Technology and fast fashion have changed the business of fashion. The recent closing of Henri Bendel is a confirmation of the challenges of sustaining a brick-and-mortar in an experience age. What does it mean for smaller businesses in a digital climate where large scale retail giants can’t keep their physical doors open? Houston fashion designer and boutique owner, Chloe Dao gives us insight and her keys to success as a brick and mortar in an online society.

Owning your voice plays a vital role in the fashion industry by enabling designers to build a relationship with their community and develop loyal, sustainable relationships with their clients.

Accessibility and honesty are two tools Chloe uses to set herself apart with her clients and maintain a sustainable boutique. In an age of online shopping, Chloe Dao and her boutique offer a personalized brand of fashion and customer service that keeps clients coming back.

Cultivating a community around your brand is essential to surviving. Return on relationships offline increase online engagement by more than 30%. Face to face interaction is still essential. Online engagement is a great tool, but it will never fully replace offline engagement. The importance of community engagement is not to alienate any particular group or demographic - but to get everyone involved in various ways. 

Don’t try to be something that you are not. Harness your strengths and be who you are, own your voice! Find your niche and way to adapt in a digital world, while staying true to your identity and your mission.


Self (EQ):

  •  Not a people person but need to cultivate a community? Plug yourself into one that already exists. You’re not alone! Find your place in an existing community and connect with like-minded individuals. No need to recreate the wheel, instead become a spoke in one that’s already spinning!


  • Brick and Mortars must have an IG friendly corner

  • Face-to-face relationships with clients

  • Ambassador programs for private events with a goal to scale social reach. Find opportunities to contribute to other businesses and causes. It will create and expand your place in your community by giving back and gaining influence.