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Featuring ~ The Lingerie Shoppe

September 5, 2013

lingerieshoppeSubmitted by Brenda Meadows, owner
of The Lingerie Shoppe in Birmingham, AL

I had been involved in a lot of volunteer work when my children were young.  I supported two major groups with my time, raising money to sustain the Alabama Symphony and then with a local group to aid children with hearing disabilities.  I also did work with my church.  After years of volunteering, a good friend and I decided that we should look into having a business.

Interior of The Lingerie Shoppe, Birmingham AL
Mountain Brook Village is a wonderful place for shops that can offer service for everyday needs as well as wonderful, unique and special things for special occasions. The Lingerie Shoppe had been a part of our community since 1946 and in 1988, we learned it was for sale. It is a full service lingerie shop, including bras and bra fitting, sleepwear, loungewear, foundation, underwear and all associated items. My friend, Betty McMahon, and I decided this would be a great retail niche.  We had no business background, but we loved to shop and felt that our volunteer organization skills would serve us well.

The Lingerie Shoppe, Birmingham AL

We loved it from the outset.  Betty retired after ten years and I have continued to find The Lingerie Shoppe a crucial need in our community, and indeed regionally.  I look forward each day to going to work. I look at my business as meeting a woman’s most intimate needs.   I feel this as a responsibility and a privilege. It is wonderful for a woman to rejoice over feeling comfortable and more attractive in her clothes.  Our shop is a part of wonderful celebrations-weddings, new babies, special trips, anniversaries, birthdays, going to college, etc.  Sleepwear, robes and more at  The Lingerie Shoppe, Birmingham ALWe love for our customers to tell us that Christmas cannot come without our special gift wrapping under the tree.

We, of course, know the last 5 years have been difficult economically, but I have managed thus far, to keep wonderful, affordable, and special merchandise in the shop. I am grateful to wonderful customers for their patronage.

 

Brenda-Meadows-b

The Lingerie Shoppe is located at 2403 Montevallo Road in Mountain Brook Village, Birmingham, AL

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Featuring ~ Sweetest Sin Boutique

August 29, 2013

sweetestsinlogoSubmitted by Angela Courtney, owner of Sweetest Sin
Boutique
 in Red Bank, New Jersey

I always knew I would own a business, I come from a line of small business owners and that passion & drive was instilled in me. While putting myself through school I worked in a lingerie boutique & just fell in love with the industry & helping women. Plus I love pretty lingerie….what girl doesn’t?! It all just came together and Sweetest Sin Boutique was born and it is now my life’s passion.

Sweetest-Sin
Hold on….I think I’m making that sound a little too easy. It was at the beginning & it still is a lot of hard work & dedication. I did many years of research & really educating myself in all aspects before making this decision. Learning about the industry was definitely the fun part. Then there was figuring out the business plan, financing, location, inventory & everything else that goes into opening a boutique. At the end of the day, I took a chance & so far it has paid off.  sweetest-storefrontSweetest Sin is located in a quaint town in New Jersey. It’s a small 700 square foot boutique with custom built-in white cabinets. It looks like every woman’s dream closet.  We carry sizes AA-I & 28-46 bands in bras being a full service bra-fitting boutique. We also carry shapewear, sleepwear & accessories.

In the four years we’ve been in business, what we take pride in the most is our customer service. Guests always tell us how comfortable they are here & how much our bra-fitters have helped them. Word of mouth has been our greatest advertising tool. Most of the women who shop here are regular customers & are always sending in friends & family. Our guests are so important to us, we wouldn’t exist without them. So we strive to make each & every experience here special, whether it’s that 16 year old girl here for her first real bra-fitting or the 65 year old woman who needs help after changing throughout her life. We cater to every woman & want every woman leaving here a little happier, more confident & of course more supportive than she came in. Of course there are “tough” guests that have a pre-conceived notion that we might not have her size, or might not have her style & then leave in awe after she goes through the Sweetest Sin experience. That makes this all worth it.

Sweetest Sin Boutique

Even men feel comfortable shopping for their significant others. We save all of our guest’s information in our database, so it makes shopping easier for their husbands and for the women as well.

We get involved with the community quite a bit as far as town-wide events & charity donations. We also try to have in-store events frequently. We host an annual anniversary party & also co-host one of the best events in our town at a local restaurant every year called Go Naked & Check Yourself. It’s a cocktail party to raise awareness & money for detectable cancers. So many customers, friends & fellow business owners attend & get involved & we’ve raised $20,000 so far.

angie Sweetest Sin has exceeded my dreams & expectations thus far. We’ve help thousands of women, made a mark in our community, won numerous awards (local & national); the most exciting & humbling being the Best of Intima Best Choice award. That was one of the proudest moments, just being recognized in our industry as the best shop is such an honor & confirmation that this business model works & hard work pays off.

Sweetest Sin location: 11 White Street in Red Bank, NJ 07701

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Featuring ~ Bra & Girl

August 15, 2013

BG LogoSubmitted by April Burch, Ph.D (aka Dr. Cleavage), Co-Owner of Great Barrington Bra & Girl in Great Barrington, Massachusetts

Bra & Girl began as the “bottle of wine idea”. When I would come home from work as a Researchphoto Scientist bemoaning the challenges of grant funding and publication, my husband would say: “Tell me what you would do if you we’re not in science?”.  I would always say “I’d have a pretty little lingerie store where I could make everyone happy and life would be great!”  Looking past my unicorns and glitter, probably because of his business savvy and knowing the idea had legs, Dan, my husband and business partner, said he would help me formulate a business plan. He went to work and the Evil Pinky was born.

Store-Front-June-2011

Evil Pinky, Inc., d/b/a Bra & Girl (wordplay on the phrase bar & grill) was founded in 2009. Fast fact, at the time, it was the only company in America with “evil” in its name. I liked that. Bra & Girl opened in June 2009 at 35 Railroad Street, Great Barrington, MA in the heart of the Berkshires. The clients who visit Bra & Girl are sophisticated and well-traveled. They know great product and appreciate concierge-style customer service. The Berkshires have been a great place to establish ourselves. Since 2009, Bra & Girl has twice been nominated by the Intima Group, the leading business-to-business trade organization in the intimate apparel industry, as one of the best boutiques in North America.

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Our goal at Bra & Girl is to provide a fun and comfortable yet sophisticated shopping experience.  We are noted for our inviting atmosphere, dynamic & competitively-priced selection, and friendly, world-class customer service.  Our staff of professional bra fitters prides themselves on their product knowledge, patience, and attention to detail.
The moral of the Bra & Girl story is to follow your dream.  Although I did not have to leave science because of other local opportunities, I was empowered by my husband, our family, and our community, to explore my entrepreneurial aspirations. It has been so much more work than I expected, but I am grateful for all of the women we’ve had the chance to meet and help feel wonderful.

Great Barrington Bra & Girl is located at 35 Railroad Street, Great Barrington, Massachusetts 01230

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Featuring ~ Bella Bella Boutique

July 31, 2013

bbb-logo-nSubmitted by Aline Machado, owner of Bella Bella Boutique on-line e-commerce shop

Aline_Machado_-_Bella_Bella_Boutique

My desire to own a boutique started at an early age, when I was 7 years old growing up in Brazil. My passion for Fashion continued to grow and after moving to the USA to finish an English program at a school in Massachusetts, I got my first job at Express clothing store at age of 16. Just a few months later, I was recruited to work as a visual merchandiser for Bebe store. It was a natural thing to do, simply because I love it. Time passed…I worked at some other high fashion stores, as well as at a law firm and a bank, and in 2004 I got married. I had the privilege to stay at home but it was not what I wanted to do. I wanted to keep working and keeping active and creative. But at the same time I also knew I wanted to get pregnant and to raise my child 24/7. So I started thinking of how to achieve this goal. I loved fashion and I liked technology, so it was a very quick decision to make… to have an online boutique. But to sell what exactly? I spent 8 months researching what sells well on the internet for woman and back then lingerie was one of them. That’s it! I said, let me experiment with lingerie, I had to learn a lot since my fashion background was Ready to Wear. I remember thinking ‘it must be fashion-forward lingerie’ otherwise no. I wanted to sell beautiful lingerie you would not see in the department stores, much more like an extension of your outfit.

Bella Bella Boutique was born in January 2007 as a hobby and quickly became successful and it keeps on growing strong. It has been a delightful experience for the past 6 years specially for meeting some of the most talented lingerie designers in the industry and lovely lingerie professionals many of whom became friends. It has been a pleasure to help customers find that special piece of lingerie for their special occasions and a privilege to work with celebrity stylists and some celebrity friends too!

I focus on bringing modern, cutting-edge, and unique lingerie to BBB website, lingerie with a fashion presence but also comfortable and functional. I’m really loving what Independent Lingerie Designers are creating, I think they’re the leaders in creativity and design in the lingerie industry right now.

A lot of our pieces can be worn as outerwear by incorporating them with your outfits. I specially love the Brazelle Jewel Clip Bra Set which you can wear with the strapless bra that comes with it or with your favorite strapless bra. It looks so chic!

I have the pleasure to work with some amazing lingerie designers who do custom work and made to order lingerie for my customers. Having this option has been truly an amazing experience for them, especially the brides, who often tell me how delighted to have found that perfect piece of bridal lingerie for their wedding night.

My passion for high quality products extends to the boudoir accessories too which I love selling Fraulein Kink, Luz de la Riva, Bijoux Indiscrets, Naked Princess, Brazelle, and Lelo Accessories. These items are often a great addition to the lingerie purchases and it makes a lovely gift anytime.

I like to keep in touch with our customers via our Social Media platforms and our blog by being active and a source of inspiration. Customer service is very important to me; I personally respond to most of the inquiries and try to go to that extra mile for my customers.

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Featuring ~ Jo Karen Fine Lingerie

July 25, 2013

smallerlogoYes2Submitted by Jo Nicewicz Carville who owns
Jo Karen with her partner Karen Bender in Acton, Massachusetts 

Having my own shop was something I had always wanted to do. I had actually looked at gift shops before I had children but decided to put that on hold and begin to raise a family. I was fortunate to be able to stay at home while my children were young. As soon as they no longer need me to be at home full time the desire to work quickly came back.  I worked at a small women’s clothing store and really enjoyed what I did. A Lingerie shop next to where I was working closed and people seemed to miss it. I thought this may be an opportunity for me to open a shop. Since I already was enjoying working with women in the clothing world why not the Lingerie world. Who knew that Lingerie could be so exciting, I sure was missing out.

I felt is would be best if I had a partner who had a background as a buyer. Luck would have it that one of the ladies I worked with had been a buyer, that was Karen Bender and before we knew it Jo Karen – Fine Lingerie and Activewear was established. That was 9 years ago.

In Karen’s words……I saw this as an opportunity to implement the retail strategies I had learned from 20 years of store management, and retail buying experience. Starting a business from scratch provides a stimulating outlet to express these strategies in a way I knew would bring success to Jo Karen.

I enjoy the challenges: hiring and developing a staff, selecting, editing the merchandise based on industry trends, along with customer needs and desires and branding our business through our consistent advertising and participation in Social Media. There is always a new product or a new bra style to bring to our customers attention.

Customers come to us for assistance with the important Milestones in their lives; 1st bra, prom, new mom, job interviews, special occasions, weddings, etc. We help them feel confident and look their best.  Jo Karen is women helping women. I believe we have a niche in offering a personal and professional bra fitting experience. We have hard to find sizes in current styles with the ability to special order to fulfill our customers’ needs.

We have come a long way with our merchandise and it has been a wonderful experience. We have a very strong customer base, which continues to grow.  We have an exceptional staff and Assistant Manager which allows Karen and I to be away at shows and with our families when needed.  We look forward to many more years retailing in this exciting line of fashion.

Jo Karen is located at 340 Great Road in Acton, Mass.

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Featuring ~ SOL Lingerie

July 18, 2013

solSubmitted by Cindy Johnson, who owns SOL Lingerie with her sister, Jeanie Peterson in Denver, CO

Once upon a time there lived four lovely sisters. The two oldest talked about grown up things like boys, while the two youngest spent hours outside in the creek and on rainy days they were inside playing shop. The older sister liked to arrange the store while the younger sister kept tally on a chalk board as she rang up customers.image-1-christmas
When Jeanie and I weren’t playing shop, the four of us sisters waited all year long for the mother of all holidays, Christmas. We would tear into our gifts hoping for the magical items we had asked Santa for. Of course there were toys, sweets and well, practical items too. Granny Hoff always sent us the practical gifts. Every year we knew she would refresh our panty drawer with new Carter’s underwear. The disappointment came when my second oldest sister would receive cute bikinis with little flowers and I, as number three sister, would open a 3 pack of big white briefs with bumble bees on them. I could pull them all the way up and transform the undies into a one piece swimsuit! After inquiring into the reason for the different styles, Granny replied “Sweetie, you have a bigger bottom and need more coverage.”

I didn’t know it at the time, but Granny Hoff’s yearly gift of panties would have a lasting impact! When I was finally allowed to choose my own panties, I always chose the pretty ones! Fast forward to age 15. My little sister Jeanie and I were in Fashion Bar at the Southglenn Mall standing in front of a four way rounder with all types of colorful bras, when lo-and-behold I saw matching panties to go with each one. I was addressed by a much older woman who informed me the bra styles would be much too large for me. I replied “Watch me make them fit!” From that moment on I fell head over heels with lingerie of all kinds and I have never looked back.

As I headed off to college I chose a degree in Fashion Merchandising from CSU because I felt it would help me open a panty store when I graduated. I had worked in four different lingerie stores including Pollyannas while in high school, before starting Sol. Panties really are my passion! Luckily for me, my stupendous little sister, Jeanie still likes keeping the tally of all the numbers (although she now uses a computer instead of a chalkboard) and she wanted to be my partner in this cool adventure. I would be lost without her brilliance at keeping Sol running behind the scenes.

Sol means sun in Spanish but also is short for “Store of Lingerie”. Jeanie came up with it and the name tied perfectly into the visions that were forming in my head of what Sol would look like. It brought me back to the time my husband Todd and I visited Italy.

italy
All the rich amber tones gave the gardens such a lovely feel. During the conceptual stages we saw the movie Stealing Beauty. I had our faux painting artist watch the film to give him the look of the interior I was after for my shop. fountain at Sol LingerieMy goal was to design a store that was warm and welcoming to both women and men. I felt an Italian garden really captured that. As you walk into the store you are greeted by our fountain. The floor is painted to look like flagstone and the display boards for the bras as well as the bars for sleepwear are flanked by marble pillars.

We love how great our store looks but without our amazing customers, Sol would not be in business. We pride ourselves on our customer service! A lot of time and energy goes into training every Sol employee so that every customer has a special experience. We use the movies “Miracle on 34th Street” and “Pretty woman” to show our trainees how a great shopping experience can fill your store with customers. We have utilized a few books over the years too. Our favorite is “Hug your Customer” by Jack Mitchell. I suggest every business owner should read and follow his sage advice.

sol-store

In order to take care of all our Sol girls and guys that love to shop with us, we have made a commitment to marketing. We have an amazing marketing department in house that creates all the ad campaigns, website design and much more. Jeanie and I believe by keeping everything in house we are able to speak to our customers better than having an outside agency. Our latest campaign “I am a SOL Girl” was inspired by our customers. SOL’s customers are not defined by age, size or income level. Our customers’ similarity comes in their outlook on life: women who are young at heart who want to look and feel their best. We wanted a campaign with images and a message that embodies the attitude and outlook of our customers, one that celebrates the strength, uniqueness and beauty within each of us. That’s what being a SOL Girl is all about.

sol-girl-1

Our customers really do inspire each of us every day! Working with women in the fitting room is a special way to connect with all our fabulous customers. We love being a part of our Sol girls lives. My biggest joy, still after all these years, is getting feedback from a customer about how shopping at SOL was so fun and she loved how it made her feel. That, for me, is why I am a SOL Girl.

Sol Lingerie is located at 248 Detroit St, (in cherry creek north) Denver, CO 80206

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