You have the passion. You've put together a stellar product or service. Your business is ready to go! Now all you need are a few customers.
Knowing where to find your first customer can be tricky. On top of that, once you have them, how do you keep them coming back?! To get more insight into this process, we hosted a panel discussion featuring three business owners working in different fields to talk more about their experiences growing their own customer base.
Adrean is the founder and owner of Mangiardi Films, a full-service production company that works with a wide variety of clients including individuals, major corporations, and non-profits. He has intensive experience in the video media industry and has been running his own business and freelancing for over twenty years.
Selling and pricing a creative service can be difficult, as each customer is asking you to create something that doesn’t exist yet. Adrean will share his experiences as a freelancer and with Mangiardi Films in finding customers, meeting (and exceeding) their expectations, and making sure he makes a profit.
Adrean graduated from RIT with a BFA in Film and Animation in 2006 and from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with his MFA in Film, Video and New Media in 2009.
Ericka founded Erry B. Shop, an online clothing and accessory shop, in 2019 with the goal of spreading knowledge of Black Deaf culture. In 2019, her shop has been recognized by Deaf Women of Color as an Overlooked Gem and has since grown to become a prominent Deaf-owned business.
In the three years since Ericka founded Erry B. Shop, she’s grown a large and loyal customer base in the extremely competitive space of e-commerce. In this panel discussion, Ericka will share how she has not only made her brand stand out, but also nurtured a growing and loyal customer base.
Nikki co-founded Sisters in Style, a brick-and-mortar shop and e-commerce boutique, with her sister Emilia Doudt in 2019. Sisters in Style offers clothing from sizes Small through 3XL that can be purchased in-person in Frederick, Maryland, online through their website, or through their app.
Many factors go into finding new customers when you have a physical storefront – like outside appearance, in-store experience, employee interactions, and – of course – your products. In our discussion, Nikki will share her experiences catching the attention of passersby, creating a welcoming environment, and retaining loyal customers - 70% of whom make repeat orders!
Prior to starting her business, Nikki has worked as a program analyst for the US Federal Government, and as a creative leader with Initials Inc. She also owned her own virtual assistant company, Your Desk’s Assistant, where she worked with Deaf business owners to provide support on a variety of projects.