October 20, 2014

Small Business Profile

Hive Creations finds 'ground and pound' marketing works best

The Bradenton Beach jewelry store and art gallery is more than a souvenir shop.

Art Levy | 2/14/2012
Justin Noyes
Justin Noyes and his wife, both graduates of the Savannah College of Art and Design, wanted their shop to reflect their artistic backgrounds. [Photo: Alex Stafford]

When Justin Noyes and his wife, Rachel, opened their Bradenton Beach jewelry store and art gallery in 2007, they had "a great two or three months," Noyes says. Then, as the economy began to sag, so did their sales. Eventually, Noyes says, the shop they called Hive Creations "hardly had a pulse."

They resisted altering their business plan to cater more to beach tourists looking for inexpensive souvenirs. Both are graduates of the Savannah College of Art & Design and wanted their shop to reflect their artistic backgrounds. She's a metalsmith who makes jewelry, and he's an illustrator and commercial artist. Initially, they made everything they sold.

"We didn't have a lot of overhead, so we knew if we were patient, the plan would work," Noyes says. "We did straight up 'ground-and-pound' marketing, following up with people, getting them to sign our guest book even if they didn't buy anything, just trying to keep a consistent presence with people. Every year, we had more returning customers."

Noyes and his wife, both 30 and with a newborn at home, have grown the business enough to be able to hire clerks to oversee the shop when they're not there. They're also building Hive Creation's online business by using social media marketing. Fans of the shop's Facebook page, for example, get notices of new products — and links to buy. The goal is to reach customers who stopped by the shop on vacation but live in another part of the country or overseas. Noyes envisions the day when they'll sell more merchandise online than in the shop.

"You've got to evolve, adapt or go extinct," he says. "I literally have that written down on a notepad somewhere."

Tags: Southwest

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