July Customer Spotlight
Customer Spotlight

Great Tips from Successful Retailers

Impression by PJ is a craft shop specialized in custom embroidery for school teams and special occasions. Their main niche is spiritwear and fan gears including team apparels, accessories, stadium blankets, fleeces and more. They also offer custom-made temporary tattoos and magnets for schools and fundraisers.

Hi, my name is Phyllis Spencer. I opened Impressions by PJ when I got my first embroidery machine in December of 2005. I worked from my home and have been selling at our county fair for seven years. Crafts have always been a part of my life and owning my own craft shop has been my dream since high school. I graduated with an associate degree in accounting and currently working part-time as the Fiscal Officer Income Tax Administrator for our small village. While thoughts of running my shop full time are rampant in my mind, my dedication to my hometown will likely see me working around this job.


SSS: 1. Describe your proudest moment as a business owner?

IMPRESSIONS BY PJ: Last year at the fair, one of the carnival workers came and requested a special onesie for a child still in utero. The onesie noted baby rode out the hurricane with mommy. He explained how he begged his pregnant wife to head north but she insisted on staying put. When he picked up the onesie, he explained that the worst of the storm was over, and they were okay. But when he saw the onesie he broke down in tears, hugging me and thanking me. I know it was only a little onesie, but to him it meant so much more. Especially seeing that emotion from a man, really touched my heart!

SSS: 2. What are the new/existing challenges you are facing as a retailer/business owner?

IMPRESSIONS BY PJ: Knowing what the customer wants – finished product vs unfinished product for custom orders. Early on in doing fairs I had lots of finished spirit wear items but ran into people wanting shirt A with design from shirt B. Therefore, I stock more unfinished, but now that I am in a shop and have the new equipment to start using, I am thinking my balance may get more even between the two.


SSS: 3. What is the long-term vision for your store?

IMPRESSIONS BY PJ: To increase my store sales and to have succeeded in selling online. I want to expand into the entire lower floor of the building (currently only renting half) and eventually buying land and building my ultimate shop!

SSS: 4. What type of marketing works best for you?

IMPRESSIONS BY PJ: Word of mouth has been spectacular. I strongly feel my booth at the fair does wonders. I will have people who call out of the blue and say they saw my booth. I was busy at the booth, so they grabbed a card to call me later. I also have a Facebook page and it has been growing quite nicely as well.

SSS: 5. When it comes to customer service, how do you keep your customers happy?

IMPRESSIONS BY PJ: I make sure they are in on all decisions that they wish to be, even if it means searching through hundreds of fonts to find the right one. I don’t take the simple route for those that leave it up to me to decide in detail such as color, font, or even an entire logo creation. I strive to make it special and fit that customer’s (or recipient’s) personality.


SSS: 6. What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned since launching your business?

IMPRESSIONS BY PJ: You have to set aside time to build your business. It is tough in the demands of today’s world, but you have to say ‘no’ once in a while in order to put it first…. Otherwise it can’t grow.

SSS: 7. What solution/problem are you solving with our products and why? What are the results?

IMPRESSIONS BY PJ: Display of as much as possible with little floor space. I prefer the wire grids with mounting brackets. Having the ability to utilize wall space is priceless. I also fell in love with the outrigger concept. I use it in my fair booth and will be utilizing it in my shop soon as well.

SSS: 8. What are your favorite things you have ordered from SSS and how has it helped your business?

IMPRESSIONS BY PJ: The various displaying options for grids and outriggers are great. The variations allow us to create a different display just by changing the accessories – from shelves, to face-outs, or a long hanging rod, just so many options. I get many ideas from just looking at your catalog.


Locate IMPRESSIONS BY PJ's booth at

Hardin County Fair
14134 Fairground Rd #140
Kenton, OH 43326

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