How does a small West Kootenay clothing store become a social-media sensation literally overnight?
All it takes is a little creativity from staff and a “Hot Boss” by the name of Rhylan Streloff.
JJ’s Fashions in Trail has attracted over 1.2 million followers and over 22.7 million likes on video-sharing app TikTok.
“We’re literally ecstatic,” said store employee Madicyn Dobie. “When we hit one million followers, we were freaking out. We’re from Trail, and it’s such a small town and a small area so for anyone whether a business or anything.
“For a million people to follow you when you’re from such a small area – it’s insane.”
JJ’s, like many local businesses, had been hit hard by the pandemic, so in October, employees Dobie and Paige Witt decided to combine fashion with fun and create a post of two young employees swooning over their obliviously handsome boss.
They convinced Streloff to play along and Dobie filmed and edited a short 15-second video of the two young women popping to the Jack Harlow tune “Whats Poppin” in an effort to get their Hot Boss’ attention.
The video’s success was unexpected.
“He wanted to take the first video we made down,” said Dobie. “Then we woke up the next day and it had three million views.”
Streloff was a little self-conscious and concerned at first, but soon the popularity and growing number of followers helped ease any reservations.
“It was funny, but I was worried because it was a little edgy, and I am always worried about what people think, but in the end we are just having fun,” said Streloff.
And as for the term “Hot Boss?”
“It’s a little strange for me, but I just have to take it as a joke, and have fun with it. Even the coffee bar across the street, they write it on my coffee cup.”
The JJ’s team collaborates on all their videos.
The exposure proved a big help in launching JJ’s online website, and while it hasn’t yet proved a huge financial windfall, its social-media reach is off the charts with over 100,000 million views so far.
“That (the pandemic) was the reason I didn’t take it down, and we kept doing this,” explained Streloff. “At any point we could be shut down and our business has been affected so to get an online store going, and building a following this way, at least we know we have the backup and a little revenue coming in.”
JJ’s has been in business for 37 years, started by Streloff’s grandmother in Castlegar and continued by his father. Streloff took over the business after working for 10 years in the oil and gas industry.