A few years ago we introduced Vivien Sakura Brandl as Retailer to Watch on our website. In the city center of Vienna she runs the Sight Store setting the focus on young designer brands, fair production and distribution. We talked with her about the recent lockdown in Austria, what has changed now and what consequences she draws from the Corona crisis.
Dear Vivien, how is it looking these days, is your store open again?
We are open again since April 14 with limited or changed opening hours. At the moment, a maximum of four persons with masks are allowed to enter. It is still a bit unusual, but the customers are very disciplined and the feedback is actually very positive.
Is there a lot of frequency in the shop? And do the customers actually buy?
Of course it's not the usual frequency, but you can already tell that people want to get out again. People also buy. Still a bit shy of course.
What has changed for you since the lockdown?
I was very shocked at the beginning and actually spent day and night in front of the PC to consume news. We had invested in our new business premises last year and in February in the new lighting. Actually we did not have a whole shopping day with full lighting ... that will hopefully change soon. I also have two children who have been at home since mid-March. We have a lot of fun together, but it is also quite exhausting. The pajamas/homeschooling-/teleworking/no-sleep myths (?) apply to me completely.
We have had our own masks (Flu Fighter) made from the fabric of the s/s ’18 collection. They work really well! Every customer who orders gets, apart from the fact that we donate most of the money, a voucher code for further purchases.
Was the online shop able to absorb a part of the turnover?
I invested a bit in FB and Instagram advertising. Today I had an order from New York... A lot of things are bought, but of course only a fraction of what is sold in the shop.
How do you keep contact with your customers?
Via Instagram, online shop, newsletter and also personal telephone support.
Are there consequences for you from the Corona crisis?
Surely to put more emphasis on online.
How do you look at the next few weeks?
We are looking forward to our customers and have already planned some new activities.
Will there be more sales promotions?
Probably, but always in combination with an event or something.
What about delivery dates? Have you cancelled any?
A design brand has cancelled some things, but I wouldn't have done that from my side.
What is the importance of selling through the online shop right now?
Even my children say: “Ka-ching” [editor's note: noise of a cash register], when the online shop is being served... it is very important for me and my customers to be connected.