Julie Read catches up with the entrepreneurs behind an ingenious local shopping concept
Julie Read catches up with the entrepreneurs behind an ingenious local shopping concept.
Photos by Jolie Anne Photography
When I first walked into Fans and Fashionistas at the Shops at Norterra in 2007, I fell in love. It was the most ingenious marketing concept––half the store was dedicated to the sports enthusiast or fan, and the other half was dedicated to the boutique fashionista. Finally there was a store my husband and I could both shop at!
In the years we’ve been shopping at this store, he’s never once given me the look. (You know what that is—a cross between “I’m slowly dying of boredom” and “I’m irritated because you are making me shop and the game is on.” Oh, and did I mention that they always have some type of game on their giant flat-screen television? As I said, genius marketing concept!
So how does this unique idea of “shopposites” work, and what’s set them apart in the marketplace?
Originally, husband and wife owners Bill and Chir Kiff researched opening a sports bar but quickly realized that to be successful, they needed to draw from their experiences and build a business around something they were passionate about. They dreamed up F&F as a place where couples and families could enjoy shopping together. And they do! Since opening their doors, the Kiffs have built a steady and loyal client base of North Phoenix residents, which they lovingly refer to as family.
One of the unique ways they do this is through their Rewards Program, which gives clients points on each purchase they make. Points can be redeemed as discounts on future purchases. Rewards members are also treated to secret sales, shopping events, and birthday coupons. Customer service is a key foundation for the Kiffs and their seven employees. They go above and beyond to remember client names, favorite teams, and items.
Like any successful entrepreneur knows, adaptation and reinvention are key to creating longevity in the marketplace, and F&F has done a great job of reinventing. When the doors opened, they focused on higher-end products on the fashionista side. When the economy turned and independent shops in the area closed, Chir brought in popular boutique clothing brands like Miss Me, LA Idol, and Rock Revival as well as the Brighton Jewelry line to meet the needs of North Valley clients and continue to drive business to the shopping center. On the sports-fan side, Bill realized the importance of carrying all teams from the NFL, NBA, and MLB rather than a selection of popular teams.
Like any great partnership, communication and setting expectations are key. Working as a husband-and-wife team can sometimes prove challenging, but to alleviate any potential problems, the couple has agreed to clearly defined roles and responsibilities in the business. They each have sole decision-making rights when it comes to their respective sides of the store. Brilliant, right?
Do you have an ingenious marketing concept? Thinking of taking your passion and making it happen by opening your own retail store? Chir has a few words of wisdom to share: First, be prepared to do your research. Look at the market and location. Second, be realistic. Running your own retail store is not as easy or as glamorous as it looks. It’s very time consuming, but it’s a labor of love and the rewards are worth all the work.
As a member of the F&F family, I’m glad they took the leap of faith and created the best shop-together store around! Make sure to stop in next time you’re in the area.
Fans and Fashionistas
Black Friday, Nov. 28: Open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Small-Business Saturday, Nov. 29: Spend $10 or more on a single purchase using your registered Amex to receive a $10 statement credit. Visit shopsmall.com for more info.
Join us on Dec. 13 for Random Acts of Kindness Day. Stop in and get a $10 voucher for yourself and also get one to give to a random stranger.
Julie Read has lived in the Sonoran Foothills for 10 years with her husband and four kids. She is the owner/designer behind Juju’s Tutus and the co-founder of Parties for Purpose