Lacey Huisman and Michele Johnson founded Petunias & Pixie Dust for a simple reason- their community needed it. They had noticed that there was a common lament from their friends and coworkers in Osage- no one could find attractive and affordable clothing.
Michele had been purchasing clothes online from online boutiques for years, but there were no local options. Lacey and Michele are part of the wave of small business owners who are revolutionizing retail by capitalizing on technology and experimenting with new business models.
Lacey and Michele took matters into their own hands and opened Petunias and Pixie Dust in October 2017. An intimate understanding of their target market led them to begin selling directly to their customers using Facebook. Word-of-mouth, local ownership and an instinct for selecting unique, well-priced, and inclusively sized apparel made Petunias and Pixie Dust immediately popular. “I think we’ve done well since the beginning because we have stylish clothes in extended sizes, from Small to 3XL, and everything is $50 and under,” Lacey said. “But we also keep it personal with the customers,” added Michele. “We use Facebook Live to talk about new products, feature our favorite things, but we also just chat.” Petunias & Pixie Dust’s first year sales totaled a little over $100,000.
Lacey and Michele supplemented their online sales with private parties, diversifying their customer base and ensuring that they stayed true to their initial mission of local fashion. In September 2019, after two years of primarily online sales, Petunias & Pixie Dust opened a pop-up shop in downtown Osage. The brick and mortar space has allowed Lacey and Michele to experiment with regular store hours for their existing customer base (and prospective new customers), while also increasing the number of private parties that can be hosted.
Lacey and Michele have worked with Brook Boehmler of the North Iowa Area SBDC, primarily as they transitioned to adding the pop-up shop. They enrolled in Venture School in Spring 2019, a 7 week entrepreneurial training program taught by the University of Iowa on the NIACC campus. “We learned a lot about our market during Venture School,” Michele said. “The customer discovery was very insightful. But the most priceless benefit was meeting some very good local mentors.”
Visit Petunias & Pixie Dust: https://petuniasandpixiedust.commentsold.com/store or on Facebook.