Shop in Style Tours, Kansas City
Co-owners: Amanda May-Hopson and Amy Robinson. May-Hopson manages the website and coordinates tours with retailers. Robinson handles marketing and public and vendor relations.
The business: Shoppers are taken by limousine to area retailers and restaurants. Tours are customized to the style and needs of shoppers. Emphasis is on independent boutiques and shops unique to Kansas City.
During the tours, Robinson or May-Hopson act as a shopping consultant — carrying bags, making style suggestions or helping customers find a new look. Between stops, guests sip champagne in the limo while Robinson or May-Hopson share the latest fashion trends. Tours are from three to four hours.
For the holiday season, the women are offering a four-hour tour for $699 for four to six shoppers. The tour ends with dinner at a restaurant on the Country Club Plaza.
Established: April 2008
Fork in the road: May-Hopson and Robinson met as co-workers in 2007 and discussed starting a home-based business that would allow them more time with their preschoolers. The women, both of whom had fond memories of shopping with mothers, aunts and cousins, decided to create guided shopping excursions.
Business philosophy: To create memorable experiences for shoppers and to support local businesses. Retailers often offer discounts, special offers or a wine and cheese reception.
Rewards: May-Hopson and Robinson said they enjoyed meeting people and helping them find a new style or perfect pair of jeans.
“We are that nonjudgmental ‘friend’ who can let you know when something just doesn’t work for you or whatever the case may be,” Robinson said.
Strengths: The economy is a challenge right now, Robinson said. So, the women have used marketing techniques such as the holiday shopping tour and gift certificates to reach shoppers.
“To be a successful business owner, you have to have the drive and determination to make it through the tough times,” she said.
Advice for others: “Take time to discover what you are passionate about,” Robinson said. “Make a plan; set short-term and long-term goals; and don’t give up.”
Source: The Kansas City Star