When the pandemic hit, and businesses began to close their doors, a lot of uncertainty was in the air—and there still is that feeling. However, many creative heads have taken the time to implement strategies to try and plan for what’s next in all industries, including retail.
In a new series, “Looking Ahead,” Metro chats with local businesses who have taken the time to plan exactly what should be happening next, because when the unknown is all you see, you have to be prepared for anything.
For Joey Clark, owner of Kin Boutique near South Street, research has been the Boutique’s saving grace. Since social distancing first started, Clark has been spending her time doing research on post-pandemic consumerism and how people need to relate to where they are shopping. All of this research has led the business owner to pivot the boutique’s entire model to incorporate needed changes in tune with the current pandemic situation.
What have the past few months looked like for your business? What did you do to help survive?
Every two weeks we re-evaluate where we are and what is working at that point. When the pandemic first started, we knew we needed to get our e-commerce website up ASAP, so the store quickly turned into a shipping center. We also made sure to connect with our clients via Instagram by creating at-home styling videos, KIN Kits with specialized items to send to [loved] ones and essential workers, and community events like Zoom yoga. We also created a separate Instagram highlighting our annual Patio Sale that we usually have in person and turned it virtual. It felt weird pushing clothes in such an unknown time but we wanted to provide some semblance of familiarity to people and I think our customers welcomed the distraction. We’re so grateful for our community and clients that have stayed the course with us and supported our store as we have pivoted and adapted to such an unprecedented situation.
What kind of planning went into place to anticipate opening back up?
Our main concern is the health and safety of our clients and staff, so anticipate seeing a brand new steaming process, disinfecting stations and masks available. Our hours will have to change a bit to include cleaning times between customer appointments. We’ve also had to change up our buying structure since so many of our producers had to cancel orders. Most of our inventory is made to order and is decided upon three to four months out, so there was a lot of restructuring in that sense.
What will you be doing differently after opening post-coronavirus?
We’re moving to a more appointment-based schedule, and once we go to the green phase, we hope to open on the weekends. We’ve always encouraged one-on-one styling, so we’re lucky that our approach to shopping isn’t that far off of what we do day in, day out. We plan on focusing more on creating a lifelong wardrobe, and conscious shopping [and] making sure we’re buying from smaller design houses and supporting our vendors that have been with us since the beginning. This pandemic made us realize that we obviously can’t continue our business at the same rate we previously were, so to avoid holding onto excess inventory, we will be increasing our special ordering of clothing, meaning some products may have a short wait time to receive, but this eliminates the need to store a potential loss if an item doesn’t sell and reduces waste from the production side.
What else do you want people to know about your business and what you’re doing to maneuver through this precarious time?
We have always worked tirelessly to give our customers the best possible shopping experience. We will continue to provide an honest and inclusive shopping environment. Even though that may look a little different temporarily, we are still family, and we will continue to be your favorite neighborhood boutique despite these times.
Are there any specific ways that people can help support your business?
Schedule an in-person or virtual styling appointment to update your wardrobe, book a closet consultation with our staff, shop online at shop-kin.com and through our two Instagrams, @shopkinboutiqute and @shopkin_sale. Also share a post, send a message or a referral. We are so thankful to our community and we can’t wait to reconnect with everyone.
To learn more information about Kin Boutique, visit shop-kin.com