This week, I visited more businesses to talked to them about their experiences during the pandemic. Alexia María said they temporarily closed their atelier and boutiques but were able to keep their business running through their online shops. They experienced some delays fulfilling orders but their customers were always incredibly understanding and supportive. They also assisted customers through virtual video appointments and offered curbside pickups.
I asked them what new policies they have incorporated since the pandemic. They said that they will continue to host virtual appointments. “We did not offer this before and it has become a wonderful and unique way to assist customers from all over the world. We used this time to find inspiration, create the color palette, and collect my ideas for the new designs.”
I asked them if their customers were wearing masks and they said that everyone has been very cooperative practicing all the standard health protocols.
Gerhard Bendl from Custom Shirts of La Jolla said that they were closed for nine weeks. They have been in La Jolla since 1977 specializing in men’s shirts and suits and ready made for women. He said that during the quarantine they were able to have Zoom meetings with their customers. They already have their customers measurements for shirts with a selection of 1,000 fabrics and they offer five different collar sizes down to one-quarter.
Gerhard said that this will be the “year of the road trip.” People are starting to travel again and are coming from Texas and Phoenix. “We have been following all the protocols and have everyone wearing masks who come in the store. After customers try on garments they steam everything before they re-rack.” They are happy to be open with regular hours.
I asked Laura Gambucci about her experience with Covid-19. She said she had to analyze the big picture and try to predict the unpredictable. Gambucci said that she worked all but five days during this shutdown by offering her customers boxes that were curated out, virtual shopping and virtual closet cleanout. The pandemic happened during the spring and a great of amount of inventory had just come in. Since Gambucci knows the size, color, and fabrications of her clients, she was able to hand select pieces for their current needs hence the curated box.
Many of her customers were still working with business meetings on Zoom and needed to dress for that. Virtual shopping on Facetime and video chat worked well for them. Many customers wanted a look to suit the new lifestyle of working on zoom. During this time Gambucci also work with clients doing virtual closet cleanouts.
I asked Gambucci what was next since she always traveled to Europe on buying trips. In the immediate future the collection will be shown virtually, which makes it more difficult because you won’t be able to feel the fabric.
Her main concern now that they are open is to keep the environment safe for customers and clients. The store is ADA compliant so it is easy to keep the 6-feet of distance. There are three dressing rooms and they keep the middle one closed so customers can use the outside ones and will keep the protocols mandated by the state.
The first day, they had a problem with a customer who didn’t want to put a mask on because she didn’t want to mess up her lipstick. Since then, she has a “knock for entry” sign on the door. This way they can greet customers at the door and remind them to put their mask on. This has worked great and they haven’t had any more problems since. Laura builds relationships with customers one on one by styling her clients. She gives a celebrity experience for the everyday persons.
July 11 – Opening Day Hats Contest: Post a photo of yourself sporting a fabulous Opening Day ensemble to Instagram or Twitter with #DelMarHatsContest and tag @DelMarRacing for a chance to win fabulous prizes on Opening Day including two VIP tickets to the 2021 Breeders Cup World Championships at Del Mar. Winners will be announced on Saturday, July 11.
July – Fashion Redux exhibit presented by San Diego History Center will be open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 11 a.m.-5 p.m. until the end of July.
July 13-July 31 – FWSD’s Art & Beauty Behind Fashion/Virtual Exhibit with Sotheby’s & ARC. Eight FWSD designers paired with pieces from the 14th ARC Salon Competition.
July 23 – Women’s Museum of California Virtual Open House featuring their Handbag Collection from 5-6 p.m. Register by visiting womensmuseumca.org.
Diana Cavagnaro is an internationally renowned Couture Milliner based in the San Diego. Learn more about our hat designer, teacher and blogger at DianaCavagnaro.com.