HOUSTON- Carla Lyles has been running Carla Sue Greeting Cards and Gifts full-time for the past four years. Her quirky, fun cards and t-shirts are in fifty-three stores around the nation, which are nearly all closed for now due to COVID-19.
"At first I was thinking about ideas for myself and was like how can I think of creative ways to sell my products," explained Lyles.
That is when the idea for the Carla Sue Network was born. The goal is to promote her business and other small businesses in a creative way on Instagram.
"I just basically put the call out like, 'Hey guys. Let me feature your business, no cost to you, I just want to shine a light on your business and hopefully it will give you some leads or some new followers'," said Lyles.
She has featured local beauty brands, jewelry designers and more, some of which are already noticing the much-needed boost.
"The other night one of the businesses featured told me that they got sales right afterwards and I was really excited about that. It's just been such a good response and I'm just so happy that people are really willing to help one another right now because that's how we're going to get through it," said Lyles.
Carla is trying to stay positive, but says the big decrease in sales has been tough.
"This is all I have. You work so hard at your business, late nights, early mornings to just see it all go away, it's frightening," explained Lyles.
The videos she is creating are meant to lift sales and spirits.
"That's the whole point of the Carla Sue Network is to encourage. It's not just about trying to get sales for people it is just trying to give people hope to keep pushing and to keep moving," said Lyles.
Carla says she plans to keep up the Carla Sue Network even after the pandemic so she can continue to support other businesses. You can check the videos out on her Instagram page.