Apparel business tailors service to changing customer needs

Ontario · Jun 2, 2020

Alyssa Kerbel, owner of Mini Mioche in Toronto


Instagram: @minimioche

The pandemic has forced many businesses to pivot. The question is, “how?” Alyssa Kerbel, the owner of Mini Mioche in Toronto, believes adaptations should strategically deliver on what’s best for your customer. Successfully serve them, and your business will have a greater chance of survival and success.

“Rather than throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks, think from the perspective of: What does my customer need? What does my customer want? How can I help them? Then, put things into place. It might really help your business long-term.”
– Alyssa Kerbel, owner of Mini Mioche.

Moms are the hardest workers in the world. Those who give birth then start a business that grows to encompass international retail locations, a warehouse, and a fulfilment centre…All while upholding parental duties? Well, that’s the indefatigable Alyssa Kerbel, the owner of Mini Mioche, a Toronto-based children’s apparel company.

Kerbel’s success has been earned every step of the way, but ultimately sustained by a consistent focus on the customer. “I started my business almost 12 years ago when I had my daughter,” says Kerbel. At the time, I couldn't really find what I wanted to dress her in; really simple, soft unisex basics. It didn't exist on the market. So I decided to make a brand." Kerbel launched a business from the perspective of a customer, and never abandoned that mindset.

While the pandemic has temporarily closed Mini Mioche’s three locations and affected Kerbel’s ability to physically interact with people in-store, she’s ramped up digital engagement to be of utmost service to her customers. “We’re connecting with our community and really thinking about what our community- which is mostly parents of young kids- are going through. What are they needing support with? What are they dealing with in terms of juggling being at home and working and homeschooling? So we’re trying to help provide resources, activities and content to help them in their day-to-day right now.”

This engagement strategy, combined with initially offering free shipping on all orders as discretionary spending waned, helped Kerbel keep customers in the funnel. In addition, a mask donation campaign on Mini Mioche’s website spurred customers to shop, do good, and help deliver 2,400 masks to a Toronto hospital.

“Early on there was a sense that you needed to get online and change your whole business. But as this has gone on, I’ve thought: How can I connect with my community? How can I help people? I think that, as a business owner, who you are serving, how you are helping that customer, or what you are doing to make things better for them will make you successful in business.” If we can learn one thing from Kerbel, it’s that adapting your business to anticipate their needs definitely is.

To support Alyssa Kerbel, visit the Mini Mioche website to buy Toronto-made children’s apparel. Follow them on instagram to learn more.

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