The pandemic has been a terrible time for fashion sales. Many shoppers have cut down on discretionary purchases, but even those who want to spend have found non-essential stores closed. So they’ve turned to e-commerce, where retailers are happily satisfying their desire for new clothes.

And while smaller sellers can’t compete with big brands in terms of marketing, they too can stand out from the crowd and attract new customers. All it takes is a little bit of creativity. And one woman from the Philippines who runs an online boutique has just given the entire industry a masterclass on how it’s done.

Jocelyn May Jazareno Caday, the owner of Jo’s Online Shoppe, found her husband sleeping in a “handy” position, so she decided to use him as a clothing model, showcasing her new items. She “made” him wear pants, dresses, skirts, and flowery tops, and took pictures throughout the entire process, which went viral immediately after Jocelyn uploaded them to her shop’s Facebook page.

Image credits: Jo’s Online Shoppe

Clothing stores have been among the worst-hit retail sector. For example, at the height of the pandemic, their sales were down four-fifths in the UK. Feedback from retailers suggests that despite clothing stores reopening they are still being severely affected by social distancing measures, hitting footfall, and the ability of consumers to try on clothes.

But it’s been a different story for some online sellers. For example, Zalando, a Berlin-based company that bills itself as Europe’s largest online fashion retailer, achieved exceptional profitable growth in the third quarter of 2020. Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) and revenue grew by 29.9 percent and 21.6 percent to 2.5 billion and 1.8 billion euros, respectively.

At the time of publishing these results, David Schröder, Chief Financial Officer, said: “As the second coronavirus wave is starting more forcefully than anticipated, we are much better prepared than earlier in the year. Our Starting Point for Fashion strategy continues to enable us to turn the accelerated consumer demand shift towards digital offerings into business opportunities for Zalando and its partners.”

Between 2023-2025, the Philippines is aiming to be in the top 15 global garment exporters, which would mean garment exports would need to increase by 21.7% annually. Among strategies to reach the goal, the country is looking at addressing smuggling and providing capital, land, and grant incentives. Maybe they should also encourage sellers to use their partners as models?