Building a Brand On and Offline with Nannie Inez

    November 27 2018

    Nannie Inez is an Austin-based home decor shop that sells a variety of unique products and items from designers all over the world. From minimalistic Japanese home accessories to contemporary Scandinavian furniture...Nannie Inez has cultivated a style all their own. We had the pleasure of chatting with the founder, Deeyn Rhodes, to take a glimpse into her vision and discover how she continues to flourish her brand on and offline! Continue reading to learn more.

    Hi Deeyn! Please give us a brief overview of you, your background, and how Nannie Inez came to be.

    Funnily enough, I've always been in retail. Of course, I worked a number of mall jobs when I was in high school and college and even then, I loved the interaction with customers. Sharing a moment of discovery while helping the customer find something cool has always been very fulfilling for me. I studied Retail Merchandising at the University of Texas before moving to NYC to work in fashion. After graduation, I had an amazing opportunity to work for Chloe right out of college on the wholesale side of the business. That was more B2B, but it gave me the opportunity to really understand the business side of retail, which I also love.

    Please describe Nannie Inez for our readers who haven't been to your store.

    I am a curious person by nature, and I am continually observing both the big and small details of spaces whether it's a restaurant, a shop or hotel. I internalize the seemingly insignificant details of a space like how a hotel lobby smelled or how clean a shop space is or the consistency of the color palette found in really great branding work. It is always these small details that come into play when sourcing new collections for Nannie Inez. Our Austin showroom and retail boutique is a curated collection of modern furniture, lighting, art and home apparel from designers all over the world. Our collection includes contemporary Danish furniture, luxurious French textiles, thought-provoking Swedish art, refined Japanese office accessories, and innovative American craftsmanship. We pride ourselves in sourcing hard-to-find pieces from both established and emerging lines.

    "We pride ourselves in sourcing hard-to-find pieces from both established and emerging lines."
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    What inspired your move to Austin to plant the flag for Nannie Inez here?

    I'm from Texas and graduated from UT in the early 2000s. After nearly ten years away with a two-year stint in London, my partner Lonzo and I were ready for a change of pace, and we always knew Austin was for us. We loved the creative and entrepreneurial energy here. New Yorkers have a reputation of working crazy hours, but honestly, I am always so impressed with the creative, entrepreneurial community here. They are serious go-getters who pour so much passion and hard work into what they do, but the laid-back vibe here certainly feels a lot less stressful than those late hours I used to put in while working in NY.

    With Texas having a very distinct Western aesthetic, how do you find that the minimal aesthetic that Nannie Inez has in its selection with Scandinavian, French, Japanese, and American contemporary design fits into Austin's culture?

    Actually, it wasn't that big of a stretch, and we always felt our Austin customer was receptive to the vibe we were trying to create. Yes, when we first opened, there was nearly zero brand awareness around some of the brands that we carried- like HAY or Muuto, but the aesthetic wasn't so far off from what was happening in the design scene in Austin. When we first opened six years ago, it seemed like the general vibe here was a very airy, Marfa, mid-century inspired aesthetic. Scandinavian and Japanese design isn't so far off from that vibe. The lines of both Marfa/mid-century and Scandinavian/Japanese design are minimalist in nature. The color palette and textures vary, so it wasn't a huge bridge to gap.

    As a small business owner, Instagram is such an incredible tool for building a community and sharing your brand. What are some of your favorite ways to utilize this platform to increase sales, engage with your followers, and foster a community?

    Firstly, I sincerely value Instagram for being a tool that has helped us meet so many wonderful customers, designers, and collaborators that we might not have had the opportunity to meet had it not been for the platform. I know this word gets thrown around a lot, but I strive to come from a place of authenticity with all of our posts. The majority of my time is sourcing products I love, so it's exciting to share content that I am passionate about, and I think our audience picks up on that. We recognize Instagram is a sales tool but more importantly to us, it's a platform to share ideas and those little details that enhance our world through design and spaces. We want each post to spark conversations, not just conversions, however, the Shop It feature has been an excellent tool for our business. It makes the purchasing experience so easy- almost too easy!

    Your Instagram is a decor inspiration dream! Tell us your process for creating content, sharing regrams from your customers and brands that you carry, and planning for your feed?

    Omg, thank you! I try not to get to bogged down thinking about what type of post will generate the most likes. We certainly know in advance that certain shots don't get the same likes, but for me, it's important to post what we care about and share a well-rounded selection of images/products that we carry in the shop. I am always frustrated by the algorithm though! As far as planning, we aim to curate a visual story around the NI brand using product, travel, food, and design. We're big fans of our Austin design community, so sharing content like the AIA Austin Home Tour, for example, is a no-brainer for us.

    What are your top 3 tips for curating and posting content to Instagram as a retail business?

    1. We focus on consistency and tone. It's often really challenging to be creative and write zesty captions when you have a million things going on, but it's critical to set aside the time. And we do it all in-house.
    2. We are extremely mindful about our posts and only share what we love. We keep the tone light, and conversational- like we're chatting with a friend over brunch about our latest design find or recent travel journey. Naturally, we stray away from salesy jargon and impersonal promos.
    3. We aim to tell a compelling story through photography - it's essential in retail. Each season we invest in photography and hire a photographer to help tell our story. We like to have an eclectic mix of vendor product photos with our stylized shots to add more dimension to our Instagram feed.

    How have tools such as PLANOLY helped you to improve your brand's digital presence? What are your favorite PLANOLY features to utilize on a regular basis?

    The scheduling grid feature - PLANOLY was a total game changer in the way we approached Instagram. Before PLANOLY, we used InDesign to make sure our feed was balanced, visually pleasing and on-brand. As you can imagine, that was time-consuming and a real pain. Having the ability to upload and plan a season of looks and products to tell our story gives us more time to have conversations and engage with our community- which I consider the best part of the job.

    "Planoly was a total game changer in the way we approached Instagram."
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