Team of local shops go virtual with boutique crawls

Next virtual crawl is Sunday, May 3
six boutique owners holding signs that say thank you for supporting out local boutiques

Courtesy of Madison’s Virtual Boutique Crawl

Six women-owned shops have partnered together to bring retail therapy to the computer screens of locals in the Madison area.

Madison’s Virtual Boutique Crawl is a collaboration between The Purple Goose, The Regal Find, Z Boutique, Grasshopper Goods, Change Boutique and Ciao Bella Boutique. Zoe Schuler of Z Boutique on Madison’s west side kickstarted the group by reaching out to a variety of local stores in the Madison area to see if they’d be interested in participating.

Each shop gets about 15 minutes to showcase what’s available, make sales, interact with customers and introduce their shop to people who may have never visited previously.

For Nikki Anderson, the owner of Change Boutique on Williamson Street, the collaboration was a game changer. During the COVID-19 pandemic, storefronts are closed to the public, so traditional shopping isn’t an option. Local boutiques are forced to be creative and come up with alternatives or launch online shops from scratch.

“[Before the first crawl] it had been very slow-going, but after the boutique crawl I am like slammed,” Anderson says. “I’m thrilled this has just put me back into business pretty much.”

Anderson says the collaboration is a great way for customers to learn about the different businesses. While someone might be a customer of one of the boutiques, they might never have heard of one of the others. Each of the businesses is located in different areas, pooling together different shopping bases.

While most businesses might view each other as competitors, Anderson says this is a team initiative. If anything, she says they’re competing against corporate interests.

“We want everyone to support local businesses not just our own local business,” Anderson says.  “I was as excited to hear that it was going well for the other stores. It wouldn’t be as much of a success to me if it was just my store. I feel great that everyone is in the same boat that this is serving a purpose.”

To help make it approachable for everyone, the participating Madison’s Virtual Boutique Crawl shops are offering discounts to items. Anderson says the mission is to offer accessible retail therapy and keep the local stores doors open.

“Everyone that I spoke with was so incredibly thoughtful because they’re so aware that small businesses are the ones who are getting hit the hardest now,” Anderson says. “These people were so intentional of saying if I spent money I want to make sure it’s benefiting a local business in my community.”

The next virtual boutique crawl is Sunday and JNJ Craftworks in Verona is a new addition to the group. Find more information on the Madison’s Virtual Boutique Crawl Facebook page or on the Facebook event.

Each of the shops in the collaboration is offering online shopping. Find specific information about each below:

Change Boutique: Find Change on its new website. Using code “SAFER@HOME,” get a 19% discount and free delivery.

Ciao Bella Boutique: Find Ciao Bella in Waunakee on its new online shop.

Grasshopper Goods: In addition to its shop in Stoughton, Grasshopper Goods was the first mobile boutique in Wisconsin. Find monthly specials at its online shop here.

JNJ Craftworks: Find JNJ Craftwoks in Verona online here.

The Purple Goose: The Purple Goose in Verona recently added Mother’s Day gift sets on its online website.

The Regal Find: The Regal Find in Middleton add online shopping and gift sets to its website here.

Z Boutique: Z Boutique is adding new arrivals and self care collection on its online website here.