How Florida Retail Fashion Boutique Owner Found Success with BrandsGateway
Rovena Kafilaj from Tampa, Florida, USA, always knew that having her own fashion boutique was something meant to happen. It was a dream, and just like every true entrepreneur, she never gave up. Opening a clothing store wouldn’t be possible without Rovena’s family support or factors like finding the perfect retail location, of course, but finding the right clothing supplier was the key factor for her. Rovena found BrandsGateway while searching online for high-end fashion suppliers and, once she established contact with us, she never looked back. Now Rovena is the proud owner of a new but already successful retail store in Tampa, Florida, located in a high-end shopping mall. She is one of the many wholesale customers of BrandsGateway, and her knowledge and experience are a great inspiration to be shared with our community.
In the following interview, Rovena, in her own words, explains why BrandsGateway was the key to her store’s success and how she advises others to choose the same route as she did.
1. Can you please tell us a bit about how and when did you start your business?
Rovena: I wanted to have a fashion boutique for a long time, but being a mother of four children, I simply had no time to focus on anything else. When I realized that I have the time to start working on my business, the next obstacle was where do I find these nice luxury clothes to sell in my boutique? Obviously, I got online and started searching for suppliers. One of the first results I checked was BrandsGateway. What made me really happy was the opportunity to establish direct communication with you guys on WhatsApp. I was really happy with the initial contact as it was explained to me what you offer, the terms of delivery, brands, etc. I really liked the extensive selection of Dolce & Gabbana items which you offer, and that was it I realized that this was the right partner for me.
The next step was to find the right retail spot and, luckily, there was a spot in one of the best malls in the area where I live. Getting into a mall is not an easy task, but I had the patience and, after a small delay in the approval procedure, I finally could start my new business. As soon as that happened, I agreed with your CEO, Michael, to come to Sweden and visit one of the warehouses, to be precise, the Dolce & Gabbana vendor’s warehouse. It meant a lot to me that I was able to meet the people behind this operation and handpick the items I would like to purchase.
I started researching suppliers in June 2019 and opened my store in January 2020. As you can see, it took a while for everything to get into the right place so my business could launch. As you know, the Coronavirus hit in March 2020, and the mall was closed for a few months, however, I did not mind it too much as the first two months of my business running were actually really good. It is an advantage for me to have the fashion boutique in a mall as mine is the only store that offers this kind of apparel, the majority of the other stores are brands, which mainly design different styles so that makes my store unique.
2. How are you dealing with the current situation with the Coronavirus affecting the business?
Rovena: The situation is not great but obviously it has nothing to do with the products I sell. It’s very tough now, October is one of the worst months that this mall has ever seen in traffic. We’ll see how it will go in November, the holiday season is coming and there is optimism that the situation will get better. It’s also a possibility that people are saving during this month so there’s enough for gifts in November and December. Black Friday is coming, as well, and promotions always increase sales. The business is not in danger right now but we all hope for this situation to go away as soon as possible.
3. Can you describe your experience with BrandsGateway so far?
Rovena: The experience with BrandsGateway has been amazing, and I couldn’t be happier that I have found you to be my business partner. The customer support is spot on, the attention of your team to our needs as customers is invaluable, and I feel like this is your company’s biggest competitive advantage. Especially in the beginning when I just opened my store, your team was available to help me any time of the day. I never hesitate to reach out to you guys for anything that I need. I consider you to be my true business partner. Sometimes maybe I ask too many questions, but the support is just great, and all my questions are resolved timely.
BrandsGateway is the only supplier I work with right now, and I had customers asking for more brand differentiation. I expressed this to your support a few months ago, and I noticed that you have expanded your brand selection which I really like. Additionally, I was told you guys are bringing a few more big brands in the coming period so, even if I never find another supplier, your stock selection is looking great at least to what my customers demand.
4. What are some of the benefits of working with us?
Rovena: It is crucial to have a perfect relationship with your business partners. With BrandsGateway, it’s almost like I have had a personal relationship with you since day one. I can rely on you, on the product selection, on the delivery time, packaging, I never have any issues with customs, etc. Sometimes, I even ask for people at the warehouse to show me around on their phone camera so I can see the goods on the video with my own eyes. I am like that, sometimes too demanding but, luckily, the guys at BrandsGateway understand how much this means for my business.
5. What makes us unique as a supplier?
Rovena: I think that what makes you unique is the product selection and the amazing prices you offer. This makes it unique for anyone with not too high of a budget to purchase stock from you and start selling clothes, regardless if it’s online or in a retail fashion boutique. It’s crucial to take advantage of the prices and the discounts you offer, which are almost impossible to find in other places. Anyone can buy your products and start their business, it’s not simple, the road to success is hard and takes a lot of work, but this is an opportunity which you must seize.
6. Who is your typical customer?
Rovena: My fashion boutique is attracting a younger audience, mostly in their 20s or early 30s and the majority are men. The most popular items I sell are T-shirts and shoes. Luckily you have a huge selection of really nice men’s t-shirts and men’s shoes, so that’s being sold like crazy.
7. What was the best day in sales which you’ve had with our inventory?
Rovena: I won’t take as an example a single day but a few days around Father’s Day and I think that from your stock only in those few days I sold about $6.000 worth of stock. Those were a really nice few days.
8. How much time does it take you to sell the goods which you purchase from BrandsGateway?
Rovena: It depends on the items which I purchase. The t-shirts, especially the demanded models disappear from the shelves in a week or two. Some items can take a month to be sold so it all depends on how good a product is and the season of the year. That’s where your expertise comes in hand and that’s why I take advice from you when I purchase stock. When I say customer service is important this is one of the key features which makes BrandsGateway special for me. That’s why I like calling you my business partner, not just my supplier!
About the Author
Armin oversees our marketing efforts at BrandsGateway and contributes to the blog occasionally. When he is away from the computer screen he enjoys spending time cycling or anything which involves outdoors.