Learning to launch a business.
Josie Lee was a full-time student who didn’t wait for graduation to start her career. She had a fashion blog, which led to selling locally made and fair trade accessories online and at craft fairs. The response was so good that she opened a perma-rent space at a pop-up, and then her own brick-and-mortar location. Now she sells young contemporary clothing out of multiple spaces in Sacramento and Davis, California. And Square has been with her since the beginning.
Give the girl credit
Carrying a cash box to craft fairs seemed like a drag, so Josie needed a way to accept credit cards. She tried Square because it seemed easy and intuitive. And it was. It worked right out of the box and her customers felt comfortable with it. She could stay mobile, and when she moved to her pop-up location, she didn’t have to rely on a wired phone line.
Josie says most shoppers don’t carry much cash, so accepting credit cards let them buy more. When she told them she could take American Express, they’d “tell me to wait, hold their items, and they’d grab more stuff. It was cool.” If customers can spend more, they will. “Impulse purchases are great. If I didn’t take credit card sales, I probably wouldn’t be in business.”
Josie says she has increased her sales over 400 percent. “If I didn’t use Square, I wouldn’t even have my own brick and mortar.”
Rire means laughter in French, and it’s clear to see how the name fits this young shopkeeper’s personality. Her shop attracts positive and happy customers, too. “Everyone loves to laugh, right?”
Picking out that perfect outfit.
Earrings for any occasion.
Item management makes inventory a snap.
Every sale is sealed with a heart.
Not all fun and games.
Even in the beginning, Josie found herself exhausted trying to keep up with business. She says she was working every day. Square Dashboard was a huge help. “I was running between both places and going to school. Using the analytics, I was able to determine what time I should go from the brick and mortar to check on the pop-up. I could see a 30-minute slow time so I could quickly run over to the pop-up to fill it up.”
Taking time back
Josie says she used the analytics in Square Dashboard to figure out store and employee hours when she opened her midtown Sacramento shop. Now she has “three days off and with the analytics, I’m also able to determine what days I can go shopping for the store.”
Square Analytics also helps her create a more personal shopping experience for her customers. Josie likes to see “how often people shop with us, how long they’ve been a customer, and their average spending.” She uses this information to greet them by name and help them select new items that they may like. She even reaches out on Instagram when she stocks a new item that’s just right for them.
Selling at craft fairs led to a pop-up.
The location in midtown Sacramento.
Josie’s favorite part of the job.
Customer Engagement: easy as email
As soon as Square launched the Customer Engagement tool, Josie jumped on it to help grow her business. She identified a select portion of her customer list, created an email promotion, and sent it out. “I didn’t think about it. I just did it in the middle of the night and it was great. We only had 130 people saved into our system. We had a 70 percent open rate, which is crazy. Our other email program is usually around 30 percent.”
Josie saw over 15 times the return on the cost of sending the one email. She couldn’t have been more excited. “I even wrote an article about it on Reddit.”
Just the beginning
Since Square talked with Josie, she has opened another brick-and-mortar store in Davis and says that she wants to expand her website now that Square allows merchants to link their account with more third-party e-commerce applications.
“I feel like, yeah, it’s the beginning. I’m just getting started. Even though a lot has happened and I’ve grown a lot. I don’t think this is it, though. I’m going to keep going.”