The 90s are back so it’s time to grunge things up! Pop some Pearl Jam into that Sony Discman and grab plaid flannel, overalls, a knit beanie and combat boots. Keep it girly with chokers, slip dresses layered over cropped tube tops or velvet camisoles. Strap a belt bag over those mom jeans for hands-free ease and get ready to rage against the machine.
WHO'S DOING IT RIGHT?
From Left to Right: Olive & Pique | Sihnderella | Sugar + Lips | Litz by Uniq | Belissima
From Left to Right: Vanilla Bay | Re: Named | Litz by Uniq | Hidden Alley | Artbox
From Left to Right: Heart & Hips | Wild Honey | Luv Fashion | Tres Bien | Lets See Style
RETAIL Q&A: BLUSH
Co-owned by Lexie Furlong and Vicky Schaffstall, Blush started online in 2010 and then opened three brick and mortar stores between 2013 and 2016 in the Buffalo, NY area. The name was inspired by this quote “The girl blushed when a young man whistled as she walked by.” Blushing is an emotional response with being in love and Blush defines its boutique as “shopping your desire.” Blush features New York and LA based designers clothing, jewelry and accessories, and they try to keep everything under $150, with most under $100.
What do you love most about being a retailer?
I love making woman feel pretty! I love when customers come in and find what they’re looking for, then leave looking better than when they came in. I like when people tag themselves in our outfits at their events, as it means they like the way they look.
What is the hardest part of being a retailer?
The hardest part with online is competition and the constant change of technology for brick and mortar. People don’t shop how they used to shop anymore. You need to stay up on trends, and keep up with social media to bring people into the store. Online you have to make sure you’re keeping track of inventory and that you have the goods available. Having multiple locations makes that more difficult. Plus, owning your own business is not as easy as it appears from the outside; it’s hard. And 24/7.
Who is your customer?
She goes to brunch, loves weddings, showers, date nights… She’s a girl that loves vacation and trying new restaurants, and new moms. We sell a lot of dresses, rompers and two-piece sets and a jumpsuit. We buy one or two size runs of things so we can always have new things and our customers are all wearing different pieces.
"I love making woman feel pretty!"
"I love when customers come in and find what they’re looking for, then leave looking better than when they came in."
What sets your customer service apart from your competition?
In store, customer service is our No. 1 priority! We get to know our customers personally, and their time in our store is an experience… not just shopping. We have personal relationships with a lot of our customers and we follow a lot of them on social media! They feel special when you know what’s up in their world. We also think of certain customers when we go the NYC for our buying trips. Each store has unique customers and we take them into consideration.
How do you use social media to connect with your audience?
We engage a lot through social media; we do Facebook Live showings of our clothing and take polls on items to include them in the buying process. We also text message promos to customers. We also do Instagram Live and we make posts every day where you can actually shop the picture. When we post a product we tag the item right from the website. We also do IGTV on Instagram, post our Instagram Live to Facebook and make Facebook posts every day, We have direct contact with customers through direct messaging. Definitely a quicker response time than emails.
How do you stay updated on trends/hot brands/industry news?
We go to trade shows, WWD, magazines, celebrities TV shows… It’s not hard to stay up on trends now because of the internet and social media, Youtube and fashion bloggers.
Compared to when you first started your store, what do you think has been the biggest change in the industry?
Social media and the fact that online is taking over. Also, people aren’t brand conscious like they used to be. Now they’re more concerned about the style; fast fashion is more prominent.
Given what you know now, what advice would you give yourself when you were just starting your store?
Do not stress as much about the future, and enjoy the present! We've been very successful in our business, and I wish we would have enjoyed a little more along the way.