August LMM Spotlight: Threads Resale Boutique

*This is the second in my monthly series, Local Marketing Masters Spotlight, where I highlight local businesses that are doing something really cool with their marketing. If you have suggestions for my next one, please contact me!*

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When you’re a college freshman, trying to carve a new place for yourself in the world, working to establish your own style, dressing well is a must. So you might just fool yourself into thinking that you need to spend every last dollar of your already miserly paycheck on brand new Buckle jeans and American Eagle tank tops. News flash: Not. Necessary. Why? Thanks to local stores like:

THREADS RESALE BOUTIQUE

How I Heard

I must admit, when I first heard of Threads, I was (like I mentioned) a college freshman, skeptical of “secondhand clothes.” Someone else’s wardrobe? Why would I pay money for that? However, a year or so after graduation I started attending networking events in the St. Cloud area, and I met a local retail shop owner: Kim. She had just started an (adorable) boutique called Evelie Blu Boutique that I had recently become obsessed with, so when I met her I wasted no time in singing my praises.

That was when I found out that she was also the owner of Threads. As I got to know her and her other store better I thought, I should really give Threads a try, since I love Evelie Blu so much. Turns out, it was a great decision. Ahh, the power of networking.

Who they are

This high-end, well organized store buys your gently used name brand clothes and resells them. Not really a revolutionary concept, but at Threads, it’s done really, really well. The clothes they take in are high-quality – they aren’t just some teen’s cleaned out bottom drawer of faded, overused articles. So it’s entirely possible that clothes you buy at Threads will last just as long as brand new pieces you might buy elsewhere. Which. Is. Awesome.

Threads will purchase your gently used, fashionable clothing items and then resell them at an affordable price. You can either opt to be paid in cash, or to be paid in store credit and get 20% more back for your items. They also have a prom dress resale program that I totally wish had been around when I was of prom age, where you can sell your old prom dresses on consignment through the store.

What they do well

  • Threads excels at being relevant. When your target audience is college-aged women interested in affordable fashion, you have to make sure your messaging is in line with theirs. That’s where their social media skills come in. With posts like #OOTW (outfit of the week), #reThread (where they copy a celeb’s outfit with clothes from the store), and #NewMerchMonday (highlighting new items they’ve recently gotten in), fashionable young women can’t help but follow. So relevant.

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  • threads3They know their target audience is
    cheap. Let me rephrase, they know
    their target audience is budget-conscious. So they make it easy to fine more ways to save. They have a punch card program to receive awards as you spend money at Threads. It keeps you coming back, and reminds you that they appreciate and want to reward you for your loyalty.
  • Threads knows how to reach their audience where they are – and does so in a non-intrusive fashion. They could easily send out an email daily, or even weekly – but that’s not the case. Instead, emails only come maybe twice a month, and each time I WILL read it. I always think to myself: “Are there deals in here? There must be, because they don’t send these that often.”

<<<< For example, this email right here caused me to go into Threads that day and buy a pair of pants for $3 (not to mention 2 tops and a skirt that were not on sale…)

 

  • On top of all the marketing and advertising techniques that I love, the girls who work there are what really keep me coming back. Friendly, fashionable and extremely helpful, I look forwards to walking in the door. Whether it’s helping me piece together an outfit or chatting with me about which dress I look better in, they never disappoint me with their customer service.

What it (likely) cost them

If one thing is true with effective marketing, it’s that often it takes more time than money to really be successful. Such it the case with Threads. Their social media presence makes that evident. It takes time to put together outfits from the store, to find celebrity outfits to compare to, and to actually go out and post these items on the various social channels they use. Combine that with the printing of their loyalty cards and writing/designing & using email (which I discovered is through Constant Contact) and you’re looking at maybe $1,000 – $2,000 a year. The real value of their marketing lies in dedicated, knowledgeable employees who live and breathe the Threads brand and promise. That doesn’t have a price tag.

Threads Resale Boutique is proof that businesses can be successful on a limited marketing budget, and that’s just one of the reasons I love them. I am a bargain hunter at heart, so places like Threads are near and dear to me. As a loyal fan, I will continue to look forwards to social media posts, rack up my loyalty card punches, and get excited over email offers.

#EmilyFayeSays 🙂

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July LMM Spotlight: Waite Fusion

*This is the first in my new monthly series, Local Marketing Masters Spotlight, where I highlight local businesses that are doing something really cool with their marketing. If you have suggestions for my next one, please contact me!*

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Diet fads. They’re literally everywhere. Pills, shakes, bars, cleanses, meal plans, supplements, powders – the list goes on and on. But what do these various forms of weight loss plans have in common? They’re all expensive. And with only a select few actually being effective, it’s hard to know which one to trust.

Enter: Waite Fusion

Call me naive, but until recently I’d never heard of “Herbalife Shake Shops.” I’d always thought the only way to try the weight loss shake program was to purchase the (expensive) mix and experiment with recipes on your own. Turns out, Waite Fusion will do that for ya!

How I heard

I first found out about Waite Fusion at a St. Cloud Chamber of Commerce event called Chamber Connection. One of the women who work at Waite Fusion, Amy, was attending for the first time, and we started chatting. I asked her what Waite Fusion was – having no clue – and she offered me a coupon to come try a shake for free. I’m fairly familiar with many diet trends, including shakes, so I was excited to give it a shot sometime. Plus, her outgoing, friendly personality was a draw for me. One day at work when I didn’t pack a lunch, I decided to try it.

Who they are

Waite Fusion itself is located in a tiny blue house-turned-shake-shop on a busy main road in St. Cloud, close to downtown and St. Cloud State University. From the moment you walk in, customer experience is at the forefront. The music is always bumpin’ happy tracks, the young women who work there are extremely friendly and helpful, and the decor is half college dorm half vintage shake shop. Waite Fusion offers 37+ different Herbalife shake flavors and you can purchase them for $7 a piece. The 16oz shake is meant to be a meal replacement, and also includes a “shot” of aloe and a small iced tea. There are also options to start your own Herbalife journey with one of the coaches, if you’re interested in that, but you’re not obligated to.

What they do wellwf4

  • The first piece of marketing was apparent before I even entered the shop. The coupon that Amy gave to me to try a free shake wasn’t the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen, but it was perfectly informative. It got three immediate points across: Nutritional – not ice cream. Free – no obligation. And Location – very specific directions. Simple and to the point, this is proof that less is more.
  • I eluded to this next one above: Customer. Experience. From the moment I met Amy until I bought my first shake, (and one of the reasons I keep going back) Waite Fusion made my quick lunch stop an experience to enjoy. No pressure to purchase the whole Herbalife system. No hesitation or judgement if you ask questions. Just a pleasant experience that leaves you feeling like you’ve got a new group of friends.
  • When I got my first Waite Fusion shake, it was a rainy, dreary day. I opted for the cherry-dipped-cone flavor (yes, that’s right) and was pleasantly surprised when I received my simple, Styrofoam cup. A colorful message. “Be someone’s sunshine today.” Hand-written in Sharpie. So simple. So affordable. And so, SO effective. Because, as a millennial, can you guess what I did next? That’s right, I Instagrammed a picture. And you know what happened after that? I had about 5 different people ask me about it. And about a week later? Waite Fusion had at least 2 new customers.
  • wf1                                          wf2

Not only that, but on a large chalkboard “Selfie Station” at Waite Fusion, they have written #WFShakeSelfie – encouraging people to take a selfie with their shake. And when you’ve got a cute message on it plus you get to humble-brag about being healthy, why wouldn’t you?!

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PLUS they’ve started to also use the cups as a way to message their customers – for example the below cup from my visit the other day. What a simple, affordable way to communicate with an already engaged audience. 

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  • Besides the delicious, healthy shakes and the fun, friendly atmosphere, you know what else keeps me coming back to Waite Fusion? Their rewards program. For every shake you buy, you get a point, and for everyone you refer to Waite Fusion, you get two points. Simple enough, but how is that unique from the million bajillion other places that offer rewards programs? Glad you asked. They use the FiveStars points program, which is tied to a mobile app. Every time you visit WF, you just scan your card at the counter, and the points you’ve earned are reflected in your app. Also, the app pushes out messages to users like “Try our new shake flavor!” or “Double-points today!” or things like that. It’s like an SMS program without being an annoying SMS program. And I love it.

What it (likely) Cost Them

I will preface this by saying I do not know if they worked with an agency/partner on strategy, so I can’t estimate that cost, but I will say that the efforts listed above are likely not over a $2,500 investment, at most. The coupons? Probably designed, printed and cut in house. The writing on cups? Um, what’s the going rate for a pack of Sharpies these days…? And the FiveStars program likely has a monthly fee that they pay to take part in, and is where the bulk of my estimate stems from. Oh, and the customer experience? That’s less about investing in marketing and more about investing in the right people to make it happen. So basically, priceless.

I am a loyal Waite Fusion customer. I do not do Herbalife in my own time, nor do I have an interest in starting, but I do love the product. And about once a week or so, I indulge in the product, because I love this company that is selling it. Using your resources wisely and engaging consumers intelligently pays off, and Waite Fusion is proof of that.

#EmilyFayeSays