Above and Beyond

How some boutique owners are enticing customers with add-on experiences and special sales to boost traffic and bottom lines.

Goodnight Moon

Minneapolis, MN

We’ve held communion and bridal trunk shows, which are very popular. I believe that’s because it’s a category people have a hard time finding. We’ve also done events including Sip & See, Girls’ Night Out, book events and our Crazy Days sale. We always see an increase in sales and new customers who come in for these events, but the best part is they often come back again. That’s the key! I don’t always care how many people buy during an event—it’s about the ability to create loyal customers.”

—Deborah Damian, Owner

Nurture Baby & Child

Indianapolis, IN

“We used to do more events like infant massage classes and children’s gallery exhibits, but it was always tough to get customers to stick around and shop. Despite the large Halloween event on our street each year that draws a huge crowd, the event that gets the best turnout is when we bring in a portrait artist. Parents tend to shop while waiting for the artist to finish.”

Ashley Martz, Owner

City Sprouts

St. Louis, MO

“Once or twice a year, we have a silhouette artist come into the store. We have appointments booked months in advance, and it usually pulls in a lot of new and current customers. We’ve also hosted shopping fundraisers where we’ll donate a percentage of sales to different charities. However, our birthday celebration is our biggest event wherever we have a major sale, treats and raffles.

—Molly Curlee, Owner

Bowinkles

Sylvania, OH

“We’ve hosted a million events over the years, but customer appreciation night always gets the best results. We always give something big away, as well as offer discounts, food and drinks. We also hold meet-and-greets with popular characters, with Elsa from Frozen being our most popular of late. Each event always draws a crowd, and our sales increased about 20 percent because of them.”

—Stephanie Pilgrim, Owner

Little Monsters

Milwaukee, WI

There is a public school across the street from the store, and every year I host a day dedicated for giving back to them. I donate 15 percent of the sales from that day to the school. Many parents from the school who can’t afford us the rest of the year will come for that event. I make sure it happens during the holidays, so customers can buy for their kids’ stockings. If I had a bigger staff, I would hold more events.”

—Andie Zacher, Owner

Sydney B. Children’s Boutique

Mequon, WI

Events bring in a lot of business—about 50 percent more! We do a holiday shop that starts in October and ends on Christmas. The local schools bring in traffic. We send out coupons for customers so whether they buy anything or not, it gets them into the store.”

—Fay T., Sales Associate

Terra

Jackson, WY

“Because we are a resort town, our foot traffic is pretty solid so we don’t hold too many events. We’ll do cocktail events in the evening, and we run consistent sales three to four times a year. The trick is getting the locals to stop in because it’s a such small town.”

—Dana Sanders, Owner

Whippersnappers

Brattleboro, VT

“We’ve done cloth diaper workshops and babywearing classes in the past. The portrait photographer we hire has been the best. We tend to bring her in on Sundays when our foot traffic is typically slower. She is always fully booked, and parents will buy matching outfits for their kids specifically for the portrait. Parents also tool around the store while they wait, which bumps sales.”

—Amy Nelson, Owner

Here We Grow

Barboursville, WV

Recently, we hosted an outdoor carnival with bouncy houses, cake, cupcakes and a magician. Everything was free, and every family got a coupon to encourage them to come in and purchase items. We also send employees to daycares and preschools to give out brochures and coupons.”

—Darla Maynard, Manager

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