About two years ago, I received an email from Heidi asking for feedback from a retailer’s perspective on edgy, high quality lingerie and its stateside viability. At the time, she was considering starting her own brand, and we chatted about pricing, materials, and competition between manufacturers and their retailers. A few weeks ago, Heidi contacted me again to announce she took the plunge and hoped to use Kickstarter to launch her brand. Keep in mind, I receive a lot of consulting inquiries from people wanting to start retail stores or lingerie brands, and I seldom hear follow-ups. This was one of the rare instances where not only did I hear from Heidi again but she was actually doing what she set out to do. So today we’re picking up the conversation and discussing her new line Pique Lingerie, the struggles of establishing sizing, and the need for inclusivity. Before we get started, I want to mention we do discuss sexual content, kink, and BDSM in the context of Heidi’s lingerie brand just in case it’s not your thing.
Exciting news about our store!
As a small business owner, I love when I can spotlight fellow entrepreneurs to highlight the wonderful services and products they bring to our community, and today we’re combining my enthusiasm for shopping local with wine . . . and cheese . . . but mostly wine. A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Michelle the owner of Cork & Cow, a local wine bar and bistro, and we immediately connected over the shared struggles of owning a business and how a glass of wine in the evening is sometimes an absolute essential. She’s funny, knows her stuff, and owns one of the coolest spots in town. If you’re local or just visiting for some fabulous bras *ahem*, add Cork & Cow to your “must go” list. Did I mention they had wine and that today is a Saturday?
Originally, I planned to update everyone on the outcome of my endocrinology appointment for PCOS several weeks ago, but then the spider bite from hell caused all manner of delays and problems for me. Blogging took a backseat to catching up on the copious amount of backlogged work—an ongoing issue I will address later in the post. Speaking of Fred, after a final draining Tuesday, he looks significantly better and has drastically reduced in size. I think my immune system has officially killed him, so . . . ‘Eff you Fred and the spider you rode in on! Ultimately and perhaps a little paradoxically, I am thankful Fred forced me to ruminate on the results of my appointment. Under pressure, I’m cool as the proverbial cucumber, and when an obstacle arises, my instincts are to dispassionately find the best and quickest solution. In many instances, those are great qualities to have, but being able to compartmentalize emotions is at odds with processing how you really feel. When I first heard I had an auto-immune disorder, I was my typical “Can Do!” self and switched to research mode, selecting the best books from Amazon and developing a plan of action. During the reign of Fred, I couldn’t do anything, and I started to unpack those unhelpful feelings I boxed up and realized I needed major changes if I hoped to get better.
I am writing to you sober (for the moment) because my pain levels are manageable without the aid of prescriptions, and since several people asked me to follow-up when I felt better, I thought I would not only update you on my current progress but also sketch out the last ten days of torment I endured. Before delving into the gruesome details, I want to reiterate my heartfelt thanks for all the prayer, thoughts, and well-wishes I received. My dad would read them to me when I was in too much pain to check, and it brightened my spirits. Many of you sent me the sweetest personal messages about how I had helped you or how much my store meant to you, and as a small business owner, I cannot ask for anything more. The love you showed me helped and continues to help me as I recover and move forward after what has been a rather tough couple years. In kind, I wish all of you nothing but the best and success in all you endeavor to accomplish.
First, this message is coming to you courtesy of antibiotics and prescription pain meds, so I apologize in advance if it isn’t up to my usual writing standards. Pain + Painkillers = Pitiful Prose. Anyway, 2017 has not exactly been a banner year for me, what with identify theft, near hospitalization from a stomach flu, an attack on my cat, walking pneumonia, and a recent diagnosis of a thyroid condition. I know, I know. Rattling off negativity like that undermines the many wonderful, positive things I experienced this year, and I am grateful for those shining beacons of happiness. However, we’re not talking about happiness today. We’re talking about the fact I am having an outpatient surgical procedure done tomorrow. Saturday I made it through the day at the store despite being in considerable pain, and things only escalated. On Monday, I had an emergency appointment with my primary care who informed me I needed a small surgical procedure. I’ve spent all week unable to get off my couch without help (seriously) while waiting for the referral paperwork to be completed. Today, after my condition has only continued to worsen while waiting, I called and practically pleaded to be seen. Desperation worked, and I am now on the docket for 10:45a.m. But, what does this mean for the store?
First and foremost, our incredible backers deserve a boisterous, hearty, and much deserved round of applause for raising over $3,300 toward bringing bra sized swimsuits into the shop! Without your early and ongoing support, the shop would rely almost exclusively on special orders to satisfy customer demands. As a result, if you have already contributed to the campaign, please email your size and preferred swimsuits to sophisticatedpair[at]gmail[dot]com, and I will ensure your preferences are ordered immediately. To view available options, please visit the links below:
My love affair for Comexim bras has been well documented and quite prolific. The narrow gores, the projected cups, the low underwires—all of it combined to create some of the best-fitting, most comfortable bras I have ever owned. Factor in the copious colors and prints available, and it’s easy to see why people all over the world are smitten with this Polish powerhouse. Many of our customers found the same success with them as I did, and our partnership continued to blossom, first with Anna Pardal and then with Comexim directly. I love and support Comexim, and I consider myself a brand advocate for how important both the bras and the alterations process can be for some clients. People who hated wearing bras or suffered constantly from comfort issues finally found a brand that worked for them, and I could not be happier to have played a small role in that success. However, Comexim and I have also had frequent problems too, and last year, I took a hiatus from accepting special orders while contemplating a plan for the future.
TweetHello Everyone, Every year I field dozens of questions both in person and on the phone about whether we will provide summer salvation to people fed up with generic bathing suits and finally offer bra sized swim in the shop.
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.