Houston Small Businesses Optimistic about Future

"We're hanging on. The economy is a little bit down, but you wanna keep your name and your logo out there. You want people to see who you are and what it is you do."

Christie Ramirez is a salesperson for Embroidme, a business in Sugarland that embroiders company logos on shirts hats other articles of clothing. Embroideme was one of many businesses that paid to have a boot at the Houston Business Expo at the downtown Hyatt.

Keisha Davis had a booth for her new home business KD's Closet Boutique.

"Right now business is going good. I can't complain. I've been able to get in contact with a couple of celebrity stylists by the name of Theties. She's really really good and I've been able to dress her as well as some of her clients."


Like many Americans, Davis found herself without a job when the economy started to tank last year. She decided she wasn't going to wait for it to bounce back.

"I told my husband. I said honey, you know look. This is it. I refuse to work for anybody else ever again if it's not for myself."

Jana Thigpin was in a similar situation after last year's hurricane. She'd done graphics work as a side job, but decided it was time to take it to the next level.

"Between the hurricane and the economy, it squeezed me a little bit, but I think it made me stronger and focus more. That's why I'm here, for the email marketing, because I do that a lot."

The email marketing forum she's talking about was hosted by Amy Tinsley of Constant Contact. Tinsley says these days business are looking for inexpensive ways to reach their customers and email can be very effective.

"You can send out announcements on special events or what new products and services that you're offering or just send coupons. A lot of restaurants will send out an email after a they have a new customer that says next time you come here's a free appetizer."

Even in good times, the majority of small businesses fail and no economist would call these good times. But Davis says she was encouraged by something her husband said to her.

"He said you know what honey. One thing I know about women, no matter what the economy is they're gonna buy their jewelry to look good. They're gonna get their nails done. They're gonna get their hair done and at the end of the day, they're going to have some nice accessories and some jewelry to go with it. That's what kept me going."

 

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