In this series, ActionCOACH Mary Ann Hauser (MAH) and team virtually sit down with business owners to learn how they are working through COVID-19. Check out their inspiring stories for tips on how to cope with and successfully recover from this pandemic as well as ideas on how to avoid making common mistakes. And be sure to look at special offers from these businesses – we can all use a little extra help right now!
BKN: Coach Beverly Kiser-Nutt
SJG: Stephanie James Goldman, Allen and James Interiors
BKN: What do you do and how long have you done it?
SJG: Patty Alice the Co owner and I have been doing interior design for 23 years and we worked in a large retail store, corporate environment. We wanted to have a slower pace and more creativity. We were the top designers and sales people.
I took a leap of faith and started my own company 4 1/2 years ago. I bought the house that our studio is in. Its a 120 year old home on North main street in High Point. It's an arts and craft house, I renovated it and turned into our design studio.
We didn't know how we were going to do it. We worked out of my kitchen with an assistant while we renovated the home. I had a vision when I saw the house and I knew what we wanted to do. I wanted the house to be for the community, people coming in and enjoying it. I never thought about retail, but thought people are coming through the house we can sell something.
I wanted to grow the community part and use the house for non-profit events. I thought we could have some of the non-profits come through and use the house at night to have their fundraisers in the house and not charge them. We had a lot of organizations such as historical services, Family services, Heart Association, YMCA, YWCA, Wells Fargo. We let them use the house to cater their events with great food
We sell art, clay's, home accessories, jewelry, and we started helping those that maybe lost their jobs. We would invite them to come and sit in the space and get on their laptop and look for jobs. It was a professional and nice environment for them.
I even hired one of my designers from those that would come in and do their job searching here. She was so diligent and I knew I wanted to hire her. When the time came I hired her and she has been with me for 3 years now. She is one of my top designers. We kept growing and hiring. Pam Price helps us with our plants and indoor trees.
We want our business to be the go to for interior design. We want to be in our clients lives 365 days of the year. When they need a gift, a tree for their home, orchid or birthday and Christmas gift they will think of us. We can service them not only in their interior design but all of their day to day living. Our customers know we do this because we love it and we love the community.
BKN: Who would you say is your best customer or target customer?
SJG: Our target customer is that customer that wants that special touch, they want that care and professionalism. We want our customers to know they are important. Taking the time to take items to their home and set things up and let them feel and see how it looks. We have something for everyone. We have great customers that come to us for all of their needs. We want to be that special touch for our customers. They want to support these little businesses. Our customers enjoy our services and they always have a great experience. They know us and trust us.
BKN: What has been the biggest impact on your business with COVID 19?
SJG: It took the rug out from under us on our retail store. We were just starting to crank up the plants and have a grand opening, but then COVID hit. Our retail business really has struggled. I started to work harder on the Allen and James part of the business. I positioned myself for something really good, so when we come out of this, we will be doing fine.
BKN: What are some actions you had to put in place because of the Pandemic?
SJG: Wearing mask and social distancing
BKN: What has been your biggest learning since becoming a Business Owner?
SJG: I learned that people need boundaries. We had to provide, work schedule, job descriptions, to ensure people have that structure. It's the only way it will work. Helping the team to see the goals and our mission, who we serve.
BKN: Do you have any special offers you'd like to share?
SJG: 20% off any one item for in store purchase.
BKN: What do you find the most inspiring?
SJG: Downtime and challenges has given me time to work on things for the business. Motivating my staff, keeping them focused. I want to always be growing and learning. I never want to stop growing. This year it has felt that we are not growing. I feel strongly about shop local and support local. People want somewhere to go. They want to see something new. We stay fresh and relevant. Rising to the challenge not giving up and being able to refocused in a difficult time and accomplish things and do things a little differently.
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