The Hilltop Campus Village and the Small Business Development Center is partnering to offer a series of seminars to serve our entrepreneur’s and small business owners in the Quad Cities. Our first seminar is “Finding Your True Customer”. These seminars are free and open to the public.
Friday, August 18th, the Freshman class at St. Ambrose University did helped out area nonprofits in assisting with needed projects. When I was approached earlier in July, I could only think of the overgrown alley way in the 300 block of 16th St. that has not been maintained in several years.
Currently the city owns these parking spots. Over the years, someone has put in landscaping so that it includes pollinator plants like Mint, Milkweed, and Onion plants that clearly the local bees absolutely love considering the swarm that grazes on it.
Fourteen St. Ambrose students helped in cutting down Mulberry trees, weeding the pollinator garden, pulling Crab Grass and Creeping Charlie out of the sidewalk cracks, and generally cleaning up trash and lawn debris that had accumulated in the area.
You can read more about here at WQAD. THANKS ST. AMBROSSE!
Keisha Ford has been running one of the best kept secrets in Davenport for two years. Couture & Co. resides at 1513 N. Harrison St. in Davenport. Couture & Co. will be celebrating its second year in business, and the Hilltop Campus Village thought it would be a great time to talk about this thriving women’s clothing store.
Why Did You Decide To Start Your Own Business?
Keisha: I have always been interested in fashion and loved playing dress up as a little girl. I was in ballet and tap dance as a younger girl. I was also really into makeup and I also sell it too here in the store. These interests, and being a girly girl, triggered the desire to go into a business. Additionally, a lot of friends, and even people I didn’t know, would reach out to me to ask “Where did you get those clothes?”, I started to ask the question why am I sending people to someone else’s store when I could be directly providing the service. Additionally, I work in the health care field, and during covid it really helped to have this creative outlet and try to run my own business and really doing something that I love.
How Have You Been Marketing Your Store?
Keisha: Social media mainly. I did try google ads but it became expensive and I didn’t see necessarily any benefits from it. Around the 4th of July, I did try to increase some of the advertising that I was doing, but mainly it has been social media Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. I have also been handing out store cards to help build word of mouth about the store.
Where Do You See Couture & Co. in 5 Years and in 10 Years
Keisha: I would like to see my business expanding to a second location possibly in Atlanta, GA. In 10 years, I would love to see a store in Los Angeles. I would love to have smaller boutiques. Akira, a boutique out of Chicago, is an inspiration for me and I would like to develop a chain of stores. I am thinking big. I would like to see my stores develop into a one stop shop experience where a customer can come to my store and get a facial and other beauty treatments and also do some shopping. A self care experience. For me a self care day for me is a facial, get my eye brows waxed, get some nice clothes, get my nails done. Things like that are a great day for me and it would be a goal to create that experience. Create that experience where not only individuals can come, but groups like bachelorette parties, wedding groups, birthdays, can spend the day and be served.
What is The Hardest Part of Being a Business Owner? What is the Most Fun?
Keisha: One of the hardest parts is juggling being a business owner and still working another job during the day. People ask “Why are your hours so short?”, to build a successful business, it will cost resources of time and finances to run a business. Trying to find the proper resources and putting everything together takes time. For instance building my business credit. Additionally finding good products that people will love takes time.
The most fun? IS BEING HERE AND PROVIDING SERVICES TO MY GIRLS. The girls come here, they hang out, have a good time, I LOVE THAT. I was surprised about how many women need encouragement to feel good about picking out clothes. Just telling them that they look good in the clothes that they picked out, makes me feel good helping them feel good. Also picking out my inventory, I want this to feel like a closet, and I do see what other stores carry. I am searching for things that are different from all the other boutiques in town.
What Has Been the Biggest Learning Experience?
Keisha: The actual side of business things. I was excited about the clothing, but staying on top of my taxes and finances and I was lucky to find a bookkeeper to help me. Its not all about fun. You have to be open to learning things outside of the fun stuff. Running a business has taught me so much about discipline and financial literacy.
What Will You Not Compromise with Your Business?
Keisha: Disrespect, I will not compromise with rude customers. I feel a lot of customers will try and test you. I will not disrespect anyone, but I will turn down money if I feel a customer is being rude or disrespectful of the environment that I am trying to create here. I like to keep the peace here. As I said earlier, I take a lot of time to pick my product. I take time to pick quality products for my customers. I try to bring stuff that is unique. I will go to Chicago and find products that no one is carrying here, and I try to bring that back to my customers.
Couture Collection & Co. sells a variety of women’s clothing, makeup, & accessories. Stop by and take a look at what Keisha has to offer. The store is open from 5PM to 8 PM Monday through Friday, or give her a call (563-210-0682) to make an appointment. Check out the stores website : Couture Collection & Co
The Hilltop Campus Village is excited to partner with Main Street America and Google to offer a Grow With Google event for local business owners. This is free and open to the public. You can sign up for one or all of the sessions by either using the QR Code in the above graphic, or by emailing Brian at Brian@hilltopcampusvillage.org. If your having issues with the QR Code please register at this link: TO REGISTER. The event will be held at the Hilltop Campus Village offices at 122 E. 15th St. Davenport.
Even though last weekend’s Corridor Cleanup was cancelled due to Winter forgetting that it is supposed to be over, a cleanup day along Kirkwood Boulevard is still happening this Saturday!
Meetup Location: Intersection of Bridge Street & Kirkwood Blvd
Date: Sunday, April 2, 2023
Time: 8:00 – 11:00 am
Additional Information from the event’s point of contact, Andrew Lutz:
- If you are able, please plan to arrive at 8:00 am at the Meetup Location for a quick kickoff briefing before we start.
- You do not need to volunteer the entire time – we appreciate however much you can offer!
- If you are driving to the event, please consider carpooling with others as parking may be limited.
- Everyone will receive garbage bags to use.
- A limited number of gloves and tongs will be available to borrow. Please bring gloves if you are able.
- Full garbage bags, and large items that do not fit in bags will be picked up by volunteers within our group (not DPW) at the end of the event. Please place groups of bags at any major intersection along the route so that these bags can be picked up easily.
- Please return any borrowed items before you leave.
- Please wear brightly colored clothing.
- Do not attempt to remove any sharp/dangerous objects such as broken glass.
- Do not go onto private property to remove litter.
We will continue the effort until 11:00 am or until we’ve covered the length from Jersey Ridge to Brady, whichever comes first.
For additional information, please email Andrew at email@example.com.