Follow your heart — Sure, everyone has to go through learning experiences to grow. But if you know what you’re meant to do, then do it. The worst thing that could happen is you fail. So what? At least you know you put your heart into something and you will be able to do it again and again.
As part of my series about the five things a business should do to create a Wow! customer experience, I had the pleasure of interviewing Taryn Chinich. Taryn is the owner of Travel Loving Chicks Boutique, an online boutique based out of North Brunswick, New Jersey. With her driven, passion for clothes, and hard-working personality, she has started her own boutique and is continuing to grow her dream.
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
I grew up in North Brunswick, New Jersey with my parents, two brothers, and a sister. Throughout my entire life I played soccer, so I decided to continue in college, where I played on the Women’s Soccer team at Stevenson University. From Stevenson University, I earned my Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Fashion Merchandising. After college you go into this panic mode when you are asked by everyone, “so what do you want to do with your life?” I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do. I worked in retail, and had tons of internships. I found a job in New York which was a great experience, but I quickly realized that my aspirations were to create something of my own. When I decided to leave that job, I sat back down in front of my computer and started asking myself the same question, “What do I want to do with my life?”.
It hit me a month after leaving my job that my dream has always been to open a boutique. I researched everything, starting with the obvious, “How to start a boutique.” With the help of my partner, my amazing mom, we started TLC Boutique. We are growing each and every day, and I cannot wait to see where this journey takes us.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
In 2018 when I was first starting to start my dream business, I came up with the brand Getlostbytlc. Not knowing exactly what direction I wanted to take the brand, I started out making sweatshirts, hats, and sweatpants with the branding “geTlost” on them. I expressed to friends, family, and social media what it meant. geTlost to me means getting lost in your own world, whether that is traveling, reading a book, or driving around with friends. However, others took the brand name “geTlost” literally, as to tell somebody to “go away, get lost”. It was funny because people were taking the brand differently than what I had originally envisioned.
The biggest lesson I learned from this experience was that when creating a brand, people will interpret the brand however THEY want to. It is up to me, as the creator, to market my idea in a certain way that will lead them to what I perceive the brand to be.
In 2019, I decided to expand the brand into Travel Loving Chicks Boutique, which aligned closer to the original intent and message of my brand, with geTlost as one of its collections.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
There are many people who I am entirely grateful for who have helped me fulfill this dream of mine, and if you are one of these people reading this, thank you so, so much. Two of my biggest, strongest supporters have been parents. They have always encouraged me to follow any passion I believe in. I am eternally grateful for their help and guidance. My parents have years of experience in the retail industry. In fact, my dad had worked for his father in a men’s clothing store, and my mom had worked in her mother’s dress store. Retail is in my blood, and I’m lucky that my parents truly understood my needs as a business owner.
One Saturday morning, my dad said to me, “Come downstairs, I want to show you something.” He had converted our entire basement into an office, store, and warehouse for me to work in. He gave me a working space within our own home and that meant the world to me. It showed how much he believes in me. My mom, who is also my business partner, is the backbone of every pop-up shop we have. She has the vision and expertise to create beautiful presentations that showcase our items, and is the ultimate salesperson.
Thank you for that. Let’s now pivot to the main focus of our interview. This might be intuitive, but I think it’s helpful to specifically articulate it. In your words, can you share a few reasons why great customer service and a great customer experience is essential for success in business?
Customer service and customer experience is what will convert one-time buying customers into loyal customers. It is what will draw somebody back to your website, over another company. It drives the longevity of your business and is essential to any business out there. It could be as simple as a handwritten ‘Thank You’ note in the package of an order, or a quick follow-up response to a question a customer has about sizing or exchanges. An example where I have found success in my company is by knowing a customers’ taste based on their previous orders, and sending them personalized emails showing them new products that I believe they will like.
We have all had times either in a store, or online, when we’ve had a very poor experience as a customer or user. If the importance of a good customer experience is so intuitive, and apparent, where is the disconnect? How is it that so many companies do not make this a priority?
I believe the disconnect lies in the level of care an employee has for the company they work for. In larger companies, the top members of the company care the most. Any company should make certain that their employees share the same enthusiasm towards their mission. As we grow, it’s super important that anyone who joins this journey shares our passion for exceptional customer service.
Do you think that more competition helps force companies to improve the customer experience they offer? Are there other external pressures that can force a company to improve the customer experience?
YES, more competition absolutely forces companies to improve customer experience (CX). The Internet has created a massively competitive space for companies to live in. If a customer has a bad experience with one company, it is extremely easy for them to search and find another one to purchase from. This is why companies should focus on providing excellent customer service to help them stand out and have a loyal following, and need to always be looking for feedback on how to improve CX.
Seeing other boutiques pushes me to think outside the box. I always aim to improve my store and give my customers a reason to stay and look forward to what’s next.
Can you share with us a story from your experience about a customer who was “Wowed” by the experience you provided?
I try to make each of my customers feel special, whether that is making sure that I know their size, or even sending someone a personal birthday message. I make it a priority to tend to each and every one of my customers’ needs, questions, and concerns.
I touched on this earlier, but ever since I started my boutique I have included a handwritten ‘Thank You’ note in each delivery. One customer, in particular, has been with me since the start, and even with their numerous purchases, I make sure to always personalize the notes written for them — never generic! I do this to show how grateful I am for their support of my dream. Showing appreciation will NEVER go out of style and always goes a long way!
Did that Wow! experience have any long term ripple effects? Can you share the story?
Absolutely! To be honest, many of my customers post their purchases on social media, which has led their friends to my page, expanding our following and leading to new customers. One of the best forms of advertising is word-of-mouth, especially from a happy, satisfied customer.
Ok, here is the main question of our discussion. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things a founder or CEO should know in order to create a Wow! Customer Experience. Please share a story or an example for each.
1. Follow your heart — Sure, everyone has to go through learning experiences to grow. But if you know what you’re meant to do, then do it. The worst thing that could happen is you fail. So what? At least you know you put your heart into something and you will be able to do it again and again.
2. Step out of your comfort zone — One thing my dad has taught me that has stuck throughout this entire process is “do something uncomfortable every day” So get out there, try, and learn, try again, so that you become comfortable doing things.
3. Be creative and be bold — You cannot start a business without thinking outside of the box. Everything in your business has to be from you. It is your style, ideas, and thoughts. Be creative and take the next step to form your business.
4. Ask for help — I was never one to go out and ask for help. I always felt as though I could figure everything out on my own. Well, I was so wrong. Seek advice from others, because there is always someone that knows more than you.
5. Have fun — Although starting a business is tough, you need to have fun with it. This is your business, this is what you have dreamed of wanting to do your whole life. Have the best time doing it. Laugh, make mistakes, learn, grow, and see where this takes you.
Are there a few things that can be done so that when a customer or client has a Wow! experience, they inspire others to reach out to you as well?
I have realized to be able to gain other customers, you have to have good quality in clothing, good quality in customer service, and be a good quality person. Be real with the customers. Be a human being first, and then a salesperson. Make sure you are doing everything you can to make the customer happy, who will then be the voice of your company to others. Make sure to be consistent with each customer.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
PAYING IT FORWARD, instead of paying it back. Paying acts of kindness forward instead of back will continue the cycle of doing good for other people. It falls into the same category as Karma, the belief that whatever you put out into the world is what you will receive. It is important for people to see and hear that there are others doing good in the world, and it is just as important for them to do the same. It could be the smallest act, a smile, a compliment, but every little bit brings a positive impact with it. The little acts can go a long way. If everybody decided to do good, with the belief that the person on the other side will perpetuate that act, the effects would be exponential!
How can our readers follow you on social media?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
Thank you so much for having me!