Lisa Quall and Kelly Gasparich aren’t sure what business will be like when the economy rebounds, but they’re working overtime to make this challenging environment work for them.
A year ago, Lisa opened Elegant Clutter, a small boutique in Mill Creek, Washington, about 30 miles outside Seattle. Kelly joined her quickly and the two created a shop designed for women who enjoy making their homes beautiful.
Lisa and Kelly say much of the store’s success relies on attractive price points that encourage impulse-buying. They are determined to hold to their average price tag of $25 to $100 and rely heavily on IMAX products to do so.
“IMAX is the best vendor I carry,” Lisa said. “They ship quickly, keep up with trends and offer good quality. They have great customer support.”
Although Elegant Clutter is small, about 800 square feet, Lisa found an unusual way to attract new customers. A friend had a small boutique carrying clothes, jewelry and accessories such as sunglasses and needed a new location. Solution: Chic Essentials moved into about one-third the store space and both parties are happy with the arrangement.
“Chic Essentials brings in a different customer,” Kelly said, “and it helps pay the rent.”
Definitely a win-win situation.
Lisa’s 15 years experience with Nordstrom’s has been put to good use at Elegant Clutter, particularly when matched with Kelly’s experience in home staging.
She held a big Spring Mark Down Move Out sale after the store was stocked for spring. She rented an empty suite and channeled customers through the new merchandise before they went into the sale area.
Elegant Clutter also offers a three-hour consultation in a customer’s home for $150 to basically re-do what the customer already has. They make notes and suggestions and invite the customer into the store to make additional selections.
“There is no pressure,” Lisa said.
Getting the word out about Elegant Clutter is vitally important. As part of that effort, the two women send out emails about new products, their “favorite” items and events. If the customer prints out the newsletter and brings it into the store, she gets a 10% discount. The store also has just created a presence on Facebook.
Elegant Clutter also gives out business cards with a stamped code on the back offering a discount. ‘We hand these to people who have been looking, but haven’t bought,” she said. “I want them to become a friend, to want to come back.