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The great COVID-19 pivot

Gold Cup Live was born by chance, now its driving major revenue for one Kerrville business and the future is very bright

In the first days of the pandemic, Peppitt was working at her mother’s pawnshop — Gold Cup Pawn and Jewelry — when she decided to show off some of the shop’s extensive collection of James Avery jewelry, which has always been a way of bringing customers into the Junction Highway store.

In the first days of the pan-demic, Peppitt was working at her mother’s pawnshop — Gold Cup Pawn and Jewelry — when she decided to show off some of the shop’s extensive collection of James Avery jewelry, which has always been a way of bringing customers into the Junction Highway store.

The show was an immediate hit. Soon, Peppitt was producing regular shows, was introduced to an innovative software called Comments Sold, which interfaces with the comments section in Facebook Live to allow purchases of the products in real-time. Those offerings have now expanded to a wave of new shows around clothing, turquoise jewelry and designer handbags.

“So now our website is up, and it’s really pretty, we’ve moved into the building with Fitch Estate Sales (another one of her mother, Rachel Fitch’s, businesses), I have a warehouse, we have an app now, we’re doing way more shows than we were,” Peppitt said.

Most importantly, in a time of economic uncertainty, Peppitt and her business have successfully pivoted to meet the challenges of the time. It’s not that way for all businesses.

A recent survey of small business owners by the U.S. Small Business Administration found that 44% of the business owners, including plenty here in Texas, said their business has been affected negatively on a moderate level, while another 30% said it has been largely negative on their business.

The SBA survey tracks

the sentiment through the months of the pandemic, beginning in April, and some of the success that Peppitt has seen has been in her ability to scale her offerings outside of Texas. While most of her customers come from within the state, a large number are finding her in other states, including California and Florida, where James Avery products are hard to find.

“I would say 10-15% are local, in the Hill Country, and I’d say all the rest are mostly Texas, of course,” Peppitt said. “It’s really broad. Not very much is local, which is wild to think about. We’ve got a lot from San Antonio, Austin, Houston. It’s just all over.”

As the pandemic has now stretched and worsened in 2021, any positive sentiment has quickly eroded for many, but for Gold Cup Live, as the shows are now called, the enthusiasm has only intensified.

“Now we’re doing clothing,” Peppitt said. “We do size-inclusive clothing, that’s small through (triple extra large). So, it’s available to everyone. I pick it all out but it’s just really cute and fun.”

Peppitt is definitely having fun on the job. Her shows draw hundreds of women from around the country each time she goes live — some watch every show. On a recent night, Peppitt had more than 100 people watching from the moment she went live. In the world of Facebook Live, people come in and out of each webcast and the aggregate audience numbers often swell beyond what’s counted in real-time.

Her typical opening moments of the show are a stream of greetings to those watching, including many of the regulars, who she’s developed a relationship with over the last few months.

With charm and wit, Peppitt keeps the show moving and in turn, the revenue continues to pick up.

“It has a lot,” Peppitt said. In fact, at one point the live shows were powering much of the revenue for the other businesses.

It’s rare when Peppitt doesn’t sell out of the pieces she’s offering during her live James Avery show. In one recent show, she was left with just three pieces of jewelry.

So, the challenge has been to find more James Avery jewelry to sell. Peppitt has a near-encyclopedic knowledge of the historic James Avery catalog, and those close to her call her that — “The Catalog.” She specializes in rare and retired pieces from the James Avery collection.

“That’s is probably my biggest issue is trying to keep up with the demand,” Peppitt said. “We have three James Avery shows a week and I probably sell 100 pieces a week. That’s hard to keep up with, but we do have different avenues where we get the James Avery but I’m always looking for more.”

Peppitt said her other challenge is just keeping up with what James Avery is producing currently.

“It’s really been crazy, that’s my best word for it, to try to keep up with them,” Peppitt said. “I’m always learning, my customers teach me a lot and I try to stay on my toes with it and it’s hard. That’s a job on its own — just keeping up with Avery.”

However, when it comes to being able to pivot and move it’s hard to keep up with Natalee Peppitt.


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