How would you describe your store to someone who has never walked in?
1745 is a curated space designed for you to immediately feel comfortable. It starts with the comforting creak of the hardwood floors, the furnishings that feel like home, the music that hearkens back to those carefree days of the past. The boutique is a mix of clothing, jewelry and accessories from new and emerging designers. You will find selections from all of the world yet to be widely distributed in the United States. There are artisanal and organic personal body lines for men and women, unusual gifts that are always engaging and entertaining. In short, you will find a place that caters to you as an individual.
What have you done recently to keep connected with customers that seems to work best?
We have communicated with our customers through email and all social media platforms during this time. The most effective has been live or recorded video over Instagram and Facebook. We are finding that people are hungry to interact with others and live or recorded video allows us to do that with our customers.
What changes have you made to your business operations, merchandising and/or marketing in the last 6 months?
We knew that it was necessary to make all our customers feel comfortable, consequently, we came up with "Shop Your Way" program.
Shop Your Way allows our customers to make private shopping appointments either in person or over Zoom or FaceTime. You may contact us for curbside pickup or shipping. In addition, we took it one step further by requiring face masks to be worn in the store, limiting the amount of people in the store at anytime along with social distancing. This all done before actually mandated. Like so many businesses, we changed to a contactless payment system along with establishing disinfecting and cleaning procedures. In addition we closely monitor the temperatures of our employees. We have made a concerted effort to establish strategic partnerships with brands that share our point of view. Engagement is critical to tapping into the imagination of our customers. We want them to look beyond their everyday and dream about the future they want to live in. If you have a secret yearning to look like a rock star then we are here to cater to that desire. Our merchandising is designed to challenge any preconceived notions of what you thought an item was or how it should be worn. Affordable luxury is the backbone of our business. We continue to look for pieces that our customers can invest in and wear for many years to come. Developing different approaches to social media is key to our marketing efforts going forward. We plan to put more emphasis on video. Remaining visible has never been more important.
For other retailers to hear, what lessons have you learned this year?
We have learned that we must be adaptable. Status quo doesn't exist any longer. We have had to establish several if/then scenarios in order to remain as prepared as you can be in a pandemic for the changes that may come.
Did anything surprise you as you handled being temporarily closed and then got back to business?
The thing that surprised us the most is the customer's investment in our business. People have genuinely wanted to make sure that we succeed, so they have made a point to reach out in many different ways. They are being more selective in how they spend their money and they want it to count.
Looking forward, what is the most important thing you plan to do for holiday traffic and sales?
Increase our online presence. Continue to offer quality and superior design. You want merchandise that will elicit an emotional response, create an atmosphere that will make our customers feel happy and forget their daily woes while they are shopping with us. In other words, bring the happy.