Entrepreneurs and COVID-19 - Interview with Lorna Ketler of Bodacious (Victoria)

Please share a bit about yourself as an entrepreneur and what your business entails - brick and mortar store, online, product, etc.

Bodacious is celebrating 20 years of awesomeness this year! And what a year to celebrate :). Originally located in Vancouver, BC, my brick & mortar boutique now resides in beautiful downtown Victoria. Bodacious carries carefully curated, fabulous plus-size fashions from around the world in sizes up to sizes 3X/4X, and I’ve been developing my own in-house Bodacious Paris Line which has been well received. I also sell through my online shop and via social media - Facebook and Instagram. My intention is to have a space that is safe, fun and celebratory for all women.

Before the COVID-19 crisis, how did you work with your regular clients and reach out to new ones. What type of marketing worked best for you?

Although so many of my clients come to Bodacious through word of mouth, I’ve had quite a bit of success through social media - Facebook and Instagram. I also regularly advertise in the local magazine, Yam - Victoria’s Lifestyle Magazine - and send out a monthly newsletter via Constant Contact. As I still have a loyal following in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, I do regular pop-ups in Vancouver throughout the year.

How has the social isolation required to combat the spread of COVID-19 affected your business? What about this has been hardest for you personally?

Well, I’ve had to close my brick & mortar space for the time being and really focus on my online business. The hardest part of that was having to lay off my lovely staff team. I have enjoyed being at home more and working on art projects that I never took the time to focus on before. It really is a good time to reflect on priorities and what I want the next phase of my business to look like!

Have you found new ways to interact with your customer? Have you developed any new products or services as a way to help your clients through this time, or to fill a new need you see? 

I’ve been doing more “live” updates on social media from the store and even some from home. I’m loving that I can stay connected and check in with my customers in this way. I’m offering one-on-one shopping in the store, free shipping and local delivery. I had been saying for a long time that I needed to focus more of my time on the online aspect of Bodacious, and this has forced me to really work on that. It has been paying off. I’ve been shipping off my pretty pink Bodacious envelopes to happy customers. 

What type of marketing seems to be working best for you in this time of social isolation?

Definitely modelling the clothes myself and doing live broadcasts has brought some great results and more importantly, connection with my customers. It’s always a challenge as a primarily plus-size business to get representative photos from my supplier,s so the more I show my fashions on a plus-sized body, the better I can show my customer how they can wear the fashions.

Anything you'd like readers to know about you and your business? Any last words of encouragement you'd like to share with everyone? 

Well, my message remains the same as always, but it is probably even more important now when it may be challenging to see the beauty in our body and being in these unusual circumstances. It’s not about your size. You are absolutely perfect just as you are. You are deserving of beautiful fabrics, fashions, words, art, music. Surround yourself with all of those things that resonate for you right now. Get dressed up! Dance in your living room! Have a Zoom party! 

I can’t wait for the day when we can be together in real life again, but in the meantime I’m here virtually for any shopping needs or emotional support. 

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