When Cara Butler decided to move her lingerie boutique 3 years ago, she knew it was 100 yards from her current location, but when she realized it was next to a Christian Bookstore, she received the shock of her life.
"I had no idea," says Butler. "But, because the boutique has a home-like atmosphere, people can come in and not feel dirty. It's funny but I always say, 'people can come to us, and then go next door to repent'."
Butler purchased the boutique after her close friend Sarah was terminally ill. And when Sarah passed, Butler took over, updated and eliminated the clutter, and moved down the street to match the boutique with its surroundings-quite, sophisticated and chic.
In capturing the ambiance of a perfect boutique, Butler transformed the store's counter into faux canopy bed, giving the illusion that store clerks are literally in bed...all day.
But the 10-foot bed post isn't the only furniture that adds unique touches to the shop, the Concord, Ca.-based boutique even has on display a park bench (on loan from city), an old fashioned street lamp and a high-heeled chair.
"I wanted to be unique and different," said Butler. "Customers can even bring in their kids because our adult toys are hidden in an armoire. And we even have a small laundry basket filled with kids toys for them to play with."
The 28,000 square foot boutique houses numerous lingerie brands, but top items offered are Dreamgirl, Shirley of Hollywood Escante Inc. and VX intimates whom Butler absolutely loves. "They're price points are excellent, they have nice fabrics, turnarounds are awesome, fits are good-they are one of the top four lines I reorder."
Customers perusing the shop come from all over and typically range from 18- 80 years old with an equal number of men and women. In fact, the boutique's regular customer is an 82-year-old man who spends thousands of dollars for his wife (average shoppers spend $60 to $100 per visit).
But even if male shoppers don't have a significant other to shop for, they can be found buying Parks for Recreation, Coquette, Male Power and Allure underwear for themselves.
Butler also reports she's been in the industry for 18 years, and through the years she's noticed push-up bras and demi cups are passe, and now the trend is shifting towards smooth molded cups. And Butler is there to offer her customer exactly what they want.
"We always ask what [customers] want, and this is achieved through our polls and surveys in the newsletter, and comments that are offered in our suggestions box."
The boutique even has a certified fitter on staff ensuring every customer achieves the proper fit-average cup sizes range from G to FF.
But for Butler, life is more than selling nice lingerie-it's about having fun and she does so by organizing special events throughout the months. Most recently, Butler is teaming up with the city to do a public art project to celebrate 20 years of music. Each participant in the project was given a guitar to decorate, and naturally Butler opted for a lingerie theme. The guitar, designed by Elizabeth Cheray, is available for purchase and the proceeds will be given to a music and art program in the coming months.
Sarah's Bare Necessities is located at 1865-A Adobe Street. Concord, CA 94520.