Cartwheels always has the perfect gift. Or the perfect stationery. Or the perfect Christmas card. Or the perfect necklace. Or the perfect little something for you.
How is it possible to be that consistent?
The answer is easy: a store succeeds when it knows its audience. It knows what its customers want, how much they will pay for it, and it knows that each guest deserves personal attention. All of these components make up the business model behind Cartwheels Papers & Gifts. But the store’s guiding principle may be the real secret to its success: Women enjoy giving gifts.
Here is just a sampling of some of the many things StyleBlueprint has featured from Cartwheels in just one year:
There are a lot of gift stores around town, but the stores that succeed through any economic downturn are the ones that offer affordably priced items. And Cartwheels has always done just that: offered many quality items at a comfortable price point. It is hard to go in there and NOT buy something. (We know this from experience!)
The minds behind the business model of Cartwheels are the mother/daughter team of Kathy Lintner and Meredith Metzmeier. They are co-owners and, most importantly, equal partners. Kathy’s background is in pediatric nursing, while Meredith has worked in special education, underscoring the point that both women are nurturers who enjoy taking care of people. Both are in tune with the needs of their guests. And both women are calm and capable. So if you wonder why you go into Cartwheels and feel entirely comfortable with no intimidation factor, it is because these women have intentionally created this environment for their customers.
Kathy was formerly the owner of Watermark, another gift store, with co-owner Linda Stebbins. After selling Watermark, it was Kathy’s husband who mentioned to both Kathy and Meredith that they should open a shop together. Neither was working at the time, so they began mulling it over. They decided to sell both gifts and stationery: Kathy concentrating on the gifts and Meredith focusing on the stationery, and each with their hand in every aspect of the business and buying. They picked their signature color combination of blue (Bravo Blue) and red after being inspired by a Starbucks poster. They have antiques and upcycled furniture all over the store, as to not look so homogeneous.
Cartwheels’ motto is “Fun, Seriously!” — and that permeates the entire shopping experience. The owners knew that if they were going to devote their lives to this business, they better have fun doing it. They also wanted the people they hired to have fun. That positive outlook infiltrates the store, ensuring that guests enjoy their shopping experiences. It’s a win-win situation.
Open since May 2010, the ladies hit the ground running and have seen a steady 10 percent to 12 percent growth each year. That is incredibly consistent growth for a small local business.
How is it that they have hit the nail on the head from the start? There are many reasons behind that growth, including:
- They offer unique and continually changing inventory.
- They have in-house stationery and stationery that can be ordered.
- Meredith is a wealth of knowledge about all things paper and invitations.
- They continually inspire with their holiday décor. They are a go-to shopping destination for every holiday.
- Their inventory is at a very comfortable price point.
- They are committed to local artists and artisans.
- They are committed to the community and other local businesses.
- Guests enjoy personal attention and customer service from the owners and staff.
But the real reason, the driving force behind their success, is their customers or their “guests,” as Cartwheels refers to them. Being local Louisvillians, being a small local business and having such a wide range of support throughout the community has been invaluable to their business. You cannot help but support them, cheer for them and wish them well.
Kathy describes it best when she says, “Women enjoy giving gifts.” And they do. But women really enjoy buying gifts and supporting their friends at Cartwheels, too!
If you’ve never been to Cartwheels, plan to stop by soon. And if you have, they look forward to seeing you again soon! Cartwheels is located in Chenoweth Square in St. Matthews. For more information, click here: styleblueprint.com.