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shop tune-up

Printwear 2016 Shop Tune-Up: Day Two

Follow this year's Tune-Up, featuring Printwear columnist Erich Campbell and Regina Cassidy, owner of It Takes a Stitch. 

Day Two: Erich

Regina did a splendid job of creating a Facebook page for her business and filling it with critical information. I was so impressed that I immediately switched from posting my own usual mélange of content and started uploading pieces we’d put together on day one, linking them all to her page.

We then headed out see one of her most important clients, Sport Fair. I was eager to see what her clients thought of her and how she had cultivated the relationship that was feeding so much of her business.

We met with the owner, Gary Ramsey, and I immediately understood why this was a good fit. He valued and had cultivated an admirable relationship with her, full of trust and clear expectations in equal measure. Gary is a goodhearted, but no-nonsense businessperson who cares about the people whom he serves. As I would say to Regina time and time again, you become the people with whom you work most closely, and Gary is a good influence to have in your circle to help you stay accountable. Gary’s focus on quality jives perfectly with Regina’s tireless attention to detail. His willingness to invest in the right things and put in the necessary work to get them done is inspirational, and a perfect echo to Regina’s own intuitive sense of how to make a great product. I encouraged Regina to make this relationship the model for her future relationships with customers. As she decides to expand into the monogramming and bridal markets, she should be looking for customers who value her process and who are looking for her brand of problem solving and quality. Since she’s working from a stable platform in her business, she can afford to take the time to find relationships like this one and cultivate them. I believe if she shares her work widely and consistently, the opportunities won’t take long to roll in.

After our meeting with Gary, we bid farewell to Sport Fair after a few choice photos and hit a local kebab house to grab lunch. We talked a good deal of business before heading back to It Takes a Stitch headquarters to start the hard work of day two: the social media review. I boiled the social media education of the day down to list of key points: 

We ended the technical work of day two with a discussion about both shop-management software and e-commerce. I explained to her the importance of having a website that is optimized for both mobile and desktop platforms, and streamlining a checkout process. Some of the inventory on the site appeared to be for sale, but clicking on the images only led to descriptions and prices. We also talked about the importance of not only being where the customer can find you, but clearly setting up and fulfilling their expectations.

After our discussion about how her previous works had been shared on Pinterest, I suggested that Regina start a Pinterest account, which we would work to automate later in the week. I also explained the importance of Google business listings and we signed It Takes a Stitch up so Regina can control the information available to potential clients.

Day Two: It Takes a Stitch

On day two, we discussed my best customer, Gary Ramsey at Sport Fair, The Swimmer’s Outfitter in Arlington, Va., and today we visited the store. Gary is an ideal partner in business. He wants to work together for everyone’s benefit, is a good business role model, a receptive learner, and cares about his customers. Most importantly, he views our relationship as a partnership that should benefit us both.

It was a nice chance to talk business with someone who understands how to partner with others to provide outstanding customer service and make a living.

When we got back from our visit, we worked on social media. We primarily discussed Facebook and Google Business. Erich also gave me tips on maximizing my reach on social media by asking good customers to post reviews, sharing links/linking to others in my posts, and maintaining consistency in posting.

Erich pointed out that Pinterest is a perfect platform to share my photos and advice to embroidery users. He explained that I could include pointers on what to ask when ordering embroidery, and demonstrate how bridal veil monograms work. We also discussed using Twitter but for now that platform is on hold for me, as I don’t think my customers are truly there.

I have a whole lot of social media tasks to do at this point, but I will continue to plug away at them now that I have the tools and clear tasks to make it work.

Printwear columnist Erich Campbell discusses day two of the 2016 Shop Tune-Up with It Takes a Stitch in Arlington, Va. Campbell