Serial entrepreneur Stephanie Summerson Hall founded the luxury brand Estelle Colored Glass in 2019.
Aside from Estelle Colored Glass, Stephanie Summerson Hall has also founded two family businesses, which she grew “from the ground up successfully.”
Her latest venture is Estelle Colored Glass. The company was inspired by Stephanie Summerson Hall’s grandmother, and it offers “hand-blown colored glass cake stands and stemware.”
According to Stephanie Summerson Hall, her company stands out because they have “recreated this feeling” of nostalgia “in a fresh and modern way that speaks to all generations.”
Stephanie Summerson Hall also believes that “websites are the new storefront, so businesses must continually update their photography and visually showcase their product offering in new and exciting ways.”
Likewise, Stephanie Summerson Hall also says that “amping up our social media presence…has been vital to our success.”
The company has “leveraged user-generated content from our followers to keep our content pipeline healthy,” which has “helped spread the word about the quality of our products.”
Stephanie Summerson Hall adds that her company has done well finding “niche products and suppliers.” She knew that her “take on modern stemware and glassware would set us apart and allow us to remain extremely competitive in our market.”
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We stand out because we have recreated this feeling in a fresh and modern way that speaks to all generations. Stephanie Summerson Hall, Estelle Colored Glass
Jerome Knyszewski: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Stephanie Summerson Hall: What’s ironic is that many of our customers and followers on social media often share their memories of colored glass pieces that their grandmothers and aunts had.
Seeing our pieces evokes happy memories. We stand out because we have recreated this feeling in a fresh and modern way that speaks to all generations.
Jerome Knyszewski: Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Stephanie Summerson Hall: Delegate. Delegate. Delegate. Many entrepreneurs try to do it all, and it ends in burnout.
It’s essential to trust in your ability to hire competent team members who can carry out tasks like you would.
Delegating allows you to work on your business and not in your business.
Jerome Knyszewski: None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Stephanie Summerson Hall: There have not been many people who have understood my career change from attorney to entrepreneur, and I did not get a lot of encouragement.
However, I persisted with my faith in myself and trust in God.
My husband stood by me because he believes in me and knows that I follow through on anything I decide to pursue.
He has always supported my efforts, and I am eternally grateful for his support and dedication to my dreams.
Jerome Knyszewski: Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. The Pandemic has changed many aspects of all of our lives. One of them is the fact that so many of us have gotten used to shopping almost exclusively online. Can you share a few examples of different ideas that eCommerce businesses are implementing to adapt to the new realities created by the Pandemic?
Stephanie Summerson Hall: I believe e-commerce businesses benefit from this shift despite having trouble keeping up with demand given the breakdown of supply chains caused by the Pandemic.
Websites are the new storefront, so businesses must continually update their photography and visually showcase their product offering in new and exciting ways.
Additionally, amping up our social media presence during the Pandemic has been vital to our success.
More people are on their phones longer, so you have to find the best way to engage with them.
We’ve leveraged user-generated content from our followers to keep our content pipeline healthy, and it’s helped spread the word about the quality of our products.
Jerome Knyszewski: Amazon, and even Walmart are going to exert pressure on all of retail for the foreseeable future. New Direct-To-Consumer companies based in China are emerging that offer prices that are much cheaper than U.S. and European brands. What would you advise retail companies and eCommerce companies, for them to be successful in the face of such strong competition?
Stephanie Summerson Hall: What our company has done well during this time is to find niche products and suppliers.
When I started the company, I was extremely intentional about who we worked with and how.
I knew our take on modern stemware and glassware would set us apart and allow us to remain extremely competitive in our market.
I worked diligently to ensure we researched every potential vendor, competitor, the demand for our product, and the steps we would need to launch a successful brand with a strong customer base.
Jerome Knyszewski: What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start an eCommerce business? What can be done to avoid those errors?
Stephanie Summerson Hall: Many e-commerce platforms rely heavily on current topics and other things not related to selling what they are offering.
I focus on selling products as the main priority. Regardless of the trending topics or news, you want consumers to buy your products and believe in what you are doing. In my opinion, the focus should remain there, especially when you are just starting.
What our company has done well during this time is to find niche products and suppliers.
Jerome Knyszewski: In your experience, which aspect of running an eCommerce brand tends to be most underestimated? Can you explain or give an example?
Stephanie Summerson Hall: Branding and photography are vital to your brand.
Consumers demand content, which can often become a massive task for small businesses looking to keep up.
We invest in photography and video to consistently engage with our audience, and the payoff has been worth it.
Our images are used for media opportunities and across all social media platforms.
Jerome Knyszewski: One of the main benefits of shopping online is the ability to read reviews. Consumers love it! While good reviews are of course positive for a brand, poor reviews can be very damaging. In your experience what are a few things a brand should do to properly and effectively respond to poor reviews? How about other unfair things said online about a brand?
Stephanie Summerson Hall: The key to poor reviews or a bad customer experience requires first apologizing to a customer for a bad experience.
Next is offering a full refund if the product was not a good fit or the customer changed their mind.
A customer will always remember how they were treated, so it becomes a priority to operate from a place of integrity in everything that you do.
Branding and photography are vital to your brand. Stephanie Summerson Hall
Jerome Knyszewski: You are a person of significant influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Stephanie Summerson Hall: My movement would revolve around equal access to opportunities and resources to all hard-working business owners.
Small businesses account for more than 44% of U.S. economic activity.
I firmly believe there is room for everyone to grow and thrive in entrepreneurship and business growth, so my movement would present opportunities and resources to help others succeed.
Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?
Stephanie Summerson Hall: Our handle on Facebook and Instagram is @estelecoloredglass.
Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!