A major focus of The Idle Class is celebrating things that are local. Typically, this is art, music or writing. However, entrepreneurship certainly has its creative side.  A new company recently popped up called Btiques. Based out of Fayetteville, Btiques is an app that enables shop owners to easily post and sell items to the social and mobile customer. Shoppers can buy local just by using their phone and have items shipped or picked up. The idea is the brainchild of brother and sister duo Sara Beck and Will Carter. They developed their app and company as part of the ARK Challenge, an incubator program through the University of Arkansas. The Idle Class recently caught up with Sara and asked a few questions.

Give me a little background on yourself and your brother.

Sara:  Having grown up in NWA, Will and I are big advocates of the unique and diverse landscape of the people and various ways of thinking in our area.  Both living in Fayetteville, we have a particular infinity for the level of critical thinking and new businesses popping up all around us!  We love being part of the electric and innovative things that are happening at this particular point in time in Fayetteville and the surrounding areas.

Where did the idea for Btiques come from? 

Sara:  We saw that boutique owners were using social media to manually highlight and try to sell products to the social shopper. That was a starting point for us to create a platform to make it easy for shop owners to post and sell items to both the social and mobile shoppers.  A new way for customers to discover and shop their favorite stores, right from their phones!  They can choose to pick up items in store or have them shipped.

How did you get in with the ARK Challenge and what was the process like for you guys?

Sara:  We uploaded and submitted our business plan and team videos exactly 10 minutes prior to the midnight deadline!  It was a nail biter.  Thrilled to be selected amongst local and International founder teams, the 3 month bootcamp began shortly after.  It was an incredible experience full of the most valuable access to our very successful, yet humble, business leader and investor community.  They were essential in navigating us through the ample buckets of what it takes to start up a business.

Why go with an app versus a traditional website? 

Sara:  App first, as it allowed us to differentiate ourselves in the marketplace, and provide a tool for small business shop owners to offer their current customers yet another way to shop their products.  Next on deck is web, and we have begun the planning and interface process to build and implement.  While mobile is the future, we know that web still reaches the masses, and is the platform to highlight the boutique community and tell their unique stories.

iPhone-Maude copyYour focus seems to be primarily on local businesses.

Sara:  How do you plan to grow beyond Arkansas?  We started in Arkansas because this is where we are from, and it is bountiful with unique boutique shopping and devoted customers.  Currently in our learnings phase, we continue to improve and iterate our product.  We will be branching out to the National marketplace within this quarter.

How is this beneficial to local economies? 

Sara:  As part of our long term plan, we are just as excited to drive new customers in to the brick and mortar stores as we are to sell online.  The epitome of the boutique experience is the discovery of finding a new boutique, looking in the window, and anticipating what exciting products that you are going to see.  Unique shopping.

How can creative individuals or other members of the creative economy utilize Btiques?

Sara:  We are building towards a destination where you can find and shop unique products from the best boutiques across the map.  Every day, we will bring you new products that you won’t find in the regular retail stores.  Individual style is inspired.

Is there anything else you’d like to add? 

Sara:  We are excited to test and learn where this path is going to lead our business, and look forward to attracting and inspiring passionate individuals to join our team, currently located on the buzzing Fayetteville Square.

 VISIT:  Btiques.com