Ebb & Flo specializes in “the art of she,” with a lineup of fashions, accessories and beauty products that are sustainable, natural and enduring. This family operated boutique retailer opened its first location in downtown Brockville in 2015 and its second in Ottawa four years later.

In the crowded market of women’s fashions and related products, Ebb & Flo has won a loyal customer following with their own line of clothes, cosmetics, shoes and handbags. A big believer in the power of brand, owner Sherry Wallace realized early that spending on marketing was a better investment if she was promoting her own branded line of goods rather than those of other makers. As a result, Ebb & Flo’s own products are front and centre.

While its locations feature upscale and fashion-forward inventory, before the pandemic Ebb & Flo lacked a strong online presence needed to drive e-commerce sales. Faced with the competitive threat from larger retailers with deeper pockets, owner Sherry Wallace turned to Digital Main Street to reach more consumers through social media and for help with general marketing development.

Sherry readily applauds Digital Main Street for making her rethink her whole approach to online. With the support of the Digital Transformation Grant and her Digital Service Squad, Sherry put her investments into building her brand online, using Instagram and social media advertising to build awareness. An enhanced website and e-commerce set-up made sure she was ready for an increase in online business with double the inventory.

Increase it did. Ebb & Flo’s online revenue shot by up 300 percent during the pandemic, well over her 40 percent initial target. Free delivery and curbside pickup offered a personal touch to fulfillment as an added customer bonus.

Her website and social media investments are also increasing in-store business now that the brick-and-mortar retail is open again to shoppers. Customers check out all the offerings online, decide what they like and then come into the store to experience the products live.

It’s all paying off. In 2020, Ebb & Flo was named by Ottawa Life as the Best Boutique of the Year. “DMS helped us evolve,” says Sherry. “We are grateful for the opportunity DMS gave us to increase our advertising and brand awareness campaigns online, not just on a provincial level, but on a national level.”

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