In 1998—long before e-commerce became "en vogue"—college student Danielle Turner came up with the idea for a web-based sexy swimwear and costume retail business. She started BikiniDeals.com, which she said took off very quickly. Today, the site carries lingerie in addition to sexy costumes, swimwear, and jewelry, and will soon add sexy shoes. It employs three people with Turner maintaining buying responsibilities "based on what the girls respond to."
But despite its merchandise expansion, Turner’s concept for BikiniDeals.com remains the same; "Our site is really the place for sexy women. We carry cute items for every size, for every type of body. I really believe any type of woman could find one thing that makes her feel sexy on here."
So strong is Turner’s belief that the site appeals to one and all that she advertises "to anyone from 18 to 80. Whether you are young and want to be the hottest girl at the club, or you are looking for a way to spice up your love life with your significant other, you will love www.bikinideals.com. We find that it is mostly girls that are buying these things for themselves but every once and awhile a man will go on and pick our something really hot for his girl. How awesome is that!" she said.
She described the lay-out of the site as "just pink and fun and girly" to make the shopping experience fun and inspiring.
The average customer is a woman sized 3 through 6, but the site carries sizes XS through 2XL. Typically, a customer spends between $7 to $50 on a bra and panties, and $15 to $100 per visit "depending on how many items [she] is looking for, and what kind." Turner believes that "the girls" keep coming back to site versus other similar e-tailers because: "We have a big selection, an easy-to-use website, and the best prices."
She named Skinny Dip and Forplay as her best-selling brands, because "they have the cutest styles with the best prices. Modern, retro, polka dot, you are sure to find something you like with those two." Penthouse Lingerie and Hustler Jewelry are also popular. The site also carries both "normal and wild" men’s intimates, mostly by Coquette.
In terms of styles, retro and pink-shaded pieces are the most-requested, she said. These include the Purple Passion chemise with matching thong. And for the Halloween season, costumes "fly off the shelves." This season, Turner noticed that Love Doctor costumes were particularly popular.
Turner has noticed a current trend toward "pucker butts;" underwear that "accentuates the butt and gives it a beautiful, round and firm appearance." She added that since when people come to the site they are looking for something special, they are not usually shopping for a simple bra and panty set. "We do sell some bras by themselves, but a lot of the bras come in sets. It is a lot cheaper for the customer to buy a cute matching set of a bra, panty, and garters as opposed to buying all of those things on their own."
BikiniDeals.com reaches potential customers through MySpace, Google and Facebook, and Turner described her most successful advertising technique—in good times and bad—as word-of-mouth. "A company called Gem Valley Marketing has also done wonders in doubling our customer base," she said.
In addition, the site works to constantly add new inventory to keep things fresh. Currently, it is hosting a bikini contest through www.BikiniDeals.com/BikiniContest.com, and the winner will receive free merchandise from the website, and become "an official BikiniDeals.com girl."