Small Businesses Tap QVC, HSN, Zulily for Counsel on Pandemic Challenges
January 8, 2021: This past summer and fall, 36 Qurate Retail Group team members mentored 16 small business owners across the country, offering support and assisting these owners in strengthening their business models.
For two weeks, team members at QVC, HSN, and Zulily worked with entrepreneurs in our Small Business Spotlight program, a collaboration with the National Retail Federation (NRF) Foundation, to help small businesses navigate the pandemic. Our team members helped these businesses analyze areas for improvement and develop growth strategies around social media marketing, search engine optimization, copywriting, brand storytelling, website merchandising, financial planning, and more.
Jenn Folkerts, Owner of J Boutique, a Nebraska-based boutique offering fashionable and trendy clothing for women of all ages, worked with Zulily’s Michael Leccisi, Senior User Researcher, and Jean Srour, Merchandising Director. Jenn’s goal was to enhance digital brand messaging, customer attraction and retention, website layout, and photography.
“I saw a significant increase in website traffic and orders as a result of implementing some of their suggestions,” Jenn said. During the mentorship period from September through October, J Boutique reported a 200% increase in online sales.
Heidi Neal, Owner of Loyal Biscuit Co consulted with QVC’s Dylan Wiseman, Senior Social Media Manager, and Lateef Scott, Technical Design Director, to develop email and social media marketing strategies. Loyal Biscuit Co. is a pet food store and self-serve dog wash in Maine.
“I think this mentorship will have a huge impact for us – it will allow us to be more engaging and more active on social,” Heidi said. “It also provided us with some great video collateral that we will be able to use in several different ways to get our story out.”
Loyal Biscuit Co. has seen impressive results following the mentorship. The company reported new Facebook Live sessions, including a pet-focused play on QVC’s popular “In the Kitchen with David” show, garnered over 3,000 views combined from September through November. They also shared that a new email marketing campaign launched during the same timeframe drove a 155% increase in the average sales order.
Sean Brownlee, owner of Ravenox, a North Carolina-based rope manufacturer specializing in both natural and synthetic rope, spent the mentorship with QVC’s LaTonia Dean-Brown, Senior Manager, People and Organization Business Partner. LaTonia helped Sean create a comprehensive guide for his company’s hiring and onboarding process, including employee recruitment.
“I believe this ‘playbook’ will be paramount in the growth of our business and in getting us through our hiring as we move forward,” Sean said.
Our Small Business Spotlight program launched in May 2020. In addition to the mentorship program, participatingbusinesses were featured on QVC’s and HSN’s on-air programming and QVC, HSN, and Zulily’s digital platforms in May and June. Following the premiere of their segments, many of the small businesses reported increases in sales, website traffic, and new customers.
From August to October, we conducted a second phase of the Small Business Spotlight program, which focused on Black-owned small businesses as part of our ongoing commitment to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion. These businesses were highlighted on our broadcasts and/or our digital platforms and are being offered mentorship.