14 Jan Catch the latest on Elsa Fernandez and Eye Candy Boutique’s big move for 2020!
If you haven’t heard of Eye Candy Boutique you’ve probably been MIA from the local fashion scene in San Antonio, Texas for a hot minute. Worry not, we’re here to give you the inside scoop on the shop and what’s new for 2020.
But first, let’s start from the beginning.
SLTV: Elsa, for the audience who is new to you, what Inspired you to start Eye Candy Boutique and how long ago?
ECB: After 10 years in retail and knowing there was a gap in products & services provided to the severely underserved plus-size community in San Antonio, I decided to create Eye Candy Boutique based on what was lacking in the market – a locally owned, safe place, for women in and around San Antonio, who were seeking fashionable plus-size clothing options at reasonable prices. The goal was to help women fill their wardrobe with fabulous pieces that Capturing Eyes at Every Size! The Eye Candy Boutique journey started online in April 2015 with www.HeyEyeCandy.com and our pop-up turned boutique opened in August 2015.
SLTV: So many people ask about your Houston street opportunity. For those new to the story, can you share how you ended up on one of San Antonio’s most famous streets (Houston St.)?
ECB: I applied to participate in the May 2015 OPEN Downtown Pop Up Shops in St. Paul Square. For two weeks, multiple local businesses had the opportunity to set up in four different vacant spaces. Through the wonderful people I met and clients I was attaining, I was able to help throughout those two weeks and that made me realize the concept could really be something. A few weeks later, the OPEN Downtown Pop Up Shop Program (an initiative of the Center City Development and Operations Department –CCDO) announced they were accepting proposals for one vendor to fill a vacant space for 90 days on the street level of the Houston St. Garage. Being able to establish regular customers during those 90 days prompted me to sign a lease, becoming the first pop-up turned permanent brick & mortar for the city’s OPEN program.
Elsa Fernandez, founder of Eye Candy Boutique
SLTV: What was your favorite memory involving Eye Candy?
ECB: While receiving accolades from the San Antonio Fashion Awards were definite highlights and truly something I was not expecting when starting Eye Candy Boutique, nothing makes me beam with pride more than when I have a customer (regular or brand new) come back to tell me that she wore something from the boutique and felt so beautiful in it and received so many compliments. Another is when I have a customer tell me she would have never tried a certain silhouette or pattern, but because she was at ease enough in the store, she ventured out of her fashion comfort zone & tried something new. I truly believe that beauty is a state of mind and if you feel a certain way in your clothing – that is what will be reflected outwardly. To hear my customers say that they have changed the way they dress because of the options they are able to find in the boutique is what makes the hectic life of business ownership worth it.
Inside Eye Candy Boutique on Houston St.
SLTV: What have you accomplished since winning Fashion Retailer of the Year?
ECB: After being named Fashion Retailer of the Year in 2016 & 2017, I’ve continued to be an advocate for shopping local, body positivity and as an owner of a plus size boutique in Downtown for 4.5 years (until our move last month), continuously worked on ways to highlight the heart of the city by promoting the notion that clothing size should not limit fashion options.
SLTV: So yes. The big move. With all the success you’ve had at this location, we are so curious… what led to the change for 2020?
ECB: I’m a firm believer that one should never stop learning about their target market, trying to reach them and really catering to their lifestyle. As a boutique, it’s imperative to really learn how your customers feel most comfortable shopping and responding accordingly. The changes we started last month will be completely rolled out by Spring 2020 and are all in direct correlation to buying behaviors we noticed in our clients.
From Left to Right: Chrissy Garza, Candice Trevino, Jessica Zarraras
SLTV: So would you say that online spending trends and behaviors have played a role in taking the plunge with these big changes? Will you still have a place for shoppers to buy in person?
ECB: After spending 4.5 years in the heart of the city, Eye Candy Boutique has definitely moved to a more multi-channel approach for Eye Candy Boutique, focusing efforts towards the online store at www.HeyEyeCandy.com, pop-ups more readily accessible to those outside of downtown, a showroom opening the last week of January 2020, and later this Spring introducing the new ECB Subscription Box!
SLTV: How incredibly innovative of you. This multi channel approach shows true leadership in listening to your customers and offering something for all types of shopping behaviors. Any future pop-ups you can spill about?
ECB: We will be at LiftFund (2007 W. Martin St., SATX, 78207) from 9a-3p on February 28th with more pop-ups throughout the city in the works. Make sure to follow us on Instagram & Facebook at @HeyEyeCandy to stay updated!
SLTV: This is all so huge. A complete revamp takes so much courage and energy and we are so exited for you and what’s to come. What is your overall mission moving forward with these new strategies now set in motion?
ECB: With so many moving pieces, the past month has definitely been one of transition, but a constant will always be, our goal of helping someone look and feel great in their body through kindness in customer service, reinvigorating their wardrobe, and building of love of self while helping them capture eyes at every size!
SLTV: Beautiful. This is a prime example of why it is important to have a strong “Business Mission Statement”. With every twist, turn and change, your Mission Statement will ground you and remind you what the brand is and will always be about. You’ve done such a great job! We celebrate you Elsa. To much more success!
Candice Trevino for Eye Candy Boutique
With so much in store for Eye Candy Boutique, we applaud Elsa for this new leap of faith and can’t wait to see what the new year holds for this award winning San Antonio fashion community.