“Looking back, I see how FB Live is much more efficient and effective than my past marketing efforts. I have a good sense of how many people are watching and who is buying. I’m reaching a far wider audience now.”
– Lisa Williams, Owner, Main Street Clothing
Established in 2014, Main Street Clothing is a fashion retail boutique located in Winchester, Ontario.
After years of hosting live fashion shows, the start of the pandemic and subsequent lockdown left Lisa with a store full of inventory and no in-person sales.
Lisa typically offered an in-store retail experience and also hosted live fashion shows. She turned to Friday night Facebook Live events as a new means of reaching her regular customers.
Main Street Clothing drew a new audience, gained new customers and increased sales.
Lisa prided herself on being the go-to fashion retailer in her community. “I’m not just selling jeans and sweaters. I’m helping customers look good and feel good about what they buy,” she said. In her twelve years in business, she built up her boutique to be a place where women gathered to chat, catch up, and pick up their fashion needs.
Lisa experimented with different approaches to her marketing, dabbling in newspaper and radio advertising, and eventually settling on posting organic and sponsored posts on Facebook, and hosting a minimum of 12 live fashion shows every year. “Those fashion shows were so much work,” she said. “Setting up appointments for models, lugging all the clothing to the venues, spending time setting up and breaking down, and providing live commentary was exciting but it was also exhausting.”
When the pandemic put a hard stop to her in-store sales and fashion shows, Lisa looked for a solution that would allow her to continue selling her inventory. Publishing videos on Facebook seemed like a natural way for her to present her new stock. At first, she experimented with pre-taped segments but found that Facebook Live had so much better engagement, reach, and online sales. Lisa reveals that, in addition to her regular customers, people from Kemptville, Russell, Embrun, and Ottawa are tuning in to her Friday night events, sending messages, and buying her fashions.
Lisa admits that she was nervous when she started the “live” events. She says that everything felt forced and worried that people might think she looked and sounded silly. Predictably, she got more and more comfortable with each video and has now settled into a relaxing routine.
Lisa calls her pivot a “game changer” and says that FB Live will continue to be part of her marketing mix.
For Lisa, shaking up her marketing mix was a valuable lesson. “It’s so easy to get into a routine with what we know,” Lisa says. “I definitely got stuck in a rut of doing what I knew. But I learned that I need to keep learning. And that’s the advice I would give to other business owners: even if change might seem scary, it’s important to try anyway.”