Entrepreneurs and COVID-19 - Interview with Melanie Talkington of Lace Embrace Atelier (Vancouver)

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

I am a corsetiere, teacher, historian and museum curator. We have a retail boutique specializing in corsets, lingerie, vintage and retro fashions along with a newly launched Antique Corset Museum. The museum collection has been on loan to museums in Paris, New York, Florida, Texas and currently in New Mexico. I have also been teaching corsetry at Capilano University.

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? 

A lot of our business comes from word of mouth, curious customers walking by as well as film and television. We promote through typical social media streams and host events to bring the community together.

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? 

We were quite busy before Covid-19 and then it suddenly became a ghost town. We temporarily closed the shop and continue to work on clients corset orders from home and in our studio. The initial shock was scary, but I am enjoying the slower pace and less pressure.

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? 

We meet clients outside the front of the shop to deliver goods. Or we offer mail order. Our website sales have picked up, which we are grateful for. I’ve also been making masks and developing new corset designs. The slow down has given me time to rest and focus on my creativity. 

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

I continue to do Facebook/ Instagram. My staff would normally manage this aspect so it’s been a bit of a learning curve to do this myself.

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

The reset button has been hit, it’s time to re-evaluate and reflect, spend time with yourself and connect with your family and friends. I’ve been enjoying this time of peace and slower tempo without pressure, it’s allowing me to reconnect with my passion and create. 

Links - 

How to tie a simple bow