“The Internet helps us overcome our biggest hurdles and connect our products with new customers.”Amanda Dailey
There’s something special about cork. It’s waterproof, lightweight, and one of the most renewable materials on Earth. Amanda Dailey realized this on her trip to Portugal in 2012. When she returned to New Orleans, she began making a line of high-quality cork products ranging from shoes, to handbags, to dog collars. “The material just reaches out and grabs you,” Amanda says. “It’s completely fascinating.” Together with her business partner, Julie Araujo, she founded Queork to share her fascination with like-minded shoppers. The two started out selling their cork products online and later opened their first retail store in the French Quarter in 2013.
Queork has always used the Internet to attract customers. They use AdWords, Google’s advertising program, to make sure visitors planning a trip to New Orleans also consider a trip to their storefront. “We want to get people into our stores,” Amanda explains, noting that AdWords campaigns have helped double sales in some of their locations. Their Google My Business listings make it easy for shoppers to find store hours, directions, and reviews. And Google Analytics helps them optimize their website to keep online customers flowing smoothly from welcome to checkout. Their favorite tool, however, may be YouTube. “People want to see the making of our products,” Amanda says. “So we give them that with our YouTube videos.”
With 60 percent annual growth, business shows no signs of slowing down for Queork. Today the company has several stores throughout the South and an e-commerce website that ships items to customers across the U.S. and Canada. They manufacture a majority of their products less than ten minutes from their French Quarter store, and partner with local youth empowerment programs to provide job opportunities to young adults who are looking to learn new skills in design and manufacturing. “These people are very artistic and talented,” says Amanda. “Being able to employ them while also helping them develop skills that they are proud of—skills that they can use for the rest of their lives—is probably the best thing we’ve ever done.”