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Featuring ~ Bellefleur Lingerie Boutique

March 26, 2014

BELLEFLEUR_ColorLogo_RGBHello, my name is Lindsey Runyon, and I’m the owner of Bellefleur Lingerie Boutique in Seattle, WA. Working in a lingerie boutique was my first job when I was just 15 years old. The mother of my boyfriend at the time owned a store in Kirkland, WA (where I grew up) and asked if I wanted to work, and I said “why not?”. From my first day steaming silk nightgowns in the back, I was hooked. I loved the products, the store environment, and the customers, and always thought “one day I want to own a lingerie store.” I didn’t really give any thought to when or how.

I went on with my life and went to college for interior design, and started my own interior design business. While I was building my interior design business in 2009, I went to work for Jennifer Carroll—at the time she was the owner of Bellefleur. I was working just one day a week, in sales as well as managing the window displays and in-store merchandising. When I heard that Jen was looking to sell Bellefleur, I realized that this was the type of opportunity that I couldn’t pass up, so I purchased the Bellefleur from her in September 2012.

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I’ve always been a very environmentally and socially-conscious person. I try to bring that through to both of my businesses. Recently, I made the decision at Bellefleur to discontinue carrying items that are made in China, announcing it in our store’s March newsletter. I read the book Overdressed the Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, read many articles, and generally follow the news. From everything I’d heard and read, China seems to be the worst offender in terms of human rights and environmental violations.

displayI realize that the decision is a controversial and difficult one for many reasons, the first coming from a business perspective. There were many products we carried at Bellefleur that fit well, were very attractive, and that SOLD well in the shop. It can be scary when you feel you may be shooting yourself in the foot by losing these successful lines. Also, I’m aware of the fact that many customers “just don’t care” where their products are made (although this is less common in the very conscious Seattle population). But, this decision was not made for publicity or for any other reason besides my own moral compass and creating the type of store that I want to exist in the world.

That being said, I recognize that my decision, and lingerie manufacturing isn’t a black and white issue (i.e. China = bad, elsewhere = good. No, that is not necessarily always the case). Yes, China is a HUGE country, and just because it is made in China, does not mean that it was for-sure a result of bad labor/environmental practices. And, there are other countries such as Thailand, Philippines, Tunisia, and Columbia, that we do carry products from, that I don’t know much about at all and could very well have just as bad of conditions as China–although I try to find out as much as I can before working with a vendor.  There are also those rumors flying around about some brands manufacturing in China as much as legally possible while still putting the “made in {name some happy-sounding country in Europe}” label on their products. Which would make me sad if true, but I can’t make decisions based on rumors.

FittingroomThe decision was not even necessarily a quality issue either because actually, there are many products coming out of China that are very high quality. But it was about taking at least one step in what I feel is the right direction and avoiding what seems to be the worst of it all…. a country with heavy pollution and even factories that may seem great, but that secretly outsource their sewing to unauthorized subcontractors who have no regulation at all.

Ideally, I would want all of our lingerie to be entirely organic or recycled/upcycled textiles, no plastic hardware or detailing, all made in North America or Europe, and all shipped in biodegradable packaging, etc etc, and yet all still amazingly beautiful and fit perfectly. But I understand I have to balance ideals with the realities of the garment industry and product availability, the realities of running a successful business. And above all else, I have a love for beautiful lingerie and the feminine power it brings so I would never want to compromise that aspect of our store either.

photo-4As I stated in my letter: “We will never sacrifice fit, selection, style, and quality. Bellefleur is still going to be Bellefleur, carrying the amazing selection of fun, amazingly hot, beautiful, sexy, fashionable, racy, and also functional and comfortable items that we’ve always been known for. You will always be able to count on us for the best bra fit in town, the best customer service, and the best selection of lingerie.” It will all now just be coming from countries that aren’t China. We want to bring good energy to the store and to our customers’ wardrobes and I felt like this was a good first step.

Lindsey Runyon, Owner

Bellefleur Lingerie Boutique
3504 Fremont Place N.
Seattle, WA 98103

Shop: 206-545-0222

 
COMMENTS
2
  1. Krisel Andersen Wednesday - 26 / 03 / 2014 Reply
    Great article and good for you for following your heart/gut!
    • Lindsey Runyon Tuesday - 03 / 06 / 2014 Reply
      Hi Krisel! I just saw your response here, thank you so much for the support! :) -Lindsey