In 2008, owners of Petticoat Lane, a chain of family-run intimate apparel boutiques, opened two stores in New York City: One in Park Slope, Brooklyn and the other on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. They now run seven boutiques plus the online store: bags.com.
"We are focused on expanding our name," founder Phyllis Jacobson commented. "And, of course, we opened the new stores to make more money!"
Owners are Jacobson, her son and daughter, Jason Palmer and Jennifer Uquhart, and Jason Palmer's wife, Yami Palmer.
Jacobson opened the ladies' bag store Phyllis' Leather shop in Chappaqua, NY in 1986. When the owner of the lingerie shop next door sold in 1990, Jacobson jumped on the opportunity and combined the two stores. She changed the name to Petticoat Lane and Phyllis' Leather Shop to reflect the new intimate apparel merchandise.
"I bought it because no one wanted it, and it was next door. I soon discovered that lingerie is a great business," she said.
The 1500-square-foot Chappaqua store, which Jacobson still manages, is now the largest of the seven stores (others are 900 to 1200-square-feet). Merchandise runs from $38 to $150 in sizes S through XL, and 32AA to 38DD. Bras of up to 44G and men's underwear are available through special order on their website.
Mrs. Palmer, who manages the Upper East Side location, estimated that the average customer spends $150 to $300 on multiple purchases.
While her typical customer is between a 34B and a 36C, she added that "lately I've noticed that I fill a lot of AAs and DDs, since I carry them." Her top sleepwear brands are Fleur't, Eberjey, and Hanro. Other popular brands are Spanx, Chantelle, Cosabella, Hanky Panky, Wacoal, Only Hearts, and Elle MacPherson.
Although competing with the department stores is a challenge, Palmer said:
"I find [the customers] what they need, and they know me. That is something that department stores with a lot of employees cannot offer."
To contact the buyers, call Yami Palmer at (212) 744-5344.