The Sandbox Boutique has long been an apparel staple in Chattanooga, Tennessee, opening in 1996 and transferring ownership seven years ago to a family with young children who loved clothes and retail.
“We’re a boutique,” explains assistant manager Amanda Rushing, “so we have all kinds of like higher-end clothes that you really can’t find at Target or Walmart. We go from babies’ sizes all the way [up to sizes] for seven- or eight-year-olds.”
In her time with the boutique, Rushing has been continuously surprised by how much customers enjoy shopping for baby and children’s clothes. The brick-and-mortar location was always bustling with moms who would shop “all day long” and admit they were spending more on their kids’ clothes than on their own.
Expanding to ecommerce was a no brainer.
“When I started, Instagram selling was starting to get big. They saw the opportunity to grow online and they were like, ‘Well, what can we do? How can we sell on Instagram?’ This time last year, we realized that it was getting so big online that maybe the opportunity for a website was here. And so that’s when we went after that, and here we are almost a year later with a very successful website and store. It just all kind of happened.”
As a boutique, The Sandbox has limited inventory, but they were struggling to keep their local customers happy while still appealing to online shoppers.
“Some customers were like, ‘It’s selling too quick online.’ Because of us being a little boutique, we don’t buy very deep in sizes. [Now] they can sit at home and be like, is it worth wasting the gas to go down there? If they don’t have it, they can look at our Instagram, they can look it up on our website. And so it’s really been very helpful to get people in the store.”
It was this combination of instilling FOMO (fear of missing out) and the high-quality product curation that helped The Sandbox Boutique grow their Instagram account to more than 12,000 followers while still maintaining the heavy traffic in their brick-and-mortar store.
All that was left was to find a way to keep track of which inventory was being sold where, so, in January, the team integrated their online stores with their QuickBooks Point-of-Sale software using Webgility.
“It does everything for me and it is just a breath of fresh air to know that the systems are going to match up and it’s just on a continuous cycle. So I will say this really has helped tremendously with expanding us to the website.”
The QuickBooks POS integration was recommended to the store’s owners by a retail industry connection, and the Sandbox team was elated with the results. Their expansion into ecommerce was as smooth of an operation as any, and they are still amazed at how their little store has become a noteworthy children’s clothing destination, no matter where people are shopping from.
“[We] never thought we’d be online and where we are today, but here we are.”