Six eCommerce Hacks for Small Business Owners

With the world getting more and more technologically advanced, traditional means of commerce have upgraded and have evolved far beyond from where it was a decade ago. Now, buying and selling are done at the tips of the fingers. Everything is just found online, even items that you never have thought to exist, like bacon toothpaste (weird, right?). If you are a business owner, and you would like to do business the easy way, there are plenty of growth hacks for your business. And unlike the more sinister “hacking” that we commonly know, e-commerce hacks are actually good. These are innovative and unique marketing strategies that causes fast profit for your business. Now this is the kind of hacks that we all want to learn!

Data analytics

Today’s digital marketing is much better than traditional marketing methods. Now, it is already possible to analyse data from an ongoing campaign in real time. Data from any digital campaign can be gathered before, during, and after its run time. You will be able to check who is visiting your ad, when they visited, and how long they stayed. It is even possible to see where they are from physically, and which device they are using while logged to your campaign. Now, it is easier to gather information about which target group you are attracting and which strategies you are using are working to bring them in.

Blogs

Blogs have a personal touch to anyone who follows them. Most blogs chronicle relatable contents that allow for interaction with the followers. Your blog should also have that. Potential clients often are sensitive to blatant advertising when it is literally shoved in their faces when they browse online. Your blog can help you convert followers by making sure that you are posting relevant contents. Make your posts interesting by using various media, like vlogs, guest posts, articles, and quality pictures. For example, if you are in the real estate business, your content should not only be about your listings, but should also contain tips on what is current in the real estate industry, or you can include infographics on what would be the points to look out for when looking for a house or looking for a workspace. And don’t forget to interact with your visitors and followers. Listen to what they want and use it to improve your brand.

Social media

Social media platforms are great vehicles for your blog contents. You can increase the number of people you reach out by using your social media accounts to share your contents. With interaction and communication as the building blocks of social media, it is the best bet you have to spread the word around. Use it to your business advantage.

 

Mobile-friendly sites and apps

There are now more mobile users than laptop users. With this change in the trend, be up to date, and have an app that can be used to show your wares. You don’t necessarily have to do it yourself, there are plenty of app developers who can do the work for you. Make it easy to navigate and secure. For your websites, make sure that you have optimized mobile-ready versions of it for mobile users.

User endorsed content

While you may be able to say the best things for your products, most consumers still prefer product that are endorsed to them by someone they know. The power of the word of mouth can’t be challenged by any marketing strategy. As with traditional marketing, it is best to have plenty of endorsement contents for your products. Be sure to include reviews and testimonials of people who have used your products and have loved it. Sometimes, all it takes is a simple review can make a customer go for the purchase.

Thank you cards

While we have been talking about everything modern about ecommerce, nothing ever beats a simple act of saying thank you. Since your greatest aim is to get as personal as you could to your target market, a thank you card is a great way to show them that you are personally grateful to have done business with them. Also, this is one marketing tactic that shows your heart and your personal touch. It makes your buyers see the person of your business, and not just the savvy apps and ads. It is easy to do this. You can start by doing it by yourself, our you could hire someone to do it for you. Whichever way you choose, make your message short and personal. And, you can also throw in a special promo code or coupon to make that person feel that you welcome more business with them.

The ways may have changed, but doing business still at its core is about having the knack of knowing what your market needs, and making sure that your business is positioned to meet it.

 


Author Bio:

Gemma Reeves is a seasoned writer who enjoys creating helpful articles and interesting stories. She has worked with several clients across different industries such as advertising, online marketing, technology, healthcare, family matters, and more. She is also an aspiring entrepreneur who is engaged in assisting other aspiring entrepreneurs in finding the best office space for their business.
Check out her company here: FindMyWorkspace

 

Verlocal Pro Booking Tool Integration

Effective Booking Tool Integration

Turn your visitors into a profitable consumer through Verlocal Pro booking tool on your website.

Here are 4 different ways you can integrate Verlocal Pro booking tool:

Note: For the first 3 Go to “Dashboard” then “My Calendar” and click on “Copy or Embed Calendar” to begin.

BOOKING URL

The booking URL will be the first tab with a link that you can use to redirect your or page on your site.

  1. Select “copy calendar” and use the link to paste into your website or share on social channels to promote your listings.

  2. The page this link will redirect to a separate page consist your business listing.

 

HTML FRAME VERSION

This is a website friendly code that can directly embed your booking tool to your site, providing your visitors direct access to all your listings!

  1. Select “HTML Embed Code” on the pop-up, choose “Frame Version”

  2. Simply Copy the code and paste it onto your website

(Read on below to see the best place to install HTML Frame Version Calendar on your website)

 

HTML BUTTON AND POP-UP VERSION (Call-to-Action Button)

This is where you can embed a call-to-action button onto your website. Once a visitor clicks the button, it will open a pop-up window that will display your listings

  1. Select “HTML Embed Code” on the pop-up, choose “Button and Modal Version”

  2. Copy code to your site at a visible range for a direct purchase option.

 

DIRECT PAYMENT PAGE URL

This is a great option when you have a dedicated content of your different types of offer. This link can be implemented to a direct payment page that can allow your user to book instantly to a specific listing.

  1. Go to your “Dashboard”, then select “My Listings”

  2. Select the connected link button

  3. Use the link to attach to your site for direct payment option.

Note: We have three different payment display. To see a live version click here.

 

BEST WAY TO INTEGRATE VERLOCAL PRO BOOKING TOOL FOR MORE SALES

The integration is crucial, because where you place the booking tool is how you will expose your visitors to an offer and implement a call of action.

 

Place listing on your main page to Increase bookings and Ad performance.

Limit the clicks to 1 for your visitors to find your listing. You get a couple of seconds to make your impression before a visitor clicks-out. The best recommendation to place your booking tool is closest to your visitors reach:

  1. Landing Page

  2. Offer Page

 

Get instant bookings with a visible call-to-action.

Give your visitors a way where they can see all your offering immediately meaning, front-and-center. Get instant bookings by placing a book now button. This button will portray as a sense of urgency that your consumers curiosity will want to interact with so you can earn sales immediately! Here are ways you can best use the call-to-action button:

1. Introduction Button

2. Navigation Page

Note: You can customize your button. You’re provided with a code that you can implement simple changes i.e. the color, font, size, and call-to-action word.

Details to intrigue more visitors.

When showing your listings, you can add descriptive notes to give brief description of your offer. This is can be a personal marketing tool to write something creative, or even a reminder to your customers about the experience.

Note

 

Optimize your incoming sales by installing the Verlocal Pro booking tool on your site today! Get more sales with the help of an easy-to-use booking tool. If you have further questions on how to integrate your booking tool we’re here to help, contact support@verlocal.com and we’ll get you started!

 

Why You Should Get Verlocal Pro TODAY!

You’re a busy business owner with a small budget.

 

Here are 5 ways you can increase your sales and save time:

1. Increase revenue with an easy-to-use bookings software.

When managing a business, a booking tool on your website is the point-of-purchase. Having an effortless one-click booking process for consumers makes all the difference. In an e-commerce site, 27% of an abandoned cart is due to a complicated check-out. Don’t be a business that falls under that category. Increase your revenue by making it easy for your customers and you. As a host, you can install the booking software within minutes. We have provided everything for you, just copy and paste to your website and start earning money.

Take a look at a live demo of how your business calendar can look like:

2. Retarget visitors to become paying customers through automated ad system.

When using Verlocal Pro, all your listings will be automatically displayed through Facebook and Instagram Ads, converting your visitors into paying customers. From there your product or service will be all over their social media feed reminding them to purchase. This system has proven to work, generating more sales and brand exposure. As a business owner, a common struggle that everyone faces is branding. Having a small budget means putting your money where it will be most effective. If you join Verlocal Pro, all the marketing expenses will be covered by us, eliminating high marketing costs.

 

3. Gain more returning customers and sales with customer management system.

The most profitable customer are the ones who return. To keep customers coming back, providing incentives is key. Our customer management system takes care of needed efforts to retain your customers. With Verlocal Pro, you can now manage discounts, create a gift certificate, implement subscription programs and more. The best part is that you can have access to every single customer information. This feature allows you to download their contact, make notes for future reference, connect through our email system and most importantly, build a relationship.

 

4. Manage bookings with half the time.

When you manage reservations, payments, and cancellations, the most efficient way is with one simple action. See all of your bookings anytime, and anywhere you want within the same dashboard. Every customer inquiry will be organized and available for easy confirmation. Your time is important and now you can cut the time spent managing in half and dedicate it to your business. Our system is built to make sure your business can maximize the efficiency of your day-to-day operation.

 

5. Raise business visibility through Verlocal marketplace.

We connect sellers and buyers in one platform, bringing convenience to consumers and visibility to hosts. Our Verlocal marketplace consumers are unique, with interests in local activities, classes, events and handcrafted goods. With 300,000+ constant users, your business is exposed to future clients in your local community and nationally. In addition, your marketplace listing will be integrated to your website calendar. You now have additional web pages that will improve your search rank within your offer category. Our business tool will allow you to share listings and better your target audience through our retargeting ad system as well.

 

The best part of it all is the ZERO commission fees when using Verlocal Pro. The only thing you have to pay for is the credit transaction fees of 2.9% +.30 cents! Typically, our yearly plan starts at $199. However,  if you are a local business owner who works to empower the small business and entrepreneur community, we can offer our service for free. All that you have to do is show your interest by filling the form below or contact our team member at angeline@verlocal.com.

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4 Free Install Tools To Take Your Small Business To The Next Level.

4 Free Install Tools To Take Your Small Business To The Next Level.

Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs put their daily efforts into perfecting their business model. Budget friendly resources are the best way to sustain your starting capital. Here are 4 great free-installs products that can take a business to the next level.

CEO Story

CEO Story

Behind the software, I’m simply a business owner, who wants to thrive just like other business owners. That is the initial reason Verlocal was created as a platform for freelancers and business owners. I believe that our team can build a human-centered society, which will define the future.We do not sell software. We sell hope. Hope for business owners like myself who want to achieve entrepreneurial success. Hope to create a better, more connected global community.

Ensuring That Your Escape Room Business Succeeds

Get to Know Your Market and Competition

Before you start an Escape Room business, make sure you know that there’s a need and want for it in your local community. There’s hundreds of escape rooms in the US, do some research and understand how your competition operates.

 

STRATEGIES TO UNDERSTAND YOUR MARKET:

  • Visit Existing Escape Rooms: Take time out of your busy schedule to visit your competitor's facility and identify the good, bad and ugly. Put yourself in the consumer’s shoes and experience the escape room how a paying customer would.

 

  • Figure Out Your Escape Room Theme: Based on your targeted audience, you will need to come up with a theme (ex: Zombie Apocalypse, Alien Invasion)  that will best serve their curiosity and interest.

 

 

 

Be Unique, Be Different

Make sure that your Escape Room stands out. If you are planning on running a successful business you have to make sure that it is unique and different from other surrounding escape rooms. No one is going to want to visit your escape room if it’s similar to the ones around your area and has the same theme.

But just because you have a unique idea for your escape room that doesn’t mean it will be successful. Listen to your community and learn what their needs and likes are and go off that. Just add your own twist to it.

 

 

Is Your Escape Room Up To Code?

Before you go and start taking bookings, make sure your Escape Room is up to the safety code. Businesses get shut down all the time due to fire codes which will cause you to lose business and time. Contact a contractor/city planner/fire marshal to make sure that there are no violations that can cause your business to be shut down.

HERE ARE A FEW THINGS YOU NEED TO KEEP IN MIND BEFORE YOU ARE OPEN FOR BUSINESS:

  • First and foremost is if you are allowed to lock people in rooms in your county: because if you can’t then there’s no reason at all to start building an Escape Room business in your community.

 

  • Parking restrictions are also a big deal. Know where your customers are able to park and where they are not.

 

  • The legal occupancy for your business: You should also be aware of the number of people you are allowed to have in the building. The legal occupancy depends on the size of the space where you are holding your business.

 

 

Marketing Your Escape Room

To ensure your consumers know about your brand and company, you need to market your business. Make it a priority. As a small business owner, it is likely that only a handful of people that will know that you have recently opened your business, which probably only includes your family and close friends. But you can’t rely on word-to-mouth to let consumers know about your exciting new escape room.

HERE ARE SOME OF THE AVAILABLE MARKETING CHANNELS TO HELP PROMOTE YOUR BUSINESS:

  • Blogs and Forums: Posting articles on blogs and forums are good sources of distributions to further reach your consumers.

 

  • Social Media: As you can tell at this day and age most businesses have moved toward online marketing.When marketing your escape room use all social media channels.

 

-Facebook & Instagram

 

-Twitter

 

-Snapchat

 

Facebook and Instagram allow you to create advertisements and set goals for your business. Either to gain more brand awareness, conversions, and traffic to your website.

 

ADVANTAGES FOR ADVERTISING ON FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM:

  • Wide Consumer Outreach: Facebook is a very well-known social media platform with many users so creating content and posting it on Facebook could get a lot of people to view your advertisement

 

  • Conversion Measurement: By creating a Facebook pixel, you are able to track actions users take when they view your ads

 

  • Mobile: Facebook has over a billion active mobile users. When creating an ad Facebook allows you to target users anywhere on mobile devices

 

  • Split-testing: When creating an advertisement of Facebook you can create a split-test ad where you can target 2 different audiences for the same ad and then get results to see which one gives you better results.


Even though there’s a lot of pros to advertising on Facebook and Instagram not a lot of small businesses have enough experience to promote their business or a Marketing budget to cover those cost.

 

DISADVANTAGES YOU NEED TO BE AWARE OF WHEN ADVERTISING ON FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM:

  • High Advertising costs: Advertising through Facebook can be really costly. Many companies spend hundreds to thousands of dollars a month when they advertise through Facebook and if you are just starting your small business it is likely that you don’t have a Marketing budget.  

 

  • Inexpensive Marketing: Creating social media posts is a really useful too but that doesn’t mean that will always be successful. If you don't have any experience in Marketing knowing who your main consumer audience is and targeting them might be something you will have trouble on. If you aren't sure what kind of consumers you are trying to reach when creating advertisements your ads won’t always be successful and won’t receive the conversions results you wanted.

 

  • Identifying Target Markets: When distributing content you want to make sure that the right audience is seeing your advertisements.Facebook and Instagram won’t know who your target audience is but will target an audience that it thinks will best fit your ad. Sometimes it does an okay job in distributing content but most times it fails to deliver the information to your main audience.


Unable to Create Discounts and Promotional Codes: Although Facebook provides many helpful tools, it does not allow you to create discount or promotional codes.

 

 

EFFECTIVE SOLUTIONS

A lot of small businesses don’t even have a budget for Marketing but there are platforms like Verlocal that are dedicated to helping local businesses, which provide and handle all of the Marketing for your business for FREE.

 

HERE ARE SOME TOOLS THAT VERLOCAL PROVIDES THAT WILL SAVE YOU TIME AND WILL FACILITATE RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS:

  • Marketing Tools at NO COST: When you sign up with Verlocal they will handle all of the Marketing for your business for free. They manage all of your customer interactions so that your time and money are better spent on improving your business.

 

  • Facebook Retargeting Ads: Verlocal retargets customers visiting your website and create Facebook advertisements that appear on their newsfeed. So there’s no need for you to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars a month on Facebook ads and your advertisements are more likely to reach your target audience. Your brand and product remain visible, as consumers scroll their social media feed.

 

  • Ability to Create Discount and Promotional Codes: When you become a Verlocal host you have the ability to create promotional codes on their website at no extra cost.

 

  • Newsletters and Retargeting Emails: Verlocal also targets consumers with their daily newsletters to help promote your brand, keep them updated on information about your company, and special promotions.

 

  • Customer Reviews: Past customers are able to create reviews on their experiences and will be posted directly to your website. A feature that you should consider is a review reminder that collects reviews from previous consumers. Mention that these customer reviews will be posted right next to our book not page. Customers can access customer reviews without opening another window to access the customer review on Facebook/Yelp

 

  • Easy-to-use booking tool: They provide a booking system that is easily embedded onto your website, allows you and your potential customers to see how many spots are available for your listing.

 

 

Get Feedback and Learn From Your Mistakes

Actively ask your past customers to give a review on their experience. By knowing what the consumer’s thoughts and suggestions are, you are then able to fix the issues and improve your business. It is better to know what the problems are with your escape room before it drives all of your customers away and puts you out of business.

SIMPLE STEPS TO ENSURE CUSTOMER SATISFACTION:

  • Allow Customer Reviews: Create a page or section for customer reviews on your website or have customers fill out a survey at the end of their experience rating and giving you suggestions on your escape room. 

The Social Impact: Building a Human-Centered Community

The Social Impact: Building a Human-Centered Community

Verlocal’s purpose is to bring together individuals of different backgrounds and skillsets. We pride ourselves with the slogan “E Pluribus Unum,” adopted from the building blocks of America, emphasizing the unity of many. There is potential within an individual’s efforts toward their passion and the pursuit of an entrepreneurial venture

Through her struggles she discovered her true passion

“I keep moving forward because I don’t have a choice. If I’m not helping people and pushing the limits I feel like I’m dying. Who wants to feel like that?!”

Lane Kennedy was born and raised in San Francisco, CA. She gained a modeling contract that lasted for more than two decades and was earning more money than she can ever need. Needless to say, she became successful at an early age and was living an extraordinary life but that soon changed.

In the year 1996, it seemed that life perfect and everything was going her way, except for her failing health. She began to feel sick all the time, started missing work, dealing with life and daliy task was becoming a drag. She began to get depressed and couldn’t get anything done and didn’t know what was the source of her sickness. She visited many of the best doctors in Beverly Hills and all of them told her the same thing, “Not sure why your white blood count is so low, not sure why you are so achy…not sure why you are actually living, all arrows point to A.I.D.S” and she would end up heading hope confused and with no answers.

One day she decided to do some research and made the decision that she was done with traditional doctors. She started hacking her internal system, gave different types of vitamins and potions a try to see if they would help improve her health. Nothing was working until 2003 when she starting changing her diet to better fulfill her nutritional needs. She began to understand how what she put into her body affected her health and she began to feel better!

She started to heal her own body! Over the years doctors told her should wouldn’t be able to do certain things because of her health issues and said that she wouldn’t be able to carry a child but in October of 2009, she gave birth to a healthy baby boy. She ate what her body asked for and through better nutrition she was able to improve her health! Through her struggles, she discovered that her true purpose in life was to help people become better versions of themselves and bring out the best out of them. Thus she created Upgraded Woman and became a Certified Bulletproof Coach.

Hi Lane, can you introduce yourself and tell us more about the experiences that you offer through Verlocal?

At the end of the day, I’m a wellness advisor with 20+ years of biohacking experience which has led me to help 1000s of people every month as a Certified Bulletproof Coach.  If you’re walking around tired, stressed out, broken, and can’t quite figure out how to feel better while your doctor tells you you’re fine… I’m going to help you find a way with one of my classes:

•Bulletproof your Meal, Change your plate change your health  — we spend 3+ hours cooking together talking about your body’s bio-individuality and it’s needs to become more resilient, healthy and strong.

•Values + You = Fulfilling Presence Based Life — we spend 2.5 hours together where you learn how to destress your life at any given moment about any subject. Traffic has you stressed, NO MORE.  Kids have you stressed, NO more…

•How to be the sexiest person in the room! This is a fun two-hour class where you learn the skills of owning the room and making an impact.

Tell us about your background: When did you first become inspired to do what you love?

I have been in business my whole life, started in the fashion world, modeled, built businesses, consulted, and then got very sick which led me on my health journey. Helping people has always been a priority for me, and I understand the subtle difficulties that we face every day when we are not feeling right. I love helping women find their own “right”!

What does your passion mean to you?

JUST DO IT. It means everything- If I’m not helping people change I’m not doing my job and I feel horrible! Being a Coach and creating Upgraded Woman reaches women in a positive way, allowing everyone who is in it know that they are not alone in figuring out their way to health and happiness.

What made you want to pursue your passion and become a host?

I was tired of women asking the same questions, and hearing the same symptoms. “I’m tired, I’m stressed, I can’t lose this weight…” I love sharing with women and watching the lights come on, so to speak, with how easy it can be to change habits and become the healthiest, brightest, woman in the room, and not be stressed out anymore. Being a host allows me to have a personal connection with others, I love it!

Tell us about your biggest achievement since you started Upgraded Woman and Bulletproof Coach.

There are so many. Helping a woman become fertile, and getting pregnant, that’s a highlight. Creating a community of women who share a common goal, seeking their own wellness. Um, what else, oh, saving a woman $125,000.00 on a business decision, and watching her confidence grow as she became aware of her strengths and Presence. That was a really great experience!!

What was your biggest challenge when you first started your business?

Announcing what I do and educating people on what it is that I can do to help them achieve more in their life. People tend to think, oh she’s just another LIFE Coach, and there is nothing wrong or bad with being a life coach. My training and experience are beyond the typical life coach, I deal with an individual’s brain and the empirical case studies and science on changing the neural pathways. This changes everything!

What inspires you to continue building and improving your business?

We, our society is sick. I see it every day, people are tired, stressed, over teched, and eating food that is not feeding the body properly. We need change, and I only hope to inspire and help people make the personal change that they need to live a healthy satisfying life.

What are your goals for the future and what advice can you give to people who want create a business from doing what they love?

Making sure that everyone has an opportunity to be healthy. Create the Upgraded Woman Retreat! Dig in and don’t stop. Keep pivoting until your business hits the sweet spot with people.

What does Verlocal mean to you?

Awesome people and community. I love being a part of the community and sharing with like-minded local. I truly believe in the front porch theory and this is kind of like getting back to it.

Join Lane this Saturday, June 24th and learn how to listen and take care of your body at her Wellness Unplugged class – hurry there are limited spots left!!

Her love for plants as a child led her to pursue her passion and bring greenery into urban life

"I get a lot of satisfaction out of being able to show someone something new that they didn’t know before...For me, that’s teaching people to be confident about caring for plants."

Getting her hands dirty in the garden was a common sight for Jen ever since she fell in love with gardening at a young age. With a special spot in her mother's vegetable garden specially designated for her, Jen started growing veggies, flowers and all greens growable. Her strong passion for planting and growing eventually led her to take the next step in life, where she went on to study Environmental Sciences in college and was even involved in several non-profit projects like farmland preservation and urban food production.

And it's not just about all things green for Jen - running her own business has always been on the back of her mind as well. With her inner DIY-er and entrepreneur self, a successful shop on Etsy selling star-shaped lanterns was launched. Not long after, Jen proceeded to take on a management role in a wholesale garden supply company. Though it was a valuable opportunity, something about the office life was just not for Jen. This realization became a turning point for Jen as she decided to quit her job, and pursue her true passion for plants and running her own business!

With this goal deeply rooted in mind and months of hard work, Jen launched a successful fundraising campaign and realized her dream of making peoples' lives greener in her very own shop. Keep reading to learn about Jen's story of how her passion led her to build a career around what she loves in her classes today!

Hi Jen, can you introduce yourself and tell us more about the experiences that you offer through Verlocal?

My name is Jen. I’m the owner of Urban Sprouts in downtown Renton! Urban Sprouts is a combination of all the things I love: organic gardening, crafts, plants, community, and hand-made treasures. My mission is to make it easy and fun for people to bring greenery and DIY into urban life. It can be difficult to know how to care for and incorporate plants into our small busy urban lifestyles and the benefits of having them around are boundless!

We offer fun hands-on classes, post-care support and oodles of fun and easy ways to display and care for plants; and 3 - 4 classes a week on a variety of topics meant to be fun and inspiring! Our most popular are living succulent frames, terrarium building, soap making, bonsai, kokedama,  and our yoga, mimosas and terrariums class. We love being a part of the Verlocal community to not only help our customers find other great experiences offered by other hosts in our area but for others to find us as well.

 

Tell us about your background: When did you first become inspired to do what you love?

Ever since I was a little kid I’ve loved being in the garden. Up to my elbows in dirt whenever I was able, my mom always gave me a spot in the garden that was mine to do with as I please. I grew everything and anything I could get my hands on. Flower, veggies, shrubs, you name it. This is where I found my love for plants and gardening.

In college, I studied Environmental Sciences and focused my studies on urban agriculture and sustainable resource use. I did numbers of internships where I worked with non-profit organizations on projects such as farmland preservation, wetland conservation, urban food production and more. These in combination with playing key roles in small businesses in nearly every employment position I ever held gave me the background and the tools to inspire me to start something of my very own.

I fell in love with small business as a hard-working kid around 8 years old. Babysitting, dog walking and house cleaning turned into supervising landscaping and house painting crews, being the assistant manager of a gift shop, and then running my own side business making and selling star-shaped paper lanterns in a fairly successful shop on Etsy and being featured in shops around town and doing private installations for weddings, nurseries, parties, and making custom light fixtures. The cherry that topped it off was being hired as an operations manager to run a wholesale garden supply company.

In 2015 after leaving my position as operations manager and being inspired to create something that I could get behind and that would benefit others, Urban Sprouts was born in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, Washington (then under a different name). After 8 months the building the store called home was surprisingly announced to be torn down to make way for new development and we re-opened in the bigger more centralized location we now call home in downtown Renton.

 

What does your passion mean to you?

My passion is for helping others bring plants and handmade craft into their lives. Plants bring life, air quality, and joy into our concrete landscapes.

What made you want to pursue your passion and become a host?

At its formation, Urban Sprouts didn’t offer any classes. This came along a few months later when I decided it might be a good way to bring people into the store. But I’ve always loved teaching people and soon after starting to offer classes at the shop it became a major part of what we do!

I get a lot of satisfaction out of being able to show someone something new that they didn’t know before and to increase their confidence on a topic they may not have been very knowledgeable in. For me, that’s teaching people to be confident about caring for plants.

How would you describe the link between your classes and the community around you?

One of my very favorite parts of offering these classes is the community it builds around my business and in my town! Our location in Downtown Renton is an up and coming area and it's really amazing to be a hub in this community for people to get together and learn and make new connections.

We offer a place for people to get together and learn something new and be creative while getting expert hands on help. We also host private events and we’ve had some amazing birthday parties, baby showers, team building events, bachelorette parties and even parent-child events!

How long have you been living in Seattle? What would you recommend to someone who just moved to this city?

I’ve lived in Seattle my whole life. I was raised in Wallingford and have lived in a number of neighborhoods all over the area. Seattle is a great place is you love to explore and adventure. My best advice for someone who just moved here is to just get out and try some of the great things the city has to offer!

No matter what day of the week or month there’s always something fun to do. There’s amazing hikes, parks, museums, classes, shopping, dining, games.. you name it. Even just hanging out in a coffee shop and doing some people watching is a good time and you’ll learn a lot - maybe meet some great new friends!

 

Tell us about your favorite moment/ biggest achievement since you started teaching your classes.

I’ve really loved working hard and watching the size of our classes grow. Over time we’ve expanded our topics offered, brought in new instructors and really perfected our craft. I really love it when we get repeats. I am so in awe of the fact that we regularly get people who loved the first class they took with us so much that they take another and another. That’s been a really proud moment for me as both the business owner and one of the instructors.

 

What is your favorite piece of work & story behind it?

Every piece I make with plants has its own story. I love creating landscapes that emit different moods. But my favorite piece of work is the store itself. It's a place where I hope people feel at ease and happy and like they can learn and enjoy the aesthetics.

If you had unlimited materials/time, what would you create?

If I had all the time and resources in the world I would create a huge space that is a hybrid classroom, retail shop, and beautifully landscaped atrium! I love creating an experience for people who come into my store and being able to create a breathtaking space to learn, be inspired, create and building a community would be my ultimate goal!

What are your goals for the future?

Right now Urban Sprouts is still pretty new so everyone works really hard. I’d love to be able to compensate everyone for the tremendous amount of support and hard work we’ve put into making this become a reality. Soon we are expanding to have more of an online presence, offering more inspiration and even kits that mimic our classes for those living outside of our area. I also hope to open a second location eventually - I’m guessing that will take me about 5-6 years.

What does Verlocal mean to you?

Verlocal is a great platform for connecting people to great experiences! Verlocal has been a wonderful partner in making it easy for people to find our classes - and I love that it makes it possible for my customers to discover other wonderful topics to explore that are outside of my arena of expertise. I’m all about building community and I think Verlocal has been a great part of making that happen.

Do you have a quote that resonates with you the most? Share it with us and tell us what it means to you!

I don’t have a direct quote per say but I try to live by the motto that life is what you make of it. So every day I work to build the life I want to live and create a space that inspires me and others.

 

If you are a host on Verlocal and would love to feature on host spotlight, send us an email at karyn@verlocal.com with a short paragraph about why you want to be featured!

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