Lion's Lair opened in 1996 with 700-square-feet of selling space, and in October 2008, owner Kimberly Berger expanded the location to 4,000-square-feet to accommodate a larger quantity of inventory. "We expanded to enable us to focus on intimate apparel as a larger source of sales," she said.
At Lion's Lair, helping customers find the perfect fit is top-priority. "During our first visit from Fantasie's top fitter last October, she commented that we had mastered the art of fitting and taken it a step further by making it scientific," said Berger. "In 2007, I remember sitting down on the sales floor armed with a note pad and a ruler, surrounded by bras and swim tops. I measured, compared and re-measured, until I was able to create a sizing chart to enable my sales staff to better assist our customers with fit by taking two simple measurements. I based this chart of the UK bra alphabet and created subsequent charts to translate all of the other companies/designers that we carry into this same sizing system. Bra fitting is the cornerstone of our sales method."
Lion's Lair customers range in age from 15 to 75 with mid-30's to mid-50's being the most common. The most popular sizes are 22W and up in plus sizes, and FF, G, GG, H cups and up. "Tiny band sizes, 28's and 30's, with large cup sizes, G and up, are our most sought after," said Berger. "We get asked for fashionable attire for these hard-to-find sizes."
Brands offered at the store include Anita, Chantelle, Fantasie, Freya, Panache and Goddess, among many others. Customers tend to spend between $150 to $200 per visit, although $600 plus transactions are common as well. "Being located in a tourist are, our customers hail from all over the globe," said Berger. "The profile is a woman with a specialty sizing need shopping for herself. Someone who doesn't fit in a size 5 skimpy bikini, but someone who wants the style and fashion available in the size 5 world."
According to Berger, her customers tend to favor lacy frilly styles and basics evenly. "Because of our specialty, our customers are generally starting their wardrobe over," said Berger. "They've never experienced the fit or expertise that we offer. And although everyone needs basics (T-shirt bras), they are also overjoyed to find something lacy and pretty. It's pretty split down the middle. Also consider that large cup sizes need the seams for support, so T-shirt bras for many aren't an option."
Lion's Lair is located at 82185 Overseas Highway in Islamorada, Florida. Reach Kim Berger, also the store's buyer, at (800) 220-16910 or at Contact@LionsLairDesigns.com.