Clothing stores and boutiques adjusting business strategies online during coronavirus pandemic

Local News

KNOXVILLE, Tn (WATE)- “If we didn’t have the website, we would be out completely.”

Sisters and owners of Reap the Sew Boutique Andrea Vaughn and Alex Wrinkle echoing what many store owners with websites are feeling right now amidst uncertain times.

Many local stores across the state not considered essential have had to close their stores due to COVID-19 concerns, solely relying on their websites for business–contingent upon having one.

The Reap the Sew duo are very grateful they launched their website a year ago.

Lisa Burnett, co-owner of Nothing Too Fancy on the same boat.

“We’re really lucky in that we had an online store established for ourselves, so we just kind of pivoted to that as quickly as we could.”

All three local business owners shifting their business strategy to online–relying on their social media accounts and sites to make a profit, each saying they have seen an uptick in online sales after temporarily closing their store fronts.

Nothing Too Fancy, for instance is offering deals to drive people online.

“We started offering ‘daily deals’ as a way to incentivize people to make a purchase daily cause we’re really losing a lot of foot traffic and money that we depend on to stay open,” Burnett says, “So by implanting the daily deals it’s really caused people to check us out on a regular basis not just every now and then.”

Reap the Sew also offering deals online, and implementing curbside pickup three days a week for people living near their location in Powell.

With Easter around the corner, Reap the Sew has been pleasantly surprised with the orders coming through online, as the holiday is typically one of their busiest times.

Vaughn says, “People are still shopping online telling us we’re still going to get up and act like it’s Easter sit in our living room and watch church on TV and we’re still going to get dressed.”

The small business owners commending the community’s continued support, and the support within the small business community.

“Knoxville has always been a great community, especially the downtown area and a lot of small businesses, so we’ve all kind of rallied around each other,” Burnett says, “There’s a lot of social media sharing and pointing people in our direction. Knoxville is just really a great place to be, for something like this to happen.”

All three emphasizing the importance of shopping local.

Wrinkle says, “It is so important for our community and people to still shop with us, and many others like us just because we aren’t corporate backed.”

Vaughn adding, “Theres so many people in our community and surrounding communities that it is just them and their sister, like us, or them and their husband or just them and that’s how they feed their family and provide for them.”

“Keep in mind those people that don’t have a website they’re not earning any money so when they do open back up it will be major to go support those people.”

Providing support in an effort to keep the heart East Tennessee alive.

“Its really important I mean I think small business is kind of the heartbeat of a community and if a lot of us don’t make it out of this the community is going to suffer in the long run,” Burnett reiterates, “I really encourage people instead of going on Amazon, rather going to Walmarts and Targets, to really try to spend your money locally—because every tiny purchase really helps.

If you would like to support local, you can shop on their websites and can find them on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

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