My second Success Stories interview is with Stephanie Sack, owner of Vive La Femme, a clothing store in Chicago which offers the latest looks and trends for Chicago’s stylish women of size. Stephanie uses a blog and Facebook to promote her store. Read below to find out how.
1.) Why did you first start utilizing a blog for your business? How did your store change from before the blog to after the blog started?
The blog was born after I pared down the entire marketing concept for the shop. I used to have a very elaborate wesbite, really jazzy and snazzy, but it was a pain to keep up. As a result, the blog format seemed far better suited to the new, more streamlined vision for the boutique. Happily the intimate and chatty nature of blogs translated perfectly to my wacky sense of communication!
2.) Do you use the blog primarily to connect with customers you already have or to also draw in new ones?
Primarily to stay connected but many new customers have mentioned they found the blog and subsequently signed up for the weekly updates online.
3.) How has the use of your blog evolved since its birth? Are there any other applications (Twitter, Facebook, FoursSquare) that you’ve considered utilizing as well?
The blog has become very predictable in its layout, tone, and delivery. Every Friday the blog is updated with pictures and descriptions of our newest shipments, and I have also added our latest arrivals at my new shoe store. I also make event-driven posts here and there. Twitter is something I dabble in but it simply does not have the intense effect as the blog postings do…when the email goes out for the latest blog entry, I literally get responses from customers asking to hold items that they see on the blog, and Twitter cannot match that direct impact. Facebook, however, has quickly blossomed into a major marketing tool for my concepts, and without a doubt contributes positively to sales. The staff takes turns modeling the new inventory, and I also keep the readership updated on promotions, sales and events. Every now and again I run Facebook-only sale announcements or promotional offers, and people always respond. It definitely adds vibrancy and legitimacy to the vive la femme “lifestyle”.
4.) What are the biggest challenges to your social media usage? And what are your biggest lessons learned?
A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND DOLLARS. Everyone loves pictures and images, so I create a continuum of clothes, shoes, and wording to manifest an exciting perception of how I think life should be. This confidence and clarity is something my customers have come to expect. I LOVE doing it, and it shows! I get tons of compliments on my kooky writing style, the cute pictures, and the overall tone of the posts. Posts have to be done consistently and always go back to a “call-to-action”…you want to make customers excited and eager to come in and buy!
5.) What are your tips for a small business owner who wants to start a business blog?
Make sure your blog reflects not only the products you carry, but the vision you manifest. That will keep clients interested and engaged. Post on a regular basis, and absolutely post pictures of new inventory or what is on sale. Most of all, get behind your concept and promote it with awesome images, unflagging enthusiasm, and well-written vigor!
6.) You post a new blog post once a week. How did this strategy come about? How did you develop your blog guidelines and find what worked best for your company?
I used to work for an arts and entertainment paper than came out once a week, so I am very habituated to that schedule. Clothes come in every week, so I post every week! Emailing/blog updates go out on Friday to prep for Saturday, the busiest day for boutiques. Also, I looked at some other fashion/style/boutique blogs that I liked and more or less copied their posting schedule and format. Why reinvent the wheel?
If you want to learn more about Vive La Femme visit their website, or else visit the store which is located at 2048 N Damen Chicago, IL. Stephanie also opened a new shoe boutique which carries shoe sizes 9 and up along with fall boots in wide calf widths. You can find the shoe store at 2031 N Damen Chicago, IL.