BY JEN OLENICZAK BROWN
Over six months into the pandemic and it feels like we’re still constantly adjusting to today’s normal. This is true for everyone, and especially true for businesses.
Luckily, the resilience and ability to pivot have saved many of our favorite small businesses from disaster. Whitney Boger’s Swanky and Swag is thankfully one of those resilient businesses.
For those unfamiliar, Boger started her entrepreneur career at 23 with a hair salon in 2005 in the Lewisville Corners shopping center – Bangz Hair Studio. With a passion for hairstyling and a niche for more, she started making earrings. Fast forward to 2018, and Boger is selling out of a mobile boutique – a 1972 vintage camper – doing vendor events all over the Triad selling bags, jewelry, clothes, and more. The tremendous growth in the previous few years was the set up for the perfect mashup concept. And then cue COVID.
“Since we are a salon and boutique, COVID hit the salon part hard given the orders to shut down,” said Boger.
Reports and information show that up to 60% of businesses that closed due to COVID will not reopen. Unlucky for that statistic, Boger is a fighter and completely comfortable with stepping outside of her comfort zone – this wasn’t the first time that she’s had to pivot and it surely wouldn’t be the last. “With the shutdown of the salon, I got to really focus on the boutique. Thankfully, before COVID, we had an Internet store, and that’s what kept the business afloat,” said Boger. Through her heavy web presence and shipping throughout the US, as well as Facebook Live events to connect with customers, Boger has held on through the pandemic.
Boger has, quite literally, a village of support behind her as well. “We offered discounts almost the entire time during quarantine and for local orders, my daughter and I would do front door delivery. We stayed busy every day with the support of locals and even shoppers around the country.” Her community, both in-person and online, has always been an integral part of the collective support for Swanky and Swag. The shop is incredibly active on social media, and while it isn’t in her comfort zone, she maintains that it is “key to connect with our shoppers and let them know we are real people – and how thankful we are for their choice to shop small business!”
One of the biggest parts of Swanky and Swag was the friendly connection between Boger and customers. “I love what I do. It’s definitely not easy, but I have met so many wonderful people whether it’s behind the chair in the salon or putting together an outfit in the boutique,” said Boger. “I love making people feel good about themselves. When shoppers come in, we want them to feel as if they have walked into their best friend’s home – welcome and open!” While things are a bit different, with reopening, Swanky and Swag is “maintaining social distancing, offering curbside pickup and free shipping.”
When asked about moving forward, Boger, in true fashion, was ready to go, even with the pivot. “Usually fall is a busy time for us with events and shows. This year we participated in Southern Charm at the Farm Virtual Show. We hope and plan to have some holiday sales events, but all those are to be announced.”
Regardless of what tomorrow brings, it’s safe to say we’ll be seeing Swanky and Swag there.
Visit Swanky and Swag at 1337 Lewisville Clemmons Rd, Lewisville, NC 27023, Tuesday through Friday from 10 am – 6 pm and Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm, Closed Sunday and Monday. For more information, visit ShopSwankyandSwag.com or call 336.778.0111.