Show Us Your Shop: Zinnias Gift Boutique By Debbie Eisele

Owner shares how they are coping with COVID-19

With so many retailers facing similar challenges right now, we encourage you to Show Us Your Shop so we may share your story and help other independent retailers.

Zinnia's Home & Garden in Santa Cruz
Owner Dedra Bennett and her husband, Tim.

Dedra Bennett opened Zinnias Gift Boutique in Scotts Valley, California about 20 years ago. This retailer offers a brick-and-mortar shopping environment and this year added an online store. Bennett shared that her customers are loyal, generous and kind and that her business is an “intentional lifestyle brand cultivated on a diverse collection of products built around community and personal connection.”

Bennett shared how her business is adjusting to the current retail climate. 

How have you transitioned your selling strategy during the COVID-19 pandemic?

We launched our online shop in January. We have increased our online footprint as well as our self-care category. We continue to deliver meaningful content through social media and email outreach to our community near and far.

What special services, such as curbside pickup or delivery, have you implemented?

We offer curbside, local delivery and nationwide shipping as well as FaceTime shopping with our customers.

How are you reaching out to customers during this crisis?

Mindful of the amount of content being delivered to us as consumers daily, we are meaningful about our message. Zinnias is built on community and we are mindful that helping one another get through this crisis is first and foremost. If I can take out your trash or drop off a bag of groceries, that means more right now then selling you anything. 

We are using social media as well as email to stay in touch with our community of customers as well as video shopping and FaceTime.

What are your social media handles?

Instagram: Zinniasgiftboutique

Facebook: Zinniasgiftboutique

Is your business offering any new programs to assist others in the community at this time?

We are sending HUG packages across the nation. Our community is so generous and thoughtful of others. We have been sending heroes on the front line packages as well as gift baskets and Easter baskets to grandchildren, college students stuck out-of-state, grandparents and so many more!

Have you increased your online retail presence to adjust to social distancing?

Absolutely! We upload to our online retail daily and it is a huge part of our operations right now.

Zinnia's Home & Garden in Santa Cruz
Left: Lena Mayfield
Middle: Robin Anderson
Right: Dedra bennett

Are you creating any grab-and-go type solutions to help sell through existing inventory and to provide merchandise customers need in today’s environment?

Yes. We are offering “kits” across many categories: nurse/doctor gifts, Easter baskets, Mother’s Day packages, and self-care.

What helpful tips would you like to share with other retailers during these unprecedented times?

Be true to your brand and your consumers. Think outside the box for ways to connect.


Debbie Eisele

Debbie Eisele is the former managing editor for Gift Shop Plus, Stationery Trends and a variety of special issue publications, including: The Guide, Holiday Shop, Celebrations & Occasions and Waterfront Living.

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