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How to Successfully Hold up a Small Women Owned Business

In conversation with Amy Taylor

In this episode of eCommerce Experts Talk, Marc Bishop interviewed Amy Taylor, a bold woman who owns a women owned business in a small area of Oklahoma. Amy reveals how she got inspired, what are her challenges and how she utilises digital marketing strategies to upkeep her home decor eCommerce business. Watch now for some profound insights.

Hi everyone. Welcome to another episode of WytPod, the online community for e-commerce entrepreneurs and business owners. Today we have a very special guest with us. She is the founder and director of M Street Decor and her name is Amy Taylor. Amy, thanks a lot for joining us today. How are you?

I’m good. Thanks for having me.

Great. So we'll just go ahead and jump right in and we'll learn a lot about you if you don't mind. Can you just share a little bit of your background?

Yes, I am from a small town in Oklahoma. It’s kind of one of those born and raised. And my husband and I have been business owners for quite a while, but I’ve recently dived into the home decor business and we’re bringing some buildings that have been in my husband’s family since 1970. We’ve rehabbed one of the buildings and made it a unique little place to shop. You can see the brick behind me is original. It’s an about 120-year-old building. Just makes a cute little, little downtown shop.

Oh nice and all that stuff behind you as you're selling that.

Part of our store. Yes.

Fantastic. So what inspired you in the first place to get into the decor business?

Well, I was inspired to go into home decor just to provide a unique place to shop in my hometown. I mean, I’m proud of my hometown. It is a small city. A lot of the stuff that I offer people were going out of town to larger cities to purchase, so I wanted to be able to provide that here in our town and support our local economy.

Fantastic. And so now you've branched out into an e-commerce business as well. Have looking over and well spreading your reach.

Yes. Yes. I’m new to e-commerce. So it’s it well, it’s just new to me. So my goal to bring the home decor business to my small town I knew would not be successful without e-commerce. I mean, I am in a small city, so my brick and mortar is not going to get enough daily traffic to really make this successful. So e-commerce was always part of the business plan.

Certainly, and just like so many businesses today. So yeah. What were some of the challenges that you face when you were just starting your e-commerce business and who knows?

Well, I it’s still a work in progress. A lot of what we have done so far, I’ve done by myself, like pretty much all of it. However, I probably struggle the most is getting website traffic. There’s a lot of ways out there to advertise, but you know, if you’re you know how you’re spending your advertising dollars or be successful or not. I’ve researched strategies and terms associated with e-commerce, how to get started and how to grow. But I’ve just I’ve learned, but I haven’t necessarily been successful in implementing those things.

Yeah, well, you know, it is a bit of a black magic for some people. It's worse than the overall concept. But exactly how it drives business, right, or to store is a bit of a mystery for some people.

Hahaha, yes.

Right. But one thing is for sure, you know, it's very difficult to succeed if you're just a brick and mortar place, especially to do certain or small.

Right. And I think it’s really important to you know, the World Wide Web makes us all kind of the same size in a way. But you are still supporting a small business, even though you might be ordering, you know, something from a business that’s a thousand miles away. You’re still supporting a small business instead of maybe a big box business. So and that’s just really important for the e-commerce shoppers to understand.

I agree. You know, there's a lot of charm to that. And personally, when I'm shopping, I do like to support small businesses whenever I can.

Yeah, yeah.

What would you say separates your décor from the competitions?

Well, that’s it’s a difficult thing to separate the product because you literally can buy anything on the Internet these days. We all know that. And I think my business is different from online competition because it is a small woman owned business. I try to be competitive with my pricing. But you’re still getting like even though it’s e-commerce, you’re still getting a small business feel. I’m the one that’s packaging your purchase and driving across town and shipping it myself. And I just think that adds a little bit of value to it, kind of a, I don’t know, a feel good value maybe. I don’t know that you’re not supporting some large corporation, so.

Yeah, I would agree. I always get a charge out of it when I buy something online and then it comes with like a little handwritten note or something. And I think I'm not alone. I think other people as well.

Yes. Yes. That’s what we try to do here. That’s really the best way to set yourself apart, I feel like, is just that you’re giving a little bit of a personal service. And I mean, I’ve made customers all across the United States that they’re texting me pictures of what my product looked like when they got to their house. And, you know what they’re using the product for sometimes it’s not always just to sit on their dining room table, sometimes know I’ve sold things to people who are in the business of doing floral design and they’ve bought some of my vices and things. So I mean, it’s not it, it gets broad, broader than what the average consumer might think.

Sure. And what's it been like? Managing your supply chain, your shipping and everything? I think that's one.

When I got in on this a little after the COVID hump, I think. So. I don’t necessarily know what it was like before COVID, but I’ve been a little bit surprised because we’re all used to, you know, that Amazon truck bringing us stuff the next day. And that’s just not how it works with the supply chain. So it’s been interesting, but I’ve got learned to shop for Christmas really early because that’s what it takes in the home. The core business you’re buying for your holiday season, maybe in February or March, which is hard to wrap your brain around. So those are some things I’ve kind of little things that I’m learning to do. But I will say in recent months that the supply chain has improved, shipments are coming quicker, shipping prices are slightly improving. I’ve talked to providers that are going to be dropping surcharges and things, which is, you know, something that the business owners are paying that’s inevitably going to get passed on to the consumer. So I think we’ll see prices start to drop as the supply chain levels out. So that’s good. That’s good for everybody.

Absolutely. February and March.

I know. I know. I’m not. I’m not ready for Christmas anywhere here. March. I’m already in December sometimes.

So nobody is. I mean. Yeah, you know, the sign of a sick mind if you're all ready for it, I think.

I know.

I know that they are. That's I mean, you see, you know, it's even in the brick and mortar stores in October, you know, September and October, you start seeing.

It’s like, let’s do one holiday before we go to the next one. Yes. It’s really hard.

That's my view as well. All right. So what is your best selling product?

Our best selling product has been our florals and greenery. I was a little bit surprised at that when I when we first opened the brick and mortar, but it’s kind of taken off that way. Faux greenery isn’t an inexpensive way to update your house and just to give it a totally different feel or maybe even to change for the seasons. But, you know, you don’t have to go in and just like, Oh, I’m going to scrub everything in this room and start all over. You could just do something small with flowers and greenery and it kind of brings a warmth and cheeriness to a room.

Probably would. I don't really have any.

You probably don’t. But you know what? I’ll send you some. How’s that?

Oh, that would be fantastic.

In February. I’ll send you some for Christmas.

I'll take it. I can help. I can get so much. All right, so what would you say is your personal favorite product?

Well, my personal favorite are the vases that we sell, which goes hand-in-hand with the greenery. But our vases are just so unique. And it you can see a quality in them that you don’t see maybe in some other big chain stores. And that makes them unique and timeless, something that you want to keep for a long time. And we try to carry several different styles so it can fit a lot of different home decor styles. Not, you know, we all know everybody wants something a little bit different in their home. And so I think that fits different styles and different age groups.

So solid bases and dry arrangements, I guess. Yes.

Yeah. Yep.

All right. And I did have a look through your site. So everything is there. So we're everything here. Have a look. The details will be in the description. And I'm sure you'll find everything that you need to make your house warmer.

Yes. And we update it daily. I mean, we get stuff in every day. So we’re constantly updating our website.

So fantastic. And finally, what's your best selling market?

I think that my best selling market is probably women who are a lot like me. My children have recently grown and moved out of the house, starting to spread your wings. And I think for a lot of women, that’s the first time that they’re able to focus maybe on their home in a long time, because we all know where money went, you know, to raise some kids. So a lot of times that’s the first time that you’ve. Gotten to focus on what you want in your home. And it’s just a transitional time for women in their lives, I think. And we’ve also had locally, we’ve had a lot of people that are buying new houses. I mean, the real estate market, it’s been crazy these last couple of years. And I get locally, I get people in every week. They’re like, Oh, I closed on my new house next week, you know, Oh, we’re building a house. I’ll be done in two months. I’m going to be back, you know. So we get a lot of that, too.

So new home buyers and empty nesters?

That’s me. I’m an empty nester.

All right. Well, that's a good way to focus on yourself, I think.

I think so.

Well, Amy, thanks again for joining us today. And I guess she's looking good even behind you. I really enjoyed it and enjoyed speaking with you today. Thanks a lot.

Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.

I have to. Thank you.

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