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Jaffi's Creative Solution to Pandemic Isolation & Customer Connection

It goes without saying - 2020 was absolutely nuts. And nearly a year later, we’re still feeling the effects of 365 days marked with tragedy, hardships and so much more.

But that’s not to say that everything to come out of the pandemic was bad - in fact, when faced with adversity, we saw some of the most creative solutions come to light. One of these solutions? Jaffi’s Boutique’s ‘Retail Therapy Happy Hour’, a weekly live video where owner Emilie Christenson, her daughters and special guests try on clothing, drink wine and chit chat about all facets of life.

“It was just a really cool, happy accident,” Emilie says. “After being open for 20 years, we’d developed all of these amazing relationships with our customers that we were really missing during the months we were closed for COVID. It was all about trying to connect.”

Focused on spotlighting outfits and models of all different shapes and sizes and just having fun, the weekly live sessions have become a huge hit with their customers.

We chatted with Emilie to get a little more insight on the origins of Retail Therapy Happy Hour. Check it out below!

Q: Who originally came up with the idea for Retail Therapy Happy Hour?

A: My daughter's, Carlie & Devon, came up with the idea. They've always said "Mom - you are a "retail therapist" - always there for people, helping them with all kinds of life situations - not just clothes." They suggested we start a podcast where people could call in for advice about life, love, fashion, etc. That seemed weird to me - especially since I'm not a celebrity and don't have any expertise in psychology (besides the fact that my Mom was a psychologist), but I was open to it at some point in the future. Then, when Covid hit and the shop was shut down, we decided to host "retail therapy happy hour" where customers could call in and/or comment on a LIVE video to say "hi" (because we missed them) or ask us questions about anything. But in the first LIVE video, no one called and there were no life-changing questions asked or answered... but tons of people commented on the video and asked all kinds of questions about items in the shop. "What's that cute sweater Devon is wearing?", "can I see the bag on the shelf in the back? How much is it?", "I love your necklace! Do you have more? Is that Chan Luu?"

So we adjusted the LIVE video format and made our weekly happy hours mini fashion shows to let everyone know what new goodies came in. Over a year later, we're still doing it and people really seem to look forward to our silliness each week! Sometimes we have special guests join (like makeup artists, hair stylists, doctors, nutritionists, other business owners, etc.) and sometimes we are just our goofy, silly selves. It's always casual and super fun (for us anyway)!

Q: Happy Hour always has interesting and engaging guests - can you give a quick recap of the guests you've had in the past and some of the interesting topics you might've discussed that extend past fashion?

A: It's always fun to have special guests join us for Happy Hour. Jacksonville Mom regularly gives our viewers updates on kid-friendly community activities. A New Way Heathcare joined us to talk about general health and wellness along with nutrition tips and tricks on the go. We've had Debbie Nichol of Taco Lu show us how to make the BEST Paloma ever (a delicious tequila cocktail)! The makeup artist, Carrie Wilson, joined and demonstrated how to apply her new line of cosmetics. And Ten Salon showed us some fresh TPC & Spring hair looks too!

Q: What's your favorite wine to drink during Happy Hour?

A: Hmmmm... probably the fancy stuff my friend (Devon Baranski) sends us from California. But I like some of the organic red wines we've gotten from Scout & Cellar too! I prefer Cabernet and Pinot Noir.

Q: What's your current favorite brand to highlight on Happy Hour?

A: I love brands with a story to tell - especially ones that are good for us AND the planet. It's always more fun to talk about an amazing clothing line like Indah - that is not only gorgeous on everyone but is also sustainably made in Bali. We are also excited about a new jewelry line called Ella Stein - a dad in India challenged the status quo and created this brand to empower his daughter, Ella, and uplift other local women. The jewelry is created using recycled sterling silver and sustainable diamonds and is sold at affordable prices. Plus, each piece is wrapped in reusable packaging made from recycled materials. It's a very cool (and beautiful) line that we will be sharing on Happy Hour soon!

Q: In response to COVID, have you noticed other businesses around you reaching out to customers in new, creative ways like Jaffi's does with Happy Hour?

A: I see a lot more engagement and creativity on social media and that is great. I've also seen complementary businesses promoting each other vs. only promoting themselves which is super cool. We love commenting on and sharing the posts of our friends and neighbors and they have been doing the same. The collaboration between businesses has been heart warming and makes us so happy!

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Don't miss Jaffi's Retail Therapy Happy Hour, LIVE on Instagram and Facebook every Wednesday at 5:30 pm! Click HERE to tune in.


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