Starting a business is a dream held by many but realized by few. Success requires a mix of vision, passion, and a great idea, but sometimes an intense experience is required to launch the dream. For Pam Lowder, that experience was her husband’s horrific motorcycle accident. The severity of his injuries required a lengthy recovery period, and suddenly reduced their two-income family to one. This event prompted Pam to turn her dream into reality, and in March 2012, she opened Sassy’s Bling-N-Things.
Handbags were the first core product, which Pam began selling out of her home. Within a month, she rented a small office space to allow her room to work and to display a modest amount of inventory. Seven months later, she signed a one-year lease for a 784 sq. foot storefront in a Cedar Falls, Iowa mall. This larger space allowed her more room to display additional items, such as clothing and jewelry. However, as her business grew, she decided to take a risk and move to an even larger space in a more heavily trafficked location at the Crossroads Center mall in nearby Waterloo, Iowa. With 4330 sq. feet to work with, Pam now had all the room she needed to expand her product line and add new items, such as brand name perfumes, shoes, and more.
Malls are notorious for attracting niche customers because they cater their products, décor, and “vibe” to a narrowly targeted demographic. Sassy’s Bling-N-Things has transcended that trend. Pam says “I honestly don’t ‘target’ anyone…my clientele is anywhere from 10 yrs old to some in their 80’s. I absolutely love the variety of the people that walk in.” What attracts Sassy’s broad base of customers are the tried and true core values of great prices and excellent customer service. Offering quality products at reasonable prices helps to insulate Sassy’s from the fashion world’s often frenzied pace of change that can leave small retailers scrambling to keep up with the latest trends. Sassy’s enjoys the additional benefit of having a local owner who loves what she does. “My customers keep me motivated! I enjoy EVERY aspect of the business,” says Pam. When she asked several close friends about the wisdom of starting her own business, they said, “If anyone can do it, you can.”
An additional motivator for Pam is her daughter. Part of Pam’s original dream was to create a business where her daughter could work alongside her and eventually take over. “I love to work, and love having my daughter involved with me in this business,” she said. However, as every small business owner who hopes to pass it along to the next generation knows, having the right tools and cost controls in place is a vital component of maintaining profitability. That is the reason why Pam chose Cougar Mountain’s Denali software to handle her accounting needs. Having used Cougar Mountain previously, Pam was already sold on Denali when she started her business. Her familiarity with the system was not the only reason she chose Cougar Mountain; she also valued Denali’s inventory control features, affordability, ease of use, and Cougar Mountain’s outstanding customer care. “I needed something that I could easily train staff on, and quickly. This was my only solution because I absolutely love the software!” she said.
Functionality, affordability, and customer service: it’s how Cougar Mountain has helped thousands of small business owners turn their entrepreneurial dreams into reality.