Not be allowed to have customers visit their store, the owners of Lousje and Bean in St. Catharines turned to social media channels like YouTube to stay in front of customers. Supplied photo.
There’s no question that the global pandemic has hammered business owners but thankfully some have managed to not just survive but thrive. The popularity of online shopping continues to rise while the bricks and mortar retail shops were closed to patrons. Shoppers, now more than ever, are searching the internet for clothes and other items from online stores. While some Niagara businesses have resorted to curbside pickup, others are using their online presence to market their items and sell their products using home delivery.
One such store is Lousje and Bean boutique located on Welland Avenue in St. Catharines. Daughter Tessa Oort and her mother Lous Oort sell women’s clothing, accessories and now face masks on their website. Throughout the pandemic, the business has been thriving with both online and pick up orders available for purchase with the help of social media and online marketing. The store has been able to keep customers satisfied while adapting to the current situation.
Some individuals are still hesitant to shop online as they are unable to see, feel and try on the clothes in person. However, knowing this was an issue for some customers, the Oorts came up with a solution to providing their customers with an informative and friendly experience while being apart. Tessa Oort has been using the company’s YouTube channel to provide viewers with ways to style clothes from the boutique. “We had an overwhelming response of customers loving the videos, they’re seeing how we style the clothes on an actual body with an up-close visual of the fabric,” said Tessa. According to the Oorts, their segment ‘Behind The Seams’ has received a positive response and has helped boost their online sales.
Social media advertisements have helped the mother-daughter duo attract more customers and reach out to their loyal supporters. The boutique typically put their items on display at clothing exhibitions. Now that all large gatherings have been cancelled for the foreseeable future the brand has focused on expanding their online advertising.
Like a lot of clothing manufactures both Tessa and Lous are using their extraordinary sewing skills to create masks to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The boutique is also giving one free mask for every order that is placed. “We’ve handed out 300 masks to our customers, now customers can receive a mask with every purchase.”
“I look at what they post online, they do Facebook posts and send out emails to customers, I have the items delivered to me” said one of the stores frequent shoppers.
“Customers love getting a nice package at the door on days when they’re working from home,” said Tessa. Many shop owners are using curbside pick-up and online shopping to give their customers that shopping experience from home. Lousje and Bean are currently operating on Thursday, Friday, Saturday from 11-4 by appointment.
Anne-Marie was born in Niagara Falls and currently attends Carleton University where she studies Journalism. She began writing for the Niagara Independent in her last year of high school. She also writes for The Charlatan, a school newspaper for Carleton University.