|Amy Kay Pavlovich|
NANCY: I had to look it up. We first met in 2010 at the Chicago Gift Show at the Chicago Merchandise Mart. I believe Connected was your brand new retail store baby at the time. And now you've been at it for much more than a decade!
|Connected Store Front|
NANCY: Yes, you're right. It was. So let's get to it. Let the interview begin. I already know about your shop and a bit about you. I'm thinking most people reading this blog interview do not. Can you tell me a bit about your background and how that lead to you opening a fair trade retail store? Was there a specific event that encouraged you to get into retail?
|Press in Local Magazine!|
NANCY: After all these years working in fair trade is there something you feel particularly good about? An accomplishment? A life you changed? I'd love to hear a story or two.
NANCY: And is there some aspect of operating a fair trade store that you enjoy the most?
NANCY: I'm completely impressed with how you consistently and often use the Facebook LIVE vehicle. How did you get into that? Do you have certain things you like to discuss or share with your audience?
|Faces of Amy Kay|
Initially my LIVES took place on Thursday evenings. During one part of the the covid experience, we had been open and needed to close again because of sickness. Instead of hosting only one "Happy Hour with Fair Trade" on Thursday nights at 8pm, I started showing things Monday through Wednesday as well. After we were able to reopen, I was ready to transition back to having only one show a week. The people who watched the most said that my 8pm LIVEs helped them get through their crazy covid-ness and asked me to continue. Turns out they were mostly single woman and new moms who reached out and I didn't have the heart to discontinue the shows.
|From a Facebook LIVE|
NANCY: Has doing Facebook LIVE helped increase your page followers? I'm blown away that you have over 3000 followers on Facebook. Is there a trick to building such a wonderful audience?
AMY KAY: No, my LIVEs aren't helpful in building an audience. (Don't you just love AK's frankness?) What's best in that area is what I haven't been doing, sharing pictures with short quippish wording and paying for the post to be shown to people in our area.
I'm about the least savvy business person you could find. My answer here is probably going to sound ridiculous. I think people follow the store because I'm pretty darned real. I've been told my candidness is refreshing. (It is.) I'm certainly not everyone's cup of tea! But those who line my realness come around. Also, I've lived in a few other places since Facebook was developed and some friends from those places continue to follow me as I've moved.
NANCY: Many of us are tech dinosaurs. I'd like to know how you actually do those LIVE chats? Are you using a phone or PC? Do you just press a video button on Facebook and start talking? Do you use a tripod? I'd sure like to know what you do. Maybe I'd give it a go.
AMY KAY: You should give it a go, Nancy! It's so EASY!!!
When I'm the most lazy, I just hold my phone. It always looks better when I set it in a little tripod I keep handy, but if my boys are home with me, I don't take the 60 seconds needed to grab the tripod.
For my Happy Hours, I use a free program that I also currently use for my streaming worship. I like to put the price of products and country of origin on the side of the screen so I don't get confused and say the wrong thing or just get unnerved. It makes everything go more smoothly to put in the hour of work to set up that system. It is called OBS Studio and it is also easy to use. There are lots of YouTube tutorials on the program. I watched a few and know enough to make it work each week. You'd be great with either system! (Thanks for the vote of confidence.)
NANCY: You've been selling Dunitz & Company fair trade in your store for a long time. I know you like our large teardrop earrings I've seen you wear in your Facebook LIVEs. Is there another favorite you wear or sell in your store? You know I had to ask.
|Best Selling Beaded Dots|
NANCY: Is there anything else you'd like to add?
|Frida Teardrop Earrings|
Lastly, I'd love for people to understand how easy it is to be a fair trade retailer. As I mentioned earlier, I am not a business person. I, quite honestly, suck at business. If I can open a store and keep it open, anyone can! If anyone reading this has a call to have a fair trade store or to incorporate fair trade into a shop of another nature, I'm a huge cheerleader for their interest. The fair trade community is a supportive, affirming, nurturing, sometimes salty, and always a fun group of people with whom to be in cahoots. Cheers!
--end of interview--
|A Pefect Pin|