THE SPA IN ME
Interview With Dee Ware, Founder & Creator, Style & Leisure Enthusiast, C.H.I.C. Shopping Tours
We had the pleasure of interviewing Dee Ware, Founder & Creator, Style & Leisure Enthusiast, of C.H.I.C. Shopping Tours.
After learning more about her company, I’m ready to plan a shopping tour with my BFFs!
Thanks so much for joining in this interview. Our readers and listeners would love to know your back story of what inspired you to start C.H.I.C. Shopping Tours. Have you always enjoyed shopping?
Thank you for your interest in CHIC SHOPPING TOURS. Yes! I have always loved shopping! My grandmother used to take me shopping in downtown Houston on Sundays to the Foley’s basement. We didn't have much money so we would ride the bus, get off downtown, and take the underground tunnel (not many people know it exists) to get a slice of pizza, candy and shopping. I had 27 pairs of shoes when I was five years old. Her friend came over to visit and counted them. I started Houston Shopping Tours four years ago because I wanted to show people our amazing city when they came to visit and the unique locally owned shops.
CHIC SHOPPING TOURS was a pivot last year due to Covid19. I wanted to launch a virtual shopping tour for people all over the world.
That was great and we even had international shoppers. We also curated a CHIC box that you get in the mail prior to the virtual shopping party filled with snacks, beverages, Swag and shopping guides. You get these same items on the physical tours as well.
What are the different shopping tours that you offer? Also, how did you pivot when the pandemic became a part of our lives?
So currently, I am excited to announce (you're the first to hear it) four ways to shop since everyone is feeling differently about easing back into the world.
- Physical tours for a group of up to 10 and up to 45. We have a big corporate clientele for the larger parties and about 80% of the business comes from locals who book the smaller parties of up to 10 people for birthdays, celebrities, girls day out, etc.
- Then we have the virtual tours (explained above).
- And, we will roll out next month our self guided tours. These can be for smaller groups or even single people. You will receive a digital shopping guide with participating shops. You start at your host shop to pick up your swag bag and start shopping. At that time you can request a stylist to shop with you virtually for consulting on looks, etc. After you've visited the shops, you can select a charity for a portion of your ticket to go to.
-We also do New York fashion week twice a year and Miami fashion week. In 2022, we will add Lisbon and Italy. For New York City we do runway shows, shopping at Chelsea Market, 5th Ave. and China town. The new destination rollouts will consist of cultural shopping experiences, including markets and food, as well as local designer meet and greats.
So, it's a 1-2-3-4 and I'm pretty sure we will keep it that way for a while.
What do you find appealing and special about local boutiques and markets?
Local shop keepers and businesses put so much love into their spaces. The creativity in some of these showrooms is amazing. We also get to see designer spaces and maker spaces where they create, the energy of the environment, and the engagement as well.
Who can book a shopping tour? And, how many shops are part of a tour?
These tours and parties are for everyone. We have had sweet 16 parties as well as retirement parties. When you book a private tour we send the host a survey to get a feel of what they are looking for prior to curating their experience.
Can you share the most exciting shopping tour you've experienced since starting your company?
I would have to say my corporate tour in Denver. I have a corporate client who booked a tour while the their conference was in Houston. They loved it so much that now they fly me wherever their company conference is located to host their tour. They're rarely on their feet and always dancing! It's literally a party!
Is there a story you can share about how your company has positively impacted the life of a shopper or a boutique store owner?
Yes, I have never charged a shop to participate. So you can imagine that bringing 20+ shoppers definitely effects their bottom line. One shop owner said my tour coming was the biggest day they had had since it opened. That felt good because that is the purpose.
The pandemic negatively impacted the travel and tourism industry this past year. Can you share what you have learned about resilience and adapting during such difficult times?
Resilience is imperative to not only business but life. You have to have the same passion in your bounce back game as you did when you opened your doors. Always remain open minded and innovative. Change with the times and don't be afraid to get wild with it.
People would love to learn more and possibly book a shopping tour. Would you share C.H.I.C. Shopping Tours’ website and social media information?
Houston Shopping Tours Website at www.chicshoppingtours.com
Phone Number - 832.271.0145
WHY SHOP C.H.I.C. ?
C – Create Sustainable Communities
H – Help Independent Businesses Thrive
I - Intentional Local Lifestyle Advocate
C – Conscious Consumer Education
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