to have that passion.
It’s, it’s great advice. Beth, what’s next for what’s the future of Mix It Up. Look like?
Beth Rich: Well, Mix It Up home is only four months old. So we are, um, I’m on my way to high point in October because we are, uh, have gone boldly and wildly into the furniture business, which is a business that I, I have never been in.
And so, um, we only have 3000 square feet, so we will never look like a classic furniture store. Um, but that, that’s the biggest thing for us right now is just, um, co promoting from one store to the other. Um, and kind of, um, making sure all of our customers know where we are with the new store. Um, not quite sure if there’s anything, uh, you know, if there’s anything more on the horizon.
Two stores is a lot. Um, and, um, I’m still so involved day to day. I think that one of the biggest things for me is both in home and gift. Um, We, and it always, it always touches my heart when, when a customer comes in and we have customers who, who from all over the, all over the country, all over the world, and that’s one of the highest compliments I get is when a customer walks into my gift and or home store and they say, Oh my gosh, I have never, ever been in a store like this.
And I go, and they say, ever, and I’m like, look, you travel all, you know, you live here, you go there. And they said, I’ve never been in a store like this. This is the best gift store or the best home store ever. And so my goal is to continue to keep that bar raising. And so one of the things that I will do next year is I’ve, of course, I’ve added high point and I am looking very seriously, I will probably go to Frankfurt.
For the Christmas show in Frankfurt. And I will probably add Maison & Objet in Paris in the fall, because I’m continuing to just try to, I’m just, I’m, you know, I’m, I always say, you know, we have the, um, I buy the ice, I buy the cake, you know, in Dallas and Atlanta and, you know, kind of get all the, the key things that are so important, the cake’s really, really important, but then I go to New York to buy the.
Icing and the embellishments and the, you know, to Frankfurt for, you’re just, you’re looking for, you know, I always say, you know, you, you had me at two, you lost me at 12, you know, like, like I’ll buy two of those, but Oh, 24, really? We’re trying to stay so exclusive with what we have. And so I’d say that’s probably the next step for me is to, is to go outside what we, what I’m currently doing and, and to try to find and curate even, even, even to be more highly curated than we currently are.
Crystal Vilkaitis: And I, and we talked about me coming with you on those international markets, right? I love it. I love it. All right, Beth, are you ready for the resilience round?
Beth Rich: I am ready for the resilience round.
Crystal Vilkaitis: All right, let’s do it. Best business book.
Beth Rich: Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill. You know, they’re turning it into a movie.
Crystal Vilkaitis: They are?
Beth Rich: Yeah, it’s coming out.
Crystal Vilkaitis: Oh, awesome. I love that book. Great recommendation. I can’t wait to see the movie. Best retail technology, like an app or software?
Beth Rich: I would say Shopify and Asana. Mhm.
Crystal Vilkaitis: How do you keep up with the ever changing retail landscape?
Beth Rich: Um, industry magazines. I, you know, I, I don’t watch TV traditionally.
I, you know, I’m, I’m always feel like I don’t have time. So, uh, gifts and deck, um, is, is a cover to cover for me. Um, and then I, I always say to them, I would say this, if Lenny’s was in front of me, um, it’s one, it’s the, it’s the magazine that I read. For the advertisements, most magazines, you’re trying to get past them to get to the article.
And it’s the magazine I read for the advertisers to try to figure out what’s new, what’s coming and then quite honestly, going to market, it’s one thing to sit and look to catalogs. It’s one thing to sit and look online. There’s nothing like being in Atlanta. There’s nothing like being in Dallas. There’s nothing like being in New York.
I know it’s expensive. Um, but partner up with somebody in your community, see if you can’t share a room, fit, you know, save your points, but, you know, get it, get a Delta SkyMiles card or a Southwest Airlines card and pay for your airline ticket with you’re paying all those bills anyway. So fly for free and, you know, share a room, but, but it pay, even if you just pick one, get, I would say, get to market.
Cause it’s, it’s so invigorating and just the education, um, and just seeing it in person.
Crystal Vilkaitis: I agree. There’s just something you’ve got to be in person. Something different about that in person because retail is ever changing. How do you recharge your batteries? Yeah.
Beth Rich: So I, I live in resort town, so that’s lovely because of things that I do are right here.
So I don’t have to go very far. So I’m a golfer, so I golf, I’m a fly fisherman. So I fly fish and every once in a while, there’s nothing like an afternoon at the pool.
Crystal Vilkaitis: Mm. Yes. Sounds so good to help retailers be stronger, more rooted in success. What’s a retail foundational best practice?
Beth Rich: I would say it’s, I thought about this one a lot.
And for me, I started with the word customer. And I, I, I actually put it a little bit to the side and I use the word relationship. It’s it. You have got to have a relationship with your customer, just like you have with your spouse or your parents or your kids. I mean, you’ve got to care about them. You’ve got to listen to them.
You’ve got to, um, you know, you got to have, um, I wrote some notes down. You have to have fun with them. You’ve got to get to know them. Um, and so those are some key things that it’s, it’s not just, you came in my store, you bought something from me, you left. And, and we have a lot of customers who don’t, who aren’t in our store.
I mean, they don’t live here. I live in resort town and yet by the time, I can’t tell you how many times somebody’s and they, they are, we are hugging at the door. And so it’s a, for us, it’s a relationship.
Crystal Vilkaitis: Mmm. Build those relationships and look through that lens. Oh, so good. Finally, Beth, what do you think the future of independent retail looks like?
Beth Rich: I am, I am thinking is so strong. Um, I think Amazon and online shopping are here to stay and I think it’s fabulous. I mean, there’s nothing like buying a S hooks of stoplight, you know, because I like Amazon, like I need those and I don’t have time to go to Ace hardware. So I’m an Amazon shopper. But I think it’s the relationship.
I think it’s the connection. And I think that’s the thing that will keep people coming boldly back to, um, to small business retail. I think that I think, I think if you can set yourself apart as someplace that genuinely cares, um, and, and it’s, it’s almost like walking into the store feels like just like a big hug and people, they, people, they want that.
Crystal Vilkaitis: I couldn’t agree more
Beth Rich: And you can’t get it online.
Crystal Vilkaitis: You can’t get that online. No way. You sure can’t. Beth, how can people connect with you?
Beth Rich: So [email protected] and we are Mix It Up CDA on Instagram, Facebook. Yeah. Follow us and follow us. Um, I, Crystal knows this, but I, I am now our new social media manager for the, for the interim time.
And so, uh, yes, we would love to have you. Follow us on Instagram or like us on Facebook.
Crystal Vilkaitis: Yes. And you’re going to do a great job and then people can see the store and the uniqueness and what you’re up to. And if you learn something today that helped your business, shoot Beth an email or say something on Instagram or DM, because I really do feel like there was some really creative out of the box things that we talked about today, Beth.
So I just really thank you for pulling back the curtain and sharing what you’re doing with my audience. So thank you.
Beth Rich: My heart is that I would love. For every independent retailer, for every gift store owner, for every home decor store owner to be to, to, to, to know the success and to, um, to be able to share it with their communities.
And I, I, anything that I can do to help with that, and it’s the real, it’s one of the reasons why I sit on the board with Crystal of Home with Heart on Main Street because I have a passion for, um, for, for seeing other small business retailers make it.
Crystal Vilkaitis: Hmm. So good. You’re so good at it. And I think that your community, the board, we’re just all so lucky to have you.
So again, thank you for taking your time, sharing your wisdom. This was so good, Beth. And everyone remember that I am rooting for your success. Have a great week ahead. Bye.
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