Clothes are not just pieces of fabric stitched together; they are ideas that can express attitude, mood and transform one’s self-image.
So says Michelle Fernandes, who, inspired by West African culture and determined to empower women of color, began crafting turbans as a hobby. And with her initial creations a huge hit at small fairs and rap concerts, she officially opened Boutique de Krioula in São Paulo for business in 2012.
With the growth of her start-up via its website too slow, Michelle turned to the WhatsApp Business app in January 2018 to better engage her 2,000 clients and establish a direct, open relationship with them.
“Today, around 80 percent of all our orders are placed using WhatsApp Business,” she says, adding that Boutique de Krioula receives about five orders daily via the app. Michelle credits her business’s 10 percent monthly growth — and newfound ability to reach customers beyond Brazil, in countries like Spain, France, Italy and Switzerland — to the WhatsApp Business app.
The away messages feature allows Boutique de Krioula to respond to customers around the clock, regardless of store opening hours, and the labels feature helps Michelle keep their orders organized.
“WhatsApp really gives the business a personal touch,” says a long-time customer. “It is great as a customer to get to see the products even before they are released.”
“Boutique de Krioula already knows the kind of products I prefer, so Michelle also sends me personalized suggestions,” adds another.
Boutique de Krioula has brought Michelle’s vision for empowering women with bold, vibrant, African-inspired designs to life — and she could not be happier. Her devoted clients always come back for more of her original designs, and with the WhatsApp Business app increasing her efficiency, Michelle now has more time to create the one-off pieces they are seeking.
She says, beaming, “We are inspired by witnessing our customers using our products and listen to them saying that the dresses, the turbans, they helped raise their own self-esteem, to change their style.”