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Episode 058

MINE by sandy

Meet Boutique Owner Sandy Bowers

by | May 18, 2021

Show Notes:

A few weeks ago we published a blog article featuring some really amazing local boutiques to procure some beautiful gifts for Mother’s Day. I was really proud of the businesses we were able to feature in that article, especially since the owners of each of those businesses have been guests here on the podcast. But, as I proofread the article, I realized we were missing one important category – an upscale clothing boutique. 

Several clothing boutiques have been recommended by guests on the podcast, and I look forward to reaching out to all of them at some point, but for this article I chose to connect with the MINE by sandy boutique in Davidson. The MINE by sandy team were super helpful with providing images for the article, and we were able to include them in the article in time for Mother’s Day. Naturally, I also wanted to feature the company on the podcast, and owner Sandy Bowers kindly agreed to an interview. 

I enjoyed this conversation and learning about Sandy’s journey as an entrepreneur. Sandy also recognizes several local small businesses during our conversation that I think you’ll recognize. We were all in it together this year, and Sandy shows a lot of love for several local boutiques that came together to support each other during the challenges of 2020. 

It’s a very fashionable episode 58 of The Best of LKN podcast – enjoy.

MINE by sandy

605 Jetton St
Davidson, NC 28036

FB: @minebysandy
IG: @minebysandy

Books recommended:

Good to Great
by James Collins

Integrity Selling
by Ron Willingham

Buy from the great local booksellers:

Main Street Books – Davidson

Walls of Books – Cornelius

Transcript:

Speaker 1
Welcome to the Best of LKN, a podcast featuring the best small businesses and the most influential professionals around Lake Norman, North Carolina. Each week, we spotlight those businesses and individuals that are making a positive impact here in the Lake Norman area. Thanks for joining us. Enjoy the show.

Jeff
Hey, everyone, welcome back to the Best of LKN podcast. If you’re new here, welcome. We’re really glad you’re joining us. A few weeks ago, we published an article on the blog for Mother’s Day featuring some of the best boutique businesses around the Lake Norman area. I was really proud of the businesses were able to feature in that article, especially since the owners of each of those businesses have been guests here on the podcast. But as I proofread the article, I realized we were missing one important category, an upscale clothing boutique. Several clothing boutiques have been recommended by guests on the podcast and I look forward to reaching out to all of them at some point. But for this article, I chose to connect with the MINE by Sandy boutique in Davidson. The MINE by Sandy team were super helpful with providing images for the article, and we were able to include them in the article in time for Mother’s Day. Naturally, I also wanted to feature the company on the podcast, and owner Sandy Bowers kindly agreed to an interview. I enjoyed this conversation and learning about Sandy’s journey as an entrepreneur. Sandy also recognizes several local small businesses during our conversation that I think you’ll find familiar as well. We’re all in it together this year. And Sandy shows a lot of love for several local boutiques that came together to support each other during the challenges of 2020. It’s a very fashionable episode 58 of the Best of LKN podcast. I hope you enjoy.

Jeff
Sandy Bowers is joining us, Sandy, welcome to the podcast.

Sandy
Hi, thank you. Thank you, honor to be here.

Jeff
Yep. So great to have you. I’m glad we were able to get this coordinated. We had to do the email tag back and forth for a while and I know you’re super busy, and Mother’s Day is just around the corner, so I’m sure that the boutique is super busy, so I appreciate you taking the time to join the podcast.

Sandy
Absolutely.

Jeff
I actually wrote an article for our blog recently, published it this past week for Mother’s Day, a Mother’s Day shopping guide, and was so proud of the businesses that we got to feature in that article because they were all guests on the podcast. So, Davidson Wine Company, and Juelerye, and Blumengärten and others were great stories. We loved having them on the podcast and I just knew I was missing a clothing boutique, and really needed to get one included in that article and MINE by Sandy has been recognized by so many of my guests on the podcast that you were my first choice and had to reach out to you. So again, thank you and looking forward to sharing this with the listeners.

Sandy
Thank you. Yeah, thanks. There’s a lot of great small businesses around that support each other so that’s nice to hear.

Jeff
Yeah, yeah. Davidson, Cornelius, the Lake Norman area has so many really, really just amazing small businesses, really great boutiques and craft businesses. Sandy, before we get into the MINE by Sandy boutique, share with the listeners, a little bit of your background, a little bio on you, your career prior to opening your own business, and the inspiration for starting MINE by Sandy.

Sandy
Well, so I’m actually a nurse, by education and trade. And so I worked as a critical care nurse, for the most part in Winston Salem at Wake Forest, for several years before I somewhat got recruited into working for Adventist and selling injectable blood centers, to hospitals. Taryn Church, and John Adams hired me to do that. And they had a ton of faith in me because I had zero selling experience. So coming, you know, just as a nurse with no business background and selling experience, and joining a team of people who, it was a team of 10 and collectively probably had hundreds of years of experience beyond me. And so I did that and loved it and learned so much from Taryn and John, and really appreciated how to sell a great product. We had an excellent product, I used it as a nurse myself a lot. But it was during that experience that I appreciated a different salary. You know, I was making so much more money than I was as a bedside nurse and also was able to explore something that had always been there, I loved fashion, but as a nurse, let’s be honest, there wasn’t a whole lot of opportunity to explore fashion when you’re wearing scrubs all day. And, you know, that was three or four days a week, and then you’d recover on a day or two, and then maybe have one day where you’re going out and about, and my wardrobe wasn’t very expensive as a nurse, you know, in sales, I got to explore that side a lot more, had the funds to do so. And one day, it was actually New Year’s Day, probably 2006, I think, and my husband and I were walking down King Street, in Charleston, and he is not a shopper. I am, obviously, and so I asked him, you know, hey, can I just take five or 10 minutes, and just please just appease me and let me go shop and he said, you got five, 10 minutes tops. And logically, when you only have that much time you go into a women’s shoe store, because you know, shoes are not going to, we’re not going to be worried about what are tush looks like in shoes, just slip the shoe on, and you’re good to go. And you can quickly make your decision. And so I walked out with several pairs of shoes in a matter of a few minutes. And, you know, said to him, we have nothing like this up in the Lake. And at that time, we really didn’t. And, you know, one thing led to another and I was creating a business plan and speaking with commercial lenders and getting the business plan going. And so really took, you know, 2006-2007 to start the business, and then open the actual doors in 2008, a February. So that was super fun. And then certainly an interesting time to be opening a small retail business.

Jeff
Yeah, yeah, 2008 right after, you know, such a huge crash and the beginning of a big recession.

Sandy
And, you know, in hindsight, you know, that baptism by fire actually really prepared me for a variety of things, you know, you’re really, my nursing background actually prepared me for what a bad day really looks like. And I often tell my team that like, hey, look, you know, we’re not doing CPR today, nobody’s died, there’s no code blues going on, like, let’s keep everything in perspective. So, you know, that situation as well helped me to really identify what a bad day is, and how to manage it. And so going into, for example, the pandemic, you know, it was a little bit more palatable in terms of pivoting and realizing, like, hey, this could be a lot worse, you know, let’s manage it, let’s create solutions, and move in that direction, and control what you can. There’s only so many things that we can do as business owners like during the pandemic, but I used a lot of that 2008 experience and applied that to the pandemic, for sure.

Jeff
Oh, yeah, no doubt, you know, you said that starting during that time really helped prepare you for a lot of the challenges that came along since then. But that reminds me of a story, a friend of mine, who’s a residential realtor, and started her career at that same time When, when, you know, nothing was moving, except foreclosures. So now, you know, she was able to build a good book of business and learned, you know, the hard way how to network and list and sell homes. And it’s just developed a greater strength and networking and selling for her now. So yeah, I think if you can start a business during the downtime, it definitely prepares you, and you learn a lot of, you learn how to deal with a lot of challenges that folks who start in a really booming economy don’t.

Sandy
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, a lot of grassroots marketing. I was doing them passing out flyers with coupons that, you know, at the Halloween parade, in Davidson, going to friends homes and doing pop-up trunk shows, going up to West Virginia and doing a pop-up trunk show, you know, anything that I can do to turn the inventory over and keep things afloat, you know, and you really learn to manage your overhead for sure, during a bad economy, and how to keep things lean as much as possible. You know, all those lessons were, and as hard as it was, really prepared me for every year moving forward. And frankly, when you start that low, it can only go one direction. So yeah, so that’s 2008 is when I opened. And so now we’re, in terms of the store being open, in our 13th year, and actually I have two stores, I have one on Jetton Street in Davidson, which is, they call it the flagship store, it’s the bigger location. It’s just to the right of Hop & Vine and Clean Juice, 77 Grounds is also one of our neighbors. And so we’re in the Linden complex. I was across the street, actually in the Harris Teeter complex, initially in a tiny space, and outgrew that probably a year or two into it, but it was such a great location for me. And I knew that that little area could really build up to what it is truly becoming now, it’s becoming a nice destination. I think Milkbread is actually going to be going into the old Char-Grill space, if I’m not mistaken.

Jeff
Oh, really, I had heard about that and was wondering where that was going in. That’s awesome.

Sandy
I think it’s going there. It certainly would make sense since the kitchen is already there. And the outdoor patio is already there. But you know, I was the very first store in that center, just kind of next to Harris Teeter there. I think we opened within a day of each other. And I was the only thing there for quite a long time. I remember it being so dark at night sometimes. Because there really wasn’t much going on, the traffic circles still didn’t have trees or grass or anything. It was still piles of mud and but I knew that that area could be what it is, and now and is becoming. And so yeah, so a few years ago, though, I was able to lock in the space at the Linden, and that’s been fantastic, it’s exactly the space that I need. I have a smaller location on Main Street, just kind of right across from Davidson’s campus, and the town green. And that’s the tiny store, but it serves so many great purposes. The obvious is to provide, you know, quick purchases for those who are just running up to Main Street and need a little something. But it’s also a great way for me to advertise to anyone who’s just coming to Davidson and just thinks of downtown Davidson, or the college, and that’s Davidson. There’s so many parts of Davidson beyond that, but serves as a great billboard to say, hey, if you like this little shop, you’ll love the big one down the road. And I opened that one about two years after I opened the big one in 2008, so 2010. And it worked almost immediately, I’ve worked the very first day that I opened there and met a prospective student’s mother, who was waiting for him to I think do an interview with one of the sports teams. And so she had a few hours and she said, Oh, she thought I could go into Charlotte or I could go wherever, but only have a few hours. Let me just walk up and down Main Street. And she came in, loved what she saw, bought a few things. And then I sent her to the big shop and she bought several more and became a customer for the next four years, at least because her son did end up going to Davidson, so yeah. So that was a great move to have them on Main Street, and it helped me to recover from the downturn in 2008.

Jeff
Yeah, that location on Main Street in downtown Davidson is really cool. I walk by it quite a lot. I try to spend as much time as I can in downtown Davidson. I don’t get over there as often as I would like, but when I do I try to take a walk and stop in somewhere new whenever I can. But that is a really cool spot, and it definitely, I can see how it really puts MINE by Sandy on a lot more radar screens, because that was the first place I noticed the MINE by Sandy shingle, and then I wasn’t even 100% sure where the big store was until I recently connected with you. So yeah, I love that spot in downtown Davidson, really cool.

Sandy
Yeah, thanks. It’s been great. I have Juliette who works up there, and she’s just, she’s done a great job of cultivating some lovely customers who come see us regularly up there. And then also the new faces that come in every single day. It’s been great. And it’s, like I said, it serves the purpose that it needed to.

Jeff
What does the sign say in the Main Street, the downtown shop? It references the small store, right? What is this? I forget.

Sandy
MINE by Sandy, the smaller shop.

Jeff
The smaller shop, okay, so it kind of clues folks in that there is a bigger store nearby. So yeah, that’s good.

Sandy
Yeah, good. I’m glad you figured that out, that’s exactly why I did that. I added that part to it, because there’s so many people who, even I mean, I think, at one point I probably had 25 tiny-little signs in gold frames. And I shouldn’t say tiny-little, actually they weren’t tiny and little, they were fairly large in the shop on Main Street, that would tell people exactly how to get to the big shop, and saying, if you like this shop, there’s a bigger version one mile down the road. And so many people would not look at those signs and have no idea there was a big shot down the road. So I thought let me put it in the sign itself and see what happens.

Jeff
Yeah, I folks can be a little, they can lack observation, I think.

Sandy
I’m gonna liken it to the fact that they love the experience with the clothes and accessories up there. That’s what it was.

Jeff
That’s what it was, I’m sure, yeah. Well, let’s talk about the store. Let’s talk about MINE by Sandy, the retail, the brick and mortar and the products and services that you and your team offer there. And any ecommerce business that you do as well, I’d be interested in learning, you know, how much of your business is ecomm.

Sandy
So, the bigger store, MINE by Sandy on Jetton Street. So I have about 2000 square feet there. And it’s a very open floor plan. The products that I have there, shoes, clothing, accessories, largely for women, but I do actually have some men’s as well. In terms of shoes, I have men’s and women’s Golden Goose, and On Cloud sneakers. And those have been a huge hit for the last several years. If you’re familiar with either brand, but they are staples, for sure at the store. And they’re hard to find too, Golden Goose is a highly sought-after brand. And it is very hard to find. You know, and I’m the only carrier in Lake Norman, or distributor in Lake Norman, and then, you know, in terms of Charlotte, from what my representative tells me, I’m carrying the largest selection for men and women in the southeast right now. So I like to think that I do have a very unique selection as well, which is great. And that really mirrors a lot of other brands that I have. MOTHER Denim, L’agence, FRAME, Nanushka, Cara Cara, a lot of brands that are actually, they’re hard to find. And so when I have customers, for example, like the prospective students, from Davidson, or current students from Davidson, when their families come to shop with me, one of the first things that they say is they never would imagine a shop in Davidson to curate a collection that really mirrors what they see where they’re from, and often it’s from New York City, or somewhere up north, where there used to do a lot more shopping, just you know, shopping on a in a different breath and on a different level than what we’re used to here. And it’s, it’s fun to hear that. I actually had a customer who just moved from New York City, which we’ve had a lot and we’ve seen a lot over the last year, that she came in, and when she was checking out, she said, you know, I have to tell you, my favorite shop, my favorite store period is Bergdorf’s, but yours is really parallel right now, I might say that this might be my favorite store now. For her to say that and as sincerely as she did, certainly made me feel good.

Jeff
Oh, I can imagine.

Sandy
It made me feel good. But I will say, something I think that’s unique to the environment that I have, and that I really cultivate in the team is, you know, we’re not curing cancer here, this is fashion, let’s keep it in perspective, and have fun, you know? It is my business, I don’t want to see it fail, I can’t see it fail. At the same time again, like, let’s have a good time, this is fashion, and let’s make sure our customers have a good time too. And so I do have, I don’t know, if you noticed when you were at the big shop, you know, my desk is literally right there off from the dressing room for a reason, you know, I do have to multitask. It’s just, as a business owner, you just have to get used to that idea of multitasking and get comfortable with it. And so because I have to multitask, and I do want to be with my customers, my desk is right there so that I can focus on the customers. And then as soon as I conclude that interaction, I can jump on my computer and answer an email, you know, write an order, whatever the case is. But the desk is right by the bar. So I don’t know if you noticed that.

Jeff
No, I missed I missed the bar, I would have taken an interest in that for sure. That’s very cool. I was gonna ask if that was, if there were refreshments served at the boutique.

Sandy
There are, there are, there’s something for everyone. We’ve got anywhere from you know, juice and Coca-Cola and water to some extra spicier things for anyone that wants to partake. So we’ve got the whole spectrum and we’ve got, you know, snacks for everybody and not just for my team but for our customers. And then there’s the foosball back there too with a TV and it’s super fun when families come in. A couple of Sundays ago I had a whole family come in and it was mother, husband, and two sons and a daughter, and the two sons clearly were uninterested in being there. But I think it was mom’s birthday, if I’m not mistaken. At any rate, by the end of the hour that mom was shopping, the kids were over at the foosball having a blast and pretty much refused to leave. So I think the whole family stayed for an extra 20 minutes longer than they anticipated and that was super fun. And so either, you know, if it’s customers back there playing or it’s us, but we try to have an environment that’s warm and inviting, and while I’m selling, you know, merchandise that is found, again, for example, at Bergdorf’s that that customer had acknowledged, now it’s my goal is to do so in a very warm and inviting environment, something that might be unexpected.

Jeff
I did notice the foosball table, I thought that was a cool touch too. I recently interviewed one of the founders, the co-founder of OMJ Clothing, in South End Charlotte for my Charlotte podcast, Old Mason Jar, they’ve rebranded to OMJ, and really amazing, high-end men’s fashion, they also offer women’s selections now as well, but they have a wonderful, one of the best bourbon selections in Charlotte, I would argue, for their guests to enjoy while they’re there. So you know, it’s just a touch that only a boutique business can do. I love that, I think it’s a nice touch.

Sandy
Yeah, we try to do that for everybody, offering gummy bears to, you know, a three-year-old the other day, because she was wanting something, you know, she I think she wanted ice cream or something to that effect. And so the gummy bears satisfied her and yeah, I try to do different things to keep it light and keep it warm. And you know, whether or not the customer buys something, the whole goal is that they had a great time, with everyone in this space that they do want to come back.

Jeff
Their customer experience is so important, isn’t it, and for, especially for small businesses, even large- and medium-size companies are catching on to that. But really, for small businesses, it’s all about the experience. And it’s so important.

Sandy
You know, I completely agree with you. And over the last year or so talking with, you know, different folks during podcasts or Zooms for TV segments, we use the word experience a lot, and absolutely those experiences, and I’ll also add to it, personality, you know, it’s, you want to create a great personality, for your business, and, and let that shine through whatever it is that you’re providing in your business. And for me, it’s a product, and then it’s also that service with the product. And so we want to deliver that with just an excellent personality and attitude.

Jeff
And you do have a great team. You know, you mentioned how you have to multitask as a business owner. And even though you have a stellar team at MINE by Sandy, a business owner still has to wear different hats on occasion, like every day.

Sandy
Exactly, I’m cleaning the bathrooms at six o’clock at night, usually.

Jeff
Yep, there are no tasks that we are above when it’s our business. So yeah, I get that. Yeah, the team’s amazing. I met Maura?

Sandy
Maura, and Natalie, yep.

Jeff
Maura and Natalie, I met them at the at the big shop, there on Jetton, and super, super nice. Obviously, the space is beautiful, really gorgeous space there, the way that everything’s decorated it’s a really cool space and great location, right on the corner and a really busy area of Davidson there, on Jetton.

Sandy
It really is, yeah, I got to, in terms of space, I was able to really use the 10 years of experience in the tiny space, the one that I outgrew within a couple of years of being there, everything what not to do, for the most part, I applied that to the new space, and it seems to have worked, and Maura and Natalie are excellent to work with. Natalie, you mentioned ecommerce and I’ll address that here in a minute, but Natalie is largely in charge of our social media and our ecommerce, and Maura does a variety of things to help me in terms of reaching out directly to customers, you know, sending them pictures, sending them videos, which is something that we’ve done even more so now over the last year, you know, pictures and videos of a product, reaching out to folks directly to let them know hey, if something was marked down that they were interested in, and let them know that they’re marked down, also helping with organizing my orders. Maura does a lot of that behind the scenes-ish stuff that we all, that you have to do as a business owner in retail to keep things afloat. You can’t just always guarantee, there is no guarantee that anyone’s going to walk through the door. So, if no one’s walking through the door, then you’ve got to create some type of business with what you have, what you have control over. And Maura, you know, like I said, helps me to reach out to customers directly, and then Nat’s with ecommerce and social media. And so to address the ecommerce, I had my website developed months before the pandemic, but actually, to rewind real quick, so I was in New York, I think it was the end of February of 2020. And visiting Natalie Pasquarella, I don’t know if you remember, she was with the, I think ABC affiliate here in Charlotte. And she’s now co-anchor of the nighttime weekday primetime news for NBC, NBC New York affiliate. So I was up there for a showroom appointment at one of my designers and popped in to see Natalie, she was working that evening and went over to Rockefeller Center, and we had coffee and a little snack, and then she took me on a big tour of the station, and got to see a variety of things, including Saturday Night Live, that which was super fun. But the pulse in the newsroom that evening was so elevated. And basically, it was the night before New York, for the most part had locked down. And we had not felt that increased pulse at all, you know, in our community, we were hearing about it a little bit, but nothing like what I was witnessing in New York. So I came, I flew back the next morning, and on that flight, I was thinking, I’m gonna need to get our website really going, fast. You know, I didn’t have a crystal ball, but what I witnessed that night in the newsroom and how things had escalated so quickly with the pandemic, just in in a matter of hours, I had a feeling the same what eventually happened to us, which it did about two and a half, three weeks later. So I had Natalie mainly work with Reine Digital and Lauren Edwards, who is the founder and owner, they’re my PR team, I had Natalie work directly with Lauren and her team to get the website 100% functional for purchasing and immediately started having them take pictures, not just for the website, but for our social media, and just have a huge bank of pictures available in the event that we got shut down. And you know, sure enough, you know, we did get shut down for eight weeks. And so I had things already moving in that direction. And we ended up selling about 25% of what we sold in the store, you know from year to year, looking at the prior year, we did not have any internet sales, because I didn’t have the website up at the time, that we sold about 25% of what the prior year was for that particular month, it was the month of March. And it continued in for April, and then into May it was about 40%, so it was huge. It kept us moving, moving forward and it’s taking on even bigger forms now. And it’s fun to see, it really is, to see the number of transactions and where they come from. We just sent some shoes to Oregon yesterday. And so I found my hit list to reach out to some of these customers from these other states to see, you know, how did they find out about us. And you know, that I’m very humbled that they did, and grateful that they were confident enough for the purchase that they made, but it was huge. So Natalie and the folks from Reine Digital, really just championed that, and it was amazing. And then Maura, at the time, she really couldn’t be at the shop, so she was helping me create videos for our customers and sending them and keeping up with, you know, what the customers wanted to purchase through the videos so that I wasn’t having to constantly keep up with it. I think my phone was dinging, if you will, probably every 20 seconds for hours during the day and I was having a hard time keeping up with that. I even forwarded the phone from the store to Maura, forwarded all the calls to Maura that she could get it from her house and manage those phone calls throughout the day. So I was having a hard time managing my phone, my cell phone and then the store phone. So it was really a team effort. And she did also a great job of doing online sales classes and keeping the team up to speed with some, you know, ideas of what they could do when they came back to the shop and I didn’t let anybody go. We did Zoom calls where we reviewed those, those courses that Maura was taking with everybody and what our plans were when they would come back. So we did that through Zoom with the rest of the team. And everybody was so great, and so much fun to work with during those Zooms and really looked forward, I always looked forward to and I think Maura and Natalie did too, because we got to finally see everybody. Yes. So that was the long answer, well, long address to the ecommerce. But we did a lot of pivoting with that. And that was really successful, and continues to be.

Jeff
I love that and thanks for sharing that, I love that you were able to get that up and running quickly, and that it was successful for you. I’ve had other boutique business owners on the podcast, not clothing boutiques but jewelry and luxury lifestyle brands and that sort of thing who also really ramped up their ecomm at the same time and really saved their businesses. So yeah, I’m really glad to hear that.

Sandy
And I would be remiss if I didn’t shout out to those customers who were reaching out to us, you know, in addition to the ecommerce, I would have text from, you know, Wendy, what a beautiful, great customer of ours, from the Edwards, from Maryann Barry, they were wanting to make sure we were okay. And, you know, can you send me some things and I’m sure, some of the things that we did send them they probably didn’t need right away, they might even still have the tags on them, you know, but they were wanting to support us. And it was a really beautiful testament to how great a community we have in Lake Norman, they want to see our businesses thrive. And every day I would wake up just feeling so grateful for those customers. A story, Maryann Barry called me and she said my niece was diagnosed with COVID, and she works in a nursing home and she’s just devastated. She can’t see her two small kids for at least two weeks. And she doesn’t feel good, she can’t see her husband, she’s devastated because she can’t go back to work and make sure that her residents that she was working with at the home are okay, and she wanted to do something to brighten her day. But the niece didn’t feel up for a phone conversation. So long story short, Maryann sent me her, some pictures so I can gauge you know what her style was like and gauge what personality her particular fashion was. And I sent her a video of different things that I thought she’d like, and at the beginning of the video, I poured her a little shot of tequila and toasted the phone to her, and I’m like, sounds like mama needs a little tequila, so we’re going to start out this shopping experience with some tequila. And Maryann and the niece just loved it. And they, Maryann called me crying and saying that, you know, that was the best thing that her niece could have had during such a, you know, such a sad, dark time for her. But yeah, we, we have wonderful customers. And I’d be, like I said, remiss if I didn’t address they’re part of our team.

Jeff
I love that story. I love that, the community, the community really, as a whole, really rallied behind small business last year, that was really such a positive thing to experience during an otherwise really gloomy year. So I love to hear those stories for business owners about how their customers really rallied behind them and supported them. And we’re there for them, both while they were closed and when they reopened. Yeah, that’s really cool stories.

Sandy
Yeah, what Wendy, she would come almost daily and deliver food, deliver a hug. You know, this is just before we had to close and things really even were starting to shut down before we were told to close. And so she was doing whatever she could to help us and make certain that we knew that we have a great community behind us. So yeah, it was, I look back and I can’t believe it’s been a whole year. It was a year, at that time it was so uncertain, but what was certain was that we had a really great team of people to help us get through it.

Jeff
Well, before I forget, I do want to definitely give a shout out to Maura and Natalie. Maura took my initial call when I reached out to MINE by Sandy and helped me connect with you. And she helped me coordinate some photography and Natalie as well helping me with photos and they were very accommodating. I know that they have more important things to do, but they were really accommodating to me and really just awesome. So big thanks to Maura and Natalie, and just want them to know how much I appreciate their help and helping me set this up with you.

Sandy
Thank you.

Jeff
Let’s talk about some other businesses in the community. Do you have a few that you’d like to give shout outs to?

Sandy
Yeah, absolutely. I had mentioned Lauren Edwards’ PR business and she’s based out of Charlotte actually. But she, you know, historically has done PR for NASCAR like you know, she’s Jimmie Johnson’s PR firm, Simon Pagenaud’s PR firm and, you know, here I was coming along, hey, I’ve got a boutique, partner with me? And I love that she, her energy, I love that she immediately was like, you got it, we’re gonna do this, and you’re gonna get through this, so she’s awesome. In terms of other light businesses, Chris Rinkert with Luna’s in Cornelius, and then Sherry Pollex with Lavendar in Mooresville, we had, early on when everything shut down, I reached out to them and said, you know, I’m actually a little less worried about my business right now and more concerned about all the kids who are not going to school. And I don’t have kids, so I’m not really sure exactly why this was my very first thought. But honestly, it was my first thought, all the kids that aren’t going to school that one reason why they look forward to going to school is so that they get a meal. And, you know, that’s their, maybe their only meal that they get all day. And it was breaking my heart, and so I reached out to Chris and Sherry and asked, you know, do y’all want to do a collaboration where we donate a percentage of our sales, to Bags of Hope in Lake Norman that offers, you know, lunches for kids that need it, whether they’re in school or not. But since they weren’t in school, and so many weren’t there, we’re gonna, there was gonna be a far bigger need than ever before. And so we did that over the course of a week. And they didn’t miss a beat, they immediately jumped in there and said, yes, we feel the same, we need to see what we can do to help the community. Lindsay Robertson, she has her own yoga business. And so she’s not only my Yogi, and my friend, but she’s also a great business mentor. And she early on said, hey, you’re going to figure this out, you know, you’re going to use a lot of your past knowledge and your team that you’ve got and your great customers to help you figure this out, so she was awesome too. You know, on a fun note, Hop & Vine next door was very helpful as well, for obvious reasons.

Jeff
Absolutely.

Sandy
Those are, those are some of the highlights of some of the small businesses. There’s so many that, we really all were in it together. And that is unique I feel like ’cause this pandemic versus 2008-2009, there were some businesses in 2008-2009 that seemed to be doing well. Whereas I feel like all businesses shared during the pandemic, all small businesses shared during the pandemic, this uncertainty and how can we help get each other through it? Not a fun club to be in, but you know, if you’re going to be in a pandemic, that’s a good club to be in.

Jeff
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. That slogan, we’re in this together that really, it’s been repeated a lot in this podcast, it was a great sentiment for everything that small businesses had to endure during 2020 and into 2021. So, yeah, it’s a great mindset. And it really, again, one of the positives that came out of the challenges of the last 12 months. Christine at Luna’s at the Lake, she’s mentioned a lot on the podcast, she’s another, she’s awesome. I just had a conversation with the team at Mbrace Studio, we did a book review for the podcast, in fact that episode was just released this morning, you know, she’s collaborated with them a lot as well and Lost Worlds Brewing. She’s a neighbor over there, but yeah, she’s terrific, and I look forward to connecting with her at some point as well.

Sandy
Yeah, she’d be fun she definitely would be fun and Lauren Wilson with the shop Well Kept, across the street, she’d be a great one to reach out to too because we involved her early on in this collaboration too to try to give back to the community at a time that we weren’t sure what was going to be coming in at our own businesses.

Jeff
Yeah, another really successful boutique there in Davidson shop Well Kept, we follow their account as well on Instagram, you know, really well-managed social media account, looks like a very cool store, very cool boutique. Sherry Pollex, of course, you know, what’s not to love about Sherry and the work that she does and all of her advocacy and even Martin, shout out to Martin as well. Yeah.

Sandy
Yeah, he has a pair of Golden Goose, I’m not sure I’ve seen them on them yet but, Sherry has a pair or two.

Jeff
I do not have a pair, I’ll have to check those out, I’m not really up to date on fashion. I’ll be honest with you, fashion brands, but I’ll definitely check those out.

Sandy
That’s where I come in. I can help ya.

Jeff
Are they casual? Or are they work/casual? What are they? How would you describe them?

Sandy
They are definitely work/casual. They’re comfortable, they’re made in Italy. No two pair are alike, so all are handmade. There’s a pair with your name on it.

Jeff
Cool. I’ll stop in and I’ll see if I can pull ’em off, I’ll check ’em out. All right, very cool. So I appreciate you recognizing a few of your local businesses and partners. What about books? Another question I like to ask guests are to, you know, name one or two titles that have been influential to you over the years, either in the space of business or personal development. Did you have a couple titles for me?

Sandy
Yeah, I do. I think we were chatting about this before, I actually try, when it comes to books as a business owner, I try to check out, if I’m going to read a book, it’s going to be something that is completely unrelated to what I do, so it’s usually something like true crime or you know, anything from Chelsea Handler. Something that just really takes my mind off of what I do day-to-day. But in terms of development, I do really think a great book for all business owners big and small is Going From Good to Great, Jim Collins’ book is excellent, and there’s I think something for everybody. I shouldn’t even just say business owners, I think anyone who is working in a professional world, or frankly not, you know, women, men, are managing their homes. I think you could even take a lot away, a lot from that book and apply it to how you’re managing your home and your daily life there. So it’s a great book, I do like that book a lot. I do listen to podcasts, though, I do love podcasts. I do have a tendency to get a move towards the true crime podcasts. So I was telling you about True Crime Garage, I love that podcast. I was just listening to the Jeffrey MacDonald case this morning, the case from Fayetteville in the 1970s, and so I’ve finished the first of the two-part series on that. So true testament to where my mind is in terms of books most of the time. And you know, another book, though, if you’re in sales, another book is high integrity selling. I think it’s actually called Integrity Selling for the 21st Century, it’s by Ron Willingham. And I love that book because it addresses how to get more involved with the customer and being on their agenda and not on yours, you know, and do so in a sincere way. And I think that book can really help a lot, anyone in sales, to get into that mindset, so that it really is selling with integrity.

Jeff
Sounds like a great title. That’s one that I haven’t read, I’ll definitely look that up. Good to Great is in my library as well. Really great book, no pun intended, but really super read. And, yeah, you bring up a good point, I mean, there’s a lot in that book, a lot of the principles that he shares about these founders and CEOs that we could really apply to our everyday lives, even if we’re not business owners or entrepreneurs. So I like that insight. I appreciate that. True Crime podcasts are huge. Yeah, no doubt about it. Yeah, they’re, you know, probably in the top 20 most downloaded podcasts around the world. I would say five or six of them are true crime podcasts. So yeah, huge genre right now and very interesting stuff.

Sandy
Yeah, I know. It becomes, like everyone binge watches Netflix and I’m on my EarPods tucked away in the bed, you know, like hitting the next episode on True Crime Garage, and then before I know it, it’s 3am. So yeah, it’s I don’t know, I don’t know what about it is so intriguing but those are books and podcasts. Podcasts has been the one that’s equivalent to my Netflix addiction.

Jeff
Yeah, yeah, podcasts are, you know, we can utilize that found time that while we’re traveling, or even just relaxing to just tune into a podcast that we like, so. I haven’t been hooked on the true crime podcasts yet, I’m gonna have to avoid them because I don’t have time to get hooked on that. But truthfully, it’s so important that sometimes we just have to unplug, right? We just have to disconnect from our business and do something, something else. So yeah, I totally get that and appreciate that for sure.

Sandy
Yeah, and you know, it’s along the lines of some great advice that I was given years ago, don’t take yourself too seriously. And so you know, I yeah, like I can have an edition of Vogue sitting you know, to my left, but am I looking at that all the time? No, like I’m, get your mind off that and get it on to some true crime or something else that, you know, just is completely opposite of what I do.

Jeff
Yeah. Yeah, for sure. Sandy, this has been great. You’re actually traveling right now, so I appreciate you taking time away from your travels to join this podcast. We’re recording as usual through Zoom, and just really, really appreciate you joining the podcast. Where can listeners learn more about MINE by Sandy?

Sandy
Thank you. Thank you, I appreciate it. And it was my pleasure to take a little hiatus from from the trip here. So website is MINEbySandy.shop. So our website does not have all of our merchandise on there. It has a lot of the merchandise that people probably are Googling. So the brands that customers are typically Googling, we prioritize that on our website, like for example, the Golden Goose and the On Cloud, but MOTHER Denim, FRAME Denim, we actually have, I think we just added XiRENA and THE GREAT onto the website as well, which are two brands that have just picked up over the last year or so. And then our Instagram and our Facebook, we sell a lot through those two portals as well. So Instagram is MINE by Sandy, as is Facebook. And we have a great team that Natalie leads for the social media, and we try to post just about all of our new arrivals on social media. And then of course, you can always call us. And you can find our number on any of those sites as well. And we’ll be glad to help.

Jeff
And stop by the stores in Davidson, open now, doors are open. So yeah, definitely do that MINEbySandy.shop and MINE by Sandy on the socials. I’ll make sure I share those links in the show notes as well.

Sandy
Thank you. Thank you so much.

Jeff
You’re welcome. Sandy, again, thanks so much. The business is MINE by Sandy, owner, Sandy Bowers. Sandy, thanks again for your time. This been a lot of fun, really appreciate it.

Sandy
Good, I had a great time too.

Jeff
An entrepreneur’s journey is never a straight line, always full of twists and turns, peaks and valleys. But if the inspiration and desire is strong enough, we find a way to make our dream a reality. Many thanks to Sandy for joining the podcast and sharing the story of her entrepreneurial journey. Listeners, you can learn more about MINE by Sandy at www.MINEbySandy.shop. Follow MINE by Sandy on Facebook and Instagram at MINE by Sandy. I’ll have the links to MINE by Sandy along with the links to the other businesses we recognized in this episode, in the show notes. As always, the complete show notes for all of our episodes are located at the home for Lake Norman’s number one small business podcast, www.thebestoflkn.com. While you’re at our website, please consider subscribing to our email newsletter. It’s easy to sign up and a great way to show some support for the work we’re doing here at the podcast. You can also follow the podcast on Facebook and Instagram. That sign up form for the email newsletter is at the bottom of our homepage, so just scroll to the bottom, enter your first name and your email address, it’s that easy. Speaking of the website, our latest article on the blog features a list of our favorite places to grab a burger around Lake Norman, go to thebestoflkn.com/blog and see if your favorite burger joint made the list. Finally, I want to announce that we’re also providing transcripts for each episode going forward. The transcriptions make the podcast accessible to everyone, including those with hearing disabilities. I think this is really important. And I also look forward to bringing all of our past episodes up to date with transcriptions as soon as possible. This will take some time as there is a cost involved and we have a pretty limited budget here at the podcast. But I think it’s going to be worth the effort. We’ll have the transcript for this episode up shortly after it’s released. Okay, my friends that just about wraps up Episode 58. I hope you’re enjoying following along with the podcast. I’m certainly very thankful that you joined us today. We’ll be back next week with another episode featuring a conversation with the founder and CEO of an amazing and highly successful restaurant brand. One of my favorite places, and I’ll bet it’s one of yours too. In the meantime, be sure to shop a small business this week. You’ll love it and they’ll love you for it. Cheers Lake Norman. Bye for now.

Speaker 1
We hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of The Best of LKN. For more information about this podcast, show notes, video episodes, and links to our featured businesses, please visit www.thebestoflkn.com. We publish episodes weekly, so be sure to subscribe and stay up to date. Until next time, cheers Lake Norman.