“To Thine Own Self, Be True”
By April Burch (guest contributor)
Today, I was invited to lunch with friends at Blantyre in Lenox, Ma. Blantyre is a beautifully appointed estate hotel that was originally built during the gilded era, Despite its proximity to the concrete turnpike that weaves its way through the Berkshires and New England, it is an oasis of elegance. It is easy to get caught up in our childish dreams of the wealthy and glamorous society ladies who lived there. But, because my mind is never off my businesses, even dining through a three course luncheon at Blantyre, I am not distracted. I use the opportunity to analyze and learn.
As a business-owner, I often seek parallels to fellow business operations. What I’ve realized over the last few years of owning two small businesses, and what I observed today at Blantyre, as with so many other unique businesses, is what I think is a key to longevity (and maybe success) in any enterprise: To quote Shakespeare: “To thine own self be true”. Whether you are a luxury country house resort or an up-and-coming lingerie boutique, know what you are and know what you are not. Stay true to your vision, even as the temptation to deviate becomes increasingly irresistible.
The vision of Bra & Girl is to be a concierge-style bra and lingerie boutique catering to women of all sizes and men who shop for them. Like Blantyre, we seek to provide the highest quality ingredients to our customers and present those offerings in an unforgettable way. We work hard to refine the mix of everyday bra style offerings for our clients. We also go the extra mile to amuse the lingerie palette with tempting, delicious designs from luxury lines like Aubade. We want our customers to have their own fairy-tale experience.
Both of our stores (Great Barrington and Pittsfield, Mass), like Blantyre, service a sophisticated and well-traveled woman. What keeps them coming back to us year after year is our attention to detail and the relationships we cultivate during the fitting/purchase consultation. We make sure the customer is our greatest priority. Much like Blantyre, we cater to all sorts of requests with an open mind and sense of humor. Today, the sense of humor of the folks at Blantyre was apparent when the head Waiter greeted me at the door (I was 15 minutes late because I was working with a client at GBBG) with one arm to his back saying that my party had already left because of my tardiness. My heart sank. He then let a slow smile creep to his lips and then revealed a glass of champagne he was holding for me. That broke the ice of me being late and immediately put me at ease. Just lovely! I always want my clients to feel that kind of welcome at Bra & Girl.
Whatever the future holds for Bra & Girl (and Blantyre), we can say that we were strident in our beliefs of what a visit to our store should feel like. We can say that we have resisted the fads of the industry and we refused the temptation to cheapen the experience or cut corners. To ourselves, we are true. There is no other way to “be” in retail.