Kristen Allen contacted me a few months ago about a potential Pop Up Shop at the store for her bust-friendly clothing designs, and I was immediately intrigued by what she hoped to offer customers. Bust-friendly fashion is obviously a subject about which I feel passionately because I have spent the better part of my life struggling to fit into clothing designed for a different body shape than my own. My first properly fitting button-front shirts came from Poland and then Campbell & Kate, and they opened my eyes to not only how sharp a tailored shirt looks but also how confident I felt wearing them. To see another entrepreneur bringing her own perspective to the industry, especially an approach which focuses on Made in the USA products, was fabulous, and I knew immediately I wanted to help however I could. As a result, we’re starting off with an interview where Kristen dishes on her motivations, her mistakes, and how fabulous it is to live in NYC, and then later, I will have a review of one of her classic shirts! Oh, and did I mention that if there is enough interest we’re going to host a Pop Up shop here? If you’re interested in seeing her come to NC, please comment, email, or message me because this is an opportunity I would love to take advantage of for our customers. Stay cool in the heat everyone!
Fussy Busty and I first internet-met a few years ago when she started her fabulous blog, and she has always been a warm, generous person. In fact, we were part of a secret Santa exchange one year, and she knitted me a coffee cup cover with the store’s iconic pears stitched onto them! Recently, she embarked on a new journey in her life as a work-at-home mom and small business owner. Fussy translated her enjoyment for sewing into a custom-clothing business for children and adults, and her adorable daughter is often found modeling the latest designs. Because so many of us struggle to find properly fitted garments, a business which offers the option of purchasing custom-made clothes at an affordable price is one I am keen to support. Not to mention, all of you know by now that I adore family-owned businesses, made in America products, and anybody willing to do something different in the clothing industry. Naturally, I am loving what Fussy is hoping to achieve here, but I especially loved how candidly she spoke about the trials of working from home and raising a child. Oh, and did I mention she made me a dress? A dress that channels my favorite writer even? It’s en transit now, and I’m totally doing this:
As someone who is still struggling to build my shop, I have adopted a very strong “pay it forward attitude” toward other small businesses, and when my friend Patricia of Bolero put me in touch with P.D. Roche and her brainchild “Hot Women Clothing,” I was not only intrigued by the concept but also wanted to help P.D. gain exposure for her brand. Like many people living in the south, especially those suffering from the dreaded hot flashes, P.D. tried everything to beat the heat but felt the heavy use of synthetic fabrics, particularly in lounge and nightwear, were at odds with keeping her cool. She wanted to upgrade her favorite worn in tee shirt into something just as breathable and relaxed but with a little more color and style. When I spoke with P.D., I thought the products were a natural fit for our store, not only for menopausal women but for anyone needing cotton sleepwear. Furthermore, many of our lounge pieces, even the cotton ones, are only available in Small to X-Large, with a max size range of 0 to 14. Our wonderful inbetweenies and plus-size customers felt neglected, but Hot Women Clothing specifically caters to fuller-figures. Don’t let the use of Medium to X-Large terminology confuse you. All of the Hot Women Clothing pieces are over-sized, meaning her mediums cater to size 12-18 depending on how relaxed you prefer her fit. In fact, the gorgeous zebra robe has a 60″ circumference to accommodate a range of sizes. Finally, Hot Women Clothing is another “Made in the USA” product, and we all know how I feel about that! We are currently stocking an assortment in the shop right now and will be adding them to the online portal soon. All her products are made from 100% cotton (and not that cheap thin stuff you can see through either), and are priced between $52 and $65. Enough of my gabbing, let’s talk with P.D.!
Today, I am tickled pink to be spotlighting a personal friend of mine: the one and only Iman Woods! Iman and I met when she came to the store in search of bras, and we immediately clicked. Both of us love being personal cheerleaders for people, empowering them to see the beauty within themselves and to appreciate their bodies as they are. Meeting Iman was not like meeting a stranger but more like connecting with a friend, and her generosity of spirit is inspiring. She volunteered to loan me the gorgeous pinup paintings—which she did herself by the way—to decorate the store, and she constantly refers clients to the shop. In keeping with her goals of building a supportive community, Iman often hosts “Girls Night Out” parties to introduce her friends to each other, and every single one of them has been a blast with lots of great conversation and laughter. I love when people build each other up and find ways of working together to create something wonderful, and Iman channels this energy into all of her endeavors.
TweetHello Everyone, I first “met” Nate when he wrote to me about advice on buying bras for gynecomastia, and he has been wonderful at reporting feedback on bras and products he has tested, which in turn helps me give quality advice to other men. When I heard he wanted to start a blog addressing bra buying from the male perspective, specifically for men suffering from this increasingly common medical condition, I was excited. The female bra blogging world has become increasingly diverse with bloggers of all shapes and sizes weighing on what bras work for them and why, but the male blogosphere is pretty barren. Outside of the fabulous Braberliner who has also written extensively, I am hard-pressed to think of others, and I think it’s wonderful to see more perspectives available to men and women alike who are interested in learning more about bras. A few weeks ago, he interviewed me for his blog, and I thought turnabout was fair play. So, let’s learn a little more about The Bra Guy, aka Nate! Name of your Blog: The Bra Guy Website: thebraguy.wordpress.com A brief introduction from Nate: Hello There, I’m Nate and the creator of the blog, “The Bra Guy”. I write about Bra’s from a Male Perspective. I started this blog after developing Gynecomastia. For anyone who does not know, Gynecomastia, is a medical condition that causes the male breasts to enlarge. What made you decide to write The Bra Guy? What did you hope to accomplish? Do you feel like you are making progress? I started “The Bra Guy” because I wanted to give a voice to the men who chooses to wear a Bra, in the lingerie industry, and also as a way to cope with my Gynecomastia. I hoping to share my experiences and allow
TweetHello Everyone, As I mentioned in a previous post, I wanted to reinvigorate the Saturday Spotlight by focusing more on the businesses and bloggers and allow them to tell you firsthand what makes them worth reading. Today, I am proud to present the first entry in the rebooted series: Scarlet’s Letter. Named one of the five blogs to watch for 2014 by the Lingerie Addict, Scarlet’s Letter is a lingerie and fashion centric blog which showcases everything from full-bust favorites to hand-made Etsy brands. Before I severely lapsed on the Saturday Spotlight front, Amber’s blog is one I had really wanted to share with you, and I am so glad I now have that opportunity. Website: http://www.scarlets-letter.net Email: email@example.com Instagram: @amberscarletsletter Twitter: @scarletsletter The blogger behind the curtain: Hi! My name is Amber, and I run the lingerie blog Scarlet’s Letter. I’m in my early 30s, and have been blogging since I was a teenager…when “blogs” were called “online journals”! 😉 I’ve also been an active actress in stage theater since I was 10 years old, and I love to sing and dance. I’m also a total beauty addict, and a collector of antiquarian books. I speak French, and I’m currently writing my first novel which I hope to have published sometime in 2015. Oh, and I also love love love lingerie. Obviously 😉 Scarlet’s Letter according to Amber: Scarlet’s Letter aims to showcase intimates for both lingerie novices and addicts alike, with a focus on full bust, handmade, and luxury brands. What made you decide to start Scarlet’s Letter? What did you hope to accomplish? Do you feel like you are making progress? I’ve been blogging for around 15 years off and on, before blogging was really as popular as it is now. Though I’d had blogs over the
TweetHello Everyone, I hope you had a wonderful holiday and are ready to start the new year with renewed optimism! One of the copious things I hope to accomplish/change in 2015 is the revitalization of an old blog post series I started shortly after we opened called “Saturday Spotlight.” In the past, I would showcase websites I thought our readers may enjoy and provide a brief synopsis with a few pictures. With increased activity at the store, the series became hard to maintain consistently, and I never felt I gave the small business, blog, or website adequate attention and detail. As a result, I created an alternative idea for the new year. Instead of a generic description which fails to capture the essence of what makes you, your business, and/or your blog special, I wrote a series of interview questions Saturday Spotlight recipients answer instead. My hope is that Saturday Spotlights will have the opportunity to connect more with our readers and to help them understand what your business/blog/website offers. If you’re interested in being featured in a Saturday Spotlight, please email me at sophisticatedpair[at]gmail[dot]com; however, I do have a few requirements: You must fall into one of the following three categories: (1) own a small business in the vicinity of Burlington, NC, (2) be involved in the lingerie industry whether through blogging, designing, or manufacturing, or (3) write blogs/manage a website in topics complementary to our blog, such as body image, fitness/health, or fashion. You must be currently active in your category, meaning you are not retired from owning a business, an inactive blogger, or someone no longer working in lingerie. Your website is something I genuinely think my readers will enjoy. Obviously, this requirement is the most vague, but I want the feature to expose our readers to
TweetHello Ladies, Given my busy schedule, Saturday Spotlights have fallen by the wayside recently, but I am hoping to post them more regularly because there are so many amazing businesses, bloggers, and companies I want to showcase! Today, I want to promote newcomer to the bra blogosphere Filling a Niche: Yes, You Might See Boobs Here. Drawing inspiration from other bloggers, writer Missy has created a nice mix of bra reviews, lingerie wishlists, and generally interesting reads on complementary topics. As someone in the process of going green in more aspects of my life, I found her discussion of the reusable menstrual cups to be informative and thought-provoking. Furthermore, her size is a little more mainstream, and she often wears a 30F or 32E. Many bra bloggers tend to fall into certain categories, and Missy is right that she definitely fills an underrepresented niche! As our readers know, Dezi also fits into this size range (although lately she teetering into the 28FF/30F range), but I think what makes Filling a Niche fantastic is that Missy is a mother of two, meaning she has experienced the myriad of breast changes incurred by pregnancy and breastfeeding. I’ve enjoyed her blog so much that I have offered to help sponsor a giveaway for her readers. You can win a $50 Sophisticated Pair gift card by participating, so definitely visit her blog and check it out. Have a great weekend everyone! Erica
TweetHello Ladies, I hope you have all revived yourselves with smelling salts after you passed out from the shock of seeing a Saturday Spotlight again! Given the increasing responsibilities of running the shop, my blogging in general has declined, but Saturday Spotlights have been hit the hardest. Sadly, my busy schedule coincided with an explosion of talent in the blogosphere, and I have been adding new blogs to a green post-it note on my desktop for when I’d get a spare second to send some love their way. Today, we’re spotlighting a blog close to my heart: The Absurd Curvy Nerd. As a curvy, nerdy gal myself, I’m in love with how the author effortlessly blends traditional bra blogging and body image topics with a range of other posts like her Thesaurus Thursdays, discussions of how cultural definitions for words matter, and my personal favorite, an article on book hoarding. Her writing tone is fun, fresh, and leaves you wanting to read more. On Facebook, we have shared many a lamentation about the constant pressure for force minimizers on bigger busts, and she was a big supporter of our #DiversityInLingerie campaign too. If you haven’t already found her curvy, nerdy section of the Internet, it’s time to head that way. Seriously? Why are you still here? The Charlotte review isn’t coming up until Tuesday, so go check out her fabulous blog and have a great weekend! Erica
TweetHello Ladies, As many of my local customers know, I love dogs and often have my two Jack Russell Terrorists guarding the back of the store: During a fitting, I learned my customer, Valerie Broadway, shared my passion for four-legged creatures and started a dog training business called “Canine Coaching Services, LLC.” Located in Chatham County but serving adjacent counties and cities, Valerie’s business provides in-home training sessions, vacation coaching, and even group seminars. Promoting a relaxed, quiet environment filled with clear communication and positive reinforcement, Valerie aids dog owners in learning how to present themselves “in a position of leadership to their pets.” Some of her most common coaching requests involve aggression, puppy or obedience basics, hyperactivity, leash problems, lack of socialization, and house training. In addition to her time as a veterinary technician, Valerie has years of experience working with animal rescues and shelters and has personally fostered hundreds of dogs in the last thirty years. She is a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers and frequently attends workshops, lectures, and seminars to stay abreast of all the latest training and coaching techniques. Together, her family, including their eight dogs, five cats, and the occasional parrot, strive to meet their goal of “helping people and their pets live together better!” If your pet pooch needs some behavioral help, you can reach Valerie by phone at (919) 542-4726 or by email at CanineCoachNC[at]yahoo[dot]com. Be sure to like her Facebook page too! Erica