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
SA: Sandra Alexander, Anndori Outdoor Art
BKN: What do you do, how long have you been in business?
SA: We started in 2012 making lighted tree balls and they're really cosmic and cool looking. And they come in different colors, blue, red, green, multi-color, or clear. They were doing this Christmas lights event in Greensboro, and they were using chicken wire to make lighted balls – but there weren’t circular due to the restrictions of using chicken wire. We decided to find an engineer to actually build something from plastic that snaps together that creates a completely symmetrical sphere for the lights. We had great success at the holiday shows last year and sold a lot of the lighted balls.
BKN: Who is your best customer?
SA: People who like to make crafts, people who love crafts but don’t have time for them.
BKN: Biggest impact of Covid-19?
SA: Due to social distance, it has had a tremendous impact. Because of Covid-19 the holiday shows were cancelled and we missed the opportunity to sell a lot of product at the show.
BKN: 1 or 2 actions you've taken because of Pandemic?
SA: We updated our website. We added new products: light ball kits, kissing balls, wreaths and flower balls. We went to Arkansas to meet with their leadership to get our product in their stores. We were able to reduce the cost of packaging as they suggested to get to the price-point they suggested.
BKN: How are they working?
SA: We were able to get in some of the Walmarts in NC – so that has helped with distribution. We have a plan to return to Arkansas in 2021 to talk with the management at Walmart to get greater distribution. At our last trip, they made suggestions for selling the product at their stores. We listened and made those changes to make the product a better price point. The new products are doing well.
BKN: Biggest learning since you've been a business owner?
SA: Don’t go into a seasonal business.
BKN: Any offers to include in the newsletter?
SA: We now have a holiday light ball kit, the kit that allows you to make these things yourself. The kit includes the plastic snap together sphere, the lights and, zip ties with instructions. We have a special: $95 for three kits. We're also offering holiday wreaths, kissing balls and wedding flower balls.
BKN: What is most inspiring to you today?
SA: Achieving our dream of creating a product that brings people joy and being an entrepreneur.
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