Retail Therapy: Owner of The Shoe Hive talks virtual shopping during COVID-19

We chatted with Elizabeth Todd to see how she’s adapting to the coronavirus. Plus, find a detailed list of 13 boutiques making shopping easy with FaceTime consultations.

owner of the hive with arms crossed
Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Todd

Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, retail destinations across Northern Virginia have been forced to alter their day-to-day strategies in an effort to stay afloat during the crisis, whether that be by adopting virtual platforms, implementing door-to-door delivery service or closing their doors for the foreseeable future. Luckily, the innovative technology of the 21st century allows for quick adaptations. 

Elizabeth Todd, founder of The Shoe Hive in Alexandria, has been making changes to her company’s model as the weeks go by, starting first with curbside pickup, then adding more merchandise to her website and now offering delivery to customers near and far. Here, she shares her experience. 

Talk to me generally about how you’re staying connected with customers.

Well, 90% of our merchandise is online, so we are fortunate to have an e-commerce site for people to browse what we have. A lot of people are pre-shopping online or through our social media and then they will either FaceTime us or call us and from there, we will coordinate the best way to shop for them. 

What have the FaceTime consultations been like?

It’s definitely been helpful to show our clients what the fit looks like, and following the call we can bring them the items. I have four full-time employees, so we are dividing and conquering. If clients are local, we can drop items off and we typically give them a day or two to try everything on and then we will come back and grab everything. One employee will do the deliveries per day—we are literally driving everywhere. 

What merchandise do you currently have in stock right now?

I had 75% of my spring already in and we are just now getting a few April deliveries, as well as pre-fall, believe it or not. Vendors have definitely taken back their deliveries, the summer clothing has depleted. I want to get new stuff, we can’t have the same things, but it’s been challenging. 

Have you noticed any trends so far?

What’s changed is that the weekdays are busier than the weekends, which used to be the opposite. We are all getting more screen time than we ever have before, so that’s why I think people are turning off on the weekends. As far as sales go, they are down but not nonexistent so I will take that.

Also, the majority of our shoppers are existing people. We’ve been shipping about 15% to 20% out of state, but that’s typically to those who have shopped with us before. There aren’t new customers, but we are reaching a wide range because shipping is all we can do now.  


woman with gold jewelry on
Earrings and necklace are now available at The Shoe Hive. (Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Todd)

Whether you’re searching for kids clothing, home decor or jewelry, these local boutiques of Old Town can help, as they are now all offering FaceTime consultations. Below, find more information on hours, as many have changed due to the pandemic.

Bishop Boutique
Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sunday, noon-3 p.m. 

Periwinkle
Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

TSALT
Monday-Sunday, noon-5 p.m.

Mint Condition
Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; Sunday, noon-3 p.m.

Twist Boutique
Closed, working virtually; available to ship and deliver specific products, as well as FaceTime consultations

529 Kids Consign
Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; Sunday, noon-3 p.m. 

AR Workshop
Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Boxwood
Closed, working virtually; available to ship and deliver specific products, as well as FaceTime consultations

Monday’s Child
Closed, working virtually; available to ship and deliver specific products, as well as FaceTime consultations

Patina Polished Living
Closed, working virtually; available to ship and deliver specific products, as well as FaceTime consultations

She’s Unique
Monday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Wear Ever Jewelry
Closed, working virtually; available to ship and deliver specific products, as well as FaceTime consultations

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