There are some success stories that you really can't believe until you hear it straight from the person themselves. Two Seaside Babes is one of those stories. This is what happens when you focus on providing the best products for your customers while creating an environment that makes it difficult for them to say no.
Two Seaside Babes is an online retail boutique that sells handmade crocheted accessories for children, photography props and gift items. All of the merchandise is handmade by the owner Jessi Martin. Jessi also creates fashion accessories available through Etsy and retail stores throughout the country and the world. Two Seaside Babes also stays connected to their customers and other crochet lovers through their blog. I don't know about you, but that is a lot of crocheting!
One of the most intriguing parts of Jessi's journey is that she does not have any formal training in retail. Her employment consisted of 6 years active duty military including a peace keeping mission to Kosovo and a combat mission to Afghanistan. When she left the Army she was a Staff Sergeant. She went on to explain that she was going through a horribly long and bitter divorce that depleted all of her savings and any money that she had for basic living expenses. She had been a stay at home mom for 4 years up to that point. She was suddenly the sole bread winner in the wake of the recession. She applied to hundreds of jobs and couldn't even get a call back for a minimum wage position. Instead of giving up, she forged ahead and began selling on a small scale on Etsy and threw herself into it headfirst. Her business took off from there and it is now her full time job and only source of income
Jessi came up with the name Two Seaside Babes while she was in college studying Aquatic Biology. Her original plan was to move to the Pacific Northwest to gain employment and that's the "Seaside" part of it. She has two daughters who are the "Two Babes". Therefore, the name Two Seaside Babes was born.
Although Jessi has an online store she also promotes her business through craft shows. When asked about her design strategy it is a very simple and affective one. She likes clean lines and uncluttered displays. She displays everything by color as this is easiest on the customer's eyes. She wants people to feel as though they are walking into a brick and mortar shop whenever they walk into her 10' x 10' booth space. She treats her booth space as though it were an actual shop. The inspiration of the store is inspired by the name of her business. Jessi explains that she tries to go with a sea theme of blues, whites, and grays without coming off as kitschy. She continues to maintain a modern, contemporary look. She took the time to do a lot of research as to how customers react to certain colors when they're shopping. As a result of this research, she chooses to go with colors that invoke trust, and calmness, thus making it easier for a shopper to be less distracted by fixtures and colors, and maintain the focus on actual products.
Jessi is a craft booth pro and she gave me a lot of useful tips to make a space work the best that it can. Within the booth she uses grid wall to display hair accessories. She uses peghooks to display them six deep, allowing six times as much merchandise on the wall. She uses quarter circle hang rail to give the grid more stability in the corners. It also serves double duty because she uses it to hang certain products that are better suited for hangers as opposed to folding. She uses shelves on grid walls to display some of her more unique merchandise. She also incorporates the table top by using our jewelry displayers. After her customers have purchased their merchandise Jessi prefers to use frosted plastic shopping bags. It seems more personable to her and she wants her customers to walk away from her booth feeling like they just stepped out of a boutique. Since she typically sells outdoors, she tries to have as little packing as possible (and also to be more green in regards to the environment) The pop of color from the frosted bags always gets a nice reaction from customers. She also displays some of her products inside of clear plastic bags with custom bag toppers stapled to them. It keeps products neatly displayed while keeping the elements out.
A Little Advice
I asked Jessi what advice she would offer anyone who was looking to go into business for themselves and she had the following to say. She suggests having a cohesive theme to your shop. Understand how colors influence a buyers' mood to shop. Understand how certain fixtures can help your products and how others can detract from the product itself. In regards to product offerings she simply suggests that you stand behind them. Don't sell something that you personally wouldn't wear, use, eat, etc. No one can sell a product better than the person who actually wants to buy the product themselves.
Would you like to be featured in our next installment of the SSW Store Owner Spotlight? Email Patricia Sims for more information.
Contact Jessi at:
Two Seaside Babes
PO Box 549
Alexandria, IN 46001