Q&A with Geraldine Nuval, Owner & Key Buyer
Number of stores: 1
Location: San Francisco
Size: 300 square feet
Year opened: 1998, reopened in current location in 2009
Ted Vayos, BODY: Describe your store.
Geraldine: My Boudoir Lingerie opened in June 1998 in the heart of the Pacific Heights in San Francisco. In October of 2009, we moved to a cozier location on Union Street. Step inside our boudoir and be enticed by our array of lush and lacy European lingerie. The rich colored rustic bohemian décor of our store provides perfect contrast to the luxurious garments; silks smooth to the touch, the scent of French hard-milled soaps and candles filling the air, and colors vibrant to the eye. We continually strive to find the best in design and fabrics to bring beauty to our clients. Our associates are trained to custom-fit our customers and provide the best lingerie knowledge as possible. Our friendly staff will also assist the bride in filling her honeymoon suitcase through our bridal registry. Don't forget to ask about custom-made corsets by Dark Garden and our boudoir portraits from Lone for that special someone. And, get on our mailing list for updates on our fashion shows and other exciting artist parties.
Ted: What makes your store special?
Geraldine: Our customers come to us because of how our sincere love for lingerie comes out in our service and knowledge. Also, they love to find a something just a bit more unique in our shop. We are not afraid of color and tend to be a bit more on the edgier side; not too many basics in our shop.
Ted: What brands are important to your store?
Geraldine: For the fuller figure: Freya, Fantasie, Fauve and Pananche. For the basics: LeMystere, Chantelle, Falke, Nubra, Hanky Panky, Mary Green and the Little Bra Company. For the edgy: Damaris, Mimi Holiday, Passionata, Pleasure State, Jenna Leigh and Aubade. For the fun: Bracli, Jimmyjane, Maison Close and Bisoux Indiscrets. For the nighties: Cosabella, Fleurt, Samantha Chang, Eberjey, Lisa's Folly and NK Imode.
Ted: Describe popular styles or trends in your store.
Geraldine: Popular styles in my store are teddies, boyshorts, and demi and still molded bras. The area we had moved to still have not really come to terms with the high-waisted '40s-style panty.
Ted: What are your price and size ranges?
Geraldine: We have two size ranges. One catering to the smaller to average breast sizes, like 28 to 36, A to C; the other catering to the larger, fuller sizes, like 28D to 36FF. Some 38D and DD. Price points are mid-range to high-end. A bra is hard to find under $70 unless we are having a sale. Generally, during the fall, all our high-end pieces start coming in, as people tend to buy more sexy, exquisite pieces.
Ted: What is your average customer size?
Geraldine: We used to have an average customer size of 34B and 34C. Our sizes have changed over the years and I find I am catering more to 34A, 32B, 32D and 32DD as well as the smaller band sizes of 30. This is where brands like The Little Bra Company, Panache and Freya are a big help to me.
Ted: What does the average customer spend per visit?
Geraldine: I am going to be very candid. Since 2009 with the economic downturn, I would have said that the average customer only spent an average of $50. But I believe things are picking back up a little bit and I’m seeing an increase of sales; the average is now about $150.
Ted: Describe your customer base.
Geraldine: Again, with the move — even if it’s just right over the hill — the customer base has changed a tiny bit. They seem to be a little younger clientele; 20 to 30 years of age. But we still have a big following of our tried-and-true customer base of 80 percent females and 20 percent males 35 to 45 years of age. They want something different and special as well as a few basics. They don't want to shop department stores; they like the quaint little boutique feeling. Most have discerning taste and understand the value of high-end lingerie.