Shoppers can bond, know about brands and get answers to their queries at Chennai Shopping

When Sarah Natasha is not occupied with her job in the realty sector, she's busy playing agony aunt. But in this case it doesn't involve solving tiffs between estranged lovers, instead she suggests where you could pick up shoes to go with your clothes, clothes to go with your hair and hair to go with your eye colour...

“It's not just outfits and bags, I also get people asking for doctors, domestic help, tuition teachers, electricians...” says Sarah who started Chennai Shopping, a Facebook page that deals with all things retail, be it products, services, that perfect birthday cake or even a holiday.

“In January this year I created this page. My friends had moved abroad and I didn't have anybody to ask what to buy and how things looked on me. So I started this page. Also, I am a shopaholic who wanted to know about new stores and also encourage people who run businesses from their house or have a good collection to showcase,” explains Sarah.

Barely in its fourth month and the group already has 11,000 members — something Sarah and the members are extremely pleased about. “When it started there were only 10 members, those were my friends. I thought it would just be a group of girls discussing various things. I had no idea it would grow like this and have men too.”

Sarah believes that Chennai Shopping not just helps people with their shopping needs it also helps create friendships among members. “Everybody is willing to help. If you have any question or need any advice just put it up on this page and see the number of helpful responses you get.”

Sarah points out that Chennai Shopping has helped a few homemakers turn entrepreneurs. People who know quilling, making bags or baking have now found an audience. Established retail brands and outlets from across cities have found more visibility on this forum.

One of the benefits a member enjoys are the special deals retailers offer. There are also various workshops organised to make the members aware about a host of subjects such as search engine marketing, how to identify various kinds of precious stones, and also garage sales.

Shopping Buddies is yet another interesting feature which opens up myriad shopping options within the city. “A group of us from Anna Nagar car pooled and went to Sowcarpet where the members from Sowcarpet played hosts and took us around the area,” she explains.

And what does Sarah get out of it? “Everything's free. Through Chennai Shopping I have made some good friends, got to know of some awesome brands and all the ‘thank yous' I get are my earnings.”

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