Following extensive renovations, three-storied boutique properties located in downtown Lenox are reopening together as part of The Lenox Collection, a newly reimagined family of inns connected by their deep historical roots in the town and elevated contextual design. As part of the reopening is Ophelia’s, a 66-seat restaurant and bar offering farm-to-table comfort food in an intimate indoor-outdoor setting, with locally sourced ingredients and a curated cocktail list. New York-based firm 388 Ventures acquired the properties in 2021 and brought on an independent hotel management company, Life House, to lead design and branding, as well as oversee all hotel and F&B operations leveraging their tech-enabled management platform.
“We’re pleased to announce the launch of The Lenox Collection, with a design language that pays homage to each property’s history while catering directly to the clientele visiting the increasingly popular four-season destination that the Berkshires have become. With Ophelia’s reopening right downtown, we’re excited to be a mainstay in the already impressive Lenox culinary scene,” says Russell Lange, partner at 388 Ventures.
At the heart of the collection is the Whitlock – formally The Church Street Inn – built-in 1771 by John Whitlock, a local farmer who turned his two-room farmhouse into an inn for stagecoach travelers. The property now takes cues from its natural surroundings with a rustic and warm feel reminiscent of its farmhouse origins. The Whitlock’s bar and restaurant, Ophelia’s, pays homage to the ingredients and labors of the hotel’s namesake. With locally-inspired farm-to-table cuisine with dishes featuring herbs & garnishes from local purveyors, Ophelia’s is already becoming a favorite among locals, guests, and downtown bypassers.
Located in the historic center of town is The Constance – formally the Rookwood Inn – which was built in 1825 as The Williams Tavern. In the 1880s it was purchased by Frederick Constance Peters, a businessman from England, who turned the property into ancillary lodging for owners of Lenox’s famed Gilded Age estates. The inn has been completely reimagined with an extensive renovation to restore and enhance the elegant charm and whimsical character of the storied property with the benefit of modern guest amenities.
On the north side of town is The Dewey – formally the Birchwood Inn – which was originally built by Israel Dewey, a founding member of Lenox’s Continental Congress Committee when the town was incorporated in 1767. Over the years, the site has taken on many lives, owned by various influential figures in the Berkshires. Today, the newly-reappointed inn carries on its rich tradition of hospitality with elevated guest room interiors and stately common areas.
“We are thrilled to reintroduce The Lenox Collection as the Berkshire hospitality landscape continues to mature,” says Bryan Dunn, Managing Director and Head of Growth at Life House. “In the past year alone, the market has seen luxury lifestyle brand Miraval open their first East Coast property, world-renowned designer Ken Fulk acquire the Blantyre, and Life House breathes new life into the Wheatleigh, a Leading Hotels of World property. The Lenox Collection delivers a locally-rooted boutique experience at a more accessible price point than these Five Star luxury hotels, catering to a large and diverse audience that is currently underserved by existing options in the market.”
Life House is a vertically integrated hotel software & operations platform focused on increasing profitability and reliability for independent hoteliers. Life House was founded in 2017 as one of the only vertically integrated asset-light hotel companies backed by institutional venture and private equity investors. The company is ambitiously investing in operational systems to make it far more profitable, predictable, and seamless for owners while making the guest experience more reliable for travelers. Today the company has nearly 60 hotels in its portfolio across North America.
Innovation, Made in Italy and the Japanese culture meet in the new Dolce&Gabbana x Jujutsu Kaisen Special Collection, creating new synergies between art and style.
The Jujutsu Kaisen universe, which became highly popular in Japanese culture, has inspired Dolce&Gabbana in the creation of a new – yet coherent with the brand’s DNA – Special Collection. Dolce&Gabbana’s vision meets the Japanese creative universe, from the Mix&Match to the street style aesthetics of many vibrant and contemporary districts of Tokyo, among which Shibuya and Harajuku. The seemingly distant creative universes of sartorial excellence and pop culture, intertwine uniquely in this Collection, introducing a new form of beauty. Symbols and stylistic elements, that can be traced back to the identities of the various characters, are translated into garments and accessories with a strong personality.
The Collection introduces a special no gender aesthetic: cotton and jersey T-shirts and sweatshirts are combined with nylon jackets. All personalized with screen printing, digital 3D prints and ideograms, symbols of the Japanese universe. All these elements create tactile games and a three-dimensional thickness. The art of anime and the innovative spirit of the younger generations talk with the Italian manufacturing tradition.
The Collection creates new links between fashion and art, culture and lifestyle. The Dolce&Gabbana x Jujutsu Kaisen Special Collection will be available in selected boutiques in Japan starting end of April.
Art of Pure, a curator of clean beauty grounded in purity and sustainability, will open its first retail storefront this November. The new boutique, located at 958 W Armitage Ave. will offer a handpicked selection of local and internationally sourced skincare, makeup, haircare, modern wellness, personal care products, and eco-friendly home goods. Nurturing beauty, body, and wellness through truly natural, pure and potent products, Art of Pure ensures products are responsibly sourced, ethically produced, have a minimal environmental impact, and provide social good, while being free of any harmful ingredients. Art of Pure invites shoppers and the beauty community at large to access trusted and classic brands all while discovering unfamiliar gems.
“At Art of Pure, we are on a mission to prove that beauty can be synonymous with sustainability,” said Monika Joshi, founder and CEO of Art of Pure. “For years I have envisioned a store where green beauty lovers can shop without worrying about the ingredients, and I am thrilled to be able to share that vision with the community.”
Joshi, a former investment banker and mother, felt an urge to enter the beauty industry after spending countless hours researching skincare ingredients in an effort to understand her daughter’s eczema as well as her own issues with sensitive skin. Joshi became an expert in the field and decided to share her knowledge and product recommendations by launching the Art of Pure e-commerce store in 2017.
Art of Pure promises to bring safe, non-toxic, and entirely green solutions to customers through brands that seek to promote a health and wellness forward lifestyle. The new boutique will boast 1,000 square feet of space and serve as a physical extension of the online store, featuring products with high-performing, plant-based ingredients and actives. The store will carry all existing lines and categories along with new product lines including feminine wellness, environmentally friendly home goods, and gifts. As the focus is on sustainability, the store will include a soap and lotion refilling station. Customers will also be able to book a clean makeup application session with a professional makeup artist or a clean swap consultation. Additionally, Art of Pure will host wellness events, panels + discussions, and mini markets, all while helping foster community and dialogue. A mask bar will be offered at the store in the coming months as well.
Health and safety standards are uncompromising for Art of Pure. Ensuring transparency and thoughtful sourcing, Art of Pure tests every item, ingredient, and brand for performance and potency. Building on a foundation of growth and discovery, Art of Pure continues to learn and expand its knowledge base within the cosmetics industry, focused on continued research, thoughtful partnerships, and expanded knowledge.
Nordelaia – a new masterpiece by the award-winning design studio These White Walls
A marriage between rustic and luxe deep in the heart of Piedmont
Independent boutique hotel Nordelaia, situated in the UNESCO world heritage site of Montferrat, showcases design spearheaded by These White Walls. The 12 room estate, set in an 800-year-old farmhouse, was respectfully reinvented by British design studio These White Walls – best known for the multi-award-winning interiors of HIDE restaurant in Mayfair, London.
Our design for Nordelaia is centred around wellbeing and escapism; the aim being to create a holistic and nurturing environment in which guests can relax, switch off and connect – not only with each other – but also with the stunning landscape that surrounds them”, – says Rose Murray, Founder of These White Walls. We define this design as ‘rustic-luxe’, where rest and reconnection with nature go hand-in-hand with cultivated indulgence. Designers decided to maintain most of the old building’s original rustic appearance, trying to maintain a balance between rich cultural history and modern luxury. This union between the old and the new, the rustic and the lux, is what sets this project apart and makes it feel truly special – Rose notes.
These White Walls have carefully planned the concept of the rooms, embodying the philosophy of freedom in it. Some bedrooms have two wardrobes and two workspaces, symmetrically positioned opposite each other, as a reminder that we are all independent individuals connected by a common experience. The idea of solitude and reconnection with nature continues with the absence of TVs – thus Nordelaia invites guests to enjoy the digital detox that is so necessary in the modern world.
Following the aim to save connection with the authentic look of the estate and its history, designers chose textures and materials for the rooms that are in harmony with the unique atmosphere of the place. Surrounded by ornamental green spaces that extend from the guests’ own terraces, the ground floor Garden rooms feature textured materials, including rustic woods, natural stone burnished metals, and wrought iron. These sit in contrast to the Legacy rooms on the second floor that feature a more dramatic feel with luxurious materials such as velvet and brass. Tucked away at the top of the building are the cozy and wonderfully private Attico rooms. Much of the furniture is bespoke, created by local artisans with some key pieces and fittings from notable Italian designers.
The design of the restaurants is also inspired by their surroundings: the ground floor reflects bonds between earth and nature, revealed in deep shades of green and a palette reminiscent of soil and roots. In contrast, the first-floor restaurant is a reference to a blooming garden, embodied in shades of pink and peach.
Every element of the hotel’s design is crafted with thoughtful attention and symbolism. The kitchen counter is decorated with laser-cut brass detailed with the image of a dandelion blowing seeds into the wind. Designers also decided to add laser-cut insects to the light fitting as a reference to the emergence and spread of new ideas into the world. Such a concept echoes Nordelaia’s dining concept: Michelin starred chef Andrea Ribaldone and the resident chef Charles Pearce aim to respect local culinary traditions while simultaneously pushing boundaries and inviting guests to a gastronomic journey with brave experiments.
Nordelaia sees in nature not only inspiration but also a healing power: the hotel’s swimming pool offers incredible views of Montferrat Valley. At the spa facilities – one of a kind in the region – guests will be able to enjoy privacy and peaceful tranquillity with hammam, sauna and Kneipp pool, as well as yoga and gym spaces.
With easy access from Milan, Genoa and Turin, this 12-room hotel is set among five hectares of agricultural land. The hotel, respectfully built around a farmhouse dating back to the year 800, has been restored in full respect of the building’s historical elements, and to create a direct connection to the local nature and terroir. A striking new three-tier structure houses the hotel’s restaurant, bar and events space. In addition to the out door pool, the property includes 450 m2 spa area, overlooking both the valley below and Cremolino castle, featuring wet and dry facilities, treatments rooms. A hammam, sauna, Kneipp pool and light sensory herb room make up the wet area. There is also a yoga room and NOHrD equipped gym.
About These White Walls
These White Walls is a multi-award-winning luxury-led and concept-driven interior design studio based in London. Founded in 2017 by Rose Murray, the studio is recognised for its blank canvas approach to creativity that results in unique and beautifully crafted interiors. The studio creates bespoke interiors for the high-end hospitality and residential sectors as well as private clients and commercial brands. Previous projects include the renowned HIDE restaurant in Mayfair, London.
“I always pictured myself as a businessman in retail or fashion … Besides feeding my sweet design tooth, I enjoy developing ideas and working with others to help them achieve their dreams.”
Armon Hayes is a Creative Director for 360 Magazine and AOHSOA. Armon’s innovative eye for detail allows him to create long-lasting partnerships with clientele as he assists them in both their brand development and growth.
He offers an array of client services: wardrobe styling; custom and digital merchandising; brand management as well as campaign development.
Evesome’s Fall/Winter 2021 2022 collection features eye-catching decorations that are sure to compliment any space. The French boutique brand is designed in Paris and produced by artisans with an eye for detail. This lavish company invites luxury into your life with their newest look book. The colorful collection of both home goods and accessories makes for a vibrant, boho chic home display.
When entertaining, guests are sure to love lounging with Evesome’s ornamental tweed pillow. Dress up for the occasion with an elegant tweed coat, fuschia pink wrap scarf, or stylish pom-pom beanie. For everyday use, the company’s versatile totes and clutches are perfect for easy transport. To view all of Evesome’s products, please visit their website.
Viridian Bay Coastal Decor
Viridian Bay, an online home and garden decor company, celebrates coastal decor trends below that will give your home that beachy vibe. From candleholders and lanterns, to wind chimes and torches, there are so many ocean-themed decor options for both indoors and out. These laid-back, summertime interior design options will transform your home into an oceanic oasis.
Viridian Bay offers coastal creatures décor, featuring different creatures from the sea including octopuses, fish, sea urchins and starfish. The home and garden company also has ocean-themed lighting décor, such as a sandpiper lantern and seashell oil torches are a perfect way to add a soft glow to your outdoor living space. Not only sea-themed, but also useful and practical home details, try a pair of flip flop beach towel hooks, floating jellyfish bookends, or a shell-inspired hose holder.
Customer Service Tips Every Boutique Retailer Should Try
By: Joseph Heller, small businesses expert and CEO of Supplied!
Supplied makes it easier for small boutique owners around the world to access high-quality, affordable wholesale boutique items, whether to stock their physical store or IG shop.
Do you remember the last time you had a truly fantastic customer service experience?
Maybe a cashier complimented your earrings, or maybe the person at the drive-thru unexpectedly threw an extra taco in for free. Or maybe you were just really vibin’ with the enthusiasm you could hear at the other end of the customer support line. Whatever it was, chances are it made you more excited to return and support that company with your business in the future.
Now… think back to the last time you had an awful customer service experience.
Was someone being unnecessarily difficult while you were trying to return a sweater, you’d bought a week ago? Or did someone leave you on hold for hours and hours? Or maybe someone just would NOT honor your coupon, even though you received it in an email yesterday?
Whatever that bad experience was… I’d be willing to bet it made you a whole lot less likely to go back anytime soon.
As Vince Lombardi famously said, “It takes months to find a customer and seconds to lose one.” One poor customer service experience could cause you to lose all of a valuable customer’s future business.
If you haven’t been making great customer service a major priority in your boutique lately, now is the time to change that.
Read on to learn 25 powerful (but easy!) customer service tips every retailer should try implementing in their business.
(If you’ve hired someone else as the main customer service rep for your boutique business, send this article along to them as a reminder!)
Top 25 Customer Service Tips
Focus on the customer in front of you
As a boutique owner, you’ve constantly got about a zillion and one thing that need your time and attention. But when it’s a customer you’re dealing with, zero in on them and their needs. Nobody likes feeling unimportant – make sure you give them your undivided attention while they’re talking to you, whether it’s over the phone, in person, or in your site’s live chat.
Chances are, you’ve been in the exact same situation your customer’s in right now – whether they’re trying to figure out what size shoe to purchase or they’re trying to initiate a return for something that didn’t turn out the way they’d hoped. Do your best to see the situation from their perspective. You’ll be able to provide a better customer experience if you’re in touch with their needs and emotions.
Make an extra effort
Work tirelessly to solve your customer’s problems. If a customer wants a certain size that’s out of stock, double-check your inventory, let them know when they can expect that item to come back, offer them alternatives, or give them a discount code for their trouble. Your customers will appreciate you going the extra mile for them.
Customer service isn’t just about making your customer feel valued while you’re speaking to them – it’s also about providing a great all-around customer experience. Do a quick audit of your website and make sure it’s user-friendly. Is it easy to check out? Browse new arrivals? Search for specific items? Purchase using the payment method they prefer? If not, set aside some time to make some adjustments.
Identify their needs
There might be all sorts of things you could be doing to provide a better customer experience that you don’t even realize yet. Put together a short survey to send out to your customers about the checkout process and their past customer service experiences. It’ll show you what’s going well and what you could improve.
Use their name
Simple, but effective. Whenever a customer reaches out to you, take note of their name and use it. It’ll give your communications a more personal touch. (Don’t forget to introduce yourself by name, too!) Bonus points if you remember other personal details about them for next time.
Yes, even if you’re not talking to the customer in person! Make an effort to be friendly and positive, even if you’re just sitting at your desk at home – you can totally hear a smile through the phone, and it makes a difference.
If you could spend $5 to secure a customer who’s loyal to you for life… would you do it? Sometimes, that’s all it takes. When a customer reaches out to you, your priority is to make them happy – offering free shipping or accepting a late return can do just the trick. And that’s not just common sense – research shows that accepting someone’s generosity makes you feel indebted to them, which can translate to return business.
Don’t say “I don’t know”
Sure, you’re not gonna immediately have the answers to every single one of your customers’ questions… but it’s kinda your job to know. So, when you tell a customer “I don’t know,” what they hear is “I don’t care.” Not exactly the message you’d like to get across when you’re on the phone with a customer! Practice saying “Let me check on that for you” instead.
Acknowledging your customer’s birthdays is a surefire way to make them feel valued and appreciated. Ask your customers for your birthday as they sign up for your mailing list, then send them an email with a promo code for a free gift or a discount right before their special day.
Be clear about your policies
Your customers aren’t mind-readers – if you don’t let them know, they have no idea about how long shipping should take, where you ship to, or under what circumstances you accept returns. Be sure your shipping and returns policies are clearly stated on your website to avoid confusion. It’ll answer some questions before they’re ever even asked!
Honor your promises
Your customers need to know that they can trust your boutique to deliver the value it promises. Stick to the shipping and return policies you have listed on your website (unless you choose to go above and beyond them, of course!) Honor coupons and discount codes for as long as you said you would. Post any giveaway winners publicly in your stories. Trust is key!
Acknowledge frequent customers…
Let your return customers know how much you appreciate them! Whether you throw a quick handwritten thank-you note into their next order or you offer a discount code that’s good for their next purchase, it’ll definitely make them want to keep coming back.
But make sure new customers feel the love, too!
It’s a big leap to order from a company you’ve never purchased anything from before – make sure new customers feel super welcome. Acknowledge new customers by offering free shipping on their first order, sending a promo code when they sign up for your mailing list, or even sending a quick thank-you email for taking a chance on your shop.
Running a business is tough, and sometimes extenuating circumstances make it even tougher. Be open with your customers about the hurdles you’re currently going through, especially if it will affect shipping times or restock dates.
We all make mistakes – especially when we’re doing huge, crazy difficult things like running a business. If you’ve made a mistake on a customer’s order, own your error, sincerely apologize, and do whatever it takes to make things right. It’s much more professional than shrugging off responsibility or blaming someone else. (Bonus points if you reach out and own up to it before the customer even notices!)
Make it easy to get in touch
Have you ever sent an email to a company’s customer service team… and then never heard anything back? Yeah, that’s the worst. Don’t be that company. Let your customers know the best way to reach you, whether it’s through Instagram DMs, email, or over the phone. If you want to go the extra mile, include a live chat feature on your website that’s available 24/7. (Also, word of advice: if you have a contact form on your website, make sure to check it every so often!)
Offer self-help customer service
If your customers can find their own answers to their questions, it makes their lives easier AND your life easier. Include a comprehensive FAQ page on your website that answers common questions about shipping, sales, returns, and more. For more complicated questions, you might want to write up an entire blog post to give your customers more information. Just be sure your customers still know that they can reach out to you with any questions they can’t find the answers to.
Plan for the holidays
Here’s a hot tip: over the holidays, things get BUSY. Even if you usually don’t have very many people blowing up your inbox about shipping questions, there’s a very good chance you will during the holidays. Make sure you’re prepared with multiple customer service reps helping respond to questions (if need be) and detailed holiday shipping info displayed on your website and social media pages.
Make it a goal to respond to all customer emails within 48 hours whenever possible. No matter how busy you are, customers want to feel like their concerns and questions are a top priority. As for Instagram DMs, Facebook messages, and comments, try and get in a habit of responding to those right when you see them. (Your customers will like that and so will the algorithm!)
Hire the right people
If you’ve only recently opened your boutique business, you might be the only person your customers ever interact with. But as you grow and add more people to your team, make sure they’re people who are kind, friendly, and pleasant to interact with. Nobody’s perfect, but a positive attitude can make all the difference.
Pretend you’re at the dinner table with your strict aunt – say lots of pleases and thank yous. Not only is it common courtesy, but it’s also good business. It’ll also help you still sound friendly and polite even when you’re communicating via messenger or text.
Set clear expectations
Sorry, but you’re not superwoman. When your customers approach you asking when they can buy an item you aren’t planning on restocking, or when they ask if you can make sure the package, they just ordered gets to them by tomorrow, sometimes you just can’t give them the answer they were hoping for. Be realistic in your responses and don’t make promises you can’t keep. Setting clear expectations is also helpful in responding to emails – sending an automated email letting a customer know when they can expect a response is also helpful, even if they were initially hoping for a reply right away.
There isn’t a robot at the other end of all of those incoming customer emails – it’s bright, bubbly, sparkly you! Don’t be afraid to infuse your communications with your genuine personality. Strike up a conversation with a customer on the phone, ask about their day, say “top of the morning to ya” instead of “hello” when you feel like it. It’ll help forge a relationship with your customers!
Have you ever asked a waiter what you should order, only for them to respond, “I love everything on the menu equally!” Yeah, that’s not helpful – don’t be like that guy. When your customers ask for your opinion, politely give it. You’re the real expert on the products you carry – use your insider knowledge to guide your customers to the right decision for them.
Are you about to enter the challenging but very exciting world of fashion school? Are you prepared for what’s ahead as you embark on your design studies? Do you know what to expect during the first year? Don’t worry if not, as we’re about to share some important advice that every fashion student should know.
Fashion School Is Expensive
The cost of going to college is not cheap. You need to pay fees and you need to have enough money to live comfortably. You don’t want to be scraping by – you want to enjoy your college years and make lifelong memories with the new people in your life. Looking into ways that will give you a bit more breathing room financially is always a good move.
Is it possible to take on a part time job at the weekends so you have extra cash? Can you refinance your existing student loan with a private lender so you’re left with one monthly repayment? By doing so, you can choose your payment and term and enjoy more flexibility with your monthly cash flow. Have you talked to your parents about how they could help you out? There are lots of options available to make the burden of paying for fashion school a lot more bearable.
Always Think About Your Portfolio
It’s a good idea to treat every project you complete like it will be part of your final portfolio. Not only will you do your absolute best to produce the best work you can but you’ll also be extra focused and motivated when it comes to meeting deadlines. Follow this simple advice and you’ll leave college with top grades and a huge selection of work samples.
Stay Up to Date with Trends
Fashion school and keeping on top of new trends go hand in hand. If you really want to excel, don’t be the fashion designer who waits for new trends to arrive before jumping on the bandwagon. Why not be the person who stays ahead of trends – the person who knows what’s coming before everyone else does? The secret to staying ahead is keeping informed. Watch – or attend – fashion week if possible. Follow big stylists on social media. Check your local high-end boutiques for new collections. Spend your spare time studying celebrity stylists. These are all ways to keep your finger on the pulse of new and upcoming trends.
Learn How to Sew
Do you know how to sew? If not, it’s time to learn. Great fashion designers learn how to sew early on in their careers so they can understand the different fabrics and get used to working with a wide range of threads and materials. To be successful, it’s important to understand the construction of clothing and what’s involved in making a beautiful garment.
Fashion school has not escaped the advancements of technology. It’s now essential for students to understand the different fashion design software platforms that are changing the way designers work. What do you need to focus on in terms of technology? You need to get familiar with 3D printing so you can create 3D models of your designs before production starts. You also need to gain expertise in body scanning, smart tailoring and the world of augmented reality.
Love is in the air, gals… Valentine’s Day is almost here! If you’re new to owning an online boutique and this is the first Valentine’s Day you’ll be celebrating as a small business owner, the approach of February 14th might have you mainly thinking about what you’ll get for your significant other and (maybe even more so) what he or she will get for you. Or maybe you typically spend Valentine’s Day with your best single gal pals, eating chocolate and exchanging gifts.
But Valentine’s Day isn’t all about love, romance, and cheesy cards. No matter how big or small your eCommerce business is, it can be a day that drives sales like no other – especially if you sell clothing, jewelry, or other gifts. In fact, it rivals only Christmas in consumer spending. If you play your cards right, the days surrounding Valentine’s Day could make up one of your best sales weeks of all time.
Of course, competing with major retailers isn’t easy, least of all on Valentine’s Day. Stores all over the country are spending thousands of dollars on Valentine’s marketing, trying to get people to buy their gifts from them. Sure, you could have an incredible selection of Valentine’s gifts and accessories, available for great prices – but if nobody knows about your shop, it won’t do you any good in the end.
If you’re going to drive both new and existing customers to your shop for their Valentine’s shopping, you’ve got to get creative about your Valentine’s Day marketing. Read on to learn 15 affordable Valentine’s Day marketing ideas for your boutique – and why you really should care to do something special for this holiday in the first place.
Valentine’s Day and eCommerce
The numbers are clear – Americans spend a whole lot of dough on Valentine’s Day. The average American celebrating Valentine’s Day spent $196.31 on Valentine’s Day in 2020, adding up to a total of $27.4 billion spent on the holiday in 2020. Trends show that number only heading upwards – 2020 spending was up 32% from 2019.
32% buy Valentine’s Day gifts from discount stores.
Men spend nearly three times as much as women on Valentine’s Day.
$5.8B was spent on Valentine’s Day jewelry
$4.3B was spent on a Valentine’s Day night out
$2.4B was spent on Valentine’s Day chocolate
$2.3B was spent on flowers
$2B was spent on Valentine’s Day gift cards
$1.3B was spent on Valentine’s Day greeting cards
45% of adults didn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day
15% of Americans buy themselves a present on Valentine’s Day
Americans spend an average of $12.21 on Valentine’s Day gifts for their pets
With all of that shopping and spending going on during the Valentine’s Day season, you’ll want to make sure your business ends up with even a small sliver of that massive pie. Running holiday-themed campaigns and upping your marketing efforts leading up to Valentine’s Day will help you keep your boutique fresh in people’s minds and increase the chances that they go straight to you once it’s time to shop for their Valentine’s Day gifts.
15 Valentine’s Day Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses
Don’t have a huge marketing budget? No problem – with time, effort, and the right direction, you can still get your boutique’s awesome Valentine’s Day gifts and products in front of the right people. Here are 15 Valentine’s Day marketing ideas for small businesses that you can implement for little or no money.
Send a themed email marketing campaign
Instead of generic email newsletters or sale messages, send a themed Valentine’s Day email that’s all about love, friendship, and gift-giving. Drive your audience to your website with gift suggestions and fun Valentine’s-themed wordplay. (You know… “love is in the air,” “we will always love you,” “gifts with heart,” etc!) For more tips on how to use email marketing to grow your boutique, click here.
Host a contest
Embrace the holiday and host a fun couples contest or giveaway on your boutique’s social media page. Don’t be afraid to get creative! Have participants recreate a photo, do a challenge, coordinate an outfit together using a piece from your shop – whatever sounds like a good time. Then, have your audience vote for their favorite entrant on Valentine’s Day. (No need to exclude single people from this one – you could welcome entries from couples, BFFs, family members, etc.)
Run “couples” deals
How do you make a BOGO deal more festive? Call it a couples deal, or a two for one deal! Choose a selection of Valentine’s Day items that you’ll put on sale, whether it’s chocolates, earrings, or pink scrunchies. Encourage them to gift the extra item to their significant other, give one to their BFF for Galentine’s Day, or just keep it for themselves as a token of your love for them!
Partner with another small business
Community over competition, right ladies? Partner with a local business and share the love. It could be another online boutique or a local business that doesn’t directly compete with yours but has a similar clientele, like a florist or a nail salon. Offer a combined Valentine’s Day gift package of your products/services and theirs. This is an especially great idea if you have a strong local presence (or if you’re interested in making it stronger!)
Celebrate Galentine’s Day
Don’t sleep on Galentine’s Day! Coined by Leslie Knope from the TV show Parks and Recreation, Galentine’s Day is a day reserved for celebrating female friendships. It takes place the day before Valentine’s Day, February 13th. To celebrate, bundle a few of your most popular items offer curated gift packages that’d be perfect to gift to a best friend. You could also offer a discount when they multiple of the same item to gift to their friends.
Have a V-Day themed photoshoot
Create some fun Valentine’s Day photos to post on your social media accounts leading up to the big day. You could take photos of couples wearing your clothing, flat lays of all of the red and pink items you carry, or outfit inspo photos against a red or a pink backdrop.
Create a Valentine’s Day gift guide
You and I both know how hard it can be to shop for people – especially your significant other. Make the whole V-day shopping experience a little less stressful by putting together a list of gift ideas and sharing it on your company blog.
No need to have every single item come from just your shop – in fact, it might be more helpful and comprehensive if you scour other local or small boutiques as well and feature their products in your guide. (It’s a great way to open the door to new networking relationships, too!) If you’re feeling up to it, you could create multiple gift guides with different people in mind – for her, for him, for mom, for Galentine’s Day, for your pet, etc.
Send a card
Everyone loves getting mail! Send your past and present customers a real-life Valentine via snail mail. No need to be salesy – the point of this is to show your customers how much you appreciate them and that you’re even thinking about them on the day dedicated to love. Include a coupon to be used in-store or a unique promo code to thank them for showing you and your store love throughout the years.
Share the love
Turn your social media into even more of a community. Invite your audience to share their love stories with you, whether through DMs or by using a certain hashtag in their posts. You can make this as sappy or spicy as you want to – feel free to mix things up a bit by also asking people to send you their worst or funniest dating stories as well! Once you’ve compiled submissions, feature your favorites in your stories. It’ll keep the rest of your audience engaged and help participants feel even more involved in your brand.
Show the love locally
Valentine’s Day is all about sharing the love. What better way to do that than by giving back to the people who need it most? Celebrate Valentine’s Day by hosting a service project, donating products from your store to a local organization, or pledging to donate a certain percentage of your profits in the weeks surrounding Valentine’s Day.
Make sure to advertise this throughout your social channels and your website so your customers know how much good their purchases are doing. Not only will you be able to make a real difference in your community, but you’ll also be able to involve your customers in your charity work.
Highlight date night outfits
People don’t just spend money on gifts during the Valentine’s Day season. They also spend money on themselves, buying clothing, lingerie, date night jewelry, and more. Put together a few fabulous Valentine’s Day outfits using products from your boutique and share a few outfit inspo photos on social media. Be sure to group those products together on your website so your customers can easily purchase everything they need to recreate the outfit.
Don’t alienate single people
For people who aren’t currently in a relationship, Valentine’s Day feels a whole lot more like Singles Awareness Day. Why not go out of your way to show them a little love, too? Don’t leave single people out of all the Valentine’s Day fun – consider running some sort of promo just for them. Run a sale on self-care items that make treat yo’ self gifts, like bath bombs, jade rollers, and (of course) chocolate. You could do this in conjunction with your regular Valentine’s Day promotions or the week before.
Be clear about shipping deadlines
Some people plan ahead of every holiday and finish their gift-shopping weeks in advance – but most people tend to be last-minute Valentine’s Day shoppers. Of course, placing a last-minute order from your online boutique on February 13th probably isn’t going to work out for them. Add a banner to your site reminding shoppers of the Valentine’s Day delivery deadline. Be clear and realistic about shipping cutoffs to receive items by Valentine’s Day. Encourage people to buy early, especially with COVID-related shipping delays making package deliveries even more unreliable than usual.
Make a Valentine’s Day video
When it comes to commanding your audience’s attention, video is one of the very most effective marketing tools out there. Rather than just snapping a few photos of your new Valentine’s Day products, create a video showcasing your favorite Valentine’s Day outfits or gift ideas. You could create a short-form vertical video using IG reels or TikTok, or share a longer informative video on YouTube, Facebook, or IGTV.
Host a Giveaway
Spread the love with an exciting giveaway. Partner with other small businesses in your community or your niche to give something away. It could be a romantic couple’s getaway with flowers, a hotel stay, and a new outfit, a date-night-in package with a dress, a romantic candle, chocolates, and a voucher for fancy takeout, or an epic Valentine’s Day shopping spree. Just make sure it’s somewhat Valentine’s Day related, whether with what you’re giving away, how you enter, or even just with the images and language you use to introduce it.
While implementing these Valentine’s Day marketing ideas might take some serious thought and strategizing, with a little effort they can pay off in a big way.
DIVINE TOURS LAUNCHES COUTURISTA TRAVEL TO PROVIDE LUXURY, FASHION-FOCUSED TRAVEL EXPERIENCES
Now Booking its First Tour: A Curated Visit to Tuscany in April 2019
Since 1996, DiVine Tours has been providing innovative luxury travel excursions throughout Italy. This spring, DiVine Tours will launch their newest extension: Couturista Travel – a travel experience personalized for connoisseurs of high-end fashion, gourmet cuisine, and luxury lifestyle. Couturista Travel is now booking for its April fashion-focused journey through Tuscany, followed by trips to Miami and Mexico later in the year.
The inaugural trip, entitled Tuscany Couture, includes stays in luxury fashion inspired hotels such as the Ferragamo-owned Gallery Art Hotel, exclusive vineyard tours, and VIP access and discounts at the world’s leading fashion retailers. Travelers will enjoy once-in-a-lifetime, exclusive, curated access to shops including Prada, Gucci, Armani, Ferragamo, Emilio Pucci, Sergio Rossi, Cavalli, Dolce & Gabbana, and many more.
Couturistas will begin their nine-day-long escape in Florence on April 6th, 2019 with a reception and welcome dinner. The following day will include an intimate inside look into the history of Italian Fashion, then & now, via private tours through the culture rich UNESCO City. Expert guides will then transport guests back to the 18th century via the Pitti Palace Costume Gallery, featuring rich collections that represent the evolution of fashion for didactic purposes.
The historical experiences will also include a visit to the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum. Dedicated to the life and work of the famed Italian shoe designer, the museum contains over 10,000 models of shoes and a variety of exhibits dedicated to the life and work of Ferragamo from the 1920’s until his death in 1960.
In addition to visits to Italy’s top historical fashion destinations and some of the most sophisticated shopping in the world, the Tuscany Couture trip includes visits to local artisan’s workshops, private trunk shows, dining at Florence’s most revered restaurants and guided visits to the iconic sites in historical cities throughout the Tuscan region.
“Tuscany Couture is the ideal vacation framed by the magic and elegance of Florence. Suited for the curious shopper or the fashion-savvy, a group of friends seeking the ultimate getaway, or even the mother-daughter duo looking for a bonding retreat,” said Myriam Angulo, co-founder of Couturista Travel. “There is so much to see in Florence and Chianti besides the traditional visits to see renowned art and wine tastings. Couturista organizers use their personal knowledge and intimate relationships to open the doors to artisan shoemakers, pop-up shops, flagship stores and everything in between. Tuscany Couture is the perfect trip for the inquisitive, divine traveler.”
Tuscany Couture’s $6,999 pp fee includes the complete land program with transportation, deluxe hotel accommodations, English-speaking guides, daily breakfast buffets, welcome and farewell dinners, shopping tours, museum entrances, winery visits, and many more activities for travelers looking to do it all.
With some days planned out and others that allow Couturistas to explore suggested sites on their own, each traveler has the ability to mold their vacation to fit their every want and desire. There are also unique extension options for those who want to extend their stay in Italy with opportunities to spend three additional days in the North or South of Florence.
Following the trip to Tuscany, Couturista Travel will offer innovative programs in the Magic City that is Miami with two distinct themes: Exploration of Art and Curated Shopping; as well as an opportunity to explore and shop Mexico later in the year.
About DiVine Tours & Couturista Travel
DiVine Tours is a boutique tour operation specializing in exclusive Wine Tours, and Gourmet Programs in Italy since 1996. Most recently, they have branched out to develop COUTURISTA TRAVEL, which offers new Curated Fashion Shopping Experiences in famous locations as well as in new, undiscovered destinations. Originally based out of Chianti, Italy, director and owner Myriam Angulo has come back home to Miami, Florida and is determined to bring couture lifestyle back to the tour industry.
Couturista Travel is now accepting reservations for Tuscany Couture taking place on April 6th – 14th.
For booking information, visit www.couturistatravel.com or contact firstname.lastname@example.org / 1-877-COUTRVL (1-877-268-8785)
email@example.com box 361566los angeles, ca 90036+12138411841