After being open for only 10 months, Canada-based Dick & Jane Romance Boutique had already gotten positive recognition in the industry. The Newspaper, the Toronto Sun, asked readers to choose their favorite lingerie stores to shop in for the 2008 Readers’ Choice Awards and Dick & Jane scored high in two categories. In the adult novelty category it won the silver award and in the lingerie category it won the bronze award.
The idea to open Dick & Jane came to Mercedes Jones, the store’s owner and buyer, four years ago while she was sitting in her garage dreaming of owning her own store. She decided to focus on lingerie and clothing because she reasoned clothing is something people will always need and lingerie is like "icing on a cake." Plus, lingerie is something that she is passionate about.
"In my family we’d say ‘Dick and Jane it’ meaning – keep it simple," said Jones. She chose the name in that respect, she wanted something simple, yet memorable and "also something that would appeal to an audience of all demographics, but also not sound seedy," she said.
Jones offers a selection of brands and designs at her 1,500 square foot store. Some of the many brands that Dick & Jane carries is Shirley of Hollywood, Dreamgirl, Leg Avenue and Coquette. “I travel a few times a year to source out the finest in lingerie and clothing to keep up with demands of my customers request for better quality and exceptional pricing,” said Jones.
The current best-selling lingerie items are the babydolls, especially the Dreamgirl styles. "As the buyer and the owner, I pick styles for regulars and plus, making sure that women of all shapes and sizes can shop at my boutique," said Jones.
“My priority and objective is to make women feel comfortable in my store, realizing that many women may not feel comfortable in most ‘naughty stores.’ Let’s be honest - the bottom line is that women are today’s consumer - we have to do our best to make sure that we provide them with a safe and inviting atmosphere, one that says ‘we’re here for you.’”
Jones refers to herself as a "one woman show." She only recently hired the store’s first three employees, but already has plans on opening two more stores in the next couple of years in the Greater Toronto area.
Although men make up a small portion of her customers, she prepares documentation about customer’s favorite colors and measurements in order to ensure a stress-free shopping experience for those men who have no idea what to purchase Jones believes that she is not selling a product, but rather selling a scenario. The mission of Dick & Jane is to offer "an inviting environment that provides customers with the ’tools’ required to bring romance, passion and most of all love back into their daily lives." Jones understands that “a lot of women have things like cooking dinner, doing laundry and packing lunches on their minds at the end of the day. It’s not until all of these things are looked after that her libido is allowed to enter the scene,” she said. With this being said, “I strive day in and day out to help her partner understand that. He may come in with the good intention of buying her today’s hottest sex toy, but first, we will help him get into her mind,” she adds.
In order to promote her store, Jones has put ads in her local community newspaper. She has also done three billboards as well as cross-promotions with local gyms and fitness centers, but she claims her best form of advertising is her windows and her store-front. "My window displays are very classy," she says. She changes them up on a weekly basis.
Aside from lingerie, apparel, sexy costumes, swimwear and more, Jones also offers: home and in-store parties, including customized theme parties; a registry service; customized gift baskets; private shopping appointments available on Sundays; a variety of in-store seminars and a selection of out of store events.