Intimacy, the Euro-centric fitting savant, opened its sixth store and first Miami spot in the Aventura Mall on Biscayne Boulevard. It followed the debut of Intimacy in Houston at the Galleria Mall just nine days prior, which added to other shops in Atlanta, New York, Chicago and Boston. In 2009, two more locations will open: one in San Diego (this spring) and one in Dallas (this summer).
The rapid-fire openings are part of founder Susan Nethero's ambitious goal to open four to five stores every year until "50 percent of women in the U.S. have an Intimacy location within an hour's drive of where they live."
"We want to uplift women throughout America," she said. "That's our mission."
That mission was sparked when Nethero traveled abroad during college and learned that European brands offered the best fit for her bust. "I was a small bust size in college, and traveling on school trips I learned how many additional sizes they offer in Europe, and that they offer so many more fashionable and pretty things for all bust sizes," she said. (Fittingly, during her first store opening in Atlanta in 1992, June Kenton of London's Rigby & Peller brand and bra fitter for Queen Elizabeth spent three days with Nethero, teaching her advanced fitting techniques.)
Today, Intimacy staffs more than 50 trained fitters at its six locations and boasts over 90 bra sizes at all times. Every customer gets a free fitting on a first-come, first-served basis. And fitting rooms get half the floor space at all Intimacy stores, including the 2,500 square-foot Houston store and the 3,000-square foot Miami locale.
Europe is still the focus, with more than 80 percent of stock from across the pond. The most popular brand is Van de Velde's Prima Donna and Marie Jo, and other offerings include Chantelle, Lise Charmel, Aubade, Freya, Simone Pérèle and Fantasie. Every now and then, an American brand sneaks in.
"We might carry On Gossamer, Felina or Calvin Klein, but in very limited quantities," she said.