Store Plans for 2015

Hello 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.

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, and a lot of women build up animosity toward the brand because it’s usually the only thing available in DD-G cups in mainstream shops.  However, Wacoal makes some of the best quality bras on the market, and contrary to popular belief, many of them are downright adorable.  On the buying agenda for the new year are the Halo Lace Spacer bra, the Retro Chic, How Perfect Wire Free Bra, and the Embrace Lace non-contour bra.  We also want to bring in additional styles from Wacoal’s sister brand, like b.tempt’d like Sheer Delight and b.Delight’d.
Embrace_Lace
Wacoal Embrace Lace in new Silver Lurex

 

  • More Natori:  Natori fares slightly better on the web in part because of the ever popular Feathers bra and their amazing pajamas, but like Wacoal, this is another quality lingerie brand with a lot to offer.  For 2015, I am particularly interested in two new expansions.  The first is Skarlet Blue, a moderately priced line between Josie and the original Natori, which will have a mix of youthful style bras and sleep sets.  Skarlet Blue offers adorable matching PJs for as low as $49 as well as cute sleep shirts and lingerie.  While I have admired the Natori sleepwear brands since we opened, the price point even on the cheapest line (Josie) is above what I thought would do well for the shop.  However, the new Skarlet Blue line proves to be a lovely bridge line for customers wanting a Natori sleep set at a great price.  In addition to Skarlet Blue, Natori will also expand to fuller-figure sizes with the incorporation of more 40-44 bands.  These will be bras on the same price and quality level as the original Natori line with a wider size range.
  • Tutti Rouge:  We carried Tutti Rouge when the line first released, and I think the brands fun aesthetic and commitment to improving season after season is wonderful.  As a result, I want to at least bring in the sugary Liliana cream set for spring/summer.

liliana

  • Fluert with Me Sleepwear:  As I mentioned when discussing Skarlet Blue, sleepwear has been on my radar since opening, but it’s hard to find boutique-oriented lines that are not selling a two-piece pajama set for $100+.  Granted the fabric feels impossibly soft and comfortable, but I have never been convinced that price point would work in our shop.  Fortunaately, Fluert with Me (sister brand to the original Fluert) is a lower priced option with the same great modal based fabrics as many expensive brands.  If our first collection goes well in April, look for more of these styles in the shop year round.

fleurt_with_me

  • More Comexim and Anna Pardal:  Given how successful our relationship with both brands has been for 2014, it makes sense to continue expanding our selection.  By the end of 2015, I’d love to have at least three styles from the brands in stock, and with Anna from Anna Pardal hoping to add longlines and babydolls to the collection, I have a feeling it will be hard to choose which ones!
  • More Lingerie:  Last year was the first year we started to see more interest in lingerie pieces like corsets, stockings, robes, and chemises, and we have been expanding carefully.  For 2015, I’d like to continue growing the styles we offer so customers can pick up what they need without needing to order.
  • More Bust-Friendly Clothing:  Not only are we going to stock multiple Bolero dresses, but I am also going to work with Urkye to bring in button-fronts and possibly jackets into the shop.
Because who doesn't love a polka dot skater dress?
Because who doesn’t love a polka dot skater dress?
  • Eucalan Wash:  I know, I know.  How can you get excited about lingerie/delicate wash when there is talk of Anna Pardal Longlines, the Sculptresse Chi Chi, and bust-friendly clothing?  Simple:  Eucalan products are hypoallergenic and organic with incredible stain-fighting abilities.  Did I mention they have rinseless soap?  Yes, hand-washing just got that much easier.

Reading through this list, you may notice a highly requested item nowhere to be found in our expansion plans:  swimwear.  I would like to carry swimwear in the shop.  No, scratch that.  I would desperately, unabashed, crazily love to carry swimwear in the shop.  The ongoing requests I see from customers, especially during bathing suit season tells me the investment would be a worthwhile one too.  Given all of this, why is swimwear not on the agenda?  Simply put:  I don’t have the money to do it.  Now, looking at the list above, you may be wondering why I wouldn’t have enough cash for swimwear, and I’ll explain.  First, the expansion options above are spaced out over 12 months.  Most swimwear arrives in stores at the end of January through the end of March (well before anyone wants to get into a swimsuit), and for many of the lingerie companies we carry, swimwear is an entirely different approval and credit process with new minimum order points (usually $1000) to be met.  In order to bring swimwear into the shop, I estimate I would need anywhere from $5k to $7k in open cash flow by January 31st, and then I would be sitting on that inventory until temperatures were warm enough for people to actually need them.  It’s a big risk, a business-ending risk if it doesn’t pan out the way I hope.  As a result, swimwear is on hold.  Not to mention, I have always said I wanted to make sure we had our bases covered as much as possible on the bra and lingerie front first because that is our primary business, and we are still working to meet demand for certain items and styles.

Having dashed countless dreams with the above paragraph, if things go well this year, I may look into doing a partially crowd-sourced swimwear collection for 2016, meaning you contribute $X and get a gift voucher.  It would help pay for the swimwear up front and lesson the risk.  Or, we could just have an amazing 2015, and I can justify the outlay and risk for 2016 without any assistance.  Either way, I’ll have more information on this closer to summer.

Your turn:  What else would you like to see come to the store over the next year or two?  Are there products you have a hard time locating locally?

Erica

Store Plans for 2015
Erica
Erica is a lover all things lingerie and is passionate about helping people find the bra which fits and flatters. Side passions include reading, writing, hiking, dairy-free food, walking her Jack Russell terrorists, and dying her hair everything from black to red.
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18 thoughts on “Store Plans for 2015

  • January 2, 2015 at 9:56 pm
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    You are such a thoughtful small business owner, Erica. I’d love to see unpadded longlines (not midlines like those Freya things) in 30-32 back sizes and larger cup sizes. Like the really good stuff Rago makes but doesn’t seem to size for a slim, busty woman. But I don’t know if that garment currently exists 🙂

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    • Erica
      January 6, 2015 at 11:19 am
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      I know exactly what you’re talking about K-Line! Unfortunately, I can’t think of any in higher cup sizes off the top of my head, but those are almost a “lost style” in modern times. Freya’s Longline bras are cute, but they really only extend a little bit down the ribcage. It’s almost no different than just using a wide band in the back. I’m excited to see what Anna Pardal and Comexim come up with though!

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  • January 3, 2015 at 11:30 pm
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    I am so excited to try the tutti rouge liliana finally!!! When do you expect that in? 🙂

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    • Erica
      January 6, 2015 at 11:20 am
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      Hi Rebecca! I’m still finalizing a time frame here. Part of it will depend on when I can finance the order comfortably, so I’m hoping sales over the next 4-6 weeks are good enough to justify bringing it in for February/March. Otherwise, it’ll most likely be in April. 🙂

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  • January 4, 2015 at 2:53 pm
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    I’m so happy you’ll be carrying Eucalan! It’s my preferred lingerie wash, and while I don’t know that it would make sense for me personally to purchase it from you (I’m a “buy in bulk online to consolidate shipping fees” kind of person), I would love to have the option to pick up single bottles locally. Here’s hoping that your local customers will love Eucalan as much as I do!

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    • Erica
      January 6, 2015 at 11:21 am
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      Hi Tori! I was sent some free samples from the company, and I need to do a review because WOW! I love it! My favorite is the Grapefruit scent because I’m a sucker for citrus, but I really liked Lavender and Jasmine too. Plus, it takes stains out so well. I use it for my regular clothes for that sometimes!

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      • January 7, 2015 at 10:25 pm
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        I am also in love with the Grapefruit — partly for the same reason: I just love citrus. I’m really not as much of a lavender person, so my like for the Lavender scent says a lot. (I also have Eucalyptus, which… I reserve for sports bras.) 😉

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        • Erica
          January 8, 2015 at 3:10 pm
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          Yeah, Eucalyptus is not my personal favorite, but it sure does deodorize!

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  • January 5, 2015 at 6:44 pm
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    My local lingerie shops are always out of lingerie wash! That’s always an important thing to get even if nothing in the store fits/works today!

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    • Erica
      January 6, 2015 at 11:22 am
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      Hi Faustineli! We’ve been stocking one brand of wash for a while which is nice, but the Eucalan would help a lot of women who aren’t as dedicated to the whole “hand wash” thing since they could basically skip an entire step with rinsing. Plus, it smells really nice. 🙂

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  • January 6, 2015 at 6:25 am
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    Great! You are really a business minded person. Love the lingeries you posted here. Quite comfy – but one thing I like most is the sleepwear (Fluert with Me Sleepwear). Found that one in the nearest store in my local (not the same brand) For sleepwear products, I actually eyeing https://www.lusome.com/ products. Not just because it is fashionable nor sexy – is just that it has benefits that I really want.

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    • Erica
      January 6, 2015 at 11:24 am
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      Hi Tracy! That’s a cool sleepwear company! We see people buying the Yummmie Tummie Stephanie tanks for sleeping because it regulates body temperature better. We’ll see how our debut goes, but if it performs well, I’d love to carry more styles/lines.

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  • January 6, 2015 at 11:12 am
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    I’m trying not to get my hopes up about the long lines because they never go past an H cup but with Comexim doing them they well might. You’re so empathetic to your customers needs no matter their size and honest and helpful, I hope your store will have a wonderful year.

    For myself I’d wish simply that more large cup size stuff existed for you to even stock.

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    • Erica
      January 6, 2015 at 11:27 am
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      Hi Xelestial! I don’t see why Comexim wouldn’t go higher than an H cup since they are so open to alterations on their designs, so maybe entertain a little hope? 🙂 You’re right it’s hard to stock large cup items because there isn’t as much available,and to be brutally honest, 80% of what is available sucks. It’s more like dealing with “Well, that’s best we can get right now” kind of thing. And I hate that for my customers. I would much rather they have the options/choices they deserve. Of course, in the 3.5 years we’ve been open, I have seen tremendous, positive changes across the board for sizes/selection, and I am hopeful this trend will grow!

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  • January 7, 2015 at 12:54 pm
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    I’m super excited for the beige and black Marcie for summer! That’s one of my best fitting bras, but the yellow is a little crazy. I’d love to try Tutti Rouge, but shipping fees from the UK have held me back, so if you have the Liliana available for online order, I might be interested 🙂 I so wish I lived near your store.

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    • Erica
      January 7, 2015 at 1:18 pm
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      You are not the only one who wants basics, so I am really happy they are finally releasing them. Even if you do like colors, only having two per year (one of which is usually high wattage) isn’t going to cut it for some women. Hopefully, Panache will add a few more basics to their sister lines over the coming seasons too!

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  • January 10, 2015 at 12:14 pm
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    Erica! I am so excited about all of these things on your list– especially the discovery of a “rinseless soap” bra wash! I don’t mind hand-washing my bras, but the rinse step takes forever!
    Bust-friendly clothing, particularly dresses, are so difficult to find, and I am hesitant to order online. I am really happy to see you’ll be offering more in-store options this year. Also– Anna Pardal longlines sound heavenly.

    I would also be interested in contributing to your potential 2016 swimwear campaign. I’ve got a couple Freya bikini tops that I LOVE (and highly recommend for anyone who is looking for active beachwear options- they’re a swimsuit version of the Deco) and would love to update my collection in the next couple years.

    Looking forward to a great 2015– only wish I lived a bit closer!

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    • Erica
      January 10, 2015 at 12:40 pm
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      Hi Sam! I felt extremely adult-like getting excited about rinse-less soap, but come on! That’s just awesome! 🙂 Bust-friendly clothing is definitely a personal goal for me since I have been so overwhelmingly happy with what I purchased. It’s refreshing to put on a dress and a) not have it pull awkwardly across my boobs and b) not have strangely placed armholes that expose all of my bra. Plus, button-fronts! Button-fronts that can be worn *buttoned* . . . without a cami! It’s the small pleasures in life.

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