When life gives you lemons, children’s boutiques make lemonade. We were so inspired to see some of the creative solutions these businesses implemented to support and stay connected with their communities during temporary closures and social distancing due to COVID-19. We’d love to hear if your store is doing something innovative and inspiring!
Lauren and Diane Moran, The Merry Lion
The Merry Lion; Wakefield, MA: Diane and Lauren Moran
“Mimi and Mama” duo, Diane and Lauren Moran are co-owners of the Wakefield, Massachusetts children’s boutique, The Merry Lion. When the local schools started to close and they started to see empty shelves at the grocery store, they knew they wanted to give back. “We announced that we would start taking donations for our local food pantry on Sunday, March 8th. We decided to set up a drop-and-go box outside of our store. Our store front is very easy to access, and we thought it would be a great way for people to help out while also being mindful of social distancing,” explains Lauren Moran. She says that the response has been great, and that people are continuing to donate even while the store is temporarily closed.
And a temporary closure isn’t stopping the Morans. They’re using Instagram to stay connected with their community. “Right now, we only have a small portion of what’s in-store on our website. I am posting on our [Instagram] Stories, and customers are able to message me to place orders there. So far, we have been busy! Again, we love our community and they are trying to support us while they can.”
Moran says that their community is their source of inspiration and what’s keeping them going. “We have received so many uplifting messages! It’s amazing how people can pull together in a time of need. One of our customers even sent me Venmo for coffee money because she figured I could use a little pick-me-up. I’ve probably been brought to tears three times just today by our customers!”
Photo by B Kids
B Kids; Fort Worth, TX: Brittany Voxland and Jessica Breslin
Creative team brainstorming is what led to the launch of “Busy Bags,” B Kids’ inspired solution to handling the current state of business at their children’s boutique in Fort Worth, TX. Co-founders Brittany Voxland and Jessica Breslin launched fun-filled bags brimming with giftable items from their store in three price points: $50, $75 and $100. Voxland said that they received an instant response, seeing purchases from parents, grandparents, and neighbors giving special children in their lives a fun surprise delivered to their doors! Customers share the child’s gender and age, and the team at B Kids get to work filling bags with things like LED nightballs, colored pens, squishies, notebooks, paint by numbers, etc. Once the bag is complete, the team delivers it to the recipient’s home, as long as it’s within 10 miles of their store. Busy Bags are the perfect way for B Kids to sell their giftable inventory and keep kids entertained at the same time!
Photo by Magpies Nashville
Magpies Nashville; Nashville, TN: Maggie Tucker
One can only feel a sense of positivity and inspiration after talking with Maggie Tucker, the owner of Magpies Nashville.
“Nashville was hit with a tornado the week before the National Emergency,” she explains. “I can’t put into words the devastation, but the upside is that our community has never been more united. We’re reminded of the impact that small businesses have in this community and people are making a mindful effort to love small businesses.”
She tells us that after the tornado hit, the community banded together by delivering blankets to families without power and heat, as well as supporting local women’s shelters. And since the schools were shut down, and some children don’t have access to free breakfast and lunch, they partnered with local organizations to make food packs for kids. “We’re seeing this with every small business in Nashville. It’s this beautiful sense of community who love and support one another.”
And as for what’s happening at Magpies, Tucker seized the opportunity to revamp their e-commerce platform. “We had the e-commerce platform established, but it only had about 20 items,” she explains. “We stripped it down, did in-the-moment training with our team, and rebuilt everything, which included adding 300+ items and new shopping categories.” She says that being active on social media, communicating with customers, has also been important. “We’ve been utilizing the video feature to show collections through Stories and one-on-one appointments. All we can do is keep showing up, do the best we can, and know that when all of this is done, we’ll come out of it better.”