Rebecca Combs opened Design & Adorn in September of 2008, one week before the Lehman Brothers crash. “We spent the first two years operating with no money, which wasn’t great,” said Combs. “We just kept coming up with new ideas. It didn’t matter how ridiculous it was, something was going to work.”
Rebecca was right. Something did work for her and Design & Adorn, a craft store focused on everything Kumihimo, in Tucson, Arizona. Since her rough 2008 start, Combs has written books on Kumihimo (traditional Japanese braiding). She’s taught it on national shows and she was on Jewelry TV this past summer.
Organization, community, and location have been her keys to running a successful craft store.
“I’m super organized,” said Combs. “I’m very analytical. There are labels everywhere. We’re very focused on the numbers and we have this robust POS (PayGo) that has great reporting.”
While she is a fan of PayGo’s reporting, Rebecca Combs is an even bigger fan of its calendar feature.
“On every POS you can make an event that’s an item and make it so it does not go negative, but what we have going on here is a beautiful calendar,” said Combs. “We have 20-30 events a month. That’s a lot going on. In this calendar view, I can see how classes are doing, how many seats, who’s teaching what, and print a roster.”
On Saturdays at Design and Adorn three 2-hour classes are held with 1-hour breaks between them. The 1-hour breaks are organized chaos according to Combs. Those attending the next class are arriving as those who were at the previous are shopping around, and customers not in a class are stopping in as well.
“There’s no time for nonsense. The instructor needs a roster. I need to print the roster and go,” said Combs. “No other POS has an easy way to make that happen.”
“You can buy beads lots of places, but there’s only one Design & Adorn. When you come here it’s like coming into Cheers. We know your name. We know what projects you’ve done.” Customers come in with different outfits to accessorize and wanting to design pieces for a variety of special occasions. She loves helping people go from uncertainty to creating something they are proud of and excited about. “With jewelry making if you start with quality materials and a teensy bit of know-how you can make something amazing. Not so with paint.”
Design & Adorn offers rewards to its community of customers. PayGo makes it easy for them to keep track of who has earned what and which credits are used up. There is no additional charge to access and use PayGo’s loyalty/rewards tracking tools.
“I have frequent buyer programs that my customers love so much,” said Combs. Design & Adorn’s reward program has 4 different tiers. They do not have a waiting period, so customers can use their rewards as fast as they earn them. “It [PayGo] auto-prints out their gift certificate. We can click into the credits field and see the unredeemed credits. When they’re redeemed they vanish, so you don’t accidentally use them twice. No punch cards needed.”
“We moved across town,” said Combs, who shared that moving to a better location has been a big part of Design & Adorn’s success. “Now we have a location that’s very central. I love it!” Design & Adorn is now located at 4630 E. Grant Road in Tucson, AZ.
- Get a coach. Rebecca Combs uses Retail Mavens. When Design & Adorn opened, she had a wealth of retail sales experience and had been an assistant floor manager. However, she did not have direct experience in the buying side of retail. After struggling with budgeting and forecasting, she hired a business coach who specializes in retail to advise her.
- Join Trade Organizations. “I thought we didn’t have money for it. You have to get out there. Meet other people. You need to know people beyond your little bead room.”