Unique Toronto-Based ‘Boa Boutique’ Upgrading Retail Strategy Including Store Renovations following Pandemic Pivot [Interview]

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Boa Boutique, a women’s fashion store known for its uniqueness, is looking to improve its in-store experiences, live selling, its website, and its social media accounts – the four main channels of selling to complimenting the retail element.

Starting in 2001, its first location was at Yonge and Lawrence in Toronto. Boa Boutique now has two locations – one in Toronto and the other in Oakville, where it has recently moved storefronts. 

Daphne Nissani

The Oakville store moved six blocks from its original location and is now at 125 Lakeshore Road. Boa Boutique was at its previous location for 13 years; however, decided to move into a much larger space to allow for more growth. 

“The space is close to double, I moved because I had the opportunity and I was able to pivot quickly,” says Daphne Nissani, the owner and founder of Boa Boutique. “I just took advantage of what was available and instead of being constantly afraid to make a move. So, I got a bigger store, negotiated a better lease, and better opportunities.” 

The new store is 2,000 square feet and opened in June 2022. 

Image: Boa Boutique

Products customers can find include jumpsuits, workwear, tops, dresses, accessories, and more. Nissani said she is always looking to add new clothing that is sustainable, comfortable, and unique. 

“We look for looks that convert from day to night, provide comfort, and that are unique which is important to us as we want to have something that is a bit different so that you don’t look like everybody else as I am very committed to being unique. I have a sustainable element because I am a conscience fashion buyer. I look for products that have some element of sustainability, whether that is their carbon footprint, upcycled fabrics, or sustainable fabrication such as ethical leather.” 

Live Selling – A Lifeline During the Pandemic 

Image: Boa Boutique

Boa Boutique started live selling on its Instagram account as of March 2020 due to the pandemic. 

The live selling happens a couple of times each month where customers can participate in an auction. 

“We will do a live auction which is a sell of discounted items so it may attract a specific customer, or some people join for fun. Basically, you just hop on, we are live trying on clothes, with some closeup shots, and you claim it on the live feed. Everything is exchangeable, even sale items are still exchangeable so there is no commitment. Selling live was our lifeline throughout the pandemic and now we are going to continue to sustain and grow the selling channel.” 

Image: ShopBoa.ca

Nissani said the live shopping channel has also created a new sense of community for Boa Boutique as customers are interacting more together and with the store. It has also been attracting customers from all over Canada to even as far as the United Kingdom.

“We have reached more customers all over Canada. People were really grateful during the lockdowns and during that time there was a sense of community. People online became friends just because they talked to each other so regularly on the live feed.”

To date, the live feed has completed about 115 shows. The next step will be to improve the live selling platform so customers can directly purchase the item on Instagram instead of buying through its website.  

Updating All Four Selling Points 

Nissani said she is looking at revamping the live selling experience, social media accounts, and re-develop its website.

Boa Boutique’s Beaches location at 2116 Queen Street East in Toronto is the second location. It’s currently in the works to be remodelled and will re-open in January 2023. 

“I am working on the drawings right now to remodel that location, so once both stores are more updated, I want to be able to sustain a comfortable relationship with customers who shop in-store, through social media, on the website, and also on the live selling – those four main streams and everything else that compliments the retail experience.”

Image: Boa Boutique

The 900 square foot store will be getting a new look as the façade will be transitioned to all glass along with an interior redesign. Originally, this project was supposed to be done this season; however, because of lack of resources due to the pandemic, Nissani said it was pushed back until January. 

“Right now, I am focusing on just online and continuously sustain and increasing my live selling format because that has been a lifeline throughout the pandemic, and I think it is just something that has proven to be a model for sales, so I am just trying to improve it with my team. I want to make sure our stores have a feel-good environment, making sure all customers get help in what they are looking for, and that everyone feels welcome.”

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Article Author

Shelby Hautala
Shelby Hautala
Shelby Hautala, based in Toronto, is a new Journalist to Retail Insider. She has experience writing for local newspapers and also internationally for Helsinki Times while she lived in Finland. Shelby holds a Bachelor of Journalism Honours degree from the University of King’s College and a Social Work degree from Dalhousie University in Halifax.

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