The California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce met business owner Penelope Larry during a local networking event in March. Since then, Penelope has connected with different facets of the chamber – ultimately leading to the hiring of an employee, a new marketing strategy, and connections to resources to help further her business. We want to give Penelope some much deserved love and share her successes in the time she’s been with us.
GET TO KNOW DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMEN: THE STORE ON WATT
Penelope hails from the Bay Area – where she owned and operated another retail store with 12 employees until she set up shop here in Sacramento and took on her men’s clothing store on her own. Now, Distinguished Gentlemen is in its second year and looking to grow in sales as well as staff.
FINDING THE NEXT STEP FOR PENELOPE’S BUSINESS
During a phone consultation by the Global Initiatives Program (made by Mariana Guevara of our Minority Business Development Agency Export Center Team), Mariana connected with Penelope and performed a needs assessment – identifying what “next steps” could be taken to help grow Distinguished Gentleman. The first need identified is one that a lot of members come to us for – staffing.
THE CHAMBER WAS ABLE TO HELP WITH PENELOPE’S STAFFING NEEDS WITH THE HELP OF ITS STATEWIDE NETWORK
The Program’s director Tanya informed Mariana of a staffing opportunity with a new connection, Mariana connected Penelope to one of our partners, Southside Unlimited, a non-profit organization that operates an art center and recycling facility that provides adults with developmental disabilities a place to create art, do meaningful work, and earn a steady paycheck.
Southside Unlimited provides vocational opportunities and job training skills to adults with disabilities. They started a paid internship program for its clients in 2019 that offered a 1 year internship that could lead to permanent employment. They also provide job matching.
Knowing this, Mariana offered this avenue to Penelope, so she can get the assistance she needed in hiring employees without committing to labor cost immediately.
QUESTIONS ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA AND MARKETING
After having success in her employee search, Mariana recommended Penelope attend the Program’s Social Media Workshop knowing that Distinguished Gentlemen wanted assistance with their social media. Over the course of two weeks, the chamber held small workshops that dove into what platform is best for what business, how to write effective copy, and how to identify who your audience is. The workshops ended with one-on-one consulting in which Penelope realized the full potential of tools like Instagram and Facebook.
She now has implemented “Marketing Mondays” a full day dedicated to generating content and strategizing about her messaging. Per our recommendation, she added three items of clothing on her website and posted images of these same images on social media to drive traffic to her website and start selling online!
But – in terms of content – Penelope was still hesitant. Photographers are expensive and repeated use of one to fill social media content would get very expensive. Per the chamber’s suggestion, she implemented a 5% discount if customers who try on the clothes in store took a photo of themselves so she can generate content and make a sale!
CONCLUSION: WORKING ON YOUR BUSINESS INSTEAD OF IN IT
The day to day of running a business can eat up most of your time as a business owner which is why we strive to point out opportunities and connections that can help further your goals. Distinguished Gentlemen was able to get help staffing and marketing with the power of our network.
Kimberly has been at Distinguished Gentlemen since June 9th and is helping take care of the small but important in-store tasks, such as tagging clothing, organizing the store, cleaning bathroom, sweeping the parking lot, answering phones, and dressing mannequins.
She likes it so far and Penelope has taught her how to be more organized and continue to stay motivated. The support from Kimberly has also helped free Penelope to focus on growing the business, with immediate attention being spent on marketing, social media, and upgrading her website. Not to mention that thanks to Kimberly, “it’s the first time since opening the store that all the clothes have been tagged”.
Distinguished Gentlemen is the premier men’s clothing store in the Sacramento region. Nestled in the downtown area of North Highlands on Watt, we provide business and casual clothing for the man who likes the look good, be ready for all occasions, and doesn’t want to put a huge dent in his bank account. Distinguished Gentlemen… dressing men from head-to-toe.