My friend Jillian is ready to continue her discussion of designing bras for UK KK+ cups, and I couldn’t be happier to post her latest edition. As I mentioned before, we have seen too many women who are outside of what traditional manufacturers produce and are forced to make due with a poor, sometimes even painful, fitting bras all for the sake of support. Jillian has been crafting her own bras, refining them with each new version, and the results have been exciting to watch. I hope you enjoy this next installment as much as I have, and if you missed her previous posts, you can find them here and here and here.
Last night, I had the distinct privilege of visiting some wonderful women at the New Jerusalem Women’s Emergency Shelter, a program designed to help homeless women stay warm and safe this winter while also providing resources for growth and success. Everyone from the volunteers to the staff to the women themselves were smiling, joyful, and lovely to meet, and I thoroughly enjoyed being able to give them a proper bra fitting, well, as proper as we could manage with only my eyes and a measuring tape. Still, it was a service many of them had never experienced, and we were able to chat briefly with each woman about sizing, fitting, and the many bra styles available. Our store is no stranger to accepting bra donations, and we work with both local domestic violence shelters as well as Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abuse (TROSA) to collect intimate apparel donations from around the state. In fact, my friend Kat who owns Luxury on the Outer Banks has also volunteered her time as a fitter to participate in a joint bra fitting event at TROSA in a few weeks.
It’s no secret. Holiday gift guides are not my favorite posts to write. I find myself counting down the minutes until I am finished mostly because the writing feels like a tedious not-so-subtle marketing ploy. This year I put aside my personal feelings to write a couple posts for our shop because we often struggle to attract holiday shoppers in the era of online meccas and big box discounts. Of course, our small business isn’t unique in feeling forgotten, so today, I want to close the series with a final buying guide spreading the love to other retailers, manufactures, and designers with totally cool gifts for everyone on your nice (or naughty) list.
When I was crafting our $100 or less gift guides this season, I wanted to include a category specifically for our younger customers who are often dragged here by a family member to be fitted. Shopping for bras and underwear is certainly not everyone’s favorite activity no matter the age, and I know I personally hated it for many years because of the bad interactions I had as a teenager. However, if fitters and family work together to not only provide multiple foundation options but also to allow young clients autonomy to make their own choices, then the entire shopping experience becomes easier and more enjoyable for them. As a result, I wanted to assemble a mix of bras, underwear, and accessories which work for anyone, regardless of age. In fact, I own several of these at 30 (nearly 31), and some of these gifts are popular with customers in their 60s and 70s too. So remember, “it’s hard, you will find to be narrow of mind if you’re young at heart.”
My Facebook status stream is pleasantly awash today in a flurry of hashtag ridden posts reminding friends to #shopsmall for #smallbusinesssaturday often accompanied by images with inspirational quotes about how patronizing small businesses supports a family, pays for dance lessons, funnels money into the community, and improves the economy. Small businesses are often passion driven and innovative, started by people who want to make a change in the world around them, but success is hardly guaranteed. Failure rates are high, and customers often assume the owner is rolling in the cash or “getting rich” from sales. Small businesses can lend you financial stability, but they can also place you on the verge of financial ruin, to say nothing of the tremendous strain they place on personal relationships. What you perceive as a successful business owner could be one on the verge of bankruptcy and divorce. We’re all faking it until we make it, but the problem is some of never will make it. It’s a hard path to walk, and small business Saturday at least tries to reward those who choose it.
During the holidays, my family loved to blend practical gifts along with fun ones to ensure my brother and I had what we needed but also something special we wanted. In fact, clothes and video games are still totally acceptable gifts for me even at thirty, and some of my favorite presents were practical with long term value, like a converter which allowed me to broadcast my mp3 player through the radio of my car (this was before cars got all fancy). Today’s buying guide is perfect for the person needing or wanting affordable basics or utility pieces to wear and enjoy all winter!
Hello Everyone! In the past, I have reviewed Glamory hosiery and been smitten with their impressive collection of beautiful but functional hold-up stockings. In fact, the Vitals collection became one of my favorite hosiery products because they are specifically designed to improve circulation. Anyone who spends all day on their feet knows good circulation in the legs is imperative to staying active and healthy, and on the days I wore the vitals, I felt better at the end of the day than any other stocking I have tried. Most traditional stockings which offer this technology also exploit a control top (bleh!), so to have a lovely pair of hold-ups which make me feel as comfortable as I do fashionable is a blessing! Recently, Tim and I were chatting on the phone about Glamory and what else the brand has to offer customers and retailers alike, and I realized it would be wonderful to do a formal spotlight both on him as the US distributor and on the line itself. Reviews are great, but I always love to hear more about what a brand hopes to achieve and how they see themselves growing with future collections. So, let’s chat stockings with Tim today while you enjoy your morning coffee!
As my teeming inbox continues to remind me, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and general holiday chaos are right around the corner! This year, we’ve brought in some very special products to make shopping for loved ones (or for creating your own wishlist!) easy and affordable. As many of you know, I have an aversion to “Buy this!” posts because I feel uncomfortable using the blog for such blatant marketing and promotion—an ironic turn of events given my original intentions when I created it five years ago. However, as the blog grew and flourished, the purpose transitioned into towing the line between professional and personal, and I prefer eschewing gimmicky posts in favor of interesting content. That said, I also feel that our store, like many local businesses, is often forgotten during the hustle and bustle of the holiday gift giving season when we have so much to offer. More people buy online to avoid crowds or head straight for one-stop shops, but small businesses often possess unique, one-of-a-kind items and the money spent with them funnels back into the local community and charities. Not to mention, since I rarely post any new products here, some customers may not realize how many wonderful potential gifts we have in the shop right now . . . oh, and did I mention prices range from $15 to $100? All budgets welcome here!
Remember my annual stats series? No? I don’t blame you seeing as how I started it back in August during a streak of productivity and over-ambitiousness which was ultimately sidelined by the damn move I keep mentioning. Anyway, the store has been unusually quiet, even for a traditionally slow month, and while that bodes poorly for sales, I seized the opportunity to slog through my expansive “To Do” list and revisit my statistical posts. Originally, I planned to divide the content into two smaller, more manageable blogs, but sheesh, how many do we really need? I have so much more content to work on and post that I think we’ll close here with an abundance of cool information on our best-sellers, our up-and-comers, and even our down-and-outers. (Previous entries were: A Guide to Interpretation, Band & Cup sizes, and Best-Selling Bra Sizes.)
“You have way too many books,” my brother, uncle, and cousin all stated repeatedly during my recent move. My book collecting, or hoarding depending on who you ask, began early and never abated, even with the advent of e-readers. Despite the convenience and ease of a Kindle (which I do own), I stubbornly cling to my books, preferring the nostalgic weight of the binding in my hands as I breathe in the musty swirl of ink and paper. My passion for books began with my parents who encouraged me to both value reading and develop my own tastes. They trusted me to pick my own selections, placing precious few limitations on what I could or couldn’t read and allowing me to gravitate to the topics and authors I enjoyed most. I visited the library often, but I also perused my parents’ personal collections for new material too (well, the ones not hidden on higher shelves or in closets *cough* Gerald’s Game *cough*).