Unlike in previous years' markets like the one shown here, Hollydays booths have taken a new form online as the market goes virtual this year. Photo courtesy Junior League of Baton Rouge.

Virtual Hollydays format this weekend lets smaller boutiques shine

While it’s still firmly fall, the arrival of Junior League of Baton Rouge’s fundraiser and holiday market Hollydays never fails to spark excitement for the festive season to come—regardless of the temperature outside. This year, in the name of safety, the usual in-person market has been transformed into a virtual experience, featuring many new vendors who don’t usually make an appearance among the rows of booths at the Raising Cane’s River Center. And while there will be plenty of toys and homewares, the market also has a packed roster of fashion-related offerings, including boutiques that can be found locally, as well as a few new names.

“We have everything from chic women’s apparel to adorable children’s clothing to activewear,” explains Hollydays chair Erin Nugent of the event, which kicks off tomorrow, October 9, and runs through October 18. “There is truly something for every member of the family.”

Junior League of Baton Rouge worked with Otey White & Associates Advertising Agency to create an online shopping experience that mimicked the feel of walking through aisles of booths. Photo courtesy Junior League of Baton Rouge.

Getting to this point wasn’t easy. Transitioning from the traditional market space with booth-lined avenues and an abundance of sensory detail took a big leap of faith from Junior League members and vendors, not to mention a strong working relationship with Otey White & Associates Advertising Agency, which helped format the event’s new digital look.

“We tried to mock up the site as similar to a traditional market as we could,” she says, “where we can create the look of a single booth, a double booth—we tried to mimic the traditional feel as much as we could.  You can see tiles showing the stores’ branding, plus a couple of items they’ll be selling. So it’s almost like window-shopping before you click.”

And with 160 merchants up and ready to go, Nugent says there’s no shortage of preview-worthy perks.

I think it’s exciting that a shop like Aria, which is a big name here in Baton Rouge and a local vendor that wouldn’t normally participate in an ordinary Hollydays due to small staffing or inventory, is able to participate in the online format,” says Nugent. “They can expand their reach and maybe hit a new target audience, which is great.”

Nugent also cites local favorites like NK Boutique and Head Over Heels for the same reasons—smaller storefronts with high-fashion items that can reach more people than ever before.

“We’re especially excited about new participant H Kyle, which is owned by League member Tia Whittington,” Nugent says. “Obviously we love supporting League members and League businesses whenever we can.”


But there are many non-local participants, too, which Nugent estimates to make up about 50% of the online offerings. “Ginn G is a new merchant, located in Lafayette, which has cute fashion for women,” Nugent says. “Women in Baton Rouge wouldn’t normally even get to shop there, and maybe Ginn G wouldn’t be able to participate in a traditional format due to the same staffing and inventory and the like. I think it’s cool that this can end up expanding everyone’s horizons.”

Another Lafayette-based favorite with its fans in our hometown is Kiki, which has a Baton Rouge storefront and carries luxury jewelry, bags, accessories and clothing. “They’ve been awesome to us,” says Nugent. “They signed up early, and they have a large selection. I’m so excited they’re participating.”

Non-traditional apparel items will also be making a big splash, Nugent predicts, with activewear brands like Zyia, pet fashion brands, and vintage jewelry stores like Vanishing Heirlooms high on her list of favorites.

“We’re just so excited that everyone took this leap of faith with us,” says Nugent. “I think everything looks great, and we’re really happy to finally share this new format with everyone.”

For more on this year’s Hollydays, check out our article from the October issue, available on newsstands now.