Oak and Vine Boutique is changing the game when it comes to shopping local, allowing busy ladies throughout the Mother Lode – and nationwide – to purchase Calaveras-curated attire from the comfort of their couches, all while sharing some good times with friends.
Once a week, besties and mothers-of-three Amanda Anderson and Chelsie McDaniel open up a bottle of wine and their boutique. Some days, it’s in McDaniel’s living room in Vallecito, others it’s outside on the patio with kids running around and husbands popping in and out to make dinner. Dressed in their own “cool mom” merchandise – soft skinny jeans, tastefully-ripped T’s and platform espadrilles – the two take to Facebook and greet their roughly 1,200 group members via live video.
“It still shocks me every week,” McDaniel says. “People just keep buying, and every week, it’s just selling out.”
Since starting up in November, the enterprising duo has amassed a following that is hungry for a shopping experience close to home and tailored to a uniquely rural lifestyle. Unlike the typical online purchase, buyers can watch Anderson and McDaniel try on the items and describe the quality, fit and feel. And unlike multilevel marketing companies that rely on a similar “fashion consultant” business model, shoppers can rest assured that the clothing they buy was handpicked by the boutique owners themselves, from an array of vendors.
“It’s our life. Real life,” says Anderson, who hatched the idea for the business roughly one year ago. “This is what you get. This is what you’re going to look like wearing these clothes with your cow in the background. So it’s relatable, I guess you could say.”
According to McDaniel, it’s the personal, communal atmosphere, accessible from shoppers’ homes, that has built up a loyal and growing clientele. The pair offers in-person delivery for locals (Oak and Vine Prime) and encourages viewers to share a glass of wine with them from the other side of the screen, exchanging lighthearted banter through the live stream.
“You girls are going to get me fired!! Lol!!” one shopper comments during a midday sale on a Wednesday.
Another aspect that perhaps lends an addictive quality to the experience is the competitive nature of the buy. Merchandise sells out so quickly that shoppers have to race to comment or private message the boutique in order to take home the prize.
“It’s almost like a game,” Anderson says. “It’s been so fun.”
For those seeking a more leisurely shopping experience, Oak and Vine hosts pop-up sales regularly along with other local businesses. The next sale will take place on Aug. 9 at the Angels Camp Farmers Market.
“It’s more centered around being social than ‘Come buy our merchandise,’” Anderson says. “We’re social people. We like to eat and have wine.”
“We really like collaborating with other local businesses and promoting each other,” McDaniel adds.
Although they are making sales nationwide and hint at new additions on the horizon, Anderson and McDaniel maintain their community-centric focus by selling custom T-shirts for local causes, which has been a popular venture.
The company also stays true to its target audience, filling a void for foothills women who want to look their best, but don’t have a lot of time (or places) to shop.
“I think that our main goal is to just be easy. (To) make things easy and more simple for busy people,” Anderson says. “The everyday hustle is hard. If someone can just get up and throw something cute and comfy on, and don’t feel like it’s sucking the life out of them, we’re winning. That’s our goal.”
Visit Oak and Vine Boutique on Facebook for more information.