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Featuring ~ Lille Boutique

November 14, 2013

lille boutiqueSubmitted by Sarah Wizemann, owner of Lille Boutique  Portland, Oregon

I opened Lille a little over 6 years ago after moving to Portland from New York and not finding any lingerie store that catered to my aesthetic sensibilities.  I was looking for some place tasteful, elegant, fashion-forward yet simultaneously vintage-inspired, with a good selection of natural fibers and non-padded options that offered a range of prices, and that just didn’t exist here (or anywhere really), so I decided to fill that niche.

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I had always been fond of fine lingerie and particular about construction, owing to the fact that my mother was a seamstress and designer who made all the costumes for my dance company (I studied ballet, modern, tap, jazz, etc. for nearly 20 years before retiring after college due to injuries.)  She taught me how to sew, so I have a special appreciation for beautifully constructed garments, and I really love when fine techniques like French Seams, Pintucks, Box Pleats, etc., find their way into the lingerie world.

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I think my years as a dancer put me so in tune with fit, since leotards epitomize the form follows function rule–I’m very pragmatic in that sense and I tend to be hyper-critical of garments with superfluous design elements.  I am passionate about the many young female designers who are taking the lingerie industry by storm, creating garments that are truly made with modern women’s needs in mind. We support many independent designers who manufacture locally, employing ethical business practices and treading lightly on the environment.

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The store has evolved beyond lingerie, hosiery and loungewear to include swimwear, shoes, jewelry and a small selection of ready-to-wear, and we now have 2 Portland locations with future expansion on the horizon.  I love my customers because they care about the story behind the brand, not just the fashion. sarah_urban_weeds-n And I love my job, because it allows me to wear so many different hats in the varied day-to-day hustle and bustle of owning and promoting my own brand identity: buyer, occasional designer, stylist, producer, director, social media marketer, writer, confidant, mentor, and on and on!

Lille Boutique is located at 1007 E. Burnside & 1126 SW Adler in Portland, Oregon

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Featuring ~ La Silhouette Lingerie

November 7, 2013

LS+Logo+250x250Submitted by Britt Cruikshank, owner of La Silhouette Lingerie in Madeira, Ohio

La Silhouette Lingerie evolved out of my frustration with Cincinnati’s lack of luxury European lingerie shops and the brands that I grew up with, along with my genuine passion for helping women feel good about themselves from the inside out. I opened La Silhouette Lingerie in 2007 to bring a piece of Europe to the Midwest in Madeira, Ohio. I grew up shopping the quaint boutiques common in Sweden and the rest of Europe that feature quality products and a high level of hospitality.

I designed the shop to help people feel like they are stepping off the streets of Paris and into a sanctuary of high-quality, luxurious lingerie. The Boutique is decorated with a bit of my Swedish heritage to make customers feel at home. The chandeliers along with a few pieces of furniture are from the homes of my mom and grandmother.dsc_2672 4x6

La Silhouette is not just about shopping, but also experiencing the personalized attention to detail in an intimate setting. We pride ourselves on creating a non-intimidating atmosphere with stock our customers want including new, hard-to-find and exclusive brands.  Shoppers will find the store full of items from sizes 32A through 44H, XS through XL and from designers including Prima Donna, Marie Jo, La Perla, Wolford, Janet Woolrich, Verena,  Feraud, Roesch, Oscar de la Renta, and Hanky Panky and more.

Through the years I have found that American women often struggle with feeling feminine and sexy, which is something a European women is proud of. My store is all about helping women feel good from the inside out starting with properly fitting undergarments.

I am driven by the values I learned as a child and great hospitality is one of those. Anyone who walks into the store will not only be greeted by amazing lingerie, but also a warm cup of coffee or tea, good conversation and scents of the fresh seasonal flowers I buy each week.

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Madeira is a quaint part of Cincinnati with lots of friendly pedestrian traffic and is a perfect place for a store like La Silhouette. We are dedicated to helping all women feel good about themselves. I have even received training to assist post breast surgery patients and in prosthesis fitting. As a company we are dedicated to serving the community, which includes supporting several local organizations like Lighthouse, the Lindner Center of Hope, Kindervelt, Dress for Success, County Day School and Pink Ribbon.

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We strive to not only create a special shopping experience, but also a personal relationship with each customer. We are proud to recognized for our passion, by receiving numerous awards  including:

_DSC0740_CMYKNamed as one of the “60 Fabulous Neighborhood Boutiques, 2013 Cincinnati Magazine Neighborhood Boutique
Best Intimate Summer Store, May 2013, Creations Lingerie North America
Body Magazine Best Retailer, 2011
May 2010, Body Magazine, Retail Profile: La Silhouette European Luxury to Ohio
2010, 2009, 2008 The Best Intima, Best Shop Award
May 2010, Best of Cincinnati 2010
September 2008, Cincinnati Magazine: La Silhouette
SecE LIFE Entertainment & leisure/Cincinnati Looking for Lingerie?
January 2008, V25/#1 Indian Hill Living: La Silhouette Brings New Beauty to Madeira

La Silhouette is located at 6914 Miami Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45243

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Featuring ~ à la mode Intimates

October 24, 2013

smlSubmitted by Patti Hartlove Platt, owner, à la mode Intimates in Annapolis, Maryland

In French, à la mode means “in the fashion,” and I believe every woman should have the opportunity to feel beautiful and stylish in all her fashions. Before launching à la mode, I struggled to find bras that fit, and the few times that I did, they weren’t exactly pretty. So, I set out to find beautiful bras for women of different sizes and to present them in a relaxing, welcoming environment. In fact, our boutique design was inspired by spa-like colors and comforts: rich browns, dark hardwood floors, plush carpeting and beautiful drapes.

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Women step inside our doors and discover that fashion and functions are not enemies! I enjoy the opportunity every day to share the styles I have found flattering with our customers. We know that women need some basic bra foundations, but the basics don’t have to be boring. We always keep close tabs on the latest trends in colors, fabrics, fit and even technology, so that we know our styles are always à la mode.

alamode--irises-bThe last 10 years have been filled with so many exciting business developments. Originally, we were located in the historic downtown district of Annapolis, Maryland. We loved the space, but it was a tourist location and we needed to be where locals shop.  As the saying goes in retail, it’s all about LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION and we quickly found that to be true.  Making the strategic move to the bustling Annapolis Towne Centre has significantly grown our business over the last three years.  à la mode is often recognized for our perseverance in the local business community, and I’ve been recognized as “Small Business Person of The Year” by the Annapolis Area SCORE Council.

As anyone in the industry knows, good help is hard to find.  My daughter, Sarah Carter, helped me start à la mode over 10 years ago, and now serves as my wonderful rep for many of the brands I sell. My partners and I also knew we needed a younger perspective going forward, especially with social media becoming such an important part of the industry. We were excited to have Rebecca Ulrich-Dodson join our growing business. She makes sure that à la mode stays current, trendy and contemporary and because of her, I can feel comfortable taking a vacation.patti_bois2010-b

I would have to say my greatest honor being the owner of à la mode has been our nomination and selection by Best of Intima Shop Awards, as one of the top five lingerie retailers in all of U.S. and Canada for European Flair. This award was presented by the most respected figures in the lingerie boutique industry—including judges from top brands like Chantelle and Wacoal. It is nice to be not only appreciated by our customers, but also to be honored for our hard work within the lingerie industry.

One message I would like to share with women across the country, “Treat yourself well. If you don’t, who will?” Whether you’re able to visit our boutique in Annapolis, or are shopping with us online, my goal is that you find what you are looking for and have fun while you do it. Also, please join our conversation on Facebook!

à la mode is located at 1910 Towne Centre Blvd # 115, Annapolis, MD 21401

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Featuring ~ Gazebo Intimate Apparel

October 10, 2013

gazebo-new-aSubmitted by Judith Fine, owner of Gazebo in Northhampton, Massachusetts

Gazebo
started in 1978 after I had been designing nontraditional bridal gowns from my home for several years. At Gazebo’s beginning, every item was made by me using silks and vintage laces.  The late 70’s were the beginning of lingerie’s resurgence We had finished burning our bras and were now embracing our femininity.  I was also wholesaling my own designs through Ellen and Sylvia, an established lingerie company out of NYC.  I soon realized that I needed to narrow my field. Custom, wholesale and retail was too much to handle.  I decided to concentrate on the retail store.  Now, 35 years later, I see that this was the right decision!

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Gazebo began with my designs and then expanded to other natural fiber venders.  Only cotton and silk items were in the store and we concentrated on daywear, playwear, and sleepwear. The first location was in our very unique downtown’s vibrant mall, which began as a large department store and was then divided into multi small shops, restaurants and a performing space.  After two years we moved to a larger location and have been there ever since.  Gazebo is 1200 square feet, and there are two spacious dressing rooms with chairs and couches and four curtained areas for try on. We expanded our offerings to bras, shapewear, workout wear and accessories. In 1992 we also started doing post mastectomy fittings and Gazebo was the founder of The Breast Form Fund, a non-profit that offered financial assistance to under-served breast cancer survivors in Massachusetts.

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In 2007 Gazebo changed focus once again to concentrate on becoming a professional bra fitting store.  It was clear to me that bras are the one area where women need personal help, as, truly, most women are wearing the wrong size and has no idea about what to look for in the proper fit. We offer bands from 28-54 and cups from AA-L.  Gazebo prides itself on carrying a broad range of prices and venders so that every woman who enters feels that she can afford a bra that fits and supports her.  Bali and Playtex, Coobie, Rhonda Shear, Conturelle, Anita and Wacoal all are found at Gazebo, along with Betsy Johnson, On Gossamer, Timpa, Anita, and Chantelle.  We carry Hanky Panky, Huit, Elomi, Freya, Blush, Panache, Bravado, La Leche, Mary Green, Jockey and many other varied venders.  We chose venders that we like to work with, that offer great customer service, and care about our satisfaction.

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Our customers have grown with us these past few decades. What a thrill to fit the first bra on the young girl whose mother was a customer as well! We have worked with hundreds of women who are breast cancer survivors and our mission for ALL women is to help them feel good about themselves

Judith-FineFor the past 20 years Gazebo has been nominated as the Best Place to Buy Lingerie in the Valley by a weekly newspaper, The Valley Advocate.  We were honored to be finalists for two consecutive years in the Best of Intima contest, and we were very flattered  to be featured in Body Magazine recently.  Thirty five years is a long time to be in business.  Gazebo is thriving.  We are very busy, we have expanded our sales force and we continue to offer our customers a positive experience.  When a customer walks into our store, she gets our undivided attention. When she walks out…her spirits and the girls are lifted!

Gazebo is located at 14 Center Street, Northhampton, MA

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Featuring ~ Linger Lingerie

September 25, 2013

linger_logo_white_rgb-okSubmitted by Kelly O’Brian, owner of Linger Lingerie in Spring Lake, N.J.

My mom grew up in an orphanage where they weren’t allowed to say the word “bra” because it was considered indelicate. They were referred to as “brays” – yes, the sound a donkey makes. My sister and I are still laughing about the fact we sell brays.

But for my first First Holy Communion, my mom bought me a fancy pair of panties with crisp lace ruffles all across the back. I tried to focus on the altar but was fixated on the crunch they made every time I sat down. This was no laughing matter, Lingerie – I was hooked.

After my 50th birthday, I started thinking about an encore career. I wanted to connect with people and be active in a local community. When I heard my favorite lingerie store, Linger, in Spring Lake NJ was for sale, everything seemed to align and I bought the shop and kept the name because I loved its friendly feel.

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I opened the shop exactly one week before the Jersey shore was smacked by Hurricane Sandy. We were closed for weeks. All the garments were fine but our customer community was devastated. Winter and Spring Year One was very tough. Luckily, as they say on TV, “We’re stronger than the storm” and the business is thriving.

Linger Lingerie in Spring Lake, N.J.Linger, like most independent boutiques, share some core values including a laser focus on service and customer care. Linger, however, has a few differentiating qualities. The shop has a totally laid-back, unpretentious atmosphere – hey, we’re at the beach!  And because of that, we buy for two distinct customer sets, tourists and locales, so Linger stocks fun and whimsical as well as foundations and practical items.

My personal passion is for community, both in-town and online. Our Facebook presence as of mid-August is cresting 12,000 fan likes. Only 4% of all Facebook pages has over 10,000 so this puts Linger in a very select group – although there’s a way to go before  Victoria’s Secret category!!

Hopefully, this online community will convert into paying customers. In a few weeks, LingerTween (tween.shoplinger.com) will launch. The first e-commerce site focused on undergarments just girls between 8-12. The market has few choices for this market and they are often inappropriately provocative.  Linger wants to provide great choices tweens and their moms will love.

 Kelly O'Brian, owner of Linger Lingerie in Spring Lake, N.J.Linger’s site for the adult woman, shoplinger.com, will be online by the end of the year. It will feature a highly curated selection of some of the shop’s best-loved items and will also give some new designers a turn in the spotlight.

With great excitement, a love of our customers and community and a sense of humility (thanks Hurricane Sandy!), Linger looks to 2014. I’m grateful to be part of this beautiful business. Come and Linger with us!

Linger Lingerie is located at 304 Morris Avenue, Spring Lake, New Jersey 07762

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Featuring ~ Nani Nalu Beachwear Boutique

September 11, 2013

nali-nanuSubmitted by Jennifer Cermak, owner of Nani Nalu Beachwear Boutique in Edina, MN

I too, have cried and verbalized self-pity alone in a fitting room with piles of swimsuits that covered too little or looked too horrid. I have been there, that dark and scary ‘I hate swimsuits’ and by default ‘I hate my body’ place. After 10 years in the swim industry working for others yet struggling to find a great fit myself, I had to do something to about it. I set out to ease the fear and pain swimsuit shopping brings by helping women find the perfect fit.

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In 2006, I opened Nani Nalu Beachwear Boutique, located in Edina MN. We aim to make women feel comfortable and confident in their … Read more

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