When retailers went right into a six-week lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic final spring, Audacious Boutique proprietor Kelly Sigg anxious she’d lose her enterprise.
However Sigg caught it out, thanks partially to the shop’s social media presence, and is now increasing.
The shop opens its doorways right now at a a lot bigger venue, 19 S. Jefferson Ave.
As we speak’s opening is a part of a 10-year journey that has included three places in Iola and, for about three years, a second retailer in Pittsburg, in addition to growth of a brand new web site for on-line procuring.
It’s been a trial-and-error studying journey, Sigg stated.
The previous 12 months has been maybe the largest problem of all, but additionally led to a few of the retailer’s largest progress.
“When COVID hit, that was the scariest time. I didn’t see any means it could be doable for us to outlive,” Sigg stated.
Sigg and her workers, led by retailer supervisor Toni Manbeck, turned to social media for options. Twice a month, they live-streamed a gross sales occasion. Workers displayed gadgets and talked about cloth, reduce, sizes and costs.
In a single video, worker Lexie Vega fashions a gown. She holds the material near the digital camera to indicate its tiny pastel flowers and the ruched sleeves and bodice.
“It has such fairly colours and I really like this inexperienced. It has these puffy sleeves and cinches in on the wrist. That’s so cute.”
“Love the fashionable sq. neckline, too,” Manbeck provides.
After the livestream gross sales occasion, workers accumulate and ship orders, or prepare for patrons to choose up merchandise.
They do the same livestream video, Tuesdays @ 10, at 10 a.m. each Tuesday to evaluate new arrivals.
The movies have been important to the shop’s success via the pandemic, serving to them preserve involved with prospects, who might proceed procuring even when most companies have been closed.
“We obtained on-line every single day and got here up with one thing new,” Sigg stated. “I believe it labored as a result of everybody was dwelling at the moment, and we have been relatable. We obtained the sweetest notes and playing cards from prospects.”
Earlier than the pandemic, the workers may need shipped 10 or so gadgets per week. Now, they promote at the very least that many on-line orders every single day. Sigg estimates about 30% of her enterprise comes from on-line gross sales.
They plan to proceed their on-line efforts, together with the livestream gross sales occasions, and can launch a brand new eCommerce web site in mid-February.
SIGG stated she by no means anticipated to develop into a fashionista.
She had a watch for inside design, however most of her grownup life was targeted on household. She and her husband raised 4 kids.
“I believe I had costly tastes, however not the finances,” she joked. “With 4 youngsters, there wasn’t cash for trend.”
Her daughter opened a retailer in McPherson, promoting fashionable purses, wallets and equipment. She added a line of “blingy T-shirts,” and Sigg promoted the shirts to her family and friends within the Iola space.
Quickly, the designer observed a major improve in gross sales from Iola, Humboldt and Chanute. She requested Sigg to start out promoting, and ultimately, Sigg’s buddies inspired her to open a retailer.
Audacious Boutique first opened in 2011 at 309 W. Lincoln St., now the location of The Protein Place.
After a few years, they moved to 23 E. Madison Ave., within the historic and charming constructing that was as soon as the Iola State Financial institution.
These first few years, Sigg continued to work at Se-Kan Asphalt. She loved the work, and it supplied stability and advantages. Earlier than lengthy, although, her retailer grew to become profitable sufficient for Sigg to depart her job and focus all her efforts on the enterprise.
She employed Manbeck to function her retailer supervisor. Manbeck ran a second location in Pittsburg for a couple of years earlier than returning to the Iola retailer.
WHILE Audacious thrived, different neighboring companies quickly shuttered, together with City & Nation Western Put on, McGinty-Whitworth’s, Occasion Women, and Subtle Rose.
As these companies closed, Audacious started to fill the void by taking up new product traces.
They added a tuxedo rental enterprise, which stunned Sigg by its demand.
Earlier than lengthy, Audacious grew to become an overstuffed maze of stock.
Sigg weighed her choices. She thought of renting a second location for the tuxedo enterprise.
She thought of shopping for the constructing vacated final summer time by Subtle Rose at 19 S. Jefferson, however determined the duty too nice.
When Job Springer purchased the constructing as a substitute, he supplied a part of it as a rental.
Sigg had reservations in regards to the constructing’s aesthetics. As a result of she cherished the allure and historical past of her present web site, she gave Springer an impossibly lengthy record of calls for to renovate the brand new location, pondering it could be a deal-breaker.
As a substitute, Springer and Sigg ended up compromising on the modifications.
The outcome offers off a sure “vintage-meets-boho-meets-industrial” vibe.
A tufted blue velvet sofa and pink velvet bench relaxation in opposition to plaster-and-brick partitions, topped by a golden pressed tin ceiling. Cabinets — some rustic, some industrial — have been constructed regionally. Workers visited native vintage and collectible shops to choose up tables and decor.
The constructing gives a a lot bigger location, permitting merchandise to be higher displayed and divided into two sections. Clothes merchandise are supplied on the south aspect, with present gadgets and tuxedo leases on the north half.
Sigg will provide extra present gadgets than earlier than, notably a child present part and a males’s present part. She’s additionally including expanded sizes in denims, to see if there’s a demand for plus-sized clothes.
The pandemic has made it troublesome to attend clothes markets, which permit her to see and really feel clothes to find out if it could be a very good match for her retailer. The occasions additionally enable her to community with sellers from throughout the nation, from retailers her dimension to main shops. She hopes to return to a gross sales occasion in Atlanta quickly.
“You study developments. You study match. And simply because it’s fashionable doesn’t imply it is going to promote in Iola,” she stated. “This enterprise has been the ‘College of Onerous Knocks’ and trial-and-error. You make errors, however that’s the way you study.”
She additionally offers a whole lot of credit score to her workers, notably Manbeck, and the younger ladies who know the right way to work social media to seek out the shop’s on-line area of interest.
Sigg stated her principle is: “Do what you do greatest, and rent the remaining.”
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