DENVER — The owners of FashioNation on South Broadway had been working virtually nonstop for three decades, but suddenly, the COVID-19 pandemic shut down their business for 62 days.
“It is a real family business,” owner Pam Italiano said. “Our daughters work for us, and our family friends work for us.”
The store is known for selling alternative fashion, perfect for anyone who wants to add a little “punk” or “goth” to their wardrobes. And when the small store had a 62-day void in their business to fill after they reopened, their two daughters turned to something new.
“Is anyone going to care about us? Is anyone going to want crazy clothes because they can’t go anywhere?” one of those daughters, Sydney Italiano, said. “We decided to start a TikTok account.”
The account was launched by Mia and Sydney Italiano, as well as family friends who work at the store. They made short and energetic videos to advertise FashioNation’s merchandise in hopes of attracting new customers.
Those videos took off. Once the store’s first video reached more than 300,000 views on the app, business started to boom … and FashioNation saw a boom when other businesses were struggling.
“It’s been one of the biggest upticks in business in years that we’ve had,” Sydney Italiano said.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, only 10 people are allowed in FashioNation at a time. The staff has to keep everyone else in a line outside, which at times stretched 20 to 30 people down the Broadway sidewalk.
And with their success on TikTok, the Italiano family said they are concerned about President Donald Trump’s threats to shut down the platform unless it’s sold to a U.S. company.
“It just seems like such an innocent app,” Pam Italiano said. “Everything on it seems fun and energetic and it sure has helped us.”
Whether TikTok stays or not, Pam Italiano said she’s just happy for the business it did gain.
"For this little business in Denver in the middle of all this, this one shot, I'll take it." Pam Italiano said. "It has changed our lives."
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