Boutikey, a mobile app created by Tiana Haraguchi launched in February this year, as a new way to build a community between small local boutiques and their customers.
Boutiques create accounts and use the app to post photos of new arrivals in their stores, advertise sales, and gain exposure. For shoppers, the app utilizes location services to help people discover shops in their area, be it their hometown, or some place they are traveling to.
Users follow their favorite boutiques and get an Instagram like image feed to see what's trending locally and receive a notification the moment a shop announces a sale.
In a nation where 61% of the population has a smartphone, Tiana's intentions are that Boutikey will serve as a catalyst to get shoppers excited about visiting their local boutiques during a time when 8 out of 10 small businesses fail within the first 18 months.
In addition to the app, which encourages shopping local, a new Boutikey e-commerce site, has just launched this month, giving local boutiques national exposure.
Boutikey allows local shops to share their new products and advertise sales, while the users can see what is going on nearby in real time and collect rewards from their purchases. Are there any new features you are planning on adding to the app?
The new app will give users the ability to also shop items from our e-commerce platform, and search for items in their area. They will now be able to see tags on images with the name of the designers. I should also note that we will be removing the loyalty program, as we are transitioning to be more of a discovery and shopping app. However, users will still be able to search for exclusive offers and events!
The Boutikey app currently features only stores in the Boston area; when can the rest of us expect to see our local boutiques start showing up?
Very soon! We are planning to expand to new cities beginning in October once the new app is available, and any kinks of our e-commerce platform have been worked out. We'll be starting with major cities in California, New York, CT, New Jersey, Chicago, Nashville, Atlanta and Miami.
What has been your biggest challenge in making Boutikey a reality?
Finding enough hours in the day to get everything done, and learning how to wear many different hats. Before Boutikey, I worked in corporate finance. Now I have many roles, including head of finance, marketing, management, social media, sales, accounting, customer service, IT and so forth!
Proudest career moment?
Definitely the day our app launched in February. After a year of research, planning, late night overseas development conversations and hustle of signing on boutiques, it was very gratifying to see the product go live and that all of our hard work paid off. Launching our e-commerce site brought me a similar feeling as well!
Boutikey’s e-commerce site has just launched featuring items from five of your favorite Boston shops, what is your one must have item on the site?
That's a tough one, I love so many items! If I had to choose, I would probably say the Rochester Vest from Ku De Ta. It's the perfect transitional summer into fall item, and will look amazing with a pair of dark shorts and lace up booties.
If you are excited to check out Boutikey, you can use coupon code CHIC15 for 15% off your purchase through October 22nd, 2014.