A clothing boutique nestled in Nanaimo’s Old City Quarter is just a mouse click away from customers around the world, thanks to a special invitation.
Sartorial Boutique opened in September 2008 and has grown its customer base and retail space ever since.
Sartorial, at 418 Fitzwilliam St., specializes in boutique designer women’s clothing brands and accessories.
Despite over-the-counter success, Tashe Vitaly, store owner, found breaking into online sales is time-consuming, labour-intensive and generated limited results.
“Facebook, e-mail campaigns and Instagram are all media platforms that we’ve utilized since the beginning,” Vitaly said in an e-mail. “Sometimes sales would come from it, even as far away as Alberta and Saskatchewan. Requests for an online store always come up, but I found the whole idea overwhelming and expensive as it really would be another full-time job – from the gathering of product images, details, shipping, etc.”
In November, Vitaly was contacted by Shoptiques, an online marketplace for independent boutiques, created by Olga Vidisheva in 2013 after she discovered most small boutiques didn’t have an online presence.
Shoptiques provides online marketing, including photographic services, packaging materials, shipping arrangements, offers 24-7 customer service, runs promotions on behalf of its clients and handles e-commerce for 1,500 boutiques. Shoptiques takes a percentage of the sale proceeds for its services and shoppers can buy a bracelet in London, a top in Los Angeles and jeans from Nanaimo with a single transaction.
Shoptiques stores must be visually appealing, ship within 24 hours of order placement, sell high-quality-for-price merchandise and carry full-size ranges of clothing lines they sell. Most applicants are rejected.
“They wanted to interview me, find out about the brands we carry, our demographic target market, how long we’ve been in business, etc., to see if we were a fit,” Vitaly said.
After researching the company, Vitaly accepted the invitation. Sartorial’s online site went live in mid December and the boutique has been shipping products within BC, to Manitoba, Ontario and the U.S.
Vitaly said Shoptiques is cost-effective and the online exposure is moving more product.
“As of right now, our goal is have the online sales pay for the brick-and-mortar store,” Vitaly said. “At this pace it will, however, I have no doubt that online sales will increase, especially as we grow the amount of products offered.”
To view Sartorial’s online site, please visit http://bit.ly/21n4sFW.