This week’s SistahBiz Spotlight is Marci Perry, owner and founder of Denver Shine Company, an innovator in the Denver entrepreneurial scene. After working for a family member’s shoe shining business in college, she launched her company with a mission to redefine the way that people think of the shoe shine business, added a mobile element to an age old brick & mortar industry, and the rest is history.
In addition to the mobile experience, Denver Shine Company now also operates a walk-in location in downtown Denver that provides pick-up and delivery service for local firms. As the business grows, her passion for customer service and dedication to the best quality shine remain at the forefront of her vision for Denver Shine Company.
Check out her interview with us below:
What’s The #1 Piece Of Advice You Have For Black Women Starting New Businesses?
If you believe in it, keep going. Don’t let early (or any) failures stop you from pushing forward. Don’t let doubtful ears make you doubt yourself.
What Is Your Morning Routine?
In addition to running Denver Shine Company, I also work as a personal trainer so my morning routine usually begins at 4:30am with a short window to get out the door to see my first clients at 5:30am. No matter the time however, I always make time for the necessities.
– Green Tea
– Catching up on my daily podcasts on the way to the gym which include my horoscope, and ‘The Daily’.
Has Your Product/Service Gone Through Iterations And Changes? What Was Your Strategy For Learning From Customers And Improving The Product?
The strategy that’s inspired changes over the years is the same one that sparked the original idea for Denver Shine Company— to bring shoe shining into this century. I wanted to make it more popular and convenient to keep a polished appearance. We continue to add services and make changes based on client feedback, while keeping an eye on opportunities to expand on the original vision.
How Did You Acquire The Necessary Capital Required To Scale Your Business And Get To This Level?
Investment. Even when I was just beginning, I kept whatever profit I made separate from what I paid myself and reinvested it into improvements for the business.
What Area Of Your Business Did You Have The Least Experience In When You Started? How Did You Handle The Learning Curve And Ensure The Business Succeeded In That Area?
Being consistent with my outreach and social media has been the biggest challenge. After my first two years, I hired an outside company to handle my social media, but I also made a point to learn along the way. Now, should the need arise, I can confidently continue marketing my business myself.
What Advice Do You Have For Women Trying To Cross Cultural Lines To Grow Their Business? Can You Speak To This From Both A Race And Class Perspective?
My clientele, for the most part, do not look like me. Older, wealthy, white men tend to be my primary customers. Even though we don’t look alike or have the same background, finding our commonalities has allowed me to connect with customers. Whether it’s a similar sense of humor or sharing a love of a certain type of food—it’s the human connection that keeps customers coming back, again and again.
Tell Us About Your First Big Deal And How You Achieved It? (This Can Be A Retail Distribution Deal, Large-Scale Contract, Sponsorship Or Funding Round)
It was our first concierge service contract that really gave me the initial affirmation that there was something to the idea of Denver Shine Company. To get to that point, I had to keep selling the business to anyone who would listen, until it finally fell on the ears of someone who believed in it and had the capacity to help. They put me in touch with an office manager. With a direct contact, I was able to close on the pitch to give Denver Shine Company a shot. This year, we’re coming up on our three-year contract anniversary.
If You Can Share One Message To Inspire Black Women In Business, What Would It Be?
Keep your hustle high; work hard and press forward. Don’t let any of the doubt, fear, and reasons ‘why not’ stop you from pursuing your vision.
How Have Relationships Impacted Your Business? What Advice Would You Give Entrepreneurs About How To Manage Business Relationships? What Relationship Skills Are Most Important For Business Success?
One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned is the power of relationships. You never know who you are talking to. They could become a great friend, a valuable contact, or a future investor. But without listening to them, you would never know. In all your interactions and relationships, be sure there is a balance of speaking up for yourself but also listening to make sure that you are doing what you can for others.
Can You Tell Us About A Great Failure Or Disappointment That You Learned Or Benefited Greatly From In Your Business?
I have faced many setbacks on my journey with Denver Shine Company, and there are sure to be many more ahead. The ones that hurt the most were when I trusted others and they didn’t follow through. From that, I’ve learned to put the security and wellbeing of my business first, before I can focus on extending my services for others.
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