Jennifer and Mark Pettitt have been running Jenny Joans, a small business that turned to be one of the most popular fashion destinations in Estevan, for over 25 years. Throughout this time the store claimed its own style and had many loyal customers trusting their outfits for the most important moments in life to Jenny Joans.
Many things have changed throughout the years. The store grew from two to seven and soon probably eight employees. The selection is much wider and the speed of operation has also changed.
“(Nowadays) we are able to bring things in on a more immediate basis instead of waiting six months… Now a lot of things that are trendier or more based on pop-culture, things like that we can bring in and have them in the store in 10 days to two weeks,” said Jennifer Pettitt.
At this time of the year, Jenny Joans mainly offers the fall collection, but at the store now they do work towards monthly deliveries, which means that the selection is updated quite often.
Most of their shippings arrive every month, and some are still seasonal, but the shipping schedule works out the way that they have brand new gems coming in almost every day.
“We do space it out a little bit just depending on the suppliers when their windows are. We are reaction-based, so if there is something specific that I can tell my customers are interested in, we try to follow along with that avenue and try to be more accommodating,” said Pettitt.
Besides, the Internet allowed Jenny Joans’ buyers to find stylish and fitting items all across the world and order them without physically attending the venues.
“That helps get things revolving faster, we can respond to the demands of our customers easier,” said Pettitt.
The new technologies also allowed the store to expand and claim their spot in the world of online shopping. But Pettitt pointed out that for them offline customers always come first.
“I always want people to know that our walk-in traffic, to the brick and mortar, the store is first and foremost, and we accommodate that first,” said Pettitt, also pointing out that they always have much more in store than online.
Running a small business one always wears many hats, and online marketing is an integral part of almost any business nowadays. Jenny Joans doesn’t have a big IT or web-design department to help with the online side of the business, but it might be more of an asset as it makes all they do very sincere and personal.
Hundreds of calendar pages have fallen off since they opened the store, but the fast time stream has never affected the Jenny Joans’ trademarks, namely the unique style and high quality. Development and maintenance of the style is an always-ongoing process.
“We call it curating. It’s based on pieces you want, on personal cravings. I have a team of buyers, I have a manager, assistant manager that are integral in the buying process. So it’s important to keep up with age groups, and as far as seasons, keeping up with social media. I just find that we make it our mission to really curate our pieces accordingly,” said Pettitt.
After many years in the industry, Pettitt still sees the opportunity to be creative in what she does the most valuable part of running a small business.
“Actually procuring the items to bring in and the science of finding out what people want or looking for the next thing that I think people will really like and trying to bring that home to Estevan (are the best parts of operating the business),” said Pettitt.
Another component of this creative work is promotions, which are always exciting for both the store owners and of course for customers.
People usually look forward to Black Friday in November and Moonlight Madness in December, big promotions that allow them to get great deals or buy some unique items. And this year Jenny Joans has a new surprise for the customers.
“We have something exciting coming up in Jenny Joans we are going to announce in November,” said Pettitt.
She gave a couple of tips saying that it’s going to be something like a value price gift that the store can ship to the receiver. With no further details, she said that it’s going to be exciting and they are looking forward to launching this product.
And with Christmas right around the corner, they hope it will become a big hit as it will have a little bit of a surprise element to it and will also allow customers to get a lot of things with a significant discount to enjoy the holidays in Jenny Joans' style.
And for those of you who all these years were wondering where Joans came from, it’s Jennifer’s middle name, which along with her first name became a synonym for fashion in Estevan.