Chic Underneath Retail Profile
Q&A with Kailyn McLaughlin, Co-Owner
Ted Vayos, BODY: Describe your store.
Kailyn: Chic Underneath is a lingerie and waxing boutique located in historic downtown Saratoga Springs, N.Y. The store itself used to be a old theater, dating back to the early 1900s. Since then, the space has been utilized by various types of small businesses and also used as a storage space. When we first saw the store space, it was an absolute mess! Fortunately, we saw past all of the dust and debris and saw a space with great potential. The stunning high ceilings and the unique architecture were two aspects of the space that we fell in love with. We spent six months remodeling the store, including adding a large picture window in front of the building. We kept all of the original theater’s molding and ceilings, but added our own ideas to modernize it. The concept for our store is simple elegance. We believe that the clean lines, beautiful lighting and just the right amount of personal touches have really transformed the space to what we had envisioned: Chic Underneath.
Ted: Who is your typical customer?
Kailyn: Our customer base is varied. We have a college located very near Chic Underneath, so we are getting a lot of the 18- to 22-year-old girls going crazy for Honeydew. We also get a good range of 30- to 60-year-olds that are just tired of shopping for undergarments in big chains and department stores which all carry similar items. We built our boutique for these women — they are just like us! We have worked hard to build a boutique where women can come and shop comfortably for undergarments, get a fitting and find the perfect piece that fits and flatters. To complement our lingerie, we do specialized bra fittings, and we also have an onsite esthetician who does body waxing to keep every woman feeling Chic Underneath!
Ted: What makes your store special?
Kailyn: In our area, our main competitor is Victoria’s Secret. What makes our store special and different is that we really car about what women want; that is why we started our business. As lingerie consumers ourselves, we have always struggled with finding the balance of fit, comfort AND style in the undergarments we shopped for. We know that once you have the perfect fit, it not only changes the way you look, but also how great you feel. Whether you’re looking to enhance, minimize or to awaken your inner vixen, finding undergarments that flatter, fit and make you feel good is like finding gold! We want every woman to leave here feeling rich! We understand that it can be uncomfortable to get fitted for a bra, but we are only here to help women find their perfect fit. We want every woman to feel like they are looking their best, starting from underneath. Chic Underneath is also special because of our waxing services. Again, we understand that waxing can be uncomfortable! When you get that perfect bikini or Brazilian wax and a new lingerie set — whether it’s for your boyfriend, your girlfriend our yourself — you are going to feel like a million bucks knowing that you look good and that you are all taken care of down there! This is a one-stop shop for your underneath needs, and we promise to make it as comfortable and pleasurable as possible!
Ted: List some of the brands that are important to your store.
Kailyn: Our store just opened in late July, and we are excited about getting new brands in. Since we are so new, we really wanted to start off with a moderate amount of inventory, hoping to get a better grasp on the wants and needs of our customers. We started with Felina, Eberjey, Honeydew, HOTmilk, Slimpressions and Jezebel. We recently placed orders with Blush, Affinitas, Elle Macpherson, Jenna Leigh and the Eveden group (Freya, Elomi, and Fantasie intimates). So far, we have had great success with Eberjey. Their quality is amazing; the fit, the material, and the style seem to be what our customers are looking for. We have found that it pleases everyone ages 16 to 65! HOTMilk is also a wonderful and unique line of nursing bras we carry. There are very few — if any — other places in the area for nursing mothers to get quality nursing bras that are also feminine and pretty! We are enjoying Slimpressions as well. Even though it’s not as well known as a line like as Spanx, women have been pretty responsive with positive feedback regarding Slimpressions. We are looking forward to carrying Freya, Elomi, and Fantasie, as we see there is a need for not only bigger cup sizes, but bigger band sizes, as well. In addition to lingerie, we also carry The Laundress delicate wash and an organic shea body butter line called 15 Melbourne.
Ted: What styles are particularly popular among your customers?
Kailyn: The most popular trends and styles that we have noticed so far have been bright and light lingerie and sleepwear. We live in upstate New York and people are so appreciative of the three months of warm weather we get — we knew that we should stock up on bright colors. We stocked a lot of Eberjey chemises in white and hot pink. We couldn’t keep them in stock! Honeydew boyshorts and lace bralettes in shades of pinks, purples, and bright blues have been popular. Chic Underneath is located near a college and the college girls go crazy for Honeydew.
Ted: What price and size range do you carry?
Kailyn: Our price points are very reasonable. In this economy, we thought it would be a mistake carrying mostly high end lines. We plan on carrying a line called Amulette and that will probably be our most expensive line. At this point, we don’t have anything in our store over $100 and our customers have noticed and commented on our reasonable prices. Additionally, our waxing prices are very reasonable. We have tried to do as much research as we could to find affordable and good quality lines. When we receive our Freya/Elomi/Fantasie shipment, we will carry sizes from a 32A to 50J and everything in between. Ideally, we hope to carry something for every woman despite their size, shape or even age. We want every woman to come into Chic Underneath and feel like she has choices and a special selection of unique pieces of lingerie. We carry a variety of lines for women to choose from; that way, our college-aged customers have lingerie they adore and we carry pieces that their mothers find appealing as well.
Ted: What is your average customer size?
Kailyn: Our typical customer’s size has been a 38C. We tend to have more customers who need a 36 and up band. We see many middle-aged women who want comfort, support and not too much padding.
Ted: How much does the average customer spend in your store?
Kailyn: On average, a typical transaction is about $70.
Ted: What other information would you like to share?
Kailyn: Chic Underneath is a boutique created by women for women. We are not your generic lingerie store. We have thought of everything that we would want in a intimate apparel store, then we created it. We think that doing waxing services in the same space where you buy your lingerie not only makes sense, it makes your lingerie that much better! They really go hand in hand. Whether it’s fit, shape, size, color or unwanted body hair, we want to help you put away any of your insecurities and preconceived notions about lingerie and hair removal and come in and try it out. Lingerie is not just for the girl with the skinny body; shapewear is not for just for the overweight girl! We believe that feeling comfortable and chic in your clothes is a feeling every woman can have every day! We want to celebrate the female form and we hope to do so by making every woman feel Chic Underneath!