The holidays are quickly approaching and that means small business retailers everywhere are operating full speed ahead. For our business, Eden in Love, it also means we’re nearing the end of our year-long adjustment from a predominantly brick-and-mortar boutique, to one that’s exclusively online. While it wasn’t an easy decision, it felt right, and as we looked toward the future of retail as a whole, it is a necessary transition.
When the pandemic first hit, we quickly made the decision to shut down our physical shops for two months following state guidelines. Of course, we had an endless list of questions: 1) What do we do with the inventory in-store? 2) When do we open doors again? 3) The question on everyone’s mind: when will this pandemic end?
The only thing certain was being in this all together. We put our hands in and began working with some long-time friends to create unique, comfortable and “safe” face masks. We jumped at the idea to collaborate with others to create hand sanitizers that brought our exclusive scents to squeaky, clean, life. Most importantly, we wanted to send a message to our community that while we didn’t have all the answers, we were committed to braving these uncertain times together. Through social media and email, we sent messages of hope and launched our “Aloha Masked Bandits” and “Six Feet Together” collections.
As Black Friday, our biggest annual sale approached, we knew we needed to act fast. Typically our pop-up warehouse sale sees more than a thousand shoppers. 2020 would have to be different. Not knowing what November would bring, we decided to nix the in-person “party” and agreed to put the health and safety of our shoppers and staff first. And so, our journey to pivoting online began.
This year’s Black Friday sale will look a lot like last year’s, except we’ve been gearing up for it all year long.We’re still hosting a massive online sale and are excited about the opportunity to share products we’ve been saving up for the occasion.
We learned so much from our pivot in 2020, like the importance of mask wearing, social distancing, and how important a digital presence is to running a small business. Now that we know better, we can do better. We spent the last year sourcing more “shippable, giftable products”; we trained our team to pull, pack and ship orders with accuracy and efficiency; and we’ve loaded up with practical yet cute clothing and accessories.
As we close our physical storefronts, we’re excited to serve a larger, global audience; grow our product line; and dive deeper into collaborations. Our strong following on Instagram allowed us to take a giant leap toward focusing on our digital reach. We’ve invested in more targeted ads and started using Instagram’s Shop tool to make it easier for our customers to support our small, but mighty business. These digital tools enable us to share our story.
We dared to take the leap into online business, and many other businesses around the globe are considering taking similar steps. As we enter another holiday season amid the pandemic, small business owners should remember to utilize the free digital tools at their fingertips. For us, the power of going digital, combined with our loyal customer base, allows us to now try new things, take on new adventures and to have the capacity to enjoy all that life has to offer.
Tanna Dang is owner and Alyssa Han is creative director of Eden in Love, an online boutique based out of Honolulu.
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