The Cottage Shop Offers Gifts & Hospitality Along the Outer Banks

July 10, 2024

The Cottage Shop Offers Gifts & Hospitality Along the Outer Banks

We love sharing the stories of amazing retail partners whose unique merchandising and customer service help their clientele find meaningful gifts and more. This month we're heading over to the beautiful Outer Banks region of the North Carolina coast for a conversation with Amy Smith, Director of Marketing & Merchandising at The Cottage Shop.

 

The Cottage Shop started carrying Dot & Dash in their three locations in the summer of 2021, and they've rapidly become one of our top accounts.  Rooted in a vibrant community with 38,000 residents that swells to accommodate over 4 million visitors each summer, Amy and The Cottage Shop team deeply understands their customers and how to bring them back to their stores over and over again.

When sharing about her work, Amy’s natural love of her stores and this beautiful area of the country shines through. The Outer Banks are known for relaxing beaches, delicious cuisine, and a welcoming, friendly vibe. The Cottage Shop started under a local parent company - Kellogg Supply - in 2001. Kellogg is a family-owned business that began in 1946 as a building materials store in Manteo, North Carolina. When the Kellogg team decided to add The Cottage Shop as a new entity within their company, they saw the opportunity to offer home decor items to the many new home owners who were moving or buying rental property in this growing coastal Carolina area. As The Cottage Shop began, it offered luxury bedding, artwork, lamps, dishware, and more to meet the demands of this growing area. As the Outer Banks population continued to grow, The Cottage Shop also began to carry a wider array of home decor and gifts items. 

 

 

The Cottage Shop now flourishes in three Outer Banks locations: their original store in Duck is now flanked with locations to the north (Corolla) and south (Nags Head). Located about 20 miles apart, each has a unique market niche and history. Amy shared, "Our Kellogg location in Duck was the 'original' store having home decor & gifts. This location sells hardware and lumber with half of the store 'rebranded' as The Cottage Shop with expanded gifts and home decor. Our Nags Head store was the first to open under The Cottage Shop name in 2001. We doubled the size of it last year - and expanded our bedding, bath, gifts, pet line, toys, and kids items. The Corolla store opened about 10 years ago, and although a little more tourist driven, primarily offers gifts and home decor items."

The Cottage Shop began carrying Dot & Dash in 2021 after one of their store managers, Ryan, saw the line while visiting home in Michigan, and he brought a piece of it back to share the idea. Amy loved it and decided to bring the line into all the stores, where it has found a very receptive audience. Amy stated, “The line has quadrupled in sales as of the end of last year!”

Amy shared that while some of their best selling designs are custom words like "Outer Banks", all of the collections sell well and merchandising is really the key. Cindy, the manager of the Corolla location, wears the line often and their sales are always high. She displays it near the register and within their ladies section. Susan, the manager of the Nags Head location, displays it on their gift side on a round wooden table with gold accent furniture which showcases the jewelry beautifully. Finally, the Duck location, where Ryan is the manager, displays the line in their Seaglass themed area on a round tiered display with a navy accent base. 

"The sales at all of our stores with Dot & Dash are strong year round - not just during one season - like Mother’s Day. I’d say our Friendship words consistently sell very well for all our locations. On the Beach Collection, I carry certain words that have done well like ‘Sandy Toes,’ ‘Beach Girl,’ and ‘Beach Bum.’ And looking at our past sales - the ‘Be Happy,’ ‘Moon & Back,’ and ‘My Sunshine’ designs are also consistently top sellers", Amy said.

When we asked Amy what she might say to a new store owner considering Dot & Dash as a new line, she shared “One motto we say often -- ‘Go Big or Go Home!’ --applies here. If you are considering Dot & Dash - this is a line to 'Go Big or Go Home.' With Dot & Dash, there is something for everyone. Go deep in the words that you carry and expand it as much as you can!”

Amy's advice comes from a place of both expertise and passion. When asked about a favorite part of her job, Amy stated, “My favorite work days include store merchandising. I still love visiting the stores and creating displays, although I don’t get to do that quite as often as I used to!” Amy earned a degree in marketing from UNC Wilmington and has been with Kellogg / The Cottage Shop for over 30 years. Twenty years ago Amy was asked if she’d like to “try buying” and that is how her work with The Cottage Shop began. And we are soooo happy she said yes --  because partnering with Amy & The Cottage Shop team has been an absolute delight.

If you find yourself heading for the North Carolina coast, be sure to include a stop at one of the enchanting locations of The Cottage Shop!


 

 

  

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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