Posted on July 24, 2012
Filed Under (Advice, General Business) by jennifer

I love when I receive a thank-you note or gift from a happy client or vendor. And I know I am not alone.

Indeed, a while back when I asked small business owners how they encourage customer loyalty and get customers to continue to purchase from them, among the top responses I received was “I send them thank-you notes” and “I offer them a 20 percent discount or gift for making another purchase or referring a friend.”

So when I started up my e-tail business, Prepster Pineapple Clothing & Accessories, I created custom Prepster Pineapple note cards, to thank each customer who ordered a shirt. (I also plan to offer discounts on future purchases and for referrals.)

And while thanking your customers is a great way to engender loyalty, I believe it’s also important to thank your vendors and partners, the businesses (many of them small businesses) who help make your business possible. So…

Thank you to Enterline Design for the outstanding logo and design work.

Thank you to Shoreline for doing such a great job with the embroidery on my Prepster Pineapple polo shirts and for the excellent screen work on my Prepster Pineapple t-shirts.

Thank you to Custom Couture Label for weaving my Prepster Pineapple private labels. You did a beautiful job.

Thank you to Universal Tag for creating the best-looking (and possibly only) die-cut pineapple hang tag I’ve ever seen.

Thank you to BigCommerce for your terrific (and easy to use) shopping cart software.

And thank you to BC Mod Squad for designing and coding the Prepster Pineapple ecommerce site. You guys rock!

So, have you thanked your customers and vendors today? If not, take a minute to do so.

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Posted on July 17, 2012
Filed Under (Ecommerce) by jennifer

I’ve been writing about entrepreneurs and small business — and web design and ecommerce and social media — for over seven years now, and the spouse thought it was high time I tried practicing what I preached. So one day this spring when our then-13-year-old daughter showed us a cartoon she called Prepster Pineapple, the spouse said, “There’s your business.” And Prepster Pineapple clothing and accessories was born. (And let me just say, launching a small business is waaaaay harder than writing about it.)

Who and What Is Prepster Pineapple?

So who exactly is Prepster Pineapple (beyond a drawing of a pineapple with really cool shades and a polo shirt)? Per my teenage daughter, Prepster Pineapple is that sweet guy who all the teenage girls want to secretly (and not-so-secretly) hang out with — cool and confident, and not a jerk. Or as we explain on our hang tags, “Born in Hawaii… Raised on the Mainland… Part preppy… Part hipster… He’s Prepster Pineapple, the sweetest guy you’ll ever meet!”

As for what is Prepster Pineapple? Prepster Pineapple is a line of preppy, hip, comfortable clothes for the whole family — with a focus on teens and tweens.

Right now, we are just selling t-shirts (in blue, in Women’s, Men’s, and Youth sizes) and polo shirts (in blue and white, in Women’s, Men’s, and Youth sizes) — online, via www.prepsterpineapple.com. T-shirts are $26.00 (not including tax — applied only to those in Connecticut — and shipping) and polos are $36.00 (same deal). Shipping is a flat rate of $6.00 per order (for now) — and only within the United States. (Note: I’m currently using PayPal for payments, but that does not mean you need a PayPal account to shop. You just need a credit card.)

This fall we are planning to add sweatshirts and long-sleeved t-shirts, and possibly pajama/lounge pants. (Have a suggestion for a new color or new item? Leave a comment.)

Spread the Word

To help spread the word about Prepster Pineapple, I’ve created a Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/PrepsterPineapple — where you can also purchase Prepster Pineapple shirts. (Just click on the “Shop” tab.)  If you have a Facebook account, please take a minute to “like” it. You can also follow my/the company’s exploits on Twitter. And for those who prefer being social the old-fashioned way, without all the media, please tell your friends about Prepster Pineapple, and send them the link, www.prepsterpineapple.com.

Stay Tuned

Over the coming weeks, I plan to write about my experiences setting up an ecommerce business — from trademarking my company name and logo, to picking a shopping cart, to working with a web designer/developer, adventures in bookkeeping, and more. So please stop back.

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