La Femme Privée Lingerie Boutique Retail Profile
Q&A with Liz Wideman, president & key buyer
Number of stores: 1
Location: Kitchener, Ontario
Square footage: 2,000
Year opened: 2009
Ted Vayos, BODY: Describe your store.
Liz: At La Femme Privée, we bring luxurious shopping back to the consumer. The boutique is sexy and resembles your dream walk-in closet. The boudoir atmosphere allows for a relaxing and stress-free shopping experience. There are beautiful furniture pieces showcasing exquisite women’s intimate apparel, loungewear, sportswear, sleepwear, bath and body products, and accessories. The lighting is subdued, using beautiful chandeliers, and the change rooms are both spacious and private. A comfortable sitting area, complete with fireplace, welcomes anyone accompanying the shopper. One of the most common things that people say when entering the boutique is “I’m looking for something different.” We love that! We strive to be unique and different by carrying labels not currently available in the Kitchener-Waterloo area; labels like Elle Macpherson Intimates, B*Up Pajamas, Stella McCartney, Christine Vancouver Silks, and Knock out! Panties. We also look for products made in Canada or the United States, supporting our North American market.
Ted: What makes your store special?
Liz: Our customer service is top-notch and friendly; that is what really sets us apart from any other intimate apparel establishment. We not only offer professional help with bra fittings, but we also educate our customers on how a bra, or any other intimate apparel item, should properly fit and why. All purchases are beautifully wrapped in tissue and placed in a gorgeous bag with a ribbon. We always invite and listen to suggestions and recommendations for new products from our customers. Some of our other special services include complimentary gift wrapping on all gift purchases, wish lists and private shopping events.
Ted: Which brands are important to your store?
Liz: Important brands are Elle Macpherson Intimates, Christine Vancouver Silks, Mimi Holliday, Knock out! Panties, Amulette, T by Tension Activewear, Stella McCartney and B*Up Pajamas.
Ted: Which brands do customers ask for by name?
Liz: We do get people asking for certain brands — Chantelle and Fantasie, for example, which we do not carry. But when we show them something comparable, and maybe at a lower price point, they are happy.
Ted: What are you looking for in a vendor?
Liz: When researching vendors, we look for brands that are not currently available in our area, and items that are made in North America. We also look at the amount of time it takes for shipping, especially for bras. We like to be able to custom order sizes in a timely manner for our customers.
Ted: Do salespeople make a difference?
Liz: It’s always important to have a great relationship with the salespeople. They can really help make transactions go more smoothly and hassle-free. Our favorites are the ones that go over and beyond by notifying us of promotions or changes in the line.
Ted: Describe popular styles and trends in your store.
Liz: Our most popular request in bra styles is the basic T-shirt bra. In sleepwear, our moisture-wicking pajamas are popular, along with stylish and fashion-forward loungewear. Anything that we bring in that is unique and different always fares well. For example, when we brought in thongs with a bow on the back, they sold extremely well. Also, Knock out!’s cotton panties with an exceptional gusset that works like a pantyliner to absorb odours and moisture are a huge hit! We also found that many people are still interested in natural fibres — silk, pima cotton, and organic cotton.
Ted: Describe your price points and size ranges.
Liz: We carry bras in a wide size range — 30 to 42 bands and A to G cups. Most of our panties and sleepwear go to XL, but we do carry plus sizes in some panties and sleepwear, up to 3X. When choosing what lines to carry, the price point is very important. We have basic bras starting at $44 with the designer ones up to $175. The panties start at $12 up to $75. Many of our bras are under $100.
Ted: What is your average customer size?
Liz: When looking at our average customer size, we have two extremes — the person that needs a 32 band with a larger cup than a D, and the person that needs a 36 or 38 band with a smaller cup than D. These seem to be the more difficult size ranges to find in an average department store intimate apparel section. When you are a hard-to-find size, the specialty shops are the best place for you.
Ted: What does the average customer spend per visit to your store?
Liz: Our average customer spends about $100 per visit.
Ted: Describe your customer base.
Liz: We specialize in luxurious lingerie for the contemporary woman. The woman that is fashion-conscious, always staying on top of the latest trends. The woman that wants to be unique and different in her fashion choices, but also looks for stylish comfort. She may be career driven, or a stay-at-home mom. We also have quite a few men that visit us regularly to purchase something unique for their special lady. Our gift certificates are also unique — packaged in a beautiful box with a bow.
Ted: Is there any other information you wish to provide?
Liz: Overall, we are the most luxurious lingerie shopping venue in the area. We carry stylish, unique labels in a wide variety of sizes, have the best customer service, all encased in the most beautiful boutique setting. Visit our website and sign up for our newsletter to be notified of sales, promotions and anything new and exciting that we may bring into the boutique. We can also be found on Facebook, where we post exclusive promotions just for our Facebook fans.