Austin Vintage Boutiques Unite During COVID-19 Shutdown
There are several things Austin is famous for, music, food trucks and a wonderful list of vintage shopping venues. The shutdown of all non-essential businesses implemented in March due to COVID 19, has stifled an entire retail industry for not only Austin but world-wide. With these changes, it has forced owners to be creative to get merchandise out the door any way they can.
For more than eight years Rebekka Adams, has owned Bloomers and Frocks, and she is passionate about Austin’s vintage retail industry. Along with the other local thirty-one shops in town, any shopper can fill any shopping frenzy itch. “When you shop vintage, you are not only supporting the environment by making sure that item doesn’t end up in a landfill. You are supporting local businesses, and creating a unique sense of style and design that no one else can replicate”, added Adams.
Thanks to technology, Adams’ store has a reported 60% increase in online sales since March 20, the day the closed. Since the vintage stores don’t have to rely on a supply chain to replenish inventory, the vintage stores have an advantage.
During the shutdown, the vintage stores have all come together and shared links, resources and tips to facilitate available funding and grants. Support for how to work with property owners, human resources and more have also been available. “Collectively we have over 400 years of experience in the vintage business, and while none of us have experienced times like this, together we are stronger”, said Adams.
Additionally, the store is part of a collaborative group called the Austin Vintage Around Town Guide. Consider it a well-planned scavenger hunt for thrift shoppers. Since the shutdown, the Austin vintage retail community has joined forces to support each other during this, particularly tough time. The tourist traffic, a major category for sales is non-existent at the moment, so Rebekka is reaching out to local shoppers. “We need Austinites to shop and support us now more than ever”, said Adams.
At the time of this post, the transition from shut-down to retail-to-go to a 100% back in business model has owners bouncing around options on a daily basis.
In the meantime, several boutiques have scheduled instore private showings via Facetime, some are doing Instagram live fashion presentations to see new merchandise and many shops are scheduling private shopping appointments.
A majority of the boutiques have mentioned a mid-May open date. Stay tuned to store social media feeds for updates.
Stay safe every.
Photos provided by Rebekka Adams.