Susie Simpkins owns the Atlanta based store, Embellish Boutique. Embellish is a consignment shop, which specializes in plus-size clothing and also accessories for women. Simpkins started the business after taking a leap of faith and leaving her management position at the Avenues store in Alpharetta, GA. Fortunately for her, the transition was easy and Simpkins has never regretted her choice. “Things happened very quickly for me, three weeks after I resigned from that position, I was opening my own store.” She said.
Simpkins contributes the success of her boutique to both an effective and focused branding campaign and a consistent social media strategy. She has remained true to not only her strategy, but also to the target market that she identified early on. “I found my niche by catering to the plus-size market and it has really worked for me.” She said.
Simpkins has been spreading the word about Embellish on various social media platforms since it opened back in June, 2011. “I first noticed the power of social media when I started using Facebook for my own personal use. I then realized that it was a great way to market my business and to stay connected to customers.” She explained.
Simpkins is pleased with her choice. “I like using social media in order to market my business. There are so many benefits, but the most important for me are the fact that they are easy and inexpensive.” She said.
Much like the clothes at Embellish Boutique, the many social media platforms that are currently available to small businesses, do not offer a one size fits all solution to marketing.
Simpkins notes that each company is different and has to discover which platforms work best for them.“For me, I see more sales and new customers with Instagram and this is closely related to the nature of my business. I can post pictures of new store items, use the hash tags that Instagram offers, seek out new customers, and find certain keywords that help me to engage with current customers.” She states
Simpkins plans to open another store within the next year, and sees this growth as an obvious return on her investment from actively branding and marketing through social media. She has some sound advice for other small businesses that are courageous enough to embark upon the social media frontier. “Find a way to balance it all by identifying which platform works best for you. It is unwise to be stretched across every single platform available out there. Also, save time by using software that can send one post out to all of the platforms you use.” She added.
Simpkins sees abundant value in her social media marketing strategy. “I often think about all of the money that I save in advertising and marketing costs. Twenty years ago, I would have needed much more money in order to market my business with traditional marketing tactics and I still would not have the huge reach that I have today.”