We love our custom tissue paper customers since they are so often creative people who love to make their interesting products special! A repeat customer of ours, Modern Mija, is turning one this month and has seen so much success that they are opening a brick-and-mortar store. We sat down with Emily Sharp, owner and buyer at this trendy and stylish clothing shop for kids. We wanted to understand her tips for success when you are starting a new, unique business that is born out of a passion—in this case, a passion for modern threads, decor, and lifestyle.
Why are you passionate about your shop? I am one of those rare people that has a pretty balanced left and right brain so I love being creative and artsy but also have a very practical, business side. I have struggled in various jobs to find a way to satisfy both sides, but Modern Mija has finally allowed me that balance. I am so passionate about it for many reasons.
1) I love working with kids and moms. We have a really good relationship with our customers, whether that's personally because they are local, or online through social media. We try our best to not only make money doing what we love but give back to children and moms as well. Being successful is important to us simply so we can give back even more in the years to come. We’ve been lucky to have customers that share the same motto so we added a “Donate” page to our website to allow our customers to add a donation onto their purchase to one of the many amazing charities we support. That has been the most fulfilling part of our business journey.
2) I love discovering new and exciting brands/items to introduce to my customers. Being a buyer is like hunting for treasure—when you find the gold, it is such an exciting feeling. Bringing new brands into the store and getting good feedback and lots of sales is the best feeling ever. It definitely validates that you have good taste and people like what you are putting out there.
3) The hustle of business brings out a whole new level of passion in a small business owner. It is so hard and so tiring, but I have found that in those moments passion is what kicks in and keeps me going. I think that you almost get a high from it. I was lucky to be raised around small business so got a taste of it early on in life. I could never be one of those people content with sitting at a desk all day watching the clock. Not that there is anything wrong with that—I just think the high you get from the hustle and unknown in business is what keeps me always coming back for more.
What inspires you when you are curating the clothing available in your store? Our store is known for being very different from the normal kids boutique. We definitely have a more modern twist and vibe to our clothes, decor, really everything. When the store was created it was our mission to stray away from the normal "cutesy” clothing that most baby and children boutiques were notorious for offering. We knew that millennial moms weren’t dressing their kids that way anymore. They are busy, on-the-go mamas who care about style and comfort and want the same for their kiddos. We search everywhere for children brands that cater to the millennial mom lifestyle. We carry brands from LA to Bali to Australia. Almost all of the brands we carry were made or designed by moms as well. We try to support women who created and/or run their own businesses. At the end of the day, we are inspired by the customers we strive to attract and the lifestyles they lead.
Why is presentation in your packaging important? I went to school for advertising and graphic design so packaging is everything to me. I truly believe in making the buying journey flawless. Nowadays consumers have so many options when it comes to making a purchase, so I think it is crucial to “wow” them and stand out from the crowd. We spent extra on our custom tissue paper, business cards, polymailers, postcards, etc., but because of that people always remember us and we have seen better growth. I also think if you are selling an item that is special, like a baby shower gift or birthday present, which is what many of our purchases are, your packaging needs to reflect the same feeling.
Tell us more about your new store, and how you grew Modern Mija to this level. We just recently signed a lease for our first permanent storefront spot that will open in 2018 and we are very excited. Modern Mija is about to turn one this upcoming December, and for the past 10-11 months we have only been selling online and at pop-up events. We chose to start this way to test our market before investing a lot of our limited cash into a physical brick-and-mortar spot. We do a lot of shopping trade shows in our home base city of Kansas City, MO, like a Just For Her Event, SheKc Experience, Holiday Mart, Holiday Boutique, etc. They are great ways to get exposure as a new business and let people see up close and personal what you are all about. We also have popped up in other stores temporarily and shared space for seasonal shopping pop-ups. We are so thankful for the new-age “Pop Up” shopping experience as it as truly helped up propel our business quickly to the next level in a cost-effective and fairly risk-free way.
How do you use the custom tissue paper? We use our custom tissue paper at these events as tissue for the gift bags we give people when they purchase from us. We put every purchase in a nice, shiny black gift bag and top it with Modern Mija tissue. We get so many compliments on the packaging, and people who are buying gifts for loved ones truly appreciate it because their gift is purchased ready to give.
Thank you, Modern Mija, for being a valued customer and for sharing your experiences with us. We love your shop, and we’re rooting for you!