The Sparkling Spur founder Tiffiany Johnson has focused on uniting as one with her customers while still helping them each shine as individuals through her creative sense of style.
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We talked with Tiffiany Johnson about business and style in this new era as she continues to spearhead The Sparkling Spur.
Was your storefront shut down? What does your current business environment look like? Is it different than normal for you?
We never closed down. It’s different, because we have to wear the masks. It has to smell like antiseptic. We had traffic, but I would have to say it was online [business] more than anything, but people did still come in. We’re so rural where we’re at. I can look out, and it’s just wide open spaces.
What has been the biggest challenge in adapting to this “new normal” the retail world has taken on?
I don’t know that we’ve really experienced [challenges], I have to say. All the glory to God that we did very well during the pandemic. I look at our numbers from where we were last year to this year, they’re better.
How has your business adapted to producing digital content and sales?
We’ve increased [content], and I think that’s due to the traffic where we’ve had more time in the store to do things without interruptions.
What has been your focus while speaking to your customers online?
Initially, we did actually talk to them [about the pandemic], because we didn’t know what we were all facing. It was just really scary. At first it was making sure that you had all of your supplies and the shelves being empty when you go get your supplies, that part really freaked me out initially.
I’m not really a talker on Facebook. I think I had done one or two “Lives” ever, but I did talk to the customers just, ‘Hey we’re all in this together. We’re all going forward in uncertainty right now.’
Has any content stood out as particularly successful in terms of resonating with your audience? Why has that content done so well, in your opinion?
I would say it was our videos when we were showing the products on Instagram and being pretty religious about having a new video almost every day.
What products are doing well for you right now?
Our new arrivals, whenever we get them we’re putting them out. We’re known for having that higher quality, and we get to have seasons here [in North Dakota]. We get to wear our coats. Today I came over in my full-length fur coat, that’s how cold it is here. I came from Dallas yesterday at 87 degrees, and I land in North Dakota, and we’re at 24 degrees, so we’re always kind of known for our jackets. We have the latest and greatest jackets. We carry Double D and Tasha Polizzi.
Do you have any tips for other Western businesses looking to take their business online right now?
You have to be relevant. You have to have that presence and be out there. It’s not anything you can just do a couple of things, and then you fall off, because I was one of those. I was not providing content every day for our social media. It’s just you have to truly believe in yourself, and I give all the glory to the Lord, because when I wanted to start my business I just jumped. There was no business plan, and I learned. I was just constantly learning as I went.
Twelve years into my business I feel like I’m just starting to catch on. My sister helped me with my social media. She was just consistent, and it was team work. I had to give her the content to work with every day.
Do you plan on attending in-person markets or tradeshows in the next six months?
I was just there [at Dallas market], and it was busy. I was thankful for that, because that was the first market I’ve attended since the pandemic. You’re kind of a little bit nervous getting on an airplane, but I needed to. I had pushed it off so long that I absolutely needed to go to market, because I’m the type of buyer that I like to see things with my own eyes and touch it and feel it and twirl it.
It was the same, but it was different. You’re in a mask, and it’s really hard to read anybody. That was a little bit different. Absolutely [I’ll be going back in January]. It’s hard to say if we’ll still be in the mask era, but it was exciting to see how the 14th floor has changed getting ready.
This interview is part of an ongoing series that W&E is conducting with retailers. Click here to peruse more stories and interviews from the retail industry.