During the coronavirus pandemic, women across the country have been tuning in to watch Virginia Sharp, “Your girl V,” model clothes at her store in Macon for people to purchase.
Sharp had a Facebook presence with her store, Daemarii’s Unique Boutique, before the pandemic, but when she was forced to close her store in March, she started using Facebook more in order to sell her products online.
“We were closed for a couple of weeks, and there was no activity and nothing going on. I tried to figure out, ‘Okay, how am I going to get back to my customers to let them know we still can make sales?’” Sharp said. “So I came up with the idea one afternoon of doing a jewelry party.”
She hosted the jewelry party in her dining room, set out several different items and live streamed the event on Facebook.
She sold everything.
When she sold out at the next jewelry party, Sharp thought she should try the live events with clothes.
“I just kind of started playing with it a little bit more, a little bit more, and next thing I know I think we’re 19, 20 shows in now. We’re still having fun with it,” she said.
The shows have gained Sharp national attention with an appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show and being highlighted on CBS and CNN, according to a news release.
For her first event with clothes, she created a coffee night theme and featured black, tan and cream colored clothes. She has continued having themed nights, including a “Wizard of Oz” theme where she dressed up like Dorothy, a camping trip theme with a tent in her living room and a biker night where she had a motorcycle in her living room.
She hosts at least one show each week on Fridays at 7 p.m., but she also has shorter shows throughout the week to showcase new items and share inspirational moments.
From a dream to reality
Sharp, who was a nurse liaison, always wanted to be a model, and she wanted a boutique so she could model her own clothes, she said.
When she was on a retreat with a group of women, on the way back she announced she wanted to open a consignment boutique and asked if they would give her some old clothes to get started.
They did, and in October 2014, she opened Daemarii’s Unique Boutique, named for her two grandchildren, at 2384 Ingleside Ave.
“If I don’t try, I’ll always have in the back of my mind, ‘What if?’ I didn’t want to have the, ‘What if?’ I wanted to see what would happen if I did it, and so now we’re six years in and doing pretty good,” she said.
When she went to visit the location for Daemarii’s for the first time, she said she called the phone number on the building. No one answered, so she started to drive away.
Before she could drive back down the street, the owner called her back and asked if she wanted to see it, she said.
“Lord knows it was a mess,” she said with a laugh.
All the place needed was some paint and care, and Sharp said she wanted to keep a rustic theme. She drew out what she wanted, and a friend helped build the items she needed, she said.
By January of 2015, Sharp said she had sold all of the consignment items, bought new clothing and basically had a brand new store.
The Daemarii’s experience
Walking into Daemarii’s, people will see bright yellow accompanied by antique items and furniture made from old doors, which gives the place a rustic but modern look.
The clothing is organized by color instead of size because Sharp said she didn’t want people to feel like they had to shop in one area of the store because of their size.
“I don’t care what size you are. You’re still beautiful to me,” she said. “I want them to feel the warmth of being inside the store and not feeling pressured or anything like that.”
Clothing does not have price tags, but Sharp includes the price underneath the inside tag. She said this allows her to have a conversation with her customers and make them more comfortable in the store.
“Women have so much to carry I think,” she said. “I just always try to make them feel a little extra special.”
The store is open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday and 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Owning a small business during a pandemic
The biggest challenge Sharp has had as a small business owner has been walk-in traffic, but she said because she had a decent size clientele before she opened, she hasn’t felt the strain of not having as much walk-in traffic.
“I like the challenges of not knowing what’s going to happen next. So, I mean to me, it’s just so, so beautiful to be able to be right here in our small town city to shop. Everybody knows everybody,” she said. “I’m very grateful. I mean I know some businesses have closed down, and I try to motivate and encourage people when I see them,” she said.
Although her business did feel the pain of shutting down during the pandemic, she said the Facebook Live events have really helped her, and business has started to pick back up.
“I think we’ve been truly blessed,” she said. “Even in the midst of the pandemic, God has still been good to us.”