First and foremost: My blog readers and customers rock my socks. Seriously. After I posted my last update discussing how I was moving and needed advice and help, the outpouring of support I received literally brought tears to my eyes. My summer has not been good. In fact, my year hasn’t been that great. One year ago, my brother was viciously attacked with a machete and beaten so badly his jaw was broken in several places. He nearly bled out on the carpet of my bedroom, and even though I tease him mercilessly (sometimes about the machete attack because hey, how often does THAT happen?), I can’t imagine life without him in it. The long term ramifications of this brutal assault continue to haunt all of us, and since then, I’ve felt like I am racing from one misfortune after another. Eventually, you can’t fight the depression or the sadness. You can’t exercise or eat right or sleep well. You feel beaten down and alone. There have been some days it has taken everything I had to get out of bed, and there have been other days, I didn’t make it. You start to lose faith, both in yourself and in people around you. I have wanted to talk about this for a long time, to explain why blogging has slowed down, why the tone of some of my posts has shifted, and why, in general, I’m struggling here. The timing has never been the best nor have I felt emotionally ready to discuss anything in detail. Truthfully, I am still not ready, and I only mention them today because I want to provide context for how thankful I am. You have made my struggle easier to bear. What you have given me is precious, and I cherish it. You reminded me there is goodness and kindness and generosity. Whether it was Parfait by Affinitas or customers sending me boxes or others sending suggestions for the easiest way to move or where to send donations, you restored my faith in the world. You circled around me, some of whom I have never met, to make my life easier during a time when everything felt like it was falling apart.
You may recall earlier in the summer, I posted a blog explaining that I was currently deciding between refinancing my existing home and moving elsewhere, and much to my chagrin, I have spent the better part of the summer in a kind of limbo unsure where I would be at the end of the year. The entire situation has been extremely stressful for many reasons, and for the process to coincide with our busiest time of year only compounded the anxiety. My goal was to minimize the impact of moving on store hours, but there were several occasions where I needed to either close for the day or leave early. Unfortunately, in order for the store to be open, I need to physically be there, and when you are simultaneously exploring options for refinancing, selling a home, and finding another, it’s not always something that can be done from the comforts of a sales counter.
With the general band and cup size sales for the store reviewed, analyzing the specifics of the best-selling bra sizes often confirms trends I already observed and aids in finding which core sizes deserve not only more available styles but also multiple units to prevent stock outtages and minimize reliance on special orders. However, in keeping with my desire to streamline the series this year, I eschewed my standard assemblage of bar charts with the cup size distribution for each band in favor of a single line graph showcasing the sales for all of the bands together. The simplicity of the unifying graphs allows you to see how each of the bands differs from the others in what cup sizes perform best as well as showcases the data lines contributing the classic Bell Curve created by cup size sales. (Note: For clarity and ease, I strictly utilized the UK sizing system and only focused on 28-46 bands.)
Hello and welcome back to our annual statistics series! . . . Or as I am tempted to call it “the blog post I keep trying to write but am always interrupted before I can finish!” Ordinarily, I break this discussion into two separate posts, one for the band sizes and one for the cup sizes. However, this year, in the interest of changing things up and including other elements into the statistical analysis, I have combined them into a unified post. Knowing which band and cup sizes generally sell best aids in selecting the overall range to focus new inventory (such as 30-40 DD-G), but analyzing the actual best-selling bra sizes assists in fine tuning that selection as well as knowing what sizes deserve multiples. So let’s get to it!
After a hectic two weeks, I finally sat down last night to draw the winners of our amazing giveaway! The anniversary sale was a big success, and it was wonderful to see so many of our customers stopping by to congratulate us on five years in business. Thanks again for always being so supportive of us and what we hope to achieve here. We have over 37 prizes to giveaway, so get your entry tickets ready!
As many of you know, we began working with Anna Pardal and Comexim several years ago with great success, starting initially with core items and then expanding to include specialized bras for clients. Initially, these customized bras were fully returnable, but because of the financial strain, we reevaluated and finally settled on our current special order policy. As much I as I adore Comexim, the ordering process has never been smooth. Anyone who has ordered through us has probably received some kind of apology email from me at one point or another for late shipments, missing items, incomplete alterations, and so on. Some orders are more problem-free than others, but every single bulk purchasing order has had at least one item that was not correct. When I place orders, I am the dictionary definition of meticulous. It takes me several hours to complete because I triple check (including pulling in my dad/business partner for fresh eyes) every order for even the smallest inaccuracy or unclear request. I also proof my Spanish repeatedly and use picture demonstrations where possible. However, once the order is submitted, I am no longer in control.
Our annual statistical series, which originated when store-related activities occupied a significantly smaller portion of my time, transformed over the years into a process I both love and loathe—love for the satisfaction it affords my inner math geek and analytical personality type who genuinely enjoys pouring through data and abstracting patterns and loathe for the overworked business owner who has to find time for sifting through large quantities of figures. Nevertheless, to even be celebrating five years of business, no matter how much time it tacks onto the analysis, is something of a mini-miracle for our small but ambitious shop. Examining the cumulative data demonstrates how much we have grown, not only in terms of sales figures but also in size and style assortment. Before we delve into the statistics, however, I wanted to make a few preemptive comments in the hopes of lending some perspective to the actual numbers. (Note: If you haven’t already seen our post on the giveaway, do so now as there is still time to enter.)
Kristen Allen contacted me a few months ago about a potential Pop Up Shop at the store for her bust-friendly clothing designs, and I was immediately intrigued by what she hoped to offer customers. Bust-friendly fashion is obviously a subject about which I feel passionately because I have spent the better part of my life struggling to fit into clothing designed for a different body shape than my own. My first properly fitting button-front shirts came from Poland and then Campbell & Kate, and they opened my eyes to not only how sharp a tailored shirt looks but also how confident I felt wearing them. To see another entrepreneur bringing her own perspective to the industry, especially an approach which focuses on Made in the USA products, was fabulous, and I knew immediately I wanted to help however I could. As a result, we’re starting off with an interview where Kristen dishes on her motivations, her mistakes, and how fabulous it is to live in NYC, and then later, I will have a review of one of her classic shirts! Oh, and did I mention that if there is enough interest we’re going to host a Pop Up shop here? If you’re interested in seeing her come to NC, please comment, email, or message me because this is an opportunity I would love to take advantage of for our customers. Stay cool in the heat everyone!
The steamy summer month of July holds a special place in my heart because our little bra shop celebrates its anniversary. A Sophisticated Pair stemmed from my personal desire to find a store which not only offered a range of bra sizes in a wide assortment of colors and styles, but that also offered the kind of quality customer service I found lacking in my own bra shopping experiences. When I was finally fitted properly, I realized the potential for transformation contained in a bra fitting and wanted everyone to feel the same way I did—to look at themselves through the lens of acceptance and confidence. The experience left such an imprint on me that despite being a computer programmer fresh out of grad school, I began researching not only bra fitting techniques but also the fundamentals of owning a small retail business. After two years, I felt comfortable contemplating the idea of a storefront, and I approached my aunt Debbie and my dad Jason with my ideas for improving the bra shopping experience. Together, we sacrificed, worked hard, persevered, and worked harder still so that we could open our doors on July 17, 2011. In a few short days, we will celebrate five years of operation. I have several posts planned about the anniversary (including our annual statistical series) and am looking forward to sharing some of the ups and downs we’ve had with all of our readers. For the meantime though, let’s discuss our annual sale and giveaway!
Fussy Busty and I first internet-met a few years ago when she started her fabulous blog, and she has always been a warm, generous person. In fact, we were part of a secret Santa exchange one year, and she knitted me a coffee cup cover with the store’s iconic pears stitched onto them! Recently, she embarked on a new journey in her life as a work-at-home mom and small business owner. Fussy translated her enjoyment for sewing into a custom-clothing business for children and adults, and her adorable daughter is often found modeling the latest designs. Because so many of us struggle to find properly fitted garments, a business which offers the option of purchasing custom-made clothes at an affordable price is one I am keen to support. Not to mention, all of you know by now that I adore family-owned businesses, made in America products, and anybody willing to do something different in the clothing industry. Naturally, I am loving what Fussy is hoping to achieve here, but I especially loved how candidly she spoke about the trials of working from home and raising a child. Oh, and did I mention she made me a dress? A dress that channels my favorite writer even? It’s en transit now, and I’m totally doing this: