How Bling Glamour Manages 9 Stores in Kansas (and 9 Facebook Pages)
Just nine years old, Bling is the largest privately owned boutique in Kansas. Owners Nicole and Mark Campos discuss how they run nine (soon to be 10) brick-and-mortar stores and an e-commerce site in so many different markets.
Where are you stores?
All in Kansas (Garden City, Scott City, Hays, Salina, Manhattan, Great Bend, Hawthorne Plaza Kansas City, Greenwich Court Wichita, New Market Square Wichita, and soon, Emporia). Our e-commerce is at BlingGlamour.com
What do you love most about being a retailer?
Obviously, I just love the fashion and the travel for buying. I love the ability to bless customers and serve people. That’s our motto: “To make the customer’s day better through coming into one of our stores.” It’s a bigger picture than just clothes.
What is the hardest part of being a retailer?
It’s a lot more work than people realize! It’s very intense. Being a business owner, you have to really understand every aspect of your company at all times. It never shuts off; there’s always a fire to put out. The people that make up your company can make it the best—or the toughest—experience. Right now, we have the best group of women, which makes it more fun. The first five years were really tough because we were creating a brand. Now the investment is so different. I get calls all the time asking if we’re hiring. The longer we’re out there, doing a great job and holding to our standards, people want to be a part of it.
Describe your customer. What does she like to wear out on a date?
Since we’re all across the state, we cater to different demographics. We are in college towns and different types of markets, so we reach every age. We’re age 8 to 80. When I think about the customer, she likes to feel great and see the new trends coming in. She loves the shopping experience we provide. Regarding a date, she loves to be trendy casual. A cute top, bralette, wedges and some deconstructed denim with some statement earrings comes to mind.
How do you engage with your customers?
We’ve been doing “experiential retail” since we opened. It makes it fun for the customer, but for us too! Our Manhattan, KS store has Mom’s Weekend events; our Kansas City store pairs up with a yoga studio; our Scott City store does Ladies’ Nights. We’re big on private parties. Everybody is really active and we’re working on a Back to School event.
How do you engage with your different types of customers on social media?
Each of our nine stores has its own Facebook and Instagram. People discouraged me from doing that, but I persisted. This way, each store can show their customers what’s in stock and highlight new arrivals as they come into the store. It’s very important that each store build its own relationship with its respective clientele. We also post quotes on trends from our team on Instagram with info so consumers can text to learn more and get updates on when exclusive lines launch.
“If you can build the entire outfit, that’s the goal.”
What selling best in ready to wear now?
We’re doing really well with maxis, particularly two-piece sets. Full-pant jumpsuits are doing well, as are floral kimonos. The button-down front-tie shirts do great now in sleeveless and we’ll transition them into fall with sleeves.
Kendra Scott just does so well for us, and tassels and other long necklaces have been great sellers. Sunglasses do great, such as DIFF Eyewear, and we’re doing all sorts of cute summer hats. In handbags, backpacks have done better this year than ever before, as well as crossbodies and minibags. We keep a pretty good amount of shoes too, from wedges to booties. If you can build the entire outfit, that’s the goal.
How do you stay updated on trends/hot brands/industry news?
Fashion is my whole existence! I have relationships with vendors because of the volume we do, and they keep me updated. The people on Fashion Go really take care of us, too, as they know things that are coming out soon. We attend shows at MAGIC, Dallas, LA. It keeps us a step ahead.
Compared to 9 years ago when you first started your store, what do you think has been the biggest change in the industry?
We started during the recession in 2009, which was crazy. Everyone discouraged us, but we did it and I’ve seen the change in the customer since then. People feel less pressure now and are really seeking out the “experience” of shopping and discovering unique product they can’t get in Big Box stores. There are so many more independent stores popping up, and there’s a more helpful environment now among the different retailers. We can work together.
Given what you know now, what advice would you give yourself when you were just starting your store?
Just being able to roll with the punches and realize that there’s always something coming up that you’re not anticipating. Our company had a fire and we lost our warehouse and all the inventory, and then we had a flood that wiped out another store! But our customers support was incredible; they’d just drive to another one of our stores! Boutiques with one door always ask me how I do it, but you just have to grit your teeth and get through it! At one time, we were sleeping in the back of one of our stores.
This article originally appeared on Kelly’s MAGIC Monday in a collaboration between Fashion Go and WWDMAGIC.