European Splendor is a furniture and home furnishings business in Louisville, Kentucky, and they’ve got big plans to expand—they recently created an e-commerce presence, and they have ambitions to open more brick-and-mortar stores soon. We spoke with Susan Straub, who co-owns the store with her husband, about the store’s origins during their time abroad in the Czech Republic, their hopes to grow their business quickly, and why Genius has been the perfect payment solution for them.

CAYAN: What’s the history and mission of European Splendor? How did you get started?
Susan Straub:
We’re a furniture and home furnishings business, and recently we’ve started to offer gifts, too.

My husband and I started this business when we lived over in the Czech Republic from 1997 to 2000—both of us have a background in finance. We found furniture manufacturers of very high quality, and we liked one in particular who had made the furniture in our flat. Because I’d always wanted to start a business, I realized that, wow, this quality is really great—we could sell this in the States. The quality of the craftsmanship, you don’t just find that level anymore.

So we started a business, but after my husband got transferred for his job, we closed it for a while. When we got back to Louisville, we decided to start it up again, but now we wanted to expand it a bit more and introduce an e-commerce site. Before, we were a small retailer, but now we’re focusing on growing this business into something bigger than just a one-stop site.

We found a building in a historic part of town, bought it, and it’s a great fit for our business for now—but the plan is to expand.

CAYAN: How did you discover Cayan?
Susan
: When we started this business the first time, we literally had a little desk and we handwrote all of our tickets. That was the one thing we knew we didn’t want to do this time, so we started researching point of sale systems.

We wanted a system that works for a small business, but we wanted something that could also grow with us. We felt that Lightspeed was the best company for our situation, a company that would really be able to grow alongside us. We liked what they offered as far as inventory management, ease of customer support, and more. And they guided us to Cayan.

CAYAN: As you researched Cayan after Lightspeed’s recommendation, what stood out the most?
Susan
: It was an obvious fit for a lot of reasons. For us, as a small business, we’re realistic and we understand the rate at which small businesses fail. We wanted to make sure we had a system in place where, if we failed, we could get out of the contract. And we needed a fair fee.

We reached out to several companies, and we felt that Cayan was a great fit for us price-wise, contract-wise, everything. You’re always a little nervous about getting locked into a contract—with Cayan, we didn’t have to do that. And the bonus is that we’ve been extremely happy with Cayan.

CAYAN: After you decided on Cayan, how’d you choose Genius?
Susan
: There are a couple things that appealed to us about Genius. The first thing, as we expected, is that customers are very impressed with the system. They always say, “We love the ‘card accepted’ tone on your chip reader!”

We deal with middle and high-end furniture, so we have high-end clients, and they expect a lot from us. They expect better technology and better quality products. When people come to our counter, I want a product that reflects well on our whole business. We felt Genius was that product.

It completely integrates with who we want to be: We want to be high-end, and Genius comes across in that way.

CAYAN: What have been the 3 biggest benefits of Genius in your stores?
Susan:
I would say the first is the support that we get from Cayan and Lightspeed. Second would be the fraud protection—that’s something that’s really important to us, especially with the chip reader. And the third would be that the machine has been simple to use and has worked flawlessly.



CAYAN: How did the implementation process go? Were you up and running quickly, or were there any stumbles?
Susan
: Implementation was completely flawless. The training was easy, and when we launched our e-commerce site a couple months ago at EuropeanSplendor.com, that went perfectly. We never had an issue—it was just plug it in and go.

As a business owner, I don’t want to have to worry about learning a system—I only want to focus on building my business. It’s great having a product that helps me do that.

CAYAN: How did you decide to expand into e-commerce?
Susan
: We knew we were going to do e-commerce, but we wanted to give ourselves a little time to get our retail up and running. So we gave ourselves about six months for that, and then after six months we started.

The thing for me is that it’s easy. When you’re running a business, you want everything else outside of the core of your business to be simple so you don’t have to spend time on it. And Lightspeed and Cayan do exactly that. They work really well together. To me, it’s a perfect marriage.

CAYAN: You’re very focused on growth—was security a priority in your search, to be prepared against future vulnerabilities?
Susan
: We’ve thought about it a lot—it’s another reason we chose Genius and Cayan. Security is important to us, and we know it’s important to Cayan, so we really defer to Cayan’s experience and focus on building our business.

CAYAN: How would you say Genius contributes to your customer experience?
Susan
: When my customers come in and they use Genius, they have a good experience. My husband and I built this business, and our goal is that when our customers walk in the door, we create an “experience” for them, in every sense of the word. We want the smell of the store to be good, the appearance of the products to be good, every detail.

And the Genius interface, it helps create a great experience for our customers. I’m not kidding when I say maybe 7 out of 10 customers comment on it. “I love this sound!” “That’s a nice machine!” Other retailers even say “Why can’t I get a machine that nice?” It’s been surprising!

CAYAN: Do you have any advice for store owners considering new payment options?
Susan
: I would absolutely recommend Cayan. I’ve had a couple different store owners come in, and I tell them “You need to get one of these. You need Cayan. We never have problems.” People see we’re running smoothly and they listen.

CAYAN: What’s next for you store? And what’s next in your relationship with Cayan?
Susan
: We want to expand our business. We’re hoping to add more brick-and-mortar locations soon. One of the things that attracted us to Cayan and Lightspeed is that we won’t have to go anywhere else as we get bigger.

​​Q&A with European Splendor: Cayan Business Spotlight