THERE’S NO SINGLE RECIPE FOR RETAILING SUCCESS IN THE INTERNET AGE, BUT SOME BUSINESSES ARE FINDING WAYS TO COMBINE THE ADVANTAGES OF THEIR LOCAL BRICK-AND-MORTAR SHOPS WITH THE BENEFITS OF ONLINE SELLING AND MARKETING. BUT HOW CAN A LOCAL SHOP COMPETE WITH MONSTERS LIKE AMAZON? A LOCAL BUSINESS OWNER SHARES HER STRATEGIES. 

SuperNATIONAL BY MARIE PULEO • PHOTOS BY JEFF GRAVES

Tonia Ryan 

A bit of show-biz glamour is coming to Pompano Beach with this month’s grand opening of Inance women’s clothing boutique. Teresa Giudice, star of the reality TV series “The Real Housewives of New Jersey,” will be making a special appearance at the grand opening party, which takes place on Nov 4 from 7 to 9pm and is open to the public. 

The event is part of a strategy by Tonia Ryan — the store’s founder and a 15-year Pompano Beach resident — to make a major splash and build brand recognition for Inance at a national level. Ryan already has a bit of a head start. She is the owner of a successful e-business that sells Inance Skincare products, which have been featured on networks like Bravo, OWN, E! and the Hallmark Channel. Inance Skincare, which Ryan launched in 2012, also sponsored the Oscars Celebrity Gifting Suite two years in a row.The Inance store, however, is a new venture Ryan hopes will gain just as much attention as her skincare products. 

Over the years, California-born Ryan has made numerous contacts in the fashion and entertainment industries, which inspired her to branch out the Inance brand into women’s contemporary clothing. 

For the past 18 months, Ryan has been working with over 200 manufacturers around the United States to create the two clothing lines she will feature in her boutique. She designed and chose the fabrics for the majority of the items herself and has built up an inventory of over 10,000 pieces to sell on the floor. 

“Since we’re doing our own manufacturing, everything is so fresh and new,” said Ryan, who does most of her sourcing and manufacturing business long distance. 

Ryan uses FaceTime to talk to her manufacturers, who show her their products virtually. They mail her fabric samples, then work with her to tweak things to her liking. 

Of the two lines she’s created, The Inance line is higher-end, designed with busy women in mind (especially working moms) who want fashion and comfort without much time or effort. The second line, called Smazy by Inance, is a contemporary line with a lower price point geared toward younger women. Both lines will offer plus sizes. All the styles, which include dresses, casual wear and active wear, are South Florida-driven. 

“I know we’re going to be known as ‘maxi-dress heaven,’ because we have so many maxi-dresses,” said Ryan. 

The new Inance store also features handmade bikinis and lingerie from a Los Angeles-based manufacturer whose celebrity customers include Beyoncé, Madonna, the Kardashians and many more. Customers will be able to purchase the merchandise either in-store, or on the company’s website (Inance.com), with free one day shipping in the state of Florida. 

Inance’s physical store consists of approximately 2,500 square feet of selling space, and another 700 square feet in the back where internet orders will be processed. The new store is “a totally different concept than what people in retail are used to,” said Ryan. Instead of mannequins, there are TV monitors to show images of models wearing every item in the store. Sales associates have mobile scanners, which allow them to ring up sales anywhere in the store. There’s also a selfie machine where people can take photos and share them with their friends. 
“It’s just a new, more personal, technology-driven way to be able to help the consumer,” said Ryan. 

For now, Ryan doesn’t plan to sell her products on any other websites, such as Amazon; she prefers to work directly with her customers and not through a third-party company. Ryan expects her online customer base to be mainly in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Texas and South Florida, and predicts her online sales will far outweigh her in-store sales. 

Ryan, who has a computer science degree, is “e-commerce driven,” and plans to raise awareness of the Inance boutique outside the local area through social media, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, all of which she handles herself. Having Teresa Giudice at the Inance grand opening is part of her social media strategy. 

“There are a lot of new, fun ways on the internet that you can reach out to the consumer,” said Ryan, who even posted a YouTube video of herself modeling the Inance bikini line, so people could form a connection to her and the product. 

Ryan plans to partner with some celebrity friends and other social media influencers like Giudice. By the end of the year, she plans to post YouTube videos of celebrities shopping at Inance. Ryan will also be organizing an event with Gretchen Rossi, who appeared in “The Real Housewives of Orange County” reality TV series, and whose handbag line will be carried in the store. 

If the Pompano Beach store is a success, Ryan would like to open a second brick-and-mortar store in South Florida. “Pompano as a city is coming up,” said Ryan. “Especially for this stage of my life, being married, having children, I find that it’s a wonderful place to live, and I think it’s a great flagship location for what we’re doing.”