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Retailing During A Pandemic

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Kerri Booth

Kerri Booth is the owner and general manager of Fashion Addition 14+

Retailing During A Pandemic

So much has happened in the past 11 months and I decided to come on here to chat about it. I have always loved and believed in brick-and-mortar retail stores. I love to touch textiles. I am that person in department stores that pats every sweater or stretches the fabric of a pant. (I also refold displays and tidy tops on the hangers!) So because of that I was always reluctant to take the company online. Quickly Fashion Addition had to pivot and change and so did I. With the lights off and stores full of clothing our small crew had to learn to retail during a pandemic and that meant building an online store. Viktoria, our office manager, started our shopify store. Susan, our supervisor, helped to write content and shipping. Marilyn, my mom, was put into the roll of volunteer photographer. My parents started Fashion Addition 34 years ago, so we are a family run small business. The 4 of us created our own Fashion Addition online pod.

Fashion trends wait for no one so we had to learn fast about creating an online store. In under 2 weeks we had our first sale and it was so exciting. What was even more exciting was trying to put our own Fashion Addition stamp on it. Chatting with the customer after the order to confirm sizing. Offering to do 'knock and drops' and personally deliver to our customers that were local. I wanted to make sure our customers knew that there was still a person behind their order. They were valued.

Retailing a different way has been a fun challenge. My management team sending pictures of them outside a loyal customer assisted living dropping off clothing and speaking from a balcony. Coming in early to set up private appointments for customers that are immune supressed. Figuring out how to service customers so they felt good in new clothes and we could help take a bit of the lonely away.

I often loaded up my car with customer favorites and did home shopping experiences. I would leave the bags at the door and sit on a porch or a patio while the customer would be inside their home and they could try on and model for me at a very large distance. These days were some of my favorites. Getting people out of their pj's and into some new fashions all the while taking a little of the isolation away. Dressing up makes all of us feel better.

Once the doors were back open and we could service customers personally we put some behind the scenes effort into building a new website and making your online shopping experience one that was better and more visual. We are finally getting there. We can always do better but we are getting there! One of the things that a lot of you probably don't know is designers only have so many sample lines. They are usually shared amongst sales reps. They are almost 100% produced in regular sizes. So because of that in a lot of cases we don't have photography ahead of the game. We must react when it comes in and get photography done and content loaded. Slowly we are progressing! Your support of a small local business has meant everything. We sincerely thank you for going on this journey with us and seeing us through this crazy year of Retailing During a Pandemic.

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