When it comes to being a boss babe with trendy style, look no further than Chrissie Fortune and her online clothing and accessories boutique Bronc Ranch Wear.
Editor's Note: As statewide rules and regulations continue to change, please contact retailers for their latest store hours and delivery capabilities.
A small-business owner and mom of twin toddlers, Chrissie puts in late night hours to make her business succeed. And those efforts are paying off in the digital growth Bronc Ranch Wear saw in 2020. We talked with her to hear her tips on business and fashion for 2021.
2020 was a crazy year – what does your 2021 business outlook look like?
Even though 2020 was a crazy year, it was without a doubt my best year yet. Everyone is shopping online right now, and I don’t think that is going away anytime soon so I have big goals for 2021.
Did you face any challenges during the 2020 push for digital presence?
Since I am online only my main presence has always been digital. I wouldn’t say there were any new challenges, but I would say the pressure to increase my following has been weighing on me. There are a lot of retailers who had physical stores but were forced to move online when the pandemic hit. Since there are more online retailers now I have been doing my best to stay relevant and continually provide unique products as well as quality social media content.
How have your digital strategies changed throughout the last year?
The biggest thing I have learned this past year is don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. At the beginning of last year over 90 percent of my sales came from Instagram. I love how much Instagram has done for me, but 2020 also taught me bad things happen. I have heard so many stories about boutique owners getting locked out of their social media accounts or their accounts being randomly deleted so I decided to start expanding my social media platforms.
I have always had a Facebook page, but I didn’t work on it much so I definitely plan on spending more time on that this year. I also plan on implementing different forms of advertisement like texting and email marketing.
Post. Post. Post. When it comes to social media no one can see your items or interact with your page if you don’t post.
What is your best tip for online growth/engaging with your audience?
Post. Post. Post. When it comes to social media no one can see your items or interact with your page if you don’t post. I personally struggled with this for a long time. If I didn’t have the perfect picture and the perfect caption I wouldn’t post because I was worried I didn’t have good enough content. This slowed down my sales so I set a goal last year to post 2-3 times a day. There were definitely days where I fell off the wagon, but I can confidentially say I more than doubled my following on social media and doubled my sales last year when I started posting every day.
Did you attend WESA market in Dallas? If so, what styles did you see and love?
I did not get to attend this past WESA market, but I made sure right before market to contact all of my favorite vendors to get info on new products. I feel like cow print clothing is going to be popular this year not only for Western fashion but for everyone. A lot of vendors are producing more classic pieces, which makes my heart happy because sometimes it is hard finding pieces that are timeless. I love everything I have seen with Western patterns, but one of my newer favorite styles I saw are definitely the pieces that had a little sparkle to them. I love anything that gives off rhinestone cowgirl vibes.
Are you traveling for any trade shows in 2021? If so, what is your outlook?
I have in the past but don’t plan on it this year. Sales are doing so well for me online right now that I feel like that should be my main focus, especially with everything going on. Not as many people are attending trade shows because of the virus so I feel like my time would be better spent focusing on my online presence.
Are you expecting to see a return to in-person shopping this year?
Not personally, since I am online only but in general, yes. There were so many trade shows, markets, and businesses that closed during quarantine but I feel like everything is slowly opening back up. I think the rise of online shopping will stay, but there is definitely a market for people who would rather shop in person versus online.
Tell us about Bronc Ranch Wear style – what does style mean to you?
I have always described my store as Western glam. I do sell everyday clothing like t-shirts and jeans, but I have always had a passion for “going out” outfits. My store also has a lot of solid color pieces that can be worn by anyone with any style. When I do carry patterned stuff it is usually animal print, or vintage/Western inspired. I also try to stay stocked up on accessories like concho and Western belts, hand-crafted jewelry, and I always carry a lot of leather accessories.
Give us your best style tip!
In my book, quality accessories are everything. I truly feel like you can make almost any outfit Western if you have the right accessories. Turquoise is obviously a major staple in Western style, and I always encourage my customers to buy authentic turquoise and sterling pieces that are handmade. Want to wear jeans and a hoodie but dress it up a little? Add some sterling earrings or a choker. Have a solid color dress that you want to wear to a rodeo? Add a pair of cowgirl boots and your favorite felt hat.
There are cheap cowgirl boots, felt hats, and fake turquoise out there, but when you invest in quality items they will last. Lastly my biggest tip is wear what you want to. There is a lot of people who hate on Western fashion. There is also a lot of people who think you have to own so many acres, grow up on a ranch, or be involved in rodeo to wear Western fashion. Girl if you think it’s cute put it on! As long as you are happy and love the outfit forget what anyone else thinks!
This interview is part of an ongoing series that W&E is conducting with retailers. Click here to peruse more stories and interviews from the retail industry.