Congratulations to the winner of our Quarterly Wholesale Photo Contest!
Sierra Water Gardens is a specialty boutique nursery and gift shop in Reno, Nevada, founded and ran by Samantha and Sutter Stremmel. We caught up with Samantha to learn more about their brand, business values, and how they've utilized social media to share stories and boost sales.
MZ: Tell us about Sierra Water Gardens!
Sam: We do as much as we can to maximize our small property on the Truckee River for a unique retail experience. Retail up front and relaxation in the back! We sell all types and sizes of succulents, air plants, terrariums, indoor plants, water plants, koi, goldfish, trees and other garden plants. We also carry other lifestyle products that fit the natural plant vibe of our store, like the Manos Zapotecas items. Those clutches are the best!
I believe in selling things I truly love and would like to have in my life. Handmade ceramic planters, locally made glass terrariums, fair trade baskets, vintage shirts, and overalls for women who like to get into their projects and look good doing it. I like to think that everything we sell has a functional form that it is made with passion and vision.
MZ: How does MZ fit in with your company vibe and values?
When I purchase things for my life and my home, I try as much as possible to shop for handmade and/or locally made products. I love that MZ supports a community in Mexico; we work hard to support our local maker community in Reno, NV.
Our second business, the Wedge Ceramics Studio, is located just next door, and local artists use the studio to make planters, pitchers, and other such items to sell in our shop! We also share a warehouse space with four other working artists. We are surrounded and supported by people who work with their hands, and we love getting to sell their products in our store!
MZ: How does social media help connect with customers and other brands?
I enjoy sharing photos of what I love on Instagram and Facebook, so posting photos of what we carry in our store is natural and fun! I like to style products so people can see them in a different way, offering details and descriptions so they can imagine them in their life. Social media is a great way to share beautiful pieces directly with people who are into what I like: plants and beautiful handmade items.
I also like to use social media to connect the dots between the customer and the supplier. It is nice to know where things you purchase come from. Manos Zapotecas is a great company to share with my customers, because you guys do a great job of sharing the people and stories behind the products. I enjoy utilizing Instagram Stories too, because those provide a behind the scenes look at my store, as well as the other brands I carry!
Another huge benefit of social media is being able to connect with customers that have questions or are seeking encouragement. I can answer plant questions easily or see what people like, which helps me to make decisions as to what to carry more of in the store! It is a fun community that I feel lucky to be a part of.
Do you have any tips for brands to utilize social to boost sales?
Take quality photos by getting a nice camera, or hiring a photographer and maybe a model. Some of my favorite and best photos for our social are simply in the moment when I am inspired by something in my store and want to share it! Plants are also so good for photos. I notice posting more often is better, but sometimes that just doesn't fit into my schedule. I just do it when I can and make sure it fits the vibe of our store.
All photographs are by or courtesy of Samantha Stremmel.