In Angie Priest’s store, Vevay Vintage Prop & Shop, oddity is a commodity. The shop, a collection of antique furnishings, vintage dishware, costume jewelry and other curiosities, is one of a kind in Vevay, Indiana. Priest prides herself on providing a unique customer experience, and she even offers interesting classes like Advanced Stencil Art and Beekeeping,

“Sharing our talents through classes and our love of the kitschy and absurd all happen on our little corner of East Main Street in Vevay,” Priest says about her business. “We embrace the mantra of ‘positive energy out brings positive energy back,’ and we look to share our energy and style with you.”

Priest has loved the absurd since childhood, and has amassed an enormous array of interesting items. She sold them on eBay for years, but when a well-known building opened downtown, she knew it was the ideal space to open a walk-in retail location.

Though she actively promoted her business on Facebook, she knew the new shop needed a standalone website. But it wasn’t an easy journey.

Searching for a solution

Like many small business owners, Priest wanted to be involved in all aspects of her business. After taking the well-intentioned advice of friends, she launched and ran her own website for nearly 18 months.

Too soon, she experienced how much time and effort it takes to create and manage a website. And while she focused on getting her website right, Priest neglected other aspects of her business.

Her energy waned.

“I just couldn’t make it look how I wanted it to look on my own,” she says. “And I thought all website designers charged thousands of dollars.”

Dedication compelled her to continue even when she didn’t see immediate results.

Then she came across a show called Small Business Revolution — Main Street, a critically acclaimed original video series by Deluxe. Now in its fourth season, “Main Street” documents the transformation of a local community, selected by public vote, that receives $500,000 from Deluxe to revitalize the community and 6 of its local businesses. Each episode showcases the unique story of one business — and the not-so-unique challenges faced by its owners.

Priest watched the entire first season, taking notes on a yellow legal pad. She was impressed by the website transformations featured on the show, including the website the Deluxe team created for Schlemmer Bros. To learn more, Priest went to the “Main Street” Facebook page and found Deluxe, the company behind “Main Street.” And she discovered that the Deluxe team could build a stylish website for her at a cost that fit in her budget.

Priest says, “I found [Deluxe’s] phone number and called to talk to them after comparing Deluxe to other web design services for small businesses. I’m the type that prefers to call and talk to someone as opposed to relaying information back and forth via email, especially with website design. After the call, they sent me more information on what the options and offers were.”

Matching the website to the store’s personality

From the moment she saw the Deluxe-designed homepage, Priest knew the website looked “right.” It grabs attention through color and clearly lays out her business’s offerings while emphasizing her eclectic personality through imagery.

The “Our Story” section of her website gives an overview of the business’s history. It was particularly important for Priest to communicate her story accurately because she wanted to share her passion with everyone who stops by — both in-person and online.

Reflecting on her experience with Deluxe, Priest says, “I didn’t know there was a company that would do this so affordably for small businesses. I really wish I had found Deluxe 18 months sooner. That was 18 months of frustration that I could have put toward other projects.”

With an online presence complementing her other marketing efforts, Priest says her business is flourishing.

“I did some promotions with the website launch and since then we have had our best months. In March 2019, business was 16% over the year before. In April, it was up 21%. And May was our best month ever, up over 100% from the previous year.”

Priest branded her store’s style as “Inspired Eclectic.” She defines the term as “filling a space with loved and unique objects from different periods and making it all work while reflecting your one-of-a-kind personality” and this feeling is obvious from her website layout:

Priest wasn’t nervous about hiring a designer after she took the first step. She says, “My adviser asked great questions to understand what was in my head. We talked about who I am, who my customers are and what I wanted to achieve. We talked about how my personality is in my business and that personality needed to be part of my website. It’s spot on.”

Priest said her unique personality influences everything about her business. Now, her website broadcasts her personality and passion with the world.

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