Fast 15: Christina Wilkerson

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 1,383 views 

Class of 2021 Christina Wilkerson Director of Sales and Customer Experience James+James

Two years ago, James Smith was looking for the right person to head up his growing Springdale furniture company’s sales department.

That search led him to Christina Wilkerson, a high-energy journalism teacher at a local high school and the daughter of Smith’s business partner in a separate entrepreneurial venture.

The sales business seems to suit her, particularly the e-commerce channel. Since joining the company in March 2019, Wilkerson’s efforts led to a 17% sales growth that year and 60% in 2020. This year, the company’s year-over-year sales are tripling. The business’ sales department has grown from one (Wilkerson) to four over the past two years to complement the growth. More hires are coming this year.

“She [Wilkerson] is my secret weapon and right-hand leader,” Smith said.

A Springdale native, Wilkerson graduated from the University of Arkansas in 2017 with degrees in journalism and political science. After two years teaching at Haas Hall Academy in Rogers, Wilkerson accepted Smith’s job offer.

In its 10th anniversary year, James+James has various sales channels, but the company sells roughly 80% of its products online. That means Wilkerson must own the customer experience, starting with the first website visit through follow-up after delivery. She’s currently directing a remote creative team to overhaul the website’s pictures to photo-real CGI imagery, and she’s developed and executed several ideas to increase conversion rates.

“If you create confusion, you lose sales,” Wilkerson explained. “Especially in e-commerce. We make sure the website is gorgeous. It needs to be easy to navigate and super-clear and concise.”

Wilkerson said she gets satisfaction knowing the company’s sales efforts contribute to the company’s mission — creating jobs. James+James builds all its products by hand and employs about 70 carpenters and finishers full time to meet the sales demand from customers throughout the country.

In the years ahead, Wilkerson and the sales team at James+James have a company goal.

“I think we can make James + James a household name across the country,” Wilkerson said. “There’s no reason we can’t do that.”