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Interview with Jack Thompson, founder of Thompson’s Button Store in Austin, Texas
Q: How did you get into the button business?
A: I actually started off as a seamstress. I loved crafting and creating new things, and I found myself buying buttons for my projects all the time. Then a light bulb went off- why not start my own button store? So that’s what I did. I opened up shop in downtown Austin and haven’t looked back since.
Q: What were some of the challenges you faced when you first started your business?
A: Oh, let me tell you, there were quite a few! A big one was competing with the big box stores. I knew that I couldn’t offer the same prices as a Walmart or Michaels, but I also knew that I had a unique selection of buttons and crafting materials that people couldn’t find anywhere else. I had to really focus on building up my customer base and making sure that they knew about all the cool products I had in store.
Q: How did you overcome those challenges?
A: Well, I’m not gonna lie- it was tough at first. But I knew that I had to find a way to stand out. That’s when I started getting creative with my marketing. I started hosting workshops and classes in the store, to draw in more customers and show off what we had to offer. I also started building up a strong social media presence, and that’s when things really started taking off.
Q: What role did Shopify play in your eventual success?
A: Shopify was a game changer for me. Before I joined, my online sales were almost nonexistent. But with Shopify, I was able to create a professional-looking website that was easy for customers to use. Plus, the platform’s integration with social media made it easy for me to promote my products and drive sales online. I’m grateful for Shopify every single day.
Q: How has your business changed over the years?
A: As we’ve grown, I’ve had to hire more staff to keep up with demand. But I’m also proud of the fact that we’ve been able to keep our small-business feel. We still offer personalized service to every customer who comes through our doors, and that’s something that sets us apart.
Q: Can you tell me about a particularly rewarding moment in your business journey?
A: I’ll never forget the day that I opened up our Shopify dashboard and saw that we had made our first $10,000 in online sales. It was such a validation of all the hard work that had gone into building up the store, and it made me more determined than ever to keep growing.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who’s thinking of starting their own small business?
A: My advice would be to never give up, no matter what challenges come your way. And always stay focused on your unique value proposition- what do you offer that no one else does? For me, that was a unique selection of buttons and crafting materials that couldn’t be found anywhere else. Find your own value proposition, and then really lean into it.
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