Carving out a valued niche in the Cochrane community, Paisley Boutique swept this year’s Best of Cochrane retail awards for its dedication and innovation in bringing women’s clothing to town.
Paisley Boutique placed gold for Best Women’s Clothing Store, silver for Best Customer Service/Friendliest Staff and bronze for Best Retail Store. It is a feat the boutique also accomplished in 2017 and 2020.
This year’s medals cap a decade of dominating the awards.
“We feel very, very blessed and honoured that our customers take the time to vote for us,” Laurel Pasishnik, owner of Paisley Boutique. “They’ve been incredibly supportive through this whole crazy three years. We wouldn’t be anywhere if we didn’t have their loyalty and their commitment to us.”
Paisley Boutique like many businesses in town felt the economic hit of the COVID pandemic, she said.
To adapt to the challenges, the shop embraced new and creative solutions to keep the business afloat. Pasishnik added that what became most clear during these troubling times was just how much the community cared.
“There were people who were just trying to keep us going,” Pasishnik said. “We had people who would order something every week just to say, ‘Oh we want to just keep you busy.’”
A major innovation was fostering a more robust online presence. Although the boutique always had an online presence, COVID allowed them to place a greater emphasis on developing the practice.
In the past, the boutique would get about one online order a week. Now the store is getting at least two to three in a day. Pasishnik said she ships orders all over Canada thanks to the stronger online presence she has cultivated.
“It really forced us to grow,” she said.
Paisley Boutique prides itself in carrying exclusive fashion lines.
Pasishnik said her daughter-in-law’s keen fashion sense, constant trust and not flooding Cochrane’s market with the same inventory has been crucial to the boutique’s success.
“We make sure that our lines are exclusive to us, and every business should do that,” Pasishnik explained. “We have a really good relationship with all of our reps.”
Another reason why the boutique continues to thrive is because of the pride they take in their customer service. Pasishnik believes in building relationships with all customers whether it be their first time in the shop or returning clientele.
“We want to create the most comfortable environment for everybody,” she said. “We work really hard at making sure everyone looks and feels as beautiful as they are, and we will be completely honest with you too. We will not sell you something if we don’t like it on you.”
Pasishnik credits her staff for being unique to the store and helping out in areas they excel. She said working off each other’s strengths and working closely with her staff allows her to play somewhat of a mentor role, which she loves.
“There’s eight of us and we are different ages and sizes and shapes,” she said. “Sue and I work with a lot of the older ladies, then we’ve got Priya and the young girls that work with the younger girls, then we’ve got Erin that does all the social stuff, then we’ve got Liz who’s just a powerhouse. I feel very proud of our store and our staff and the way we’re perceived by our customers because that is what we are doing right.