‘Ellen’s Bridal & Dress Boutique’ Deliver Experience | Small Business Revolution – Main Street: S1E3


(Herjavec) One of the most
unique businesses we’ve
seen is Ellen’s. The high end, high class bridal
and dress shop, in a small town. Why is Ellen’s important
to Wabash? (Brinkman) One of the things
we’ve heard from the
very beginning, is that the population of Wabash
is going to struggle to support all of
the small businesses. And I feel like Ellen’s
is such a beautiful shop, in that kind of an industry
people are willing to travel
in for it. So, I think they can help be
differentiator for Wabash to bring in tourism. That is if they can continue
to stay in business, which is something that I think
we can help them with. (Announcer) Small towns across
the country are fighting for
their survival, with the odds stacked
against them. But what happens if
we join that fight, if we dedicate a little money, a lot of experience, and thousands of hours of work, into the one small town; focusing on the businesses at
the heart of their main street. Nearly 10,000 people wrote
in to tell us about their
favorite community. And the country voted
for one winner. Now, marketing expert
Amanda Brinkman and her team at Deluxe, are going to work for the
people of Wabash, Indiana. And they’ve brought along
entrepreneur Robert Herjavec to help revitalize the town. Every episode we’re working
with a new small business to see if we can change the odds If together, we can
start a revolution. (Downs) Since I was a young girl
I’ve always loved fashion. Which is a little
tricky in Indiana. It’s not New York City
or Chicago. The local bridal salon
was closing down. And so I knew there was
going to be a gap there. It was a good time in my life. I was ready for a career change. I thought that would be a
great way to mesh together my love of fashion,
and creativity, and helping others at really
special time in their life. It can be very overwhelming
to find your bridal gown. I get a lot of joy in just
making it simple for them… Since you were a little girl,
have you been dreaming about your dream wedding dress
is going to be? – I just want
to feel like
a bride. I want very elegant, just… princess bride. – This is your one time for all
eyes are going to be on you. What do you want them to see? – I think this is it? Yea, this is it. (Downs) The bridal business,
where my true passion, and
true love is. But prom is becoming a bigger
and bigger deal all the time. And I want them to have that
pampered princess feeling while they’re here. It’s almost like they become
my daughter when they’re here. (Carlee) Lisa definitely gives
you like a confidence booster. She tells you, you look
beautiful in the dress, or if like that color
looks great on you, it really brings out your eyes. She just makes you feel pretty. (Downs) We see those prom girls becoming our brides one day. And if you get an invitation
to a wedding that you’ve helped the
girl select her dress, it’s moments like that where you
think that’s why I’m doing this. (Brinkman) It’s easy to see
why Lisa’s clients love her
shop so much. And why people are willing
to travel to Wabash for
that experience. But it can’t be easy to keep
clients coming in the door. Ellen’s is a low volume
big-ticket business. And the median household income
in Wabash County is less than
$45,000 per year. Which is about 15% below
the national average. I’m heading down to the shop
on Canal Street, in a part of town that really
needs to keep developing if Wabash is going to grow, so I can sit down with Lisa and get a feel for
how things are going. (Brinkman) You are helping women
with one of the most important
days of their entire life. What a blessing to be a part
of that journey with them. (Downs) There is just a smile
and a glow that that bride gets. And I want to help home small
town girls have that special
boutique experience. – And when you’re thinking
about your business, what keeps you up at night? – Getting people to understand
they can come to Wabash
for a dress. How can I get the word out there
that I’m here? (Downs) Things are really fun and really good here from
January through May. But then the end of May hits and those weddings and certainly
the proms dry out. It’s tricky sometimes
to find cash flow during those slower
times of the year. I should be on social media. I should be posting probably
multiple times a day, and I do good to get on there
a couple of times a week. You know, I even have people
here in Wabash, prom season a little girl
told me, “I didn’t even know
you were here. I didn’t know you had
prom dresses,” and you know, I’m right here. – Yeah, it’s such a beautiful
store more people need to
be shopping here. – Thank you. – Yeah. – I’m not where I want to be as
far as knowing my business knowing my statistics, and knowing that you were
coming to town, has forced me to sit down
and put that all together. (Brinkman) Lisa is worried
about the same thing that so many small business
owners worry about. Actually across the country,
nearly 70% of businesses
will tell you that they spend more time trying
to get people in the door
than anything else. And with things like social
media and search marketing, you’ve got a lot more
options now, but it’s also a lot more
complicated. (Downs) If I told you how far
behind my books were right now, you would probably cringe. And when you don’t know
your numbers, you don’t know if you’re making
money or not. And you don’t know how
to project in 6-months what you ought to be buying
for the store. The dream would be to have
the cash flow, to hire more people, so that I could focus more
on the business end. But the cash just isn’t there
to do that. So you end up wearing
a lot of hats and that spreads yourself
pretty thin, and then you think am I doing
anything well. Failure isn’t an option and no one wants that. You don’t want to admit
you couldn’t make it. But one of the things I would
really hate to tell you is that I still don’t
pay myself. Just to think that there
is a possibility that we could grow Ellen’s,
and grow Wabash, and bring more people here. We all know it’s great; we just want to get that word
out, and share it with everyone. – Yeah, well it does a lot of
heavy lifting for one business: it feels like maybe the solution
is something around creating Wabash as this
bridal destination. – I think that’s a great idea. – Help all of the businesses
of Wabash. – That would be awesome. It would just be so
wonderful. It would be a dream come true. [Radio] Good morning. You’re listing to 105.9
The Bash. Hey, if you’re in the line
of work that’s got anything to
do with like weddings, then you want to be at Get
Nailed this morning. Because Robert and Amanda, from
the Main Street Revolution, are actually down there today. Working with some of the
savviest wedding entrepreneurs
in town, to make Wabash a one-stop bridal
shopping destination. – Hi, how are you guys? Nice to see you. This is Lisa. – Hi welcome to Wabash. – Do you want to get
your nails done? – Yeah, they’re really bad
I bite my nails – That is a travesty. – I know. [laughter] – Good morning ladies. Thank you for coming. So we wanted to talk a little
about an idea that we’ve had. In talking with Lisa,
from Ellen’s, we feel if we could bring
multiple businesses together to bring brides to Wabash, to plan their wedding that could
benefit all of you. – What makes somebody come here? What’s the draw? ‘Cause that’s the key. – I think the idea
that we’re very close and they don’t have to like
drive 8-miles to that one, and 10-miles to that one, we’re all like what 3-blocks. And there is a lot to see
because it’s so historic too. – So that’s really good. (Brinkman) Co-branding is
something you see a lot, even from really big companies. It can be a great strategy because went you put the right
brands together, not only are you diffusing
the cost of the marketing, you’re elevating both brands by associating them with
one another. – How does someone start then, because we have to make it
as easy as possible for people coming to town? – I wonder if it’s around the
messaging and marketing? We kind of present them with
the concept, literally kind of running
through the agenda, like come stay at our beautiful
boutique hotel, go get your nails done with
your girlfriends, have them pick out your dress, go and plan your wedding, as a part of a weekend getaway. – From the pampering, to the fun shopping, to the checking things off
your wedding list, to just the feel of a small-town the quaintness of a small-town
and put that all together, advertise it that way
in a lump sum. – So, if feels like you could
plan your wedding here. – Absolutely. (Brinkman) We think this team
approach is a great way to get
more people into Lisa’s shop and into Wabash in general. But Lisa is also struggling
with things like cash flow, and accounting, and she’s still isn’t paying
herself 4-years in. So there is something else
going on. I want to bring Robert into the
shop to take a look at the
numbers. (Brinkman) We are excited to
be in the dress shop. – Beautiful shop. – Thank you. (Herjavec) Tell us a little bit
about the business. What are your sales so far
year to date? – To date we are at 125. – Wow, you’ve got to be
profitable, right? – Getting there, yes. – Oh, you’re not? – No. – Why? – Investing in the
new inventory. We have pretty significant
minimums we have to purchase
in the bridal industry. So twice a year I’m purchasing
about 30 gowns. And these millennial brides, they want choices. They want lots of choices. There’s probably $80,000 of
inventory hanging there now. – How did the business generate
enough money for you to get
$80,000 in inventory? – I have a loan. – Right now you have a cash flow
problem I’m assuming. – Yes. – Right? – Yes, Yes. – Okay. How big is your loan? – Right at $90,000. – Whew. At the end of the year will you
have enough cash to buy next
year’s inventory, or will you have to get
another loan? – It will be a struggle. – There’s a bus coming and that bus is going
to run you over and it’s called inventory. For you to fix your way
out of this challenge let’s not call it a problem, it’s a challenge, you would have to increase
your sales almost 4-times. This is a tough one, but there’s a business here. It just means you’ve got
to adjust. – I’m willing to learn. – Yeah, every great
business pivots. And so, typically what I do when
I encounter something like this, I gotta get more data. So, how many local weddings
are there? – I do not know? – We should know that. – We should. – Because that would be your
dress of a market. – I could find out like through
the courthouse, how many marriage license
are applied for. – That would be easy. Because if you need to sell 30
Allure dresses to make money, and the total sold in
the whole state is 35, you’re not going to get there. But if there’s more people
getting married and your sales are low. – I need to choose
a different line. – Yes, maybe you need to change
your line to accommodate what
those people are buying. (Herjavec) I’ve got a fellow
shark, Damon, that was in
the bridal business and he actually got out of it
because it was so tough. Those minimum purchase
requirements were killing him. – I think we have got
a great product here I think we’ve got a great
atmosphere that the brides are looking for. We just got to get them
in the door. – I think it’s a great business. I think, though, that we
gotta get the volume up. You are kind of stuck within
the confinements of the way
it works. -And I think Amanda is going to
have some great ideas on that. – I’m super excited about
that partnership. (Herjavec) You know, most small
businesses you can scale depending
on your sales, and then there are other
businesses that have a minimum floor. Meaning, here’s how much it
costs me to run my business no matter what my sales are. That’s her business because she’s got to buy
these inventory levels. She’s the only business around
here that has that challenge. (Brinkman) So I feel like
there’s two things we need
to do around helping Ellen’s. One is she’s a part of the group that will benefit from Wabash
being thought of as a bridal
planning destination and then stuff we can actually
do for her as well. – I love the interior
of the store. I love the back wedding area. Did you find the front wasn’t
quite the same experience
as behind? – I think we need to get her
a new door and they just feel
very industrial and I think she needs
something that’s as elegant as she is
and as the store is. She’s doing a good job
with her social media today, but I feel like just getting her
a more regular content plan that she’s constantly posting
will help her. A lot of small business owners
struggle with that. It just takes so much time. So we can get her set up with
different systems that allow her to preload
her content. – That’s a great idea – But, you know, she just has
such a beautiful shop. We want to get more people
in there. – Beautiful. – It feels like the difference
of experience for such a special
decision to purchase. – Personal service is so hard. It’s so hard to get somebody to
notice and market until they
meet you. – That’s where I feel like
reviews are really going
to be helpful online because it can help point out
the difference that a personalized experience
like that can make for bridal
planning. – You know, we have a pretty
serious discussion. That inventory is
a serious thing, but she knew her numbers
better than most. Only because she knew
the numbers and she told them to us could
we tell her “you’re spending too much
money on inventory, but it’s a function of
your industry.” – She has the right DNA
to make it work, but it’s figuring out how
to get sales up. – You know what I think? – Tell me what you think. – I think you’ve got to go
to Minneapolis… – And get ‘er done! – Get ‘er done! (Brinkman) We’ve got a lot we
need to accomplish for Ellen’s: Website, social media,
print ads, P.R. and that doesn’t even include
finding a local contractor
to work on her facade. All of these pieces have to
happen at the same time and they all have to fit
together in a way that
makes sense. So we’re headed back to Deluxe
to see if we can pull it off. (Gordon) With Lisa, she can’t
do it all herself. So I think partnering and
turning Wabash into a bridal
destination is really smart. (Dince) We can create
a community that other
businesses in the area could all become a part of where people can ask
each other questions about the wedding process and really build a family
around the brand of Ellen’s. (Gordon) We can help her
refreshing her website, running marketing campaigns
to help promote her shop and get her to that point
where she writes her first
check to herself. (Kimlinger) If we look at
her current logo, I think we could really
simplify it and just make it more modern
and elegant. The other thing was
simply switching bridal and dress around. In her original logo you
can see it’s “Dress and Bridal Boutique.” So it’s a really simple
positioning thing that makes a big difference. (Fox) This is the wire
frame I put together for
Ellen’s home page. Really the key pieces
of content are the expertise around Lisa
as a bridal consultant. – So, it’d be great to continue
to help her boost reviews. So going back to her
past clients, but incentivizing with people
moving forward as well. Three quarters of people
read reviews before making
a purchase decision and almost 90% of consumers
actually trust online reviews as much as personal
recommendations. – So the goal of the website is
to get people in the door by really convincing them
that staying in Wabash you’re going to have the
same experience as if you go to Indianapolis
or even New York. Uncompromised. – Hi, this is Cameron Potts
calling from Deluxe. I’ve got a really good story
for Indiana Bride Magazine I wanted to talk to you about. (Lisa) So shortly after
you folks left I took to what I call
my Facebook network and that has prompted to
talk about how can we
bring improvement to the entire industry. So it’s really like a Small
Business Revolution within
the bridal industry. (Gordon) We’ve been talking
about Ellen’s for weeks now. We’ve been putting
together plans and it feels like those
plans are coming to life. – Hi, Lisa! – Welcome back!
Good to see you guys! – How are you?
Nice to see you! – Well I’m so excited to
show you what we’ve been
doing outside! – Yes, we’re excited to see! – First thing the new sign
which is just awesome! – I love it!
It looks so elegant. – So this is the new logo. – It’s perfect. And you may
notice our new door. – Beautiful! – Thank you. It just makes a statement. Our old door looked
like a grocery store and now it feels like you’re
walking into a store where you’re going to have
a very elegant experience. When you were in
before you asked me, “how many marriage
licenses were issued
in the area?” – Yes! – So immediately I went
and found out. There’s almost 1,600. – Wow! Talk about the size
of the opportunity! Wow, that’s great. – Tell Robert a little bit
about the expo. – Yeah… – And the success of
the Facebook. – We did actually it was nation
wide event called “National
Bridal Day Sale.” We invited several vendors
from Wabash that will be a part of our
wedding package planning and they were there to help the
brides really plan their entire
wedding that day at the sale. – How many people came? – 80/85 people through the door. – You sold 20 dresses? -We did. – Not only were there people,
but buying customers. – Correct. Yes. – All for a $200 investment
on Facebook. – That’s it? – It was phenomenal. – And did you get headway in
terms of working with inventory. – There’s a really exciting
group called B.O.S.S. that is forming. Bridal Owners Seeking
Sustainability. So to be sustainable
and profitable. – So you’re getting together
to help run the industry. I love to hear that. (Herjavec) Oh my gosh. When I was here last time Lisa
had some big challenges in terms of inventory
and vendors. She took that help that
we tried to offer her and she came back and she listened to it and she made the place better. – Alright. So I have some
stuff to show you This is your current site and one of the things that’s
really missing is you. Your biggest differentiator
is the experience that you
give people and your expertise and so we want that to come
through throughout the site. You ready? – I’m ready. Wow! – This looks great! – Oh, it does! It’s fabulous! – Oh my gosh. – People want to see what
the actual store is going
to look like. So we are infusing the new
photography throughout the site and we want to tell your
story right away. Your philosophy. You talk about Midwest brides
getting that big city experience and you deliver that here. So we want the experience
of the site to communicate
that as well. – I think what I’m most
excited about is how it steps a bride through
what her visit would be like. There’s a lot of intimidation
involved in coming to look
for your wedding gown. It’s been built up as the most
important garment of your life. If they can get a feel for
that before they ever walk
through that door I think they’ll be more at ease
and more excited about coming. (Brinkman) So these are
some print ads. We have the Francis Shoppe
listed. For the mother of the bride. Get Nailed for a fun nail
experience when you’re in town and then right down here and ask
for Lisa to start planning your
perfect getaway. – Perfect. When I first
started out and you would thumb through a bride magazine
you think your dream is to someday be in there and
so to see this is just… – I’m so pleased that
you like it. are actually going to do a
media buy for you as well. We want to make sure that
we get this ad out there. – That’s awesome because that’s
so hard to fit into the budget. So that’s just… Whoo! – Now I’ve got something
really fun to show you. How about beautiful packaging? – Oh my goodness! It’s
like New York City! – Yeah?! – Oh! – This is the new logo
that we designed. – Yes! Classy black & white. – White trim! – Can you just see these
walking down the street? – Yes, absolutely! – To see your name on something
like this just really… – Really cool. – …Phenomenal. – You’ve made her a big player in what we actually now know
it’s a much bigger market. – You can show up big online. She looks as professional
as a big city bridal shop, which is so great because
it reflects what she
actually delivers in terms of experience
in the shop. Alright, we have one other
surprise for you. – I’m not sure I can
take any more. – No? Okay! (laughs) Well we’ll see. – Alright. – So one of the things that
we were very moved by is how many bride’s
lives you’ve touched. You’ve been working so hard and we want to just take a pause and a time out and realize
the impact you’ve had on
people’s lives. Okay? – So we’ve asked a few people
to help us tell you that story. – Okay. – Hi, Lisa.
It’s Jen Weaver here and I just wanted to take a
little bit of an opportunity to tell you how much I truly,
truly appreciate everything that you did not only for me, but for my
family and for Ellie. – Thank you, Lisa, for
helping me pick out the
perfect prom dress. You’ve showed me that every
girl that walks into your store is uniquely beautiful and
you show them that every day. (Lisa) You can tell yourself
for a long time it’s worth it, but when yours is the only voice
that you hear encouraging you,
it’s a struggle. I was really doing a lot of soul
searching of “Is this really
worth it?” But just going through all
of this and digging deeper and learning how to really
run a business. I definitely have a renewed
commitment to being a success. I just think we’re a
real store now. We are legit. We know what we’re doing here and we can give really awesome
service to these brides. – We’re all very proud of you. – Thank you. And that just puts
it all into perspective. – It does. – It’s why I do what I do. So… – We’ve got a few more people
who want to say something. – Is she a mess? (laughter) – Do you have a hanky? – We’re so appreciative of you! (Herjavec) I always find great
leaders are always learning. It takes a big person to
look at your faults, rise up to them, and make things better and she really did that. (Brinkman)
This feels so rewarding to know that you’re making a
difference in a person’s life. She loves what she does and she is in turn blessing
and touching so many other
people’s lives. To be able to help her to
do that for more people, it just feels so rewarding. (Herjavec) We get to see
people’s dreams become actuality and that’s what
we’re doing here. Join us next time where
we go to Filament Tattoo run by a former Pastor. Should be interesting. ♪

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