Submitted by Erica L. Windle, owner of A Sophisticated Pair in Burlington, North Carolina
For years, I hated bras—a funny statement coming from the proprietor of a lingerie boutique. My experiences bra shopping were nightmarish and traumatizing, sometimes reducing me to tears, but when you’re 17 and needing a UK 30H—a size I, like most other people, had no idea existed, the options are scarce. I was forced to settle for ill-fitting 38DDDs that did little more than hold my boobs together underneath the underwire and create a landslide of shapeless breast tissue tumbling over my waist. Then, when I was 21 and losing weight, I visited Nordstrom for a proper bra fitting, and I was pleasantly surprised they had a bra in my new size, UK 36GG, which fit better than any bra I owned in my entire life. For several minutes, I unashamedly stared at myself in the … ...Read more
Submitted by Kimberly Berger, owner of Lion’s Lair Boutique in Islamorada, Florida
I started Lion’s Lair as an airbrush artist, painting on everything from motorcycles to murals to t-shirts to swimwear. Due to the store’s tropical location, hand painted swimwear became a very popular item. In 1996 as a 26 year old, DDD-cup entrepreneur, I quickly realized that I wasn’t the only one that didn’t fit in mainstream sizes and size matched swimwear sets. My customers were requesting mix and match separates and larger top and bottom sizes in a market that had yet to recognize the demand. So I launched my own locally made swimwear line. The response was huge and I expanded to double my store’s square footage in 2002.
In 2003, I became pregnant and gained 85 lbs. With such a large weight gain, it was difficult to tell if I was pregnant or just extremely overweight. … ...Read more
Submitted by Lisa Feller owner and partner with Roberta Zahl of Dusty Rose in New City & RyeBrook, NY
Opening a small business is different today as compared to when my mom, Roberta, opened Dusty Rose 34 years ago, but the backbone of a mom and pop store remains unchanged. There is more to opening a store than filling it with merchandise and waiting for shoppers to come in to make purchases. A successful retail store needs a few key practices to make it prosper for years to come. An owner who works on the floor helping customers and being on a first-name basis with those customers are two of the most important elements of a successful boutique.
When customers walk into our stores and they see my mom and me on the floor helping people alongside our employees, they feel they are well taken care of by all members … ...Read more
Submitted by Molly Hopkins & Cynthia Decker, co-owners of LiviRae Lingerie in Kennesaw, Georgia. “Cynthia and I met while working together in a lingerie store in Atlanta, Georgia a few years ago. That was really what started our friendship, our desire to help women. After some time at the lingerie store, we both became top sales producers and realized we had done everything that we felt we could do with what they had to offer. We realized that the shop we were working with really couldn’t help every type of woman, and there were more women out there who needed our help. Once we realized there were needs that were not being met, we decided it was time to start our own store and carry the products we wanted, making sure that every woman could find something that made her feel good. Our hearts were hurting for the women … ...Read more
Submitted by Jenette Goldstein owner of Jenette Bras in Los Angeles & Pasadena, California
I opened Jenette Bras in 2009 in an old working-class neighborhood in Los Angeles called East Hollywood. I found a great 1920’s storefront, formerly Pak-Am Stationery (for all your Pakistani-American office supply needs) in a sort of off-center bohemian district of bike shops, junk stores and small theaters. It was cheaper than prime shopping district space and loads more fun. My business plan, such as it was, didn’t call for browsers or impulse shoppers. I calculated that I was a destination store that women would be willing to travel to, and this turned out to be right.
I myself had to go all the way to England to be properly fitted. I was attending a science fiction fan convention (due to some notoriety connected with my other job) and I stumbled into a shop called Bravissimo. … ...Read more