Since taking over The BraBar from her aunt seven years ago, owner Crystal Adamson had always planned to create a user-friendly online store for her customers. When COVID-19 hit, the closures provided her with the perfect timing to launch her online site.
“It was always in the works, but COVID gave me the opportunity to actually implement it,” says Crystal.
While the new online option has helped generate sales, it requires a lot more work for The BraBar and its customers.
“We’re not just a retail business. We’re also a service,” Crystal explains.
The BraBar offers personalized fittings to help customers find the perfect bra for them, but shopping for personalized sizing is tricky from a distance.
“We don’t like measuring for bra size because every brand fits differently and everyone has a different shape, but we can use measurements as a baseline when we have no other option —like now,” says Crystal.
The BraBar has tried out different ways to maintain their well-known service virtually and over the phone. Crystal says online sales are rarely ‘just online’ because she follows up with her customers to ensure their purchases are right for them.
“A lot of our products still require a personal service aspect, which means we’re on the phone and emailing a lot. There’s usually some sort of discussion before the purchase, so it’s a bit more of an involved purchase, even though it’s online,” she says.
Crystal encourages customers to wait until the store is open again to ensure they get the fitting they’re looking for, however, she understands some people need her product immediately. The shop already has a list of customers who want to be contacted once The BraBar can safely reopen its changerooms, she says. For Crystal, this is a sign her business is doing something right.
“We know we’ve been around for a lot of years and we gain customers through word-of-mouth. It’s nice to see how much our service is needed and valued, and seeing it repeated through dialogue of how happy customers are.”
To keep up with the current trends of staying in and working from home, The BraBar expanded to loungewear and sleepwear for the first time ever. Crystal says these items are a comfy and less size-specific option for customers to order online. Customers seem to appreciate these new items.
“I think the blessing in everything has been feeling the love from our customers. I think now more than ever people are more likely to show their support and tell you how much they really love your business and products,” says Crystal.
She says The BraBar has also strengthened relationships with other businesses and business partners, noting the entrepreneurial collaborations within the Manitoba small business community.
“For me, it felt like all of my business relationships strengthened around everyone rallying together, and that was really cool. I’m loving the support local movement. It’s great for so many businesses. I really hope we can all make it through this second lockdown.”
To support The BraBar, visit thebrabar.com. For returning customers who are unsure of their size, The BraBar encourages you to call the store to see what sizes you have on file.
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