Vail Valley Bizwatch: Melanie Molloy, children’s book sales
Vail, CO, Colorado
Business name: Independent Consultant for Usborne Books and More.
Date opened: March 2, 2009.
Owner: Melanie Molloy.
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
What goods or services do you provide? My business sells books for children of all ages. Primarily, I do home shows, where someone has a party in their home, and I come to show the books and take orders. Each host receives free books proportional to the show’s gross sales. I provide shopping from the convenience of a couch! I also can recommend books to match a child’s age and stage of development.
My company can assist with fundraisers, book fairs, or grant matching programs to help local schools, daycares and libraries offset the cost of books.
I am also giving away an extra host bonus to the next show host. I will give $50 worth of books from the catalog, at an 80 percent discount.
What strategy do you use to differentiate your business from your competition? My business is very personal. I come to people’s homes in an intimate setting with their friends, and help them pick the items that best suit their needs. Unlike shopping online, I can offer customers the chance to see, touch and flip through many of the books. When I work with schools and libraries, they know that I am a local who can meet with them face-to-face, rather than having to call a large company, where they only get to talk to machines.
What philosophy do you follow in dealing with your customers? What can your customers expect from you? My job is to get books into the hands of young readers. To accomplish this important task, I work closely with each host and am very flexible with my availability.
The best part about my business is that the host of each party earns free books depending on the total retail sales. At my last party, the hostess earned $105 in free books and another $75 worth of books at half price. I believe I have the background and experience to lead people in the right direction to suit the needs of the children in their lives.
Tell us a little about your background, education and experience: My husband and I have lived in Edwards for the last eight years. We both moved here from the East Coast. I have been an elementary teacher in the valley for seven years, with experience in nearly every elementary grade level. I have a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in administrative leadership with a principal’s license. Perhaps most importantly, we have a one-year-old son who loves to read his books over and over and over again!
What is the most humorous thing that has happened at your business since you opened? The business is very new. But, I am excited to meet new people and help families get high-quality books into their homes. Through home shows, I am sure I will have lots of fun experiences.