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Online boutique stages holiday season pop-up

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Donyae Hollis of Donyae Hollis Designs with some of the fashions on offer at her latest pop-up (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

If you want to make a statement this holiday season, Donyae Hollis might have the dress for you.Sparkly, sexy, demure — it’s all at Donyae Hollis Designs.“The style is classy but still fun,” Ms Hollis said. The 25-year-old retailer is holding her second pop-up store in Hamilton right now, offering not only clothing, but also shoes, jewellery and other accessories. She has been running online boutique Donyae Hollis Designs for a little over a year.“When I first started it was just accessories and shoes,” she said. “Then I realised around holiday times people were always saying they never found anything to wear. That is where I started the pop-up shop last year. I had an event where people could come and purchase clothes, just for the holiday.”Ms Hollis thinks her pop-ups have been her greatest successes, so far.“They have helped me get a lot of clientele,” she said. “With the first one I did, some people came there specifically looking for me. They said they had nothing to wear, and a friend said go check out Donyae Hollis. They came the day of the event and found clothing instantly.”Next year she hopes to hold more of them throughout the year, not just around holidays.She always wanted to have a physical store, but commercial rents in Bermuda are so high, she thought an online store was a better option. “Everyone likes online shopping,” she said. “I thought it would be nice to have one in Bermuda and offer delivery services. It has always been a thought of mine.”In the last year she has learnt a lot about pricing. “A lot of us don’t realise what goes on behind the scenes,” she said. “The cost of shipping to Bermuda is crazy. We have to take that into account and that’s why sometimes the prices are high with clothing. It costs a lot of money to bring things in. You have to make sure you are making a profit or it doesn’t work. I have also learnt to be consistent. When you fall off, people tend to forget about you and find somewhere else to shop. You have to be consistent and grow your business.”Customers range from 20s to 50s. To keep in touch with changing trends in the retail industry Ms Hollis does a lot of research. “I like watching fashion shows and seeing what is still in,” she said. “I follow certain brands to see what they are doing. I keep up with what is trending.”Turning a profit is coming slowly. “I just need to make some adjustments in terms of shipping,” she said. “I need to find cheaper ways to bring in the products.”So far she doesn’t have warehouse space, but stores everything neatly at home in a closet. She balances running her business with working full time as a bank teller. “I am the only one who manages the business,” she said. “All the orders come straight to my phone. I have to process them. I do all of the website stuff, updating and everything. Sometimes I am up until late. Sometimes there will be no orders and then other times they will come all at once. Holidays are always busy. That is everywhere. But I feel like the more I advertise myself then it will be more orders coming in.”Her second pop-up is open today on the second floor of Magnolia House at 119 Front Street in Hamilton from 9am to 7pm, and tomorrow from 9am until 8pm. • For more information see www.donyaehollis.com/fashion

Donyae Hollis of Donyae Hollis Designs with some of the fashions on offer at her latest pop-up (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)