WHEN the year 2020 began, Brass Boutique owner Ciara Lynch had no plans in place to start trading online for the year ahead.
The Ennis high street ladies boutique had grown steadily since its establishment five years ago when at just 24 years old, Ciara decided to take a leap of faith by entering the highly competitive clothes industry. “I was probably very naive, we had no retail background in the family. It was a completely different kettle of fish five years ago and we’ve since gotten to know our customers and brands,” says Ciara.
With her brand firmly established locally, Ciara says she had “no intention” of moving online and admits to being afraid of going down that avenue. “I thought we would lose the personal touch of boutique shopping and my customers are the most important thing.”
However due to high demand from Brass social media followers across the country and the unforseen circumstances of a global pandemic, Ciara decided to take a leap of faith. “I wanted to give myself something to concentrate on during the first lockdown. I’m far from a tech whizz but I had the time to do it.”
Two days before lockdown ended brassboutique.ie was launched and Ciara describes the first few weeks as a “whirlwind”.
“It really took off at the start and has been going well since. I’ve learned more about busines in the last five months since launching the website than I ever could have imagined.”
She has maintained the personal touch for online shoppers by offering customer support over social media or over the phone. With all the systems in place, Ciara says Brass “hit the ground running” when Level 5 restrictions hit.
“We’ve noticed a massive boost in online visitors and sales in the last two weeks. The restrictions have really given us an opportunity to focus on the online side of things.”
Ciara envisages that her online sales could surpass shop sales in the future, however she also credits the website with a doubling in footfall to her Ennis boutique due to the full catelogue being visible on the website. “Everything has really been heightened since we launched the website.”