We had the good fortune of connecting with Maggie Slater and Melinda Staab and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Maggie Slater and Melinda Staab, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Maggie and I are no strangers to entrepreneurism. Like most entrepreneurs, the impetus for SHE VIP came when we saw a need that was not being met–a pain point for our small business community. Even before the pandemic, so many small businesses were struggling to gain new, and keep, loyal customers. Big box stores, online shopping and larger companies with unlimited marketing and advertising dollars were taking a large share of the consumer base. We knew that we could help, if we could find a way to connect consumers and small businesses on a much more intimate level. If we could make local consumers aware of the hundreds of small business owners that reside right here, in their very neighborhood. We weren’t long into our development of SHE VIP when March 2020 came and took the wind out of everyone’s sails. Except ours. Maggie and I came together and immediately kicked SHE VIP into high gear. We connected with dozens of small businesses to find out what their immediate struggles were一one was very obvious一and to strategize on how we could help them. We connected with dozens of local consumers to determine the best way to serve them and to help them do what we knew they already had the desire to do一support local. We knew that we had wanted to create something that would be a win-win for both parties一consumers and small businesses. A collaborative community where everyone wins. Even amidst a global pandemic. And we know that this is just the beginning. Every day, really every time that we connect, Maggie and I are coming up with new and innovative ways to help our local small business community, and we cannot wait to be able to bring these services to small businesses across Southern California.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
SHE VIP is a brand new, hyper-targeted marketing platform that seeks to effectively and meaningfully connect our local small businesses with local consumers. What really sets us apart, and what gets us excited at the same time, is our ability and willingness to work very closely with each of our small business owners to make sure that we are being super effective in our marketing messaging and community outreach. This is not a one-size-fits-all platform. Each of our businesses has different needs, budgets and value propositions to the community. We truly strive to be a partner to each of them so that they can get the most out of their presence on the SHE VIP app, grow their revenues and serve their community in the best way possible. Our obvious challenge when we launched in 2020 was also our biggest motivator. COVID-19 was devastating for so many local small businesses. It was truly heartbreaking to watch so many small businesses close their doors–some temporarily and some permanently. Many of those who have made it through will feel the impacts of these closures for years to come. At the same time, our community members were asking for, and actively seeking out ways to patron, local small businesses in any way that they could. The showing of love for our local small businesses was incredible. We knew that this platform could only benefit our small businesses by giving them center-stage exposure to this amazingly supportive community. Today, our biggest challenge is time. We are discovering and adding new businesses to the SHE VIP platform almost daily. And we always want to be able to give each of them the time, attention and care that they deserve. In 2021, we will expand our team with experts in social media, marketing, community outreach and events so that we can continue to build lasting, and impactful relationships with our business owners. We will always be in the business of building relationships. Whether that’s our relationships with the small business owners or the VIP members, or being the bridge for those two groups to connect. Small businesses are the heart and soul of this country. And helping them thrive is the heart and soul of SHE VIP.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
One of our favorite things about this area is the range of outdoor activities available, all within just a few hours drive. We could take a day trip up to Big Bear to ski the slopes and the next day tour the wineries in Temecula. We would definitely have to get at least one beach day in, in either Encinitas or Carlsbad so that we could walk or bike to a nice lunch spot on the 101. The hiking in San Diego is amazing! Beautiful landscapes, mixed with gorgeous weather and options for hikers of any level mean there are limitless ways to get your Vitamin D and your miles in! And after a long day enjoying the CA sun, we are so fortunate to have so many great spots to grab a great meal and a glass of wine/beer on the way home, right here in San Elijo Hills.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
We would love to shoutout and thank an amazing group of women, the SHEs of San Elijo Hills. For over 7 years, this group has come together countless times to support, inspire and uplift other local ladies, their businesses and their families. We’ve celebrated others’ triumphs and offered support to others during some of their darkest times. You all inspire us every single day and we are so grateful for your support.
Laura Mertz @ Solifoto