To be blogging again feels amazing! Writing fulfills my soul, even if I am just chatting about bras, lingerie, and walking pneumonia. Today is all about the Samanta Desert A170 bra and how it relates to the ways European companies curtail their offerings for the North American market. Several months ago, Marzena of Samanta sent me the A170 to examine the fit because the bra specifically targets consumers wanting a minimizer. In the US, the term minimizer is fairly well known, and as the name implies these bras redistribute breast tissue to make the overall shape of the bust anywhere from 1″ to 3″ smaller than it is. Most accomplish this through the use of structured 2-ply fabric which helps compress while simultaneously shifting the bust vertically and horizontally across the chest.
As my teeming inbox continues to remind me, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and general holiday chaos are right around the corner! This year, we’ve brought in some very special products to make shopping for loved ones (or for creating your own wishlist!) easy and affordable. As many of you know, I have an aversion to “Buy this!” posts because I feel uncomfortable using the blog for such blatant marketing and promotion—an ironic turn of events given my original intentions when I created it five years ago. However, as the blog grew and flourished, the purpose transitioned into towing the line between professional and personal, and I prefer eschewing gimmicky posts in favor of interesting content. That said, I also feel that our store, like many local businesses, is often forgotten during the hustle and bustle of the holiday gift giving season when we have so much to offer. More people buy online to avoid crowds or head straight for one-stop shops, but small businesses often possess unique, one-of-a-kind items and the money spent with them funnels back into the local community and charities. Not to mention, since I rarely post any new products here, some customers may not realize how many wonderful potential gifts we have in the shop right now . . . oh, and did I mention prices range from $15 to $100? All budgets welcome here!
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!
Red ribbon bows hang like harbingers from the lamp posts, holiday music blares through every speaker, and pine tree lots beckon early shoppers to select the perfect tree for their festivities. With these traditions also comes the glitzy, glamorous, and sometimes boozy soiree season filled with sequined party dresses, spiked eggnog, the annual company holiday party, and more than a few undergarment woes. Every year, lingerie professionals across the globe are tasked with finding the right solutions to holiday attire problems ranging from selecting the right shapewear to finding the perfect bra for a beautiful dress. All of us become the ultimate intimates fixers—whipping out accessories, miracle products, and double-sided tape to help you look your best and enjoy the party season without stress, and today I am sharing some of our secrets with our readers to give you a jump start in preparing for the season! (Click images to purchase.)
While bra fitting is my primary field of expertise, I frequently field questions from customers about which everyday panties I personally recommend, and I realized I have enough opinions on the subject for an entire blog post. Ages ago on the blog, I referenced the Great Underwear Quest of 2009. At the time, I recently finished losing weight and had purchased some lovely dresses and pencil skirts which showcased every seam, elasticized waist, and all manner of decorative feature adorning my current underwear. Whenever I tried on new clothes on in the fitting room, I mistakenly believed I had underwear at home which would disappear with nary a visible line in sight. Nothing worked. Ultimately, I began scooping up miscellaneous knickers from retailers ranging from Walmart to Nordstrom, but if I could find a discreet pair, they would roll, move, or creep upward—to say nothing of scratchy materials or fraying edges. Eventually, I wondered if my only choice was to buy thongs or simply go commando, but I did not want to risk flashing cheek (more more) when I moved or sat. Just as my frustration peaked, a friendly sales rep in the Nordstrom lingerie department recommended On Gossamer. They were perfect! They did not show under even my least forgiving bottoms, were fairly comfortable, and reasonably durable. And so the Greay Panty Quest ended.
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.
Ordinarily, I like to post these stats as close to our actual anniversary (July 17th) as possible, but between a hectic summer season, a website remodel, and my brother’s emergency surgery, this intense, labor-of-love series was continuously placed at the bottom of my queue. However, with my life finally returning to some semblance of normalcy, I knew it was time to break out the spread sheets and start work on analyzing our sales! This year proves to be even more exciting because we are entering a state of stability with the business and have a lot more sales to examine and discuss. Our business model has shifted significantly too because we expanded our online sales presence, thus necessitating some changes to how we showcase and scrutinize the data.
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.
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
TweetHello Everyone, While the statistics on what bra sizes people purchase peaks my curiosity, I find it equally important to examine the styles they buy most often. As a result, I have compiled a list of our Top 15 Best-Selling