"We sold $20k overnight"
Mimi's story, part 2/3
(2/3) “I’ll never forget my 28th birthday. My ‘make-to-order’ shop, The Tiny Tassel, was featured on the Today Show and sales exploded. Initially, I had no clue what to do; I didn’t have the materials or staff to fill the orders. I chose to be transparent and most customers were understanding.
It had been a long road to reach this point. When I began selling tassel earrings on Etsy, I would do anything to please a customer. Some wanted a boho tassel, others a nautical look. As custom supplies piled up, I realized I was doing twice the work for folks who were not my core customers and unlikely to order again. I learned to refer them away.
Two years later I opened my first shop with another Charleston maker. We featured local makers and artists, as well as our own work, and I kept growing The Tiny Tassel online. Equal partnerships aren’t easy. By mid-2020, we parted ways and I was thinking ahead.
Did I want to continue as a solopreneur, making and managing everything myself, or did I want to grow as a business and start hiring people? The times were confusing: COVID was slowing things down in-store, yet the push to support local businesses was driving online sales. Then the dark events that led to the up-swelling of the Black Lives Matter movement brought attention to Black-owned businesses like mine.
In June, The Tiny Tassel was mentioned on the ‘Gal Meets Glam’ blog. We sold $20,000 overnight. I thought it was a website glitch at first. Then we did the Today Show and grew from 100 to 4000 orders per month. People thought we were a major business, but it was just me, my mom, and my friends filling orders in my apartment. It was nuts.
Though it was hard to build a team in COVID, today there are seven of us. My Mom makes our clothing and we have a jewelry-maker, an online-order fulfiller, a retail director, and two marketing specialists. My sister is our unofficial CFO.
With social distancing in force, I didn’t expect to open another store immediately. Yet a corner space freed up in a neighbourhood I love. Since these go fast in Charleston, I told myself, ‘I’ll call the number and if it’s still available, it’s meant to be.’ And here we are, open for business.”
Stay tuned for part 3, coming Tuesday!
When have you taken a big risk in adverse circumstances? How did it play out?