February 29, 2024

It’s a winning pairing for small business, mon ami

Omnichannel retailing plus exceptional customer service has helped an iconic Adelaide fashion boutique grow its sales and reach – and win a coveted business award.

Boutique Mon Ami launched its online store in 2019, a prescient move if ever there was one. Although, who could have predicted the global pandemic?

Today, online sales account for around 35 per cent of Mon Ami’s turnover and they’re still growing. Omnichannel retailing – also known as bricks & clicks – has been shown to be more attractive to purchasers, who use it to compare products and prices before going instore to purchase.

It also enables small businesses to reach beyond their physical catchment area and into interstate and overseas markets.

Boutique Mon Ami co-owner Christine Fazzini says their Trustpilot reviews – almost without exception 5-star and highly appreciative of the customer service – are simply a reflection of the instore experience.

“We build relationships with our customers,” she says, adding that a lot of their new customers come via word of mouth, whether shopping online or instore.

The boutique specialises in formal wear plus the latest in fashion trends from Australian, New Zealand and Canadian labels. While they attract a younger crowd shopping for school formal dresses, the bulk of their customers are aged 40-plus and a prime audience for mother-of-the-bride or -groom outfits that the store is also known for.

Boutique Mon Ami won Best Fashion Retailer at the 2023 Eastside Business Awards, which recognise and celebrate exceptional and outstanding businesses in the City of Norwood Payneham & St Peters, as voted for by the public.

Christine’s parents established Mon Ami in 1974. “I was seven when the store opened and 15 when I first came to work here,” she says.

“I remember when I started, the customers’ daughters were around my age. And now they’re coming in and they’ve got daughters.”

The Glynde boutique captures a large piece of the market in Adelaide’s east. Generational change came in 2019 when Christine and her sister-in-law Josie Cirocco took ownership of the iconic business. Christine calls the time since then the ‘2.0’ years.

Online orders regularly leave, fanning across the country and to New Zealand, USA and England. Interestingly, Melbourne and Sydney are big markets. There, as in Adelaide, word of mouth is strong. Mon Ami also has a solid social media following.

Christine says their customer service goes above and beyond – making the boutique a deserving winner of one of the 11 categories in the Eastside Business Awards.

She also shares that the small team of five is “incredibly truthful” with customers who are trying on the clothes. They won’t recommend an unflattering style or fit just to chase a sale. “We want people to be happy and to come back.”

There’s also complimentary styling advice and a loyalty program. “Everybody gets their little bit of discount [which] they don’t have to think about it, we always let them know.”

Post-COVID lockdowns, Christine says, the customers were quickly back instore – not necessarily to shop, but to spend time with the staff.

These strong relationships are one reason, she says, competing with the big fashion chains has never been an issue. Another is that the boutique only has a small quantity of each item, but a “massive” variety of on-trend pieces. “So, there’s always something a bit different and gorgeous.”

With the boutique celebrating its 50th year, Christine has observed firsthand the change in mindset and the end of outdated rules around ‘dressing for one’s age’.

“The 50-year-old of today is not the same one when I was 16. We have 95-year-old ladies who come in and say, ‘everything’s too old’. They’re hilarious!”

Of Boutique Mon Ami’s Eastside Business Awards win, she says it was a fantastic surprise.

“We know people like coming to us because they come back. But then to put in the effort to actually express that with a vote, that is wonderful.”

The public is invited to nominate and/or vote for their favourite business in the 2024 Eastside Business Awards.

Vote for your favourite by 14 March 2024.

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