How To Open A Boutique In A Pandemic
You just do it because life is too short to be scared all the time.
When you're wanting to do anything, ask yourself a few questions.
Is there a need?Why do I want to do this?
Why do I want to do this?
Who/what is it serving?
Am I excited for the process or the outcome?
When 2020 happened, I had just moved into my permanent location for my boutique. We had spent months waiting for the space, weeks setting it up and then were opened for days before Covid shut us down. I had to get as creative as possible to get into my boutique for Live sales events where i'd pull, pick, pack and deliver inventory to local mammas, but after months, that got a little tiring. We made a web site and navigated the best we could and we made it out the other end. Opening back up in June 2020 was a Godsend but not all businesses made it out.
The local maternity store had closed up and left leaving a huge need in the community. Expecting mother after mother came into our boutique asking where the maternity store went and asking our advice on where they can go to buy maternity clothes.
There was the need.
If you don't know by now, my passion is helping empower women (and a few men too I guess), so seeing these women who just wanted to try on something to help them feel comfortable and confident and having no options besides Target or maybe inside Macy's somewhere wasn't sitting too well with me. After a few months of people asking us where they can go to buy maternity, my partner and I just knew that we had to give these women somewhere to go. I wanted to do it to bring back that empowerment we all feel when we put something on and see ourselves int he mirror and just smile. I wanted these women in their most vulnerable state, to see and feel beautiful in their skin.
There was my why and who I am serving.
The first step for us was pretty easy be
cause it wasn't our first time creating a boutique out of thin air. We knew we wanted it to be a sister brand to Lé D Bug Boutique and I knew that if we were opening a maternity store that i was going to bring my passion for lingerie into the mix. Maternity and Lingerie... weird right? Or does it make perfect sense. Explaining my desire to have a lingerie boutique inside the maternity boutique is where Full Circle came from; Lingerie, Maternity, Baby, Children. We now cover it all... in a perfect full circle. That's where Lé D Full Circle came from.
Next, find an amazing branding specialist that you can trust! We have hired 2 web and branding companies in the past and lost thousands, not to mention years of broken or lacking web sites and branding guides. We work with Synergy Design Firm here in Oregon and Amee Curtis is a living angel and genius. She has the ability to hear your vision and then put it all neatly packed into a web site and your own branding kit full of everything from typography to color numbers so you can keep things uniformed.
Once you have your branding created, you find your place. For us it was a no brainer. The old maternity store is just 2 doors up from our baby boutique which means it's a natural sales funnel for us AND the clients are already going there looking for a maternity boutique. We picked our space, negotiated, signed and started to paint.
With the pandemic closing many stores across the nation, it was easy to find retail structures for cheap to no cost at all for us to fill our boutique. The demo, changing lighting tracks, the scraping paint, finding fixtures, picking real plants over fake and then watching them die because you're too busy to water them... it's the nitty gritty and i love that the most! Day by day seeing your vision turn into something real and then seeing the look on others faces when they walk in and appreciate it is amazing. The process is my favorite though! The
outcome was executed perfectly if i do say so myself and the communities reaction to our boutique has been amazing but Im off to my next thing now. Not everyone is like that. Some people want to create it and revel in it day in and day out. Some want to create it and let it be enjoyed while managing it from a distance to allow space for other things and thats me. It's important to know what one you are, a process lover or an end result seeker.
Here are a few of the before and afters of our retail space turned beautiful boutique in 4 weeks =)