From fashion blogger to retail diva, Whitney Rife (aka The Retail Therapist) has her hands full with a busy e-commerce business, a storefront and a boutique on wheels.
Over the past two years she has grown a loyal online following (over 26k followers on Insta!) and more recently a cult-like group of shoppers who shop with her in her hometown storefront or on the road in her mobile boutique. (Check her out online at www.shopretailtherapist.com.)
We’ve been known to indulge in a little retail therapy ourselves so were thrilled to have a Q&A sesh with Whitney…
Online boutique vs. brick and mortar?
There are good and bad things about both! I loved just being online, but I LOVE going to the store and interacting with people face to face. Online you can hide behind the computer and honestly never know a single customer. I love knowing my customers and shopping for THEM.
How have you grown your Instagram following?
HASHTAGS! I know I always say this, but it really does work. I always search hashtags to find things I am looking for. Hashtag what you would hashtag. My blog used to be The Retail Therapist. When I decided to open the store, I sent all those followers there and re-branded myself and my blog to Whitney Rife. That is how The Retail Therapist grew faster than your average boutique, it already had a following.
Has it been difficult to establish a brick and mortar store in a fairly rural community?
No. I always thought it would be and coming back to Tazewell, Virginia I knew the online sales would carry a brick and mortar store. I always thought I’d never be able to have my dream store in Tazewell. I couldn’t be more blessed to live in a small community who are so supportive of a new business and of my generation. They WANT Tazewell to succeed. We all do. YOU have to want better for your area. It doesn’t matter where you’re from or where you are.
What marketing methods do you use?
I use every free form of advertising I can and HASHTAG (#) everything! I also sell and promote using photos of myself, there is NOTHING wrong with that – if you’re passionate about what you’re selling – sell it! I post on social media as much as I can, and other than word of mouth and Prissy (the mobile boutique), that is all the marketing I have used.
What is the best thing about The Retail Therapist?
It’s fun, it’s pretty, it’s HOME GROWN, and it’s affordable. We want to inspire girls and make everyone feel beautiful about themselves. We have something for ALL price points. We are family run from the GROUND UP and we have the best employees who are just like family. When shoppers buy something from The Retail Therapist, they are putting money into my small town, my community, they’re helping me go back to market and buy more cute things for them!
This article originally appeared in the May issue of WORK//BOOK™, our monthly e-magazine for WORK//SHOP™ members. WORK//SHOPAHOLICS™ can read the entire edition in the members’ area of www.retailerworkshop.com.
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