Consistency is Key with Stephanie McTigue

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Stephanie online:

Katie Brinkley 0:02

Hey there. This is Katie Brinkley and you’re listening to Rocky Mountain marketing. This podcast is all about helping Colorado bass small business owners, entrepreneurs and professionals discover the strategies and systems that take their marketing to all new heights. Let’s dive into today’s episode. Welcome back to the podcast. My guest today is Stephanie McTeigue. Stephanie is the owner of cofee a company that manufactures fashion leather products that are impeccably made. Stephanie has always had an eye for fashion. One to identify trends in the industry, Stephanie likes to push boundaries to create unique accessories that add flair and function to an already chic outfit. At cofee, they focus on providing honesty, reliability and warmth to their customers. They believe in creating a brand that allows women to express their individuality, confidence and attitude through unique stylish accessories. Stephanie, thank you so much for coming on the show today.

Stephanie Mctigue 0:58

Thank you so much for having me.

Katie Brinkley 1:00

So let’s start at the beginning. Tell us where you grew up and what life was like growing up.

Stephanie Mctigue 1:04

My parents actually are. My mom’s from Australia and my dad is from Canada. So we’re actually sort of a multicultural background in some ways. And I grew up in New Hampshire and went to schools Baqi college back east, and then my father actually was in the leather business for over 45 years in a variety of different capacities. So they had manufactured leather, they had imported it and redistributed, they’ve created these leather lot stores. So leather is sort of always been around me. Growing up, we used to get sample shoes and sample jackets, and which we always loved, which is really exciting and great. And then after college, I actually moved to the West Coast, I moved to California. And I actually was a teacher for quite some time. I taught third and fourth grade. And then I ended up eventually getting my masters to the ability. Long story short, I moved to Chicago to be my husband and then for Colorado, and I was a learning specialist at a school that educational testing for kids with learning disabilities, which is sort of my kid’s life. And then after having had two kids, my husband and my dad, we’re gonna start a company called cofee leathers and do leather iPad cases that were lined with the faux shearling fabric. And I came on as the taking over the operations and then morphed into fashions. So that’s sort of my path of kind of growing up.

Katie Brinkley 2:42

Awesome. And I’m sure that you know, coming from Australian and Canadian parents, it’s you get a little bit of their unique background too, with, you know, American life, not just kind of the traditional upbringing that a lot of American kids have.

Stephanie Mctigue 3:00

Yeah, absolutely. And even just in the fashion realm, and my mom always sort of was sort of, you know, a little left of center, which I sort of loved about it were and that’s how I always was where you can kind of see what the fashion was, especially on the East Coast and then you put your own spin on it or your own twist on it. And my mom was always really creative. So she knit sweaters and so I feel like there was always a little bit of a creative flair in our family with fashion and then obviously leather as well. So tell us a

Katie Brinkley 3:29

little bit about some of the different products that you guys have at cofee for the stylish and fashion pieces that you guys have.

Stephanie Mctigue 3:36

Yeah, so what was really exciting for me when we were originally doing the business is we met this gentleman who creates these incredible leathers by using Italian papers and foils by a transfer process. So we have the papers and foils that are come from Italy and we do this unique transfer process and the gentleman that I work with who in Mexico he was trained in Italy to do this process, creating these really beautiful and unique leathers and then we take those leathers to create our product so we have beautiful sneakers, our holly fashion sneakers are some of our most popular they’re really comfortable. They’re really cute and obviously people are looking for something comfortable and stylish these days. So that’s been a great product for us. And then another one of our standout products is our Molly crossbody convertible clutch. So it’s a crossbody bag that also can has a detachable strap and you can fold it over and make it into a clutch. So you can wear it in a variety of ways which people really love about it. And then it also comes in all of the fabulous leathers which are just again unique and can versatile can go with a lot of different outfits but it’s not exactly what you see that’s out there on the market which is what I love about it. It’s that a little bit different but really cool and unique and kind of a flair for Something different.

Katie Brinkley 5:01

Now you guys have a very unique product. How are you finding the best ways to market your product right now?

Stephanie Mctigue 5:09

That’s a great question, especially during this time,

Katie Brinkley 5:13

because I’m listeners, we’re right in the middle of COVID-19. Lockdown. So,

Stephanie Mctigue 5:18

yes, so, I mean, there’s a variety of ways made right now. Obviously, I mean, lifestyle images really do tell the story. And so I know with the Kofi product that the women who wear it have a sense of confidence and security and independence. And so trying to represent that through some of the images and the lifestyle images that we have has been really important for us to try to give in, provide that message. And then also, it’s designed by a woman for women. So I feel like sort of having you know, your finger on the pulse of what women are looking for. But then the other piece in terms of the marketing, obviously, there’s no social media marketing, and there are some influencers who have been amazing to partner with. Then there’s also what we’re trying to work with, with stores right now during sort of this shutdown period, or doing some full showrooms with them and virtual pop ups. So sort of partnering with them, so that can to their customer base and their clientele Lo Fi line. And then we’re partnering with them to either drop ship or to send them sort of in bulk, whatever sales, they get off of that, because we really value our wholesale, customer, retail business and want to make sure that we’re continuing to support them, as well, during this time.

Katie Brinkley 6:39

No, I think you brought up a really good point that a lot of small business owners probably might want to do or might not even know how to go about doing it is aligning themselves on social media correctly with the right influencers or brands or their product, can you tell us how you were able to do that.

Stephanie Mctigue 6:56

So I think it is a little bit of a balance, because I think, you know, I can often have people who’ve reached out to me, and it may or may not be a good fit. So there is a little bit of trying to find out who their customer is. And I do feel like partnering someone and making sure that it’s an authentic partnership. And that, you know, with the best influencers we have, we’ve actually developed a relationship so that I get to know them, and they get to know me, and we can really work together as a community to be successful. And I know that they, you know, love the product and value the product. And so again, I think it’s developing those partnerships and having a real relationship and then having the right target market to make sure that successful.

Katie Brinkley 7:43

Talk to us a little bit about your presence on social media, what channels have you found to be the most successful for you and your brand?

Stephanie Mctigue 7:50

So it’s interesting, because there’s so many channels that are out there that it’s a constant. It’s constantly shifting and changing. And I’m forever trying to improve our social media presence, to be honest with you. And I think the biggest thing, first of all, is just to jump in and try it if you’re not sure, because you can really start testing that way. But I, for me, and Instagram, for sure, and Facebook have been really successful. For us. It’s a great way to get I do think that is for Pinterest as well. Again, it’s a matter of how much time and energy to focus on all of the different channels. But I would say I mean Instagram and Facebook for sure have been our strongest

Katie Brinkley 8:35

Have you had the chance to dabble in any social media advertising.

Stephanie Mctigue 8:41

We’ve done I’ve done Google ads, and I’ve done social media advertising and I do find it really effective because it can be quite targeted. So we are still working, fine tuning that. I think with the social media advertising, something that I am learning I’ve learned is sort of keeping your fingers in it consistently. So not to try it and then back away and then try it again. But instead try it and you can change your you know, money like keep on it is there is there are algorithms that start to set in place. And if you go off it for a period of time, come back on, you’re sort of starting again from ground zero. So that’s something that I’ve learned to try to just stay active with it consistently.

Katie Brinkley 9:26

What do you think that some of the biggest mistakes business owners make when they’re trying to grow and sustain a successful business?

Stephanie Mctigue 9:32

You know, there’s I think there’s so many different mistakes. I think it’s hard because there’s so many different businesses and business models. I do think you know, over committed to inventory that hasn’t proven effective I think can be troublesome for some people are holding on to that inventory for too long. I also think that there is a fine being wanting to sell on retail and still uphold your home Sell customers. So I know for cofee that we really try to hold our prices on our retail sites so that we’re not undercutting our wholesale business. And I think that people can, that can be problematic for some companies, if they do too many sales or dilute too much their their website, then the wholesale customer start kind of falling off and feeling unsupported. So we’re we really tried to make sure that we’re supporting our wholesale customers in that way, and having that good balance between between both.

Katie Brinkley 10:32

Yeah, and, you know, kind of going off of that answer. You know, you’ve learned a lot about trying to balance keeping the wholesalers happy and keeping, you know, direct to customer kind of sales in line. What do you think if you if you could go back and do anything differently on your journey to where you are now?

Stephanie Mctigue 10:50

What would you change? If anything? You know, I mean, I, I know, you’ve probably heard this before, people say, I wouldn’t change anything, because I feel like it’s all the things that you all the mistakes that you’ve made, bring you to where you are today. I mean, I think, which is true. So everything, all the mistakes I’ve made in the past are a learning platform to you know, kind of jump off and make different decisions, make sure that you pivot and make sure that you do need a level of grit and perseverance in this business to make sure that, you know, if things aren’t going the way that you thought they were, then how can you adjust? And how can you tweak it? And how can you change it so that you continue to stay relevant? SASL I don’t think I would change anything. You know, it’s always being that I’m also a mom of two kids, there’s always that balance. So I mean, I would just for me just keep reminding myself to work on the balance of both. And I mean, I do the best I can with that. But you know, I guess that’s that’s kind of the one thing.

Katie Brinkley 11:49

I think that that brings up a really good point, too, that, you know, one passion that so many business owners and entrepreneurs have is to build a business around their lifestyle, not the other way around. How has that played out in your story and approach to running your business?

Stephanie Mctigue 12:02

I think that when who you know, whomever I work with, and whatever reps that work with our for Kofi or you know, the stores, I feel like there has to be some understanding that life is the priority here and happiness and your family. And yes, we’re running businesses. And yes, we want to be successful. But part of you know, Kofi and the attitude is to try to make people and women feel great about themselves. And in part, it’s also that’s how I feel like the culture of the businesses as well. So you know, anybody that works with us, like, if you need to drop everything, and go do something for your child, or for your parent or for your spouse, I feel like that is ultimately what’s important. And you know, everything for the business can be picked up or happen in 24 hours from now. So we, you know, are supportive in that we’re running, you know, a successful business, but we’re also trying to maintain that relationships are important. And for me, you know, men are important for all of the reps actually right now, and the business owners, just to make sure that everyone is feeling supported. So that’s definitely about our culture.

Katie Brinkley 13:11

Now you talk about the culture here it for not only you, but for the brand, was that really well thought out, when you were first establishing your brand? It’s okay, we want to be known as this this type of a culture and this is going to speak through our brand, or has that kind of evolved

Stephanie Mctigue 13:27

a little bit. I mean, I think that’s just the way in which I was raised. So my parents have, you know, tremendous amount of integrity. My father, specifically having been in business, this business for 45 years. No, I’ve always loved that your relationships and your integrity, are about Morton’s, and that everything else like you need to be able to wake up and look at yourself in the mirror and feel good about what you’re doing, trying to do, and that you’re standing behind your business and your decision and your attempt to try to be supportive feel like something that was instilled in me as a from a young age. And then you know, having my father be part of this sort of at the very, was thread. Nice happened throughout, but obviously something that I carry with me, and it’s really important to make sure that we maintain that as we move forward.

Katie Brinkley 14:20

So why Colorado? Why have your business based here in Colorado when you could do it? Do it just about anywhere? Why Colorado? Why have your business here?

Stephanie Mctigue 14:30

So I think that again, it brings it back to that work life balance. So I mean, my husband and I are hugely in love with the outdoors, we ski. They bike by run, we hike, we have this huge outdoor lifestyle and we’re raising our kids here. So for us just as a really great balance of both the outdoor lifestyle plus the city life and I feel like Denver in particular is booming and continuously growing and even in the fashion just streets been growing. So there’s been an influx of new fashion businesses and headquarters that are based in Denver in the surrounding areas. So I feel like it’s a good time to be in fashion, in Denver and in Colorado. Again, it’s really about the lifestyle and being able to balance both work and family life. Now,

Katie Brinkley 15:24

you can come from a teacher’s background, and what I’ve been kind of a struggle to learning all the different aspects of running a successful business, what was who’s super beneficial for you, and kind of guiding you and teaching you, you know, social media, how to work with wholesalers, how to go, you know, B to C, how have you kind of figured out this whole entrepreneurial

Stephanie Mctigue 15:46

path. So it’s interesting from the beginning, about networking, talking to people, seeing people questions, and being a lifelong learner, which is something I had learned way back when I went to high school back on the East Coast, just you’re consistently learning or consistency, consistently evolving. So learning all the different systems and surrounding yourself with people that are incredibly smart and talented and bring something to the table that that they’re really gifted at. So right now I work with this one woman who’s consulting with me, and she’s just phenomenal and brings a lot of skill that helps me grow and expand. And then I also have networked with other people that have been in business for a really long time and ask them a lot. And give them a call here and there. And, you know, hopefully one day that I can do that same thing and sort of pay it forward. As you know, our business continues to grow and be successful for you know, upcoming and new businesses coming along.

Katie Brinkley 16:48

That’s great to hear. And I know that a lot of times, especially coming from the corporate world, you know, you hear the word networking, and you know, why would you want to go hang out with strangers after work and talk about work. But I mean, it’s so valuable, especially for other entrepreneurs and small business owners. What were some different networking events are ways that you met other business owners to kind of help guide you.

Stephanie Mctigue 17:09

I mean, I think part of it was just talking to friends of friends of friends, just out and about, and finding out what they do and being really interested in hearing other people’s stories. There’s always also I have a network of some people that I’ve grown up with whether it was in college that I went to college with or high school. bakkies. So again, tapping into some of those resources, also talking to people, like my husband’s, or my father in law has been in business for quite some time. And then he has a variety of friends. So I’ve been tapping into their areas of expertise, and just asking questions and setting up times to meet with them. So I think it’s just sort of happened for me organically, it hasn’t been any specific networking event. Although I will say also, there have been some amazing women in Denver and in Colorado that have been really supportive of each other, especially during this sort of shutdown time. So it’s always reaching out to other women in business and seeing what they’re doing and trying to be creative and think outside the box. So

Katie Brinkley 18:22

yeah, and I found that a lot of small business owners are always kind of willing to, to help one another out, and women in business are always willing to lend an ear, this is what worked for me, how can I help you. And it’s definitely helped me navigate my entrepreneurial journey, too. So it’s great to hear that connection of people and network of people that you’ve been able to reach out to.

Stephanie Mctigue 18:45

Yeah, and it’s really nice. I feel, I feel like they understand this pull, like the pull of Ma being one thing, and then also running a business. So I feel like, there’s so many pieces to it. And so it’s nice to be able to support each other in that way.

Katie Brinkley 18:59

Absolutely. What is the best piece of advice that you’ve ever received? And how has it impacted your business?

Stephanie Mctigue 19:05

I think that somebody had said, you know, that there really aren’t any failures. They’re just, again, platforms for learning something different and growing them. So I think that when you’ve done something, it’s there’s no real mistakes. It’s like, okay, well, that didn’t really work. Now, how can we amend that? Or should we take a different path and staying, making sure that you know how to pivot in those situations, so I feel like that’s been helps to remind myself um, and then the other piece that I would say for sure, is just also trying to talk to other people, because I feel like that can always be an area that feels like Oh, but they’re doing this and they’re doing that and you know, what works for one person or one business like it’s great to get those ideas, but it may not work for your business or to take it in or what you need and then roll from there. Now before

Katie Brinkley 19:59

we begin Sharp, is there anything that I didn’t ask you about during today’s session that you think is important to share?

Stephanie Mctigue 20:04

I don’t think so I think you’ve done it’s, you’re amazing.

Katie Brinkley 20:09

It’s been great to speak with you. And, you know, I think that you’ve shared a lot of valuable insights on the importance of social media advertising and having a strong digital presence. I guess one more question that I have for you is, have you found any success with email campaigns and that type of networking and digital marketing?

Stephanie Mctigue 20:27

Yeah, we did we have, for sure. And I feel like it’s a mix, because we do email campaigns, both to our wholesale or stores, or I should say, both to the retail stores, and then also direct to consumer. So they have been successful in you know, again, staying in front of people and providing people with new information on what’s coming out from coffee. So I feel like, you know, there’s a few ways to, to keep up with what’s happening with Kofi leathers on our website, which is Kofi There’s a way that you can go and you can email us directly to get on our newsletter. Then there’s also a retail drop down list there. So you can find a retail location near you, which we’re trying to encourage people to go and look and see if there is a retail location near them where they can continue to support coffee through their local retail stores. So there’s those options as well.

Katie Brinkley 21:23

Awesome. Well, you brought up your website just a second ago Kopi, leathers calm. Where else can we find out more about you and your business online.

Stephanie Mctigue 21:33

So I would say to follow us on our social media channels, so Instagram, we’re at Kofi leathers. And Facebook is the same. Those are good places to learn about us. And then to sign up for our newsletter letter would be great online on our website. And again, it’s Kopi leathers calm. And I think those are the best, the best avenues and the best way and then again, the retail locations drop down list if you want to find a location near you that carries the product.

Katie Brinkley 21:59

Awesome. Well, thank you again so much for coming on the show today.

Stephanie Mctigue 22:03

Thank you so much for having me. It’s so nice to meet you. Nice to me, you too.

Katie Brinkley 22:08

Thanks so much for listening to this episode of Rocky Mountain marketing. As always, I’d love to hear from you. You can visit my website at or connect with me on LinkedIn. Just look for Katie Brinkley. Let’s keep taking your marketing to new heights.