Featured business: Revelle Studios
How does a business so focused on up-close-and-personal attention tailor its model in a completely new direction to fit these globally trying times? “PIVOT! Be open to change. Be open to adaptation.” Owner Earleen Garbe of Revelle Modern Bridal Boutique holds the right attitude and a big, bright smile despite her challenges these days and she is finding innovative ways to keep engaging with her treasured customers.
How has COVID-19 impacted your business?
Like so many other small business owners in the same boat, Revelle has been forced to shift much of their face-to-face retail business to online. Earleen embraced the challenge. “Of course, it’s still not the same,” she admits. “Brides want to enjoy the full wedding dress shopping experience with their entourage. It’s really about celebrating with the people who came with them, that is the moment they share together.” It’s hard to replace in a virtual setting, but Earleen has done everything she can to move that experience to social media by infusing some of her natural exuberance and feel-good energy to enhance.
What was the biggest challenge you faced?
In normal times for most brides, choosing the dress in person is part of the full service bridal shopping experience; it requires up-close-and-personal attention. This, of course, becomes a challenge where social distancing is concerned. “Although we are considered retail, we also offer an extremely personalized experience at the boutique for brides-to-be who are looking for their perfect wedding gown,” acknowledges Earleen. “Replacing this type of experience with a virtual or online one is just not the same.” Earleen remains determined to find innovative solutions to make her business work, no matter the obstacle. Her caring, personal touch remains consistent throughout, in the hopes of a little going a long way in unprecedented times.
How did you respond to this challenge?
Earleen has been creative in adapting Revelle’s day-to-day business services by innovatively adding virtual bridal and accessory appointments. She now continues to promote her bridal business through Instagram by using Live Videos and IGTV as tools to host online sample sales, designer spotlights, and expert talks/advice for the brides-to-be. She has quickly become an online wedding gown expert using her vast experience, knowledge, and of course exceptional care to simulate her virtual shopping experiences through the use of free technology.
What has been the response from your customers?
“All of our brides have been very supportive all throughout. They really appreciate our constant communication with them during this time,” Earleen says with relief. “We received so many messages from our brides telling us how happy they were that they were ‘Revelle Brides’.”
What is the one message you would like other small business owners to take away from your experience?
Earleen has this to say to her neighbouring businesses: “PIVOT. If there is one thing I’ve learned from this very difficult and unprecedented experience, it’s that you have to pivot your business operations to adapt to the situation you are in. During this time of uncertainty, there’s obviously a lot of scary thoughts going through my mind but I’ve also had a lot of time to think about how I can change my business to make it viable during situations like this. As soon as I was able to get the negativity out of my head and focus on how to make my business better, the scary thoughts became a little less scary.”
This article was submitted by the Wellington West BIA. To learn more about local businesses, visit wellingtonwest.ca/