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Nestled right next door to each other, Triple Z Threadz and Limbo Jewelry are go-to spots on the iconic South Congress Avenue strip in Austin, Texas. The creative minds behind these brick-and-mortars and their eclectic merchandise are Co-Founders Anne Rutt-Enriquez and Edson Enriquez. And they invited the What’s in Store team out to both businesses to talk about how they’re using date-based automations to engage with customers.
Edson says Limbo Jewelry started as a metal-smithing class project he was assigned in college at the Universidad Jesuita de Guadalajara (ITESO). It was then, back in 2001, that Edson developed the concept, name, logo, type, and art direction that’s still present in Limbo’s branding today. A little more than a year later he started showing up at artist flea markets in Mexico, but it wasn’t until he landed in the States that he found his niche.
“Right now, there’s a lot of super minimal, asymmetrical, simple jewelry on the market,” Edson says. ”Twelve years ago, there was nothing, and people were very, very receptive to it.”
In the early days of Limbo Jewelry, Edson was a regular at Austin artist markets and shared space with a friend who was adding oddball designs to the signature Texas pearl-button shirts called Z-Z-Z Threadz. In 2008, he and Anne purchased that line and rebranded it as Triple Z Threadz.
In March 2013, Anne and Edson opened the Limbo location on South Congress, followed by Triple Z 3 years later. To call it a step up from the brands’ humble beginnings would be putting it mildly—Anne says their greatest success so far is moving from outdoor artist markets into an actual retail space. “This is 2400-square-feet of space on one of the biggest and busiest streets in the United States for retail,” she says.
The only similarity between Triple Z (which also includes art, books, and “famous crap”) and Limbo Jewelry (minimal, modern, handcrafted accessories) are its owners. Although Anne and Edson joke that the shops are their babies, inside and online, their product and branding couldn’t be more different. Whereas Limbo’s space and aesthetic embraces its nominal spirit, with Triple Z, Anne says, “we merchandise the store with anything that makes us laugh.”
Between managing 3 locations (they recently opened a second Limbo store in North Austin), and a growing staff of 25, Anne and Edson say time management makes staying in frequent contact with customers a challenge. However, knowing when and how to delegate, and getting help from MailChimp’s date-based automations has made the business more manageable.
“Delegating is a challenge for a lot of small business owners,” Edson says. “They think, ‘Oh I can just do it better myself, faster myself,’ but that’s how you end up chasing your tail.”
Edson says the date-based automations have been very helpful for both sides of the business, but especially for Limbo. The team knows getting folks excited about a handcrafted pair of Luna Hoop Earrings can be tougher than selling a throw pillow with Mr. T’s mug on it. Either way, the ability to send customers friendly reminders that they’re on the minds of the owners during important dates has been crucial.
“We can remind people of anniversaries, tell them happy birthday, and send them a coupon,” Edson says. “That’s kind of the beauty of it—it doesn’t have to be one thing.”
It’s no surprise that birthday-related messages are a big hit with customers, but Anne also says, “it’s a reminder that we’re keeping it weird.” Whether it’s jokes littered with Triple Z’s raunchy humor, or nods to how they’re the “finest purveyors of embroidered crap since 2005,” using the date-based automations keeps the dialogue with customers going—and it brings in revenue.
“Date-based automations have impacted our business positively by saving us time and are a nice return on investment,” Anne says. “We receive sales from our birthday reminders and coupon codes, and we keep our customers engaged.”