Idea-Driven Pinterest Becomes Effective Vehicle for This Small Business

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska—When it comes to social media networking platforms, people tend to gravitate toward the most popular three: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Over the years, these platforms have become an integral part of many marketing strategies. Companies that want to launch campaigns, create awareness, promote their products or just need to keep their fingers on the pulse of their customers, utilize at least one of these to do so.

Because of their prevalence, we often forget about the DIY haven that is Pinterest. Long before Instagram rolled out its “saved photos” feature, we had Pinterest as our personal vision board, filled with ideas for room décor, hairstyles, recipes and much more. Whereas Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are for interacting with your peers, Pinterest caters to that introvert in all of us, who just wants to stay at home and make some nail art.

It is the diversity Pinterest offers that enabled Frances Scholz, a local Alaskan small business owner, to reach a wide optical/ECP audience with her eyewear-inspired furniture through Backyard Spectacles.

Scholz has made the rounds on a variety of Pinterest boards because of her creations. This California-born optical manager started her business back in 2009, after reading an article that featured a serving tray in the shape of glasses. Her husband, Douglas Scholz, who is a woodworker, then decided to share his love for the craft with her and they began making custom eyewear-inspired pieces for independent practices in the form of tables, cardholders, wall art and more.

“We started off creating the tables, but because they’re harder to sell, we began making smaller pieces like the wall art, table top mirrors and business cardholders from leftover wood,” Scholz stated. “Since then, our most asked for custom pieces are the 48-inch dual sided wall art which can be often displayed in windows.”

As with most small business owners, Scholz decided to set up some social media accounts to bring some attention to her product. “I first started with Facebook, then went to Twitter and Instagram before I discovered Pinterest,” stated Scholz. Though her Pinterest account was the one she launched last, it became the biggest social media vehicle for her business. “I post the same amount of content to all my accounts, but I have a wider audience there because it’s a more generic platform when it comes to search terms.”

Though Backyard Spectacles focuses solely on making eyewear related pieces, Scholz posts can be found pinned under “design and illustration,” “yard looks,” “spectacles” and “interior and decorations” boards as well.

With the traction garnered on Pinterest, Backyard Spectacles has created furniture for independent retailers across the nation. She’s sold special pieces to College Place Optical in Edmonds, Wash.; Valley Optometry Eyecare Center in Reseda, Calif.; Memphis Family Vision in Memphis, Tenn.; Pascarella Eye Care and Contact Lenses, in Newtown, Pa.; Yonkers Eyes in N.Y.; and Eye Care Nanaimo in Vancouver, Canada, among other clients.

With most of her sales coming from Pinterest, users tend to assume that Backyard Spectacles is a large, furniture making store, instead of the small independent business it is, she points out. “When people order, they expect us to have it on the shelf and ready to send,” Scholz stated. “Everything we make is custom—we draw out the pieces, glue and biscuit or dowel the wood. It’s functional art, we aren’t a big manufacturing company, so sometimes clients are surprised they have to put the pieces together, as we engineer them to be taken apart and reassembled to decrease shipping costs.”