Ten local women merchants in SHIELD playfully show that they are actually pretty basic. The initiative comes from the manager of the BABYluff specialty store for children. “I’ve officially been ‘main’ since the last lockdown, but I’m showing my solidarity as well. I want to encourage my neighbors and colleagues in Turnhoutsebaan and also help lower the threshold for their beautiful work,” says Van Antwerpen.
One of the most surprising photographs of the successful campaign is that of Emmanuel Dufferan taken by Emmanuel D. She stands naked, covered “only” by a banner with a slogan.
“A nod to the sexy movie with Sylvia Kristel from the ’70s. My mom named me after that print and one year later it’s on her own boutique. That was 35 years ago, but the famous chair from the movie is still a piece of the scene here. We thought it would be cool to turn the topic on again.” Another in response to that beautiful campaign launched by colleague Eileen,” says Emmanuel, again who was beautifully dressed for the interview in a collection from her own store.
She’s not the only shopkeeper who has been creative in showing that she still exists. And people can shop safely and without problems during this closure. We are ‘only’ open. Reservations can always be made on site at the entrance, without waiting,” testify Emmanuel and her mother, Ingrid Coveli, who often come to help her daughter.
Anneke Lemmens of Améno, the maternity clothing boutique, explains that you can’t really wear regular big-bellied jeans. Wet Paulien Vorsselmans from Paulien & Paulette explains that you can’t face the Belgian climate without a rain cover. Isabelle Janssens and Dominique Tollenaere of lingerie store Finess put drooping breasts in the window. Their products are also indispensable.
The campaign appears to have been developed by an advertising agency, but it originated from the brains of Ellen van Antwerp and the merchants themselves. “Shield Revitalize is what I called them,” says the BABYluff director. “Certainly in an obsolete municipality like SHIELD it is important to shout from the rooftops that you can go to all the stores – not just the basic ones. I can’t complain about myself, but I really feel sorry for my colleagues who do their best to comply with the rules and who are also on the Willing every day to pamper their customers.
“We are touched by this Ellen initiative,” Ingrid Coveli wipes a tear from the loneliness shown by today’s shopkeepers. Perhaps alderman from Economy Marianne van Alven (Open Vld) could still lend a helping hand, for example, with posters made of our designs. We are already sharing positive messages to each other on our social media,” says her daughter Emmanuel.
During the first shutdown, 195 merchants requested and received a special allowance of 500 euros from the municipality. The residents of Schelden have also taken great advantage of the €10 local store voucher, launched by the local government, to spend with our entrepreneurs. For example, another 133 thousand euros was invested in the local economy.