Back in the fall of 2015, I met with Erica Cobb Jarman to talk about what would be the opening of her new business venture, House of Strut. At the time, she opened her vintage store in a fairly new, and yet to be discovered by the masses, area of town in the Starland District. Instead of an interview, we chose to create a fashion editorial.
In choosing our models we featured a large portion of Savannah’s working and professional female musicians. From country music to punk rock we covered all areas. Erica styled our performers as we used the Starland District as our backdrop.
It seems like a lifetime ago. Fast forward to the year 2020 and House of Strut has now relocated to the Historic District in downtown Savannah and has added a portion of their inventory to a weekly live commerce and auction.
“Fact is that fear leads me into action,” Jarman said. “I am not afraid of trying new things. I tend to change and adapt rather quickly. It was one of the reasons why we moved the store to the downtown area, and it is one of the reasons why I am adding this new business module to our already set business practice. COVID-19 is a reality and I am moving ahead with the times while I continue to grow my brand. Live commerce seemed like a good move towards that direction. I am now reaching beyond the city limits.”
Retail businesses are going through a grim and dark time. Business Insider reports that brick-and-mortar retail stores are shutting their doors at an alarming rate. Last year alone, 9,300 big stores closures were announced in the U.S. More than 3,000 stores are closing in 2020 as the retail apocalypse continues.
“This new way of creating a connection with my customers while we inject a bit of fun during these tough times is invigorating,” Jarman said. “This new live commerce segment we are calling it a Fashion Talk Show seems to go well with our times. The way our live auctions are created are so organic and they are more like a party.”
“Each Friday at 7 p.m. on Instagram Live we air from the House of Strut dressing room underneath the disco ball. We try on a number of looks including jewelry and accessories which are all up for auction. We play music and, in the process, we crack many jokes. I never knew I was capable of hosting a talk show but here I am. I also have a co-host named Addie Jo Bannerman, and between the two of us there is such great energy.”
Nick-named live commerce, the strategy is the merging of video and shopping which helps improve engagement, while building a bridge between a product and customer.
“Vintage Fashion is one of those things that has a good following and loyal base,” Jarman said.
“We begin our auctions with all items priced at 50% off retail price and from there we go. Many get great deals and we also love that healthy competition between clients when they fall for an item. We do have the option of shipping items for an extra five dollars but if you’re a local we will be glad to deliver your purchase all contact free. Clients that purchase over fifty dollars always get a gift along with their purchase. We are known to even include albums by local artists like Bero Bero and Twisty Cats for customers that purchase over the fifty-dollar amount.”
Ready to shop? Well, join House of Strut Fashion Talk Show and auctions every Friday at 7 p.m. through their Instagram Channel at instagram.com/houseofstrut/.