LSU alumnae Chelsey Blankenship and Annie Claire Bass use their southern style to grow their business.
The sisters started SoSis Boutique online in 2014. Blankenship, who also works in social media marketing and website development, uses her mass communication degree to help build their online presence.
After doing multiple pop-up shops around the city and discovering a large amount of their first-time sales from customers were in person, they decided to open a storefront. The sisters believe their degrees give them an advantage in their field and help them take their business to the next level.
“You know a lot of times you graduate, and sometimes people they’ll say ‘I’m not even using my degree or I’m in a different field completely,’ but I would say Annie and I are really applying what we learned at LSU to our business, and it’s invaluable,” Blankenship said.
While Blankenship uses her mass communication degree to help advertise the boutique, Bass uses her degree in fashion merchandising to buy and style for the business. The two sisters use their proximity to the University in promoting their brand and choosing the most appealing merchandise.
The sisters use search engine optimization to have their merchandise appear in the top results when students, alumni and fans around the university search for purple and gold attire.
“For advertising we primarily advertise digitally on social media. LSU students are one of our top audiences that we want to target, so we do target by interest or by University on Facebook and Instagram,” Blankenship said.
SoSis Boutique has a wide range of fashionable and fun styles that everyone will enjoy at a reasonable price. Boutiques are known to generally be more expensive, but the sisters keep their target audience in mind when choosing merchandise for their store.
After years of experience, the sisters know their customers well enough to choose the best brands to sell at the boutique. Bass, who always wanted her own store, continued to turn her passion into a business with creating Annie Claire’s Designs which the sisters also sell in stores and online.
“It’s evolved into its own sort of business, and now to this day I have several locations that carry my jewelry, I do a lot of pop-up shops with SoSis and I primarily carry all of my jewelry inside of the store.” Bass said. So, I have kind of a corner within the store.”
Approachability and authenticity are a huge for the sisters, so they connect to their customers by doing things like uploading frequently on social media and blogging.
They include a personal touch by adding a sister feature in October, showcasing different sisters locally around their birthday that helps them connect with their followers and personifies their brand.
The sisters have continued their branding by including LYLAS boxes, which stands for love you like a sister, a phrase the pair has been using for years. The themed quarterly subscription box has different style options to remain customizable to the customer.
“We’ve had a few people who have brought them for their sister, which was kind of fun.“ Blankenship said. “Also, it could be for a person you call your sister like your best friend or things like that or it could be for anyone just a gift in general.”
Blankenship and Bass hope to grow their business by continuing to do pop-up shops and in-store events like paint parties or private shopping nights. Their goal is to reach new people and increase their online sales.
“LYLAS Box is just one way we’re hoping to get there. We’re also hoping to increase how much blogging we’re doing, how many look books, you know all of the things we do online that impact how we are found in search engines,” Blankenship said. We’re hoping to improve and increase how much of that we’re doing.”