Q&A with Katelyn Lamura-Thompson, president
Ted Vayos, BODY: Describe your store?
Katelyn Lamura-Thompson: We decided to open our store Flannel and Lace in Manasquan because it is our home. Our family has been in this adorable sea side community for five generations. It is a real plus to open in your own community. We know everyone that lives here. They are our family and we support each other. Flannel and Lace is like a big warm cozy walk-in-closet. That was our vision for the store and I believe we achieved perfection. Our Store starts out with flannels and knit pajamas at the front and sexier things like Oh la la Cheri and Lelo all the way at the back. The Lelo of course is hidden in an old armoire, its there if the customer wants it, we keep our store classy and discreet. We are located right on a beautiful cobble stone main street surrounded by dress shops, eateries, salons..etc. The area is perfect. Everything we need is right here in our town. There really is no reason to go anywhere else. Everyone is into shopping locally. I am ready to turn in the lease on my car after 3 years and it has less then 12 thousand miles on it.
Ted: What makes your store special?
Katelyn: Customer service, either myself, my daughter or our immediate family are always here to help our customers. This family atmosphere makes the store special. We have 3 generations 20’s, 30’s and 50’ so our customers can get different points of view depending on who they speak to at Flannel and Lace.
We try to make it so this store has an atmosphere where everybody feels comfortable to shop.
Ted: What do you look for in a brand?
Katelyn: I look for quality, comfort, great fit and a little bit of sex appeal. We want our customers to feel pretty wearing their intimates. That is why they call it foundations because they are suppose to make you feel great underneath. Flannel and Lace has a variety of different products ranging from sleepwear, bras, lingerie, toys to bath and body. We carry sleepwear from Affinitas, Bed Head Pajamas, Belabumbum, Carole Hochman Midnight, Ella Moss, Oscar de la Renta, PJ Salvage and Rhonda Shear Pajamas. The Affinitas bridal negligees with cups and the Mary Green sleep masks do very well for us. We have also noticed that Belabumbum works well for more than just our maternity customers. Our number one selling bra is from Wacoal. The minimizers and the old styles are popular. There is something to be said about the sturdiness of a Wacoal bra but, we also carry bras like Creme Bralee from QT-Intimates. A lot of people would rather get two bras from QT Intimates instead of having to wash a single $70.00 bra every night. I love working with Chris their sales representative. She actually takes the time out to come see us at the store. Her recommendations have worked real well for us which makes me want to buy more and more of their line everytime. We also carry bras from other merchants like Affinitas, Coobie, Le Mystere and Splendid. Oh la la Cheri is our best selling sexy lingerie brand.
Ted: What have you brought in new for the holidays?
Katelyn: We just got in for the holidays slippers, knee socks, Affinitas panties, Hany Panky, Bath and body from Thymes. The body washes and lotions make our store smell so good. We also carry Soak Wash. For the holiday we got their gift boxes.
Ted: How can wholesalers improve their business with you?
Katelyn: The thing that bothers me the most is when I manufacturers can go online and sell product at a less then my retail price. Sell the merchandise from two seasons ago but don’t sell what I have in my store. We always expect good customer service, I do not care how big or small it is, just take the order and get the merchandise here on time. I know there are trade shows like Curve but I would like for suppliers to take the time out to come to our store before trying to sell us something. We are open to suggestions and would like to hear the opinions of the different reps. Brands like QT intimates and PJ Salvage visit us all the time. Brands like Hanky Panky will come if you request it. If they come and see they can sell us more. I do not feel like every company is out to help the small business. If they sell Macy’s or Nordstrom’s maybe their not as interested in my smaller orders.
Ted: Describe the popular styles or trends in your store.
Katelyn: My customers want anything British. We also noticed that bralettes are doing well with the young girls. A few of the sleepwear styles like Eiffel Tower from the Bedhead line and PJ Salvage’s 70’s Volkswagon bus have trended well in Flannel and Lace.
Ted: Describe your price points and size ranges.
Katelyn: We sell extra small to 3X pajamas. Pajamas sell for $65 to $130. Our bra business covers from 30A up to a 42G. We offer a full range of bras from Coobie for $22 to Le Mystere for $76.
Ted: What is your typical or average customer size?
Katelyn: Our customers are typically small to medium in the pajamas sizing and 36C is the average bra size.
Ted: What does the average customer spend per visit to your store?
Katelyn: Customers spend around 120$ per visit.
Ted: Describe your customer.
Katelyn: We usually get female customers, with the occasional husband coming in for their wife. They can be either stay at home or working. The majority are in their late 30s and have a few kids in the school but, we do get customers of all ages from young girls to the great grandmas.