Évi Marillai had rejected the idea of opening an online shop for a long time. Then came the epidemic, and the online store was in place in just about three weeks. The wonderLAB concept store located in Veres Pálné Street has had a solid place in the heart of customers looking for stylish accessories for nine years, and now they offer their services online, too. In addition to managing the store, Évi is also building her own brand, INQ concept—she owes not only the challenges, but her dog too to the year 2020.
It’s now been more than a year that we are forced to live together with the changes caused by the pandemic. How has the coronavirus affected your business?
The biggest change was the creation of our online presence. Until March 2020, even if the idea of an online store had occurred to me, I always dismissed it instantly because managing and continuously updating more than eight hundred products seemed impossible. Then suddenly I had the time for it, and I did it very swiftly, in about three weeks. Since then, we’ve improved a lot in online sales. The customers became braver, and we can satisfy their needs flexibly and rapidly. I couldn’t stop for a minute, so I didn’t have time to break down. The challenge that this situation had to be resolved gave me momentum, and so did the fact that in addition to my own brain, I had to reset those of designers too to fight mode, to make sure we survive.
WonderLAB has always been good at selling jewelry, and this remained so in the case of the online store as well. In the time of the pandemic, practical clothing pieces were the most popular undoubtedly—formal garments, in the absence of events, were less sought after. The sales of bags dropped markedly, except for backpacks and belt bags, which are practical items regardless of the situation.
Fundamentally I had a positive perception of the changes brought about by the pandemic. The last closure took its toll on me a little, but INQ concept will return with many lovely colors for the spring-summer, to balance this lethargic state.
The support and attitude of customers were very calming and inspiring. What surprised me though (yet still made me feel good) was how I saw based on customer feedback that we could transfer our direct and helpful attitude to the online space, which I previously thought we could only provide in person.
If you’ve learned something from the pandemic, what was it?
To me, the pandemic brought a fresh start. Major changes took place both in my business and private life. I realized I’m more optimistic than I thought: I didn’t let myself get depressed, but accepted the situation that was hard not only on me, but everybody. I started noticing the small things, feel joy for seemingly insignificant things what I didn’t see earlier. It might sound silly but the best thing in 2020 was adopting my dog. I walked much more due to the confinement, but this way I even had the perfect alibi.
Photos: Géza Talabér, Milán Rácmolnár (portrait)