Coup de Foudre ~ Washington D.C.
By Ali Cudby
Coup de Foudre is one of the only luxury lingerie stores in Washington DC, located in the heart of downtown, just steps from the famed Ford’s Theater. In 2011, owner Kiersten Butterfield purchased the store from the woman who originally opened in 2004.
The store was originally focused on high-end sleepwear, but customer demand drove the business in the direction of bra fitting. After a couple of years, bra fitting became “the foundation of the customer experience.” Butterfield sees Coup de Foudre’s core value in their service – namely, “offering as perfect a fit as we’re capable of providing.” To that end, since taking over the store, Butterfield’s biggest change has been in providing a deeper bench of sizes in both cup and band, now going up to at least a 42G.
Serving the Washington DC market can be tricky – with its combination of newly minted Hill staffers, high-end, traditional lawyers, ritzy embassy dwellers and fortunate tourists. Coup de Foudre’s overall customer orientation is fairly conservative (regarding personal style, not necessarily politics), but DC is warming up to fashion in their lingerie. As with many retailers, customers often come in with an expectation that bras should be a nude and seamless, but customers have begun falling in love with lace and strong colors. Pastels and bras with “too much frou frou” are tougher sells. Bestselling brands include Chantelle, Prima Donna, Marie Jo and Simone Perele.
This Christmas season, Chantelle’s Paris Paris collection was particularly popular. Other hot ticket items for the holiday were, “silk, silk and more silk. Chemises, gowns and robes by Christine Vancouver, Frances Smiley, and Mary Green topped our list. Gift certificates flew out of the store, purchased by boyfriends and husbands; and this week we’ve seen our customers gratefully redeeming them to replenish their bra wardrobe and start the New Year off right.”