Protect Your Pumps Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Protect Your Pumps
“I would not be able to do this without Google and my online presence.”Kathryn Jackson, FounderProtect Your Pumps has shipped product to 80 countries.link www.protectyourpumps.comEvery well-heeled woman knows a quick walk down the block can scuff up a new pair of pumps. “My customers were buying shoes that cost upwards of a couple hundred dollars a pair, and the soles were getting run down very quickly,” says Kathryn Jackson, a former sales associate for a luxury department store. “We could resole the shoe, but that could cost up to $75 per pair. I thought, ‘There's got to be a solution to prevent this.’” After researching the market, Kathryn teamed with a manufacturer to create transparent, non-slip, adhesive sole protectors. She launched Protect Your Pumps in 2011. “I knew I needed an online presence in this untapped market," she says. Within two years, this bootstrapped operation became Kathryn's full-time e-commerce business.
Forty percent of her online sales comes from Google Search, and Kathryn leverages AdWords, Google's advertising program, to drive additional seasonal traffic. Since online customers constitute most of her business, Kathryn knew she needed to build a fanbase. She sends product samples to fashion bloggers to “create brand champions” and invites customers to post photos of their newly protected shoes on social media. Google Analytics helps Kathryn track where online traffic is coming from and gives her a leg up on making improvements to her website, social media properties, and advertising campaigns. It also shows her where traffic is coming from geographically, so she can pinpoint the best cities to host in-person events.
Kathryn has now expanded her product lines for flats and men's shoes and was named Wisconsin's 2015 Young Entrepreneur of the Year by the Small Business Administration (SBA). Kathryn plans to kick up her social media marketing a notch by creating YouTube videos to show customers how to use her products. “Without Google, people would not be able to find my business,” she says. “The reach of the web has been tremendous.”Protect Your Pumps has shipped product to 80 countries.link www.protectyourpumps.com
Fromagination Madison, Wisconsin
“The Internet connects our customers and gives us knowledge that we would never have otherwise.”Ken Monteleone, Founder & Owner35 cheesemaker partnerslink www.fromagination.comAfter 23 years as a shoe buyer, Ken Monteleone wanted to do something different and more satisfying. He opened Fromagination in 2007 on Madison’s Capitol Square, where he now sells Wisconsin’s famous cheeses to visitors from all over the world. His European-style shop collaborates with dozens of local cheesemakers, microbreweries, chocolatiers, and other partners around the country. “Customers come in and start dancing around to the music as they sip a glass of wine and taste our cheese,” Ken says. “We knew that we had created something that's special and memorable, an experience we hope lives beyond just that piece of cheese they're tasting.” He launched a new e-commerce website in 2014 to maintain this cozy relationship once a customer returns home.
Google My Business gives out-of-town visitors a good introduction to the shop before they ever reach Madison. “It's very important to take advantage of the tool and make sure that the site's up-to-date. You need to post your best text and pictures to put your best foot forward before customers walk into the shop,” Ken says. He relies heavily on Google Analytics for insights on keeping his website current and compelling. “It helps drive a lot of decisions,” he explains. “It's really the tool that we look at weekly to evaluate how different promotions are working.” Ken also uses Gmail to help him stay connected to the business, even when he’s not in the shop.
Fromagination was named one of America’s best cheese shops by Travel + Leisure and has earned praise from the Food Network, The New York Times, and other national media outlets. The shop sees strong, double-digit growth every year. It has expanded into providing favors and cakes of cheese for weddings, and holds wine and cheese receptions as well. Ken plans to create new YouTube videos to show the shop to its best advantage. “I always look at how we can stand out as a world-class retailer, even though we're a little homespun, locally-owned business,” he says. “The Internet will continue to play a significant part in that.”35 cheesemaker partnerslink www.fromagination.com