Stylemaker: Tiana Haraguchi of Boutikey
Today I would like to introduce you to Tiana Haraguchi, the founder and CEO of Boutikey, a fashion app that is creating more meaningful connections between boutiques and consumers. To learn about Tiana’s passion and why she chose to start in Boston, read on…
Natalie Kurtzman: What is Boutikey and how did the idea come to life?
Tiana Haraguchi: Boutikey is a mobile application that helps connect local fashion boutiques with their customers. It was created because there is a huge issue in the boutique industry; 80% of fashion boutiques fail within the first five years of opening. It is my dream to create a platform for these boutiques that help them keep up with modern marketing tactics, improve customer retention, and ultimately maximize their sales.
The idea came to life after I made a $550 purchase in one of the Boston boutiques last year and felt that my experience could have been better. For starters, I didn’t know about one of the sales going on in-store until I was checking out, which may have influenced my purchase decisions had I known sooner. I also was really disappointed that there was no rewards program in place that would add value to the purchase I was making. Turns out that there were no rewards programs in any of the boutiques in Boston. As a girl who loves fashion boutiques, I wanted to help change the local shopping experience.
NK: Why start in Boston?
TH: I started Boutikey in Boston because I think it has an unfair reputation in the fashion industry. We all know GQ rated Boston as one of the worst dressed cities in the country. It’s true that Boston isn’t a huge design city because we don’t have the resources for it. However, what people don’t know is that Boston is full of amazing local boutiques and hidden gems that showcase unique and exciting trends from all over the country. I’ve been able to sign on 65 boutiques alone in Massachusetts, mainly boutiques located in the Greater Boston Area. I want to leave a footprint in the beginning of the “new Boston fashion scene”. I especially want to try and bring the Boston fashion community together, beginning with boutiques and bloggers.
NK: How does Boutikey enhance the customer experience?
TH: Boutikey adds value to each customers experience in a few ways. When first logging on to the app, users are able to find and discover the boutiques in their area. This feature is really neat because it showcases amazing stores that people never knew existed. They are also able to keep up with the latest trends and new items from these stores in the live feed section.
The two biggest value-added features are derived from the Offers section and Digital Rewards Program. The offers section allows boutique owners to post any current or future events and deals going on in store. Users receive a push notification every time a new offer is added. The Digital Rewards program tracks the dollars a customer spends in store, and rewards a customer after they spend the set dollar amount chosen by the store. For example, Bobbles and Lace gives a free pair of earrings to every girl who spends $100 on the app. Sail Loft in Chestnut Hill gives users $50 towards their next purchase once they spend $250.
NK: At 25 years old, it’s incredible what you’ve been able to accomplish! How do you enjoy spending free time? Do you have a favorite place to hang out in Boston?
TH: Thank you! During my free time I love traveling- especially quick long weekend trips! My ideal day involves sun, sand and a good book. I also love running outside on a nice afternoon! And of course, I love spending time with my friends and family!
NK: As a fashionable entrepreneur, do you have a signature style? What are your go-to local boutiques that you’re never able to leave empty-handed?
TH: My signature style is definitely a comfy pair of jeans with a great heel, statement necklace and fun shade of lipstick. I also love maxi skirts, fun prints, cropped tops, and anything leather! It’s tough to choose because there are so many amazing boutiques in Boston, but my go-to local boutiques would have to be Ku De Ta and Pretty Reckless in South Boston. I don’t think I’ve ever left either store empty handed
NK: What advice would you give to a fellow entrepreneur looking to make it in Boston?
TH: Networking is everything. Boston may be a small community, but it is certainly a growing start-up hub and a very tight knit community. If you have questions or need advice reach out to everyone you can! You’d be surprised at the connections that can come from simply asking someone to grab a cup of coffee or hopping on a quick call.
NK: And lastly, where do you find inspiration?
TH: I find inspiration in the boutique owners I work with every day. Their love and passion for the brands they sell, as well as their loyal customers, is why I’m so determined to help the local boutique community succeed in every way I can. I also find inspiration from the network of entrepreneurs I interact with on a daily basis in Boston. There are so many creative and brilliant minds in this city! I swear I learn something new every day, which inspires me to improve and add features to the app, and overall make it a better product.
Thanks for chatting with us, Tiana! Be sure to download Boutikey and start exploring. You can find out more on the Boutikey website.
Do you know someone who is changing the scene in Boston? Send your Stylemaker nominations to email@example.com!