Entrepreneurs and COVID-19 - Interview with Vaneesha Soni of Kapade Boutique and Designs by Sonia Jewelery (Vancouver)

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

I am an independent international jewellery designer of the label Designs by Sonia. I studied fashion design at Parsons School of design New York and now I am a fashion curator for Kapade Shop in Vancouver. The focus is on natural materials, textiles, silhouettes and craftsmanship. We carry collections from all over the globe from other independent labels.

We carry premium leather handmade bags from Mustsaers of Netherlands, Designs by Sonia handmade jewellery and hand spun, hand woven pieces from Indian designers which are exclusive to Kapade. From Portugal, we carry Elementum and Ablesia; pieces from Elementum are multifunctional, and Ablesia has a more Japanese aesthetic. U.S. labels Nrk and TG pieces are more avant-garde.

I make sure pieces from all the designers are cohesive, there is not one collection in the store which cannot be paired with another, there is harmony between the collections, the pieces are timeless and look amazing on all body shapes as they are also free flowing. Kapade has both physical and online presence (the store is temporarily closed).

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?

The window display draw in most of our new clients because of the aesthetics, and also word of mouth. We have both local and international clientele, the store attracts clients from the film industry and creatives from other industries. For marketing, I would say Google, social media, newsletters, internal messages and in store events. We are still a very young store actively working on getting exposure

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?

It is challenging to face this at this early stage of building the business, Kapade just turned a year old.

For now, I am fine. I was working seven days a week without a break and that was a bit exhausting. This in a way is the perfect time for me to rest, reflect and plan ahead, that is all we can do until things return to normal.

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 am reaching customers through the Kapade Shop newsletter and private messages via Square. Our website is up and running, and we are currently working on integrating our WEBSHOP with Instagram.

I still go to the shop once or twice a week to work on my jewellery line, Designs by Sonia. We sold quite a few pieces so our stock needs to be replenished

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

I am sending out newsletters and personal messages to my existing clients. I plan on becoming more active on social media and use Google for our WEBSHOP as I think it’s more effective for a wider exposure.

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

Kapade is all about slow fashion and slow living, quality versus quantity. Slow down, be mindful, reconnect with yourself, your family and friends. Remember that life is a journey, not a race, enjoy every minute of this journey, try to do one thing at a time and do it well. Continue to explore your inner talents, don’t hold back, be the best version of who you are.

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