AMHERST, Ohio — Many small business owners have been pushed to their limits during the COVID-19 pandemic just to keep their doors open.
But Kim Parsons, owner of Dollhouse Boutique in Amherst, has had quite the opposite experience, taking her business to the next level despite these tough times.
“I love it, I actually really, really enjoy being with the customers,” Parsons said.
The shop offers a wide range of clothing, jewelry and accessories for a wide range of women.
“We specialize in carrying sizes small through 3XL. It’s super important to be size inclusive,” Parsons said.
And it all started a few years ago on Facebook.
“I was a graphic designer for 17 years and my business was moving out of state. So I was looking for something else to do and I happened to find other ladies that were selling online from their home,” Parsons said. “And I thought I could do that so I went ahead and got all the equipment I needed, learned how to buy the inventory and then I started a small Facebook group.”
Parsons started selling clothing on Facebook Live and gained a lot of loyal customers.
“It just grew and grew and recently it grew so large that I couldn't stay in my home anymore,” Parsons said. “I needed to be able to move all my stuff out so that my children could use the kitchen, as a kitchen, instead of my shipping station.”
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Parsons said May was one of her biggest sales months ever.
“I was actually very blessed. Because I had the online business originally, I was able to be supported by ladies all over the country, including Canada,” Parsons said.
So with that support, she went storefront shopping, found a space on Park Avenue in Amherst and opened up at the beginning of November.
“A lot of local people came and they're still coming, they come back. We have some customers even today that have been in multiple times,” Parsons said.
She credits her success to the women who supported her online.
“They still shopped from me so I was able to grow and be into the brick and mortar,” Parsons said.
She’s also encouraging other business owners to think outside of the box to make it through these challenging times.
“You have to be flexible, you have to find other ways to get out there and get to the public,” Parsons said. “You just can't give up, you have to just find alternative ways to do the things you're used to doing.”
Parsons usually sells her clothing on Facebook Live Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., but for the holiday season she’s also selling online some Fridays. Those broadcasts can be found on the Dollhouse Boutique by Kim Facebook page. The boutique is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.
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