Featuring ~ Bra Genie

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bra-genieSubmitted by Jeanne Emory, owner of Bra Genie in Mandeville, LA

My business, Bra Genie, was formed in early 2005 as a By Appointment Only at-home bra-fitting business. Having worked in the bra industry since 1999 as a Merchandiser for Lunaire bras, I was finding that the major department stores did not carry the bands and cups that bustier women required. The A-DD size range just wasn’t enough. I opened my business from a room off the front door of my home! I jokingly referred to it as my “Bra-fice”, a play on the word “office”.

I advertised diligently with a business card sized ad in the New Orleans newspaper twice a week. Women started calling! Some would come to my home, others would gather small group of friends and I would travel to them for fitting parties. Before long my client list numbered over 2000 and it was time to open a store front.

My Bra Genie store originally opened Nov. 1, 2008 in a 1500 sq. foot space. The mood is elegant and neutral, with gold and crystal accents on the chandeliers and sleek custom black wooden fixtures. We quickly outgrew that space with our staff of 12 and growing clientele, and we expanded into an adjacent space adding another 2000 sq. feet for a total of 3,500 sq. feet in April of 2012. When you walk into my store, you will see shapewear, swimwear, and walls full of panties, but just a few bras on display. That’s because at Bra Genie we keep our inventory of over 9000 bras in our back stockrooms in what we call the Dewey Decimal System of bra storage! Bras are kept in size order, with a strict sequence of style and type so that my fitters can pull what they need very quickly and efficiently.  I am a very “hands on” owner. I fit clients daily, and often win the honor of “Top Seller” of the day. Being at the store is a big part of the Bra Genie success.

Clients like to say, “I came to your house.” I call them my oldies but goodies, as they are the brave women who took a chance on me and my business. Selectively choosing staff is also very important. I have the best employees in the world and a very low turnover rate. I pay them well, with monthly bonuses if we make our goals, but do not pay commission. Commission turns sales people into sharks and does nothing for customer service.

We have been voted the Northshore’s Best Lingerie Store for the 2nd year in a row! What makes us different is the level of customer service we offer along with the huge variety of styles and brands. It’s important to me that every customer is greeted with a smile and a cheery “Hello, how are you today?” Being sized for bras can be very daunting for a woman, and we treat them with respect, dignity and humor! Our clients walk out with their heads held high, often wearing out one of their new bras! I have strived to offer the highest level of customer service available. I guarantee the fit of every bra, and sometimes have to “refit and exchange” to make clients happy. I realize that a happy client may tell 3 friends but an unhappy one will tell 20!

Our customer base is really wide. We do bra fittings for young girls as young as 8 or 9 years old, and also fit women up and into their 90s! Every woman deserves a great bra wardrobe, right? Our key market is really women aged 25-55. They seem the most concerned about the look and fit of their clothing and know the bra is key. Many clients have children of their own, which present a wonderful opportunity for us to service the entire family now and for years to come. If you give your clients the best in service and selection, they will become incredibly loyal.

The Bra Genie is located at: 2881 Hwy. 190 – Mandeville, LA

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7 Discussion to this post

  1. Lorraine Chambers says:

    The part of the story that is missing is that Jeanne is the ultimate merchant at the stock keeping end of her business in addition to her people skills and fitting skills. Jeanne stays on top of what sells every week and fills in so her customers are not disappointed because they cannot find “their size” in a product they want. Keep up the good work – women need role models like you.

    • Jeannie Emory - Owner Bra Genie says:

      Lorraine,

      Thanks for the kind words. When will other merchants realize that “chasing their business” is more trouble than keeping up with it! I love my job!

  2. Rachael says:

    I am an “oldie but goodie” and have not bought a bra anywhere else since I started visiting Jeannie’s Bra-ffice in probably 2005! She is the best.

  3. Jeannie Emory - Owner Bra Genie says:

    Rachael,

    Thanks for your support!

  4. Debbie Donelle says:

    Hi Jeanne. It was a pleasure reading your blog – thank you for posting. As a fairly new boutique owner in Montreal, Canada I was shocked and inspired by the similarites in our “bra stories”. In fact, I was just this week discussing with my staff the possibility of moving our bras out of site so that we look less like a traditional store and more like the professional services that we truly are. Thank you for your open and honest comments. I was also grappling on how to compensate our staff further without resorting to commissions (which is what all of my advisors have been telling me to do but I didn’t feel it was right). Thank you for confirming my decision to go with bonuses based on sales targets. It was so nice to hear from someone so well respected in the business and see so many similarites between us. It really helped to validate many of my thoughts, so again THANK YOU for your honesty and professionalism. You made me feel less isolated, and for that I am truly grateful!

  5. Jeannie Emory says:

    Debbie,

    Wow. You just made my day. It’s all about paying it forward, right? You sound like you have amazing instincts, be sure to trust them. And just between us girls: I only hire new team members on a trial basis for the first month. In that time we can all decide whether they’re a good fit for us and visa versa. A great team
    is the basis for success. I love my work! We should connect at Curve NY if you’re going. Email me at bragenie@att.net!

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