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PR Maven Natasha Koifman Launches Drop004 Concept Store to Support Local Entrepreneurs [Photos]

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The unique e-commerce retailer ShopNK has launched its new Drop004 which is a curated assortment of giftable products spotlighting local entrepreneurs, small businesses, as well as hard-to-find items to support those businesses during the challenging COVID-19 pandemic.

Natasha Koifman created the platform just over a year ago as a curated site with a conscience where a portion of sales are directed to certain charities and causes.

Every time new product is introduced to the site it’s called a new Drop.

“I felt that it was more important now than ever to support small businesses and causes. When I started ShopNK or had the idea for ShopNK last year, it was very much grounded in how do we support our community and how do we ensure that every person that shops on the site makes a deliberate decision and a deliberate choice to support certain causes because there’s a drop down where you get to choose yourself which cause to support,” said Koifman.

“Fast forward a year later we’re in the middle of COVID and what I’m seeing all around me is small businesses, just like charitable causes, need our support. So much of what I’ve curated for this Drop is showcasing our support for local businesses. So you’ll see things like Mary’s Brigadeiro. She’s a young black woman entrepreneur that owns a chocolate business locally here in Toronto. And we wanted to partner with her.”

The site also features for example an exclusive leather jacket in collaboration with Toronto-based leather brand NAMESAKE as well as cashmere winter accessories by local knitwear companies, LINE and The Cashmere Shop.

“What’s important to note is that the product on the site we buy outright. They’re not consignment. So we really are supporting local but at the same time people do get to choose where they want their charitable dollars to go. Ten percent of every sale goes back to a charity of their choice and they get to choose from a variety of charities that are on the site,” said Koifman.

Koifman created public relations firm NKPR in 2002 to combine her two passions: sharing stories of substance and championing important causes. She is recognized as one of Canada’s most powerful and innovative women in public relations and has been honoured with awards from the Women’s Executive Network (WXN), Notable magazine, BizBash, and others. She’s a sought-after speaker and commentator on public relations, marketing, popular culture and fashion.

The launch of ShopNK came at an opportune time as the retail industry continued to see the growing popularity of online shopping. Today, it’s even more so as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many people to increasingly adopt e-commerce for their spending.

Koifman said those numbers will continue to rise.

“I think if you’re going to a brick and mortar store it’s for something very specific. It’s deliberate. There’s also a shift now where consumers are browsing online.

“I also think what we’re also seeing is that people care about where their products come from. People care who they’re supporting and they care about giving back to their community. I think we’ve heard it so much this year that we’re all in this together. We need to demonstrate that because if we are truly all in this together then we need to make sure we’re doing our part to support one another. That’s the sentiment and I think people are taking action.”

With 34% of Canadians Willing to Pay More for Local, has Drop004 by ShopNK Come at the Perfect Time?

Koifman cited statistics indicating that 42 percent of consumers believe that the way they shop will fundamentally change as a result of COVID-19 which is a high number. And 34 percent indicate they would pay more for local product.

“I don’t know if before COVID we necessarily thought about it in the same way. We definitely thought about community giving and giving back but we didn’t put faces necessarily in the same way to the businesses that are in our community. Now we do and we are because we feel for them,” she said.

During this holiday season, one of the big questions for retailers is how open will consumers be to spending especially given the fact that the second wave of coronavirus has apparently hit the country and economic uncertainty prevails.

Koifman said she believes people will be more mindful of what they spend but there will still be a spend. She cited a recent stat showing that 71 percent of Canadian shoppers will shop more at local small businesses.

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