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EPISODE 067 : 06/23/2022

Jessie Vyvyan

Jessie Vyvyan is the owner and operator of the independent retail shop Chi, Trees & Oils in Rochester, Wisconsin. Chi, Trees & Oils offers healing services and tools and is a go-to space for all things wellness, mind, body & soul. Jessie provides energy healing workshops and services, including Reiki, Soul Coaching and Yoga. Jessie shares her experience using the Spark Loyalty system to engage her clientele.

Host: Ned Hayes and Ashley Coates
Guest: Jessie Vyvyan

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Topics discussed in this episode

  • Detailed small business insights from Olympia, Washington
  • Small business resiliency and adaptation during COVID
  • Doubling community outreach during the pandemic
  • Opportunities for small business loyalty programs

Watch Spark Loyalty’s Small Business Success Channel

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Audio Transcript

Ned Hayes [00:00:01] Welcome to Spark Plug, where we talk to smart people working at the intersection of business and technology brought to you by SnowShoe, your smarter loyalty leader. Today Spark Plug is happy to welcome Jessie Vyvyan to the podcast. Jessie is the owner and operator of the retail shop Chi, Trees, and Oils in Rochester, Wisconsin. Chi, Trees, and Oils offers healing services and tools, and it’s a go to space for all things wellness, mind, body and soul. She provides energy healing services, soul coaching and yoga, as well as informational events and workshops to provide in-depth information to her clients. Jessie uses loyalty programs, Spark Loyalty, and we’re looking forward to hearing more about how she engages her clientele. Welcome, Jessie!

Jessie Vyvyan [00:00:50] Thank you so much! 

Ned Hayes [00:00:51] So that’s a pretty interesting path. Spiritual wellness and healing. How did you come to get into it? 

Jessie Vyvyan [00:00:58] I’ve been a pretty spiritual person my whole life and engaging in different religions throughout the ages. So once I started a career, my very first job out of college was working for chiropractors, and that led me into the whole health and wellness portion of spirituality. And from there, it started learning and engaging in all sorts of different modalities. And here I am today, running my own business with it. 

Ned Hayes [00:01:24] Wow. So I understand you also have a background in corporate work as well. 

Jessie Vyvyan [00:01:29] Like I mentioned, I was working for chiropractors for several years and built their business from a four office corporation to 12 in the time that I worked with them. So my background is actually in marketing. And then from there I decided to follow the ladder and see how far I could climb and switched gears and started working for a different industry that actually put me on a plane and flew me all over the world to run tradeshows and do sales and marketing. And that was a lot of fun. But I had a kid and that slowed me down. Then here we are, backtracking and getting into business on my own instead. 

Ned Hayes [00:02:08] Right. Right. So there must be some things that really drew you into running your own local business, though. What are your favorite parts of running your local business? 

Jessie Vyvyan [00:02:17] Well, besides being my own boss and making my own schedule, I really enjoy the community aspect of everything. I really enjoy my clientele and getting to know them on an individual basis. I also homeschool my children, so being an entrepreneur and showing my kids how to be their own entrepreneur has been a lot of fun and they get to work with me in the store a lot. So it’s fun. I enjoy it. I really do. 

Ned Hayes [00:02:41] It is a lot of fun running your own business. It’s a lot of work though, too. I mean, do you have some challenges that you can tell us about? 

Jessie Vyvyan [00:02:48] Sure! Of course there’s always challenges. You always have to think about the things that are in the sense of you say you have to pay your rent, you have to pay your bills. You have to make sure you’ve got enough things coming in so that you can still put out. And then, of course, timeline, everything’s based on time. And I feel like I’m always giving, giving, giving and forget about myself sometimes. So having to work out balance between work and life and family. So there are some challenges. But again, some of those challenges are really outweighed by the positives. And that’s really what I focus on is the good stuff. 

Ned Hayes [00:03:20] Well, you’re all about wellness and mind, body and soul, so you have to take care of yourself as well, right? 

Jessie Vyvyan [00:03:26] Yes, absolutely. I have to really walk the walk with what I do here. 

Ned Hayes [00:03:31] Right. So what do you do there? Can you tell us more about what your business offers to customers? 

Jessie Vyvyan [00:03:37] Absolutely. So I’m a yoga instructor, so one of the main things we offer is yoga. We also have a couple of other yoga instructors that are coming on board here soon and have come through in the past. So we’re growing in our yoga business. I’m also a meditation guide, so we offer meditation twice a month and sometimes during our extracurricular fun events, we’ll have meditation as part of that. And I’m a Reiki master, so I offer Reiki and we also do soul coaching, which is diving into a library of resources that I’ve created over the years to help people dive into their own spiritual growth and journey. And then what kind of things can we focus on to feel good on that journey? 

Ned Hayes [00:04:20] Mm hmm. 

Jessie Vyvyan [00:04:20] I am also a medium so that times people get a little scared to hear that word. But really, I enjoy being able to help people speak and communicate with past loved ones and dive into all that stuff. So we offer so many things. And then on the retail side of it, we have all the tools that you need to support all of that stuff. So teas and tinctures and tonics and crystals, you name it, we probably have it. 

Ned Hayes [00:04:47] Well, fantastic. Well, it sounds like you have a real depth of offerings to offer customers of all types, but it also sounds like you’re not really a tourist destination. You’re a business that really thrives on repeat customers, people who keep coming back, right? 

Jessie Vyvyan [00:05:01] Absolutely. And once I have one person come in, it’s usually their whole family will eventually come in as well. 

Ned Hayes [00:05:08] Hmm. So what’s your perspective on customer loyalty? You shared it a little bit, but tell us more about how big a role customer loyalty plays in your business. 

Jessie Vyvyan [00:05:17] It’s actually everything to me. My clients that come in share a very large portion of who they are with me, sometimes on a very personal level that maybe even their family doesn’t know or understand about them. So I’m not only loyal to them, but they’re also loyal to me. So it’s a nice exchange. And like you mentioned, they are also bringing in their family members. They’re bringing in their friends. They’re telling everybody about the services they’ve received and how they’ve healed or grown or come into a new pathway on their journey and how exciting that is for them. So loyalty is everything to my business because I’m loyal to my community and I know that they’re going to come back when they’re getting the right things and they’re feeling better and their family is feeling better. So yeah, it’s a huge part of my business. 

Ned Hayes [00:06:06] There are lots of ways of doing loyalty. So what made you decide to implement an actual solution? 

Jessie Vyvyan [00:06:11] It was important to me to give back to them more than just through their services because they’re paying for their services. And that’s great. And that’s what business is about an exchange of services for money. However, I wanted to do something back for them. I can give, give, give my time and I can give give gifts for my services, but I want them to know that I appreciate them a little bit more. And you can do that in so many different ways. But it just made sense to go with a program that showed them each and every time they come in, that I appreciate them and I’m thinking about you and you’re on the forefront of my mind. And there’s literally something here that says loyalty right on it, so that they’re reminders of each and every time they come into the shop that they’re special. They’re special to me, they’re special to my family and they’re special to this community. 

Ned Hayes [00:06:59] Right? They matter in a way beyond someone just buying something one time. You want to build an ongoing relationship with them, right? 

Jessie Vyvyan [00:07:06] Absolutely. And we are different here. And that, yes, you can come in for retail, but typically if you’re coming in for something in the retail space, you’re going to come to the back room and end up having a service at some point. So getting them to be loyal in the shop is wonderful, but then getting them to continually come back to grow through their spiritual mind body soul is awesome and then vice versa. My yoga clients, they love coming in to get their stamps every time they do yoga, they’ll run into the shop and they’ll want another stamp if they purchase something. So you build that mat loyal to your run through and cross over from shop to studio. 

Ned Hayes [00:07:47] Right? Absolutely. So you’re able to build two businesses together that are really twin businesses at the same time with the retail shop and then with the services and workshops, right? 

Jessie Vyvyan [00:07:57] Yes. Which has been really fun to put those two hand-in-hand. 

Ned Hayes [00:08:01] Right. So do you have some larger goals for customer loyalty and customer engagement? 

Jessie Vyvyan [00:08:06] Yes. I would really like to be on the forefront of people’s minds when they’re thinking about how can I make a change or a shift in my life with my health and wellness? I want them to think of Chi, Trees, and Oils and the services and the products that we have. We consider ourselves a ma and pa shop, and I think that’s really where communities such as mine are headed is really focusing on those smaller businesses. I think the pandemic really shifted people’s minds to get into that again, and I love that. So when our community is going into that health and wellness space and they’re thinking, What do I need in this moment? I want them to think about us. 

Ned Hayes [00:08:45] So you want to build brand presence for your shoppers and your customers so that they think of you first? 

Jessie Vyvyan [00:08:51] Absolutely. 

Ned Hayes [00:08:52] Got it. Well, I know you’ve been using a solution that’s provided by our sponsoring company actually Spark Loyalty. 

Jessie Vyvyan [00:08:59] Yes. 

Ned Hayes [00:08:59] So what has your experience been like with Spark Loyalty?

Jessie Vyvyan [00:09:02] It has been awesome. I have never really worked with such a creative way of pulling people in and keeping them activated and excited. Like I mentioned, my yoga students and my services clients, they’re coming in and they’re excited to go and get their stamp. They want to see that their punch card is getting a new punch. And that’s something that I really enjoy about this particular program is nobody is losing their punch card because it’s just kept on my side in a digital format and they’re not wondering where it is or if I left at home or what have you. 

Ned Hayes [00:09:38] With three different punches and yeah, yeah. 

Jessie Vyvyan [00:09:40] It’s just been really great to see that. And then on the retail side, if they’re new and they’re coming in and they’re shopping and then I give them their first stamp for purchasing with us today, they’re just so excited to come back again. In fact, I have one lady that came back one time every week because by Friday she knew she wanted something that if she got her discount, it would be a little bit less expensive for her to purchase. So she came back and bought a little bit every day until that Friday purchase and I love that. I thought it was really fun for her, so it’s been awesome. It’s been a really fun experience. The other thing I love to mention is the fact that I can keep track of who is a loyalty member and be able to text or email them directly to their phone. So many of my clients are not on Facebook, they’re not on social sites, and they’re losing out on some of the information that I post on my social spaces. So rather than them having to search my website or having to go through Google, if I just text them and let them know, hey, we have this event coming up and I really want you to be there. All they have to do is click that, link through that text. They are being saved so much time and that allows them to feel a little bit more loyal to me anyway, because I’ve saved them time, I’ve saved them effort, I saved them a headache of trying to figure out what’s going on at that shop this weekend. And I appreciate that so much. 

Ned Hayes [00:11:06] Right. Well, it sounds like you’ve had a front row seat to how retail has come back post in 2021. So could you share some of your insights with us, what’s done? 

Jessie Vyvyan [00:11:17] It’s been really interesting because I’m one of the very lucky businesses that survived COVID and 2020 and I came back really strong. It’s been exciting to live through that, honestly. So retail in my community, by the way, Rochester, Wisconsin’s a farming area. It’s really rural. There’s lots of orchards and farms and things like that, so everything’s a little bit more spread out. So when you have the small town that I look out the window, there’s maybe ten businesses here in town. They’re all very small ma pa shops, but everybody in our community depends on us now, especially since 2020. They want to support us. They want to have that community feel, they want to be loyal. They want to experience a conversation because we were cooped up for so long. Now they come in to the retail shops to have a conversation and to visit with their family and friends, to visit with their local businesses. So I believe that even though we have the Amazons of the world, that we’re really going back into a time where mom shops. We’re very fortunate back in the day, and I think they’re starting to pop up now again. Small businesses are going to be the leaders in the communities, and I appreciate that. I think it’s going to be lovely and I’m looking forward to being a part of it. 

Ned Hayes [00:12:36] Can you tell me more about small businesses being the leaders in their communities? That really resonates with me. I strongly believe that, but I’d love to hear more about that. 

Jessie Vyvyan [00:12:46] Yeah! So small businesses being leaders, we’re really trying to advocate for our communities. We’re trying to keep prices low. We’re trying to bring products that are meaningful and not bringing you junk. There’s no point in all of the fluff and the junk. And getting back to the basics, I keep telling that to my family. I want to be that leader that gets back to the basics. We’re giving you what you need exactly when you need it. And we’re not trying to lead you in the direction of really expensive stuff that doesn’t matter. This is stuff that is important to you right now. It’s going to help you feel good, feel healthy, feel well, lead you down the right path. And that’s how all of these local businesses are here in my town, at least we really are just advocating for the family man. 

Ned Hayes [00:13:32] Absolutely. So it sounds to me like independent retail for you is back. It’s back in a big way. And you think you’ll have even more of an impact on your community in the future. If you can tell other local retail districts that are struggling to come back what top three things you think they should focus on, what would you say to them? 

Jessie Vyvyan [00:13:51] I think customer service is number one. You need to have great customer service and that’s something that’s really gone downhill in some of those box shops. I go to my local grocery store and I have to bag all and check all of my own things now. I don’t like that. I liked having the cashier to talk with me and chit chat about what’s going on in my life and with my kids and whatnot. So customer service is huge relating to the customer and having that conversation, that one on one. And number two, making sure you are bringing them a good product that’s reasonably priced, that makes sense. That’s not over-the-top and fluffy. Right. But number three, I think that’s really being in collaboration with the other businesses and families in your town. I love collaborating with all of the other businesses in my town and I think it makes a huge difference to our community to see that there’s not a competition here, where instead we’re collaborating and we’re working together and we’re trying to bring these really fun and exciting things and new opportunities that bring us together. 

Ned Hayes [00:14:55] Well, I understand you’re part of a group that has really helped to lift the profile of the local community there where you live. Could you tell us more about that? 

Jessie Vyvyan [00:15:04] Sure! I’m part of the local chamber of commerce. We actually call ourselves Explore Waterford. Waterford is the bigger town from Rochester, where I’m located and all of us are really excited to be a part of this larger community, this collaboration, working together in all sorts of different functions and organizations. In fact, tonight we have the business after hours being held here right at Riverside Studio, where we’re doing a ribbon cutting ceremony. And we’re going to be talking about Spark Loyalty and all sorts of really fun things that you can do with the local businesses to give head way to all the fun things that you can do for your community. 

Ned Hayes [00:15:45] And really lift up each other, as you said. 

Jessie Vyvyan [00:15:47] Absolutely. 

Ned Hayes [00:15:48] It’s a connection and collaboration. Yeah. Well, if I could ask you to gaze into your crystal ball, you probably actually have one of those

Jessie Vyvyan [00:15:58] I do! 

[00:15:58] If you could tell us what retail looks like 5 to 10 years from now, what would be your dream? What’s your vision of the future of retail? 

Jessie Vyvyan [00:16:05] I would really like to see again, I keep using that ma and pa shop ideology. I think that it’s important for us to go back to small business, back to the basics. Again, Amazon is great. Those big box shops serve a purpose, but it’s also important to give back to the community that local shopping, that local retail. So 5 to 10 years, I’m hoping that those big box stores go away. I just think that would be nice. 

Ned Hayes [00:16:34] Yeah, it’s really interesting as we’ve gone through this COVID time to understand what really matters to people and really build that connection, hopefully on a deeper level and not go back to the old normal, but create a new normal that’s richer and deeper and healthier. 

Jessie Vyvyan [00:16:48] I agree 100%. 

Ned Hayes [00:16:50] So if I could ask you a more personal question, this is always the question that we end our interviews on. What would you like your legacy to be? What would you like to be remembered for? 

Jessie Vyvyan [00:16:59] Oh, boy. I think I would really like to be remembered for being a bright light in the community, for always putting effort into helping and healing and lifting people up or raising my children to be emotionally intelligent and that they’re also giving to their community and just being known for the person who always tried to do what was right. 

Ned Hayes [00:17:24] Great. I think that’s a great ambition for all of us to strive for. Well, thank you so much for your time today, Jessie. 

Jessie Vyvyan [00:17:31] Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it. 

Ned Hayes [00:17:36] Spark Plug is a wholly owned property of SnowShoe all content and copyright 2021 Spark Plug Media.