Q&A with Michelle Meyer, president & key buyer
Number of stores: 3
Locations: Idaho Falls, Pocatello and Twin Falls, Idaho
Typical square footage: 3,000+
Year opened: 1995
Ted Vayos, BODY: Describe your store.
Michelle: With three store locations in Idaho Falls, Pocatello and Twin Falls, Idaho, Karnation Intimate Apparel has been catering to the intimate needs of its customers for more than 16 years. We’ve created a relaxed environment in each of our stores that allows the customers to relax and shop a wide variety of product selections — from sexy lingerie, massage oils and hosiery to a basic pair of heels — without feeling rushed and receiving as much or as little help they need from our personal shoppers to make the right personal choices.
Ted: What makes your store special?
Michelle: We are committed to ensuring that every customers leaves our store feeling better than they felt when they came in. Shopping for a bra, sexy lingerie or even a lubricant can be a difficult, intimidating experience. We strive to make the “intimate” shopping experience easier and less intimidating by personalizing it as much as we can. It’s often as simple as asking the right questions so we can help our customers achieve their goals by making the right purchases – whether they want to create a specific look for a night out or planning a special romantic encounter for two.
Ted: Which brands are important to your store?
Michelle: We offer an exclusive selection of top selling products from premier lingerie designers — Dreamgirl, Leg Avenue, Seven ’til Midnight, Betsey Johnson, GWorld and Shirley of Hollywood to name a few — both in our stores and online at MyKarnation.com. We also offer gift ideas for the creative romantic and specialty items for individuals, couples, spouses and others who are looking to add a little spice to their intimate lives. Two of our favorite brands to sell are Elomie and Freya bras. We love their larger bra cups and spirited styles, and so do our customers! In the sexy lingerie department, we love offering Shirley of Hollywood and Intimate Attittudes because they offer great style and fit. Seven ’til Midnight and iCollection are among our new favorites because they add a new, distinctive touch of color and sexiness. We carry a variety of intimate products and have favorites there, too, including Don’t Stop Massage Oil from Booty Parlor and the wide variety of high-quality lubricants from System Jo.
Ted: What do you look for in a vendor?
Michelle: I expect that my vendors will deliver the same thing that our customers expect us to deliver: in-depth knowledge about the products we carry, honesty about what we offer and respect for each other. Customer service is our main priority and it should also be theirs.
Ted: Describe popular styles or trends at your store.
Michelle: Lingerie styles change from time to time, but I’ve noticed more changes over the past five years. I appreciate that we can offer our customers more variety than ever, particularly within the plus-size category. Now, we can go beyond the average nightgown to offer of wonderful selection sexy lingerie for the plus-size woman to show off her curves.
Ted: What brands are customers asking for by name?
Michelle: Our local customers are not in-tune with any particular brands. They just know we sell the highest-quality lingerie and accessories in our area and they trust that they are only getting the best when they shop with us. When we offer specific brands through our television or radio ads, those featured brands tend to draw a larger audience.
Ted: Describe your price points and size ranges.
Michelle: Our lingerie sizes range from small to 6x and bra sizes range from 30A to 54HH. We keep our prices competitive, but also avoid excessively marking up merchandise only to slash it with deep discounts to make it appear to the customer as if they are getting a better deal. We simply don’t mislead our customers in that way.
Ted: What is your average customer size?
Michelle: For the average customer, medium is our typical size. Our average plus size is 2X. Our average bra size is 36FF.
Ted: What does the average customer spend per visit to your store?
Michelle: Our average ticket amounts to $46.
Ted: Describe your customer base.
Michelle: Our average customer base fluctuates seasonally — for instance, more women shop with us during bridal season and more men shop with us for Valentine’s Day. Overall, the split is roughly 65 percent female and 35 percent male.
Ted: Is there any other information you wish to share?
Michelle: After 16 years in business, it is more important than ever for us to recognize that our customers not only got us to where we are ... they keep us here, too. We do all of our buying with our customers in mind so we can confidently offer them the best products available in the market. By offering the best of the best, we keep our
customers happy and coming back for more. Our customers also appreciate that we continuously provide an exacting, personalized level of customer service that is lacking in a lot of other shopping experiences. We try to provide the same level of customer service online at mykarnation.com through our live chat feature where one of our personal shoppers is always available online to answer questions.