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Randal Engelmann & Erik Gould

We are Randal Engelmann and Erik Gould, partners in providing exceptional customer service...

We are Randal Engelmann and Erik Gould, partners in providing exceptional customer service...

May 1 7 minutes read

Amy Driscoll, owner of Susanna Boutique gives us an inside scoop of what's in store for us as her business adapts in these challenging times.


Randal:
You're welcome back to STAY focused, our Zoom series. Today we have a very special guest, Amy Driscoll, who is the owner of Susanna, the boutique. And she's got a location both in Jamaica Plain, and in Cambridge, near Porter Square. Welcome Amy. Thanks for joining us.

Amy:
Thank you for having me.

Randal:
Well tell me, let's just start out, tell me a little bit about your store.

Amy:
I own Susanna. We, as you said, have two locations in Cambridge, and we just opened our Jamaica Plain location on September 3rd, 2019. We, the Susanna, the brand has been around since 1982, so we're long, long, long time. We just provide really easy, comfortable clothing for people of all ages, of all shapes, and we try to give a variety of price points. That's been our thing all along.

Randal:
Interesting communities to be in, like straddling the river, and in some interesting spots. And I guess really the whole idea of this series, is to really talk about business owners in this super challenging time of dealing with COVID-19, and this crisis. And tell us a little bit about how business has changed for you, I mean we can't be open, right?

Amy:
Right. Yeah, so on March 15th I decided to close my doors to both locations, not just one, or the other. It has been really challenging. Our business is very hands on, in person mostly. Helping people in the dressing rooms, finding things for events and travel, which none of us are doing now. So it's been really challenging.

Amy:
But we've tried to shift gears a little bit. Some of the things, we don't have an online store, so that's been the thing that people have asked me the most is "Do you have an online store?" And we don't. It's just too much work during this time, to be able to build one from scratch.

Amy:
So what we're doing instead, is we have a lot of items that I post on Facebook. I do lives, I do videos. I do once a week I do a fun weekly sale, or event. That gives people something to look forward to. And then we also send a couple emails. If you're on our email list, we send out a couple of emails, updating people on new products. And that's been super, super helpful. That's been really great for us.

Randal:
Great. Amy as long as you're mentioning where people are finding you on Facebook, and online, and how they sign up for your mailing list, why don't we tell the viewers who are not privy to that information, where do we find you?

Amy:
So they can find us at shopsusanna.com. You can sign up for our emails there. It'll prompt you to do that. And then on Facebook it's just Susanna - A Unique Women's Store, and you can sign up, you can like the page.

Randal:
Just like it says in the background.

Amy:
Yeah, exactly, exactly.

Randal:
Excellent. You're really utilizing social media then to help to continue to support your business. Are you then shipping things you're delivering? How are people getting the products when they find them on these places?

Amy:
So we're doing shipping. As of right now, we're doing free shipping for all products that are sent out. I'm finding that that's a real nice incentive for customers to want to purchase. So we're not doing any local deliveries, or pickups, at this time. But I am shipping out once a week on Saturdays. So customers can get their orders in, and then on Saturday is my big shipping day.

Randal:
Awesome, and you've been very successful with your Cambridge store, successful enough to open up a new store in Jamaica Plain. I just thought I'd ask you, what is your philosophy towards that success? What has helped you be so successful in this difficult time of retail?

Amy:
One of the things we've always prided ourselves on at Susanna, and this is not just during the pandemic, but I believe that people should support local businesses, not because they have to, but because they want to.

Amy:
I spend a lot of time researching and finding products for customers to buy, and so I want to make sure that what products I'm offering, they actually want to buy. And that those products bring them joy and happiness, and they solve problems. You know that one shirt can solve a lot of issues in your wardrobe. But I also want to provide it at a price point that is comfortable for a variety of people.

Amy:
So for me, that's always been super, super important. I think that's going to be even more important now, and then going forward. But supporting your local businesses, we need to do more of that, but I also want to make sure people are doing it, and getting the products they want.

Randal:
At prices they can afford, and ways to make people feel good about themselves. And there's nothing better than something nice and new, to just make you feel good about yourself, right?

Amy:
Exactly.

Randal:
And I think we got to remember to do that, especially during this crazy pandemic, where we're all stuck at home, and people aren't showering and get... I find it so helpful to get up in the morning, and get dressed, and feel like a human being. And put on something that's fairly professional, that I actually feel like I get into that role, right, of being at work.

Amy:
I suggested that I every day, it doesn't matter what I put on, but get out of your pajamas every day, and put on new clothes, whether that's another sweatshirt or a nice button down. Whatever it is, at least change out of your pajamas. That definitely helps your mental state a little bit better.

Randal:
Indeed, indeed. Brush your teeth for crying out loud. So thanks Amy for joining us. Again, I want you to tell us where people can find you, where your best spots are to find you.

Amy:
Yeah, right now people can find us at shopsusanna.com, and then you can also find us on our Facebook page as well.

Randal:
Buy local, and shop locally, and thanks for supporting our local businesses. And Amy, thanks so much for joining us. Is there any other message you wanted to get out there before we...?

Amy:
I just feel so grateful that I'm even able to have these locations, and that people can come to them. And sometime in the future we'll be opening our doors again, and you can come in and check us out.

Randal:
Excellent. Excellent. Thanks again Amy. I appreciate it. And until next time everybody, stay tuned, and stay focused, and stay healthy. 


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