4 strategies saved my businesses during COVID-19

Tykia Stokes had an entrepreneurial mindset before she knew what she wanted to do.

At the age of 34, the Detroit woman is already selling women’s clothing and accessories in the tenth year of its existence as the owner of Karismas Kloset, which is located in 19458 on Detroit’s Avenue of Fashion in Livernois. There is also a hair salon in the back of the store.

Like many companies on the avenue, business has been going through tough times due to the nine-month construction work that began in April 2019 to improve the streetscape in Livernois. Then the pandemic closed its doors when the coronavirus first appeared in March last year.

Tykia Stokes, owner of Karismas Kloset on Livernois Avenue in Detroit on February 19, 2021.

But Stokes has a good social media strategy and a website to rely on during this time.

We asked for their best advice to share with other business owners and entrepreneurs.

First of all, she wants her customers to feel comfortable and excited when they enter her store.

The interior is red, purple and gold and has unique chairs in the shape of a shoe and a floral background for photos.

“I want to be able to dress you for your special occasion or day,” said Stokes. “There are moments in the time when you’re going to do something – partying with your friends, going on a date, having an interview.

“I want you to be comfortable when you come in.”

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But Stokes’ focus on using social media to generate sales has really paid off.

Karismas Kloset has over 27,500 followers on Instagram and Stokes has over 161,000 followers on her personal account.

Inside Karisma's Kloset on Livernois Avenue in Detroit on February 19, 2021.

As the physical store reopens, pedestrian traffic has slowed. So, relying on social media to help customers place orders continues to be a win.

Here are four things Stokes said budding and current business owners should focus on when using social media to make their business a success:

1. Focus your social media posts on your business

According to Stokes, social media sites like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter have become a platform for businesses rather than being used primarily for personal reasons. Every social media website has tools that you can use to show your engagement in each post, such as: B. how often someone clicks on a link and how often content has been shared.

Inside Karisma's Kloset on Livernois Avenue in Detroit on February 19, 2021.

She also uses Shopify Analytics, an ecommerce retail section, to see how much money she is making advertising on each social media platform.

“Back then it was just, ‘I’m taking a picture,'” said Stokes. “Now it’s serious. I have to take it seriously now, especially with COVID. It’s a lot more difficult now because there are so many boutiques.”

Inside Karisma's Kloset on Livernois Avenue in Detroit on February 19, 2021.

With her model now in nursing school, every time she receives a new shipment, Stokes has to go to Instagram to post pictures of the latest dress arrivals.

“Pedestrian traffic is not the same right now, so everything is on social media and online,” said Stokes. “If (the customers) don’t see it, they don’t know you have it. They won’t come and look in here. They’ll literally pull up their phone and say, ‘Hey, did you have that?’ “”

2. It’s about presentation and your own branding

Presentation, branding, and content have been a huge part of Stokes’ social media growth. Stokes models her own dresses to show customers what the outfits and accessories look like.

“Instead of using other people’s pictures or other boutiques’ pictures, use your own,” Stokes said. “You might see something that looks cute, but when you put it on and have a following, people like you, think you’re cute or you have some other shape, it can actually help because you never know how many people made it up are more like you than a Barbie doll picture. “

3. Know who your customers are and what they like

Knowing what your audience wants to see is a very important step, said Stokes. This way, business owners can know how to market to a specific customer base. The pricing of the goods a company sells also has to do with knowing who the customers are.

“When you know who you’re selling to, you need to know what they can afford,” said Stokes. “Even if they can afford it, that doesn’t mean they want to pay that amount. So you have to know.”

Stokes usually determines how much she would pay for an item herself, and if the item is too expensive she won’t store it in her store. She even finds that customers are overlooking their discount shelf and focusing more on buying the items at full price.

And unless a business relies specifically on social media to sell, they should know where your customers are when choosing a physical location. She uses her Shopify POS system to find out where her customers are.

4. A business plan is also important

Aside from working on growing social media, Stokes said there are many things aspiring entrepreneurs should do before starting a business. She advises not to invest in anything until you are ready to take the next step and come up with a business plan in advance.

Tykia Stokes, owner of Karismas Kloset on Livernois Avenue in Detroit on February 19, 2021.

“Do your research and see if that’s really what you want to do, even if you’re tailing someone,” Stokes said. “When you say you want to run your own business, you are running after someone who runs a business because there may be so much more detail that you aren’t ready and don’t want to get into it. It’s not that glamorous as they think. It’s so much more. ”

With the aim of promoting other small businesses during the pandemic, Stokes is hosting a pop-up in their store that will feature several local businesses and a DJ. The pop-up shop takes place on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Karismas Kloset.

Are you a small business owner with tips to share or do you know one we should speak to? Send us an email at [email protected]

Contact staff writer Chanel Stitt on Twitter: @ByChanelStitt. Become a subscriber or give away a subscription.

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