Creative Shop Talk Podcast Episode 179 | Retailer Success Series: Jess Gebauer, on Using Unique Marketing & Sales Strategies
With Retail Coach Wendy Batten
I’m talking with Retailer Inner Circle member Jessica Gebauer. Jess owns Krysset Artisan Boutique & Market in Yardley, PA: a shop full of unique products and gifts made by artists all over the United States and Canada. Krysset started as a monthly subscription box and evolved into a brick and mortar when Jess realized the subscription box was limited and she had bigger dreams.
Journey to CEO
Working with makers has its challenges: being able to meet margins, being able to pay staff, etc. Jess’s advice is to focus on makers who are set up to do wholesale and want to sell their goods to independent retail shops like Krysset. Jess uses Faire and other wholesale marketplaces, trade shows, local craft shows, and years of experience to find her vendors. Krysset has over 100 vendors in rotation.
We talked a bit about Jess’s journey to CEO. It has not been linear, as most shop owners will tell you! Jess describes opening her shop as being on the water skis attached to the boat, rather than being the one actually driving the boat, which is so true and an analogy I love.
Jess opened Krysset in September 2021 as the pandemic lingered. She describes her first year as “really (really, really) rough.” She had a number of challenges she was facing in her personal life, leading to her first hire: her current shop manager, Michael.
Her CEO hat has been coming out more and more in 2022 and 2023 as she settled into her shop, which is something we focus on inside the Retailer’s Inner Circle.
Here are a few very simple marketing ideas that have been working well for Jess and Krysset:
- Treating their customers well and with respect when they come in the door. Jess’s employees intuitively know that the people coming through the door want to be treated as a friend. It is so important to hire people who believe in genuine hospitality.
- Updating the exterior of her retail store. With the help and suggestions of the Inner Circle community, Krysset got an exterior makeover that brought new customers into the shop. Immediately following making some changes, her foot traffic multiplied.
- Carrying products that aren’t carried at every boutique on the East Coast.
At the end of the episode we have a conversation about why independent brick and mortar retail is so important. Jess was asked recently why she opened an independent retail store when “Amazon exists” and we both have strong opinions on that question as you probably do too! Tune in for our answers!
About Jess and Krysset:
Jessica Gebauer is an entrepreneur who turned her passion for jewelry and artisan-made products into a successful retail shop. Her boutique, Krysset, is brimming with unique products from independent businesses across North America. As an advocate for the creative community, its her mission to support the dreams of other entrepreneurs.
Why Jess exclusively sources from other small businesses and independent makers:
“People think it’s “novel” to shop small but they truly don’t understand the magnitude of that decision. They don’t understand the significance of choosing small, what that means for people’s livelihoods, how much it’s truly needed to maintain diversity and uniqueness among product choices plus how it encourages ingenuity and enriches people’s lives – both the maker and the recipient of the product.” – Jess Gebauer
Related podcasts we think you’d like:
Episode 174: 5 Ways to Network in Your Own Community
Episode 158: Becoming a Destination Shop
Episode 122: Retail Success Series: CEO Mindset and Community with Sylvia Davis from Louisville Mercantile
Episode 39: Retailer Success Series: How Jill Went from Hobbyist to Creative CEO
About Your Host, Wendy Batten:
In case we haven’t met yet, I’m Wendy, a small business coach and founder of The Retailer’s Inner Circle, where I help other independent shop owners learn how to gain the right business skillsets to see more profits, paychecks, and joy as they navigate running their retail business.
Through online classes, business coaching programs, speaking, and a top-ranked podcast, I’ve helped hundreds of retailers around the globe reclaim their dream and see the success they want from their beautiful shops. My signature private coaching community, The Retailer’s Inner Circle, has helped retailers around the world build their retail business skill sets and confidence.
I am proud to have been featured in several major publications, including my own business column in What Women Create magazine. I have been privileged to be a guest on top-ranked podcasts and sought-after as a guest speaker and teacher for several brands, associations, and communities that are passionate about the success of independent retailers.
When I’m not coaching, you will find me either DIYing and renovating my very imperfect old crooked cottage by the sea in the UNESCO World Heritage town of Lunenburg, NS, or blogging about our travel and RVing adventures and the weird fun things we get up to in our coastal village. I’d love to invite you to check out one of my free resources for real retailers at https://wendybatten.com/free-resources/
For more support from Wendy:
All of Wendy’s programs and services for shop owners can be found HERE.
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