How The Webster and Rule of Next Are Helping Their Communities During the Pandemic
Stay at home. Flatten the curve. Wash your hands for 20 seconds. Wear a mask. Stay six feet apart. Everyone is doing their part facing the pandemic and fielding new challenges, but as COVID-19 continues to impact businesses and economies, it is generally the small independent retailers and brands that are highly distressed. “A lot of brands don’t have the cash reserves to sustain this,” Bobby Hundreds told Complex on how COVID-19 is affecting fashion and streetwear brands.
While some have closed their doors and pivoted to sales and special drops, other retailers have focused on enhancing their e-commerce component and social media while helping their communities in need. At The Webster Miami, the luxury boutique recently moved their efforts digitally to offer the same luxury experience. “Our stylists both in-store and online are working diligently to be available for their clients, keeping them updated on the new product that arrives, curating consignment packages (handled and processed following all CDC guidelines) to be delivered to them in the comfort of their own homes and hosting video call appointments to recreate the feeling and support that they normally would receive during a store appointment”, says PR and Events Manager, Annica Litavas.
“While we know our role in the world is small, we want to be able to offer our clients comfort and beauty in a time when we feel we all need it most,” Litavas added. The Webster, which has seven locations across Miami, Los Angeles, New York and Houston, is known for carrying a curated assortment of luxury brands like Balenciaga, OFF-WHITE, and Saint Laurent. The boutique is also taking this time to look into their archives to draw out what inspired them to initially create The Webster. “We are building content daily, for our website, @thewebster and @thewebsterman and tapping into our network to spotlight and support our designers and friends of The Webster, and creating exciting features that we hope will give our clients joy while at home.”
The Cleveland-based streetwear shop, Rule of Next has started aiding their neighborhood by launching a fundraising initiative with local non-profit Medworks that assists people who are uninsured and underinsured with healthcare. “We’re working with them on two fronts. One, to raise money to feed our local community and two, to do it through food gift cards to keep food service people working. We’re asking for small donations. We’ve started the process with a larger donation. I think we’ve reached a new place where business and the needs of the community are linked like never before. It’s the great pause. Hopefully we’ll emerge a little more thoughtful, a little more considerate, and a little less concerned with what we have and more concerned with who we are,” says co-founder Robert Rosenthal.
Still, the midwest retailer stocks a handful of streetwear favorites like Adidas, Billionaire Boys Club, and Stone Island and finds the time to deepen their relationships with the store team, vendors, and community. “Our e-commerce platform has been a priority for the last three years. Now it’s a necessity. We are ultra focused on service. Getting it fast and getting it right. From a content standpoint we’re now going from the phase of communicating what we have to what we are.”
The health, safety, and well-being of our merchant community at The Complex SHOP is our top priority. As independent businesses and brands are navigating this time of uncertainty, we want to remind you that we are here to support and it’s more important than ever to look out for each other. By supporting our merchants, we are supporting their cause. Despite our merchant’s bricks and mortars closed by mandate, they are still continuing to offer the latest assortment of on-point products that you can find at The Complex SHOP. If you have the means, consider contributing to some of these efforts to help our local businesses and healthcare workers on the front lines fighting this disease. For more information on how you can support, visit GoFundMe.org Small Business Relief Fund, No Kid Hungry, Medworks, #HowWeFeel, Last Prisoner Project, and Restaurant Workers Community Foundation.