Two sisters, Shira & Ahuva Livi created an Instagram account that turned into a business sensation for children’s clothing. In our conversation, Shira explained to me how an Instagram sensation became a booming business for high-quality children’s clothes.
E: When did you come up with the idea of launching a children’s boutique?
S: The idea was born a few years ago. When I was first pregnant, I dreamed of opening a shop, but didn’t know if it would be worth my time.
My sister and I have kids, so until two months, we were stay-at-home moms. Our daily activities revolved around shopping for children: clothing, knapsacks, shoes & tights. We were motivated to start our own business because we were tired of traveling long distances to find cute things. We wanted to create a shop that would provide items that can’t be bought easily online or found at mall stores.
Finally, we decided to give the business idea a shot. We went to shows, developed relationships with brands and vendors, created an Instagram account. Our goal was to bring quality European layettes, pajamas and accessories to Great Neck. Although there were shops for wigs, hosiery, and house decorations, Great Neck never had a shop that catered to little children. So that’s how we started.
E: Cool! What makes your shop unique?
S: No one in our neighborhood does European pajamas. And you can be sure that no one offers it for the prices we do. We came up with a strategy – we would sell for less than our competitors. So if you found an item for $40 in Brooklyn, you would find the same one on our Instagram for $29.00. We also have a $5 flat delivery fee across the country, and package our items with love and care.
E: What are the results so far?
S: Customers are beginning to notice. We only opened two months ago and are already nearing 1,000 followers on Instagram and had to restock twice! Not only do we sell in Great Neck, but orders are coming in from many parts of the country: LA, Lakewood and Brooklyn.
E: As someone who was buying to sell for the first time, what was your experience with operations?
S: Good question. There is a lot of trial and error. A month after ordering, we had to restock completely. We are always trying to find the best bang for our buck, and are working with amazing vendors. Vendors who understand the challenges of starting a new business. They provide guidance and allow us to test a few designs at a time before placing bulk orders.
E: What have you learned from your experience?
S: If what you’re trying to buy looks too expensive, it probably is. Once we realized what the pricing options are, we felt so dumb to have spent so much money on something that shouldn’t cost that much. That’s something our shop is good for. We charge what all our customers is is fair price and offer our consumers a bargain.
E: So what’s your primary source of marketing and words of advice?
S: It’s really word of mouth and Instagram. Based on our friends, we made decisions to buy certain designs and sizes. The friends told their friends and so the word spread pretty fast. We conduct a lot of Instagram flash sales, where we will sell items for crazy-cheap for 72 hours. Sometimes, we’ll cohost shows with other businesses in the community to draw more attention to ourselves. Most importantly, we try to be flexible. We keep our shop open at night, so that working parents can stop over.
When we were young, memories of in-shop houses made us think of ladies who apply pressure, aren’t nice and want you to buy everything. We wanted to make sure the experience in our shop would be pleasant. We like our consumers, are nice to them, and always reward them with special treats and mini-gifts.