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.
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.)
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.
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!
When I received an email from Anna of Anna Pardal after attending Curves NY for the first and only time in February of 2014, I was giddy with excitement and knew instantly this was a marvelous opportunity for the shop. Over the last two years, I have thoroughly enjoyed working with her personally and professionally even though importing made-to-order products from Poland was not always easy. Anna and I certainly faced numerous challenges in ensuring all of our customers ultimately received the correct item, in the right size, and with the perfect combination of alterations. However, despite the problems, many clients found working with Anna to be a life changing experience. Our guest blogger Trycia was able to request a gorgeous custom Sabine set, including matching panties specifically designed with her needs in mind. Then there is Tami, a woman who suffered long term from chafing by the straps, too tall cups on the side, and a lack of center depth. Anna, Tami, and I collaborated together to engineer pattern changes that yielded a fit so perfect Tami felt like “superwoman.” Tami and Trycia are not alone either. Countless people took advantage of a generous alterations process to find the fit tweaks which worked best for them. Some people, like myself, fell in love with the classic shape immediately because of the low wires and deep cups that were more comfortable than UK brands while still others appreciated the luxurious, sophisticated aesthetic honed by Anna’s keen eye. Despite the lows, our relationship with Anna Pardal is defined more by the highs, which is why I was so saddened (okay, devastated) to hear that Anna was closing the brand for personal reasons. Running a small business is one of the hardest things a person can do in their lifetime, and I am glad she decided to put herself first and find some balance. Hopefully, we’ll be seeing her artistic perspective again in the lingerie world soon, but in the meantime, we wish her nothing but the best!
We are moving forward with our annual sales discussion to examine the sales of each cup size. Be sure to check out both our demographics post as well as our band size breakdown. Keep in mind, cup size means nothing without a band to give it context, but for the purposes of our analysis, I want to compare how sales across cup sizes differ. Below is a graph for the sales distribution of each cup size. (Note: For my discussion, I will refer to cup sizes using the UK sizing system.)
After falling in love with Comexim and partner-in-crime Anna Pardal for their superbly narrow underwires and deep cups, I embarked on an alterations process to tweak the original shape and figure out which combination worked best for me. In the past, I have reviewed Beatrix and Felicity from Anna Pardal as well as the Hibiscus Longline—all of which sported some alterations combination, but today I am focusing on a double review of two gorgeous Comexim styles: Sweet Dottie and Sapphire! Both bras feature the original, lightly padded classic plunge shape with reduced cup, raised gore, and straps moved in 2cm.
Last week, I posted a glowing review to the new Anna Pardal Hibiscus Longline in the classic plunge shape, and today I want to compare and review a longline with the three-section half-cup design, similar to the Doyenne on the website. The sample I received is for the as yet unreleased Anna Pardal Rosa, which I am told should be on the website soon.
Industry innovator, Anna Pardal recently revamped her website to debut her latest collection complete with stunning prints and new styles engineered from the extensive feedback provided by customers and retailers. Most traditional manufacturers will use a particular fabric to create one or two styles, but Anna Pardal instead chose to offer four different bra frames in addition to a host of other custom features ranging from adding nursing clasps or asymmetry pockets for free, extending the band of any bra into a longline style, or allowing specific alteration requests at the modest fee of $10. Because of the higher quality materials and the improved designs, prices have increased, which will impact our shop in the coming weeks, but I have a much longer post about this and other store changes planned for September.
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.