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Featuring ~ The Fitting Room

April 9, 2014

TFR_Transparent_Logo_tm_HR-det Submitted by Bekah Anderson, owner of The Fitting Room in Grayslake, Illinois

After stumbling upon a part-time job at a lingerie boutique in 2006, I almost instantly fell in love with doing bra fittings. At the time, I hadn’t thought it would turn into a career… but I quickly found a deep passion for helping women feel beautiful and confident in their own skin. 6 ½ years later, I opened The Fitting Room!

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My boutique is situated on the first floor of a historic building in a small town near Chicago. I wanted to design a space that didn’t look or feel like a retail store… a place that felt private, cozy, and feminine. I envisioned women walking through the door, and immediately feeling as though they could let their guard down, opening themselves up to an enjoyable experience while bra shopping. In addition to the visual “feel” of the store; the vintage décor, soft music, and luxurious fabrics, it is a BIG priority of ours to create a non-judgmental environment.

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One of the main reasons for opening my own shop was to address the issues that so commonly get ignored and overlooked by other stores in the area. One constant struggle I had (prior to breaking into the business) was finding a store that offered a wide variety of sizes, a knowledgeable (and honest) staff, and price points that my friends and I could actually afford. In addition to the major department and chain stores, there appeared to be a plethora of high-end boutiques scattered throughout the area, all offering the same luxury brands, not many basics or size options, and price tags too high for those of us on a limited budget. To me, there is nothing worse than a woman desperately searching for support and comfort, with no place to find it in the right size, or the right price! I think it’s absolutely imperative as a bra fitter & business owner, to provide solutions to ALL women who need it, regardless of age, size, physical capabilities, health issues, and financial means.

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There is such an enormous focus these days on weight and outer beauty, which leaves women no freedom to express and embrace their own unique beauty. Not having access to the things they need to feel comfortable and confident in their own skin, only worsens their insecurities.Bex-in-Store It brings me such joy to have the opportunity to help women who can’t find it elsewhere, while giving them an unforgettable (and often life-changing) experience.

 

The Fitting Room Boutique is located at:
11 S. Lake St, Grayslake, Illinois
60030

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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

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Featuring ~ Trashy Diva

March 9, 2014

TrashyDiva_Logo_Long-smSubmitted by Candice Gwinn, owner of Trashy Diva in New Orleans, Louisiana

My clothing company, Trashy Diva, expanded to include a fully-stocked lingerie shop shortly after Hurricane Katrina. It became clear to me that women wanted to see a bigger selection of beautiful intimates that just wasn’t being found in the French Quarter. I’ve always been a fan of corsetry and carried a large selection of traditional Victorian-inspired, steel boned corsets in our dress shop. So, naturally, I loved the idea of stocking even more undergarments!

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As you may know, the Trashy Diva brand is based on retro style, and although we don’t make most of the lingerie that we stock, we are passionate about well-crafted styles in fine fabrics that get their inspiration from bygone eras. We’ve worked to significantly expand our selections in the past year by opening our second lingerie shop on Magazine Street, and our customers really appreciate that they now have two locations for both fashion and fitting.

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We’ve also made it a priority to stock a wider variety of sizes, including cup sizes A through G and band sizes 28 through 40. And being in New Orleans, we carry an assortment of fun accessories as well. From gloves and petticoats to pasties and beaded bras, we can bring out the carnival spirit in anyone!

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Trashy Diva has featured vignettes from local burlesque performers and has  also recently established itself as a host for bachelorette parties at both lingerie stores. Contact Trashy Diva to book your event or to learn more about the available packages

Vegas-TrashyDivaaTrashy Diva is located in The French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana:
2048 Magazine St-70130 &
537 Royal St- 70117

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Featuring ~ Iris Lingerie

February 5, 2014

iris-lingerie-logo-nSubmitted by Iris Clarke, owner of Iris Lingerie in Brooklyn, NY

I started working in a corset lingerie store when I was a teenager. While I was working there, I encountered a lot of challenges such as fitting bras and girdles. I then moved on to Bloomingdales in the 1980’s and worked along with buyers. During my nine years at Bloomingdales a company called Wacoal entered the scene, as well as LaPerla, Lejaby, Rigby &Peller and more. My next stop was at Le Mystѐre where I worked with bra design for 9 years. One of the bras happened to be the Tisha, a big showcase bra on the Oprah Winfrey Show.

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Then I took a big leap and made the heartfelt decision to open my own shop. With all of my experience at working and interacting with numerous companies, I made it my life’s mission to give women of all shapes and sizes a proper fitting bra. For it all “Starts With the Right Foundation!”

400899_521524521207995_1302478683_n-mAnd from then on I have gotten sincere gratification from customers saying that I changed their lives. I have seen customers come in and feel an overwhelming magnitude of joy when I see their tears of happiness after they realize the changes that a bra can do for their bodies. And it makes me know that I have done what I’ve set out to do:  we can fit all women of all sizes. I love every minute of it! To this day I continue to give the best customer service that I can! I have also added two beautiful and professional Bra fitters to my staff.

iris-new-pic-2014-2-nWe are currently located next to a quaint little bridal store, Kimera, on Atlantic Ave between Hoyt and Bond. In Brooklyn NY. This relationship has been a boost to both of our businesses. We are always promoting each other’s services

Stores hours are: Tues-Sat 12: 7:pm Sunday, 12:pm. Closed on Monday.

(718) 422-1149,

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Merchandising Maelstrom ~ Dover Street Market Opens in NYC

January 12, 2014

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Last week my friend Marina, author of our Intimate Vision column, took me for a visit to the Dover market on Lexington and 30th street in NYC. Duplicating the existing concepts already in sync in London and Tokyo, this is the conceptual  inspiration of Rei Kawakubo creative master of the Japanese brand Comme Des Garcons.  Much discussion abounds about the eccentric content and the artful interiors that make this shopping experience a new approach to merchandising.  Nonetheless, controversy is, in my opinion, just what is needed to catapult the retail industry out of the white box syndrome that has taken the USA hostage.  Tagged as a “Slow Shopping” experience, this seven floor studio of known and emerging designer brands is a continual stage for the imagination.  Yes, some of the content makes one wonder, but so do the works that fill many art gallery’s worldwide.  Slightly off the beaten track for a NYC designer store, this anchor could prove how desperate the public is for stimulation and entertainment when spending their well earned money. The neighborhood and the retail world are in for a sea change.

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A Faire Frou Frou Holiday

December 20, 2013

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