Year 4 Stats: The Best-sellers aka “The A List Superstars”

Year 4 Stats:  The Best-sellers aka “The A List Superstars”

We have finally arrived at my favorite post to compile in the series: our best-sellers. While knowing which cup sizes, band sizes, and bra sizes sell the best is an extremely important element to maintaining inventory, it’s also smart to keep track of what products perform well and in what sizes. My strategy with purchasing new inventory is to create a well-rounded set of options per size cluster, which includes carrying multiple styles, colors, and brands designed to suit a variety of customer breast shapes and preferences. Analyzing our best-sellers can be a key way to select future core styles, determine the best colors to choose, and even analyze the optimum size configuration per style.

Meet Our Newest Columnist: Holly Jackson of The Full Figured Chest

Meet Our Newest Columnist: Holly Jackson of The Full Figured Chest

My name is Holly, and like Erica, I spend at least six hours a day looking at bras. As a boutique owner, Erica has to get dressed up and go to work every day. As a lingerie copywriter and owner of The Full Figured Chest Copywriting and blog, I at least get to look at bras in my pajamas while petting my dog.

I jumped at the chance to write a column for Erica for several reasons.1) Most of the bras that I’ve bought in the past two years have come from her shop. Several of my favorite brands are things I have tried based on her recommendations. 2) Lots of the Sophisticated Pair customer base, both online and in store, is in my exact size range. And believe me, I have seen a ton of bras in my size range.

Blogging: The Art of Consistency . . . except in August & September

Blogging:  The Art of Consistency . . . except in August & September

Looking back over my posts for August, my consistency was not exactly the best. As all of you know by now, we had a huge sale and giveaway contest, which took a greater toll on my time management skills than expected. Since the blog tends to rank lower on the priority list than my “business owner stuff,” it’s easy to fall into the trap of “That post can wait” and not update at all. While I enjoy writing posts more than writing purchase orders, the latter always take precedence. I do not know how September will pan out for consistency either because we have undertaken a pretty substantial project at the store: switching our e-commerce platform.

Bolero Banishes Back Fat! + New Skater Dress Prints Bonus

Bolero Banishes Back Fat!  + New Skater Dress Prints Bonus

Full disclosure: I’m not a huge fan of the term “back fat” because I hear it way too often in my job by people who look perfect as they are. Factor in how the mere hint of this perceived imperfection can lead a client to size up in the band to the point of a poorer overall fit, and you can understand my frustration for yet another way people have at their disposal to pick themselves apart. I am also a woman who does possess some extra . . . ahem . . . tissue back there. I developed it after years of not wearing a bra that fits, particularly during periods of weight gain and loss, and even when I am in fighting shape, the squishy bits DO NOT GO AWAY. I used to be really self-conscious about it, but I realized there were much better things for me to worry about and have made peace with it.

4th Anniversary Giveaway and Sale

4th Anniversary Giveaway and Sale

July 17th is always an emotional day for us because it marks our anniversary for opening the shop, and with four years of operation and experience under the proverbial belt, we feel the store has truly grown and improved—a trend we plan to continue by expanding our inventory and improving our services. Because our boutique would not exist without the support of our wonderful customers, we are happy to celebrate again this year with our August Anniversary Sale and Giveaway! Words will never express how much you mean to us, but a few free prizes certainly won’t hurt.

On more than one occasion, I have mentioned my ongoing goal to create a shop people visit for more than just bras, and while progress is slow due to budget and space constraints, I feel like our giveaway this year truly reflects how diverse the shop is becoming. We have prizes ranging from traditional lingerie sets to bust-friendly clothing to hosiery, and I have to give a standing ovation to our vendors for being so generous.

Anna Pardal/Comexim Ordering Policy Updates

TweetHello Everyone, First, if you are not a fan of Comexim or their collaborative line, Anna Pardal, than you may want to gloss over this post and wait for the upcoming bra reviews I should have ready in the next week.  Note: I said “should.”  For fans of the brand, I posted a comprehensive guide to the alterations offered by both Anna Pardal and Comexim a few weeks ago, which contained vital information about what changes are available and how they impact the bra.  One of the topics raised in the post was how both Comexim and Anna Pardal hope to minimize overhead through improving the quality of the designs as well as by considering the possibility of offering multiple bra styles per fabric selection.  Please read it and comment with feedback if you have not done so already. While the aforementioned post discussed the alterations process from a manufacturer’s perspective, we also needed to reevaluate how the shop would handle special orders for the brand, especially those which have been altered.  I wrote previously on how returns impact retailers as well as the viability of special order programs, and although my intention today is not to force you into reading older content, I did share them here to provide context for policy changes we enacted. As a retailer, special orders can certainly make or break a business, and it’s challenging to balance those orders against the expectations and behavior of our customers.  On more than one occasion, customers have cancelled items after they were ordered or never returned phone calls to say the items were not wanted/needed.  If the item is a size we see rarely, the risk is even higher for us.  Consequently, special order programs are not something every retailer considers, and companies which offer them may

Strap Saver Winners!

TweetHello Everyone, A few weeks ago, I not only reviewed Strap Savers, a new lingerie accessory on the marketplace for easily shortening straps, but I also hosted a giveaway for five $15 gift certificates.  Because the first of the month was Sunday, I am late announcing the winners, but better late than never as they say.  Anyway, without further introduction, our lucky winners are: Noelle P Cate M Jennifer Jenny Emily Congratulations!  I am hoping to email the winners sometime today, but per usual for a Tuesday, I’m running a little behind.  If you want your gift certificate sooner, please feel free to email me. Also, a big thanks to Strap Saver for donating the gift certificates for us! Erica

Store Plans for 2015

TweetHello Everyone, A Sophisticated Pair had a wonderful 2014.  Not only did we upgrade retail spaces and host our biggest giveaway yet, but we also worked to improve our inventory mix and selection, bringing in shapewear brands like Yummie Tummie and Rago and expanding into lingerie from iCollection, stockings from Kix’ies, bust-friendly dresses from Bolero, and amazing bra and panty sets from Comexim and Anna Pardal.  Now, with the new year officially started, I want to continue offering customers more options, colors, and styles.  Once we survived two years of business, I decided to focus my efforts on creating a well-rounded shop that women could visit for more than just bras, a goal I am still pursuing.  Since expansion for small businesses is typically slower, we are still balancing the buying plan for the year, but I wanted to give everyone an early sneak peak at some of the brands and styles we hope to carry this year. Sculptresse from Panache:  As successful as Elomi and Goddess are for the shop, I am desperate to have another plus-size option, particularly for women who need deeper cups and narrower underwires than what Eveden brands can offer.  Originally, I hoped to carry the charming plaid print bra appropriately named Dixie, but it was discontinued prior to release.  Now, I contemplating the feisty animal print Chi Chi. Cleo Marcie in Basic Colors:  Over the last two years, I have been asked with incredible frequency whether the Cleo Marcie is available in something other than (insert bright color of the season), and I am always the bearer of bad news.  However, in February, we will have both the new beige and black Marcies in stock for our customers!   *collective applause* More Wacoal:  Okay, so Wacoal doesn’t seem to receive much attention in the blogosphere,