National Women’s Small Business Month Series: Mary Wuestefeld
National Women’s Small Business Month Series
Q&A Featuring Mary Wuestefeld of Three Sisters Gift & Home Accents
October is Women’s Small Business Month in America! To celebrate, we’re featuring Cherokee-based women-owned businesses all month long. These inspiring stories will shed a well-deserved light on their incredible leadership, business acumen, and resilience.
This week, we’ll hear from Mary Wuestefeld of Three Sisters Gift & Home Accents – a Hickory Flat gift shop providing a large selection of quality goods and gifts including Brighton Jewelry and other jewelry lines, home décor, baby items, kids toys, women’s clothing, collegiate items, and much more! Follow along on cherokeega.org and via social media to like, follow, and share.
What style or design inspiration do you draw upon when choosing merchandise for your store?
We typically divide and conquer as a team when selecting merchandise. We look at our customers and listen to their interests. We also watch the trends, but we try to give appreciation to the classics as well. Our goal is to find quality merchandise at a fair price.
Who are some of your favorite designers for both home décor and fashion?
There are several companies that we buy from, and within those companies, there are several different designers. For example, one of our biggest vendors is a company called Demdaco. This is one of the few vendors that we have bought from since we opened 20 years ago. They are a wonderful company, and they have numerous lines. They’re probably best known for the Willow Tree Angels, but we buy home décor, fashion, jewelry, and gift items from Demdaco.
Brighton is another large line that we carry, and they employ multiple designers. Our customers might not know the designer, but they know the Brighton name. Several other brands that we love include Napa, Coco+Carmen, and Hello Mello.
How has the Hickory Flat community helped support your business over the years?
The Hickory Flat community is stellar. We grew up here; we taught school here, and it is our home. From day one, the community has been very supportive and faithful. When we opened 20 years ago, Hickory Flat was a much smaller place than it is now, but the people have been very consistent. When we opened, I didn’t realize how we would develop friendships with so many of our customers.
We truly realized how supportive the Hickory Flat community was during the pandemic. During this time, I posted on Facebook to let customers know that we needed to close our store for a while. When I posted this, two customers called to order gift certificates over the phone, which they picked up once we reopened. Our faithful customers wanted to show their support and let us know they would be back as soon as we reopened.
Now that Hickory Flat has grown, we have a much larger customer base, and we see new faces every day. It’s the best place to be, and we love it.
Because of the community’s overwhelming support, we needed to expand into a different location. Our original location was in this exact same shopping center – we only moved a few doors down.
What are some of the items that bring shoppers into the store again and again?
We have several products that continue to bring people back. We carry Tyler, Trap, and Capri Blue candles, Michel Design foaming hand soap and lotions, and Naked Bee lotions. But I would say that our biggest claim to fame is our complimentary gift packaging – this is our hook. So many of our customers love this because they can come in, get what they need, and have it wrapped.
When we first opened in Hickory Flat, there wasn’t a whole lot out here, and we wanted to have something for everybody – from kids to adults.
In the past, Three Sisters has hosted special events like Ladies’ Night. Do you host any other in-store community events?
Girls’ Night Out is October 20th this year, and we are very excited about this event. We have not held this event for the past two years due to the pandemic, but people are ready.
We also host Brighton parties, book signings, and tastings along with a holiday open house, which is always held two weeks before Thanksgiving.
What are your favorite Fall items that you carry in-store?
Round Top is a company out of Texas that sells metal framed artwork, and they’re my favorite fall decor. We also carry several stackable decorative pumpkins from the Mud Pie brand that are also super cute for Fall.
To learn more about Three Sisters Gift and Home Accents, visit https://www.giftshopcanton.com/.