So what are your pain points? No- not physical pain, the painful parts of your business. Retail experts from the Gift and Home Channel offer their advice on how to ease those small business aches and pains that come with growing.
Ivy Hartman: Hello and welcome to sbtv.com, I’m Ivy Hartman. My guest today is Leslie Nathan-Street. Leslie is the president of the Gift and Home Channel which is a video-based internet site providing information to independent retailers in order to help them grow and prosper. Leslie, welcome to sbtv.com. Leslie Nathan-Street: Thanks Ivy for having me. Ivy Hartman: Absolutely. We’re excited to hear more about the channel. More specifically, pain points, as it pertains to small business owners, especially in the retail industry. What is a pain point? Leslie Nathan-Street: Pain points are those issues and concerns that face independent retailers as they maneuver the challenging waters of owning a small business. Ivy Hartman: Yeah that’s probably a really long laundry list of those pain points for small business owners, but what are some of the ones that you hear about the most? Leslie Nathan-Street: Well there are pain points that relate to any small business owner. Increasing profitability, decreasing costs, hiring, firing, I mean those are all issues that we all deal with. And then there are those pain points that may relate to an independent retail that owns a specific type of store. Ivy Hartman: So you mentioned there are specific pain points for retailers in specific industries. What are some of those pain points that you address on the Gift and Home Channel? Leslie Nathan-Street: Well obviously in our industry right now with the economy the way it is, there are pain points that have to do with that, competing with the big bucks, you know, the department stores. But also, if you own a toy store or a hospital gift shoppe, you might have other pain points. Then there are those about display and merchandising, and that might be a pin point because certain store have to really be creative in the way they display because that’s what draws the customers into their stores. So it’s really important that they understand how to create a learning display to get those consumers into their store. Ivy Hartman: I bet the economy is a pretty hot pain point right now for retailers. Leslie Nathan-Street: It is. But I have to say at the same time that—I think they're overwhelmed with all the information right now about how the economy is and so they turn to our channel to find ways to combat it, not to so much discuss it, I mean we do have a whole board on the recession and how to combat it but I really think the people are looking for positive ways that they can succeed, even with the economy the way it is. Ivy Hartman: Because that’s going to be—attribute to their long-term success overall anyway. How does a small business owner or small business retailer get their specific pain point across and get it answered through the channel? Leslie Nathan-Street: Well if you go on to the site, there is a search bar, so you would type in whatever the pain point merchandising, what if that’s your pain point, you type it in. It would bring you to the page which has to do with merchandising and it would be from everything from somebody’s profile so if somebody entered in their profile that they're a merchandising expert, their profile would come up, all the way down to the videos, the message boards and the blogs and next to each of the description, the title would be a little description of what that particular segment was about. But on the other hand, if they can't find it, they could start their own message board or blog and if they're uncomfortable with that, as I was when I started, I didn’t know how to do a blog, we have—our community manager actually did a whole video on how to use message boards and blogs and walks them through step by step. Ivy Hartman: That’s a whole another pain point. Does that even fall under pain points? Now you’ve also formed partnerships so that you can help resolve some of these pain points that the independent retailers and small business retailers are facing. Talk about those partnerships. Leslie Nathan-Street: One of them is with the American Volunteer Hospital Resource Professionals, and it’s the volunteers who work in hospitals. They ask us to come to their annual conference, we had a booth there. We were able to explain to the volunteers who we are, what we are and how we could help them. But in addition, we filmed at their conference. So anybody that could not make the conference, now can see some of the segments on our channel, and if you went, you know you don’t—never able to go to all the seminars so we also—they're able to catch up on what they might have missed. Ivy Hartman: There’s such a huge nationwide network of volunteers that work in these retail stores within the hospitals, I never even thought about that. Leslie Nathan-Street: Absolutely. Ivy Hartman: So now they’ve got a training video that you formulated just by forming that partnership. Leslie Nathan-Street: Absolutely and you know it really helps them because, especially volunteers, they don’t have the resources to be flying all over the country to get trained. It’s right on our channel and it’s great. Ivy Hartman: I mean they don’t have the background to begin with. Leslie Nathan-Street: Absolutely because they're volunteers. So it’s not that they chose maybe to go into this profession. Ivy Hartman: Are there—go ahead. Leslie Nathan-Street: Oh I was going to say, and then we have another partnership with the Gift and Home Trade Association. That’s really made up of manufacturers and manufacturer’s rep in the gift and home industry, but we are working closely with them so that when they go out and speak to their retailers and the retailers are having their issues and concerns, as their vendor, as their manufacturer who is selling to them, they can say we’ll go to the Gift and Home Channel. Now they're not just looked at as somebody who’s selling them and that sales person coming in their door. But they're actually looked at as a partner, somebody who really wants to see them succeed and obviously they do because if the retailers succeed, then the manufacturers, the manufacturer’s rep succeed. Ivy Hartman: Is there anything else that we need to talk about as it pertains to your partnerships or pain points for retail? I just cringe every time I think about it. Leslie Nathan-Street: Well, just look at it this way, it’s a pain point but it’s where they're going to resolve it for them. Ivy Hartman: Absolutely. Well Leslie, thank you so much for being here today to walk us through the Gift and Home Channel for independent retailers. We’re so happy to be able to offer some of your content to our viewers as well. And for all that Gift and Home Channel has to offer, you can visit their website at www.GiftandHomeChannel.com. Thanks for watching.