LIMA — Doing business and doing business online can sometimes be very different.
The Allen County Chamber of Commerce hosted its monthly Wake, Rattle and Roll with this month’s focus on finding your niche. Panelists Ed Kirk, sales manager of Just 4 U Scrubs and Quick as a Wink, Elizabeth Leis, owner of Nitza’s, and Jennifer Velasquez, owner of Pointe of Joy, discussed their best-selling practices and what makes their businesses unique.
Kirk says a direct market approach is what made Just 4 U Scrubs successful. Instead of just online sales, the company convinced local medical facilities to buy their items from them. As a result, the company became the No. 1 dealer of the Dickies brand out of eastern Ohio, eastern Kentucky and West Virginia within 10 months of sales.
“We took business away from the internet,” he said. “That was our business model.”
Quick as a Wink uses the internet as well as in-person services. Kirk said 70 percent of the jobs the company provides is in person and the other jobs are online.
Besides sales, Kirk says Just 4 U Scrubs is unique because he sends out cards to each online customer as as a way to say thank you.
“When was the last time you’ve received a business card? ” he asked. “It’s something that you can do to make it personal.”
Velasquez said last year over five percent of the company’s business was from online sales and 15 percent was through marketing on Instagram and Facebook. Just recently she used Facebook to market busy moms. For an hour customers could ask questions about products and the customers could buy the product while they were online.
“It went well,” she said. “We had a goal and we doubled our goals in sales that night,” she said.
Not only has her company done well online, but its done even better with its in-store sales.She is grateful for her in-store customers and is committed to giving back.
“I think that it’s important to be involved in the community,” she said. “Not just about coming in and shopping, but actually building those relationships with people in the community.”
Leis said her business does most of its sales in store and very little online. However, if customers go online and search for a specific brand the manufacturer will have a store locator that will direct them to her store. Online isn’t an option for her company because the clothing is not made in large quantities so orders are usually made over the phone or through Facebook.
“It’s the personal service and the unique clothing that we have in there that makes us unique,” she said.
Host Marc Bowker, owner of Alter Ego Comics, said small business in Allen County is alive and well.
“I think that we are providing better services where people can come generation after generation,” he said. “I think that is one of the reasons we have experienced success is because we are passionate about what we do.”
Reach Camri Nelson at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @CamriNews