"The Chamber is our must-have accessory for success."
- Amy Storer, President & Founder, Cincy Chic
Cincy Chic's Story
For 25-year-old, Amy Storer, the entrepreneurial bug has been in her veins since graduating college.
She was working at a publishing company in Pennsylvania and with her first “real” paycheck in hand was ready to spend some of that newly found disposable income. But she then realized she had no idea where the great shops were and didn’t have time to do the research. She thought to herself, ‘if I’m time starved but still wanting to know the “in” places in my town, there must be other women out there wanting and needing the same thing.’
So Amy began developing the idea of offering a localized online Cosmo or Women’s Day – a magazine that would cover the same topics – health, beauty, social, fashion and career – but using local sources, local subject matter experts and spotlight local places.
Out of that inspiration came Cincy Chic (pronounced “sheek”) – the only online lifestyle publication for women in the Greater Cincinnati area. Each week, does just this: publishes stories and information on health, beauty, fashion, social and career – featuring local hot spots, people and places right here in Cincinnati USA.
Why the Chamber?
“I needed a way to connect with the movers and shakers throughout the entire region. The best way to do this was through the Chamber. It just made sense and was the first thing I did. My business mentor is on the Chamber’s CEO Roundtable and he told me that it has been a huge contributor to his success.
I chose the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber over any of the local chambers because it is the chamber of all chambers. It is regional and we need to be regional. And if you don’t have all the dollars in the world to join every single chamber, so go for the big dog. That’s where I needed to focus.
In June, I hired a publisher and editor and I devoted all my time to sales. Finding the editorial was easy, selling the ads and sponsorships was the hard part. One of the best things about the Chamber was how it helped me identify business leads to make cold calls for advertising and sponsorship. I could buy a list of business prospects, tailor it down to the specific industry and download it in minutes.
But probably the biggest thing that happened to us was when we won the Chamber’s Women Excel (WE) Celebrate award for ‘Best New Product or Service.’
I had heard about the event, but didn’t think my business was big enough to be considered. A girl that I had worked with on a promotion, nominated us and told me to apply. I waited until the last minute and turned in the paperwork on the very last day. If I had known what it would have done for my business, I would have filled it out immediately!
I knew this was going to be big when I started getting calls because we were listed as a finalist.
Immediately following the event, I had 12 emails in my inbox from complete strangers who simply congratulated me on winning. I have a post office box that I check once a month and when I checked it was packed full and the post office had a surplus in the back -- all congratulatory letters from people I didn’t know. It was amazing!
Since winning the award in December, I have not made a cold call and am booked four months out on ad space. We have doubled our revenue but more importantly winning the award validated us as a business. The credibility and reputation of the Chamber and their endorsement through this award really made the difference in where we are today.
The whole experience was amazing and I am still pinching myself months after it has happened.
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