This month, we had the chance to sit down with Stephanie Vogler and Megan Close, the Co-Founder & Creative Director, and Marketing and Communications Manager of the Cross Decor and Design. Read on to learn more about how they grew their brand into what it is today.
What is The Cross Decor and Design?
The Cross is a lifestyle shop specializing in home decor & design. Within our 8,500 square foot shop you will find everything from gift wrap and party supplies, to silk sheets and diamond rings. We also offer three levels of design service, between our expertly trained sales staff, our Atelier Stylists and our Interior Designer team, there is no project that we can’t assist with. Our online store is a fast growing part of our business and we are shipping internationally on a daily basis.
Tell us a bit about your backgrounds.
Stephanie: When I was age 9 my mother opened a fabric shop in West Vancouver that offered makers a place to buy quilting fabric, ribbon and other novelties. I was involved from an early age helping customers, and eating up the entrepreneurial, creative lifestyle. I’ve since had a long career in retail (25 years) and have fine tuned my interests and abilities.
I am not trained in anything but real life trial and error. I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Megan: My background is in Interior Design. I went to design school, worked in the industry a bit and then started at The Cross 9 years ago with the intention of growing my career in Interior Design. I soon found a niche within the already successful and growing business of The Cross managing the social media platforms which grew into my position as a Marketing & Communications Manager. I’m very lucky to have found a career that pulls all of my passions together into one dream job.
How did your background lead to the creation of The Cross?
Stephanie: For years I had pored over the magazines that were coming out of Europe and the UK. I wanted to emulate the style I was seeing, casual, elegant, relaxed and refined and with a great sense of history and belonging. My co-founder Darci Ilich and I were committed to bringing this great sense of style while offering the products that go along with achieving it. At that time wallpapers and fabrics were typically only available through the trade and we wanted to break the rules and offer them to our clients. Breaking rules has been a very successful part of our growth plan.
What have you found to be the most successful marketing tactic to build the brand?
Stephanie: To me, marketing is about connecting with people. There is an ebb and flow that happens when marketing is done well. I love asking questions and listening to the needs of our clients. And in turn we market to fit those needs.
Megan: The key to the success of the marketing at The Cross is being true to the brand. We are all sincerely passionate about what we do and feel completely confident in the products and services we provide. We have always found success in being honest, kind and compassionate. I think our clients really respect that and they know that we genuinely care about them and love what we’re doing.
What’s the best advice you could give someone who is starting their own business?
Stephanie: I’ve been asked this question many times over the years and my answer has changed slightly as I become more comfortable with trusting my instincts. So there you have it, trusting your instincts is the most expected answer and also the most valuable.
Problem is, you have to make a lot of mistakes to learn what your instincts are and to read them correctly. So my second piece of advice is to appreciate the failures. Embrace them. Learn and move forward.
Megan: Having started at The Cross when it was already up and running , I think that the success and culture all starts from the inside. Having strong leaders who lead by example is so important. Empower your staff and colleagues to feel pride in what they do because having people around you who are truly happy everyday is invaluable.
What other individuals or companies influence or inspire you?
Stephanie: I’m inspired by people who follow their hearts and live a life of joy. Somehow these two things go hand in hand. I’m also inspired by hard work. Living with heart and joy all while kicking ass is a surefire success.
Some examples of people that I think are modelling this lifestyle are:
Jenna Lyons (J.Crew), Rachel Ashwell (Shabby Chic), Tricia Guild (Designers Guild),
Patricia Larsen (Artist), Sarah Bancroft (Editor) , Erin Ireland (Food Reporter), Leah Alexandra (Jewellery Designer).
Not surprising, women top my list. All women inspire me.
Megan: The people I get to meet and work with every day inspire me. We are lucky to get to collaborate with so many amazing entrepreneurs. Local, small businesses that are sometimes just 1-2 people working non-stop to follow their dreams. I am inspired everyday by people who manage these businesses while maintaining their families and all their daily activities. These are the people who make the community so special and keep me wanting to do better and create beautiful things.
What have been your biggest accomplishments so far?
Stephanie: Our biggest accomplishment is our incredible team. We have an amazing team of people that devote themselves to this business. I’m in awe at the loyalty and creativity, kindness and friendships that have developed over the years. Watching people thrive at doing what they love is a great gift.
Megan: I agree with Stephanie. Another big accomplishment has been the online following that we have created. With all of our social media platforms combined we have over 100K people all over the world who follow along with our little shop to see what’s new and what we’re up to. It’s pretty cool.