So you want to run your own business? Imagine that you've grown up learning all about the fashion retail industry and eventually open your own cute-as-a-button boutique in a coverted bungalow on a busy Houston street. Then the construction begins, making it almost impossible for people to see, much less visit, your store. What do you do?
If you're Maryam Afshari, the owner of Baanou, you ditch the traffic nightmare and offer your customers a better way to buy. With no end in sight to the construction tearing up Shepherd, Afshari has pulled out of her hard-to-reach bungalow and is offering her clients a more personal shopping experience inside her Tanglewood home by appointment only. She's also focusing more on Baanou's online shop until she can find a new, construction-free home for her store.
"That traffic was just like the plague," says Afshari. "Since the move it's been much better though. We want to give people more personal service and do a lot of styling, and we actually had a lot of sales online from Houston, so I know a lot of people wanted to come shop."
Afshari is already brainstorming for ways to make the most of her temporary set-up, from hosting backyard pool parties and barbecues this summer to the store's unofficial Taco Tuesdays.
"It will be different than the average boutique events. Taco Tuesday, it just kinda happened and people here were like, 'This is amazing, let's do this every week,'" says Afshari.
Baanou is still continously updating its merchandise with new arrivals—this month look for Cleobella's beachy resort wear and ladylike dresses from Lover the Label—and Afshari points out that many of the designers on offer are not available anywhere else in Houston.
"We've been open [in Tanglewood] for two weeks now—the people who come in know they don't want to just look around, and they like our prices." In that way, it sounds like shopping is not unlike making your business successful. Says Afshari: "It's all about figuring out what works and doesn't."