March 13, 2021

4 strategies saved my businesses during COVID-19

Tykia Stokes had an entrepreneur mindset before she knew what she wanted to do. At…

Tykia Stokes had an entrepreneur mindset before she knew what she wanted to do.

At 34, the Detroiter is already in her 10th year of business selling women’s clothes and accessories as the owner of Karismas Kloset, which is located on Detroit’s Avenue of Fashion at 19458 Livernois. There also is a hair salon in the back of the store. 

Like many businesses on the Avenue, the store has gone through tough times because of streetscape improvement construction on Livernois that started in April 2019 and lasted for nine months. Then the pandemic shut the doors when coronavirus first hit last March.

Tykia Stokes, owner of Karismas Kloset on Livernois Avenue in Detroit on Feb. 19, 2021.

But Stokes has had a good social media strategy in place, plus a website to rely on during this time.

We asked her for her best advice to share with other business owners and entrepreneurs. 

To begin with, she said, she wants her customers to feel comfortable and excited when they enter her store.

The interior is red, purple and gold and has unique chairs in the shape of a shoe and a floral backdrop for photos. 

“I want to be able to dress you for your special occasion or your special day,” Stokes said. “It’s moments in time where you’re going to do something — party with your friends, going on a date, a job interview.

“I want them to feel comfortable when they come in.” 

More:Avenue of Fashion retailers see drop in sales, newer businesses struggle to stay afloat

More:Southfield salon owner, hair loss advocate turns her passion into a business

But Stokes’ focus on utilizing social media to generate sales has really paid off. 

Karismas Kloset has over 27,500 followers on Instagram and Stokes has over 161,000 followers on her personal account.  

Inside of Karismas Kloset on Livernois Avenue in Detroit on Feb. 19, 2021.

While the physical store is reopened, foot traffic has slowed, so relying on social media to help customers place orders continues to be a win.

Here are four things Stokes says aspiring and current business owners should focus on when using social media to make their businesses a success:

1. Focus your social media posts on your business

Stokes said social media websites, like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, have shifted to being a platform for businesses instead of mainly being used for personal reasons. Each social media website has tools to see your engagement on each post, including how often someone clicks a link and how many times content was shared.

Inside of Karismas Kloset on Livernois Avenue in Detroit on Feb. 19, 2021.

She also uses Shopify analytics, which is an e-commerce retail space, to see how much money she makes from advertising on each social media platform. 

“Back then, it was just ‘I’m taking a picture,’ ” Stokes said. “Now, it’s serious. I have to take it serious now, especially with COVID. It’s way harder now because it’s so many boutiques.”

Inside of Karismas Kloset on Livernois Avenue in Detroit on Feb. 19, 2021.

With her go-to model being in nursing school now, every time she gets a new shipment in, Stokes has to head to Instagram to post pics of the newest clothes arrivals. 

“The foot traffic isn’t the same right now, so everything is social media and online,” said Stokes. “If (the customers) don’t see it, they don’t know you have it. They won’t come and look in here. They’ll literally pull up their phone and say ‘hey, do you have this?’ “