When you walk into Southern Girl Desserts on Nov. 26, expect a little holiday gift.
This new dessert store is sharing space with the stationery store, Cordially Invited, on the emerging Pico Boulevard retail corridor, and the two entrepreneurial firms are participating in the national Small Business Saturday promotional program.
Launched by American Express Open in 2010 in conjunction with a variety of small business organizations, Small Business Saturday (which falls on this Saturday) is part of a push to drive more consumers to shop with small firms during the holiday season. It’s a day that comes between the kickoff of the holiday shopping season–Black Friday and Cyber Monday–explained Mary Ann Fitzmaurice-Reilly, senior vice president of American Express Open.
“Ninety-three percent of consumers think it’s important to support small businesses,” added the AMEX executive, who noted that last year 1.5 million consumers registered their support for small businesses with American Express, and retailers realized a 20 percent increase in sales.
Catarah Hampshire and Shoneji Robison are celebrating their first holiday at their Pico Boulevard location and learned about Shop Small Business Saturday from Yvette McNally, owner of Cordially Invited.
“We’ve been in business since 2007 online and doing catering,” explained Hampshire, who noted that opening a retail location has given them an opportunity interact face-to-face with customers and to sell their cupcakes and other desserts one piece at a time rather than by the dozen. And opening this retail space has prompted them to investigate other opportunities, which resulted in the partners securing another space in the Crenshaw Mall. It will open in the next few weeks.
On top of the discounts like those Southern Girls Desserts is offering, American Express will also give a $25 statement credit to those who use their AMEX card to purchase at least $25 from a participating small business. All customers need to do is register their card beforehand at the AMEX Small Business Saturday site.
Other partners, like FedEx have also stepped up to the plate to help out. FedEx gave away $25 gift cards to consumers through a Facebook promotion and directly to FedEx customers.
Lorri Tarver and Lynn Patterson, who co-own an upscale consignment store (LL’s Consignment & Jewelry) on La Brea Avenue between Centinela and Slauson avenues in Inglewood also heard about Shop Small Business Saturday and are in the process of deciding how they will tap into the potential of the day. Meanwhile, they launched their own effort called “sip and shop” Saturdays to remind people to visit their location during the holidays.
Every Saturday until the end of the year (however, this wek it will be held on Black Friday) they are inviting people to come out and browse their merchandise while they sip champagne, mimosas and other beverages.
“We’ve been in business since Oct. 1, and sell men’s and women’s clothing, shoes, bags and other accessories on consignment,” explained Tarver, who along with Patterson is a retired airline employee, and wasn’t really interested in selling her custom jewelry as a traveling vendor. That’s was one reason she opened the store.
Most of the items they sell are designer labels, and the merchandise is a mixture of new and gently worn.
Like the owners of Southern Girls Desserts, the two entrepreneurs are looking to increase awareness of their business with simple marketing techniques, and that, too, is the goal of Small Business Saturday.
For more information on Small Business Saturday, go to the AMEX website http://smallbusinesssaturday.com.
Southern Girl Desserts, 5571 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 936-0780.
LL’s Consignment & Jewelry, 1205 N. La Brea Ave., Inglewood. (310) 673-0988.